Sunday, August 30, 2015

A 50-Year Memory: Revisiting Highway 61

From Rolling Stone:

Happy 50th birthday to Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan's strangest, funniest, most baffling and most perfect album, released on August 30th, 1965.
Link
Yep- It's been that long.

Here from Wikipedia is the track listing:

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Like a Rolling Stone"   6:13
2. "Tombstone Blues"   6:00
3. "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry"   4:09
4. "From a Buick 6"   3:19
5. "Ballad of a Thin Man"   5:58
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Queen Jane Approximately"   5:31
2. "Highway 61 Revisited"   3:30
3. "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"   5:32
4. "Desolation Row"   11:21


An almost unbeatable listing. Inscrutable, fun, and a lot of "It doesn't get any better than this," including what is arguably the greatest song in rock and roll history, "Like a Rolling Stone."



So why not? Here's the title track- still one of my favorites.





Saturday, August 29, 2015

More Musical Memories

I was listening to Bob Dylan while trying to figure out what to write for this day's post. So I looked at this date in music history. (See tomorrow when it comes for why I was listening to Bob Dylan.)

So here were some of the important events on this date.

First a real piece of history for jazz:

  • 1922 - The New Orleans Rhythm Kings recorded for the first time.
 Two dates from the history of a small  group from Great Britain:
  • 1958 - George Harrison joined the band Quarrymen. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were also members.
  • 1966 - The Beatles ended their fourth American tour at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, CA. It turned out that the show was their last public concert.
Here was one of the great songs:
  • 1964 - Roy Orbison's single "Oh, Pretty Woman" was released. The song was Orbison's second #1 hit in the U.S and his third in the U.K.
In the out-in-left-field category:
  • 1977 - 3 people were arrested in Memphis after trying to steal Elvis' body. As a result his body was moved to Graceland.
A BIG congratulations for 25 years clean and sober:
  • 1990 - Elton John checked into a rehab center in Chicago, IL, for bulimia, drinking and drugs.
And one of the really off-beat stories. This is nothing but funny (to everyone but Isaac Hayes and Bob Dole):
  • 1996 - Isaac Hayes, who co-wrote the Stax classic "Soul Man," sent a protest letter to presidential candidate Bob Dole requesting Dole to stop using his song, which his supporters had changed to "I'm A Dole Man."
# # # # # # # #


Friday, August 28, 2015

One World Observatory (1)

Western Panorama from One World Observatory

Here are some of the pictures I took on our visit to One World Observatory at the World Trade Center in New York. It felt good to be there- a victory over those who tried to destroy it. Watch for more coming, esp. as we get to the 9/11 anniversary in two weeks.

 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Calendar of Saints: Gallaudet and Syle (2)

Twice a week I post a quote from saints from the Episcopal Calendar of Saints that week. They are to be meditative and mindful, playful and thought inducing. I hope they are helpful in your spiritual journeys.

Thomas Gallaudet (1822 - 1902)
Henry Winter Syle (1846 - 1890)
Priests
August 27


(In a change from normal, instead of posting a quote from Henry Syle, here is a sign-language version of Amazing Grace)



One of Gallaudet's students and parishioners was Henry Winter Syle, deaf from an early age, who had attended Trinity College (Hartford, Conn), St John's (Cambridge, England), and Yale. Gallaudet encouraged him to become a priest, and in 1876 he became the first deaf person to be ordained by the Episcopal Church in the United States. He faced significant discrimination about his desire to become a priest since he was unable to speak. A number of prominent churchmen came to his side and the ordination was approved. He established a congregation for the deaf in 1888.

-Link

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The View from Above

We had the pleasure and honor of going to the World Trade Center a couple weeks ago. I will be posting some of the pictures at a later date and I am hoping to have another video in honor of 9/11. But for today, here's the video I put together looking out and down from the top of One World Trade Center. Enjoy.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Calendar of Saints: Gallaudet and Syle (1)

Twice a week I post a quote from saints from the Episcopal Calendar of Saints that week. They are to be meditative and mindful, playful and thought inducing. I hope they are helpful in your spiritual journeys.

Thomas Gallaudet (1822 - 1902)
Henry Winter Syle (1846 - 1890)
Priests
August 27



Thomas Gallaudet was born in 1822, in Hartford, Connecticut. His mother, Sophia was deaf, and his father, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, was the founder of the West Hartford School for the deaf, which was the principal institution for the education of the deaf in America from 1806 to 1857 (the year of the founding of Gallaudet College in Washington, DC). The father had intended to become a priest, but had become an educator of the deaf instead. The son also intended to seek ordination, but was persuaded by his father to work for a while first as a teacher of the deaf. He did, and so met and married Miss Elizabeth Budd, who was deaf. He was ordained in 1851, and the next year established St. Ann's Church in New York, especially for deaf persons, with services primarily in sign language. As a result of his work, congregations for the deaf were established in many cities.

