Monday, April 30, 2012

"If I Wanted America to Fail"

Writes Morgan Richmond over at Hot Air, "A provocative new video from the folks over at Americans for Limited Government promoting a new project focused on economic liberty and free market policies." Indeed it is. Watch it.

Tip of the hat to Chaos Manor Mail.

Friday, April 27, 2012

South Side Garden and Farmers Market

It was only a couple of months ago that Pastor Karl Eckhoff of the neighboring Christ Lutheran Church -- Christ and Zion have been about three blocks apart for since the 1890s -- called me to ask if Zion might be interested in patcipating in a community garden. My response was along the lines of, "We're not in the position to offer much labor, but what other ways can we help?"

Turns out the garden was actually established last year at Logan Park (just a couple of blocks away) by the gitm Foundation ("gitm" is for "Gifts in the Moment") in association with the Peoria Park District, Garfield Elementary School (which is next to the park), and with support from other area businesses and agencies. The kids of the school and park would have the opportunity for hands-on learning about food and nutrition, and some produce and spices would be available in the neighborhood.

Everything was looking good until the school district rather suddenly decided to close Garfield School. But Christ Lutheran School also borders Logan Park, and this winter Denise and Kim from gitm approached the school to see if they might be interested in becoming a stakeholder in Garfield's place. Turns out this has been a win-win solution, and this winter and spring plans were devised to enlarge the garden and begin an Urban Farmers Market. Amazingly, everything has come together quite well to move the ideas into reality.

Zionites are helping provide seeds and seedlings, one of our members is with me on the board and has been very helpful in getting other area Lutherans on board, and the last couple of Saturdays I helped put up a fence and put a dirt mixture in the garden beds. Yesterday was a ribbon cutting for the garden and urban farmers market, with speakers from the gitm Foundation, the Peoria Park District, Illinois American Water, a song from the school children, and where I offered a prayer and blessing.

Here's the news report that aired yesterday on WEEK-TV, Channel 25:

Or read and view it here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

It's Been Four Years

It's now been four years since my prostatectomy, and today was my checkup. My PSA (prostate-specific antigen, that is, not "public service announcement" or the dearly-missed Pacific Southwest Airlines) is still less than .1. So, no change since my last report 6 months ago. Even better, with no sign of cancer my urologist says now I can go a full year before my next check up. Praise the Lord!

A Lockheed L-1011 TriStar in PSA livery, from when flying was fun.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Childhood Memory

For some reason, Laura Scudder's Potato Chips, the Noisiest Chip in the World, came to mind. The following TV commercial (which I'm sure I saw hundreds of times) takes us back to the glory days of the potato chip section of a market being filled with several different brands, most of which (at least in LA) were local.

Today's ubiquitous Lay's potato chips, a national brand, were actually rather exotic 40 years ago. Chips like Bell Brand, Granny Goose, and Laura Scudder's (three California brands) almost disappeared. "The noisiest chip in the world" is available (again), though I don't think I'll be buying a case of them, the only way I'd be able to get them here in Peoria.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Halleluja! Kristus är uppstånden!

(That is Swedish for) Alleluia! Christ is risen! Here's a repeat from my blog for Easter 2007, an Easter Sermon from St. John Chrysostom. A blessed, holy day to you all.

Photo: Easter 2011, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria
If any person is devout and loves God,
let him come to this radiant triumphant feast.
If any person is a wise follower,
let him enter into the joy of his Lord, rejoicing.
If any have fasted long
let him now receive refreshment.
If any have labored from the first hour,
let him today receive his just reward.
If any came at the third hour,
let him keep the feast with thankfulness.
If any arrived at the sixth hour,
let him have no misgivings for he shall not be deprived.
If any delayed to the ninth hour,
let him draw near, fearing nothing.
If any have waited even until the eleventh hour,
let him not be alarmed at this tardiness.
For the Lord will accept the last
even as the first.
Therefore, all of you,
enter into the joy of your Lord.
Rich and poor together,
hold high festival.
Diligent and heedless,
honor this day.
Both you who have fasted, and you who did not fast,
rejoice together today.
The table is full;
all of you, feast sumptuously.
The calf is fatted;
let no one go away hungry.
Enjoy the feast of faith;
receive the riches of God's mercy.
Let no one bewail his poverty,
for the fullness of the kingdom is revealed.
Let no one weep for his iniquities,
for forgiveness shines forth from the grave.
Let no one fear death,
for the savior's death has set us free.
He who was held prisoner by death
has annihilated it.
By descending into death,
he made death captive.
He angered it
when it tasted of his flesh.
Isaiah saw this, and he cried:
Death was angered when it encountered you
in the lower regions.
It was angered,
for it was defeated.
It was angered,
for it was mocked.
It was angered,
for it was abolished.
It was angered,
for it was overthrown.
It was angered,
for it was bound in chains.
It received a body
and it met God face to face.
It took earth
and encountered heaven.
It took that which is seen
and fell upon the unseen.
O Death,
where is your sting?
O Grave,
where is your victory?

Christ is risen
and you are overthrown.
Christ is risen
and the devils have fallen.
Christ is risen
and the angels rejoice.
Christ is risen
and life reigns.
Christ is risen
and not one dead remains in the grave.
For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep, and to him be glory and honor, even to eternity.

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Were You There?

Johnny Cash and the Carter Family in 1960.

Hat tip to Canon Kendall Harmon at TitusOneNine

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The HHS Mandate: What's at Stake?

"We don't ask people for their baptismal certificate, nor do we ask people for their U.S. passport, before we can serve them, OK? . . . We don't serve people because they're Catholic, we serve them because we are, and it's a moral imperative for us to do so."

That's Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, in James Taranto's "Weekend Interview" in The Wall Street Journal entitled "When the Archbishop Met the President."  You can read the entire article here (unless it gets hidden behind the Journals paywall).

In the interview Cardinal Dolan speaks of his conversations initiated by President Obama regarding the Department of Health and Human Service's new mandate that all forms of birth control be covered by medical insurance plans, including the plans of those for whom some (or all) forms of contraception are morally repugnant.
Mr. Obama knew that the mandate would pose difficulties for the Catholic Church, so he invited Archbishop Dolan to the Oval Office last November, shortly before the bishops' General Assembly in Baltimore. At the end of their 45-minute discussion, the archbishop summed up what he understood as the president's message:

"I said, 'I've heard you say, first of all, that you have immense regard for the work of the Catholic Church in the United States in health care, education and charity. . . . I have heard you say that you are not going to let the administration do anything to impede that work and . . . that you take the protection of the rights of conscience with the utmost seriousness. . . . Does that accurately sum up our conversation?' [Mr. Obama] said, 'You bet it does.'"

The archbishop asked for permission to relay the message to the other bishops. "You don't have my permission, you've got my request," the president replied.

"So you can imagine the chagrin," Archbishop Dolan continues, "when he called me at the end of January to say that the mandates remain in place and that there would be no substantive change, and that the only thing that he could offer me was that we would have until August. . . . I said, 'Mr. President, I appreciate the call. Are you saying now that we have until August to introduce to you continual concerns that might trigger a substantive mitigation in these mandates?' He said, 'No, the mandates remain. We're more or less giving you this time to find out how you're going to be able to comply.' I said, 'Well, sir, we don't need the [extra time]. I can tell you now we're unable to comply.'"
Cardinal Dolan has more to say about controversy that has ensued, both within the Catholic Church and the nation in general, particularly regarding what appropriate and proper "ministry" of the Church is in our land.  
The archbishop sees a parallel irony in his dispute with Mr. Obama: "This is a strange turn of the table, that here a Catholic cardinal is defending religious freedom, the great proposition of the American republic, and the president of the United States seems to be saying that this is a less-than-important issue."
Strange indeed. Alas, that is also the current state of the Republic. Again, read the interview here -- it's really important.

Tip o' the hat to James Kushiner at Touchstone's "Mere Comments."