Archive for the ‘Various Memories and Opinions’ Category

A Strong Bias for the Practical   4 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.




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.




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.





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.




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

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


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.










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!




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

Blogging Update–January 27, 2021   Leave a comment

SUNDRY THOUGHTS is one of seven weblogs I maintain.  I am focusing primarily on two of those weblogs these days.  Those weblogs are ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS and BLOGA THEOLOGICA.  I expect to be done adding new material to ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS for a while in early February.  I plan, however, to continue adding new content to BLOGA THEOLOGICA after early February.

Last July, I created a spreadsheet–a guide to reading the First, Second, and Fourth Books of the Maccabees together and intelligibly.  I worked on a chronological basis and noticed parallel readings.  I started drafting posts based on that plan yesterday.

I off you, O reader, a nugget from a first draft in longhand.  Stoic philosophy permeates 4 Maccabees.  Accordingly, that book proclaims the virtue of “devout wisdom,” which facilitates self-control, justice, and courage.  Devout wisdom controls the negative emotions, which work against self-control, justice, and courage, 4 Maccabees says at the beginning.  

Consider social media, O reader.  They (“Media” is the plural form of “medium.”) do not encourage self-control.  They do not encourage reason.  No, they encourage emotions, usually the negative ones.  That is how the corporate owners of social media platforms make money.  Social media are symptoms, not the cause, of much that ails societies today.  They are certainly agents of social discord much of the time.  We human beings come with some programming; evolutionary psychology explains that.  But we are also intelligent beings with free will.  We can decide what kind of people we want to be.

I want to cultivate the fruit of self-control, justice, and courage, for the glory of God and for the common good.  I want to cultivate the fruit of self-control, justice, and courage because I should do that.

Finally, on a different topic, I will return to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days eventually.  Maybe I will do so shortly after my Maccabees reading project.  I have a massive Bible study project–reading through the Hebrew prophets, on a roughly chronological basis–planned.  I may decide to defer that project until later this year.  I am getting ready to return to the study of the lives of holy men and women.




Love Thy Neighbor   Leave a comment

Above:  The Presbyterian Student Center, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, December 9, 2020

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


While walking this afternoon, I passed by one of my haunts from my days as a graduate student at The University of Georgia (UGA).  I took all the photographs in this post.

I approve of the messages in the signs.




Best Wishes for 2021   2 comments

Today is the last day of the church year 2019-2020.  Tomorrow will be the First Sunday of Advent and the First Day of Advent.  Today, therefore, seems like an appropriate time to write this blog post.

This has been an especially difficult year for the world.  One major reason, of course, has been the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other difficulties have spun off from it.  Human irresponsibility, both individual and collective, has been a complicating factor.  This year has confirmed my lack of faith in human nature.

This year, out of an abundance of caution, I have, for the first time, decided not to celebrate Christmas with any relatives.  I have mailed presents and purchased Christmas cards.  My family has expressed understanding in this matter, fortunately.

This pandemic may get worse before it gets better, for a host of reasons, not the least of which is human irresponsibility.  Perhaps we will get past all this by next summer.

My prayer for every person, town, community, neighborhood, congregation, state, province, region, nation-state, et cetera, is simple:  May God’s best for you be your reality.  May 2021 be a blessed year for you.  May you be a blessing to others in 2021.  May others be blessings to you in 2021.  And, if you refuse to be on God’s side and be a blessing to others, may you stay out of the way, at least.

Pax vobiscum!




Fifteen Years in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia   Leave a comment

Above:  Athens-Clarke County, Georgia

Image Source = Google Earth


I grew up moving with my family every two years, on average.  Since 2005, however, I have lived in Athens-Clarke County.  I have recently acquired my third address within Athens-Clarke County.  I have put down roots.

I moved to Athens-Clarke County on Tuesday, August 9, 2005.  I was about to start a doctoral program in history at The University of Georgia.  My major professor cut me from the program in the Fall Semester of 2006.  This action was unjust.  I was neither the first nor the last graduate student to run afoul of a misanthropic major professor.  I remained in Athens, though, and build a new life.

I have been active in St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church since August 2005.  As time has passed, I have become more active, in different ways.  People have come to think of me whenever a task needs an organized person to complete it.  I have, therefore, come to lead the lectors and the money counters, to choose movies for a film series, and to teach a Sunday School class.  That class has moved to Zoom on Thursday evenings since the pandemic started.

