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Born a Texan, but traveled the US extensively.  Now staying on the East coast.

Monday, August 29, 2016

waking

The sun's tendrils of light have just reached the sky
and i open my eyes.
There is the normal confusion of sight,
with too many images occurring at once,
but it no longer bothers me.
i and wiping away the last vestige,
of darkness and dreams from my mind.
Persons from the past,
now long gone,
visit me
and many times i wonder...
What would have been,
if this and so were not so
and we were still together?
These are haunting dreams which plague us all.
i want to caress those dreams some times,
holding fast to the what ifs,
that can never be.
i am fully awake now,
as i don my glasses,
the ones that bring the unruly images, 
of my disparate vision, together.
The darkness leaves
and the sun shines fully
and those shadows,
which touched my soul, during sleep,
are gone

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Father Gage - Humiliity

STANDINGS
Luke 14:7-14
8/28/16
          “It’s a me, it’s a me, it’s a me Oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer. Not my brother, it’s a me Oh Lord, not my sister, it’s a me Oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” A great old song from when as a youth I sang in a gospel quartet.
          Now the truth of the matter is that sometimes, where you sit, sometimes depends upon where you stand.
          Every so often my brother, who is six years older than I, would come to visit. Often as not, when we sat at the dining room table, he would automatically sit at the head of my table, in my chair. He did this with complete grace and aplomb, assuming the position of host and dominant personage. Being kind and charitable, I didn't let this bother me much, but have from time to time I considered putting Ipecac in his coffee or loosening the legs of the chair. My brother-in-law has also taken the chair at the head of the table and assumed the role of host. Even though he is bigger than I, I have somehow managed to convey to him that since I pay the mortgage, the head chair belongs to me.
          There is a protocol, sometimes spoken and sometimes unspoken, about seating arrangements. Where you sit often defines or reflects your standing in the community or family. Try figuring out where to sit people at a wedding dinner, and you’ll see what I mean. We have gotten fairly casual in society now days, but newspapers still run Miss Manners' columns to help us with protocol, etiquette and seating arrangements.
          Moreover, social scientists have discovered that it is possible to change the dynamics of a group by changing the seating arrangements. Something happens to the flow of conversation, to the pecking order, and to group dynamics. In fact, during the peace negotiations with the Vietcong in the 60's a lot of time was spent negotiating the shape of the table. Like King Arthur's Court, a table was chosen which did not imply a hierarchy of importance among the participants.
          For thousands of years individuals, societies, and cultures have grappled with the problems of the ranking of places of honor at the table based upon standing within the community. Where one sits often depends upon where one stands. This is a basic human dynamic.
          Now many of the parables and stories of Jesus deal with basic human dynamics. This is one of the reasons why the stories were remembered, told and retold. Such is the case with today's Gospel lesson from St. Luke. Luke tells us that on one occasion Jesus dined on the Sabbath at the house of a leader of the Pharisees. When Jesus saw how people were seated He told a parable to the effect that one should not presume to sit at the head of the table, but rather take a lower one so that the host may move him higher. All who exalt themselves shall be humbled and those who humble themselves shall be exalted. Likewise, Jesus continued, when you give a banquet you should invite not only your relatives and friends but also the poor, crippled, lame and blind.
          You and I need to remember that Jesus was a teacher, a rabbi. It was assumed that He would give a teaching in various situations. Seated with the Pharisees, it was appropriate to make comments and to enter into debate. Jesus seizes the occasion to push the implications of the meal. His teaching that those who humble themselves shall be exalted is right out of Proverbs (25:6-7). Proverbs, as you know is part of Wisdom literature, and assumes that common sense observations reflect not only the natural happenings of nature and society but also reflect God's intention. One can sometimes deduce the will of God from common sense observations on life. So it is that Jesus re-presents the saying from Proverbs. But Jesus does not stop there. Rather, He goes on to push the symbolic nature of host, guests and meal and says that the dispossessed should be invited and given the places of friends and relatives.
          Jesus is not dictating economic or social policy. The meal, particularly the Sabbath meal, is a symbol of the heavenly banquet where all will have a place with God at the end of time. Jesus is saying that social standing does not dictate where one will sit with God. Rather God recognizes the humble and those who are shorn of pretense and self-importance. When you and I stand before God in utter vulnerability, utter openness, in utter humility, without pretense, then we are open to God and respond to God appropriately.
          By reaching beyond Wisdom literature's observations of the world, and by standing conventional values and behavior on their head, Jesus is defining how you and I should worship God. Jesus is defining ethical and religious behavior. This in turn defines who Jesus is. Part of the messianic hope is that the blind would see and the lame walk. Jesus is reaching out to man's sick and unadorned condition. He is saying that God asks you and me to join Him in humility. And Jesus, as we know, goes on to be revealed as the messiah by Himself being stripped of all honor and dignity. It is through His degradation on the cross that Jesus is exalted and raised from the dead.
          So by talking about where you and I sit at the table, Jesus defines our proper relationship to one another and to God. Moreover, Jesus goes on to be defined by His own humiliation. 
          In summary, you and I are reminded by today’s lectionary passage from Luke of three things. First of all when we stand before God, our proper stance is one of complete humility. When you and I let it all go, when we say, “it’s me, Oh Lord”, when we stand before the ultimate and eternal power of all existence, our status, our trappings, our social distinctions are really pathetic. I have been present so many times when people have died to know most profoundly that in the last analysis wealth and status don't count. The only viable posture is humility.
          Secondly, when you and I stand before God in humility, then we stand not alone but with others in humility. Yes, we have positions and relationships and pecking orders. But when we realize that they are superficial and don't truly define who we are, then we can stand with the lame, the halt, the poor and the blind. We stand not in contempt, not in condescension, but in humility, which the precondition for love.

          Thirdly, the meal, which defines our lives, which defines our relationship to God, the meal at which you and I sit with Jesus is the meal of the Eucharist. This is the meal, which has been prepared for us by Christ's total dedication, humiliation and sacrifice. It is in the Eucharistic meal that you and I participate in God's presence in the body and blood of Christ. The only stance at the Lord's Table is one of self-surrender and humility. When you and I join with our brothers and sisters in faith and humility, we are privileged and exalted in a new and special way because we receive the love of God, the forgiveness of sins, and the promise of eternal life. “Standing in the need of prayer”, standing in faith and humility, you and I are assured by Christ Jesus of a seat at the table of the communion of saints in God's eternal kingdom. Amen. - Fr. Gage-

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Another Restaurant reviews - Tacos NEZA

While i am working on my "stuff", i am finding my self looking for places to eat out.
My standby for Mexican food i was familiar with was Tacos Guadalajara, but after 35 years in Stamford, they had to retire,
but turned it over to a new restaurant person -Victor Trujillo and so a new place was born.
When i go out, i look for simple, home style food,
from place not near here... That is why soul tasty was on my list and there is one more,
but i digress...
i wanted a taste of this style Mexican food (there are like 7 or more regions, each with its own style)
A customer recommended the Cuban Torta (a sandwich not so different than a Panini, but better)
Hold the presses!
This was probably the best "sandwich" i have ever had!
The taste was different than my "traditional" Mexican food,
I expected this and so i was even more pleasantly surprised and just how good it was!
I looked at the menu and saw a number of must tries...
and so...
to all my American friends, this is a must try and enjoy!
Expect it to be different than standard "Mexican" fare that we are used to...
Enjoy it, you do not want to pass this place up!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Why is it so difficult?


A picture is worth a thousand words -
This picture taken less than 6 months after my operation
and less than 3 weeks after the second mishap,
shows me smiling
and laughing
and enjoying life.
Most of my pictures are like that,
when did it change?
For now i feel dour,
and it seems i refer to this incident, now
as my ordeal,
rather than the adventure,
which i labeled it back than.
I have been working out my attitude,
for it is not good.
The everyday strugle of life,
has been turned into a mountain,
instead of the mole hill that it is.
I, sigh
and say, "Again?"
Instead of exclaiming with JOY,
"Again!"
So i am looking to strike deep at my attitude,
embrace it
and change.
You heard me correctly,
unless we acknowledge the truth that is in us,
we can not change.
This post is to begin that change
and now i am certain it will happen.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

not yet

a lot going on, but i am not ready to write it out, but soon

Friday, August 19, 2016

returning from the south, i needed a reminder of what i was missing -restaurant review

Soul Tasty

Just opened and i had to see if something authentic could open in Stamford, CT.

I am happy to report a resounding YES to that question.

when i was down south, i order a lot of fried chicken because I just do not find good southern fried chicken here....

I started with that, but i had to wait BECAUSE THERE WAS A LINE of people who obviously are looking for the same thing.

They gave me wings, which i was slightly surprised at cause they are the more expensive things to but, but i was not complaining and they met my expectations.

Then i went for two traditional sides - Collard Greens and black eye peas.
Often in the south i am disappointed cause there is either too much vinegar or none with no flavor either...This was perfect with just a hint of vinegar and a lot of flavor...sold

black-eyed peas were also perfect.
the meal comes with corn bread - which follows a tradition of being slightly sweet and is a great accompaniment.

