Friday, May 30, 2008

Name That Trinity!!

I saw this on Virtue Online this morning and just had to share it with you.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Is the Camel Coming into the Tent?

Many in the pro-life movement have claimed for years that when abortion is legal, it would be the first step toward a total disregard for human life. This argument has been poo-poo'd by the pro-abortion folks, but the creeping reality of euthanasia is making its presence felt in most of the west including the United States. Most pro-life folks believe that if you can terminate life at one end of the spectrum, it's only a matter of time before you can terminate on the other.

Here's an article that appeared this morning on that will enlighten you on the nature of the pro-death movement that hides its desire for death behind such euphemisms as "pro-choice" and "quality of life."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Invoking the Name of God

Actually this post has nothing to do with theology. It could also be titled, "Why airline pilots make the big bucks." I think anyone on any of these planes would have called out to God on any of these landings.

Here's the link:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere!!!

Recently, the folks over at Stoplight produced a new short on H2O. Now, what can be more harmless and noncontroversial than water? By the way, Stuart Shepard seems to confuse Helium and Hydrogen, but don't worry about it. Just check out the link below.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Where Catholic Liberals Go to Die!

One of the most hideously liberal organizations that had its birth in the morass of post-Vatican II Christianity is the "Call to Action" movement. To the best of my knowledge the "Call to Action" crowd never accomplished much of anything other than to question any teaching that Catholics or, for that matter, most Christians hold dear.

Now many of them are aging and not particularly gracefully. Here's a closing liturgy from the Southern California chapter of "Call to Action" that I think pretty fairly summarizes the whole movement. Sadly, there are many Episcopalians who might witness this "liturgy" and decide that this should become normative for them.

The link follows. However, I wouldn't suggest watching this right after a meal.

Now, if that's not enough, here's a "Mass" celebrated by Roman Catholic womenpriests(yes, that's the name of the organization). This "Mass" was also celebrated at "Call to Action".

Friday, May 9, 2008

More Poems? You Must Be Kidding?

No, I'm not kidding. For some reason that I don't quite understand, I'm feeling compelled to post some of my favorite poems, all of which are in the public domain.

Jekyll Island is one of Georgia's Golden Isles, along with St. Simon's Island, Sea Island, Colonel's Island, and Cumberland Island. Jekyll is nine miles long and - at most - half a mile wide, separated from Brunswick, the closest town, by a 12-mile causeway that cuts through the "Marshes of Glynn." My grandmother was the second person to move to Jekyll Island when it first opened as a state park in the late 1950s and my sisters and I would spend the bulk of our summers there.

Probably no place on earth is as beautiful to me as the marshlands of Glynn County, Georgia. Sidney Lanier seemed to feel the same way. Here's one of his greatest works, "The Marshes of Glynn."


The Marshes of Glynn
by Sidney Lanier

Glooms of the live-oaks, beautiful-braided and woven
With intricate shades of the vines that myriad-cloven
Clamber the forks of the multiform boughs,—
Emerald twilights,—
Virginal shy lights,
Wrought of the leaves to allure to the whisper of vows,
When lovers pace timidly down through the green colonnades
Of the dim sweet woods, of the dear dark woods,
Of the heavenly woods and glades,
That run to the radiant marginal sand-beach within
The wide sea-marshes of Glynn;—

Beautiful glooms, soft dusks in the noonday fire,—
Wildwood privacies, closets of lone desire,
Chamber from chamber parted with wavering arras of leaves,—
Cells for the passionate pleasure of prayer to the soul that grieves,
Pure with a sense of the passing of saints through the wood,
Cool for the dutiful weighing of ill with good;—

O braided dusks of the oak and woven shades of the vine,
While the riotous noonday sun of the June-day long did shine
Ye held me fast in your heart and I held you fast in mine;
But now when the noon is no more, and riot is rest,
And the sun is a-wait at the ponderous gate of the West,
And the slant yellow beam down the wood-aisle doth seem
Like a lane into heaven that leads from a dream,—
Ay, now, when my soul all day hath drunken the soul of the oak,
And my heart is at ease from men, and the wearisome sound of the stroke
Of the scythe of time and trowel of trade is low,
And belief overmasters doubt, and I know that I know,
And my spirit is grown to a lordly great compass within,
That the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of Glynn
Will work me no fear like the fear they have wrought me of yore
When length was fatigue, and when breadth was but bitterness sore,
And when terror and shrinking and dreary unnamable pain
Drew over me out of the merciless miles of the plain,—

Oh, now, unafraid, I am fain to face
The vast sweet visage of space.
To the edge of the wood I am drawn, I am drawn,
Where the gray beach glimmering runs, as a belt of the dawn,
For a mete and a mark
To the forest dark:—
Affable live-oak, leaning low,—
Thus—with your favor—soft, with a reverent hand,
(Not lightly touching your person, Lord of the land!)
Bending your beauty aside, with a step I stand
On the firm-packed sand,
By a world of marsh that borders a world of sea.
Sinuous southward and sinuous northward the shimmering band
Of the sand-beach fastens the fringe of the marsh to the folds of the land.
Inward and outward to northward and southward the beach-lines linger and curl
As a silver-wrought garment that clings to and follows the firm sweet limbs of a girl.
Vanishing, swerving, evermore curving again into sight,
Softly the sand-beach wavers away to a dim gray looping of light.
And what if behind me to westward the wall of the woods stands high?
The world lies east: how ample, the marsh and the sea and the sky!
A league and a league of marsh-grass, waist-high, broad in the blade,
Green, and all of a height, and unflecked with a light or a shade,
Stretch leisurely off, in a pleasant plain,
To the terminal blue of the main.

Oh, what is abroad in the marsh and the terminal sea?
Somehow my soul seems suddenly free
From the weighing of fate and the sad discussion of sin,
By the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of Glynn.

Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free
Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea!
Tolerant plains, that suffer the sea and the rains and the sun,
Ye spread and span like the catholic man who hath mightily won
God out of knowledge and good out of infinite pain
And sight out of blindness and purity out of a stain.

As the marsh-hen secretly builds on the watery sod,
Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God:
I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies
In the freedom that fills all the space 'twixt the marsh and the skies:
By so many roots as the marsh-grass sends in the sod
I will heartily lay me a-hold on the greatness of God:
Oh, like to the greatness of God is the greatness within
The range of the marshes, the liberal marshes of Glynn.

And the sea lends large, as the marsh: lo, out of his plenty the sea
Pours fast: full soon the time of the flood tide must be:
Look how the grace of the sea doth go
About and about through the intricate channels that flow
Here and there,
Till his waters have flooded the uttermost creeks and the low-lying lanes,
And the marsh is meshed with a million veins,
That like as with rosy and silvery essences flow
In the rose-and-silver evening glow.
Farewell, my lord Sun!
The creeks overflow: a thousand rivulets run
'Twixt the roots of the sod; the blades of the marsh-grass stir;
Passeth a hurrying sound of wings that westward whirr;
Passeth, and all is still; and the currents cease to run;
And the sea and the marsh are one.

How still the plains of the waters be!
The tide is in his ecstasy;
The tide is at his highest height;
And it is night.

And now from the Vast of the Lord will the waters of sleep
Roll in on the souls of men,
But who will reveal to our waking ken
The forms that swim and the shapes that creep
Under the waters of sleep?
And I would I could know what swimmeth below when the tide comes in
On the length and the breadth of the marvellous marshes of Glynn.

More for the Good of the Service

Here's another short piece from Robert W. Service. Perhaps this is a good response to modern critics:


I have no doubt at all the Devil grins,
As seas of ink I spatter.
Ye Gods, forgive my "literary" sins -
The other kind don't matter.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cremation Question and Answer

Recently, an interested person asked me about the teaching of the Anglican Catholic Church on cremation. After I explained that we were not opposed to cremation provided that ashes were not scattered, I began thinking about the practice of burning our dead.

