Tips From An Insider

Advice for the time that you’re the guest preacher, participating in the footwashing at an Anglo-Catholic parish: Don’t do what I did.
That is, somewhere between when Fr. Cobb washed my foot (only one each, here) and when I had to put my shoes back on to take my shift as a footwasher, I lost track of my sock. Since people were already lining up, I just jammed my shoe back on and hoped I would be able to see it when this phase of the service was over. Alas, the last congregant left the bench, I went to wash Fr Cobb’s foot, returned to my place, scanned the floor discreetly from my seat, to no avail.
On the other hand, when it’s a very liturgically savvy parish, things like this happen: at the peace, I sidled up to the MC and said, “Did anyone by any chance find a sock?” He inclined his head toward the servers’ seating area, where my sock had been retrieved and deposited. (I put it back on during the offertory, all was well.)

Maundy Thursday

I’m in New Haven for the weekend, preaching through the Holy Week liturgies at Christ Church. Margaret and I have a special love for this congregation, so when Fr. Cobb invited me up to preach, I didn’t hesitate a second; we love to spend these sacred days at this church that’s meant so much for so long.
I’m still working on the Easter Day sermon, so I can’t take time to post everything I’d like to say about the sermons. That’s just as well, since my self-critical restlessness would impel me to want to point out all the loose ends, the inexact locutions that retrospect makes seem to prominent. Instead, without further ado, I’ll post yesterday evening’s sermon here, and this afternoon’s in the post above.
Continue reading “Maundy Thursday”

Euan Gets Steve

Euan quotes Steve Jobs about excellence, and (quite apart from quibbles over the quality of rival product lines) Steve gets at the heart of my frustration and impatience and ardor for teaching:

We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? So this is what we’ve chosen to do with our life. . . And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.

I’ve said something along these lines numerous times, but as often as not my interlocutor looked at me as though I were from outer space, or a drama queen, or just foolishly anxious. I admit to a degree of anxiety, especially now, but more to the point, I want the few years that I’m afforded to be worth it, for me and for my family and for my students and for whatever small effect I make during these dwindling days. I’m not a genius, who can make a lightning-like contribution in a moment and coast the rest of their life; I’m a workman who knows there are homes and hospitals and libraries and sanctuaries to be built, and I can’t do it on my own, and I can’t bear to see it done shoddily, discrediting everyone involved.
(Seth Godin strikes a related note.)

Safari 3.31 Plus CSS Equals. . . .

Speaking of CSS, can anyone point to a site in the wild that takes advantage of Safari’s compatibility with downloadable web fonts? Has anyone seen the result?
My typography lists are sizzling with intimations that this is a sign of the Beast rising from the abyss (“serif shall rise up against sans, and ornamental against unicase, but the end is not yet!”), but I’m inclined to think that we’ll see designers with bad taste use downloadable type badly, and designers with good taste will use downloadable type well. And as in most endeavors, the bad will outnumber the good, but as in most endeavors, the good will tend to attract the most attention.

A Hand For HTI

I spent a couple of hours consulting with the Hispanic Theological Initiative about a second iteration of their website. I discussed with them the virtues of Web 2.0 technologies, suggesting that their small office (without a hardcore techie) might benefit most from a CMS such as WordPress. They liked the idea of a template-plus-CSS front end over the CMS, and asked me whether I knew anyone who could design such a thing for them.
I’ll send an email to Kevin, but I thought I’d ask around online. I suggested they browse through WordPress themes and CSS schemes to see a few that they like, and write to the designers. And if you know anyone who’s interested, please contact HTI (it’s a very small not-for-profit) through their website.

Important, Not A Distraction

Jeneane posts transcripts of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s “Audacity of Hope” sermon and of Barack Obama’s brilliant response to the firestorm that detractors of Wright have stirred up. Like Jeneane, I’m impressed that Andrew Sullivan can talk through some of the non-issues by which Obama’s opponents want to purchase an advantage at the cost of intelligence.
Maybe this controversy marks a watershed in the quality of public discourse in the U.S. Dare we hope so?

Limited-Audience Distractions

Before I settled down to write this morning, I meandered among my bookmarks and links on a path that eventually led here, to the local history page of the Curtis Memorial Library of Brunswick, Maine. The links include an account of the now-defunct Merrymeeting [Amusement] Park and the Underground Railroad in Brunswick and Topsham. Curious as I am about Brunswick history, I doubt I’ll have the stamina to work through the 959 pages of the History of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell.
(The History of the Library was written by Jim and Alan’s grandmother, Louise Helmreich!)
And, a fascinating compilation of seminar papers from the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies “Travel and Religion in Antiquity” seminar.