Go, get ye to the soul food place, enjoy cause this is what it is all about

Sunday, July 31, 2016

more from Father Gage

More Than Possessions

(The role of Wisdom Literature in the time of Christ)
Luke 12:13-21
7/31/16
          “For one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Lk.12: 15.
When Jesus makes this statement, He is following the tradition of Wisdom Literature. Wisdom Literature consists of observations on life. It is “sage” comments about the created world, which is seen as offering clues as to patterns of behavior both of man and of God. There was in the time of Jesus no concept of “nature.” Even so, everyday life is seen as worth observing, for it yields things that help us to understand others and ourselves.
          Israel in the time of Jesus was not all of one piece. It was a crazy patchwork quilt of cultures, people, tribes, ideas and religions. It was a diverse and pluralistic society. As a center of trade and agriculture it was constantly exposed to various patterns of life, which left their imprints upon the Palestinian area that we call Israel. Empires and nations poured their soldiers, people and ideas into Israel. The influence of the Greeks under Alexander gave rise to what we call Hellenistic Judaism, in which the Greek way of thinking about things merged with the Semitic way of thinking of things. Judaism, the synagogues and the temple had to interpret and live with a madly changing world. The traditions of the Law and the prophets co-existed with other world views (remember the Magi from the “East” who came to Bethlehem?)
          Wisdom literature, the observation of the sages (rabbis and wise men) helped bridge the cultures of the Greco-Roman world and the Hebraic Semitic world. We have an example of Wisdom Literature in today’s Old Testament passage from Ecclesiastes. (Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, parts of the Psalms and Job make up the canon of Wisdom Literature in the Bible, although pithy sayings and aphorisms are scattered throughout both the Old and New Testaments.) The speaker in today’s passage is a king who ruled over much and sought by the use of wisdom to consider the events, lives and accomplishments of his realm. He built houses, planted vineyards, had slaves and children, tasted the good things and had good times, but all was vanity. He asks, “What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.”
          Obviously this guy needs a “happiness pill.” He reminds me of my mother-in-law, Gladys, who greeted each new event with the remark, “Well, you just never know.”  The example of the “teacher” in today’s quote from Ecclesiastes is one end of the spectrum of observations on life. There is a sense of despair; all is “vanity.” Now the term that is translated “vanity” means “passing,” “transient,” “amorphous.” But the word “vanity” works well, too. My mother had a dressing table when I was a small boy that she called a “vanity.” It had several mirrors attached to it. The vanity was a reflection of what passed before it. Wisdom literature, like a mirror, reflects what passes before it. It focuses on the moment. A lot can be learned from studying what is in front of oneself, but there are limits. The limits can lead to fatalism and despair. If all you can see is the here and now, life can seem pretty grim and the only way to keep going is to just “tough things out.” Semitic Wisdom had its counterpart in Greek Stoicism.
          So Wisdom literature helped the Hebrews bridge the culture gap to the Greco-roman world of thought. It worked as a cultural bridge. But it also did something else. It served as a counter balance to the unbridled fantasies of escapism and denial found in apocalyticism. If you don’t like the way things are relabel them. “This is not war, it is a police action.” Or if denial doesn’t work flights of fancy can make things better. The books of Revelation and of Daniel use flights of imagination to convey truths. Gnostic literature is full of spiraling cosmologies in which the heavens and the other world look like a DNA string of emanations. Such flights of fancy invite magic and witchcraft into religion and every day life.
          Finally, when you have considerable attention paid to observations on the patterns of life, you are using inductive and deductive reasoning. Reason becomes important. While the Greeks exalted Reason, the Hebrews exalted Wisdom. Wisdom was something that existed from which we could take a bite. Wisdom was “out there,” sort of like a Platonic form. It informed people and was a good thing to have. Wisdom was not quite worshiped, but almost. Wisdom is the predecessor of the concept of the Holy Spirit. Because the Jewish Christians were familiar with the concept of Wisdom, they were able to embrace the concept of the Holy Spirit. (Note that the term “concept” is not quite right, but it is the best we have at the moment.) Likewise, the use of the term “The Word” in the Gospel of John owes its heritage to that of the concept of Wisdom.
          The genius of the Hebrews was that they not only valued the created world and Wisdom, they also valued the intense religious experience, the encounter that some had with the Holy Other. Moses and the prophets experienced profound insights into the meaning of existence. Those experiences were real and part of the created world. They led to monotheism and were testimonies to a transcendent God who shaped history and revealed Himself in the Law and the prophets. The Jews believed that God’s footprints were all over creation and that they were going somewhere. While Wisdom literature was a counter weight to flights of escapism and unbridled fancy, the Law and the prophets were a counter weight to the one dimensionalism of Wisdom literature and to the despair to which sole concentration on oneself and one’s existence can lead (as seen in today’s Old Testament passage from Ecclesiastes.)
          When Jesus answers the man who wants part of his brother’s inheritance, Jesus accuses him of greed. He then tells the parable of the rich man who had everything and stuffed his barns, thinking that he could eat, drink and be merry. The Jews who heard this parable, heard echoes of the patriarchs and of Joseph who went to Egypt and served as steward over the harvests of Pharaoh. Just as Pharaoh missed out on the fullness of life, so too the man in the story missed out on the fullness of life, which includes the reality of a God who governs and reveals Himself in history. In effect Jesus is saying that concentration only upon the good things of this life misses part of the inheritance – that part being the Law and the Prophets. When Jesus says, “be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions,” He borrows from the tradition of Wisdom literature. Jesus is unique in that He joins observation from Wisdom with the heritage of the Law and the Prophets by concluding with, “So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”     
          You and I live in a diverse and pluralistic society. Some in the sciences glorify reason and wisdom. Many in business only want to possess more and more. The role of Wisdom literature in the Judaic Christian tradition while reminding us that creation is good and to be valued, also reminds us of the vanity of focusing solely on ourselves.
          The genius of Christianity, the miracle of Jesus Christ, is that creation is affirmed by the incarnation (God becoming man) while at the same time attesting to the importance of a transcendent God who reveals Himself in the Law (reinterpreted by Jesus in the Law and the Beatitudes) and the manifestation of God as seen in the prophets. In Jesus Wisdom, Law and the Prophets merge.

          You and I live in a rich community of faith. As you and I live in Christ through our faith, charity and participation in sacraments, you and I live with a full inheritance, for we live not trying to keep our tradition for ourselves but seeking to share our inheritance with one another and with the world. “For one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Amen. -Fr.Gage-