Thursday, September 25, 2014

Late September thoughts....

  •  I've gotten lost numerous times while driving around my new neighborhood this past summer; the usual stuff, nothing serious.  I sort of like getting lost, actually - and amazingly enough, I ended up once at a real Christian Hermitage.  I drove in and around it, and saw a sister there doing some work.  We waved at each other, silently.  

    Here are some snaps of the place, from the car:

  • I really do want to start a Christian monastic or neo-monastic community of some kind; I lean. myself, towards the cloistered version, in the country, centered around a farm.  I want it to exist primarily for prayer and the worship of God, open to those who need help and a place to rest in God.  I personally think the world really needs this kind of thing at the moment; everybody's really busy with do, do, do - when I think what we actually need is be, be, be (i.e., pray, pray, pray).
  • And now I have another idea.  For years, I've thought it would be fantastic to build small communities with a farm at their centers; this would preserve farmland, give people a healthy atmopshere in which to live, and the farm's harvest crops could be distributed among the community.  The people living there - and their kids - could work on the farm if they so chose.   I think this would work very well with a monastic community running the farm; all the same ideas would apply - and there would be, in addition, prayer available every day, for those who wished to join the community in Divine Service.  Wouldn't that be great?   Monks and/or nuns of the community would be silent, mostly, for our own benefit - or perhaps there could be two groups of religious: one silent, one interacting with the world.
  • I'm now singing again in the choir on Sundays, after a long break from doing that.  The last time I was in a choir it was just no fun at all:  bullying and disdain from the other singers - many had had some formal training in music - or thought they did, or was married to someone who had - which made them utterly insufferable - made it a really unpleasant way to spend time, so I quit.   This new choir is composed of exactly three members, plus a leader and an organist - and the organist will be retiring in two weeks.  It's much more fun this way.  We sing simple songs - sometimes hymns from the 1982 - and just basically try to keep everything on pitch.  Much, much better.
  • I've also signed up for the 4th year of EFM; my last group dissolved and it, too, had stopped being fun.  There's no point at all in doing any of these things if they're neither interesting nor enjoyable. 
  • I joined the local Y and am doing cardio and yoga.  Went to a class I thought was "Gentle Yoga," but was actually "Multi-level Yoga," and there was nothing gentle about it.  I decided to do Yoga because a friend of mine has been doing it for about 50 years; she's 20 years older than me and in much better shape.  She's been teaching me a little over the past few years, but I really need to actually learn the poses and exercises; doing it once in a while just doesn't cut it.  Yoga is amazing, because you think you're not really doing anything at all - and yet you're completely exhausted by the end of the session.  Looking forward to getting a routine going.
  • Also have joined a local Centering Prayer group.  I forgot how nice it can be to sit around silently with a bunch of people.   (Are you getting the "silent" theme here at all?  This is why I'm going to make a great hermit.)
  • Remember the "charismatic" parish across the street I talked about last time?  I did go a few times, and I guess it is, in a way.  Well, except that there's an ornately gilt-framed baroque-looking painting of the Madonna and child over the altar area, and a silver crucifix behind the altar, where the Sacrament in reserve, along with a sanctuary lamp.  If that's "charismatic," I'm in.

    Here are some of those photos.  Nobody knows who the saint in the stained glass is; I'm thinking it's probably John, though.

    See?  They reserve the sacrament, along with a sanctuary lamp (minus actual sanctuary!):

    The crucifix:

    The Madonna and Child:

    A really nice processional cross!

  • A lot of the music there is 7/11-style, though, it's true.  The Praise Song that replaces the Gloria goes something like this:  Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; Free, free, free free.  We did get to sing "How Firm a Foundation" as the recessional one week, though.  The people are nice enough; there's no choir, though, and no EFM.
  • The rumor is that this place used to be real slain-in-the-spirit-style, and that the Bishop assigned an interim priest with the instruction that she "reign it in" some.   I really don't see why that's necessary, I have to say; as long as they use the BCP, they should be able to do it however they want.  And the service is straight-ahead Prayer Book.  But maybe that wasn't always the case - and I guess the place could once have really been nuts.
  • I feel more relaxed with the people at this place, in some ways.  But I enjoy Episcopalians of the more ordinary sort, too, and I appreciate them.  People like me - who know we're crazy and that we really can't get along very well without the spiritual life  - are less impressive, in some ways, than people who don't have the same issues.  I mean, it would be just as easy for them to stay away from church - but they see the beauty in it and come anyway.  That's pretty cool.  Or maybe they really do feel its necessity, and just know how to put on a good "well-adjusted" front?
  • Again I feel I have much more to say, but can't seem to dig it out.  Meantime, this is what July was like in Alaska at the brown bear cam; these guys are looking for jumping salmon:

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