Bro. Joel is right about Pippa Passes - but (1) as kin and (2) at his request, he is DISQUALIFIED from the cornucopia, the horn of plenty, the carefully selected volume from Roger's Endless Box of Books. So the contest continues! Who can best answer WHY that phrase is used in blog entries, articles and most of my emails? Winner will be announced sometime Friday night, 11 April. Obviously, I'll need corporeal address - However, the fact that Elu elected to divert his friends to this humble scribe does not mean that anyone needs to "uncloak." I will jealously guard the identity, etc., mainly by the process of forgetting to write it down anywhere except the label of the book package.
I have had a flash of inspiration or, indeed, divine revelation concerning the five clerics/spiritual advisors who are currently present in my life. It is unfortunate that the term "rabbi" went out of style for Christian clerics. They are rabbis in the old meaning: teachers. It's improbable that these five will ever gather together in the physical world - Parson Jim and Pastor Josh are in West Virginia; Bro. Joel in Indiana; and Father Dick & Mother Kristina (my titles) are in New Orleans. But they are bound together nevertheless. I have at different times suggested to each of them that they begin to sell indulgences, and so far none of them has taken me up on it. The term "rabbi" reminds me of a fellow I worked EMS with 25+ years ago - that was his nickname, "Rabbi," because he would strongly sermonize drunks who got us out of bed to go pick them up. Um, I don't think the sermons did much good. But he tried.
I went to two political fundraisers (the local catchy term these days is "friendraisers") this afternoon. I'm sometimes agog seeing how many people I know and feel comfortable with. Politics has the capacity to generate hard feelings, and there are some "feuds" around here which go back many elections. I'm not a part of any particular "faction" of the Democratic party other than the "unify after the primary" crowd. Nevertheless, there are and will be a few hard feelings in some of the races. I am sending around an op-ed in favor of a candidate for the Supreme Court. I sent a draft to a very dear friend (who is a lawyer) and she responded in the most appropriate and remarkable manner: "Roger, I respectfully disagree with everything you're saying. Oh, let's get together for coffee soon." See? It actually is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.
I've been "observing" the content of various ritual things that we humans do of late. One that struck me was the service of "Tenebrae," which I had never heard of, which involved "stripping the sanctuary," covering all the symbols, removing the flags, etc. While I had never seen this particular ritual, it closely resembles others that I have seen where participants are reminded of sadness or mourning and ritualistically turn their thoughts inward, and focus on concentration and reflection. Some would disagree, but I find the practice of focused reflection to be a valuable one. Certainly, you can overdo reflection, when it is done to the point that you are frozen and take no action in the physical world. But fools do rush in, and we often are reluctant to admit that we should have thought a bit first.
Experience and reflection: I have always been reluctant to do the visit-the-sick-at-the-hospital thing. Most of that has been justified by my belief that the patient needs quiet, rest and treatment, and that visitors don't provide any of that. I'm thinking that maybe I'm wrong. When family is an inpatient, the stay-away rule just doesn't apply. That should have been a hint to me. With the hospitalization of friends lately (this blog is one place that the brothers are being kept up to date on Bill Reid), it appears that the connection to the non-sick world is really important to the ill. I am still of two (or more) minds about the degree of candor that is appropriate with these folks. If they truly look bad, do you tell them they are looking fine? I have problems with that. If they indeed are going to die and know it, what are "the right words"? Well, these thoughts are a work in progress.
This is a rather wandering post this evening. It reminds me of the old song, "I Wonder as I Wander." I've used that in closing arguments to juries on occasion over the years - it's a rather gentle, flowing notion. I've been writing intensely for hours today, but almost none of it is for consumption beyond very small groups.
La J is peeved that the neighborhood deer are eating her day-lilies. I'm rooting for the deer.