I suppose my mind wandered a little too far because my attention was drawn to one of my favorite poets, Robert W. Service. Yes, I know that for poetry connoisseurs, Service is considered too banal to be taken seriously, but I love his writing. Yes, I know that as an English major I should have a more sophisticated literary taste, but I don't.

So, here for you cremation junkies is, what I think, is one of the greatest poems ever written.


The Cremation of Sam McGee

by Robert W. Service

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ‘round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursed cold, and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet ‘taint being dead—it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”

A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it’s up to you to cremate those last remains.”

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows—O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
Then I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked;” . . . then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: “Please close that door.
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Politics as usual? I hope not.

I try to avoid political discourse on this blog (or at least party specific discourse), however I think that most people would not be surprised to know that I'm a pretty conservative fellow. I follow a lot of the blogs, I listen to Rush and Mark Levin, I own most of William F. Buckley, Jr's writings, and I've been a National Review subscriber since I was in my teens.

Now having said all this, let me tell you what is bothering me. Most conservatives (which are mostly Republicans) seem to be convinced that the way to win the November election is to spend most of their time and energy on describing what horrible people their opponents are. In the past few weeks, I've received gobs of e-mails talking about Barack Obama: He's a Muslim, he's not a real Christian, he's a follower of Saul Alinsky, he's a pro-abort, he eats live kittens for breakfast (OK, I made the last one up). I've further received loads of e-mails about Hillary Clinton: She's corrupt, her husband's a serial adulterer (what a surprise), she's a closet communist, she eats live puppies for breakfast (especially since Barack has the kittens). Much the same stuff is being said in some quarters even about John McCain. All of this stuff might be true or it might not. As I see it, the problem is that I don't care if any of it is true and I don't think the majority of the American people do either.

I'll go one step further. I believe that if conservatives think that they can win seats in the House and Senate, or even the White House by simply highlighting their opponents' inadequacies or outright dangerous or stupid views, then conservatives will be huge losers and they will deserve to be.

This country faces tremendous challenges and these challenges will require solutions that are founded in clear, understandable, common-sense policies that are consistent with the foundational principles of our nation. Most Americans can understand that and that, dear reader, is what will win or lose elections. It's easy to call any candidate a name and, even if the name is accurate, nobody cares. What is going to make a difference in 2008 is a calm, measured discussion of the issues that face our nation as we come to the close of the first decade of this new millennium.

I believe that the reason the Republican party is in shambles is because they have gotten fat and lazy, particularly regarding the principles that brought the party to the forefront in the mid-1990s. The party won with a "Contract with America" that promised term limits, fiscal responsibility, lower taxation, and such. In each one of these areas, save taxation, Republicans took their eyes off the ball, becoming enamored with the "inside the beltway" life. It wasn't just that they spent like drunken sailors, it was that they seemed cavalierly out of touch with the needs and problems of the American people, responding only, "But your taxes are lower!!"

I'm not saying raise taxes, God knows I'm not saying that. But what I am saying is: Let's have a conversation about issues and give poor Jeremiah Wright a rest. After all, that guy and those who follow him deserve our pity and prayers, not our rage. Let's talk about the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death. Let's really talk about the problem of what to do with our borders and with the millions of people that have come here illegally. Let's talk about the defense of our nation against Islamic terrorism. Let's talk about our economic standing vis a vis the global economy. Let's talk about how we will solve any one of these or any other issue. But, for God's sake, let's just once see a conservative who will spend his time articulating a positive vision for America, one that secures and holds dear the right of all Americans to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." I believe that Americans will support a positive issues-driven campaign in which a candidate clearly states what he or she is FOR. I believe that most Americans (and I) will tend to reject, or at most be lackluster toward a campaign that says, "Vote for me because my opponent is a schmuck."

OK, I've said my piece. Now I will go back to writing about the stuff that interests me. Thanks for putting up with my rant and I'll try not to do it again. At least for the next four years...