Sacred Music Friday: Gather us in

Thanks to Fran this.

that’s my song

I think there’s something almost genetic in our response to the whistle of the freight train. On evenings when we have the window open I pause and listen for just a moment when I hear the sound of the train. That must be why this song performed by the Smothers Brothers resonates with me now just as much as it did when I was a pre-teen.

civilization and the California freeways

Remember how the jungle boat ride at Disneyland used to end (and maybe still does)? “And now we come to the most dangerous part of our journey: civilization and the California freeways.”

When we were growing up that gave us a laugh the first time we heard it and still a chuckle the 50th time. (I probably haven’t been on the jungle boat fifty times, but you get the idea.) That phrase kept going through my mind when we were down in Southern California Father’s Day weekend. The traffic was horrendous. Saturday afternoon from Highway 101 to California 134 to I-210: mile after mile of 20 mile-per-hour traffic. We couldn’t believe it.

Actually we could. Depending on the route we take we experience something like that every trip. I just conveniently forget.

Depending on where you are in the Bay Area, traffic can be pretty bad, but to me Southern California traffic is more awful more of the time. I really do love seeing my family, but I’m glad we live in the Bay Area.

appreciating Vin

We were down in Southern California visiting family Father’s Day weekend. We had some down time, so while Terry took a nap I watched the Dodger game on TV. While I admit to being a converted Giants fan, I grew up listening to Dodger baseball on the radio, and am a devoted Vin Scully fan. So it was with pleasure that I sat down and watched several innings of the Dodger-White Sox game. (Say what?! Yes, inter-league play.) And you know what? Vin Scully has lost nothing. He is every bit as sharp as he was when I was six years old and the Dodgers had only recently moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.

He is truly amazing, and I’m so glad he’s still around to listen to when I have the opportunity.

natural refrigeration

When I was small my parents would talk about having family “back East.” I wasn’t entirely sure where that was, but it turns out to have been Michigan. Not really back East to many people, but certainly to the east of California. I remember asking once whether people “back East” needed refrigerators and whether they couldn’t just put their milk and cheese outside in the snow. While that could conceivably work in the winter in Michigan it certainly wouldn’t be practical in those hot, humid summers.

I had to chuckle, then, about how we kept our wine chilled when staying at the Hampton Inn Channel Islands Harbor on our way back from seeing my family Father’s Day weekend. There was no refrigerator in the room and it was downright chilly outside. So for that evening, at least, it worked out just fine.

my point being

I thought that my blog was overdue for a name change. Csquared thoughts is a little silly, though it does make logical sense. Our Internet domain is and both of our car license plates have variations of csquared on them. Terry Cobb. Mike Christie. Csquared. But I’m not sure csquared thoughts means anything.

There’s a long-time columnist in the Gilroy Dispatch, Lisa Pampuch, who wrote a column called My Point Exactly. I always liked that title, and used it in a Facebook post I made yesterday. I noticed that Lisa hasn’t had a new column since April, so I thought I would, quite honestly, steal the title for my blog. Problem is that Lisa has a blog right here on WordPress by that very title.

Then there’s the book by Ellen DeGeneres called, My Point, and I Do Have One. I love that title and I thought about using it, but the book is still very much in print, and I’m not really up for receiving a cease and desist order from Ellen’s attorneys. Besides, I might want to attend a taping of her show some day.

So what’s left? Sometimes I tend to ramble, and I need to bring my commentary to a conclusion by saying, “My point being…” Ah, that works!

So welcome to my point being.

P.S. The blog name changes, but the URL remains the same. No need to disrupt things. But just to bring home the point of the new title, I’ve created this redirect:


Sacred Music Friday: Thine be the glory

Choir of King’s College Cambridge, Handel: Thine be the glory (from Judas Maccabeus)

The Gambler

I’ve always liked this song. Pedestrian and cliché, yes, I suppose. But to me also practical advice on living life.

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away and know when to run
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done

in support of our U.S. Catholic nuns

On Monday I wrote about my perspective on and respect for the Catholic faith. I made a brief mention of the U.S. Catholic nuns and their battle with the Vatican. If you’re not aware of what is going on, the Vatican has accused the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), to which the vast majority of U.S. Catholic nuns belong, of not properly adhering to church teaching. The LCWR insists that the Vatican is misinterpreting their words and actions. A meeting between the LCWR and representatives of the Vatican on 18 June did not go well.

One of my all time great heroines in the world of religion and spirituality is Sister Joan Chittister, who lucidly and energetically articulated the position of women religious in the U.S. in a superb interview with Christiane Amanpour. If you didn’t see this when I posted it on Facebook, do watch. It’s great.

Meanwhile, a group of nuns is touring the country by bus to protest the cuts to services for the poor in the budget that came out of the U.S. House of Representatives. Bill Moyers has two members of his team on board. Read the introduction and the ongoing blog chronicling the trip.

To all of those dedicated women I say thank you, and please, keep fighting the good fight!

conversion is a living process

I wrote yesterday about the Catholic perspective as described by a recent convert, Julia Smucker. One the points she made is that conversion is a living process. She says:

What Catholics might call the “conversion process” is similar to what some of the Mennonite circles I grew up in, and still deeply appreciate, would call the “faith journey.” To tell of my conversion would be to tell of my whole life.

and then goes on to say:

I’m grateful that I wasn’t required to pinpoint one “conversion moment.” For us it’s not about one decisive moment when you “get saved” so that you can someday go to heaven, but about being in the process of being saved so that, to borrow phrasing from my days in RCIA [Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults], your whole life is God getting you in shape to “do heaven” – because “heaven isn’t just a place you go, it’s something you do.”

Oh yes! That is one of the things, probably the main thing, that made me crazy about the church of my high school days. I always hated the altar call, and was never prepared in one specific moment to give my life to Christ. I hated the pressure that you were supposed to have that one moment of conversion.

That’s not what it’s about. It is a process. It is a lifelong journey. And like the Catholics, the Episcopalians take the same view. One reason among many that I am where I am today.