Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008, Advent 1

© 2008 by Louie Crew

Today’s Lections

The Collect

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

At an annual meeting of the parish, the agenda is distributed with this item in first place:
The vestry has decided to change the name of the parish as a strategy to evangelize the community. Our current name has grown much too familiar. It does not make a clear statement about who we are and what we are about in the first decade of the third millennium. We need a new name to attract more people as we revitalize.

Henceforth, we will be known as ‘The Episcopal Church of the Second Coming.’

Please help us invite all of the town to join with us in vigilant anticipation of Jesus’ arrival in glorious majesty.
“But Episcopal Churches don’t use names like that!“ someone protests. We name churches after Saints, or after God (the Holy Family, Holy Trinity, Christ Church,….) or after attributes of God (Grace…) or events in the life of God (Church of the Resurrection, Church of the Nativity, Church of the Ascension…).”

“But the Second Coming is an event in the life of God!” the senior warden counters.

“If people in this town want to emphasize the second coming, there are plenty of Pentecostal and fundamentalist congregations to choose. Episcopalians have never courted that share of the market, nor the music that comes with it!” the head of the Altar Guild replies.

“We build our churches expecting them to last for generations. All those other details are metaphors for the end of life for each one of us individually, not a mass exodus and resurrection on Pay TV!” shouts another parishioner.

Isaiah 64:1-9

It would surely help with evangelism if God made an appearance in person now and then, and an occasional miracle would help too. We can use the Psalter to praise God’s mighty works in the past, but that is not close or urgent. Isaiah puts it:
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence--
as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil--
to make your name known to your adversaries
We will call Church Insurance, God, so don't hesitate. Puleeze put on a show, or at least make an appearance! Our wells are mostly invisible underground, but we have some fine malls with fountains to serve as a good venue.

Others find it difficult to to believe that God is showing up all along by incarnating highly unlikely persons and settings, and only for those who have ears t to hear and hearts to understand:
Lutibelle Imitates a Straight Male Prayer

God, I can't pray just now,
though you're the ruler
of the universe.

Some people
have been saying that you
might not even be a real man,
might be instead an androgynous mutation.

Forgive me for my difficulties
in paying attention.
I do find it distracting
if I don't know for sure
what's under that robe
you're wearing
and whether those whiskers are fake.

It was difficult enough
when those black children
started coloring you black.
Before long
even sissies will be saying
that you lisp
or go about in drag.

God, I think I'm about to lose
my religion,
and you'll
just have to thunder again
if you're going to get me back.

--from Quean Lutibelle’s Pew by Louie Crew

Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18

The psalmist also wants God to show up and fix all the problems. Psalm 80 suggests that God hasn’t shown up lately and notes that seeing God‘s countenance helps a lot with being saved.

Restore us, O God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

The psalmist admits that maybe we have angered God, but how long is God going to stay away? :

O LORD God of hosts, *
how long will you be angered
despite the prayers of your people?

As in many other psalms, the psalmist turns to self-pity:

You have fed them [us] with the bread of tears; *
you have given them [us] bowls of tears to drink.

You have made us the derision of our neighbors, *
and our enemies laugh us to scorn.

When the world took me to be straight, I was embarrassed by the psalms, especially this refrain that ‘our enemies laugh us to scorn.’ Once I came out, I understood, especially when I came out as a gay Christians.

When I came out of the closet, the psalms so clearly spoke for me about my own oppression that at one point I foolishly wondered how those who are not oppressed could see anything for themselves in psalms that complain of enemies.

I under-estimated the power of empathy: this psalm has the potential to put everyone into solidarity with all who are laughed to scorn, and not just with our own oppression.

1 Corinthians 1:3-9

I suggest that we hold onto this gentle opening of 1st Corinthians. Six chapters late, as Saint surely knows already, he’s going to scold several in the church in Corinth, particularly for their sexual immorality, but he begins the letter by buttering them up rather than by battering them:
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind-- just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you-- so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mark 13:24-37

One of my husband’s favorite t-shirts says, “Jesus is coming. Look busy.” It is interesting to watch reactions to it when he wears it public. A few seem almost to panic, as if fearing God might accidentally strike them while punishing Ernest on the spot. Some glare at him. A few smile or snicker.

In 1989, I returned to teach at a college where I had taught 18 years earlier and found the college much fallen in its energy and its mission. It had gone from teaching survivors of the worst sorts of racism, mainly first generation blacks from the rural south, to being a place for unambitious idlers who had moved into the middleclass. Students no longer had interest in academics. The new president insisted that the faculty give good grades to all to keep up the enrollments.

