[Rough Draft]

A weblog about god, doubt, insomnia, culture, baseball


photos from fiacre

here are the pix from the feast of st. fiacre. anybody know why blogger isn't letting me post pix like i've always been able to do? i've got to be doing something wrong, but i don't know what.

thanks again for the pix, christopher. your camera kung-fu is superior to my camera kung-fu.


"firetrucks receive timely blessing @ church celebration"

the first vehicles to arrive [sunday] for the “blessing of the cars” @ the episcopal church of [the] ascension and st. agnes spent little time proving why they needed to be there. w/in minutes of their arrival, the two d.c. firetrucks turned on their sirens, carefully drove through parishioners attending mass, then sped to an apartment fire six blocks away.

“it was our first run this morning, [but] nobody was hurt,” lt. leo e. handley of engine 16 from tower 3, said of the kitchen fire on seventh street northwest.

the firefighters returned w/ their trucks to church, in the 1200 block of massachusetts avenue northwest, where they were invited to partake of the snacks and drinks on the front lawn. the ceremony was part of the feast day of st. fiacre, who was born and raised in ireland in the seventh century.

st. fiacre was raised in an irish monastery and became known as the “glorious hermit” b/c of his healing power. the hotel de saint fiacre in paris was named after him. the hotel rented carriages and cabs, which became known as “fiacres.” over centuries, the word also came to identify taxicabs.

aug. 30 eventually became the official feast day of st. fiacre for the blessing of cabs and drivers.

“we had just finished blessing the firetrucks when the bells started ringing,” said the rev. father ronald conner. “so we went ahead w/ the blessing of other cars.”

the blessing consisted or prayers, waving of incense and sprinkling of holy water on cars and motorists along massachusetts and 12th street northwest.

the ceremony began about 30 minutes after the 10 a.m. mass. some parishioners drove away after their cars were blessed, but others stayed for the snacks of cookies, crackers and sandwiches, and drinks of coffee, sodas and fruit juice.

yesterday marked the first st. fiacre celebration @ the church of [the] ascension [and st. agnes]. father conner hopes that it will draw the attention of neighbors and visitors in nearby hotels and that more such celebrations will follow.

parishioners such as christopher whittington, an altar aide and native of houston, expects the blessing will become as popular as the animal blessing the church started several years ago.

“parishioners brought their pets, dogs, cats, birds,” mr. whittington said. “someone brought an iguana. ugly. some neighbors came and brought their pets.”

(reprinted from the 28 august 2006 print edition of the washington times, pp. b1, b8; photographs by christopher whittington to be posted separately b/c the stupid blogger uploader won't work again).


katrina plus one

even as i type, i'm watching act vi of spike lee's "when the levees broke: a requiem in four acts," and i don't know what to say. i just know i have to say something. this is an extraordinarily affecting piece of television. i remember watching the media coverage of the storm in late august and early september of last year, paying especial attention b/c renee's family lives in hancock county, ms, and we didn't know whether they were safe for several days after the storm made landfall, but until i saw lee's film, i really had no idea. i've been to new orleans twice since the hurricane, and i've driven all over the ms gulf coast to see the devastation -- and it is truly mind-boggling to see it in person -- but i don't think i appreciated the human suffering and agony until tonight. the show isn't really about placing blame (well, some of it is, and justifiably so -- a guy just said "somebody needs to go to jail," and i have to agree), but i can't watch this w/o thinking that the tragedy could have been ameliorated @ so many points along the way . . . but it wasn't. i commend the show to you, as painful as it is to watch @ 1 go. i supposed lee would make a spectacle of the event, but i was wrong. i actually think this film is far less sensational than most of the anderson cooper 360s and nbc world news tonights i watched a year ago, and it takes watching hours of this stuff to gain any real appreciation of the event. little 3-minute news clips of geraldo in rain boots don't get it across. i know lee will take flak for being too hard on the federal gov't (even the nyt acknowledged a "cheap shot" or two), but it's a film worth watching, even just to spend 4 puny hours watching what to the eye-witnesses must have seemed like a lifetime of hell. i feel like i owe the victims that much (and a lot more).