-Link

Monday, August 24, 2015

Following the 10th Armored: Moving Out; Heading Home

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.


Two more entries in my grandmother's diary from August 1945:
8/18- Sent Buddy a box of cigars and cigarettes
8/24- Had a letter from Buddy. He is in Paris
With the war ending in the Pacific, the possibility of needing all these soldiers for an invasion of Japan was over. Things began to move quickly. After a summer of relative ease and relaxation, the troops were gathering to come home. The "greatest generation" has done its work and it's time to enjoy the benefits they have so clearly earned.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

More from the Duggar News

I preached this morning and the start came from my post on Friday about the Duggar Family scandal. Here's the manuscript....


The super Christian Duggar Family of the reality show 19 Kids and Counting was in the news again last week. Josh, the eldest son who was outed a few months ago for molesting his sister when they were younger, has now been revealed as having an affair and being addicted to pornography. He has admitted to this latest sinfulness.

My first reaction was Well, welcome to the club, Josh. The club of being human.

Being human of course includes the innate ability to be a sinner and do things we don't want to do- on a regular, if not daily- basis. This human ability also reared its ugly head when he acted as if he was "holier than thou," parading his faith and pointing fingers at others. Call it self-righteousness or grandiosity or even narcissism, it’s still the failing of human sinfulness.

When one sets oneself up as a judge and jury of others because one is better than others- more perfect, less sinful, etc.- the sinfulness is already active. I am serious when I say that even in his admission of sin, Josh Duggar continued his grandiosity- now he said of himself that he is "the biggest hypocrite ever.” St Paul in 1 Timothy claims the same for himself- the greatest of sinners.

One of the most important quotes I retain from my Seminary days was the one from the Hebrew Bible professor. The professor was liberal and progressive, but he got our attention when he said early in the course that

the longer you are in ministry the more you will be convinced that original sin is the only provable Biblical doctrine.

Yep.

I know I have seen that tendency toward sin- as much in myself as in others. Yet the self-righteousness that denies this reality can easily be found in any ideological approach to faith. It ignores our human failings, believes that all we have to do is believe the right way, worship in the right way, act the right way, have the right politics (conservative or liberal) and we will be fine.

That ignores that ever present human reality of sinfulness that is at the heart of both the Hebrew and Christian Testaments. Sadly, it also ignores something just as real- that we are not sinners in the hands of an angry God, regardless of what some people have said and still say. Both these testaments are filled with the work of grace. Grace: free and unearned forgiveness and acceptance. Grace is the reality that in the midst of who we are, there is also a God who is far greater. Yet, in spite of this free gift, it is in our innate humanness that we find ourselves in a seemingly constant struggle. It’s like we have these two voices sitting on either shoulder.

No- don’t. Sure- go ahead.

Back and forth they go.

In today’s epistle lesson from Ephesians Paul puts this in the context of a struggle- even more- a war.

There are of course different ways to describe war. The theologian-novelist Fredrick Buechner has commented that one way to look at it is a war of conquest. One way or another we all fight to conquer the world, for our place in the world. With that kind of war, Buechner says, there are adversaries of flesh and blood. They are human beings like ourselves, each of whom is fighting the same war toward the same end and under a banner emblazoned with the same word that our banners bear, and that word is of course Myself, or Myself and my Family, or Myself and my Country, Myself and my Race, which are all really MYSELF writ large.


In this type of war we wear the whole armor of man, because this is a man's war against other men. Buechner says these are things like:

• The breastplate of self-confidence because if you have no faith in yourself, if you cannot trust to your own wits, then you will never get anywhere.
• Maybe there’s the gospel of success-the good news that you can get just about anything in this world if you want it badly enough and are willing to fight for it.
• Don’t forget, adds Buechner, the shield of security because in a perilous world where anything can happen, security is perhaps what you need more than anything else - the security of money in the bank, or a college degree, or some basic skill that you can always fall back on.
• Maybe there’s the helmet of attractiveness or personality"

But there is another way to look at this struggle that we all face- and ignore at our peril.

This says Buechner is the war to become whole and at peace inside our skins. It is a war not of conquest now but a movement of liberation because the object of this other war is to liberate that part of ourselves which has somehow become lost, that dimension of selfhood that involves the capacity to forgive and to will the good not only of the self but of all other selves. This other war is the war to become a human being. This is the goal that we are really after and that God is really after. This is the goal Buechner reminds us, that power, success, and security are only forlorn substitutes for. This is the victory that not all our human armory of self-confidence and wisdom and personality can win for us- to become at last truly human.”

