Archive for the ‘Various Memories and Opinions’ Category

Holiday Busyness   2 comments

Above:  A Domestic Scene, December 8, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

On my bed when I think of you,

I muse on you in the watches of the night,

for you have always been my help;

in the shadow of your wings I rejoice;

my heart clings to you,

your right hand supports me.

–Psalm 63:6-8, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In my U.S. culture, the time from Thanksgiving (late November) to New Year’s Day is quite busy.  Holidays populate the calendar.  Some of these holidays are, for lack of a better word, ecumenical.  Others are religiously and/or culturally specific, though.  Christmas, originally the Christ Mass, has become an occasion, for many, to worship the Almighty Dollar at the high altar of commercialism.  This is how many Evangelicals of the Victorian Era wanted matters to be.

On the relatively innocuous side, this is the time of the year to populate one’s calendar with holiday social events, such as parties, school plays, and seasonal concerts.  Parents often like to attend their children’s events, appropriately.  Holiday concerts by choral and/or instrumental ensembles can also be quite pleasant.

Yet, amid all this busyness (sometimes distinct from business), are we neglecting the innate human need for peace and quiet?  I like classical Advent and Christmas music, especially at this time of the year (all the way through January 5, the twelfth day of Christmas), but I have to turn it off eventually.  Silence also appeals to me.  Furthermore, being busy accomplishing a worthy goal is rewarding, but so is simply being.

The real question is one of balance.  Given the absence of an actual distinction between the spiritual and the physical, everything is spiritual.  If we are too busy for God, silence, and proper inactivity, we are too busy.  If we are too busy to listen to God, we are too busy.  If we are too busy or too idle, we are not our best selves.

May we, by grace, strike and maintain the proper balance.  May we, especially at peak periods of activity, such as the end of the year, not overextend ourselves, especially in time commitments.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 14, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE THIRTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT VENANTIUS HONORIUS CLEMENTIUS FORTUNATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF POITIERS

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY ANN THRUPP, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF ROBERT MCDONALD, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND MISSIONARY

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Published originally at BLOGA THEOLOGICA

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Bloggers Support Bloggers Award   Leave a comment

Image Used with Permission

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I thank Valerie Cullers for nominating me for this award.  Now I pay it forward.

++++++++++++++

Rules:

  1. Thank the one who has tagged you for this challenge and link that person’s blogsite.
  2. Add the official photo in your page.
  3. List at least 5 bloggers you like. (Suggestion: You can list up 3 bloggers that you’ve known for a long time and you can also list up 2 newbies or more. It’s up to you though!)
  4. In 5 sentences or above, give a short description about why you love the blogger.
  5. Tag atleast 3 bloggers to do the challenge.
  6. Put #bloggerssupportbloggers in the Tags section so whenever a blogger is looking for new blogs to read, it will be easier to find.

++++++++++++++

My Nominees:

Vanishing South Georgia

Brian Brown maintains several photographic weblogs about Georgia.  Given that I grew up mostly in South Georgia, this is one I visit most often, for I recognize more places in it than in Vanishing Coastal Georgia and Vanishing North Georgia.  His photographic posts have enriched my life for years.

Valerie Cullers

Valerie Cullers’s posts invite readers to consider issues from a Christian and thoughtful, positive angle.  She definitely contributes to the volume of positive content on the Internet.

Roses in the Rubble

Virginia offers a variety of wonderful content, from photographs of turtles to lists of excellent movies.  She seeks to inspire beauty and creativity in people, so they will leave the world better than they found it.

Book ‘Em, Jan O

Jan Olandese is a retired Episcopal priest.  The content of her weblog ranges from ghost stories to witty haiku.  She also puns well.

++++++++++++++

I tag Brian Brown, Virginia, and Jan Olandese to carry on the Bloggers Support Bloggers Challenge.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 29, 2018 COMMON ERA

Posted July 29, 2018 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

Tagged with

My Ninth Anniversary of Blogging   4 comments

Above:  The View from My Computer’s Camera, at Its Regular Station, My Desk, July 20, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A MESSAGE FIVE DAYS EARLY, BUT THAT IS FINE

On July 27, 2009, when I created this weblog, I had almost no idea what I was doing.  I have, however, learned and improved with practice and the passage of time.  One weblog has spun off seven more, each weblog being a separate, dedicated channel.  I have deleted most of the oldest posts here at SUNDRY THOUGHTS and made plans to replace some others.  I have decided, however, to leave a few intact–perhaps edited also–but intact.

