Archive | October, 2013

recently, a talk @ St. Luke’s, ‘remembrance’

31 Oct

26 October I gave two talks, morning and evening, @ this is my home church in the UK. (the talk should be up on the St. Luke’s web site in a week or two.) Each talk was different in slight but a significant area. The theme for both was: ‘a clean heart: David’s Psalms of remembrances’ Morning was centred on the re-speaking of King David’s life through David’s own words, his Psalms. The morning’s thread line: David believes (He is wrong.) he has ‘clean hands’ in Psalm 18; he realizes in Psalm 51 that he needs a God who loves him cleanly-no agendas; no ‘to dos;’ no passive aggressive behaviours or co-dependent issues-He needs clean love to make him clean; as the Message states,

3 Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down. You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,

This is what David needs; it is His essential: that God loves him, David, enough not to leave him unclean.

The evening focused on remembrances, what they are; their power, both positive and negative, and how we can meld His story with ours; how we can learn to live in our own story with Him.
My evening talk’s purpose, by big ask?  How do we place ourselves in God’s story; in a world of transience, rooting ourselves in God’s story roots us. Stories are remembrances; they are about us learning to live in our own stories. Then, how do we root ourselves? By knowing God’s story with us, by remembering He is with us- all ways- always. The word root comes from the Latin root word ‘radix.’ We get our word ‘radical’ from it. Rooting is radical process. Why? Because when we root ourselves we are learning to live in our own stories; learning to live in a place of story; the story of a family; a home; a country. Learning to live your story in a new country? You will go through a radical transformation. But no matter how radical a transformation I go through, my most rooted and radical transformation was when I became a Christian. A new person in a new physically unseen country. My story rooted with His. That is the only remembrance needed.

So the morning talk focused on understanding that we need to see ourselves, as David grew to see himself, as deep, deep sinners in need of cleaning by a God who touches in healing, washing love. Our essential need.  The evening talk centred on what we choose and how we choose to remember. Memories come unconsciously, springing to mind at any and all times. Remembrances are consciously built.

The connection between the two talks? God’s word. His word cleans and is in itself a remembrance of and for us. God’s word is literal and metaphorical at the same time. It exists as David’s and-if we build with it-as ours. He is the word made Flesh. Jesus reminds Martha of this in Luke 10,

‘As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

41-42 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.’

Only one remembrance is essential. Only one needed. His loving cleansing word. It is His remembrance.















Daniel Jones shared this on the extraordinary and the ordinary

24 Oct

Daniel Jones shared this on the extraordinary and the ordinary


I love this work -reminds me of the Emily’s insights from Thorton Wilder’s play ‘Our Town.’


The Generosity of Prince George


The extraordinary and the ordinary

Advent wonder, help with comments…

18 Oct

I am posting a question on a series I am doing on the wonder of Advent. ( I would like your comment/feedback in two or three brief sentences to this query as I build this series ‘What does Advent mean to you? How is it a wonder?’ Consider helping me to build the series with your responses. You can sign up for the series at:

Grounded’ and ‘Blue Jasmine’-on beings blue

7 Oct

The unnamed drone pilot of George Brant’s play ‘Grounded’ and the penniless socialite Jasmine, in Woody Allen’s film ‘Blue Jasmine’ have a number of striking things in common: both are women alone, isolated by society and their own limited choices, both characters ‘lose it’ at the end of their receptive works/lives, (Jasmine, on a park bench in San Francisco and the ‘grounded’ pilot in a grey bunker somewhere out west awaiting a court marital) and both love blue. Lucy Ellinson, star of ‘Grounded,’ speaks of the blue skies that are the sole world of an F16 pilot. She lives to see, feel, taste the blue of flight. Cate Blanchett’s ‘down to earth’ Jasmine is introduced to us (and a trapped fellow airline passenger) speaking of the song ‘Blue Moon.’ This is music she heard when first met her husband. She ends the film trying to recall the song’s lyrics alone on her park bench. A ‘passenger’ next to her has moved silently, quietly away.