I shared my frustration about this shift with a dear friend in nearby Charleston, Near the end of the meal, my friend smiled gently, reached across the table, and took both my hand in his. “Louie, let go of some of your frustration, my friend. We have only a short time together, and only a short time on this earth. I doubt I‘ll make it to 40, and I know how precious each moment is.” My friend lost his battle with AIDS six months later. He was 39.

People who have survived a near-death experience also sometimes stress that they learned from it to revise their priorities, to live fully now, the only time we are guaranteed.

Did Jesus forfeit some of his omniscience in becoming fully human? Jesus told his disciples that “this generation will not pass away” before the eschaton.
Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake-- for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake
Saint too counseled the Corinthian Christians to expect the “Day of the Lord” and be ready for it.

381 years later a second council at Nicea approved as part of the creed: “He will come again in glory, to judge the living and the dead, and his Kingdom will have no end."

Now. almost 2000 years since the resurrection, no Church is called “The Episcopal Church of the Second Coming.”

For now, it seems Advent is it.

"Behold, I come quickly"

Even so come, Lord Jesus.

See also

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008. Christ the King

© 2008 by Louie Crew

Today’s Lections

As an lgbt person, I listen with trepidation when Jesus tells the church that it has the power to choose who is in and who is out. There are many Christians who will endanger the lives of lgbt persons if indeed they hold the keys to the kingdom. If God binds in heaven what they have bound on earth and looses in heaven what they have loosed on earth, lgbts are in deep trouble, as are many others who have been cast out.

I rejoice that Christ the King has not abdicated. Christ the King gets the last word and uses criteria very different from those used by enemies of lgbts in many parts of the church. Christ’s rule is “most gracious” and Christ desires all people to be freed and brought together:

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

The Anglican Communion strains with conflict about lgbt persons. We hear much about the “Four “Instruments of Unity” (The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Primates Meeting, the Lambeth Conference, and the Anglican Consultative Council), yet it is clear that the majority of the primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury have no place of respect for lgbts and our friends in the unity they envision.

The Archbishop invited to the 2008 Lambeth Conference persons who support governments that imprison lgbts and even put us to death just for being who we are, yet the Archbishop refused an invitation to gay bishop +Gene Robinson, duly elected as Bishop of New Hampshire.

Little in the actions or the rhetoric of the bishops would bring lgbts together within the Anglican Communion. Several bishops have supported Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, who has asserted that gays are “lower than pigs or dogs.”

Not so with Christ’s rule, which is “most gracious.” It is Christ, not the primates nor the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and it is Christ who wants to bring us all together.

Christ did not shout or even groan from the cross: “My sacrifice is for heterosexuals only!”

“God so loved the world that God gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes on him shall have everlasting life.”

Just what part of whosoever is so difficult to understand?

Psalm 100

What a gem! So much so that it is easy to recite in ecstasy not noticing some of its assertions:

  • We did not make ourselves. God did
  • We belong to God.
  • God is good.
  • God’s property is always to show mercy (even when others do not)
  • God’s mercy and goodness will last forever
  • Liturgy should be exuberant.
But read the psalm. It says it far better. I am glad that those who collected the Psalter gave this psalm a big round number. Psalm 100 and Psalm 23, must be the most memorized of all the psalms. Say them both ‘by heart.’

Ephesians 1:15-23

Saint wants active listeners, listeners that pay attention “that with the eyes of your hearts enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.”

I relish Saint’s syntactical flourishes. Remember that he is writing this for the poor, for those not approved by an earthly king yet fully aware of kings all around them.

His first sentence is warm up. He continues, ever the master of sound bytes to encapsulate his entire theology:

“God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

Even into our adulthood, neighbors liked to repeat what they overhead when Charles, my friend across the street, 6, and I, 4, sat arguing in a sand pile:
Charles: My dad has more money than your dad has.

Louie: No he does not. How much does your daddy have?

Charles: He has ten thousand dollars.

Louie: Well my daddy has twenty thousand dollars.

Charles: Well my daddy has one hundred thousand dollars.

Louie: Well my daddy has a million dollars.

Charles: That’s nothing. My daddy has a trillion, trillion dollars.

Louie: [silent]

Charles: Whatsamatter? Your daddy can’t top that I betya! My daddy has a trillion, trillion dollars!

Louie: My daddy has so much money that there are not enough words to say it!
“Christ the King”, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”: they are a bit like that. We really need Handel to sing it for us if we expect to say it right. Hallelujah!

Matthew 25:31-46

But our King of Kings and Lord of Lords is radically humble in exercising his majesty on the ‘Great Getting Up Morning.’