My life has been in a drawn-out transitional state since Bonny died on October 14, 2019.  Her death drew boldfaced double lines through my life, with “before” on one side and “after” on the other.  Parts of my life have fallen away.  I have not regretted the departure of most of them.  I have been in a stage of simplification, reorientation, reevaluation, and rebirth.  The process has not ended.

I wonder what I will become.

I still hope for a new, professional relationship to The University of Georgia (UGA).  I bear the university no ill will.  I also recognize that I am the kind of person who can fit in there, if only someone will answer one of my applications for full-time employment there affirmatively.  I have no relationship to UGA, as of today.  Whether that status will change depends mostly on others.  A university or college campus is my natural habitat.  UGA offers an inviting habitat with many opportunities to put skills and talents to productive use.

2020 has been a terrible year, mainly because of the pandemic.  2019 had been my worst year to date before COVID-19 started spreading as far and wide as it has been doing.

Assuming, for the sake of discussion, that I will be alive and well a year from now, I wonder what my life and the world will be like.  I pray that the answer will be “much better.”




My Eleventh Anniversary of Blogging   4 comments

Above:  Lambda, the Eleventh Letter of the Greek Alphabet

Image in the Public Domain


I created SUNDRY THOUGHTS on July 27, 2009.  In time, I spun off seven weblogs from it.

Much has changed since my tenth anniversary of blogging.

  1. I have completed and published lectionary-based devotions for dates through the end of church year 2020-2021.
  2. I have spun PUNS BLOG back into SUNDRY THOUGHTS.
  3. I have added more saints to A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.
  4. I have written the episode guide for seasons one and two of Starhunter Redux.
  5. I have written perhaps the definitive episode guide for The Chronicle:  News from the Edge (2001-2002).
  6. I have openly grieved for Bonny Thomas (1965-2019), whose death has forever altered my life.

One does hope to improve with experience.  My recent blog posts are of a generally higher quality than my earliest ones were.  Most of my earliest blog posts no longer exist, nor should they.  When I read an old blog post and think,

I can do better than that,

I may delete that post and seek to do better.

I plans for more blogging.

  1. I intend to return to lectionary-based devotions eventually, of course.
  2. I plan to revise and update A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days off-and-on until I can no longer do so.
  3. I have plans for blogging at BLOGA THEOLOGICAI intend to blog my way through 2 Kings 22-25, 1 Esdras, 2 Chronicles 34-36, Ezra, and Nehemiah, with a portion of Sirach 49 included, in one project.  The spreadsheet for that project constitutes evidence of my detail-oriented nature.  I also plan to blog my way through 3 Maccabees, with a portion of Sirach 50 incorporated into that project.  Furthermore, I plan to blog my way through 1, 2, and 4 Maccabees, with a portion of Sirach 45 included in that project.  The spreadsheet for that project is also ready.  The first and third projects entail parallel passages.  And, given that strict adherence to chronology is not the organizing principle of Ezra and Nehemiah, I will read those books out of chapter-and-verse order.

I have read all 78 book of the Russian Orthodox canon of scripture.  However, I did that more years ago than some of my former students have been alive.  Reading some of these texts again has, therefore, been like reading them for the first time.

Blogging is a hobby and an outlet.  We should all be cautious what we reveal on the internet, which retains everything.  Stories of people fired because of posts on social media outlets abound.  My use of social media is limited.  I belong to my Nextdoor Digest group, for example.  My major contributions to it are helpful hints in response to other members’ questions.  I know I probably will not get into trouble for answering a neighbor’s request for information about which local thrift stores send out trucks to pick up furniture.  Likewise, I know that my weblogs are public.  I hope they edify others at best.  May other posts be merely harmless, perhaps amusing.  Calling a spade a spade, so to speak, is fine; I will not excuse the inexcusable.  However, I seek to call spades what they are without publishing content I should not publish.  And I feel no obligation to express most of my thoughts.

When 2020 began, I had high hopes for it.  So much for most of those!  We may yet save our republic from internal threats to the Constitution of the United States of America–and from one–Donald Trump–in particular.  The Constitution allows for elections, after all.  And we will eventually get through the Coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences.  We will do so sooner if we, as a people, act responsibly.

2020 may yet have a relatively positive end.  We, as a people, must accept our obligations to and for each other, though.  Mutuality must override individualism in the context of a public health emergency.  I do not like wearing a mask in public, but I do so.  This is about what I need to do, not what I want to do.  This is about what I have a moral obligation to do, not what I want to do in an ideal circumstance.

Next year, I hope to write about my twelfth anniversary as a blogger under much improved circumstances.

Be safe and well, O reader.  Take care of your neighbors and, therefore, of yourself.