Daily Archives: November 28, 2013

The Stunning True Story of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, Mercy, Memory, and Thanksgiving

About sunset, it happened every Friday evening on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast. You could see an old man walking, white-haired, bushy eye-browed, slightly bent.

One gnarled hand would be gripping the handle of a pail, a large bucket filled with shrimp. There on a broken pier, reddened by the setting sun, the weekly ritual would be re-enacted.

At once, the silent twilight sky would become a mass of dancing dots…growing larger. In the distance, screeching calls would become louder.

They were seagulls, come from nowhere on the same pilgrimage”¦ to meet an old man.
For half an hour or so, the gentleman would stand on the pier, surrounded by fluttering white, till his pail of shrimp was empty. But the gulls would linger for a while. Perhaps one would perch comfortably on the old man’s hat”¦and a certain day gone by would gently come to his mind.

Eventually, all the old man’s days were past. If the gulls still returned to that spot”¦ perhaps on a Friday evening at sunset, it is not for food”¦ but to pay homage to the secret they shared with a gentle stranger.

And that secret is THE REST OF THE STORY.

Anyone who remembers October of 1942 remembers the day it was reported that Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was lost at sea.

Captain Eddie’s mission had been to deliver a message of the utmost importance to General Douglas MacArthur.

But there was an unexpected detour which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life. . Somewhere over the South Pacific, the flying fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio. Fuel ran dangerously low, and the men ditched their plane in the ocean.

The B-17 stayed afloat just long enough for all aboard to get out. . Then, slowly, the tail of the flying fortress swung up and poised for a split second”¦ and the ship went down leaving eight men and three rafts”¦ and the horizon.

For nearly a month, Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, and the weather, and the scorching sun.

They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts. Their largest raft was nine by five”¦ the biggest shark ten feet long.

But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation. Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to sustain them. And a miracle occurred.

In Captain Eddie’s own words, “Cherry,” that was B-17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, “read the service that afternoon, and we finished with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise. There was some talk, but it tapered off in the oppressive heat. With my hat pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the glare, I dozed off.”
Now this is still Captain Rickenbacker talking”¦ Something landed on my head. I knew that it was a seagull. I don’t know how I knew; I just knew.
“Everyone else knew, too. No one said a word. But peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces. They were staring at the gull. The gull meant food”¦ if I could catch it.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its flesh was eaten; its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed because a lone sea gull, uncharacteristically hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice.

You know that Captain Eddie made it.

And now you also know…that he never forgot.
Because every Friday evening, about sunset…on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast…you could see an old man walking…white-haired, bushy-eyebrowed, slightly bent.

His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls…to remember that one which, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle…like manna in the wilderness.

Paul Harvey’s the Rest of the Story (Bantam Books, 1997 Mass paperback ed. of the 1977 Doubleday original), pp. 170-172

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Animals, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(WSJ) Melanie Kirkpatrick–Thanksgiving, 1789

It is hard to imagine America’s favorite holiday as a source of political controversy. But that was the case in 1789, the year of our first Thanksgiving as a nation.

The controversy began on Sept. 25 in New York City, then the seat of government. The inaugural session of the first Congress was about to recess when Rep. Elias Boudinot of New Jersey rose to introduce a resolution. He asked the House to create a joint committee with the Senate to “wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Religion & Culture

Thanksgiving: America’s religious holiday

In an age in which students can get suspended for wearing religious T-shirts to school and pre-game prayers have been dropped lest they offend someone, it is a wonder the Supreme Court has not ruled Thanksgiving unconstitutional. It is, after all, an official recognition of religion.

To deny Thanksgiving’s religious basis is to ignore the spark that ignited the Pilgrims’ productive labors. They worked hard, and the bounty this work created was the product of human exertion. But their efforts were not entirely motivated by a desire for prosperity.
In his 1995 book, “Creating the Commonwealth,” historian Stephen Innes argues that the secret to Massachusetts Bay’s economic success ”” for which the colonists gave thanks ”” was its religious underpinning. “Massachusetts Bay was a commonwealth that flourished in large part because its notion of redemptive community endowed economic development with moral, spiritual, and religious imperatives,” he wrote. “The settlers’ providentialism ”” the belief that they were participating in the working out of God’s purposes ”” made all labor and enterprise ”˜godly business,’ to be pursued aggressively and judged by the most exacting of standards.”

The Pilgrims did not work only to feed, clothe, and house themselves. They worked to glorify God, and work so motivated produced abundant profits”¦.”

–The New Hampshire Union Leader in 2004

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Religion & Culture

A Thanksgiving Psalm

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is seemly. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names. Great is our LORD, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. The LORD lifts up the downtrodden, he casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God upon the lyre! He covers the heavens with clouds, he prepares rain for the earth, he makes grass grow upon the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens which cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man; but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your sons within you. He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat. He sends forth his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. He casts forth his ice like morsels; who can stand before his cold? He sends forth his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow. He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and ordinances to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his ordinances. Praise the LORD!

