Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

This year my wife, the Pastor, asked if I'd like to assist as one of the readers in our Christmas Eve, Lessons, Carols and Candlelight service. I said, sure, as long as I get to read Luke 2:8-18 from the KJV.

Now I didn't have a blanket, but with a missing front tooth, I did sound somewhat like Linus.

Have a safe, Merry and Holy Christmas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Saw this movie the day it came out, on an IMAX screen. Loved the movie, but didn't write about it.

Went to see it again last week on a smaller screen, and I must say, my reaction is the same. Its almost like reading the book !! Steve Kloves, who's adapted the books for most of the movies was right when he convinced the producer David Heyman to spread the last book into two movies. You couldn't put all the threads of the final book in 2 hours 20 minutes, you would not give the book justice.

As it is, Steve had to reduce the number of characters seen in the book by having previously introduced characters in the movies do some of the actions. There are also some areas where people who were not fully introduced in earlier movies(Bill Weasley) had to be introduced in this one as they were crucial to certain areas of the story. So dialog had to be written to cover his scars from the werewolf attack.

That said, there is PLENTY of dialog as well as storyline taken straight from the book here so Potter fans will not be disappointed at all.

I can't wait until this coming summer for Part 2.

And so it goes ... ;)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

PCUSA being sued !!

Caught this on Church and World (Presbyweb) today: Presbyterians sued over alleged sex abuse.

Now normally I wouldn't worry about this, as the denomination does not have a central authority. However; with all the litigation by churches trying to separate the PCUSA to another denomination while keeping their property; the PCUSA has been arguing with with provided legal assistance, or friend of the court briefs, that the PCUSA is a hierarchical denomination.

What does that mean to us in the pews? Well, it could mean that even though the Hostel where the alleged abuse occurred was owned by a church supported entity, not the PCUSA corporate body, the tactic used by the PCUSA against churches, may be turned around and used against the PCUSA itself. I'm not a lawyer, nor pretend to be one, but is this not possible ??

Interesting conjecture, no ?? The PCUSA could be facing multi-million dollar lawsuits, that could threaten its financial stability. What would happen to the PCUSA then ?? Perhaps something that would be a positive thing. Funding for all the different committees, and associated staff would drop. Many of the committees that make work for themselves would have to stop making work because there would be no one to do the work.

It would pare down the size of the national staff in Louisville. Just think, perhaps the work of the denomination would then be reduced to just one thing - saving souls for the Father and Lord of all.

And so it goes ... !!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wow .. 17 days 'til Christmas

Its been an interesting month here in Cannoli PA. My wife, the Pastor has been preparing for Advent and Christmas. The local minister's group planned a Live Nativity, and I've been putting up the Christmas decorations.

Now we've never done the Santa, sleigh, reindeer, and elves thing in front of our house at any time.

The first year we were married, we went out to buy some outdoor lights to decorate. So there I was decorating our front door, stoop, and colonial awning/roof with lights. Trouble is they were all blue mini-lights, and when lit at night, reminded my wife of a shrine to the Virgin Mary. All we needed was the statue. I guess my Catholic upbringing subconsciously came out that year.

The next year we were in a different town and state, and so far off the road, that nothing I put up could be seen, except for the neighbors .. who surrounded us as we were in the middle of the piece of land, and 17 neighbors surrounded us. In the summer, we were hidden, in the winter the trees dropped all the leaves, and there we were.

I went out and bought white lights that year, and strung them around the back patio where they could be seen. That year it really was a white Christmas (and a white December as I recall), those lights just made it look like a Winter Wonderland (cue music). I remember taking them down one January, and there was a lot of snow on the roof. Did I mention it was a sloped roof down to the back patio ?? Luckily it was a light snow.

A few years later, and we were again in a new state and town, and we were right on the road, with neighbors in a row with us. We added some new lights, a large wreath that I used the extension ladder to place on the second floor foyer window, garland all around the front door, white lights in all the shrubs, and a lit garland around the post lamp. Still fairly secular, but not gaudy. The only problem came when I was trying to get the wreath up the ladder, luckily the snow broke my fall.

We also put lights on the back deck, as the community's walking trail was in the back of the house, on the other side of a small stream and copse of trees. They really looked good, until the squirrels starting chewing at the red lights. We think they thought the red ones were berries. I guess they got a shock.

Fast forward to today, and I found something on the web that I thought would be perfect for our house, which is, in reality, the manse. I created an Advent wreath made of Christmas lights. The original idea came from this website, and it has turned out nicely. The only change was that I used blue lights instead of purple/violet. The purple/violet lights I found really do not look any different from the rose lights, so I went with blue.

We're getting good comments, and I'm really glad I went with it. I did reuse the large wreath, as it looks good on the double front windows, and I didn't need a ladder to put it up.

So the second Sunday of Advent came, the live Nativity was set up, the temps dropped to a 14 to 15 degree wind chill, and only one set of Josephs and Marys showed up. So the live Nativity was over in about 45 minutes. While the live donkeys we had really didn't have a problem with the cold, the camel we were going to have and all the humans did. Next year we're going to try to figure out a way to provide heat for the creche.

All in all, a rather busy few weeks. Now I can start putting together my want list. I guess you can figure out what I want for Christmas:

And so it goes ....