Wednesday, February 7, 2018

parishioner portal

Parishioner Portal Login: Access Denied.

Hey there fellow pastors! Tired of those pesky people from your parish who ask questions and want to talk about God and stuff? Here's a solution. Crabbed from our fellow professionals in the medical industry: online portal communication.

Instead of returning (or God help you, initiating) telephone calls, simply refer the worried well (and the not so well) to your website, and ask them to create a login and password for their very own Parishioner Portal (TM) (R) you heard it here 1st.

Comments? Please log in to my website, on your portal page. Use the link in the email I didn't send you.

great shame

Could the Irish famine have been averted or ameliorated by government action?

"In November 1845 [Daniel ("The Liberator")] O'Connell, in receipt of awful intelligence from Repeal branches all over the country, went with a delegation to visit Lord Lieutenant Heytesbury in Dublin Castle. O'Connell pleaded for a suspension of the export of the annual approximately 1,600,000,000 pounds weight of Irish grain and provisions, and a prohibition on distilling and brewing from grain.

He also urged Heytesbury that the ports be opened to the free import of rice and Indian corn from British colonies. For Irish ports were not open now, but subject to the special provisions of the Corn Laws, laws designed to peg the price of local grain at the highest possible level and to keep out other, cheaper grain until the entire British crop had been sold at that artificially pegged price.

The Liberator also asked that paid labor be provided on public works for those whose staple food had rotted before their eyes.

If these things were not done, said O'Connell, millions would have nothing to eat throughout the winter except decomposed potatoes, seedling eyes cut out of the diseased tubers, and family pigs.

The Liberator wrote to Smith O'Brien of 'the frightful certainty of an approaching famine; and you know pestilence always follows famine, the prospect is really frightful.'"

Keneally, Thomas. The Great Shame and the Triumph of the Irish in the English-Speaking World. New York: Nan A. Talese. 1998. 104-105.

Daniel O'Connell, M.P. ("The Liberator")
William Smith O'Brien, M.P.

Monday, January 22, 2018

speaking out

One of the first things anyone said to me here, at Saint Michael and All Angels, when I was elected rector of a church north of Seattle, was Peter Schmidt's comment on its patron saint - Alban - "he was the Protomartyr of Britain."

The saint we remember today, Vincent of Saragossa, was first among the martyrs of Spain - and not many years later. Alban was martyred in the middle of the second century in the Roman British town of Verulamium, after speaking up boldly for the Christian faith in the presence of an imperial magistrate. “I worship and adore the true and living God,” he declared, “who created all things.” That was enough for Alban - to receive his crown of martyrdom forthwith.

Vincent had more to say. He was on trial together with the bishop he served as deacon. The bishop was one of those people we'd mention at the Blessing of Throats at Candlemas. He, Valerius, had a speech impediment. Vincent often preached in his stead. And so he charged Vincent to speak before the governor, for both of them, in defense of the faith.

This was during the persecution of Diocletian and Maximian, in 304. Dacian was governor of Spain. And Dacian was so outraged by Vincent's impassioned and intemperate outspoken declaration of faith that he ordered him tortured.

Valerius was simply exiled. But, as Augustine of Hippo reports, Vincent the Deacon endured many pains. All for the faith. Vincent of Saragossa. Deacon and Martyr. 304.

Eight years later came the conversion of Constantine, the battle at the Mylvian bridge, and the subsequent edict of toleration. Christianity became legal - for the most part - within the Roman empire.

Since that time many Christians have been punished for speaking up for their faith, some on behalf of their bishop, some as bishops - Oscar Romero, Janani Luwum - and some unheralded and unknown except to God.

These are all among those "robed in white" we remember on the feasts of martyrs - and all of them are guided to "springs of the water of life." (22 jan 18).

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Climate Change Forum IV Prayers


May this day be holy, good, and peaceful.
May the creative spirit of the universe
enliven us with hope.
May the nurturing spirit of the universe
compel us to care for creation - and each other.
May the valiant spirit of the universe
imbue us with the fortitude
to see the truth,
and the wisdom
to act upon it.

Followed by Song of the Three Young Men, Introduction and Part 1, Book of Common Prayer, 1979, 88-89.

Closing Prayer

Creator of science and of creativity itself,
we praise you and thank you for the insights of science.
Guide us into all truth and lead us in compassionate action.
Challenge us when we need to change our way of thinking - and of living.

For the sake of those facing rising temperatures, drought, and water shortages,
Creator, in your mercy,
restore and renew the world.

