Archive for the ‘Religion’ category


February 16, 2018

LentAs many of you know yesterday we observed Valentine’s Day, but also we observe Lent. Now the church that I belong to does not observe Lent (or Ash Wednesday). So I was at my weekly Bible study meeting on Wednesday and I asked our pastor, what gives? How come and why not?

Now I would expect our pastor to know this stuff but unfortunately he didn’t have a clue. At first, he said that he thought it was Catholic/Protestant thing. To which, I answered that I knew many Protestant churches that observed Lent. Anything else? Alas, he had nothing.

Sigh. So it seems that I would have to find out the answer myself. So, I asked my number one spiritual adviser, Google. It seems that Google had a ton of answers on the subject.

So Google tells me that most Protestant churches do indeed observe Lent and Ash Wednesday. The main exception is the Baptists. The Baptists come from a Calvinist/reformation background and as such got rid of all church holy days. The only exception that was kept was Easter and Christmas.

The only other (Christian) religious sects that do not observe Lent are the Amish and the Mennonites.

And while we’re on the subject of Lent, let’s talk about meatless Fridays. I grew up in a Roman Catholic family in the 1950’s .and 1960’s. We not only did we not eat meat on Fridays during Lent, we observed that practice the entire rest of the year. I got so used to fish on Fridays, I got to liking it. My Dad would cod-fish cakes on Friday for breakfast. They were so good.

Here is an interesting article that goes in depth about the issue of Lent and repentance.

Early Fathers’ Day

June 11, 2017

Admiral RistyToday is not Fathers’ Day. That’s actually next Sunday. But we decided to jump the gun and go visit the Admiral Risty in Rancho Palos Verde and celebrate today. We figured that restaurants would be less busy (which it was) than next Sunday. Here’s the pointer to the YELP review.

The Admiral Risty has a view to die for of the Pacific Ocean. It was a bit gloomy today. Our table had an excellent view.

Price is a bit more than our usual diner fare on Sundays but it was worth it. I had eggs benedict on a dungeness crab cake. Very tasty. I was thinking about having a Bloody Mary, but decided to pass.

Mike and Theresa were on board with the plan. Even Mary liked the plan, though I’m not sure how much she understood what we were planning on doing.

We told Mary that if she wanted to go to the Admiral Risty for brunch, she would have to get up and go to church. We also promised visits to the grand kids that she loves to see. So finally, we got Mary loaded in the Jeep and off we went. We even found an HP parking place at church.

So our reservation was at 1 pm, which was a little bit late but worked out okay. Pastor Jacques’ sermon was on the Gospel of John, Chapter 12. The service ran on to Noon (start time was 10:30 am). Once Jacques gets started there’s no stopping once he has a full wind in his sails. But, we still had plenty of time to get to our brunch date.

Jacques can’t afford to run long at the 9 am service. Got to get every one out in time for the arriving 10:30 folks.

We had all of the singing (no dancing). Jacques did a baptism of a ten(ish) year old boy. After the baptism was done the kid started swimming laps in the baptism pool. What a hoot and caught on video, too.

All done and back home. Time for a nap.




The 11th Commandment

March 8, 2017

So the Old Testament has 10 commandments as delivered to Moses in Deuterotomy 5.

Deuteronomy 5:1-5 ESV

[1] And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. [2] The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. [3] Not with our fathers did the LORD make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. [4] The LORD spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, [5] while I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD. For you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up into the mountain. He said: …

And so forth and so on.

And in the New Testament it is written,

Matthew 22:34-40 ESV

[34] But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. [35] And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. [36] “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” [37] And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. [38] This is the great and first commandment. [39] And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

So I propose an 11th commandment that incorporates all of the above. It works for all religions including Christians, Jews, Muslims and Atheists. Do this and we can all get along better.  I doubt that I am the first person to say this but it is worth repeating.

Don’t be an asshole!

Nuff’ said.

John 3:16

February 23, 2017

So our church here in San Pedro is working on the Gospel of John this year.  We generally do about half a chapter per week. This week we were discussing the second half of chapter 3 in the Gospel of John.

So during the discussion, the question came up, “Why is it that John 3:16 seems to be the most oft quoted verse in the Bible?”

We see it on signs behind home plate at baseball games. We see it spray painted on subway cars. We see it on the eye black on football players (e.g. Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow)

I mean nobody ever quotes Exodus 20:1-17 (Ten Commandments) or Matthew 22:35-40 (Two greatest commandments.)