1st day of school

i'm torn today -- proud of my big/little girl, but sad that she's off to pre-k. they grow up so fast. (god, i sound old)



"choose you this day whom you will serve . . . ." (josh. 24.15)

i was asked to preach the homily @ low mass tomorrow, which i have now come to rue. the 12:30 mass homily is preached extemporaneously, is a few minutes long, and -- when preached by our regular priest -- is a theological gold mine. now, @ 10p on sat. night, i'm learning that if asked to preach a big sermon @ high mass, i'll spend a lot of time in prayer and study and turn out something i think is pretty sound; however, asked to preach a little, easy sermon @ low mass, i'll exclaim "oh, crap" around bedtime on saturday b/c i've blown off the sermon all week.

that being said, here's a good quote about "choosing" --
every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. and taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony w/ god, and w/ other creatures, and w/ itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred w/ god, and w/ its fellow-creatures, and w/ itself.
(from c. s. lewis, mere xtianity, 86)

maybe i'll just read that and sit down.


say it ain't so, wally

i am so ashamed. my sweet little daughter sleeps w/ a wally doll every night. i gave her the doll myself. accordingly, i am to blame for any psychological distress she and her brother experience over the course of their lifetimes b/c of debacles like this. bob ryan asks "how could it get any worse?" (and that was before they swept us out of our own ballpark and the playoff race today). the answer, mr. ryan, is: by dooming your own children by saddling them w/ these guys. i freakin' knew better. mea culpa, honey. i hope you can find it in your heart someday to forgive me. i'll pay for your therapy.


is no news good news?

the comments generated by my post about the palestinian/lebanon rally got me to thinking just how confusing watching/reading "the news" can really be. my ideal friday night is to plop down on the couch for the newshour b/c i like shields and brooks, stay tuned for washington week, then, if i'm not fried, i might suffer through mclaughlin (i've grown to really hate the arrogant old guy and his yellin' cronies). i give cnn, msnbc (i admit i love don imus) and fox a chance to catch my interest in the mornings (i hate the network morning shows), i make the rounds of the networks around 6:30 most nights, i listen to npr and even to conservative talk radio if i'm in the car (i used to love listening to this severin guy in boston b/c he was so outrageous), and renee' and i wind up our day w/ stewart and colbert, plus charlie rose late @ night if i can stay up. i read the nyt on sundays, but that's my only print journalism aside from vanity fair. what i'm getting @ is that i may not be sharpest tool in the box, but i'm not an ostrich either.

what troubles me is that the only places in that list where time or column inches are spent really developing a story are: vanity fair (seriously, go read it for yourself, if you can make it through the 50 pages of ads, some of them semi-pornographic, that usually come before the table of contents), the newshour, the times, and most of all charlie rose. when you couple the shallow coverage w/ outright fabrication like reuters doctoring pix and fox, well, being fox -- the temptation is to deem "the truth" to be beyond apprehension and form opinions straight from the daily show b/c, let's admit it, @ least it's entertaining. as i see it, the trio of evils for americans are information overload from a 24/7 news cycle, overly simplistic reporting and media bias (toward the left and the right).

i'm not sure what the best strategy is, but i like what brett mccracken had to say in a recent 850 words from relevant magazine:
and so what are we, as christians, to do with all this fuzzy truth and sensationalized news in the digital domain? should we shun all technology, swear off cable news, read the bible and nothing more? probably not. what we can do is approach all media cautiously, critically and thoughtfully. bias is hard to overcome, no matter who you are, but awareness that all mediated messages carry some measure of subjectivity might just help the truth to emerge. at the end of the day it will not be technology (which can be used to simultaneously distort, refute, support and ignore the same truth) that will bring us into clarity, it will be our own god-given, critical-thinking, underappreciated minds.


pix from the rally

i still don't know why blogger isn't letting me upload photos directly into a post (perhaps it's my snazzy new computer i'm still tinkering w/), but here they are anyway, via flickr

the glorious assumption

the glory which thou hast given to me, i have given to them . . . . father, i desire that they also, whom thou hast given to me, may be w/ me where i am, to behold my glory which thou hast given to me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world (jn. 17.22, 24)
when we ponder the significance of the words just quoted, we see that the feast of the assumption must be one of the most humanistic festivals in the calendar of the church. it is not just a celebration of mary (though she is celebrated in it as an individual as well as a type and representative), it is @ the same time a celebration of redeemed humanity. sometimes theologians have in the name of xtianity denigrated the human race, dwelling on our sins and depravity, as if they could glorify god only by putting down man and emphasizing the infinite difference b/tw creator and creature. but surely that is not god's way and is contrary to his intentions as xtns have been taught to understand them. irenaeus, in some often quoted words, declared: 'the glory of god is a man fully alive [remember matt?]; and the life of man consists in beholding god.' these words give clear expression to what we understand by 'assumption.' god created human beings in his own image that they might enjoy communion w/ him, he sent his eternal son as the one who descended that he might also ascend again and bring w/ him the men and women whom he had gained in the world to share his glory w/ him. we are now coming in sight of the full scope of the dogma of the glorious assumption, and we can see it as one of the most hopeful and encouraging items in the church's belief, and one that gathers up the implications of many other doctrines, xtological, soteriological, anthropological and so on.