This is where Paul talks about the belt of truth (and perhaps we might add, honesty) a breastplate of righteousness- living right. There’s the shield of faith, the shoes of the Gospel of peace.

What this boils down to is that we need to become real and honest about who we are- sinners. Then, and this is as important as admitting our human nature- we look, as Christians, to God as revealed to us in Jesus Christ. There we will discover the storehouse of those pieces of the armor of God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus says we will live because of him, that the spirit gives life and that his words are spirit and life.

That promise is renewed every time we come here and come to the Lord's Table. We confess our sinfulness and are reminded of the presence of forgiveness. Then, in the Eucharist Jesus words in John are made new week in and week out: Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.

Here we discover all the many ways that Jesus living Spirit is available. We may have looked in other places and in many ways, but in the moment of that discovery- and every time- we can join with Simon Peter: “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Welcome to Humanity

News: The super Christian Duggar Family is still in the news. Josh, the one who has been outed as a child molester of his sister when he was younger, has now been outed as having an affair and being addicted to pornography. He has admitted to this latest sinfulness and said of himself that he is "the biggest hypocrite ever."

Well, welcome to the club, Josh. The club of being human.

Which of course includes the innate ability to be a sinner and do things we don't want to do- on a regular, if not daily- basis.

This human ability earlier reared its ugly head when he acted as if he was "holier that thou." Call it self-righteousness or grandiosity or even narcissism, you still have the failing of human sinfulness. When one sets oneself up as a judge and jury of others because one is better than others- more perfect, less sinful, etc.- the sinfulness has already started.

I am sure I have said before that one of the most important quotes I retain from my Seminary days was the one from the Hebrew Bible professor. He was liberal and progressive, but he got our attention when he said early in the course that

the longer you are in ministry the more you will be convinced that original sin is the only provable Biblical doctrine.
Yep.

I know I have seen that- as much  in myself as in others. The self-righteousness of any ideological approach to faith is ripe with that possibility.

Let's get over it. Let's be real and honest about who we are- sinners.

Fortunately, we are not sinners in the hands of an angry God.

But more on that another day.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Still Great

Originally scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 19. Missed it due to more things than I care to deal with. So here it is today...


An extra quote this week from Bernard of Clairvaux, I know the first half is true and I hope the second has been as true:

  • We find rest in those we love, and we provide a resting place for those who love us.

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Calendar of Saints: Bernard of Clairvaux (2)

Twice a week I post a quote from saints from the Episcopal Calendar of Saints that week. They are to be meditative and mindful, playful and thought inducing. I hope they are helpful in your spiritual journeys.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
Abbot, Theologian, and Poet
August 20



One of Bernard's most influential acts, for better or worse, was his preaching of the Second Crusade. In 1144, King Louis VII of France (was eager to launch a crusade to retake Edessa and prevent a Moslem recapture of Jerusalem. He asked Bernard for help, and Bernard refused. He then asked the Pope to order Bernard to preach a Crusade. The pope gave the order, and Bernard preached, with spectacular results. Whole villages were emptied of able-bodied males as Bernard preached and his listeners vowed on the spot to head for Palestine and defend the Sacred Shrines with their lives.

As for the Crusade, things went wrong from the start. The various rulers leading the movement were distrustful of one another and not disposed to work together. Of the soldiers who set out (contemporary estimates vary from 100,000 to 1,500,000), most died of disease and starvation before reaching their goal, and most of the remainder were killed or captured soon after their arrival. The impact on Bernard was devastating, and so was the impact on Europe. In 1153, Bernard journeyed to reconcile the warring provinces Metz and Lorraine. He persuaded them to peace and to an agreement drawn up under his mediation, and then, in failing health, returned home to die.

-Link

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Calendar of Saints: Bernard of Clairvaux (1)

Twice a week I post a quote from saints from the Episcopal Calendar of Saints that week. They are to be meditative and mindful, playful and thought inducing. I hope they are helpful in your spiritual journeys.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
Abbot, Theologian, and Poet
August 20



Bernard, third son of a Burgundian nobleman, was born in 1090. His brothers were trained as soldiers, but Bernard from youth was destined for scholarship. One Christmas Eve as a child he had a dream about the infant Christ in the manger; and the memory of it, and consequent devotion to the mystery of the Word made flesh, remained with him throughout his life.

Bernard had good prospects of success as a secular scholar, but he began to believe that he was called to the monastic life, and after a period of prayer for guidance, he decided at age 22 to enter the monastery of Citeaux, an offshoot of the Benedictines which had adopted a much stricter rule than theirs, and became the founding house of the Cistercian (Trappist) order.


-Link

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Forty-Nine Years Apart

This is the back of the album cover for Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass's 1966 recording, SRO. The picture was taken at the Allentown (PA) Fair the summer of 1966.

I am a tiny dot in that picture; an 18-year old, about-to-be-student at a college across the valley from the fair. It was my first real, big-time concert. I ahd been playing in a Tijuana Brass-style group for a couple years and had been a BIG fan of Alpert since he came out with that first hit- The Lonely Bull. It was a great experience.

Alpert's now 78 and I'm 67. Both of us are still playing trumpet. Without the TJB, has been making music for all these intervening 49 years; and I am still a big fan. He won a Grammy two years ago for his album, Steppin' Out. This October he will be in concert here in Rochester, MN, and I got my tickets this past week. He is playing some nice jazz along with his singer-wife Lani Hall.

Here's the official video of his recording, Chattanooga Choo-Choo from his most recent album




I'm psyched and I still have a couple months to go.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Following the 10th Armored: The War is Over

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.





From my grandmother's diary:
Everybody is excited- the war is over with Japan.

In short, the troops will soon be heading home. Even with the several months of relatively easy occupation duty, I would guess that suddenly the world changed for the better on that other August 14, 70 years ago. The days of the 10th Armored are numbered.

And no one could have been happier than the men of the 10th and their families.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Calendar of Saints: Jonathan Daniels (2)

Twice a week I post a quote from saints from the Episcopal Calendar of Saints that week. They are to be meditative and mindful, playful and thought inducing. I hope they are helpful in your spiritual journeys.

Jonathan Myrick Daniels (1939-1965)
Seminarian and Martyr
August 14


He and others left on Thursday for Selma, intending to stay only that weekend; but he and a friend missed the bus back, and began to reflect on how an in-and-out visit like theirs looked to those living in Selma, and decided that they must stay longer. They went home to request permission to spend the rest of the term in Selma, studying on their own and returning to take their examinations. In Selma, many proposed marches were blocked by rows of policemen.

Jon devoted many of his Sundays in Selma to bringing small groups of Negroes, mostly high school students, to church with him in an effort to integrate the local Episcopal church. They were seated but scowled at...

In May, Jon went back to ETS to take examinations and complete other requirements, and in July he returned to Alabama... On Friday 13 August Jon and others went to the town of Fort Deposit to join in picketing three local businesses. On Saturday they were arrested and held in the county jail in Hayneville for six days until they were bailed out. (They had agreed that none would accept bail until there was bail money for all.) After their release on Friday 20 August, four of them undertook to enter a local shop, and were met at the door by a man with a shotgun who told them to leave or be shot. After a brief confrontation, he aimed the gun at a young girl in the party, and Jon pushed her out of the way and took the blast of the shotgun himself. He was killed instantly.

-Link

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Reflections

Let's just call it a Quintet of Polished Brass Reflections.






Thanks, Jen, for the great photo work!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Calendar of Saints: Jonathan Daniels (1)

Twice a week I post a quote from saints from the Episcopal Calendar of Saints that week. They are to be meditative and mindful, playful and thought inducing. I hope they are helpful in your spiritual journeys.

Jonathan Myrick Daniels (1939-1965)
Seminarian and Martyr
August 14


Jonathan Myrick Daniels was born in Keene, New Hampshire in 1939, one of two offspring of a Congregationalist physician. When in high school, he had a bad fall which put him in the hospital for about a month. It was a time of reflection. Soon after, he joined the Episcopal Church and also began to take his studies seriously, and to consider the possibility of entering the priesthood. After high school, he enrolled at Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington, Virginia , where at first he seemed a misfit, but managed to stick it out, and was elected Valedictorian of his graduating class. During his sophomore year at VMI, however, he began to experience uncertainties about his religious faith and his vocation to the priesthood that continued for several years, and were probably influenced by the death of his father and the prolonged illness of his younger sister Emily. In the fall of 1961 he entered Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Boston, to study English literature, and in the spring of 1962, while attending Easter services at the Church of the Advent in Boston, he underwent a conversion experience and renewal of grace. Soon after, he made a definite decision to study for the priesthood, and after a year of work to repair the family finances, he enrolled at Episcopal Theological Seminary in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the fall of 1963, expecting to graduate in the spring of 1966.

In March 1965 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, asked students and others to join him in Selma, Alabama, for a march to the state capital in Montgomery demonstrating support for his civil rights program. News of the request reached the campus of ETS and during Evening Prayer at the chapel, Jon Daniels decided that he ought to go.