Nobody ever points out the text from the Sermon on the Mount.

So I have a couple of questions for you. What is the strangest place that you have seen the John 3:16 quote posted? And the second question: Why is it so prevalent? Is it that we as a culture can’t handle more than one verse at a time? Inquiring minds want to know.


June 20, 2016

It’s been over a week now and these ideas have been kicking around in my head. It’s time to start writing. First off, I am not gay, bisexual or transgender. I am an ally, plain and simple.

One of the things that has been particularly bothering to me has been some of the responses from alleged Christians. First was from one Pastor Steven Anderson from the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona. He said,

“The good news is that there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and pedophiles. That’s who was a victim here, are a bunch of, just, disgusting homosexuals at a gay bar, okay?”

I would like to call the pastor’s attention to the Bible, in Matthew 22:36-39 and also in the Old Testament, something about “Thou shall not kill”

Matthew 22:36-39 ESV
[36] “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” [37] And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. [38] This is the great and first commandment. [39] And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Okay, the Bible doesn’t add to the above, “Unless you’re LGBT”. Perhaps, they are using a different translation? But, I doubt it.

My favorite translation of the above that applies to all religions is:

Don’t be an a$$hole.

Oh and as if it might matter, the Old Testament has something called the Ten Commandments, among them is the following:

Deuteronomy 5:17 ESV 

[17] “‘You shall not murder.”

Okay, maybe the Bible isn’t your thing. Then, there’s the quote from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness;

Once again, it doesn’t say “unless you’re LGBT and/or Muslim

I could go on and on. There seems to be more “alleged” Christian pastors saying similar statements.  Of course there is the infamous Pat Robertson who has been using his bully pulpit to denigrate the people who were murdered in Orlando. They seem to ignore the inconvenient parts of the Bible. They make me feel embarrassed to say that I am a Christian.

Shame! Shame! Shame!

A Priest, a Minister and a Rabbi…

January 11, 2016

I have been working on catching up on some posts that have been sitting in my ‘Draft’ folder for a while. I started this post about six months ago.

So Wednesday morning we have our senior Bible study at Ocean View Baptist Church. Sometimes, I think the group should be called “Ratholes’r’Us” but that’s another story. Now we can’t have a decent discussion about scripture with out food and drink, we are well provided for. We have muffins, home made cookies, coffee (both regular and decaf), and many other tasty treats.

So recently we have been studying the Acts of the Apostles and we are now on the tail end of chapter 27 (which is the getting close to the end). So in Chap 27 we find Paul aboard a ship heading to Rome. Travelling by ship in the first century AD was a perilous undertaking. So for someone to travel from the coast of Asia you either walked or you took a ship. If you walked, you had better have a centurion or two to protect you on the way.

So at the end of Chapter 27, Paul has been captured and is being transported back to Rome. While on the way, things get a little bit dicey and the crew is shipwrecked. Here is the last few verses of chapter 27,

[39] Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore. [40] So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. [41] But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. [42] The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. [43] But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, [44] and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.

So at our Bible Study, things are going good. We are managing to make it through the chapter. But no, someone has to ask,  “what about the life preservers?” Wasn’t there a joke about life preservers and  members of the clergy in a life boat. So I promised to do some research on this important point of our study. Searching for life preserver jokes was considerably harder than I thought,

As the storm raged, the captain realized his ship was sinking fast. He called out, “Anyone here know how to pray?” One man stepped forward. “Aye, Captain, I know how to pray.” “Good,” said the captain, “you pray while the rest of us put on our life jackets – we’re one short.”

I did find an amusing parachute joke with several variations.

A doctor, a lawyer, a little boy and a pastor were out for a Sunday afternoon flight on a small private plane. Suddenly, the plane developed engine trouble. In spite of the best efforts of the pilot, the plane started to go down. Finally, the pilot grabbed a parachute, yelled to the passengers that they had better jump, and then he bailed out. Unfortunately, there were only three parachutes remaining.

The doctor grabbed one and said “I’m a doctor, I save lives, so I must live,” and jumped out. The lawyer then said, “I’m a lawyer and lawyers are the smartest people in the world. I deserve to live.” He also grabbed a parachute and jumped.

The priest looked at the little boy and said, “My son, I’ve lived a long and full life. You are young and have your whole life ahead of you. Take the last parachute and live in peace.” The little boy handed the parachute back to the pastor and said, “Not to worry, Pastor. The ‘smartest man in the world’ just took off with my back pack

There you have it.

A Christmas Question

December 25, 2015

A merry Christmas to all. I have a question for my readers. Why is it that only the Roman Catholic Church has services on Christmas Day? All of the Protestant churches that I have attended only have services on Christmas Eve. Or are there some Protestand churches that do have a service on Christmas Day?

Is it because the priest isn’t married and has nothing better to do? Or do the Protestant ministers have a better Union and insist on getting the day off like the rest of the working stiffs?

So inquiring minds want to know.

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

July 19, 2013

So last night I was watching Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show”. The guest for July 17 was Reza Aslan, author of “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth”. I found the interview compelling. Click here for the video. So, off to Amazon to download the sample of the Kindle edition.

Then I bit the bullet and bought the Kindle edition for $14. I always been struggling to understand more about the life and times of Jesus. Somehow, just reading the Bible doesn’t quite give one the complete picture of the how’s and why’s of Jesus’ life.

The book does an excellent job of giving life what it was like in the Middle East 2000 years ago. After reading the following quote from the prologue, I thought to myself “Oh, I get it now.”

Consider This: Crucifixion was a punishment the Rome reserved almost exclusively for the crime of sedition. The plaque that the Romans placed over Jesus’s head while he writhed in pain – “King of the Jews” – was called a “titulus” and despite common perception, was not meant to be sarcastic. Every criminal who hung on a cross received a plaque declaring the specific crime for which he was being executed. Jesus’s crime, in the eyes of Rome, was striving for kingly rule (i.e. treason), the same crime that nearly every other messianic aspirant of the time was killed. Nor did Jesus die alone. The gospels claim that on either side of Jesus hung men who in Greek are called “lestai”, a word often rendered in English as “thieves” but actually means “bandits” and was the most common Roman designation for an insurrectionist or rebel.

Back when I was a lad, the good Jesuits never quite explained it this way. I haven’t quite finished the book, but so far I am enjoying it immensely. So, go take a look at the interview video and then download the book.


Five Months Gone

January 14, 2013

Okay, it’s been 5 months now that we’ve been in California. Time for an update. As you know, we are living with Paula’s mother in her three bedroom condo. So far so good. WW-III has not broken out yet. More on this later.

First thing that I’ve noticed is that everything out here seems to cost more. Here’s a few examples. I bought gasoline this morning. I paid $3.75 per gallon and I thought that was a pretty good price considering. Two months ago I saw one gas station charging $4.75. Food is expensive too. Large of Skippy Peanut Butter was $6.50 and I paid $4.00 back in MA. Movie prices seem to be competitive. Last movie we saw (Lincoln) was $5 for Senior ticket.

I always look forward to the times that we can go out without Mary K in tow. Tonight while Mary K is off to her historical society meeting (often called the hysterical society) we will be going to the movies. We’ll be seeing “Silver Linings Playbook”. We watched to Golden Globes last night. We have a lot of movies to see before the Oscars. Some were added to our Netflix queue, some still playing in theaters.

The weather has been pleasant. We are in a sort of rainy season for SoCal. We are very happy to have no snow. I seem to be always fighting MaryK on the thermostat. I try to leave it at 72. Given a chance she will push it up to 78. I came home from lodge last week and the condo felt like a sauna. She is always complaining about the cold. Matter of fact, all of the locals here complain about the cold weather (ie. 48). This past sunday, the parking lot at church was almost empty. 45 was a bit too cold for many folks to leave their homes. The weather for the last few days has been clear and cold (45). We can see the mountains to the east of LA quite clearly. Usually all we can see is the refineries in San Pedro.

I still feel like a foreigner here. To Paula she has come home. She seems to be always meeting someone that she went to high school at San Pedro HS. Just yesterday, we were at the grocery store. At the meat counter, the lady who was waiting on us, said “Don’t I know you?”. Turns out the lady and Paula went to high school together.

We usually go to church most sundays. We go to Ocean View Baptist Church. I didn’t really get a say in the choice of churches. This is the church that Mike & Theresa and Mary K go to. It was the same church that Paula went to back before she moved East to meet me thirty-five years ago. It’s a bit conservative for my choice. I really miss Rev Katherine and First Congo in Billerica. I haven’t dared to bring up the issue of accepting LGBT into the church. i would probably be expelled as a heretic. Sigh.

