Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Seven Day Itch

Seventh day of Lent, and I've already slipped! (Boohiss) Did the lack-of-caffeine headache send me to it? Did I just need a boost to get me through that World of Warcraft binge?


I blame Subway.

Jenny asked me to pick up Subway for lunch, so I swung by on my way back to the apartment. I entered the store and used the ATM to pull some cash to pay with. I ordered two foot-long subs (I eat half now, and half later.), one roast beef on Italian with provalone, lettuce, green peppers and light mayo, one turkey on honey oat with American cheese, lettuce, green peppers and light mayo. (Quite the pair, aren't we?) And then I see the sign. If I add in a drink and some chips I can get one sammich free. Free!
So I nab some Sun Chips, pay, take my cup and quickly grab... I dunno... Diet Coke. I put on a lid. I grab a straw, bang it on the counter until one end emerges then pull it free with my teeth. I pop the straw into the cup, take a sip, take two steps... and... Oh bother. That has caffeine, doesn't it?


Force of habit, enemy of change everywhere. We'll have to watch me at the movies, too.

Anyway, pray for my slip and that there will be no more!

Oh, and be good to each other.
Rev. Josh

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I Wage Peace

I found the link to this video through the I Wage Peace website. If you drive I-95 through CT, you may have seen their billboards. I'm really impressed with I Wage Peace so far! Enjoy the video, and go visit their site.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Friday, February 23, 2007


You've probably noticed by now that my cute little Valentine's "I Love You" graphic has dissapered from the background of my blog and replaced with this.

And you might (perhaps "should"?) be asking yourself what it means. It's a reference to a popular anime series entitled Neon Genesis Evangelion. At first glance, it looks like just another giant robot show. (Like when I was watching Voltron when I was a kid. I had no idea it came out of Japan!) Well, maybe a particularly decent giant robo show.
Then, I noticed something in one of the first major battles of the series. The giant robots are fighting up in the city, and there is an explosion. The explosion shoots up the street, and then spreads into two side streets as the explosion continues up... making the form of a cross. I really wish I could find that image for you, but I haven't been able to. Needless to say, I started paying a little more attention--there were obviously multiple layers of meaning here! And sure enough, Evangelion draws from all kinds of religious imagery, including The Tree of Life as it is understood in the Kabbalah of Judaism, The Well of Souls from the same, Christian crosses, images creepily reminiscent of crucifixion, The Lance of Longinus, plus (according to the DVD commentary) plenty of ancient Babylonian imagery that I don't have the background for. And that's not even the half of it!

Of course, like any good story, it actually comes down to the people involved. And I think that I always turn back to Evangelion during Lent because it does such a good job at showing how broken we all are. How we all make our own mistakes for our own reasons... and of course there's the scene where one of the characters sacrifices himself for the good of humanity in a sudden and gruesome manner.

To sum up, Neon Genesis Evangelion is an apocalyptic anime that draws from a lot of religious imagery. It does a great job of exploring the fallen nature of humanity, which actually meshes very well with the introspection we are expected to do during Lent. You can find the series and the movie(s) (which are a digest of the series followed by a re-imagining of the ending) on Netflix, but you should be aware that they are unrated. There is a lot of violence of varying degrees and and a couple of "adult" situations. If it were rated, I'd guess that most episodes would be PG-13, but some definately trip over into R-rated territory (usually for violence).

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ash Thursday!

Ok, ok, I know... but I got busy yesterday, and so you're getting the Ash Wednesday post today. As many of you are aware, Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent There are a lot of really interesting traditions and disciplines associated with Lent, from Bible study, to fasting, to prayer, to giving something up for the duration. Wikipedia has a pretty decent explanation of fasting and abstinence as it relates to Lent, so I won't go into oodles of detail here. We remember that Jesus went out into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days. (Just as Jesus remembered Israel wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.) We remember the events leading up to the suffering death (and later Resurrection) of Jesus.

The ironic thing is that the 40 days of Lent actually don't count Sundays... the days when most of us are most likely to be thinking about Lent. You see, we worship on Sunday because that's the day Jesus was raised from the dead. So Sundays are always celebrations of the Resurrection. And Lent is preparation for the Resurrection... it points to it, in a way, but doesn't get to celebrate it. So Lent doesn't include Sundays.

Anyway, that's why I like to encourage people to take on a Lenten discipline. For exaple, I myself have given up caffeine for Lent. Every time I crave a soda, desire a caffeinated pick-me-up, or yawn in the middle of the day, I am reminded that it is Lent. Now, if you aren't addicted to caffein, giving it up means nothing. Mary Kate Olsen should not be fasting. (In fact, if you're thinking of fasting, speak to your doctor and find out how to go about it right. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Harford has a concise definition of what they mean by fasting.) The point is to do what will work for you, but to do something!

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wow. Now that's a big "oops"

Ok, it's not the most terrible mistake ever made, but I feel kinda bad, anyway. I'd been beating myself up and even complaining about the lack of comments on my blog. I have always intended for it to be a place where folk can safely comment on whatever I've posted. Well... somewhere along the line I enabled comment moderation, most likely so I could delete spam. I now have the little "type what you see in the pic" filter up, so that spam is no longer a problem, but, well, to make a long story short, I recently discovered a good half a dozen comments that never went up because they were waiting for me to "moderate" them. I reserve the right to moderate, but now at least I have it set up to let me know via my e-mail when a new comment is waiting... on me... to let it go up.

I hope.

So, sorry everyone! Sorry new people! Sorry old friends... (so that amounts to Elizabeth and Layrinn, but sorry anyway...)

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Amistad Follow-Up

If you want to learn more about the Freedom Schooner Amistad, check out their web site!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Mark Your Calendars for Amistad!

I'm sure that many, if not most of us, have seen the movie Amistad at some point or another. It was a great film, and worth a watch if you haven't yet. Any time you see someone up in the rigging of the ship in that film, you are in actuality seeing folk from the Mystic Seaport Museum, in Mystic, CT... practically in my parents' backyard! But what the film did not manage to do well, was highlight the role of Congregational Christians (many of whom later became members of the UCC) in the whole incident. In fact, Stratford Congregational minister, Joshua Leavitt was appointed to the American Anti-Slavery Society executive committee in 1833, became editor of The Emanicpator in 1837, visited the Amistad prisoners several times in 1839-41, and helped orgnize the Amboitionist or Liberty Party.

If you're anywhere near New Haven, CT on June 21st—even if you aren't a member of the UCC and are just into your American history—you might want to come see off the Freedom Schooner Amistad on its first trans-Atlantic journey, including a stop in Sierra Leone, West Africa—the country of origen of the Amistad captives. According to the Connecticut Conference of the UCC, the Freedom Schooner Amistad
...will set sail to Shelburne and Halifax, Nova Scotia. After a voyage across the North Atlantic the Amistad will participate in the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in England. Then it is on to Lisbon, Portugal, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Dakar, Senegal, San Juan, Puerto Rico and a return to New Haven with stops in Charleston, SC, Washington, DC and New York City.

For more information, contact Rev. Kent Siladi, or (203) 453-0614!

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh