Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Charity, friends and family and aquaintences

19-21"There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man's table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores. 22-24"Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, 'Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I'm in agony in this fire.' 25-26"But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It's not like that here. Here he's consoled and you're tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.' 27-28"The rich man said, 'Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won't end up here in this place of torment.' 29"Abraham answered, 'They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.' 30"'I know, Father Abraham,' he said, 'but they're not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.' 31"Abraham replied, 'If they won't listen to Moses and the Prophets, they're not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.'" "The Message Luke 16: 19-31
I think of this when I think of charitable giving or giving to others. I would like to note that there was some familarity between the rich man and Poor Lazarus, as the man requests that Lazarus, who he names, come down and provide him with some relief. Jesus also has something to say about the stranger and charity with the story of the Good Samaratin.
What does the above have to do with my thoughts now? Dunno, I figure it would take too long to link the following to the above.
Some friends, who have been carrying a burden have gotten to the point where they are asking for monetary help. They've been asking for prayers, but the battle, like all wars, has gotten expensive. They are middle class Americans, but certain things, which I won't write about to respect their privacy, can cripple you financially. Knowing how hard it can be for normally independent people to ask for help, I am thankful for the opportunity to do something more.
Though I don't know if or how it counts this also has me thinking of financially aiding poorer relations. I've been sending my parents just enough money to keep them in Starbucks for a couple of weeks. Not much. Gas money, really. Mom has access to an account of mine that I need to periodically take money out of so it doesn't become too much of a temptation. For I noticed my family get all sorts of plans in their heads about how to spend the money when it gets over $1000. She'll take money out to cover insurance or a light bill or taxes. Fine. It's there for those kinds of things.
Then there are my new relatives, my in-laws. I don't know what they need, or how to give it. With my own, I know where I can be bossy and where to lay off. Since the Help's MO for the longest while was to check in once a quarter and visit once a year with his people, I don't know what the score is. Also culturally it's different, west coast and somewhat whitish. They talk about it being hard with budget cuts and the state fooling with the pensions. Okay. I can see where any charity offered can step on toes (undermining sense of being a provider or adequate parent). So right now I'm just taking it as grousing and not a call for help. And there is another help that is asked for that we are too far away to do.
I'm also thinking of help offered to people we sort of know from a distance. I'm thinking of someone's legal battle that thankfully is over, but the bills were big and it kept dragging on and on. They asked for help and I wrote checks. Small checks and I wish they could have been bigger.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Buy a Bible & Frank Griswald

This is a hodge podge entry so flow with it
1st Ret. Bishop Frank Griswald was in town. Saw him today. I'm now Catholic so I have nothing else to say.

2nd, after hearing the Help's story I immediately called my mother and told her to buy my niece a Bible. The Help's family when he was growing up was what I will call nominally Christian, and that's being generous. They'd celebrate Christmas, put up a creche, and maybe would wander over somewhere and celebrate midnight mass. However, and I found this horribly shocking, there was not one single Bible in is family's house while he was growing up. I then grabbed off the shelf my first Bible that my mother gave me when I was 10. A cheap King James that is barely staying together and littered with teenage scribbling. My point was even at the age of 10 I had my own friggin bible and that I found it unbelievable that there wasn't a single bible in his house. His parents did have him baptized by Episcopalians, and I guess could be called seekers but not to have The Word in the house just seemed.... I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it.
There are about 10 Bibles in our house. Most of my collection comes via Nora Bombay and her ex-roommate the lesbian ex-Episcopal priest. Of the ones I had already was the one mom gave, a NRSV I bought because I didn't like the Elizabethan English of KJ, and the Word in Life Study Bible recommended to me by the tall blond giant down the street. And they do get use. I grabbed the Oxford Study Bible today when we were looking at some Wikipedia entry about St. Teresa de Alva on my iphone. I wanted to see what context the referenced verses were in, as they related to St. Teresa's ideas on prayer. Also I'll try to find a verse when trying to remember it, though I tend more often to go to
I remember listening to a podcast from a liberal Episcopal church and the speaker, who I guess was either delivering a homily or just making a very impassioned speech pleaded/demanded that they needed to take the Bible back (from the conservatives). Well first thing you need to do is have it in your house.

Also file under random deep thoughts, celibacy. I'm re-listening to the audiobook on 18th century England, and the author doubts the chastity of unmarried adults. Sadly, some people don't believe it is possible. Then later that day watched an episode of Bones where one of the characters grudgingly was trying out celibacy. Asking a lush to be chaste is like asking an epicurean glutton to fast.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Fat Tuesday

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which I found out last year is not a day of obligation so for the 1st time in years I'm going to skip the ash on the forehead. Maybe. Well I'm not taking off work for it.
For Lent I will be going vegitarian (actually pescaterian) and making Fridays sugar/HFCS free. The Help is observing Lent for the 1st time this year and will be giving up his beloved chocolate of which he has made an idol. He's given up chocolate before, when he was engaged to a gal with severe dietary restrictions. Together we will be reading Pslams or something from the Bible for our date nights.
To feast before the lenten fast we are going to a ritzy joint that I want to check out. Last year I went to Courduroy for Fat Tuesday. I don't need dancing half naked in the street and loud Jazz. No, I want waiters in black, a wine list, and white table cloths.