–Psalm 147:1-20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Open Thread II: For What are you Particularly Thankful on Thanksgiving 2013?

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

Open Thread I: How, Where and with Whom are you Spending Thanksgiving this year?

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Marriage & Family

Music for Thanksgiving 2013–Alleluia by Randall Thompson

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

Kendall Harmon: Thanksgiving

People in the early twenty-first century seem to struggle to be thankful. One moving story on this topic concerns a seminary student in Evanston, Illinois, who was part of a life-saving squad. On September 8, 1860, a ship called the Lady Elgin went aground on the shore of Lake Michigan near Evanston, and Edward Spencer waded again and again into the frigid waters to rescue 17 passengers. In the process, his health was permanently damaged. Some years later he died in California at the age of 81. In a newspaper notice of his death, it was said that not one of the people he rescued ever thanked him.

Today is a day in which we are to be reminded of our creatureliness, our frailty, and our dependence. One of the clearest ways we may express this is to seek to give thanks in all circumstances (Philippians 4:6).

I am sure today you can find much for which to give thanks: the gift of life, the gift of faith, the joy of friends and family, all those serving in the mission field extending the reach of the gospel around the world, and so much else. I also invite you to consider taking a moment at some point today to write a note of thanksgiving to someone who really made a difference in your life: possibly a teacher, a coach, a mentor, a minister or a parent. You might even write to the parish secretary, the sexton, or the music minister in the parish where you worship; they work very hard behind the scenes.

”“The Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall S. Harmon is the convenor of this blog and takes this opportunity to give thanks for all blog readers and participants and to wish everyone a blessed Thanksgiving

Posted in * By Kendall, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Theology

CofE: Pilling Report Recommends Breach of Lambeth Resolution 1:10

and Windsor Report Recommendations and Scripture
– Places position of Archbishop of Canterbury and Church of England in Anglican Communion in doubt
Assurances given by Arun Arora and William Fittall turn out to be dissembling, Peter Ould’s report vindicated

Recommendation 16. We believe that there can be circumstances where a priest,
with the agreement of the relevant PCC, should be free to mark the
formation of a permanent same sex relationship in a public service
but should be under no obligation to do so. Some of us do not
believe that this can be extended to same sex marriage. (Paragraphs
120, 380”“3) [Pilling Report Page 151]

Read it all and the 18 recommendations on pages 149 to 152

The Bishop of Birkenhead has issued a dissenting report at page 119 including:

after much prayer and soul searching, I have concluded I cannot sign.

416. Why have I reached this conclusion? For a number of reasons
which I try to set out in more detail in this statement:

● I believe Scripture and Christian tradition offer a clearer and
better vision from God for the world in his gift of our
sexuality as men and women and that this is sufficient for
directing the Church at this critical time of major cultural
change. In particular, I am not persuaded that the biblical
witness on same sex sexual behaviour is unclear.

● I believe the trajectory in the Report will undermine the
discipleship and pastoral care of many faithful Christians
and, by leading the Church into the kind of cultural captivity
which much of the prophetic writings warn against, weaken
our commitment to God’s mission.

● I believe in the unity of Christ’s Church and think the Report
has not heeded the view of General Synod expressed in
February 2007 that ”˜efforts to prevent the diversity of
opinion about human sexuality creating further division and
impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the
Anglican Communion… would not be advanced by doing
anything that could be perceived as the Church of England
qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant
Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978: 10; 1988: 64;
1998: 1.10)’.

The Bishop of Birkenhead also contributed a paper ‘Scripture and Same Sex Relationships’ [pages 158-175 of the Pilling Report]
Global South Warnings and Exhortations to the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England:

The Statement of the Primates of the Global South in January 2013:

We, Primates of the Global South of the Anglican Communion, are deeply concerned and worried by the recent decision of the Church of England’s House of Bishops which approves that clergy living in civil partnerships can be candidates to the episcopate……

…both the decision to permit clergy to enter civil partnerships and this latest decision which some call it a “local option,” are wrong and were taken without prior consultation or consensus with the rest of the Anglican Communion at a time when the Communion is still facing major challenges of disunity. It is contrary to “the inter-dependence” which we try to affirm between churches within the Communion. Moreover, it does not only widen the gap between the Church of England and Anglicans in the Global South, it also widens the gap between the Anglican Communion and our ecumenical partners. Further, it jeopardizes the relationship between us Anglicans living in the Global South and followers of other faiths, and gives opportunities to exploit such departure of moral standards that this type of decision may provide.

The Church, more than any time before, needs to stand firm for the faith once received from Jesus Christ through the Apostles and not yield to the pressures of the society! In other words, the Church needs to be “salt” and “light” and to present a distinctive message from that of the secular world around us.

We strongly urge the Church of England to reconsider this divisive decision.

