Archive for the ‘Various Memories and Opinions’ Category

Blogging Update–May 15, 2020   Leave a comment

Above:  The View from My Desk, May 14, 2020, According to One of My Laptop Computers

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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BLOGGING MY WAY THROUGH SHELTERING IN PLACE

A consistent theme in my life since 2016 has been being either well-informed or well-adjusted.  I have chosen the latter.  I have reaffirmed my choice since the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic began.  While reckless politicians (many of whom mockingly identify as pro-life) on all levels of government place our lives in danger in the name of the Almighty Dollar (their deity), I opt not to turn into General George C. Patton‘s ideal man, one who can swear consistently for three minutes without repeating a word.  The Almighty God will render a verdict in a court beyond any human jurisdiction.  May voters render the proper verdict in elections and otherwise hold those who risk their lives recklessly accountable, constitutionally.  Regardless of whether voting is a feasible option, may government officials in a position to ensure responsible government for the common good do so.  As the Law of Moses teaches, we are all responsible to and for each other, and we all depend on each other, as well as entirely on God.

I seldom venture out among people.  (I do, however, enjoy walking alone in the nearby woods.)  When I do venture out among people, I wear a mask and stay as far away from them as possible.  I have used a hair trimmer to give myself one buzz cut.  I have decided to do that again, whenever I will need another haircut, indefinitely.  I also feel nervous as I strive to behave in a socially responsible and moral manner.  Just as what I do affects others, what others do affects me.

I have been spending much time blogging.  As of today, I have scheduled 50 posts to publish here at SUNDRY THOUGHTS.  I have scheduled new posts about saints to publish through June 6.  I have decided to give the saints a rest until after July.  (I do plan, however, to revise the July calendar of saints very soon, create its reset mode, and make a list of people to consider adding for the time I will return to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.)  I have also scheduled the transfer of material from the former PUNS BLOG to continue daily through June 12.  Furthermore, I have written and published lectionary-based devotions for church year 2020-2021 at BLOGA THEOLOGICA, ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS, and LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS.  I had already published the first set of these devotions at ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, AND EPIPHANY DEVOTIONS.

The Chronicle Title

Above:  The Title Card of The Chronicle:  News from the Edge

A Screen Capture

I have also decided to begin a new project at this weblog.  The Chronicle:  News from the Edge (2001-2002) was a series the Sci-Fi Channel aired for one season.  I delighted to find all 22 episodes at archive.org then to binge-watch the series as I took mental notes.  I have decided to blog my way through the series, episode by episode, and to consider each episode in the context of the other 21 episodes.  The setting of The Chronicle was the World Chronicle, based somewhat on the Weekly World News.  The premise of the series was that the stories were true.  I watched some episodes from 2001 and 2002, but missed many of them at the time.  My memory of the series was vague; I remembered isolated scenes and pieces of dialogue, however.  After watching the series from beginning to end recently, I have concluded that it was a combination of Kolchak:  The Night Stalker, The X Files, and Northern Exposure, tonally.

Writing about The Chronicle should be fun and wonderfully distracting.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Bird in the Middle Oconee River, Athens, Georgia, December 21, 2019   Leave a comment

We should never cease to appreciate natural beauty.

I was walking in the woods of Ben Burton Park, near my home, this afternoon.  When I came to the Middle Oconee River and saw a beautiful bird standing on a rock in the river, I chose to immortalize the moment.

Now I choose to share it.

We all need to find balance in our lives.  We need to speak out when morality requires us to do, especially when obeying morality is inconvenient.  However, we also need to recognize that which is good and beautiful around us.  We need to charge our batteries, so to speak.

Enjoy the beauty of the bird, O reader.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 21, 2019 COMMON ERA

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Posted December 21, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

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2020: Best Wishes   2 comments

Above:  The Middle Oconee River at Ben Burton Park, Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, December 8, 2019

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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I find myself at the convergence of turning points as 2019 comes to an end.  On the personal front, I deal with two deaths.  Professionally, I look to the future with a combination of confidence, hope, and uncertainty.  The result will be better than what it will replace, I affirm.  However, I do not know what will happen between now and then.  How long should I remain in Athens-Clarke County?  What I do not know outweighs what I understand.  I know, however, that I must not make rash decisions, especially while I grieve and adapt to my “new normal.”