One of the daily challenges of living with Mary K is keeping track of her stuff. She is constantly losing her cell phone, her address book, or her keys. Things either fall into the black hole of her purse or get buried under the pile of paper at her seat on the couch. I am constantly trying to show her how to do things on her phone from listening to voice mail or using speed dial.

A while ago, I loaded her phone with speed dial entries for myself, Paula and Mike. Then I wrote the numbers on a piece of tape attached to the rear of the phone. Once we asked her why she didn’t call, she said I couldn’t find your phone number. I explained as simply as I could. Push the number corresponding to who you are trying to reach and hold for 5 seconds. So she pushes the number on the tape. Argggggh!

It’s a takes a constant effort to keep track of her calendar. We try to get her to write her dates on the calendar on the kitchen. She’s getting better at it but room for improvement. We try to get her to leave her important things (phone, keys, address book) in the same place.

Her short term memory is very bad. We will tell her something that is going on one day and need to repeat several days in a row until it settles in. Not a problem on her long term memory. If I had a nickel for every time she has told us the story of her days as a public health nurse in Palos Verdes, I would be rich.

We have hit the road running in Blue Lodge and OES. I play the piano on occasion for OES and Lodge. Right now I am the fill-in. Last Friday, I was scheduled to play at Alpha Star Chapter in Lomita. Meeting was to start at 7:30pm. I started playing to warm up at about 7:10. However, the heat wasn’t working so they moved the meeting to banquet hall which was closer to the kitchen. Easiest $25 I ever made. Still had fun. Lodge is one place where I can get some peace and quiet away from Mary.

Paula tries to go with her for her doctor’s appointments to make sure that all of the relevant information gets to the doctor. We haven’t managed to convince her she should have a primary care doctor. “Why do I need that?” she says. I’m not sick. Except some times she is sick. Intestinal issues, colds come on and get serious if not attended to.

One last thing. Paula and I are taking Mary K to see “Shen Yun 2013” at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in LA. Birthday present. so to speak. I’ll do a review after the event.


– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Pedro

More This and That

September 16, 2012

Time for another update.

We are beginning to settle into a routine around here. Sunday we usually go to church. The church is the Ocean View Baptist Church. And yes, it does have an ocean view. There are two services at 0900 and 1030. Later one is a bit more traditional. But the traditional service is more modern than services back in Billerica. We usually go to the earlier service and then out to local restaurants for brunch. Here’s a picture of the view.

On Wednesday’s we usually go to morning Bible study at 1030. I think that Paula and I are the youngest people there.

Next week we have OES meeting on Monday Evening. Then I have 3rd degree at Lodge.

This past week we went shopping for a piano. Theresa had given me a flyer that they had received for a special Steinway sale at Walt Disney Concert hall. So I made the call to the 800 number. The phone system got confused about the 978 area code on my phone and routed the call to NYC. Buy they managed to get me routed to the right folks running the sale and we made an appointment.

So on Thursday, we headed downtown Los Angeles to Walt Disney Hall. The hall is the home of the LA Philharmonic. Filled out a form and got to talk to a nice salesman named David Ida.

Steinway had moved about 30 pianos into one of the rehearsal halls. Most of the pianos where grand pianos. The uprights (or verticals as they now call them) were off in a corner.

They had three brands, Essed, Boston, and Steinway. Essex and Boston are manufactured by Steinway. Sort of budget brand. All of them sounded great. I started off playing Heigh Ho from Snow White. My homage to the great Walt Disney. Heights ranged from about 40″ to 48″. The 48″ Steinway had the same sound board as the baby grand. We finally settled on a 42″ Essex. Price was affordable. I liked the Steinway, but price was about $17,000. A little steep for my taste. The Essex was about $6,000. Here’s a picture.

Before we left, I asked if I could play one of the concert grands selling for about $175,000. David said sure have at it. I neglected to take a picture. We talked about pianos used by big name artists like Elton John and Billy Joel. I don’t doubt the David had them on his iPhone.

We headed to one of the green rooms to finish all of the paperwork. Delivery is scheduled for next Thursday. Now we just have to make room for it.

Once we were done, we headed for Santa Monica. We decided to have lunch at Gladstone’s in Malibu. Here’s a couple of pictures from the patio.