Archive for the ‘Various Memories and Opinions’ Category

“Stuff”   3 comments

In one of his less profane monologues, George Carlin discussed “stuff.”  Our houses are where we keep our stuff, he said.  The manner in which Carlin said “stuff” indicated the low importance of what he referred to as “stuff.”

I have become less materialistic as I have aged.  Even if an object is lovely and I may consider owning it pleasant, I consider a counter-argument:  It will occupy space and collect dust.  And, when I move from Dwelling A to Dwelling B, I will have to decide whether to take it with me.  Also, given that I helped to clean out the apartments of my deceased grandmother and my dead girlfriend three months apart, I know viscerally the truth of Luke 12:15:

…for life does not consist in abundance of possessions.

The Revised New Jerusalem Bible (2019)

“Stuff” is on my mind as I make final preparations to move to the opposite corner of the state in less than a week.

I have been thinking in practical terms.  I have pared my library down to about 600 volumes, small, by my standards.  Given that I will not have my own kitchen again for a few years, I have decided to part with almost all of my kitchen supplies.  I gave some away to a family yesterday.  (They needed these items immediately.)  I have decided to put nearly all of the rest in the back of my pickup truck and haul them to my favorite thrift store on the next non-rainy day.  I have reserved a U-Haul trailer; I have granted myself that much space, plus the cab and bed of the truck.

What which matters most is intangible.  “Stuff” is merely “stuff.”  Hair is hair, and ought not to function as a statement of vanity.  That hair takes a while to grow out after each self-administered pandemic buzz cut, but so be it.  And how much of x does one person really need?  I own two sets of sheets, so I can change the bed covers without having to wait for the laundry to finish.  This number of sets of sheets makes sense to me.  Practical matters aside, relationships matter more than “stuff” ever will.  Trust me, O reader; I wish I could still spend time with my beloved Bonny, watch old movies with her, and dine with her.

As I prepare to leave Athens, Georgia, and drive to my new home in Americus, Georgia, I know that (a) I am leaving much “stuff” in good places and (b) leaving places where I have forged relationships that have altered my being for the better.  I also know that this is the time to go.  Therefore, I have mixed feelings about moving.  I am simultaneously emotionally ready to move and sad to do so.  I will miss my parish of about sixteen years yet will remain connected to it via my lectionary class via Zoom, due to the pandemic.  And I will join a parish I have visited for about fifteen years.

“Stuff” is…”stuff.”  The abundance of life resides elsewhere.  We all need some “stuff.”  So be it.  We all retain some items for sentimental reasons.  Given that this practice does not become excessive and burdensome, especially to those who will have to clean out our abodes after we die, that is harmless.  We need to be careful to possess items, not to become their possessions.  How much of our lives ought we to spend in the service of inanimate objects?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 5, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Blogging Update–September 19, 2021   Leave a comment

Thank you, O reader, for visiting SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

SUNDRY THOUGHTS is one of seven weblogs I maintain.  Obviously, I do not focus on all seven weblogs simultaneously.  Each weblog is a different channel of my online presence.

As of today, I am focusing on BLOGA THEOLOGICA, which links into SUNDRY THOUGHTS.  A project, “Reading the General Epistles,” is underway at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.  A follow-up project, “Reading Revelation,” is underway, in longhand, in a notebook at my writing desk.  The Jerusalem Bible, the germane volumes of The Interpreter’s Bible (1957) and The New Interpreter’s Bible (1998), M. Eugene Boring’s 1989 commentary from the Interpretation series, and Ernest Lee Stoffel’s The Dragon Bound:  The Revelation Speaks to Our Time (1981) are stacked up on that writing desk.

For daily devotions, I refer you, O reader, to ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS, which also links into SUNDRY THOUGHTS.  Each of my weblogs links into the other six.

May something you read at any of my weblogs bless you.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 19, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Update:

I have completed “Reading Revelation.”  I have scheduled the remainder of “Reading the General Epistles” and all of “Reading Revelation” for publication at BLOGA THEOLOGICA, at the rate of one post per day, through October 21, 2021.

KRT

September 27, 2021 Common Era

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Posted September 19, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

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Programming, Interrupting Commercials   Leave a comment

ADVERTISEMENTS, ASSAULTS UPON HUMAN DIGNITY

Once upon a time, when I had a head full of black hair and dinosaurs roamed the planet, I lived near Cordele, Georgia.  Cordele had a local, independent UHF television station.  I watched enough of that station’s output to realize that the shows interrupted the advertisements.  Even worse, most of these advertisements were, to be polite, homespun.