-Link

Monday, August 10, 2015

Off the Grid

Yeah, that was me last week. Almost entirely off-the-electronic-grid for four days. Where I was, my cell carrier had no signal that I could get. There was no Wi-Fi except at the local library which I did not have time to get to but once on Tuesday. To be 95% unconnected, unplugged, and uninformed was quite an experience.

There were moments when I started into withdrawal. I took a couple pictures on my cell of flowers and wanted to post them on Facebook.I couldn't. I wondered what the weather was going to do. I had to wait.

For most of the time, however, I was satisfied to not worry about it. Mostly. Since I didn't have any choice that did make it easier.

Two things I noticed when it was all over.

  1. I survived.
  2. When I finally did check the news headlines, there was nothing new. Same Stuff, Different Day.
I know what that says about my compulsiveness about the iPhone, computer, Facebook, etc.

I just don't want to admit it. Denial is a wonderful thing.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Following the 10th Armored: Another Bomb

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.

The 10th Armored, still in Europe, must have wondered what all this could mean for them.....

On the day of the nuclear strike on Thursday, August 9, 1945, the population in Nagasaki was estimated to be 263,000, which consisted of 240,000 Japanese residents, 10,000 Korean residents, 2,500 conscripted Korean workers, 9,000 Japanese soldiers, 600 conscripted Chinese workers, and 400 Allied POWs. That day, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bockscar, commanded by Major Charles Sweeney, departed from Tinian's North Field just before dawn, this time carrying a plutonium bomb code named "Fat Man". The primary target for the bomb was Kokura, with the secondary target, Nagasaki, if the primary target was too cloudy to make a visual sighting. When the plane reached Kokura at 9:44 a.m., the city was obscured by clouds and smoke, as the nearby city of Yawata had been firebombed on the previous day. Unable to make a bombing attack on visual due to the clouds and smoke and with limited fuel, the plane left the city at 10:30 a.m. for the secondary target. After 20 minutes, the plane arrived at 10:50 a.m. over Nagasaki, but the city was also concealed by clouds. Desperately short of fuel and after making a couple of bombing runs without obtaining any visual target, the crew was forced to use radar in order to drop the bomb. At the last minute, the opening of the clouds allowed them to make visual contact with a racetrack in Nagasaki, and they dropped the bomb on the city's Urakami Valley midway between the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works in the south, and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works in the north. After 53 seconds of its release, the bomb exploded at 11:02 a.m. at an approximate altitude of 1,800 feet.

The atomic bombing made Nagasaki the second and, to date, last city in the world to experience a nuclear attack.

Nagasaki:
39,000–80,000 killed

-Link
[Sidenote: In my grandmother's diary these is absolutely no mention of either Hiroshima or Nagasaki. She did not mention many world or news events at any time, but somehow, from our advantage point 70 years later it is interesting. My guess is that the average person was not really aware of the significance of the bomb at that time. Even with the over-the-top language and description given in the news, it would all have been science fiction to many.]

Here's the lead from the New York Times story on Nagasaki:
Guam, Thursday, Aug. 9 -- Gen. Carl A. Spaatz announced today that a second atomic bomb had been dropped, this time on the city of Nagasaki, and that crew members reported "good results."

The second use of the new and terrifying secret weapon which wiped out more than 60 percent of the city of Hiroshima and, according to the Japanese radio, killed nearly every resident of that town, occurred at noon today, Japanese time. The target today was an important industrial and shipping area with a population of about 258,000.

The great bomb, which harnesses the power of the universe to destroy the enemy by concussion, blast and fire, was dropped on the second enemy city about seven hours after the Japanese had received a political "roundhouse punch" in the form of a declaration of war by the Soviet Union.
Nagasaki Memorial at Ground Zero

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Speaking of Music

Well, yes, I was talking about music yesterday. So I thought I would post today on one of the music icons of the last half century: Jerry Garcia.

Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of his death. (Can you believe 20 years?) A few weeks ago the Grateful Dead had their final concerts as a 50-year reunion. (Can you believe 50 years?)

Time now to just enjoy  the music and the memories.

Here are two of the songs that made them famous.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's the same story the crow told me; it's the only one he knows
Like the morning sun you come and like the wind you go
Ain't no time to hate, barely time to wait
Wo, oh, what I want to know, where does the time go



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sometimes the lights all shining on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been.

Truckin', I'm a-goin' home.
whoa whoa baby, back where I belong,
Back home, sit down and patch my bones,
and get back truckin' on.
Hey now get back truckin' home.