leaving the CLF

In the middle of last year, when I was in turmoil about my spiritual home, I joined the Unitarian Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF). I was a Unitarian in Oklahoma City in the early 1980s, and it hit me, in the midst of the confusion, that I could be a member of CLF.The CLF was set up specifically for those who don't have a brick and mortar UU church nearby.

As I came to terms with the fact that I really wanted and needed to be in an Episcopal church, I started attending St. John the Divine, as you well know.

Last week I sent a letter resigning my membership in CLF. I want to commit my full attention to St. John's, even though I haven't actually joined yet.

It's mostly symbolic, certainly, but it's an important symbol for me.

And besides, I'm still keeping up with the CLF on Facebook.

on being all right

"Tigger is all right, really," said Pooh lazily.
"Of course he is," said Christopher Robin.
"Everybody is really," said Pooh. "That's what I think," said Pooh.
"But I don't suppose I'm right," he said.
"Of course you are," said Christopher Robin

—A. A. Milne, courtesy of Kassy Fatooh,
opening the weekly "Joys and Concerns" on the
Unitarian Church of the Larger Fellowship email discussion list

This adult, at least, has much to learn from Pooh's somewhat childlike perspective.

another thing I love about Episcopal worship, Rite II

The Post Communion Prayer:

Eternal God, heavenly Father,
you have graciously accepted us as living members
of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ,
and you have fed us with spiritual food
in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.
Send us now into the world in peace,
and grant us strength and courage
to love and serve you
with gladness and singleness of heart;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

high tech isn’t always best

People who know me know that if there is a high tech way of doing something and a low tech way, I'll take the high tech way.

When I get my prescription refills, I'll use the online Web form rather that dropping them by the pharmacy. But this creates a couple of problems. The prescription doesn't go to my local pharmacy, but to a central location. When refills got down to one, they would request a renewal from my doctor. But when the refills hit zero a new prescription number was generated, and the approved renewal was tied with the old prescription number, not the new one. Then they changed the system so when I requested a refill, it didn't notice there was a new prescription number after a renewal replacing the old, and my refill request went into a void somewhere. I now drop off my refill requests at the local pharmacy.

My hearing aid has an iCom device that allows it to connect with other devices, either by Bluetooth or cable. I've always attached a Bluetooth device to my iPod when walking Tasha, but those devices like to turn off the iPod arbitrarily and for no good reason when they are even slightly jostled around, as happens when out with Tasha on the leash. More recently, I've been using the cable, which doesn't have that problem.

High tech, as much as I hate to admit it, isn't always best.

God’s will

  There is a second way in which confusion about God's will leads to passivity in women.
That is the supposition that God's will is a detailed plan for every aspect of our lives,
so that discernment is not a matter of adult reflection and decision,
but a feat of finding the hidden preplan and then simply conforming to it.

—Kathleen Fischer, Women at the Well: Feminist Perspectives on Spiritual Direction
courtesy of Jane Redmont on Facebook

I would contend that while this may indeed be a greater danger for women, it is in fact a risk for men as well.

Phillip Cary, in his book Good News for Anxious Christians: 10 Practical Things You Don't Have to Do, makes a similar argument. The book, which is geared to college-age women and men, takes on a number of positions held in the evangelical community which Cary maintains are harmful to young people.

Cary takes a similar position to Fischer's about finding God's will, but says that what you need to be doing is looking at scripture rather than finding that elusive inner revelation. I certainly agree more with Fischer's approach of "adult reflection and decision," but Fischer and Cary are in agreement about behaving as autonomous, responsible adults and not looking for some message etched in stone which we must then execute without thought.

This hits close to home, because this was the kind of indoctrination I got as a high school teenager in my local church youth group in the late 1960's and early 1970's. I rejected this notion fairly early on, but I'm sure it is a troubling matter for those who haven't. And it seems to be a persistent theme in some circles. Fischer's book was published in 1988 and Cary's last October.

I'm glad that people like Fischer and Cary are out there reminding people that this is not necessarily the best approach to take in finding one's direction in life.


Terry and I enjoy having fish as a regular part of our diet. Getting good fish, though, is tough since we lost Poppy's last June. The fish in our local grocery stores is less then stellar. I thought Safeway frozen fish might be an option, but our recent experience with that is that is has an "old" taste to it.