I have noticed the same issue becoming worse on YouTube in recent years.  The advertisements are not always well-produced either.  I enjoy certain YouTube channels.  One, in particular, consists of men exploring abandoned buildings and cemeteries in western Georgia and eastern Alabama.  I, being a student of history, enjoy old buildings and cemeteries.  Call me weird, if you choose, O reader.  The content is fascinating.  The irritating factor is that, every five minutes, an advertisement interrupts the video.

I used to listen to much music on YouTube.  I, being a Western classicist, am a natural music snob.  I attest that any genre of music that is neither classical nor jazz is inferior to them.  As I once said in reference to country music, it fits the technical definition of music.  And to quote Cynthia Tucker, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, from some years ago,

Rappers would starve if they had to sing for their supper.

I may have insulted some sacred cows.  So be it.  (If I cannot express my opinions on my own weblogs, where can I express them?)  Anyhow, I used to listen to much music on YouTube.  I tired of advertisements interrupting sublimely beautiful music.

I can, of course, pay YouTube not to do this to me.  I refuse, on principle.  I refuse on the grounds that I should not have to pay people NOT to advertise to me.  The summary of my attitude toward 99.99 percent of advertising is,

Is it over yet?

Relentless advertising is an assault upon human dignity.  Your dignity, O reader, stems from you having a pulse and bearing the image of God.  So does my dignity.  My value–your value–is inherent; it has nothing to do with the ability and/or willingness to purchase or watch anything.

Here I stand.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 28, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Lost Potential and the Value of Life   3 comments

Above:  A Memorial Marker in Five Points, Athens-Clarke County, Georgia

Photograph Dated February 19, 2021

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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IN MEMORY

OF

MARTIN REYNOLDS SMITH

SON OF

MR. AND MRS.

J. WARREN SMITH

WHO WAS INSTANTLY

KILLED HERE BY A

SPEEDING AUTO TRUCK ON

NOVEMBER 16TH, 1922

MAY 22, 1916

NOVEMBER 16, 1922

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I reside in the Five Points of Athens-Clarke-County.  Between one sidewalk and Lumpkin Street, across the street from a bakery, is a memorial marker one can easily miss if one does not look down and pay attention.

Martin Reynolds Smith died when he was six years old.  What might he have become, had he lived to adulthood?  What contributions might he have made to society?  How might he have affected the lives of others, for the better, overall, hopefully?

Life is precious and full of potential.  The memory of Martin Reynolds Smith persists, to the extend it does, because of a memorial marker in Five Points, Athens-Clarke County, Georgia.  In time, all of us–even the most famous people who have lived–will fade from living memory.  It will be as if we had never existed.  Walk through an old cemetery and pay attention, O reader.  Ponder how many or few people may care that those buried in that graveyard existed.  Notice that some grave markers are weathered and illegible.  Notice, too, that some graves have no markers.  Know that those lives had meaning.

Know, also, that your life has meaning, O reader.  Make it count for as much good as possible while you have breath.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 5, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Posted August 5, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

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Twelve Years of Blogging   4 comments

Above:  12

Image in the Public Domain

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I created this weblog on July 27, 2009.

Today, therefore, at the beginning of my thirteenth year of being a blogger.

Little of the oldest content of SUNDRY THOUGHTS remains; I have put the vast majority of that content out of its misery.  I had little idea of what I was doing with this weblog, or how to do it, in the summer of 2009.  I have improved with time and practice, as one should strive to do in any endeavor.

Since July 27, 2009, I have spun off seven more weblogs from SUNDRY THOUGHTS and spun one of those back into its parent.  I have, of course, changed my mind regarding certain issues (some of them in the realm of theology).  I have not, however, undertaken to alter the germane posts.  No, I have decided to treat my weblogs as journals, documenting my thoughts as they were, at the time.  Harlan Ellison, one of the greatest writers (especially in science fiction) said on the Sci-Fi Channel in the middle-late 1990s that consistency requires one to be as uninformed as one was the previous year.  I have concluded that he was correct.

My next project here at SUNDRY THOUGHTS will be “new” saints with feast days in December.  I intend to return to A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days soon.  One ecclesiastical jurisdiction or another recognizes a few of my “new” saints for December.  However, most of the names on my list come from hymnals, mainly The Hymnal (1941), of the old Evangelical and Reformed Church.  Reading about the lives of hymn writers reveals some fascinating and useful stories.

Peace!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 28, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Posted July 28, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

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A Strong Bias for the Practical   5 comments

Above:  Athens-Clarke County, Georgia

Image Source = Google Earth

Words and intentions interest me.  Indeed, words have power; the Epistle of James, for example, reminds us of that truth.  Intentions are relevant in many legal matters.  As much as words and intentions interest me, actions interest me more.  Therefore, I prefer to do something then say that I have done it, rather than proclaim my intention to do something, learn that I cannot do it, then announce that, sorry, I would have done it, except for circumstances beyond my control.

