thoughts on Pope Francis

DISCLAIMER: I am, as you know, an Episcopalian. My reflections on the new pope in the Catholic Church and $3.25 will get you a personal grande decaf cappuccino, dry. (With apologies to Boston Pobble.)

Like many others, I have been caught up in the conversation around Pope Francis. My Catholic and Episcopal Facebook friends (and others as well) have offered up more reading material than I have been able to consume. At this point I am having trouble sorting the material out and remembering what I’ve read where. Particular thanks, however, go to Fran Rossi Szpylczyn and Jane Redmont.

In spite of the overwhelm, I’d like to offer a few thoughts.

I was listening to the Political Junkie segment on NPR’s Talk of the Nation when the host, Neal Conan, announced that those waiting in St. Peter’s Square had seen white smoke. NPR immediately cut away from the regularly scheduled segment, of course, and went to their reporters in Rome. All of us who were tracking this remember what seemed like a long wait from the smoke to the announcement.

Terry and I went off to lunch at our regular Mexican restaurant. While they normally had The Cooking Channel on the TV there, they instead had the Bay Area NBC affiliate on, which was broadcasting the coverage from NBC news. The network was, of course, doing their best to fill time until the announcement. The sound was down on the television, but midway through our lunch the text told us that the new pope was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, and that he had taken the name Francis.

Like many others, I reflected on all the firsts:

  • First pope from the Americas.
  • The first Jesuit pope.
  • The first pope to take the name Francis.
  • And, of course, he is the first pope not from Europe in a thousand years.

Like others, I’ve reflected on his humility and his concern for the poor. I’ve thought about how he didn’t live in the cardinal’s palace, cooked his own meals, and took public transportation. And like others, I’ve reflected on his conservative views on gender, marriage, and sexuality. But given the available pool of candidates the latter was inevitable whoever was selected.

We’re already seeing signs that as pope he is going to be doing things differently. Three examples of words and actions after his selection. I quote and steal, but all of this has been reported publicly.

  • He did not take the waiting limousine back to his temporary residence. He rode the bus with the other cardinals.
  • “Minutes after the election result was declared in the Sistine Chapel, a Vatican official called the Master of Ceremonies offered to the new Pope the traditional papal red cape trimmed with ermine that his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI gladly wore on ceremonial occasions. ‘No thank you, Monsignore,’ Pope Francis is reported to have replied. ‘You put it on instead. Carnival time is over!'”
  • In a talk he gave over the weekend he described how he chose the name Francis. As the vote was moving towards two-thirds he said a colleague told him not to forget the poor. He continued:

I thought of Francis of Assisi. Then I thought of the wars, while the vote counting continued. And Francis is the man of peace. And thus came the name, in my heart: Francis of Assisi. And he is for me the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man that loves and guards creation. At this time we have a relationship with creation is not very good, right? He is the man that gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man. How I would like a church that is poor and for the poor!

It might, it just might. be a new era.

Those are my reflections. That and $3.25 will get you a grande decaf cappuccino.

Sacred Music Friday: Agnus Dei

Samuel Barber, Agnus Dei, Choir of New College, Oxford

making now right

My friend Mars (that’s her name) posted the following on Facebook. I think I need to have this tattooed on the back or my right hand.

Because constantly waiting for the right time can get tiring,
I have decided to embrace the perfect moment that is now.
And try my best to make now right.

still the one

I know that I shared this just last May, but in light of our anniversary yesterday and looking to our anniversary getaway to Carmel tomorrow, I have to reiterate that we’re still having fun and Terry is still the one.

our household philosophy

Since today is our 19th wedding anniversary, and because we’re stopping by Monterey, stomping ground to both John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts, on our way to Carmel later this week, I thought I would share with you our household philosophy. It comes from the appendix to Steinbeck’s Log from the Sea of Cortez, entitled “About Ed Ricketts.” Steinbeck says, “I think he set down his whole code or procedure once in a time of stress. He found himself quite poor and with three children to take care of. [Ricketts was known for his rather poorly controlled and indiscriminate passion for women.] In a very scholarly manner he told the children how they must proceed.”