Social media, although useful in many ways, seems especially prone to devolving into a cesspool of ignorance, snap judgments, lies, and Too Much Information (TMI) that will haunt many people in the future.  The Internet does not forget, especially when forgetting and plausible deniability are functions of grace.  Who among us does not have skeletons in his or her closet?  There should be a statute of limitations on the great majority of them.  Besides, whenever we judge others, we also judge ourselves.  One needs to know how to use social media wisely, and how to use it in moderation.  A weblog functions in much the same way and carries the same caveat.  I have many thoughts; I express some of them.  I express few of those online.

Speaking of cesspools, much of the content on the Internet is wretched.  For evidence, look no further than comments sections at many websites.  Human depravity is, for me, not an article of faith.  No, I need no faith to affirm that for which I have a plethora of objective evidence.  One of my goals here and at my other weblogs is to express myself in ways that build up that which is good and noble, and to do so in language that, at worst, carries a rating of PG-13, but usually PG or G.  I seek to avoid contributing to cultural, social, spiritual, and political toxicity, although I am not afraid to express myself in direct terms.  It is just that I refuse to read like a George Carlin routine.

In conclusion, O reader, I express my wish for you during the coming 370 days:  May God’s best for you be your daily reality.  May you recognize that God’s best for you is your daily reality.  According to the standard of God’s best for you, may you be better off on July 27, 2019, than you are today.

Pax vobiscum!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 22, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALENE, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Posted July 22, 2018 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

Tagged with

Natural Beauty for Its Own Sake   Leave a comment

Above:  Sunset, Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, August 16, 2018

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I am a former news junkie because of events of the last few years.  I choose to be a good person who checks the news occasionally then unplugs rather than one who is perpetually angry.  Trust me, O reader, I have an effective internal editor.  Alone, muttering under my breath, I know how to string together a string of profanities after hearing or reading a news story.  Then I catch myself and regret what I have done.  Therefore I resolve to do better.  This entails avoiding temptation, i.e., the news, most of the time.

Ugliness–literal and otherwise–surrounds us.  I stand in awe of the beauty of nature then notice that someone has dumped garbage.  I pick up some garbage in my neighborhood, but there is always more of it later in the day.  Sometimes I contact the local government about large garbage (such as appliances and a couch) in or near the woods.  Certain local government officials know my name quite well, and are responsive, fortunately.  Much of the content of the Internet is not decent.  Comments sections of websites are notorious for functioning as vehicles of the worst of human nature.  If anyone thinks that come recent elections have been unusually nasty, I point to certain campaign rhetoric of the 1800s, namely in the presidential elections of 1800, 1828, and 1884.  Or one might read Richard Ben Cramer‘s devastating What It Takes, with its memorable final sentence, about the presidential election of 1988.  But yes, I do recall 2015 and 2016 as being worse than what came immediately previously.

I cannot take the ugliness away, but I can choose to offer beauty instead.  So, with this post, I share my most recent photograph, from Saturday evening.  Beauty surrounds us.  If we dare to take the time to notice it, we will benefit greatly.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ADOLPHUS NELSON, SWEDISH-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHANN FRANCK, HEINRICH HELD, AND SIMON DACH, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF RICHARD MASSIE, HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM BINGHAM TAPPAN, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A Prayer for 2018   Leave a comment

Above:  My Writing Desk, December 28, 2017

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

2017 has been a difficult year in several ways.  Storms, both political and literal, have made it devastating and depressing.  I have continued my retreat into science fiction and books about Lutheran history, for paying too close attention to current events has proven spiritually detrimental.  By “spiritually detrimental” I mean that my frequency (never high) of profanity (in private, with no other mortals present) has increased and I have become more proficient and creative in it.  This has alarmed me.  The less time devoted to learning of the news, the better my spiritual life.  The less news I digest, the cleaner my language.

