Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What's going on with my church?!

Time to vent about the situation in my church.

The person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix has stripped St. Joseph's Hospital of its status as a Catholic hospital. I can't imagine that will affect the day to day operations a lot, but he chose to do it. This is another in a line of decisions which have come in opposition to fact and for the sole purpose of showing the riff-raff (or, as I prefer to think of us, the parishioners) of the Diocese who is boss.

A year and a half ago, I was forced out of the Newman Center when the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix took over the Newman Centers at NAU and ASU. Apparently, the people who ran the Newman Centers had turned them into such dens of iniquity, the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix felt that he needed to be more directly involved in the day to day affairs. In explaining this overthrow of the Dominicans and the Flagstaff parish, the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix said in a letter dated December 12, 2009 that the new priests in charge at the Newman Centers were to see "that the faithful and those who perform genuine liturgical ministries are imbued with the spirit of liturgy." This explanation indicates that the previous ministers, including me, were neither genuine, nor "imbued with the spirit of liturgy."

I would like to think that the 10 plus hours I volunteered to spend each week in prayer and work on music ministry at the Newman Center were genuine and imbued with the spirit of liturgy. I certainly tried to make them so. I followed all of the directives put forth by the parish, Diocese, and Vatican, even when those directives seemed arbitrary to me. I also chose music and music ministers with an eye toward the reverence and beauty of the Eucharistic celebration, as well as the joy of celebrating with the youth of NAU. Apparently this was not enough and I was not imbued with the spirit of liturgy. Perhaps I did not sing in Latin enough for the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix.

I can only imagine that the people who run St. Joseph's feel as shut out and betrayed by the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix as I do. They were even asked to have a theologian provide an ethical analysis of the case which brought about today's action. They did so and, despite being found to have acted appropriately by the duly appointed Marquette University theologian, the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix stripped them of their designation. Just as in my situation, they did what they felt they had been asked to do and they were savaged for it. I understand that neither of these situations make much difference in the grand scheme of things, but they certainly impact a few of the faithful.

There can be no ultimatum or profound moral stand at this point, in which I state my case and get returned to my post by acclamation of the faithful; that only happens in the movies. I know that the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix will never see this, but my friends, who may have wondered why I am less involved in the church I love than I used to be, will see it and, I hope, they will understand.

Thanks for reading. I'll try to do better next time.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

These (birth) Days

Happy birthday Jackson Browne. I've always loved the Tom Rush arrangement, so that's how I do it here. One of the few songs I can actually play on guitar. (Don't get used to it.) Also, if you're reading this on Facebook, Either find the video elsewhere on my wall or follow the link back to my blog. FB doesn't transfer the video, just the text.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I'll try to do better next time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another video

I chose this one because it's one of Katie's favorites. Things have gotten better in Belfast since Nanci Griffith wrote this, but it's true of too many other places in the world, including Arizona, I'm afraid.

Thanks for checking this out. I'll try to do better next time.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

In honor of Bruce's Birthday on Thursday

I should have done this on the day, but I haven't had time until now. As usual, the guitarist can sing, but the singer isn't much of a guitarist, so bear with me.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Great things about my summer

Playing with my kids.
Getting to know my wife.
Not going to work.
Singing more.
Seeing my sister.
Seeing my sister's kids.
Listening to my nephew play ocarina.
Going to the White Mountains.
Not having my house burn down.
Going to San Francisco.
Seeing "Whistler's Mother" at the DeYoung Museum.
Seeing humpback whales off the California coast.
Spending a week in San Luis Obispo and the Central Coast.
Getting bobbleheads at all 4 D-backs games I went to this summer.
Watching the D-backs win all 4 games I went to this summer.
Reconnecting with old friends.
Finding out my teaching schedule for this year is OK after all.

Thanks for reading. I'll try to do better next time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another reason I'm a teacher

I have always enjoyed being a teacher, even when I don't have a lot of reason to continue. In Arizona, we are the least appreciated profession and I am given more reasons to despair than I would have thought possible. But every now and then, something happens to remind me why I do this. I do this job because it lets me have a small part in the lives of amazing kids who grow up to be amazing adults. Case in point: I just discovered that one of my former students is part of a project that is focused on relief efforts in Africa. She was a member of my favorite graduating class of all time and I discovered her work by accident. You can check it out by clicking on her blog, "The Indestructible Beat," on the right side of this page.

I would be lying if I thought that her work had anything to do with my classes. I do believe that, deep down somewhere, a little piece of her time with me has influenced her life. Some days, that's all I get, but, thankfully, it's enough.

Thanks for reading. I'll try to do better next time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More great Rich Mullins

I just felt like writing about Rich Mullins. Here's one of my favorite Rich Mullins quotes:

"This is what I've come to think: that if I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ, who I claim to be my Savior and Lord, the best way I can do that is to identify with the poor. This I know will go against the teachings of all the popular evangelical preachers, but they're just wrong. They're not bad, they're just wrong."

Amen, Brother Rich.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stressing me out

I can't stand the way things are going in Arizona right now. Our legislature is fiddling while Rome burns. For instance, yesterday they spent time voting to put the 10 Commandments in front of the Capitol building, which I'm not sure they even own anymore. Now they'll get sued and waste more money, instead of finding a way to pay for education. My current vote for worst person in Arizona is State Senator Russell Pearce:

What a dope.

I hate not sleeping. Anybody got any tips on how to turn off my brain when I turn off the lights?

The Olympics are great and I'm really enjoying them. I want to try out curling. It seems to be about my speed.

Rich Mullins is still my hero. (Honorable mention to Tony Kornheiser.)

Pitchers and catchers report in 2 days and I'm thrilled.

I'm trying a kind of short duration, high intensity interval training and it's kicking my butt. It also seems to be working.

Jon Randall is a highly overlooked and underrated singer-songwriter. Go buy his CD.

Thanks for reading. I'll try to do better next time.