Right after Margaret and Pippa and I left Pittsburgh, my sister Holly mailed me a stack of old family photos. Most of them involve just the regular gang from around here, but a couple included my grandfather and Del (his second wife), some included my mother and relatives on her side of the family, and a very few included my father. I took a little time to scan them today, along with a scan of his obituary, and posted them to Flickr after a little retouching.
This morning’s reading from 1 Peter rang a bell with me for more than just the usual reasons. This week begins the sequence of three weeks (one, two, three) for which I wrote preaching helps for the Epistle lesson from the Revised Common Lectionary, for the admirable Working Preacher website, where Frank preceded me last fall (I believe).
I sent off an essay to the Yale Divinity alumni/ae magazine yesterday, and am reviewing the editor’s proposed version today. I sent off a book review that’s so late I can hardly think about it. And Margaret is away today, making arrangements for a job that I hope to be able to announce later today or tomorrow.
The sun is out, the sky is clear, the temperature is comfortingly warm. Progress.
Maggi appositely cites Dorothy Sayers:
You would be ashamed to know as little about internal combustion as you know about Christian beliefs. I admit, you can practise Christianity without knowing much theology, just as you can drive a car without knowing much about internal combustion. But when something breaks down in the car, you go humbly to the man who understands the works; whereas if something goes wrong with religion, you merely throw the works away and tell the theologian he is a liar.
Now I have to track down the specific source of the quotation.
Ah! Paul has reproduced the whole letter (which I find less convincing, alas, than the excerpt) and duly notes the uncertainty regarding its provenance. And it turns out that Fred has more context, and a more satisfying rationale for the peremptory tone.
Major Richard Thorburn Herzog (ret.), Ph.D., died back in January; I just heard about it from a round-robin email that some of our classmates from Bowdoin were circulating. Zog was one of the legendary figures of the fraternity to which we both belonged at Bowdoin College, the now-defunct Alpha Rho Upsilon (founded with Greek initials to correspond to “All Races United”) (we were PC before PC was a label).
Zog didn’t leave much of a trace on the Web, so I’m tracing his name on the wet concrete of my blog, here. Maybe someone will come across it and leave a reminiscence, or just remember him fondly, or wish they did. In the years since we graduated, Zog found a home in the Episcopal Church; speaking as a friend and as a priest, I offer the words from the prayerbook:
He that raised up Jesus from the dead will also give life to our mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in us.
In the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God our brother Richard…. The Lord bless him and keep him, the Lord make his face to shine upon him and be gracious unto him, the Lord lift up his countenance upon him and grant him peace.
And speaking as a drinking buddy, I will lift a glass to Zog, to Charles Paisley, to the hockey teams of the U.S. Olmpic Team 1976 and of Bowdoin College, and to friends absent and ever-present.
Evidently I missed out on a wave of hysterical nonsense about copyright and “orphan works” from an animation columnist. At a time of vocational tumult for me, this sort of fustian tempts me to go to back to school to get a degree in intellectual property law (for the time being, I’ll leave that option to Nate). We can be thankful that Meredith Patterson dispelled the obfuscatory hyperbole — but honestly, when will creators wake up and come to terms with the reality that they only just recently obtained the far-reaching copyright extensions they now enjoy, that practically everything they do is copyrighted? That, in short, they’ve never had things better?
Someday, some one will file the lawsuit that breaks the back of common-nonsense over-reaching on copyright, and in response the Congress and courts will institute a regimen that permits fair use, that limits the duration of copyright for the sake of the commons, and that encourages creators to concentrate their efforts on lifetimes of productivity rather than on the possibility of riding a one-shot lottery ticket of fame to dreamlands of wealth. Someday, but not for too long, I expect.
I’m in a two-day symposium at CTI, discussing the past 30 years (it was founded in 1978) and the coming 30 years of theological inquiry. The wireless signal doesn’t reach the conference room, though, and it’s Chatham House Rules — so I may post general impressions later, but live-blogging is right out.
Short summary: smart theologians, interesting discussions.
The plateaus between valleys of sadness are getting longer. These are not the high ground of joy and gladness, but they’re navigable terrain with occasional sloughs of despond. We have generous friends and relatives keeping us keeping on.
Among our friends at the Center we number Nico Koopman, who has given me a new nickname (for the first time since college, really). Evidently “AKMA” wasn’t short enough for Nico, so he calls me “Aks” or “Ax” ( aural evidence doesn’t give me a basis to discern which). This interjects an odd delight into my day, for which I give thanks.
I’ve cut or nicked my hands three times (accidentally) since last Tuesday, so Margaret’s keeping me away from sharp objects for a while.
A long time ago, when Blogaria was experiencing its first population explosion, Halley sat with her dad through his dying. That was April 9. Back then I blogged one of my favorite poems for her, and for her father: Robert Herrick’s elegy for his friend, Ben Jonson. This afternoon I’m repeating it, for my own Dad.
An Ode for Him
Say how, or when
Shall we thy guests
Meet at those lyric feasts
Made at the Sun,
The Dog, the Triple Tun?
Where we such clusters had
As made us nobly wild, not mad;
And yet each verse of thine
Outdid the meat, outdid the frolic wine.
Or come again,
Or send to us
Thy wit’s great overplus;
But teach us yet
Wisely to husband it;
Lest we that talent spend,
And having once brought to an end
That precious stock, the store
Of such a wit the world should have no more.
— Robert Herrick
For Bill Suitt and Don Adam