Category Archives: Random

Fall Updates

Things are finally heading towards normal around the house…

  • Fall Marathon season ended Sunday for us; M ran the Marine Corp Marathon and beat her Boston qualifying time by 20 minutes, chalking up a best time by 10 minutes.
  •  Seasonal costuming is in full swing. The girls’ new school has Christian Heroes Day rather than Halloween which means each girl needs two different costumes (of course…). Lil’ G is trick-or-treating as Queen Elizabeth I and is Christian Heroing as Joan of Arc. Needless to say, I’ve been constructing armor for the latter which is almost done—I’ll post some pictures when available. Lil’ H is making every radical protestants nightmare come true: she’s trick-or-treating as Athena and, with a few slight modifications, Christian Heroing as the Blessed Virgin.
  • The book manuscript is (hopefully) in its final stages. Sections 1-3 are done and sent off, Section 4 (on the Eucharist) is in progress. I’m writing chapters 11 and 12 simultaneously; chapter 13 popped into my brain spontaneously while G and I were discussing how the word “pacing” can be both transitive and intransitive…
  • I’ve been in conversations with the dean of the Companions of St. Luke, a dispersed Benedictine community within the Episcopal Church. They pray a modified version of the Office with a four week psalter and a set of additional antiphons. I’ll be working on offering these as options at the St. Bede’s Breviary. Shooting for mid-November for that one—we’ll see.
  • The Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book is getting a final work-over from the publisher and should be headed to the printer sometime next month. We hope to have them in our hands by the first month of 2014.
  • The Anglican Breviary Project is on! Hopefully… There’s enough interest that it makes sense to take the next few steps. In order to do it properly and within a reasonable amount of time, I’m going to be writing up a Kickstarter project proposal. The issue, of course, is that there are only so many hours in the day and our family situation is such that a significant portion of those needed to be devoted to income-generating projects. If the funding is there, it’ll be able to go forward; if not, it’ll have to take a back seat until I have more leisure time. My plan is to break the project up into three sections and fund them independently; the first section will include a crowd-sourcing component that will let you all help me with the data entry portion of sections two and three. The more help I get there, the less work I have to do, and—therefore—less money will have to be raised for the later two sections.

Yearning for a Grown-up Church

Someone was helpfully passing this article around on social media today.

I read it as a lament from someone critiquing the current Evangelical culture that is (once again) trying to remake itself.

A church trend I’d be more than happy to add in as likewise immature is the tendency to be so self-congratulatory about how socially aware we are, and the perverse delight in seeing how “transgressive” we can be. (This last particularly after almost straining my face muscles from an extended session of eye-rolling after discovering the bookstore of a certain major church in a certain northeastern city stuffed to the gills with Elaine Pagels’ books as she was coming to speak there…)

I wouldn’t say that these are so much “childish” as quite “adolescent.”


Some Semblance of Sanity?

Things may be returning to the usual amount of crazy and email may start getting answered soon with the completion of this weekend…

Liturgically this is the season of Advent but practically, for our household, it’s also Nutcracker season. With two young ballerinas in the house and extra rehearsals every weekend starting back in October, it’s absorbed quite a lot of our time. And, since I was already committed to being at all the Party Scene rehearsals as Lil’ G was in it this year, I volunteered to dance as one of the Party Scene dads when word went out that another guy was needed.

So—between two Nutcracker performances this weekend, the in-laws visiting, Christmas pageant rehearsal at M’s church for the girls, and a subdeacon training session at my church, it’s been an exhausting span of days!

Now that the Nutcracker is over, there’s no more ballet 3 times a week (complete with 30 minute commute each way!) until January. At this point, my priorities are:

  1. Get the St Augustine’s Prayer Book editing finished up
  2. Triage on major breviary glitches
  3. SCLM work largely on the theological underpinnings of HWHM
  4. Answering back email
  5. Posting (which will likely be around SAPB or HWHM material)
  6. Cleaning up breviary typos and minor errors

Of course, all of this is tertiary behind family duties and work duties… Thus, if I haven’t responded to your email yet, please be patient with me!

Quick Quiet Day Thought

It struck me yesterday that, with all of the discussion of Spiritual but not Religious present in our culture that it might be interesting to do a quiet day that would address this topic head-on.

Thus, exploring:

  • What does it mean to be “Spiritual”?
  • What does it mean to be “Religious” (speaking honestly about some of the difficulties here…)
  • What does it mean to be Spiritual and Religious?