(from john macquarrie, mary for all xtns (grand rapids, mich.: eerdman's, 1990): 92)



well, maybe "activism" is a bit of a stretch, but the woods got our feet wet a little bit.

ever since i developed a deep friendship w/ a palestinian guy during my anglican year of seminary, our family has been struggling to understand the political and human rights situation in israel/palestine (a year ago, i wouldn't have thought to say "israel/palestine," to be honest) and articulate some sort of a coherent position of our own. my bishop has been outspoken and visible in his support of the palestinian cause, but i'd never been to a rally or anything. so when a new friend told us about a rally in lafayette square supporting recently war-torn lebanon, we decided to check it out. a group called answer sponsored the rally, and no doubt i'd support some of their positions and oppose others (i don't know enough about the organization to know what they're really about), but the issues of the day were palestinian rights and bringing an end to the violence in lebanon, and i definitely can support those causes. we originally heard that 30,000 people were there, but the post reported official estimates of around 10,000. however many, it was a good experience.

you want to know what's weird? the thing i noticed most was how friendly the people were to us. that's obviously not what i went down there to find out, but despite the fact that we weren't bedecked in green, black, red and white (my st. paddy's sox cap notwithstanding), and we weren't carrying placards, the people @ the rally were so, i don't know, nice, i guess. sounds stupid, but that's something i noticed.

one other thing i did come away w/ -- this was the first time i'd attended a demonstration of this type and size, but it strikes me that despite how many good things may come from such events, they aren't optimal venues for gathering information and hammering out a position on whatever issue's got everybody riled up. issues like palestinian liberation, israeli military action in lebanon and hezbollah are too complex, too ephemeral to be decided or even really investigated on the basis of a series of 5-minute speeches yelled from a stage to a partisan crowd. maybe that's why i was moved more by the fleeting interaction w/ the people @ the rally than the speeches or the march. it seems i didn't care enough to put in the mental discipline to find a place to stand on the middle-east, @ least until i met a palestinian i came to know and love. sari's friendship spurred me to @ least get engaged, try to understand. maybe the people i brushed against yesterday will help me on my way.

(for some reason i can't upload pix of the rally to blogger, but there are a couple on flickr i can put in a separate post. sorry.)


bazan in sojourners'

former pedro the lion frontman gave a great interview to sojo (it requires registration to read, but it's free and w/o strings attached).


dc4free#7 thru 10:trifecta!

yesterday was a very productive day, dc4free-style. we loaded up the mini-v and headed back to our old stompin' grounds (what exactly does that mean?) in alexandria for the friendship firehouse festival, where paddy danced in the street to a beatles cover band, elmo got a red plastic firefighter's hat and pop got part of a hot dog (always a plus). i also chuckled that the t-shirt worn by the band's bassist, a physics teacher, listed pi to a pretty substantial number of digits. i'll admit that i'm mathematically inept, but i did dig that pi movie.

after about 45 mins @ the fff, we headed down to the potomac for the waterfront park irish festival. the festival raises money toward the ballyshaners' st. patrick's day parade in old town alexandria. @ this stop, paddy danced an irish jig in the grass, elmo got a green balloon, mommy got the leftovers from elmo's blue sno-cone, and pop got a guinness (as ellie says, a very plus!).

but the 3d outing was the charm -- we finished the day in centreville, va @ the summer's first "starlight cinema." ellie got to jump in the moonbounce thingy, paddy worked on his flirtation skills, and we all watched the first part of madagascar under the stars (i dig that movie, too, but it started late so we didn't stay for it all). for mom and pop, the best thing was seeing both kids having a ball, and it sure didn't suck that it cost us nothin' but some gas. if you're in the area the next 3 weekends or so, they fire up the projector again on saturday nights, and it really was a lot of fun.


dc4free#6:gwu er

it's been a while since i've been able to post anything b/c, well, it's been a while since i've been able to get down the stairs.

debacle, short version: locked myself out the back of the parish house in a little gated courtyard, had key to neither (a) parish house nor to (b) courtyard gate, could raise no one on phone, forgot i'm pushing 40, thought "i can just jump o'er this fence," climbed said fence, underestimated distance to (very hard) ground, jumped, thought midflight "i really thought i'd be down by now," hit concrete, screwed up ligaments in foot, threw up.

the good news: renee's benefits @ her new job kicked in 2 days before my stupidity did, so we got a dc4free adventure out of the trip to the er (i just had to link to that, dontcha know).

doing much better now, not least b/c leonidas sent me this.
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