Experience is a fine teacher.  A wise pupil heeds it.  One lesson experience teaches me is that a grudge is a burden one should never impose on oneself, regardless of how righteous one’s indignation may be.  I acknowledge objective reality.  (Why should I not?) I know that a particular professor at The University of Georgia (UGA) fired a torpedo into the bow of my doctoral program and sank it like the Lusitania.  I also understand that my anger over that example of academic abuse burned out years ago.  Whenever I walk on the UGA campus, I feel simultaneously at home, in a familiar place, yet on virgin territory different from a place I have ever been.  The area does look different than it used to, due mainly to construction on campus.  It is a place I want to call home again.  A relationship, however, has more than one party.

My congregation, St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, keeps providing incentives to remain in town.  I am active in the parish, in which I have found my niches.  The emotional and spiritual support members of the congregation have been providing to me since Bonny’s death has become a source of much gratitude.  I can never repay them.  Perhaps I will have opportunities to “pay it forward” in time, not that I seek grief for anyone.

Praying for one’s needs is not sinful, but being selfish in prayer is.  With that in mind, I issue the following prayer:

May God’s best for each person be that person’s reality.  May you, O reader, receive all the help you need and provide all the aid you should.  May the light of God shine in your life, attract others to God, and strengthen the faith of many.  May 2020, by these standards, be a better year for you than 2019 has been.  May it be a better year for all countries, nation-states, peoples, and refugees.  May 2020 be a better year for the planet.  Amen.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 10, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF KARL BARTH, SWISS REFORMED MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR; AND HIS SON, MARKUS BARTH, SWISS LUTHERAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF HOWELL ELVET LEWIS, WELSH CONGREGATIONALIST CLERGYMAN AND POET

THE FEAST OF JOHN ROBERTS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF PAUL EBER, GERMAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ROBERT MURRAY, CANADIAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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The Joy of Lectionaries   1 comment

Orderly Reading of Scripture

SUNDRY THOUGHTS is the oldest of my eight weblogs.  Four of its spinoffs are ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, AND EPIPHANY DEVOTIONS; LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS; ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS; and the cleverly-named (with a nod to St. Thomas Aquinas) BLOGA THEOLOGICA.  I like to alternate between writing about saints and writing based on lectionary-based devotions.  The latter is the only Bible study method I have maintained for years–about a decade now.

I have already published new content for the complete church year that will begin in Advent 2019 at the first three spinoff weblogs listed above.  My thoughts have turned toward saints again, hence the drafting of new posts for saints with feast days in January.  My thoughts have also turned to lectionaries for church year 2020-2021 and later, due to my preference for planning.  I have written Years A and B of the Will Humes four-year lectionary, leaving Years C (2020-2021) and D (2021-2022).  And, at BLOGA THEOLOGICA, I have written all but a little of the now-abandoned, two-year lectionary from the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship–Provisional Services (1966).

With half of the Humes lectionary behind me and the Presbyterian lectionary of 1966-1970 accomplished, I have a plan for the next few years:

I will complete the Humes lectionary by writing Years C and D at the three devotional weblogs I key according to date and copy and paste those posts into BLOGA THEOLOGICA, also.

After that, I will write the three-year lectionary (Sundays, mainly) of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, from the Lutheran Service Book (2006).  I will post at the three devotional weblogs I key according to date and copy and paste those posts into BLOGA THEOLOGICA, too.

For the next two yeas, at BLOGA THEOLOGICA, I will write the two-year lectionary found in A Book of Worship for Free Churches (The General Council of the Congregational Christian Churches in the United States, 1948).  Given the absence of collects in that volume, I will use the collects from the Book of Worship (Evangelical and Reformed Church, 1947).

Next, at BLOGA THEOLOGICA, I will write the two-year lectionary found in The Book of Common Worship (Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., 1946).

I invite you, O reader, to visit these weblogs and find much useful reading.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 29, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MARY, MARTHA, AND LAZARUS OF BETHANY, FRIENDS OF JESUS

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My Tenth Anniversary of Blogging   6 comments

Above:  Kappa, the Tenth Letter of the Greek Alphabet

Image in the Public Domain

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SUNDRY THOUGHTS is a decade old today.

I created SUNDRY THOUGHTS on July 27, 2009.  I had little idea what I was doing.  I have, in fact, deleted the vast majority of early posts and spun off seven other weblogs–different channels, so to speak.  The content of this weblog has simultaneously improved and become less sundry.

The project that grew into my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days was one of the original purposes for creating SUNDRY THOUGHTS.  I recently (three weeks ago) completed the renovation of that Ecumenical Calendar.   That process took about two and a half years, on and off.  That stage completed, I will resume merely updating my Ecumenical Calendar–adding “new” saints and occasionally changing the dates of some feasts.

I also call your attention, O reader, to the episode guide to Starhunter (2000-2001, 2004-2005), one of my favorite series.  I delight in having filled a void after not finding a good episode guide online.

May you, O reader, find here much that is interesting, edifying, and informative.

Pax vobiscum,

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 27, 2019 COMMON ERA

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Posted July 27, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

Spiritual Paths   3 comments

Above:  My Desk, December 19, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Christian spiritual directors have, for some time, understood the variety of spiritual types, related, quite often, to preferences in prayer styles.  The last time I read deeply in the field, I learned that the middle two characters of one’s Myers-Briggs personality type often correlate to a preference of a certain style of prayer.

Another way of classifying spiritual types comes from Roman Catholicism:

  1. The Path of Intellect (Thomistic Prayer), in the style of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Teresa of Avila;
  2. The Path of Devotion (Augustinian Prayer), in the style of St. Augustine of Hippo;
  3. The Path of Service (Franciscan Prayer), in the style of St. Francis of Assisi; and
  4. The Path of Asceticism (Ignatian Prayer), in the style of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The test for determining one’s spiritual type takes only a few minutes.  A one-page document with fourteen rows and four columns requires one to look at a row of four words and rank them (“1” to “4,” “1” meaning least descriptive and “4” meaning most descriptive of oneself at the time).  Then one tallies each column.

My spiritual type has changed.  In the middle 1990s, when I was in my twenties, I was, first and foremost, a Thomist.  I have forgotten what the second, third, and fourth rankings were, but I was definitely on the Path of Intellect.  This morning I took the test again.  My scores were as follows:

  1. The Path of Asceticism–48;
  2. The Path of Intellect–43;
  3. The Path of Devotion–30; and
  4. The Path of Service–19.

Asceticism, according to this definition,

involves imagining oneself as part of a scene in order to draw some practical fruit from it for today.

It also entails a certain rigor in spiritual discipline.

The Thomistic preference for spiritual order applies to me.

Spiritual growth over a lifetime entails both change and constancy.  I, as a Christian, embrace that principle as I affirm another one:  one’s spiritual path must flow through Jesus.  Furthermore, to assume that one’s spiritual path in Christ is the only proper path for all people is in error.  In fact, one’s spiritual path in Christ in the present may not be one’s spiritual path in Christ five years from now.  In my case, the new preference for asceticism is consistent with my embrace of minimalism.

Pax vobiscum!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 19, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE EIGHTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF RAOUL WALLENBERG, RIGHTEOUS GENTILE

THE FEAST OF CHICO MENDES, “GANDHI OF THE AMAZON”

THE FEAST OF ROBERT CAMPBELL, SCOTTISH EPISCOPALIAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL ADVOCATE AND HYMN WRITER

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Regarding Clutter   2 comments

Above:  My Desk, December 9, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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I live in a small space.  In that space I keep my desk, my dining table, and my kitchen counters mostly empty the majority of the time.  At the moment the surface of my dining table is unusually full of candles, but this is a holiday season.  As of the first full week of January, it will be mostly empty again.  Furthermore, I enjoy being able to see walls and floors.  I abhor clutter.

I have possessions; they do not possess me.  I have fewer possessions than I did a few years ago; this fact delights me.  My library is down to about 800 volumes, from more than 2400.  I prefer donating to thrift stores to shopping at them.  When I do shop there, I almost always do so with a goal in mind; I seek a particular item or items.  My bedroom has two closets; my wardrobe fits easily into the smaller of the two.  This is a change from the time that my wardrobe filled both closets.  The recent rearranging of some furniture means that I no longer have a place for one lamp.  That object occupies space in a closet, for now.  That closet is mostly empty anyway, and I may decide to part company with that lamp, in time.

I recall a statement from a Buddhist monk regarding hair and vanity:  “It is just hair.”  Regarding possessions I say, “They are just objects.”  Many of them are useful objects.  I am fond of many of them.  I even have sentimental attachments to many of them.  But I possess them; they do not possess me.  And they are not in the way.  Neither is my home junky.

Life is good.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

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Posted December 18, 2018 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

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