Straights will be judged not by how right or wrong they are in arguments about sexuality, but by how well they treated Jesus when Jesus masqueraded as the lowliest lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered persons.

LGBTs will be judged not by how right or wrong they are in arguments about sexuality, but by how well they treated Jesus when Jesus masqueraded as those who disagree with lgbts.

What a wondrous religion! God leaves us stuck with each other -- stuck not just with our friends but also with our enemies. God gives us a model of prayer to remind us again and again: “God, use the same standard in judging me that I use in judging those who have sinned against me.”

It is dangerous to pray the Lord’s Prayer if we don’t really mean it.

See also

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2009

© 2008 by Louie Crew

Today’s Lections

Waiting for God‘s Handouts

Psalm 123

With God “enthroned in the heavens” the psalmist watches God's hand closely, expecting a hand-out:

As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, *
and the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,

So our eyes look to the LORD our God, *
until he show us his mercy.

What can a servant do to attain an employer’s favor? Attend to the employer’s every need and keep your eyes on the employer’s hand for a gratuity.

Watch the eyes of a beggar approaching a friend with whom you are walking down the street. You will often see this same dynamic. The beggar is watching your friend's hand: is any money there? The beggar’s eyes will often move to your own hands before the beggar turns to ask you for help.

The psalmist puts us in the same relationship with God.

Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy, *
for we have had more than enough of contempt,

Too much of the scorn of the indolent rich, *
and of the derision of the proud.

Enough already! Indeed.

I stayed away from Lambeth altogether while it happened. It is not a healthy spectator sport. I quietly went off all discussion lists and was amazed at how cleansed I felt. When the Conference ended, I easily sped through a few good summaries to see what I need to know, sans the contempt.

Lgbts have had far too much of the scorn and derision of those proud to think they are better than we are. Lord, I am watching your hand for the most valuable gratuity possible: mercy. Lord, have mercy.

The Collect
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I rejoice that Episcopalians do not have to hang up our minds when we enter. The bible is not a weapon with which to clobber us, but a book to study, even with a high-lighter, not just be told, but to be challenged to think for ourselves about what we read.

When we “inwardly digest,” our own body chemistry alters what we have eaten to appropriate it for our own nurture, for our own spiritual experience, and there is nothing wrong about critical thinking.

I taught the bible as literature at state universities for many years. Sometimes I would begin the course by bringing in a bucket of dirty water and a worn out paperback of the Bible we used in the class.

“Holy Bible” refers to what is in it, not to the binding, the paper, or typeface. In this course, this book will have to compete with any other books that you have studied. What you do privately with it is your own business. In this class, this book must earn its title of ‘holy’ just as we expect any other book to live up to the claims it makes for itself and the claims that others make for it.

We Episcopalians hear more scripture in our worship than do the congregations of most other Christian groups. We hear it in a context of reverence, not a context that promotes the kind of inspection, challenge, and rigor that a student devotes to a chemistry text.

Many of my students in the bible class are atheists, Muslims, Buddhists…… If they take the two classes (Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Scriptures), they will spend a minimum of 90 hours in class and in intense homework. They would have to go to church every Sunday for 26 years to get that much exposure to scripture if the sermon and the lectionary devote at least 12 minutes to Scripture.

My undergraduate classes are demanding, but clearly only introductory. It is small wonder to me that so many Episcopalians, known for more than our share of advanced education, are biblically illiterate.

Coptics who take my classes are somewhat in the position of Puerto Ricans taking Spanish 101: it’s an easy “A” if they do the work because they already have native competence. Coptics do not typically do much evangelism but depend on maintaining their numbers by training their own children. They know that if a generation does not know Scripture, they will die out.

Episcopalians have spent much of the last 50 years cutting back on Christian education in the parish and dismantling most of our college chaplainries. "We have been eating our seed corn," says my friend John Worrell, who for many years was Episcopal Chaplain at Rice University."

Just out of college, I left the faith when I discovered how evil many Christians took me to be. I mistakenly believed that they spoke for God. Yet, because I have academic minors in New Testament Greek and in religion, throughout my career I have taught Scripture. God has used Scripture in a major way to communicate love and mercy to lgbt persons.

Today's collect squares with my own experience: when I “inwardly digest” scripture, I am led to “embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life.”

Judges 4:1-7

I do not enjoy the blood and gore of the history book Judges, nor the Israelite tendency to see God as always on their side. Nevertheless, Deborah makes a pleasant break with the steady stream of patriarchs-in-charge. The lectionary often protects our corporate worship from seeing a really strong female, like Jael. Deborah, however, strong herself, foresaw that a woman would overthrow Sisera, the Canaanite bully who oppressed Israel for 20 years. In Atermisia Gentileschi painting we watch as she puts a tent peg through Sisera’s temple

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Saint keeps at eschatology. For him, “end times” was not just a metaphor. He expected the second-coming at any moment, as Jesus warned last Sunday, in the night and at the moment you least expect it to happen.