I live in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia.  Our local bypass is, informally, the Loop, for the obvious reason.

One evening, years ago, I was driving on the Loop.  Ahead of me was a vehicle that had its right turn signal on as it passed successive exits.  The right turn signal remained on between exits, too.  As I neared my exit, I activated my right turn signal then exited the Loop.  That other vehicle, with its right turn signal still on, remained on the Loop, without turning.  By the time I exited the Loop, I had ceased to believe the right turn signal.

As I drive, I pay attention to turn signals, of course.  However, I pay more attention to where vehicles go.  Some drivers turn without using turn signals, too.  I believe what people do.  I do not always believe what they say.

Consequences are about as practical as anything can be.  I recall that, years ago, there was a certain state representative from Athens who sponsored anti-abortion legislation.  (I dislike abortion as much as the next person who tries to respect the image of God in each human being.  I also recognize that certain strategies are more effective than others, while others are ineffective.)  I also recall that this legislation triggered another law–the law of unintended consequences.  I remember that this state law interfered with the malpractice insurance of certain health care professionals.    I also recall that the state representative refused to apologize for this unintended consequence.

May all of us live according to mutuality, compassion, respect, and love.  May we say what we mean, mean what we say, and try to avoid the law of unintended consequences.  May our words and actions not belie each other.  And, when we do trigger the law of unintended consequences, may we be remorseful.  Then may we act accordingly.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 23, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Posted July 23, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

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Confessions of a Detail-Oriented Geek and Pedant   3 comments

I am a geek and a pedant.

I have been a geek since early childhood.  I have also been detail-oriented and pedantic for as long as I can remember.  I have become more pedantic as I have aged.  I have, for example, developed the nearly-irresistible urge to hurl a copy of any edition of The Elements of Style (Strunk and White) at anyone who says,

The fact that….

And don’t get me started on ‘impact” (as a verb), “impacted,” and “impacting,” in the absence of physical contact.  The only people who have impacted me have punched me.  That was a long time ago, fortunately.  Many people have affected and influenced me, though.

Beginning a thought with, “so,” also annoys me.  Properly, “so” continues a thought.

One of my grandmothers taught English for nearly four decades.  She has continued to influence me beyond her grave.

I, as a geek, enjoy learning more about the topics of my geekiness.  Some of these topics are science fiction-related.  The Internet is replete with science fiction podcasts, most of which are not worth my time.  My two major complaints are:

  1. The hosts swear too much, and
  2. The hosts do not do their homework.

I may learn that I know more about the topic of the podcast episode in question than the hosts.  Then I know that continuing to listen to that podcast constitutes a waste of my time.  I can easily look up when an episode or serial aired in first run, for example.  I can also check to see who played which role.  Yet many podcast hosts do not bother to look up such details before recording.   Speaking out of one’s knowledge is superior to speaking out of one’s ignorance.  Podcasts in which the hosts say,

I don’t know,

too many times do not hold my attention.

I used to listen to a certain podcast about Star Trek:  Deep Space Nine.  I stopped listening to one episode about a minute after it started.  One host asked the other one if the main aliens were the Bajorans or the Pajorans.  (The answer is the Bajorans.)  Finding the answer to that question prior to recording was easy, but one of the hosts did not make the minimal effort to do so.

I do not object to an occasional, well-placed curse word.  Sometimes such language is appropriate and accurate.  However, when profanity becomes verbal wallpaper, the laziness of frequent cursing becomes evident.  And my mother raised me better than to swear as often as many people do.

My background as an educator informs my procedural bias for checking facts.  I know the importance of speaking as accurately as possible as often as possible.  I grasp why keeping one’s facts straight and one’s chronology in order is vital.  I bring this mindset to my hobbies, predictably.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 20, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Blogging Update–April 30, 2021   Leave a comment

SUNDRY THOUGHTS is one of seven weblogs I maintain.

This weblog has been my blogging focus for a few months.  I have decided, however, to switch gears, so to speak.  I have prepared the list of “new” saints with feast days in December yet chosen to set that list aside for a few months, at least.

I have other projects underway and in the planning stage.

