So I so didn't intend to skip blogging this week... it just happened... hopefully I'll be back in the saddle again come Sunday afternoon or Tuesday morning, but for now, it's off to Cambridge for a computer-less weekend praying with monks! Yay! :)
I do think academic cuts are permissible, but only if they affect the right departments. The College can and should eliminate major departments that can be subsumed into other departments, like Native American Studies or Women’s and Gender Studies. One can study Native American culture in the history or anthropology departments, just as one can study the literature of feminism in the English department.
After years of hiding the fact that the love is gone and the last child moved out of the house, Mom and Dad announce they are getting a divorce. The kids are distraught and hire a marriage counselor as a last resort at keeping the parents together. The counselor works for hours, tries all of his methods, but the couple still won't even talk to each other. Finally, the counselor goes over to a closet, brings out a beautiful upright bass, and begins to play. After a few moments, the couple starts talking. They discover that they're not actually that far apart and decide to give their marriage another try.
The kids are amazed and ask the counselor how he managed to do it. He replies, "I've never seen anyone who wouldn't talk during a bass solo."
After some considerable years playing on dance bands and for other type musical performances, this story is painfully true to my experience, not only for bass solos, but for that matter, almost anything else.
OoN passes on this piece of hilarity because I've found the same to be true for the musician's postlude at the conclusion of a liturgy, especially on Sundays. A pianist, organist, or other instrumentalist can spend hours preparing for a service and start the postlude, only to find it to be a signal for a congregation suddenly to burst into an impossible din of vocal cacophony, hymnals thudding to the floor, shuffling chairs, opening and closing doors, interrupting other congregants who may be yet at prayer, and whatever.
What possesses us to do this is beyond me. It would be unthinkable to behave this way as we enter and prepare for a worship celebration. Why do so many take the unwarranted license to do so at the dismissal? If you just can't stand the postlude and show some appreciation and courtesy to your church musician, then exit yourself to the coffee minute where you usually have to shout to be heard.
On second thought, anybody having marital problems could be invited to stay until the postlude finishes.
Fred Chase (Diocese of Vermont and Diocese of Chicago) sent a link to "Mountain Echo", the newspaper of the Diocese of Vermont. The lead article in the November 2008 issue is about a Solar Power array installed at St. Barnabas in Norwich, VT. The article is available online as a PDF.
If you have difficulty with the above link, go to http://www.dioceseofvermont.org and scroll down to the link for the [November] issue of "Mountain Echo".
Maybe this article will give other congregations and vestries ideas on living into environmental stewardship.
But after the waiting, again and again, comes fresh “knowledge”; granted the way the English language works, one call not call it anything else. It is not just “belief.” It is natural to say “I believe it’s raining” when indoors with the curtains shut, but it would be odd to say it, except in irony, standing on a hillside in a downpour. For many Christians much of the time, knowing Jesus is more like the latter: being drenched in his love and the challenge of his call, not merely imagining we hear him like raindrops on a distant windowpane. (For many, of course, the latter is the norm; hinting, promising, inviting.)
I want to thank the President for nominating me to serve in his Cabinet as Secretary of Commerce... I especially admire his willingness to reach across the aisle. However, it has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me. Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.
Senator Judd Gregg, the New Hampshire Republican nominated to be commerce secretary, once was seen as a key ally in President Obama's effort to win bipartisan support for his economic stimulus bill. But Gregg's spokeswoman said yesterday that the senator would recuse himself from voting on the bill, and would not even participate in debate on it...
Gregg's spokeswoman, Laena Fallon, would not speak about the senator's decision other than to say, "He thinks this is the most appropriate thing to do right now." A White House spokesman declined comment, deferring to Gregg's office.
Comparing the House and Senate versions, the Senate version is clearly worse: more tax cuts, less infrastructure, and less in transfers to state and local governments… Immediate and sizable spending increases in the stimulus package should be directed to a few areas: significant support for our crisis-ridden state and local governments [just what got cut in the Senate], especially for health (Medicaid), education, and other urgent public services; income support (unemployment, anti-poverty including food stamps and child nutrition); health care coverage for the uninsured (as well as adequate Medicaid funding mentioned earlier); and a significant multi-year rollout of infrastructure of all sorts (roads, rail, other mass transit, ports, water, energy, broadband, etc.)
A Call to Worship
Gather us in, Lord: the lost and the lonely, the broken and breaking, the tired and the aching who long for the nourishment of your feast.
Gather us in: the done and the doubting, the wishing and wondering, the puzzled and pondering who long for the company found at your feast.
Gather us in: the proud and pretentious, the sure and superior, the never inferior who long for the leveling found at your feast.
Gather us in: the bright and the bustling, the stirrers and shakers, the kind laughter-makers who long for the company found at your feast.
From corner or limelight, from mansion or camp site,
From fears and obsession, from tears and depression,
From untold excesses, from treasured successes,
To meet, to eat, to be given a seat,
Be joined to the vine, be offered new wine
Become like the least, be found at the feast:
Gather us in.
Prayers of the People from the Mass of the Immigrant
Let us pray for those who hunger in this land: whose only kitchen is a soup kitchen; whose only food is what others don’t want; whose diet depends on luck, not on planning. Lord, feed your people using our skills and conscience, and eradicate from our politics and private lives the apathy to hunger which comes from over-indulgence.
Let us pray for the hungry to be fed.
Oyenos Mi Dios.
Let us pray for the hungry in other lands, where economies burdened by debt cannot respond to human need, or where fields are farmed for our benefit by low-waged workers courted by starvation. Lord, feed your people, even if rulers must cancel debt, shareholders lose profit, or diners restrict their choice in order that all may be nourished.
Let us pray for the hungry to be fed.
Oyenos Mi Dios.
Let us pray for the hungry for justice, who document inequalities, demonstrate against tyranny, distinguish between need and greed, and are sometimes misrepresented or persecuted in the process. May their labour not be in vain and may we be counted in their number.
Let us pray for the hungry to be fed.
Oyenos Mi Dios.
Let us pray for the hungry in Spirit, who have so much noise in their lives they cannot hear the thundering of God’s Love whispering in their ears. Lord, open our ears to that your voice may be heard and understood.
Let us pray for the hungry and the fed.
Oyenos Mi Dios.
A Franciscan Benediction
May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart. Amen.
May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people. Amen.
May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy. Amen.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim. Amen.
And the blessing of God the Supreme Majesty and our Creator, Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word who is our brother and Savior, and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Guide be with you and remain with you this day and forevermore.
It’s not clear how [Daschle's] explanation will play with Republicans, who spent Sunday raising questions about the Obama’s administration’s vetting process — or with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who’s been in a long-running feud with Daschle.
Daschle’s nomination as secretary of health and human services was expected to sail through the Senate, where he served for 18 years. But Democratic aides complain that Baucus has slow-rolled the nomination, and on Friday it hit a significant roadblock when it was revealed that Daschle had failed to pay more than $100,000 in taxes on the use of a car and driver provided to him by Leo Hindery, a major Democratic donor and longtime friend.
Baucus — who quickly came to the defense of then-treasury nominee Timothy Geithner when he had tax problems — has said nothing in public about Daschle’s issues.
“The silence has been deafening,” said a Democratic staffer...
The exact origins of the feud between Baucus and Daschle are unclear, but the existence of it is so well known within Democratic circles that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) referred to it in his book, “The Good Fight,” released last year.
“Baucus was the only Westerner to vote against Daschle in his race for Democratic leader in 1994, which Daschle had only won by a single vote, and they had been driven farther apart on the issue of taxes,” Reid wrote. “By the end, they really couldn’t stand each other and had had several extremely testy exchanges on the [Senate] floor and in private as a result.”
Baucus and Daschle have clashed over taxes, trade and former President George W. Bush’s Medicare prescription drug program, which Baucus supported. Daschle kept Baucus off a House-Senate conference on the 2002 farm bill, which infuriated Baucus.
Baucus privately accused Daschle of trying to overrule committee chairmen and being a weak leader, while Daschle and other top Democrats believed that Baucus was willing to sell out the party to advance his own agenda. Senior Democratic aides said Baucus “was ecstatic” when Reid took over as Democratic leader following Daschle’s defeat in 2004 by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
“It’s never gotten any better from Baucus’ side,” said a Democratic insider who knows both men well. “Daschle thought Baucus was untrustworthy, while Baucus thought Daschle was indecisive. They really hate each other.”
President Obama’s choice for health secretary, Tom Daschle, was aware as early as last June that he might have to pay back taxes for the use of a car and driver provided by a private equity firm, but did not inform the Obama transition team until weeks after Mr. Obama named him to the health secretary’s post, senior administration officials said Saturday.
Chief Justice Roberts absolved himself of the botched oath-giving by offering to swear in Alfalfa's new president, then doing so WITH GIANT CUE CARDS… The President's great unreleased lines:... [To Senator Lieberman] No hard feelings because of the election. My door is always open. Feel free to drop by ANY SATURDAY AFTERNOON. ... [To Gov. Palin] I never expected you to be PALLING AROUND with THIS crowd. I want to congratulate you on your Golden Globe for '30 Rock.' .... [To Vernon Jordan] Just because a guy can give great speeches doesn't mean he's going to be a great president. ... I see Chief Justice Roberts is here to administer my daily oath of office. ... [On the similarity between Cheney and Biden] Dick Cheney is a man of few words. Joe Biden is also vice president.