Had a slight panic today, while out on Long Island on some personal business. I order my traditional Ash Wednesday tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich for lunch and it occurred to me that I didn't know if Episcopalians considered Ash Wednesday a fast day and if so, what fasting meant to an Episcopalian. I made the decision that throwing away the food would be a bigger sin then eating on a day where I should be fasting. I spoke with Tom before the service this evening and found out that there is no requirement to fast.
The evening mass at CHR was sparsely attended, to the point that I wonder if there are A&P Episcopalians. One thing that struck me about Jim's sermon was 6 things to give up for Lent (all beginning with the letter A). Anxiety, Anger, Averous, Animosity, Acquisition, and Apathy. As certain things in that list seem to apply to me (Acquisition for example) it is something I will look into.
For some reason Flickr does not provide an RSS feed of the photos on their "interesting" page, so I spent some time building a script to create a feed over lunch.
Like my APOD feed it has flickr style enclosures that work with FlickrFan and other pieces of software.
The RSS feed is stored here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/seanreiser/flickrinterestingness It should be updated every couple of hours.
Share and Enjoy!
Alex Handed this to me and I thought it was appropriate
Garrison Keillor on Episcopalians
(An essay by Garrison Keillor)
We make fun of Episcopalians for their blandness, their excessive calm, their fear of giving offense, their lack of speed and also for their secret fondness for macaroni and cheese. But nobody sings like them. If you were to ask an audience in Des Moines, a relatively Episcopalianless place, to sing along on the chorus of "Michael Row the Boat Ashore," they will look daggers at you as if you had asked them to strip to their underwear. But if you do this among Episcopalians, they'd smile and row that boat ashore and up on the beach! ....And down the road!
Many Episcopalians are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony, a talent that comes from sitting on the lap of someone singing alto or tenor or bass and hearing the harmonic intervals by putting your little head against that person's rib cage. It's natural for Episcopalians to sing in harmony. We are too modest to be soloists, too worldly to sing in unison. When you're singing in the key of C and you slide into the A7th and D7th chords, all two hundred of you, it's an emotionally fulfilling moment. By our joining in harmony, we somehow promise that we will not forsake each other.
I do believe this, people: Episcopalians, who love to sing in four-part harmony are the sort of people you could call up when you're in deep distress. If you are dying, they will comfort you. If you are lonely, they'll talk to you. And if you are hungry, they'll give you tuna salad!
Episcopalians believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked to pray out loud. Episcopalians like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn or a hymn with more than four stanzas.
Episcopalians believe their Rectors will visit them in the hospital, even if they don't notify them that they are there. Episcopalians usually follow the official liturgy and will feel it is their way of suffering for their sins.
Episcopalians believe in miracles and even expect miracles, especially during their stewardship visitation programs or when passing the plate.
Episcopalians feel that applauding for their children's choirs will not make the kids too proud and conceited.
Episcopalians think that the Bible forbids them from crossing the aisle while passing the peace.
Episcopalians drink coffee as if it were the Third Sacrament.
Episcopalians feel guilty for not staying to clean up after their own wedding reception in the Fellowship Hall.
Episcopalians are willing to pay up to one dollar for a meal at church.
Episcopalians still serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color of the season and Episcopalians believe that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and never take themselves too seriously.
As I mentioned in my last post I scheduled a meeting with Tom Synan, another priest at CHR. The meeting was positive, everyone I've met from the parish has been an exceptional person.
We spent a lot of time discussing some of the differences between the Churches. Topics from Mary, to the Rosary to the differences in Christian Calisthenics (when people stand sit and kneel) were discussed. As he came from a similar background from me we discussed his initial exposure to Episcopalism and how he got to where he is today.
He is also the first person to understand why I find "coffee hour" odd. I know it's an attempt to build community, but I find it.. duno... Been in Church for half an hour... time to leave now, you know?
Met with Jim Burns today who answered some of my questions about The Episcopal Church and discussed with me some of the things that have been bothering me.
Conversations ranged from The Eucharist, to The Virgin Mary; from George Carlin and baseball (he actually used the baseball vs football bit as a basis for baseball being the more heavenly sport since all you want to do is be safe at home) to St. Christopher. I had a number of my misconceptions cleared up (the joys of going to Catholic School, you lump all the protestants together).
One of the interesting things I take out of the meeting was Jim was no matter what happens this is a good journey. I might become an Episcopalian, I might remain Catholic, but not matter what happens I will become a better Christian out of this experience and that might be all that's important.
Tom Synan, another member of the Clergy converted from Catholicism we're going to chat in 2 weeks.
Nothing drastic.But after the "Let's Assume...." thing I have decided to chat with one of the ministers, the rector, Rev. Burns. For the record I'm not converting, just looking for more opinions about the feeling I'm having. Listening to him preach I feel he's a fair man and that he's not going to give a hard sell. Alex agrees with my assessment of him.. I have set up an appointment with him on 12/4 we'll see how that goes.
So, in the interest of full disclosure, I went to confession this evening. As I've said before, I haven't receive the sacraments in the Episcopalian Church (I know where the line is, I have no intention of crossing it, until I make some sort of decision), but I want to discuss the situation with a Priest.
Now, my previous discussions with Priests when questioning my faith haven't always ended well. Most infamously one time, when I was really angry with G_d over some thing that were happening in my life he suggested that I get married and a good woman would solve all my problems.
So this time, I'm there explaining to this Priest that I'm rather conflicted, that I've been attending an Episcopal Church alongside the Catholic Church and I'm rather confused. I explain how I feel more at peace at that church then his own or any other Catholic Church for that matter. I mention that I have a few friends in this church and have come to respect the clergy there. I don't know what I expected from this but the line the Priest stated with shocked me "Well, let's assume there's such a thing as honest Episcopalian". He then continued with a "the only way to Heaven is through the Catholic Church" talk that was shocking. To be honest, I believe that it's what in a person's heart and actions, not where they worship that decides their position in the afterlife. I went in looking for compassion and get fire and brimstone. Never before have I been tempted to laugh in a confessional.
For those that might be curious, the penance for attending an Episcopal Church is 2 Our Fathers, 3 Hail Marys and 1 Act of Contrition.
Don't know how long I can keep this up, but I have decided to "double dip" for a while. By this I mean attend service in both my Catholic Parish and the Episcopal Parish I found, as much as humanly possible.
I find the differences yet similarities between the Episcopal Service and the Roman Catholic fascinating. Little differences, for example in the Nicene Creed, the Catholics say "was born of the Virgin Mary and became man", where the Episcopals say "became incarnate from the Virgin Mary and was made man". Exchanging the Sign of Peace is done before the offertory not after the Lord's Prayer. There's also more kneeling (during The Lord's Prayer, and the prayers for intercession). They had planned for the additional kneeling though, the kneelers are more comfortable.
I still feel like I belong in this Church but I can't tell you why (perhaps that's where faith should come in). One question though... what's with the coffee and donuts after the service... don't these people know that "Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord" involves leaving?
I think I'll make this the "first post" on this 'blog. I put First Post in quotes because I am posting things out of order and backdating a number of the early posts here . This, along with a number of the early posts, are a slightly sanitized version of what's in a paper journal I keep.
Last night, at Alex's suggestion, I went to the Evensong at the Church of the Heavenly Rest, an Episcopal Church on the Upper East Side something that has confused me to no end. The main reason I was going there was out of convenience, since I was not going to a service that morning, I was going to be in the neighborhood anyway and Alex described sounded nice and potentially moving. With that said I was not prepared for what I found.
Over the last year or 2 I have found myself moving away from The Catholic Church from both a political and social perspective. I really don't understand how the church can excommunicate groups like Catholics for a Free Choice but not murderers. I don't understand how the Church can deny the Eucharist to someone who's divorced but not to someone who's committed rape. I don't understand hot the Church can go after politicians who are pro-choice, but not go after politicians who are in favor of the war. Maybe I'm oversimplify things but if Christ surrounded himself with tax collectors, prostitutes and Samaritans (all of who were considered the "dredges of society" of the day) who is His Church to turn anyone away?
I have to say I was moved, practically to tears during the service. It was a level of peace that I haven't had in a few years. I have to admit, being a life long Catholic I had gotten to a point that I believed that all protestants were Baptist-like (Choir Robes, Preaching and Hallelujahs). I wasn't expecting a service that in many ways was a more solemn that most Catholic Masses. I also it has been a long time since I have believed that I belong at in a Church.
All that said, I was not looking for a new Church when I went there (or as my friend Missi accused me of, Church Shopping). I was taking advantage of a situation places before me. What it means I don't know, but it is something I'm going to look into further.