It’s amazing the way that Christianity is still widespread 21 centuries later, with far more adherents than it had in the first 5 centuries combined, with now very few expecting the second coming any time soon. Only after several centuries did Christians start building edifices designed to last for generations after the builders had died.

Matthew 25:14-30

The easy way to interpret this parable is to see the servant as wicked for not at least investing his money with bankers so that he would have something to give his master when the master returns.

“Go to your first national bank and be done with it, lazy man.”

But when Matthew was written and for centuries thereafter, usury (charging an interest on money lent) was a sin big time. See Exodus 22:25-27, Deuteronomy 23:19,20. Nehemiah 5:11, et al.

By not investing the money, the servant was honoring the biblical standard.

That cultural reality makes the easy interpretation patently false. Can you tell this story so that the servant is the obedient character and the owner the disobedient? Or might Jesus have intended still another interpretation? Be sure to try to reconcile all of the details with your interpretations.

See also

Sunday, November 9, 2008

© 2008 by Louie Crew

Today’s Lections

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25

We should call this “Billy Graham Sunday,” so strong is his evangelical connection to the lesson from Joshua. Graham’s tv program for years was “The Hour of Decision,” or in Joshua’s terms, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”

Joshua decides for himself and for his whole family that they will serve the lord. He gives a choice to the others, but insists that the Israelites know what is at stake in their decision. He warns against too easy assent. He asserts that God will not forgive them if they choose to serve God now and then turn to serve other gods.

Note that the decision Joshua calls for is not the individual choice that Billy Graham calls for. Joshua decided for his family and presumably for their descendents, with no indication that individuals had significant input to the decision.

It is also not clear whether the choice Joshua offers is a free and equal one. He says that God will punish if they decide for God and then desert to other gods, but Joshua does not say whether God will punish those who choose other gods from the beginning.

The Collect

The Episcopal Church has no one document that collects all of its doctrine, nor any series of ‘confessional statements,’ such Presbyterians write to clarify their beliefs.

On September 30, 1990 Rt. Rev. Walter Righter, then the Assistant Bishop of Newark, ordained to the diaconate Barry Stopfel, an out gay male with a male partner. Ten Bishops with jurisdiction signed a presentment to bring Bishop Righter to trial. Later a total of 76 bishops, signed the presentment, most of them retired. On May 13, 1996, almost six years after Righter‘s alleged offence, the Court for the Trial of a Bishop exonerated Bishop Righter, saying that in the ordination, he had not violated any core doctrine of The Episcopal Church. Core doctrine for the court was to be found in in the creeds, in Scripture, and in how we pray. All else is Adiaphora, i.e., matters not regarded as central to the faith but allowable. See my collection of materials about the trial

When push comes to serve, the BCP has major status in determining what Episcopalians “choose to believe.” Treating the BCP as a source, what beliefs do we find in today’s collect?

O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The collect asks us to affirm that the devil is real. Are we heretics if we reject the notion of a devil?

The collect assumes that Jesus’ purpose in being in the world was to make us God’s children and heirs of eternal life. It invites us to assert that to accomplish this purpose, Jesus had to destroy the works of the devil.

Why is the devil not mentioned in the creed? Obviously Christians would not pay allegiance to the devil, but are we really required to believe the devil exists?

Or is the devil just a literary device to personify the works of evil? If so, then is god just a literary device to personify the works of good?

Suppose a friend says to you, “I have had a real battle with the devil over the last few weeks.” How much farther will the friend need to go before you determine that the person is mentally unstable? Or would that sentence alone convince you?

Suppose a friend drives your car without permission, wrecks it, and cannot afford the repairs. The friend tells you, “I am so sorry, but the devil made me do it.”

Or coming at it from another angle, suppose you return from a vacation to find that in your absence, the Doukhobors have entered your home, collected anything that could be called ‘a modern convenience,’ and have burned those things in your yard while dancing naked around the bonfire to abjure these works of the devil.

In the 1960s artist Walter Sorge painted a series of abstractions depicting grotesque, obese nude Doukhobors dancing to purify the community of all of the works of modernity.

What in your own theology is ‘core doctrine’ and what is Adiaphora?

If today you could make or re-make a religious choice that would save your soul for eternity, what would it be?

When others around you are saying the creed, how much do they really believe, and in what sense?

Mother and Dad died six months apart, in 1982. During the second funeral, I stayed with Mama Moore, a close family friend, my parents’ contemporary, and my tutor in Latin 30 years earlier. Mama Moore was a pillar of the Baptist Church where she belonged, as well as a smaller pillar of the Episcopal Church nearby, where she would often sneak to worship.

After the funeral, we sat in her back garden for supper.

“Louie, I suppose I am a Buddhist, because I really don’t believe in the afterlife,” she said. “I believe,” she continued, “that the only immortality that we have is in the memory of those whose lives we have helped shape. Please do not forget your parents.

I can ‘pass’ the creed with a lie detector test, but I am very glad that up until this point TEC does not require one. We’ll have to wait and see what the proposed Anglican covenant will try to impose upon provinces that want to be in good standing.

Psalm 78:1-7

Today’s psalm shares Mama Moore’s concern that we re-Member, ‘make a member again,’ emphasizing that we should not forget God’s actions in our collective history:

I will open my mouth in a parable; *
I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.

That which we have heard and known,
and what our forefathers have told us, *
we will not hide from their children.

We will recount to generations to come
the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the LORD, *
and the wonderful works he has done.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Clearly Mama Moore did not agree with Saint this time, and felt she could comfort me with words quite opposite to these.
[T]he dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever
If you do not agree with Saint on this vision of the afterlife , would you see any reason to remain a practicing Christian, as Mama Moore did?

If when you die, that is your end, save as you live on in those whose lives you have helped shape, would you still remain a Christian? Would God continue to love you regardless?

Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus amplifies Joshua’s urgency. Joshua stressed “choose you this day.” Jesus points out that you must be ready on short notice: you may not have time to get ready if you wait until the last minute.

Is that the same fervor which drives the Doukhobors in their naked acts of ritual purification?

Caveat: Don’t get carried away, as did a passionate country Baptist preacher I heard once exhorting his congregation: “How would you like to be stuck out in the cold dark night with ten foolish virgins?”


Letter to Hong Kong from my 8th-Grade Latin

Teacher in Alabama, 36 Years Later

Vowed I would not let another week pass
before I wrote.

Back from Charlotte for my last checkup for my eyes.
I had surgery there in November.
Did not realize I could not see colors correctly
until the first cataract was gone.

I see fine now.

Don't know from whom you hear in town,
but I'll try first to list those
of your Mother's friend's who've also died:

  • Evelyn (57 yrs.), died Thursday after a
    three-yr. valiant battle with cancer.
  • Ralph from cancer about a month ago.
    He had a lovely second wife.
  • Harriet, his daughter lost one of her sons in
    the Service before Christmas.
    She is divorced. He dropped a bomb. They were loaded.
  • Mary Francis was found dead in bed last fall.
    She was Van's stepmother.
  • Fred and his wife were brutally murdered in March.
  • Mr. Mill is gone,
  • Garvin gone.
  • Clarence is still here, in body only. Poor thing.
  • Virginia (Mrs. Fred Sr.) is gone. Her house,
    in front of Clarence's is vacant still.
  • Sunny Sr. is gone. Poor Tommy, his wife, is
    senile, and so pathetic.
  • Dr. S. (Donald) has Parkinson's disease. They
    don't talk about it, but you can surely tell it.
  • Marvin has cancer all over him. Pitiful.
  • Thomas is in very poor condition.
  • Rose still hangs on.
  • Doris is gone, as is Catherine.
My garden is very pretty now, but so full of weeds.
I've spent today watering it.
And they all have Baptist appetites.
I can't work in it like I used to
because of a bad back and foot and 80 years!
Get the fellows from the Fellowship House, alcoholics,
to help me and they are pretty good for the most part.
I enjoy it, and so do my friends.

What do you think of all the Methodist hullabaloo
about deleting "Onward Christian Soldiers" from the hymnal?
And the Baptists quarreling
about what is and isn't true in the Bible?
Two august bodies spending precious time on such silly things.

By the way, our minister resigned on Sunday.
For my part, I am delighted.
Wish we could get a little more mature fellow than we have had.
And in Charlotte, the minister of the largest Baptist Church
has left the Baptist and going to become an Episcopal priest!

Oh yes, Justin R. is in London with a liver transplant,
doing very well.

Poor Hazel is here on needles and pins.
She was over there for three months. Just returned, in fact.

What are you doing during the vacation? I'd love to see you.
I'm home for good, I think.
Can't take all this running around any more.
I'm surely glad I did all my gadding when I was younger.

Let me hear from you.

Mrs. M. (1986)

See also