The fact that this is true is sad.  Nevertheless, there it is.  Distractions ahoy!  How many series can I rewatch and how much can I learn about Lutheran history?  I endeavor to learn the answer to that question.

I pray that, in 2018, the reality of each person’s life will be God’s best for him or her.  I also pray that each of us will take seriously the responsibility to help others along the road to God’s best for them.  Furthermore, I pray that each of us will know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, then do it, as well as when to stay out of God’s way.

May 2018 be a much better year than 2017.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 29, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF THOMAS BECKET, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF JOSIAH CONDER, ENGLISH ABOLITIONIST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF AUSTIN FARRER, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF JOHN BURNETT MORRIS, SR., EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Speaking Out of One’s Ignorance   Leave a comment

I make an effort, whether I am speaking in public or in private, or writing on a weblog, to do so out of knowledge.  Toward this end I prefer to do homework and check facts.  In conversation I am not afraid to say something to the effect of

I don’t know the answer to that question, but I know where I can find the answer,

with the intention of doing so and reporting back.  I would rather do that than be inaccurate.  Even better is to know the answer ahead of time.  At a weblog I strive for accuracy also.  If I can find the answer to a given question before publishing a post, I like to do so.  If my sources prove to be inaccurate, I accept factual correction.  Objective reality is what it is, after all.

I am also a fan of science fiction.  My inherent attention to detail, in combination with my fandom, has made me a person full of science fiction trivia, especially with regard to Star Trek, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, and other franchises.  Recently, when watched the entirety of Lost, I kept track of many details that my viewing partner had missed.  I kept reminding her of scenes from previous episodes or the same episode.

I also know that there is much I do not know, so I endeavor to learn.  Toward that end I consult a variety of sources.  Tor.com, I have found, is a fine source of information about various science fiction franchises, especially Star Trek series, episode by episode.  For Star Trek:  Deep Space Nine the official series companion volume sets the standard for other volumes of that genre.  Certain reviewers who create and post video reviews are also fountains of knowledge.  Many podcasters and reviewers at YouTube, however, routinely speak out of their ignorance.  I have decided to stop listening to a number of podcasters and reviewers there because of this fact.  As I have listened to them profess their lack of knowledge or go off on tangents I know to be baseless in universe I have thought or uttered something to the effect of

I know more about this subject than you do.  Why do you have the podcast?

I have also caught myself correcting them audibly.

One can do homework of these matters easily enough.  I know of websites with detailed information about these series, including by episode and character.  Finding them is quite simple.  One can consult the special features on DVD or Blu-ray sets, if one has those.  I have found special features quite informative.  Commentary tracks have proven especially helpful.

So, those who analyze episodes, series, and movies online, do your homework first, please.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 2, 2017 COMMON ERA

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Spoilers!   1 comment

b3557ec28cebb5434412f9d8cebdcc9f

Above:  The Sled, Burning in Citizen Kane (1941)

A Screen Capture

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The admonition to avoid spoilers is valid for only a brief period of time; it expires, as far as I am concerned, well before a decade after the release of the material in question.  I watch a weekly YouTube series covering Babylon 5 (1994-1998) episode by episode.  The host keeps stating that commenters ought to refrain from making comments about subsequent episodes.  I do not make comments on YouTube videos, but I do consider the admonition to be ridiculous.  The last filmed (yet not aired) episode of the series is nearly 20 years old!  Besides, one can read full details of all episodes on numerous websites and in a set of five books.  By the way, Jeffrey Sinclair is Valen.

In other old news, Rosebud was Charles Foster Kane’s sled and a symbol of his lost childhood (Citizen Kane, 1941).  Also, Leonard Vole committed murder and ultimately got what he deserved (Witness for the Prosecution, 1957), Luke Skywalker blew up the first Death Star (Star Wars, 1977), and Darth Vader was Luke’s father (The Empire Strikes Back, 1980).  Furthermore, Captain Spock died (Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan, 1982) and rose from the dead on the Genesis Planet (Star Trek III:  The Search for Spock, 1984).  If that were not enough, the Bruce Willis character did not know that he was dead in The Sixth Sense (1999).  Finally, water has long been wet.

Shall we relax regarding spoilers, especially regarding content more than a decade old?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2017 COMMON ERA

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++