  1. I am preparing notes for the Season after Pentecost, Revised Common Lectionary, Year B.  These notes are for my use, in my capacity as an adult Christian educator.  (I teach a lectionary discussion class.)
  2. After I complete all those notes, I plan to return to non-lectionary-based Bible study as a blogging project.  I intend to select a plan from a file folder full of plans, start reading and writing, and eventually commence that blogging project at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.
  3. Sometime before the end of 2021, I intend to begin drafting devotional posts for the First Sunday of Advent 2022-Shrove Tuesday 2023, according to Year A of the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship Lectionary (1973), as found in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) and Lutheran Worship (1982).  I will publish these posts at ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, AND EPIPHANY DEVOTIONS and at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.
  4. I intend to publish at SUNDRY THOUGHTS occasionally for a few months, until I return to A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

In the meantime, the clock continues to count down at LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS.  Daily, I change dates on extant posts and transfer them from the 2021 category and into the 2022 category.  ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS, with devotions for each day from the Monday after Pentecost to the day before the First Sunday of Advent, will pick up where LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS ends.

Be well, O reader.  May God’s best for you be your reality.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 30, 2021 COMMON ERA

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POSTSCRIPT

I have decided that my next blogging project, at BLOGA THEOLOGICA, will be the Hebrew prophets, in chronological order, more or less.  I have read all of these books, but a refresher course is a good idea.

KRT

MAY 5, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Posted April 30, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

In Praise of God’s Gloriously Square Pegs   Leave a comment

FOR THE COMMON GOOD AND THE GLORY OF GOD, OF COURSE

I have been preparing new entries for A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES:  AN ECUMENICAL CALENDAR OF SAINTS’ DAYS AND HOLY DAYS.  Two of the three “new” saints for whom I have written rough-drafts of posts in longhand have been women who violated societal conventions of femininity and did much to serve God in the process.

I like outliers, odd balls, eccentrics, square pegs, and other unconventional people.  I am one, after all.  My life is one of being a default contrarian.  My interests and my sense of self lead me down a path less traveled.  When I merely pursue my interests, I most likely behave in a way contrary to most of the people around me.  So be it.  Therefore, take my word for it, O reader, that I consider “conform” and “conformity” the two most profane words in the English language.  

My spiritual task is to be the best version of myself possible.  My spiritual task is to be the person God created me to be.  My spiritual task is not to be the person anyone else wants me to be.  My spiritual task is to be God’s square peg, in a square hole.  Those who would try to make me fit into a round hole err.

This helps to explain why I add so many outliers, odd balls, eccentrics, and square pegs to my ECUMENICAL CALENDAR.  I call attention to such wonderful human beings with great pleasure.

God calls you, O reader, to be the best version of yourself possible.  I encourage you to answer that sacred call affirmatively.  Be a square peg.  Be one of God’s square pegs.  Be the square peg God wants you to be.  And help others be the square pegs God wants them to be.

So, here is to God’s gloriously square pegs!  They shine with the light of God and challenge comfortable, complacent conformity.  They expose the injustice of certain societal norms.  They renew society and work for the common good.  They glorify God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 21, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN HENRY NEWMAN, ENGLISH ROMANC CATHOLIC PRIEST-CARDINAL

THE FEAST OF SAINT ARNULF OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; AND SAINT GERMANUS OF GRANFEL, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MARTYR, 677

THE FEAST OF AUSTIN CARROLL (MARGARET ANNE CARROLL), IRISH-AMERICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN, AUTHOR, AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROBERT SOUTHWELL, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1595

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS PORMORT, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1592

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Blogging Update–February 12, 2021   2 comments

I have three blogging-related projects in the works.

  1. I continue to publish posts in my series, “Reading 1, 2, and 4 Maccabees,” at BLOGA THEOLOGICA. I publish at least one post per day. I also have eleven posts left to publish before I complete that series.  I enjoyed reading those books and pondering them, by the way.
  2. I have returned to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  I had permitted that project to lie fallow since the summer of 2020.  I have, however, started taking notes and drafting posts (in longhand) for saints (most of which are neither officially venerated, beatified, nor canonized) with feast days in August.  I have decided to start publishing these out of order and when I am ready, instead of lining them up in order of feast days.  
  3. Given that I found the names of my first six “new” saints in The Methodist Hymnal (1966), I have some hymn texts to enter at GATHERED PRAYERS before I add certain people to my Ecumenical Calendar.
  4. Taking notes on one of these “new” saints led me add three more names to my lists of names for future inclusion on my Ecumenical Calendar.

I spent much of my hiatus from the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days studying and blogging about the Bible.  I have made plans for when I take another hiatus from my Ecumenical Calendar.  I have read all of the Russian Orthodox canon of scripture, but a refresher course has always been a good idea.  I have decided that future projects, aside from lectionaries, will include the Hebrew prophets, Proverbs, Ecclesiasticus/Sirach, and the Wisdom of Solomon.  

Pax vobiscum!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 12, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Posted February 12, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions