Yes, I'm starting a new position shortly - Vicar of Holy Apostles in the Town of Tonawanda, New York. :) I'm totally excited. It's a brand new parish - starting in the building of a parish that recently left the diocese. We were apparently just slightly too liberal for them. Well, I wish them well. (No, seriously, I do.)
There is a new website - it's nothing yet, but shall get more spiffier as the days march on. http://holyapostles.wordpress.com/ We have a domain reserved, but I haven't migrated things over yet to holyapostlesmission.org, but that's on the todo list.
Such a list, and yet, i haven't offically started working there yet. Still, better to get these things done early, than shoot yourself in the foot when they're not done as you arrive.
Anyway, I start February 1st and I'll spend the week before moving into the Rectory. :) I'm tentatively planning a house blessing for Saturday the 7th, but I'll keep you posted - and there will be an invite on Facebook.
And now, back to the job I presently have and need to finish.
(Who honestly, is writing fic. Just not much.)
Now, this is not to say that I don’t get my share of calls for exorcisms – you know I do, just as you know I hand them off to someone who is actually qualified and called to do whatever it is one does when one performs an exorcism or cleansing. Watching this movie, however, got me to thinking. And for those of you who are not in the know, Ghost Rider is based on the Marvel comic of the same name about a young man who accidentally sells his soul to the devil in order to heal his father, who shortly thereafter dies of a completely unrelated accident. The terms of the contract: to be the devil’s bounty hunter, tracking down hellish escapees (because naturally, the devil has no power on earth – don’t tell Job), and sending them back. One could see how this might make a longstanding, though perhaps tedious comic. To liven it up a smidge, add a skeletal motorcycle, a flaming skull for a head, and – please note the quotes – “The Penance Stare”. Ahem. Apparently, the devil usually only hoodwinks those who are greedy enough to agree to his terms, not just young and stupid enough to think a contract signed in blood with a random creepy stranger is going to get your dad through an ugly cancer diagnosis. So, add the plot twist: the Ghost Rider, whose name, yes, is Johnny Blaze, has morals and a conscience and has never been motivated by greed, though sometimes by sheer stupidity. So does he only send back the escapees? No, naturally not. He uses his power for good – and I use that phrase in the loosest of senses. He gets all fired up in the presence of ‘evil’ (literally – his head turns into a ball of flames and he no longer resembles Nicholas Cage so much as a pet project from Industrial Light and Magic), and without lifting a finger, stares them down. In his eyes they experience all of the pain and suffering they have caused in their own lifetime, and simply by virtue of his stare, he acts as judge, jury and executioner, for the person keels over shortly thereafter.
Come to think of it, the Ghost Rider is reminding me of another skeletal rider on a pale steed who shall remain nameless.
And so the movie moves on with an unsatisfying romantic subplot, demonic henchmen that hide in the elements (though clearly the Ghost Rider himself is the missing element of fire), and some theological drivel about the superevil son of the devil (clearly he is not the Diet Coke of Evil) who is trying to open what seems to be the equivalent of a hellmouth, only without the vampires. Blah, blah, blah, guess who wins?
This is all well and good, but the point of the blog was to share my musings on this anthropomorphic personification of humanity’s perceived separation from God – also known as the devil.
You see, it dawned on me that in some ways we as a modern culture (and perhaps this has happened much earlier than I suspect– I haven’t researched it yet, but given works like ‘The Monk’ I imagine there has been quite a foundation for this, laid throughout all of history) have created a minor deity of this figure that in the old testament was merely one of court of the Almighty God, as it was understood in the myth of Job. Between the gospel account of John (written 60-80 years after the fact, and NOT as an eyewitness account), and the Revelation to John (different John, written even later), suddenly we have a devil, a Satan that looks a bit like Caesar and everything that Christians thought to be wrong in the world – a poser god that while obviously unimportant, gets blamed for everything inconvenient to lay at the feet of God, is actively working to undo the justice and peace of creation, and is someone/thing with something like parity to God.
Alternately, the devil is simply seen as some kind of malevolent keeper of the underworld, some kind of Hades perpetually missing his Persephone (which could make any husband cranky, really) and suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder with a focus on passive aggression.
And it’s so easy to see the threads of Roman and Greek mythology. It’s easy to see the threads of even more ancient Mesopotamian legend. It’s easy to see where Greek thought mingled in with the middle ages movement of Scholasticism. It’s easy to see were Enlightenment came in and where and when Science, Rationalism, Modernism, and Quantum Theory all started to affect how we tell ourselves stories of Those Things We Still Don’t Understand.
But where does that leave us? It may be that the old man in a toga on a cloud, the beautiful one in white with wings, the guy with red horns, and the aforementioned skeleton with a scythe on a pale horse are the only remaining anthropomorphic personifications left to us. Certainly, Justice has already been buried and sealed in her tomb. And perhaps there are good, rational, sociological reasons for this shift. But where does that leave us?
Perhaps now we can begin to look at our religious stories with new eyes. (As we were always meant to? As we always do anyway, whether we’re given permission or not?) Perhaps it is time to look at our stories and see what parts of them are trying to teach us the wisdom of the ages, and what part of them are cautionary tales to a danger that no longer exists.
...xposted at work blog...
One more reason for me to play, again. Beautiful music, man. Beautiful music. Our organist and I were having a conversation about this, and about my inclination to composing. (I know, you'd never know it about me - okay, perhaps a few friends could have guessed it was possible.)
Composing isn't something I'd ever received permission to do, permission being something very important to me, previously. But I've since realized that I don't require anyone's permission to be who I am. And who I am, you may not be surprised to know, is musical. And if I want to try my hand at composing on the piano (as opposed to just in my head), who is going to stop me? Only me.
And yes, it's true that I don't actually own a piano, but it's also true that there are no fewer than four of them in my workplace, and three of the four are grands. And one of them is really quite a nice stienway.
Of course, I'm rusty as all get out, but that is easily remedied. Really, it's about permission. Do I give myself permission to play imperfectly? Do I give myself permission to create? Do I give myself permission to learn and try new things?
It's funny. In voice, or on guitar, I can play - literally, play like a child would play with blocks. It's fun, it's liberating, it's joyful. On the piano... I think I carry so much baggage to the bench, I might need to meditate every time before I sit down. Just to get rid of the baggage.
All that to say, I can't wait for Hal Lenard to release the sheet music of this piece, which they say, will happen by the end of the year.
Also, love Adam Ant.
And, love Severus. Am trying not to notice that current love interest looks a lot like Severus.
Also, love Cornish Pasties. Am going to go make some from scratch, right now. Dinner. Also love dinner. My dinner.
Oh, the joy of present mindedness.
Okay. This is cryptic, mayhap, but so it goes.
There was an appropriate symmetry to this convention, between this convention and the one in 2005.
And interestingly enough, the nausea came before I even knew that this symmetry would even exist. It's true that it was an angst-free encounter, (that I knew was coming, even though I didn't know it was coming) and yet I still clearly had 'difficulty stomaching' it, spontaneously, I'm guessing, in response to the vibes of the othe -God knows that I have a some what unfortunate talent of pcking up and absorbing other people's energy. An annoying habit sometimes, but very useful at other moments. After the moment of symmetry there was another bout of nausea, though perhaps it is now past.
So it goes. Bittersweet and beautiful is the growth we engage in as humans walking on our path.
It is hard to know where to start, but as we have been given an hours worth of free time to process, I feel that I have plenty of opportunity to remove the horror from my psyche.
I was used to the fact that we blow the proverbial trumpet when we make our offering in front of everyone.
It was the Battle Hymn of the Republic that really got to me. As I am a Yankee, it is nor so much the civil war issues, though perhaps it should be, it is the scary triumphalism. And yes of is true that the tune itself I find familiar and comforting, but that makes the betrayl that much worse. The words are shockingly awful, and I can't help but to wonder .. Who thought that was a good idea?
Some of the people at my table knew the alternate lyrics about the union solidarity, and so occasionally we would sing those instead.
Still, I am off to Starbucks to help erase the horror.
Don't forget to check out Huw's blog about this.
Huw is also blogging this, with perhaps more insight and eloquence than myself, but so it goes. Anyway. On to the interesting bits.
So, first came the Roll of Shame. All those parishes that haven't gotten something in on time. Do we give them voice and vote? Just voice? Do we give V&V to just those who got their stuff in late?
Or shall we be Ones of Great Snark, and say "to hell with you."...?
Well, we said to hell with some if you. It was interesting, but you wouldn't believe how much time and energy went into that decision. The worst part was when the priests of those parishes (who it must be said, have V&V no matter what) had to get up and grovel, or refuse in front of the entire diocese to do so.
I like politics in theory, but really not in practice. Voting, yes. Legislation, no.
Which is why I am no longer the first alternate to General Convention. Because I have absolutely no interest in politics. :p. None. I was silly to have put my name in in the first place. All I can say is that I didn't know myself. Now I know myself better.
And now our table argues about the count for the running book we're keeping on how many times one of our number goes to the microphone. I think I am going to lose...
So. I am a negligent blogger at the best of times, and mostly for me it is about the fic. In fact you could say that I am here for the fic. You could say that, and you would not be wrong.
But as always, I am inspired by my friends. Really this is why I should always surround myself with friends- they are a constant source of inspiration and impetus. Also, of course, I should surround myself with only the best- one doesn't wish to be inspired to do anything but the highest thought of one's soul. (But I'm doing pretty well at that.)
And so, this intermittent blogger is blogging her experience at Convention, or so far as it is fit to print.
I do feel comforatable in saying that it is pretty cool this year, because I finally know a significant portion of my colleages, tho of course the delegation from the parish is always enough to provide the requisite amusement in a pinch.
And I am working on Shea's Slytyerin House scarf. Just in case you wanted to know.
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