This movement, the desire to ‘get away’ from those who back us uncomfortable, is a flaw both works share: the women are glimpsed at in both works. Glimpsed by their creators and us. We never really get to their essences. We sit by them, and want to hear, feel and see the why of their choices, the cause of their pain as they see it, not as it is imposed on them by male creators. We want to see ‘blue.’ I don’t want to move away, hear a ‘clap’ that ends the monologue.  I want the people and the ‘whys’ of their life choices. We never see the women’s children speak about their mothers. Their voices are negated to ensure the mystery of each work’s ending. Both works ‘reveal’ a mystery at the end, each character’s fate: their beings becoming ‘blue.’ Women here are a mystery revealed, rather than people felt deeply with their ends and causes of ending identified from each work’s beginning. Their mystery-and for each of us-is at the beginning of choices, not as a consequence disclosed at a big ending. Why did we choose-why do we choose-do we even have any choice-concerning our life? Is it even our life? Both works cheat, sadly for us,  because they are engaging. Why, how did they cheat? Because the subject, ‘being blue’ is a deep one, one William Gass explored in his work ‘On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry (1976).’ Allen and Brant choose a trope, assign it to a character, but do not fully explore the character or the trope. They cheat us. But a true essence attempts to fight through each work’s flaws. It is for me a question: why are we all seemingly destined for, looking for, ‘blue?’ Are we all meant to end as blue beings?

Perhaps only a philosophical inquiry can answer such a question. But I am hoping for another attempt by each of these creators. I am hoping for something blue.

the wrong trousers

1 Oct

Hi all-this is Charlie-a Bronx lad in King Arthur’s Court

 Attached is a travel piece on the ‘village’ (it is London!!) that we are living in.

In my view London is really a series of villages basically in circles (somewhat like the Washington beltway but without the belt) while NYC is an East to West grid. Hampstead is a ‘village’ in the circles of London. I share this link as I have a story to share about my life in London-read the travel link first so you get an idea of ‘posh’ Hampstead. Now on the travel’ article’s point #7…

 Nicole Farhi’s high end clothing store was having a massive sale towards the end of July. (Basically the two sale periods here are July and December.) Priscilla convinced me to go in and try on a pair of ‘trousers.’ At 80% off they were more expensive than any other ‘trousers’ I have every bought-almost $100.00 America. But I have lost sooo much weight…I had to buy something (Clothes sent over here you have to pay custom tax on-even presents! don’t ask) so I brought them. And I got free alterations (high end store benefit!-cuffs had to come up an inch) I was to get a call to get the ‘trousers’ in three days. After a week and Priscilla’s call, I called. We were first told that their driver of the tailor’s delivery vehicle got lost (for two weeks!!) But after I called I was told the truth:

Nicole Farhi’s high end clothing store was in ‘administration.’ (Bankrupt) The tailor who was to do the alteration was holding my trousers that I already paid for till He got paid. I was ‘out of luck.’ There was nothing to be done. Well I told the manager-as this was the last straw for service over here for me-that I was from NYC and I wanted my trousers in 24 hours. Or else.

Priscilla picked them up the next day. What did I tell him? I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. What was my ‘special offer?’

 I told the gentlemen on the phone that:

1.      They choose the tailor

2.     I paid for the ‘trousers’ and needed them as NONE of my pants fit me as I lost so much weight

3.     That they had other stores around London and what he needed to do-as this was a problem WE shared-was to call the other stores and find the exact pair of ‘trousers’ that I had brought in Hampstead and

4.     …have them deliver to the Hampstead store early the next day or…

5.     I was going to the store and speak in a loud voice about how my ‘pants’ were being held for ransom by a tailor and that Nicole Farhi was in ‘Administration.’

 James, the manager, got me the trousers. (Navy blue)  They fit like a glove. I got a friend from church to do the alteration.