For the sake of those facing extreme weather events, disrupted seasons, and failed crops,
Creator, in your mercy,
restore and renew the world.

For the sake of those facing flooding, land loss, and salination of vital water supplies,
Creator, in your mercy,
restore and renew the world.

For the sake of all those who fear the changing climate,
Creator, in your mercy,
restore and renew the world.

For the poor, the vulnerable, and the refugee,
Creator, in your mercy,
restore and renew the world.

For the sake of us all, Creator, in your mercy,
re-create our hearts, that we might work together - to
restore and renew the world.

Climate-Change Forum IV – Credibility, Urgency & Caution
a continuation of “A Religious Response to Climate Change”
St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, Tucson, Arizona
Smith Parish Center, 13 January 2018

Friday, December 29, 2017

climate change reading list: extreme weather

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)

Brown, Don. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. 2015.

Conrad, Joseph. Typhoon and Other Stories. 1902. 

Emanuel, Kerry A. Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes. 2005.

Kostigen, Thomas. Extreme Weather: Surviving Tornadoes, Sandstorms, Hailstorms, Blizzards, Hurricanes, and More! 2014.

London, Jack. "Typhoon off the Coast of Japan." San Francisco Call. 1893.

Miles, Kathryn. Superstorm: Nine Days Inside Hurricane Sandy. 2014.

Neufeld, Josh. A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge. 2010.

Parker, Bruce B. The Power of the Sea: Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Rogue Waves, and Our Quest to Predict Disasters. 2010.

Streever, Bill. And Soon I Heard A Roaring Wind: A Natural History of Moving Air. 2016.

Winchester, Simon. When the Sky Breaks: Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and the Worst Weather in the World. 2017.

Extreme Events. (Joseph Conrad) (Jack London) (J.M.W. Turner)

Supplementary reading list for Climate-Change Forum IV – Credibility, Urgency and Caution: a continuation of “A Religious Response to Climate Change” - Saint Michael and All Angels Church, Tucson Arizona, Saturday 13 January 2018.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Holy Land reading list


The Bible

Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, The Holy Land.  An Oxford Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700. 5th ed.  (Oxford University Press, 2008).

Suad Amairy - Sharon and My Mother-in-law: Ramallah Diaries (New York: Pantheon Books, 2005)

Hanan Ashrawi, This Side of Peace: A Personal Account (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995)

Sari Nusseibeh, Once Upon A Country: A Palestinian Life (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007)

Simon Sebag MontefioreJerusalem: The Biography (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011).

Ari Shavit, My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel (New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2013).

Raja Shehadeh - Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape (New York: Scribner, 2008)

Avi Shlaim - The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001)

Sandy Tolan, The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East (Bloomsbury, 2006).

Lawrence Wright, Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014).


Translations of the Quran:

The Koran Interpreted  by A. J. Arberry 

Readings in the Quran by Kenneth Cragg


Arthur Green, Judaism’s Ten Best Ideas: A Brief Guide for Seekers (Woodstock VT: Jewish Lights, 2014)


Ibtisam Barakat, Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007)

Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness (London: Vintage, 2005).

Donald Nicholl, The Testing of Hearts: A Pilgrim’s Journal (London: Lamp Press, 1989).


Laurie R. King, O Jerusalem (New York: Bantam, 1999)


Karen Armstrong, Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996).

Martin Van Creveld, The Land of Blood and Honey: The Rise of Modern Israel (New York: Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press, 2010).

Historical perspectives

Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson 

A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East by David Fromkin 

Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph by T. E. Lawrence

Josephus, The Jewish War (Penguin)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The radioman's prayer

Lord of the Universe

Please, increase your transmission strength
here I
can’t hear, don’t know
if once again you’ve stuck a metal flower in the antenna’s lapel.
You’re so gentle. Why
are you so soft, why are you always

Can you hear me clearly, over.
Roger, you too sound cut off, you
sound amputated, you

Are in a valley, deployed three-sixty. Hills
and a different Sea of Galilee. Please
apprise me of your transmission strength, with radar
we can’t see your face, why
are you not on treads, why
are you not fighting, should we
send you a mechanized patrol, I
am full of faith
that it won’t arrive and won’t come back...

The radioman’s prayer by Be'eri Hazak, Israeli reservist who died along the Suez Canal in 1973. From Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story, by Matti Friedman (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2016)  p. 130-131, a memoir and investigative study of the Lebanon security zone held by Israel until 2000.