Sunday, March 09, 2008

Down in the Valley (of Bones)

Out the depths (of Lent) we were treated today to the hope of resurrection starting in Ezekiel 37 with the valley of bones and moving to Romans 8 where He will give life to these mortal bodies, and then to the raising of Lazarus. Fr. Foss delivered the sermon and did a good job staying on topic and on time, although I personally would have heard more on the reading from Romans and "setting the mind on the Spirit." I guess that if we had gone there, the sermon would have run too long. And what was it that he said about the choir corner?

And what about the baptisms today at both the 8 o'clock and 10:30 services? I don't want to discourage baptisms, but for some, there may be an issue with having a baptism during a Sunday in Lent. I tried to do a little research on this and found that some Episcopal Churches do allow this while others do not except in unusual circumstances such as the health of the child or maybe if the family threatens to leave if it is not done when grandparents can be present. Of course, a baptism could be held in private in these circumstances. I personally like baptisms, but I also like traditions such as Lenten disciplines and the idea of using the Lenten period to prepare oneself for baptism. Looks like another tradition gets tossed into the valley of dry bones. Someday, Ezekiel's dream may be fulfilled and this particular old tradition will be given the breath of life.


  1. Anonymous9:34 PM

    Don't you like anything about COOS?

    The Baptism was beautiful, the baby was beautiful - how dare you cheapen one of the most spiritual moments in a child and family's life? How dare you object to a new member of the church when you are so appalled by someone leaving? So what if the Baptism occurred during Lent - the better the day the better the deed!

    And please enlighten me - where in the canons of the Episcopal Church is the length of a sermon designated.

    Oh, ya, while I am at it, if you are going to have such a negative opinion about everything - what is you opinion of Choir Members passing car keys off to their teenage children during the Gospel? Isn't that a wee bit disruptive - and during the Gospel?

    Charlie gave a very appropriate sermon - he said what needed to be said -

    and BTW - the choir corner was called "Cock eyed" - that is a British term for a little bit unusual. If you though that Charlie said something else I would suggest you get your mind out of the gutter!

    Signed -

    COOS Members

  2. WOW!! I'm impressed. It took a group of members to write an anonymous letter. Apparently, the Pewster is striking a nerve and the group is unhappy that someone may have a differing view of things.

    If I may point out a couple of items......
    (1) anyone who has read Hooker (instead of reading about Hooker) would recognize that from the earliest days of Christianity, Lent was used as a time of reflection, repentance and preparation for the coming Resurrection. Baptisms have traditionally been postponed until Holy Saturday evening at which time all of the newly-minted Christians were welcomed into the Church. There is no scriptural basis for this but, in Hooker's paradigm, if scripture does not offer an answer, one must then look to tradition for an answer. In this case, tradition does provide an answer. Those outposts of TEC which permit Lenten baptisms are not violating scripture but are certainly violating 2000 years of tradition. (2) As to length of sermons, every seminary from EDS to TSM teaches students that the best sermons last 10-12 minutes. Part of the reasoning lies in psychological studies which show that after that length of time, the mind of the audience invariably wanders...perhaps to thoughts of lunch, or football or thy neighbor's wife. In any event, if you doubt this, please check with Tony DiGiorgio for a more precise citation.

  3. As a traditionalist, let me jump in with a comment. Is not the pewster's point to question the loss of Lenten traditions? Traditions are of man I know, but what becomes of the "Faith of our Fathers" as traditions are whittled away?
    If you would have asked him as I did, your rector admits that he did not say "cock-eyed" but did say the term from what you call the "gutter." He did not see at as offensive, so don't take it as such.

  4. Anonymous10:21 AM

    Traditions are fine; I follow many of them but, wasn't slavery a tradition, one backed by Holy Scripture? Wasn't segregation another (I'm not sure whether this one is scripturally based). So, let's respect tradition but not employ its not been always followed as another criticism of Charlie. Perhaps the rector has a very plausible explanation as to why he chose not to follow it this past Sunday in having a baptism during Lent. He might wish to address this at some future date.

    Un chanteur.

  5. I love Baptisms, I am in need of them on a daily basis.
    On the subject of teenagers and children during worship: a recently departed ECOOS family was not happy with the way children in particular were being "handled" in our church. The first Sunday at their new church, they were noticing the large number of restless kids, and the noises that they made. This did not concern the preacher one bit. In fact the preacher stopped and thanked God for the "noise of the future Church."

    For a recent discussion of slavery, I will direct you to a comment by "Boring Bloke" at the StandFirm site. His is comment #70 (

    "On the subject of slavery, and its standard use in reappraising circles, I am always puzzled why there is considerable mention of its abolition in the 18th century and virtually none of its re-adoption by European culture in the 16th (slavery was, of course, gradually outlawed in Christian Europe in the medieval period as the various bastions of paganism gave way to Christian thought; though admittedly the feudal system which replaced it wasn’t much better). I have always thought that the 16th century commencement of the African slave trade is a far closer analogy to our current situation than the 18th century abolition. Thus I consider that slavery is a good example of why we as Christians should not adopt radically new interpretations of scripture (expect to revert back to an older interpretation which had been eroded). To answer #28; yes, I can think of several occasions when the Church or a institution forming part of the visible Church shifted from its original interpretation—and all of those I can think of were a mistake (except when reverting to an even older understanding).