Archbishop Wabukala’s Letter of July 2013:

we are painfully aware that the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada continue to promote a false gospel and yet both are still received as in good standing by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Furthermore, the Church of England itself, the historic mother church of the Communion, seems to be advancing along the same path. While defending marriage, both the Archbishops of York and Canterbury appeared at the same time to approve of same-sex Civil Partnerships during parliamentary debates on the UK’s ”˜gay marriage’ legislation, in contradiction to the historic biblical teaching on human sexuality reaffirmed by the 1998 Lambeth Conference.

In these circumstances, attempts to achieve unity based merely on common humanitarianism and dialogue, without repentance, sacrifice the transforming power of the gospel….

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

The GAFCON II Communique and Commitment of October 2013:

4.We commit ourselves to defend essential truths of the biblical faith even when this defence threatens existing structures of human authority (Acts 5:29). For this reason, the bishops at GAFCON 2013 resolved ”˜to affirm and endorse the position of the Primates’ Council in providing oversight in cases where provinces and dioceses compromise biblical faith, including the affirmation of a duly discerned call to ministry. This may involve ordination and consecration if the situation requires.’
5.We commit ourselves to the support and defence of those who in standing for apostolic truth are marginalized or excluded from formal communion with other Anglicans in their dioceses. We have therefore recognized the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) as an expression of authentic Anglicanism both for those within and outside the Church of England, and welcomed their intention to appoint a General Secretary of AMiE.
6.We commit ourselves to teach about God’s good purposes in marriage and in singleness. Marriage is a life-long exclusive union between a man and a woman. We exhort all people to work and pray for the building and strengthening of healthy marriages and families. For this reason, we oppose the secular tide running in favour of cohabitation and same-sex marriage

TEXTS:

Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 ‘Human Sexuality’ [n.b. links to the resolution on ACO websites no longer appear to work]

This Conference:

– commends to the Church the subsection report on human sexuality;
– in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage;
– recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We
commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;
– while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex;
– cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions;
– requests the Primates and the ACC to establish a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion and to share statements and resources among us;
– notes the significance of the Kuala Lumpur Statement on Human Sexuality and the concerns expressed in resolutions IV.26, V.1, V.10, V.23 and V.35 on the authority of Scripture in matters of marriage and sexuality and asks the Primates and the ACC to include them in their monitoring process

Letter of Rowan Williams in 2006

“In my judgement, we cannot properly or usefully re-open the discussion as if Resolution 1.10 of Lambeth 1998 did not continue to represent the general mind of the Communion.”

Disobedience by Archbishops

Archbishop John Sentamu in House of Lords Debate on Same Sex Marriage June 2013:

“What do you do with people in same sex relationships that are committed, that are loving, that are Christian?”.

“Would you rather bless a sheep and a tree but not them? That is a big question to which we are going to come and the moment is not now. We are dealing with legislation as we’ve got.”

Archbishop Justin Welby in House of Lords Debate on Same Sex Marriage:

“It is clearly essential that stable and faithful same sex relationships should, where those involved want it, be recognised and supported with as much dignity and the same legal effect as marriage”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Office of the President, Politics in General

The 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

[New York, 3 October 1789]

By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor”“and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be”“That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks”“for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation”“for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed”“for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted”“for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions”“to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually”“to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed”“to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord”“To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us”“and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Office of the President, Politics in General

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou hast broken for us the bonds of sin and brought us into fellowship with God the Father.

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou hast overcome death and opened to us the gates of eternal life.

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because where two or three are gathered together in thy Name there art thou in the midst of them.

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou ever livest to make intercession for us.

For these and all other benefits of thy mighty work, thanks be unto thee O Christ, Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end, Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God. “And you shall make response before the LORD your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father; and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. And the Egyptians treated us harshly, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage. Then we cried to the LORD the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice, and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror, with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

–Deuteronomy 26:4-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CNS) Francis Rocca–To go forth in evangelization, Pope Francis confronts the enemy within

…Pope Francis devotes much of his exhortation to the shortcomings of the church itself. He laments its “excessive centralization” in the Vatican, which he finds a hindrance to the church’s “missionary outreach.” He complains about members of religious orders who show an “inordinate concern for their personal freedom and relaxation,” and about priests “obsessed with protecting their free time.”

The pope criticizes those who show an “ostentatious preoccupation with the liturgy, doctrine and the church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people and the concrete needs of the present time.” He upbraids Catholics with a “business mentality, caught up with management, statistics, plans and evaluations, whose principal beneficiary is not God’s people but the church as an institution.” And he regrets that women do not yet have a sufficient role in decision-making within the church.

Pope Francis also deplores divisiveness within the ranks, writing: “It always pains me greatly to discover how some Christian communities, and even consecrated persons, can tolerate different forms of enmity, division, calumny, defamation, vendetta, jealousy and the desire to impose certain ideas at all costs, and even persecutions which appear as veritable witch hunts. Whom are we going to evangelize if this is the way we act?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(BBC) A new App which will allow users to record their dreams

For most of us, dreams are notoriously difficult to recall in detail – and even harder to understand or interpret.

Hunter Soik – a dream-catcher for the digital age – believes he can help.

Watch it all (about 3 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology