Thursday, February 14, 2008

Shallow observations

1. I'm almost to the point of trying to put all my clothes into the washing machine and/or dryer inside-out, so that maybe, just once, they will come out rightside-to.

2. A bad thing about Reality TV is when your
favorite show is not anybody else's favorite show at the office. You have nobody with whom to talk about it, and you'd feel stupid going on the show's blog.

3. We each got a heart cookie in the office today for Valentine's Day, and everybody acted like pleased toddlers. Is that our inner child, or our immature adult talking?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Then grant us, Lord, like them to be, full oft in fast and prayer with Thee

'Tis Ash Wednesday and I'm linking you to cooler places than here:

The Church Signs talk to each other about the tradition (If you haven't seen the Church Signs series, you've missed out)

40 Ways To Improve Your Lent, a 2004 article from the Milwaukee Catholic Herald newspaper. A nice and occasionally quirky balance of the three elements of Lenten practice: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Some people are being silly in the office, offering to draw ashes on each other's heads with a magic marker. Why be so jumpy about the simple need to purify ourselves, to clear our hearts and minds to listen more intently to the Gospel?

I left about half my ashes on - Father really smoodged me good and big this morning, and I had to cut them down a little and shake the extras out of my eyebrows! There's no regulation about what to do with them - worrying about that is superstitious. You can wipe them right off (the Europeans, who get ashed on the top of their heads, are expected to shake them right off, or brush them off), or leave them on and be a witness or bear a little embarassment for humility's sake. I left some on for both of those reasons, and they'll wear off through the day

So let's be thoughtful and a little more silent, thinking about what keeps us alive and what keeps this world turning, what gives us hope and propels our faith.

HT to Amy Welborn for some of the links and The Internet Monk for the cool graphic.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

"Like Your Cross"

If that isn't a Christian-spotting gambit, I don't know what is. A new employee in our company was in my office and we were getting to know one another, swapping industry war stories, playing "do you know so-and-so?" Her parting statement was a gesture to my little bulletin-board San Damiano Cross as shown above, the cross that St. Francis of Assisi prayed before.

Now we'll see what the next move is. I like this game! I remember feeling my way through the staff when I got here, looking for the code words:

Church names? "St. Female Name?" Catholic, easy one, with the exception of "St. Mary's," which is always Episcopalian. "St. Gospel-Writer-Name?" Could be Catholic, but could be Episcopalian or Lutheran. "All Souls/All Saints?" Episcopalian 9 out of 10 times. "First?" Mainline probably already fallen into liberalthink. "Willow/Harvest/Freedom?" Non-denom, Emergent, and sincere, probably.

Phrases? "It's a blessing that...."
"The kids drew that in Sunday school..."
"Yeah, a normal weekend, shopping, yard work, church,......"

Then comes the next level of discovery, waiting for something funny the celebrant said and then listening for whether you call them a pastor, a minister, a priest. It's like a pinball game, as the ball rolls down through the various alleys. "Priest?" Easy one. "Pastor?" Probably Lutheran. "Minister?" Who knows, reset the sights and try might not even have a Christian yet with "minister."

What's your lure of choice to draw out the Christians in the crowd?


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"There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know."

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