    [70] Posted by Boring Bloke on 01-31-2008 at 07:46 AM "

  6. Anonymous3:01 PM

    Pewster - you and your ilk will be in my prayers - it must be terrible to be forced to live in such an imperfect world.

  7. Opinions that deviate from the ruling zeitgeist always aggravate the crowd. - Germaine de Staël

  8. Anonymous3:45 PM

    One point to ponder: Lent does NOT include Sundays... thus, is a Baptism on a Sunday between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday really occurring DURING Lent? Perhaps the non-Baptismal tradition includes the ENTIRE period between Ash Wednesday and Easter; if so, I might ponder no more.

    Un Chanteur.

  9. Anonymous10:00 PM

    A small matter of the meaning of centuries: the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in January of 1863. Doesn't this mean the 19th Century? Mmmmmmmm.

    Un Chanteur

  10. Anonymous10:21 PM

    I have no idea who this Spewster nut-job is, but Fr Foss and the vestry does. Everyone is way too kind to put up with this behavior. The vestry should take the Spewster to the woodshed and tell him his attendance at Our Savior is no longer welcome.

  11. The very aim and end of our institutions is just this: that we may think what we like and say what we think.
    …Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

  12. Anonymous8:06 AM

    Let me parapharse another Holmes' quote--- your rights end when harm comes to others. The underground pewster is writing other blogs spreading his hate of our church throughout the land (or www.). Yes, it has come a time he needs to stop this nonsense. I am sure (knowing the pewster) he is trying to become more Christ-like in his attempt to spread "free thought." Having an exchange of ideas is wonderful. Our nation is based on this. Our faith is based on this. Harming the entire membership with comments made on other blogs, speaking lies about our pastor and his staff, and hurting long time members feelings (maybe he enjoys the pain of others)is not Christ-like. Yes, I hope he will be happy following the family who chose to leave the church. It seems he is in need of a fresh start in another setting. Just the next time I pray he learns to love instead of hate.

  13. For those of us not in your loop, please explain those items which you consider to be lies. Kindly support with facts rather than opinion.

  14. Anonymous10:01 AM

    Many more than the Clergy and the Vestry know who the Pewster is.

    If you are interested in his postings - google "underground pewster".


  15. In the interest of The Peace, I will be happy to let Charlie screen my postings, but don't be surprised if he prefers to let me continue on my spiritual journey with more gentle steering than the "trip to the woodshed" alluded to earlier.

  16. Anonymous10:41 PM

    The Spewster won't see the light, until he feels the heat of the fire. If he was a member of my congregation, I would see to it that he was publicly outed; and publicly asked to leave. Give him the sorely needed attention that is craved. Just like all bullies, it only takes a few to get the masses mobilized to defeat them. Feed this Spewster bum to the lions!

  17. It would be nice to see well-reasoned, cogent, affirmative theological comments rather than "throw the bum out." That type of comment is the last bastion of the intellectually impaired.

  18. Anonymous10:14 PM

    I feel that "throw the bum out" is the correct course of action. A Church does not change to satisfy the goofy whims of one person.

  19. Anonymous10:17 PM

    Let us not resort to threats and words of hate and violence. If you don't agree with opinions written then don't read them. If you are unhappy then change. It is unnecessary to use rude nicknames, and harsh words. It is also unnecessary to demean a church and its members. I urge every follower of this blog to reflect on what they are saying and thinking. I urge peace to descend to this place.

    I will call remembrance to an old proverb stating, 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.'

  20. Kentucky Representative Tim Couch filed a bill this week to make anonymous posting online illegal.
    The bill would require anyone who contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail address with that site. Their full name would be used anytime a comment is posted.

    If the bill becomes law, the website operator would have to pay if someone was allowed to post anonymously on their site. The fine would be five-hundred dollars ($500) for a first offense and one-thousand dollars ($1,000) for each offense after that.

  21. Blog operators can always enact the "Comment Moderation" power, when bullying is a problem. I have chosen to allow anonymous comments thus far as they have a certain educational value (if they are to be believed). I doubt Rep. Couch's bill will pass, it sounds like a political maneuver of some sort.

  22. As with many others, it seems that Representative Tim Couch does not have a solid grasp of constitutional theory, much less a firm grip on reality.

  23. Anonymous10:28 AM

    RE: "Everyone is way too kind to put up with this behavior. The vestry should take the Spewster to the woodshed and tell him his attendance at Our Savior is no longer welcome."

    Pewster -- keep up the good work. Just think -- if the vestry decides that *one man* can harm their church by blogging his thoughts and critiques and decides to take you "to the woodshed" . . . you'll be able to blog that too!

    My bet is that not all the vestry is unhappy with your blogging.

    But how fascinating that a guy expressing his thoughts on a blog has attracted the ire of some people at the church -- and what insecurity and weakness and fear that ire and their threats represent.