We were delighted when Whole Foods opened a store in south San Jose, very much on our way home when we're up in that area. But results there are mixed. We got some sea bass that had an old taste to it, though the last halibut we got was quite good. Up in Los Altos there's Andronico's, which always has good fish. That's very close to Terry's health care professionals and is on her way home when seeing her San Mateo County and North Bay customers.

On Saturday we went over to Capitola to pick up Terry's custom pendant (turned out wonderful!), so we buzzed down to Moss Landing and the famous Phil's fish market. We got scallops and shrimp (which Terry turned into a marvelous dinner) and halibut which I sealed up and froze for, probably, next Saturday.

So there's options. But getting good seafood just isn't as easy as when we had Poppy's around.

getting things done

I thought I got a lot done during the holiday shutdown. I did, really. And I spent time relaxing and recharging as well. But somehow, getting recipes from our magazines to our kitchen netbook didn't happen. What once was caught up is now a big backlog. sigh Oh, well. We'll get there. (And let's not even mention all that vinyl I've intended to digitize.)


loving and cooking

This bumper sticker arrived with my last order from Penzeys Spices. I really like it.

Thing is, I'm not big on bumper stickers. I have a few static window decals on the back window of my car (Support Peace and Pitzer College), but I don't take the lon-term commitment of a bumper sticker lightly. (I think of a former co-worker who, when Ross Perot was running for president, had nothing good to say about "yuppies who taped Perot bumper stickers to the back windows of their BMW's" instead of actually making the commitment of attaching them to their bumper.)

But I really do like this. It may go on my bumper yet.


customer service (or lack thereof)

I appreciate the recent rant in Pearls Before Swine on customer service. We certainly have experienced enough poor customer service to relate. Diogerat


Last spring we bought a new dishwasher. Really, we wouldn't have needed a new dishwasher, except that the contractor who remodeled our kitchen a few years ago didn't properly secure our trusty KitchenAid, so its motion gradually led to deteriorating performance.

We bought a Bosch which worked fine for a while, but gradually it began to not work well, not getting dishes clean, leaving a film on glassware, and calcium buildup on utensils. We had a service man out and he told us that there there was nothing wrong with the dishwasher – we just weren't using it right. Sure. But we did implement some of his suggestions, though to little avail.

This month we decided to take the hit and replace it. We first went to Lowe's, where we bought the Bosch, thinking we might be able to get a better price given our experience. But the employee on duty in the department (I wouldn't call him a salesperson) wasn't terribly impressive. He wouldn't approach customers who were obviously seriously looking at appliances, and when someone did have a question for him, he would shout the answer over two rows of appliances, rather than walking over to the customer.

So we went over to Best Buy. The sales person was very helpful, and we found an LG that we thought would do the job well. Turned out he wasn't quite so with it after all. When we didn't get a phone call confirming a delivery window, we called and were told that the sales person had treated the sale as if the dishwasher were coming from the distribution center when in fact it was at the local store. We got that taken care of, and got it delivered. We had installation scheduled for Friday. When the installer called us to set a time, he told us he did Gilroy on Mondays, and had been doing so for four years. sigh

On a cheerier note, the dishwasher was installed on Monday by two guys who knew what they were doing, and did a quality, efficient job. It looks really good in its spot under the counter. And so far it is performing very well and very much up to expectation. I hope you'll forgive the cliché, but it does seem to apply here: all's well that ends well.

St. John’s thoughts

A couple of thoughts on St. John the Divine, Morgan Hill, from this past Sunday.

  • The Gospel passage for Epiphany 2, Year A was from John 1, wherein two of the disciples of John the Baptist left John and followed Jesus. Fr. Phil spoke about the serendipity of finding one's true spiritual home. Yes, indeed.
  • The church annual meeting was between the 9:00 and 10:30 service, and the 10:30 service didn't start until 11:00. In order that things not run too late, Fr. Phil omitted the Nicene Creed, the Prayers of the People, and the confession. Personally, I can do with having the confession every week, but it showed a correct set of priorities: leave the Eucharist liturgy complete and intact.

And, oh yes, if you're wondering: I did not attend the annual meeting. I'll have plenty of opportunity to become involved in the business of the church. For now the view from my pew is more than sufficient.