Episcopal Budget Suggestion

There is a great deal of conversation going on at the moment amongst those who talk about such things around the budget of the Episcopal Church. I’ll let those wiser and better informed than I chime in on how to fix what’s wrong with things. Me, I have a different kind of suggestion…

The way things are trending is to suggest that more ministry “stuff” be done at the local or the network level. Ok…so how do you find out what the best stuff is, where the really good ideas are? Yes, good ministry is being done out here—so is the bad stuff. And statistically speaking there’s probably more bad and mediocre than good. How to separate the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats?

One option is to use a grant-leveraged process. That is, various “big” bodies that have funding invite grant proposals from local groups that think they’re doing good stuff. Then the big body staff folks sort through them and fund the ones they think are doing the best.  I think this may be a step forward because it does provide a way to look at and work with efforts that are already going on the ground.

Another option is like the grant-driven model but with a free-market twist… One initial caveat: the kinds of things that I’m thinking of here are in a few areas—chiefly communications, web app stuff, and Christian formation programs. I think this approach will work well with them, maybe not so much for other areas.

I’d recommend not purely a grant-driven model, but also a contest-based model (and it probably would work best as a both/and rather than an either/or). Here’s an example of what I have in mind: A Digital X prize for the best Episcopal mobile app. The rules would be simple. Individuals or teams would create an app that would run on both Android and iOS platforms to promote Episcopal spirituality or identity—leaving it deliberately and broadly open. The app would have to be released into the actual marketplace by a deadline. Then, a month or two later, a board would meet and—factoring in comments from actual users–cash prizes in the low thousands would be awarded to the first, second, and third place apps with perhaps some honorable mentions as well. The apps that place could have the option of being picked up by Church Publishing (or another body if there’s one that fits…).

The same could be done for Christian Formation: A Digital X prize for the best 6 Session Class for Adults on the Sacraments (or what have you). All entries would have to be open source—freely available—and, again, cash prizes would be awarded.

The rationale here is that a contest-based system would inspire people to put the work in to create some really good programs (code-wise and education-wise) that would be of great benefit to the church as a whole. The good stuff would be used whether it wins or not and the bad stuff…won’t. The contests would serve as the impetus for their creation and circulation, but the enduring artifacts would remain despite the outcome. The church is the real winner. For what it would cost a publishing house to do one program, they could crowd-source (hopefully) quite a number of quality products that could be promoted widely.

It’s a thought…

Much Weariness…

Things have been crazy all around. Lent and all of its accompanying programs have hit hard especially as I promised M to do some teaching at her church. Actually, some of you would probably be interested in last Sunday’s course… The overall topic for Lent is life and politics in the time of Jesus with an eye to better understanding the Passion Narratives/Holy Week. I kicked it off with a big-picture overview: 1,000 years of Jewish history in just under 45 minutes. We went from David and the foundation of the United Kingdom down through the destruction of the Second Temple with repeated glances back at how David was a constant touchstone for understanding and constructing Israel’s political and religious  identity. Great fun… I’ve also been working on other writings and projects that are massively overdue.

Hence, no blogging.

Hopefully this’ll change soon. In any case, I couldn’t not say something about the latest post at the Daily Episcopalian. Yes, it’s hard to find a good church, and modern parenting isn’t easy, but “home-churching” seems like a simplistic appeal to cafeteria religion (just take the parts you like, feel free to leave the rest) that falls short of the mark that we promised our children in Baptism.

Best Quote to Date on Debt Ceiling

I haven’t posted many political things recently since I tend to fall into the camp that prefers “sanity” in my political discourse and there seems to be precious little of that in most discussions…

Nevertheless, I just read in this CNN article what I’d consider to be a nice Moment Of Clarity. As such—expect it to be ignored uniformly.

Here it is from David Stockman:

 [W]e are collecting less than 15% of GDP in taxes, the lowest since 1950, and spending 24% of GDP.

We’ve got to move in both directions—no two ways around it.

A New Publishing Model?

I’ve got a couple of writing projects I’ve been working on that may be developing into books. Bits and pieces of these have appeared here on the blog in various forms. One is a practical guide to the liturgical year, the other is a text on liturgical/lectionary spirituality. I pitched the first to Church Publishing a little while back; they said that they were interested but that the timing wasn’t right. Of course, now we hear that there’s been a great deal of change at Church Publishing including a significant reduction of staff and therefore capability.

What does this bode for liturgical works for an Anglican audience? I don’t know for sure.

If I had to guess, however, it would indicate that the chance of being published through Church Publishing is shrinking. Furthermore, I’d imagine that they’re more likely to pick up works that are in line with the national church’s liturgical direction as exemplified by Enriching Our Worship. Material like mine with plenteous references to earlier times and other church traditions (e.g. the Missals…) may not be what they’ll be interested in publishing.

Where, then, to go? Will LTP start picking up the slack? Or is it time to look for a new model?

I’ve been following with interest the Simple English Propers Project as reported by Chant Cafe, NLM, and the CMAA. They just completed a fund-raising campaign which raised money for the completion of the project; the resulting work will, if I understand it rightly, be distributed freely on-line and for the cost of printing at Lulu. This was acheived through the use of digital micro-patronage–collections of $5, $10, $20 and, I’d assume, some larger donations that when pooled made it a viable project.

Now, there’s a certain cachet lacking in that it’s not produced by an official press. For the purpose of, say, a typical academic resume, a self-published work of this sort would have the credibility of—well—a blog posting. And the resulting work may lack something in not having the eye of an experienced editor looking it over. On the other hand…it works. It’s a means for circulating ideas, and particularly ideas that lack the financial viability need in the modern publishing market.

I’ve been thinking a bit about the patronage idea recently. I’d actually been considering making a standing announcement that I’d be willing to code a traditional calendar version of the breviary that would accept the use of pre/non-Vatican II lectionaries like the American or English ’28 versions or even the classical prayer book forms that don’t work with the current post-Vatican II scheme if I could get a patron, parish, or group of parishes to underwrite it. But that hadn’t bubbled to the putting-it-into-practice phase.

So here’s the thing: traditional print publishers are having a hard time. This is bad for niche writing and publishing. Nevertheless, there’s still interest in niche materials. Patronage, particularly in the form of digital micro-patronage, may represent a way forward for the production of work for which an author/editor deserves compensation but which can then be freely/cheaply circulated.



RBOC, Feast of Blessed Hooker

  • Richard Hooker—get your mind out of the gutter.
  • I’ve been writing far less than I intend due to lots of stuff at home and work. Alas, blogging takes a distant place behind incarnate endeavors.
  • There’s some SBB work that needs to be done; I’d made some corrections, streamlined some table access points and had introduced an option for traditional language Lord’s Prayer in Rite 2 but due to versioning problems haven’t been able to apply it yet. (I.e., if I apply it now, there’s a good chance the collects will disappear…) I’m still trying to get the breviary blog up and going but that’s been forced to a back burner
  • Work on the presentation for the Society of Catholic Priests is proceeding well; I hope to meet some of you in the flesh there. I think my talk will be posted somewhere for those of you not attending.
  • Got confirmation of our registration for the American Sarum conference—M and I plan to prepare for it by reading more of Blessed Percy.
  • Had a fine All Souls Mass at church last night only marred by my obsessive thought that it’s a shame the ’82 Hymnal doesn’t have a proper Agnus Dei for requiems.
  • Note to Republicans: You won last night in some key races because of not one but two constituencies. Yes, the Tea Party folks were a factor. Don’t forget the other factor: the Independents and Moderates who voted for you because we like to see a government that must negotiate. Some of the best years in recent history were when Bill Clinton had a Republican Congress. Now Obama has a Republican House. Use this opportunity. Sand-bag, obfuscate, and we’ll toss your butts back out as quickly as we voted you in.

Turning of the Seasons

So, the seasons are definitely changing.

School has started, activities are ramping up for the girls, the air during morning walks to school with G has become more crisp.

Football season has started. I’ve never really paid much attention to this one before but living a few streets away from a major football stadium has brought it to my attention in a whole new way and greatly complicates both errands and parking.

The program year at church is also ramping up. I’ve been asked to serve as assistant director of altar guild and there are plans in the works for some Christian Ed work as well—we’re going to start a Sunday morning spiritual formation program for adults as well as children; I’m just trying to figure a way that it doesn’t conflict with choir for those who want to do both.

Solemn High Mass season started too. We did the Solemnity of the Holy Cross as our big kick-off event on Sunday so I was in my tunicle and Lil’ G was boat-girl. Things went well, God was duly worshiped, and the congregation edified in Word and Sacrament. Expect more postings that relate to the altar guild matters as I’ve found a number of the classic manuals for cheap through Amazon and perusing those will probably spark posting topics. I’ve also broken down and ordered a copy of Fortescue; Smokey Mary’s is what I consider a Novus Ordo Anglo-Catholic place, St George’s was straight-up Ritual Notes, so I’ve never needed Fortescue. From what I’m discovering about the Bal’mer Missal tradition, it’s much more heavily Fortescue than Ritual Notes.