Terry and I have adapted the philosophy for our own married with no children lifestyle. It has been on the wall of the entry way to our house since we moved here in 1997, and was in a similar location in our previous rental house. I think it suits us and our lifestyle well.

“We must remember three things,” he said to them,
“I will tell them to you in the order of their importance.
“Number one and first in importance,
we must have as much fun as we can with what we have.

“Number two, we must eat as well as we can,
because if we don’t we won’t have the health and strength
to have as much fun as we might.

“And number three and third and last in importance,
we must keep the house reasonably in order, wash the dishes, and such things.
But we will not let the last interfere with the other two.”

doing things differently

I’ve had a KitchenAid mixer since the late 1970’s. My parents bought me my first one, the tilt-head model. Several years ago, I decided I wanted the larger lift stand mixer and gave the tilt-head to my sister-in-law.

I got the standard attachments a couple of years after I got my first KitchenAid. I bought both the food grinder and the shredder. And I’ve been making my own refried beans for tostadas for as long as I’ve had the food grinder. That would be 33 years or so. I would pressure cook the beans in my stove-top Presto (I’m on my second or third one now) and then run them through the food grinder. It worked out well, but it was a messy process and the grinder is something of a pain to clean.

Last winter, I realized that I really didn’t need to use the food grinder. I put the beans in the bowl and used the flat beater, supplemented by the hand masher I had recently purchased, something that kapaddlehad long been missing from my kitchen tool collection (thank you Rachael Ray). Then, last week, I realized that I could do even better using the wire whip, again aided by the masher.

Amazing the revelations one can have, even after thirty plus years.


Sacred Music Friday: Laudate Dominum

Mozart, Laudate Dominum, Tutti Canti de Saint Cyprien, France

collecting recipes

Not long ago I mentioned on Facebook that I had reached the 700 recipe mark in my Living Cookbook database. I got a couple of raised eyebrows.

But, really, what’s wrong with that? When you buy Living Cookbook or another recipe program you get a couple of thousand prepackaged recipes. I deleted all of those, because I only wanted to save the recipes I had collected. And think about it. What owner of The Joy of Cooking has made every recipe in the book? Yes, there was that one blogger whose writing became a movie who attempted to cook her way through all of The Art of French Cooking, but really, she’s the fanatic exception who proves the rule.

See, the thing is that, of course I’ll never fix all of those 700 (and counting) recipes. The point is that I have a collection of recipes that look interesting to me and to Terry from which I can select based on mood. And, of course, from which I can choose based on ingredients on hand for those days on which I’m not inclined to go to the store.

And that’s all goodness, right?

follow me on twitter: @MikeChristie220 I tweet whenever I publish a new blog entry.

yanking my chain

My brother loves to yank my chain. When we’re together he goes out of his way to bait me. He even works at it remotely. Last week we received our Christmas present from him and my sister-in-law (hey, they lead busy lives!) and included in the package was the pair of redneck wine glasses you see here. Now my brother knows that 1) I enjoy my wine, and 2) I go out of my way to avoid things redneck.

He called a couple of days after we got the package and asked me if I rolled by eyes. Yes, Brian, of course I rolled my eyes. But we’re going to use ‘em. In the summer. Outside. For iced tea. Not wine.


follow me on twitter: @MikeChristie220 I tweet whenever I publish a new blog entry.

what happened?

I learned last week of the death of a high school classmate.

We were friends on Facebook, and I hadn’t seen anything from him for a while. Then my news feed displayed a post to his timeline referring to him in the past tense. Hu?

I went over to his timeline, and saw his last post was the end of January. By mid-February people were posting on his timeline about his memorial service and sharing condolences and remembrances. The only obituary I could find did not list a cause of death. Mark was a serious, dedicated weightlifter and a very hefty guy. Perhaps it was too much for his heart. No matter.

Life is fragile. At times like this I’m reminded to savor it and be grateful.

Rest in peace and rise in glory, Mark.