January 2010

So, this morning I preregistered and paid my deductable for the hospital.  I have talked to the surgical nurse and have my pre surgery instructions.  I continue to field and answer a lot of questions from folks who are interested in my welbeing.  I keep trying to cross things off my to do lists — but now that’s mainly work and home stuff to be done before my surgery.  I have some anxiety, but not a lot.  I’m probably as prepared as I can be at this point (without being overprepared — I don’t have my first month’s vitamins ordered, for example).  I’ve talked to enough people who have undergone this (and other) proceedures, some of whom had a rough time, that I feel like I have a sense of what’s coming.  Though I’m sure it’s like having children — you only really understand after you have them.  Ten days and counting.

I’m not sure how much chance I’ll have to blog between now and the surgery.  But I expect to have some time afterwards …

This came to me from our Deacon, Bob Olsen, who received it from the Rev. Eric Duff, the Executive Director of Episcopal Community Services in this diocese, to whom it was sent:

Dear Sisters and brothers in Christ,

 Please let me take some time to give you some update of the situation of Haiti and your beloved partners in the Episcopal church of Haiti. God has saved the lives of the bishop, the 32 active priests, 9 retired priests, the 6 deacons, the 17 seminarians, 3 nuns and the 4 missionaries and their families. All private houses have been damaged to some degree, but all churches, schools, rectories clinics, and hospitals from Croix des Bouquets to Miragoane are not permitted to be used. In Port au Prince and Leogane, all structures of the Episcopal Church have been completely destroyed. We cannot evaluate how many parishioners and staff members we lost. In the south, BTI is ok but the Saint Sauveur rectory is not safe to sleep in. The seminarians went back to their home town; one of them is a physician, and he has stayed at college St Pierre in Port au Prince to give first aid to the people. The Episcopal church of Haiti has set up more than 7 centers to support victims, mostly in the worst hit areas where the bishop is based with whatever supplies they have been able to receive. (more…)

One of the blogs I follow is The Sarcastic Lutheran.  And she recently posted a sermon on Haiti and where God is in this picture in which she said:

This week’s events bring with them a lot of questions about God, and none of them have to do with parties.  One atheist blog I read this week sneeringly used the earthquake to make a case against believing in God at all.  The writer implying that he could not believe in a God who would inflict such suffering on so many people, which made me admit that according to that definition I must be an atheist too because I don’t believe in that God either.

She goes on to talk about the marriage feast as Cana and what kind of God Jesus shows himself to be.  If you are interested, you can find Nadia’s sermon here.

So I had my “family” visit today, meeting (along with my wife) with my surgeon in preparation for my gastric bypass surgery February 8th.  It was really a non event.  Final declaration of which surgery I’m having (I could have the lap band rather than the bypass, but it would probably not do as much for my diabetes).  Expect a call pre surgery from the hospital.  It’s helpful to bring a complete list of medications with me to the hospital.  Here’s a wipe to use the day of the surgery.  The most likely complication (leakage) is only a 1 to 2 % occurance (and can be dealt with).  I was weighed and my blood pressure were taken on the front end.  No more questions?  See you in February. (more…)

I’ve always had a bit of trouble with the story of Noah’s drunkeness (one of the readings in today’s lectionary).  The flood’s over.  He plants a vinyard.  He makes wine.  He gets drunk, and passes out naked in his tent.  His son, Ham, goes in and sees him naked.  This is apparently a terrible crime.  He tells his brothers.  This is admittedly a bit disrespectful.  Noah’s behavior is seemingly praiseworthy (from the point of view of the biblical writer).  Ham’s son Canaan is condemned to slavery for his behavior.  It just doesn’t seem right. (more…)

We heard God’s covenant with Noah and all living flesh today in our reading from the Hebrew Scriptures.  And at first I was contrasting, as I read about how Noah was given all flesh to eat (excepting the blood, the life, which belongs to God), I was contrasting this in my mind with the garden, where Adam was given all the plants to eat.  It was only after the fall that people were no longer vegetarians.  Eating meat was not part of God’s original plan for us.

And even here, the blood, the life, belongs to God.  Human life blood, if taken, is singled out for special retribution.  But all life blood is God’s.  It is all talked about together in the same context.  And God’s covenant is made with all flesh, Noah and his descendants and all living creaatures.

So, we can eat animals.  But their lives always belong to God.  They are in this sense sacred.  And their welbeing is part of our care as God’s stewards of creation.  They are not just for our use (and abuse) as we see fit.  They have their own place with us in our covenant with God.

On a personal note:  some of you know that I am scheduled for gastric bypass surgery February 8.  It represents a big change in my life that I’m sure I’ll be processing (and likely blogging) for some time to come.  This is a decision that has been hard.  It has been a long time coming.  And I’m fairly confident that I’m making the right (or anyway, a right) decision.  Because it seemed to me I had a couple of arguably good options (having or not having the surgery).  That’s part of why it was a hard decision. (more…)

So here are my newsletter thoughts for February:

One of the blogs I follow (Midlife Bat Mitzvah) is written by Ilana DeBare and is (largely) an account of her preparation for her Bat Mitzvah.  In her most recent entry (“Let the Chanting Begin”) she talks about her preparation with her cantor.  The cantor had her do a dry run on some of the chants.  And afterwards, she commented, “That’s pretty good.”

 Ilana responded that she wanted to know these prayers well enough that if she were shipwrecked on a desert island, she could lead the service on her own.  The cantor nodded and seemed amused.  Ilana admits, however, that what she really had in mind had to do with concentration camps, and “those stories of random anybody Jews leading a Passover or a Shabbat service in the bleak, dehumanizing barracks of an Auschwitz.” (more…)

One of the things I’ve never been quite sure how to do is to properly publicize the 9 AM Family Service at St. George’s.

I don’t normally blog about things so specific to St. George’s day to day operations.  But I was talking about this service with a Lutheran colleague this past week.  He liked what we were doing.  And he noted that it was a lot of extra work to prepare this service.  Which is right.  We’ve put a lot of work (and continue to put a lot of work) into this service to provide something fresh and new.  I’ve just never known quite how to market the service beyond our own congregation. (more…)

Mary Layman from St. James in Lincoln wrote the following (to Deacon Cindy Long).  They have a relationship with a school in Haiti (and a number of people in the diocese — as Brother Adam noted, the largest in the Episcopal Church).  Here’s her update on what they know from their sources:

Thank you for you prayers and support.  We are all heart sick especially by the silence.

 We have very little news since the forwarded email from Pere Ajax sent on Wednesday.   The Bishop and his wife are well.   She suffered some injuries as their home collapsed.   We have not heard a word from Fr. Walin and I pray he was in Hinche at the time.    Our project/school is near Hinche in the high plateau and was not hit by the earthquake. (more…)

Next Page »