Wednesday, March 27, 2013
and here is the URL to the photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/botetourt/4755099913/in/set-72157624438736330
Dear Ms. Bush,
See Liza Bush's blog here: http://lizaobush.blogspot.com/
I was checking my Flickr links to see who might have dropped by and I noticed that you had linked a photo of your chaplain husband to Pinterest. Of course I always love it when someone links to one of my photos. This one was all the more appreciated because it was of your husband, apparently the frame where he was saying the final commendation at the niche at Arlington now holding the ashes of my father (and, someday, my mother).
How providential God is, acting in his own time, to give me a forum, your blog, on which I can thank Chaplain Bush for his important role in one of the most memorable occasions in my and my family's like: the funeral for my father.
Even as we returned home I had it in mind that I was going to write a thank-you note to the chaplain for the comfort and courage, and even joy, that he gave us. But somewhere along the way his card got waylaid and my internet searches were for naught. I don't want to bore you, but a couple of things I'd like to say about my dad (my hero's) funeral and your husband's role in it.
1) I knew we would get a dignified funeral, which my father would have countenanced, but we did not get the bland funeral that I also expected. From your blog (to which I have subscribed) I have learned that Chaplain Bush has done as many as six funerals a day, a thousand in a year. With numbers like that, I am even more moved by the personal touch he delivered. He did a good job putting together a picture of a man he will never meet this side of the paraousia, but he also managed to put together a sermon of substance, easily understood, that wove the importance of my father's vocation and of his "coming home" to Arlington to become part of our nation's collective memory, as well as the truth of the gospel that is proclaimed for us all, needed by all, from my father strong and true to those of us who were assembled that day to say goodbye to him.
My father never appreciated namby-pamby (he was a Marine officer); he would have "approved" of (and, more importantly, he would have heard) what your husband had to say.
To put it another way, please thank the chaplain on my behalf for the straight Jesus talk.
(I said this would not be long; I guess I lied.)
2. For all the years my father was an active-duty Marine (27), for all of the men with whom he served (thousands), many or most of whom now also are dead, I had never been to a military funeral. And neither a Marine funeral at that. Set aside the overwhelming emotion I was still feeling after a year without my dad, I still was blown away by the blessed perfection with which everyone performed the job of honoring my father -- and God. Now I know why a liturgics professor at a seminary in Northern Virginia used to send his students to Arlington to see a proper military burial in all of its flawless, practiced dignity: This was truly worship of God, with great thanks given to him as we received great comfort from him. I am grateful to Chaplain Bush for pointing out very clearly why an Arlington burial is so important to the nation (as well as to the families) and how there can be so much life there.
My father's funeral was as good as (or better than) any of the liturgical acts I've seen or participated in. The meaning of all that was done was clear; nothing was superfluous.
Please relay to your husband my thanks for all the work he did when he was at Arlington. I don't think I thanked him enough. He professionally took his leave on that sweltering June 14, 2010, and sped off to change his uniform and go to the next funeral.
Perfection and the personal touch take a lot of practice; I could tell that he and the Marines there that day had made the best of all there practice. Thanks again. Sorry for the length. And my best to you both as you take up your new post at Camp Lejeune. (July and August in D.C. will have prepared you well for summertime down there.)
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Sunday, September 02, 2012
'I know it seems cliche, but ..." Not only does it seem cliche, but it also really seems cliche. Like, I mean, y'know? At what point did "cliche" become a freestanding modifier?
'Well' as a midsentence interjection, set off by commas or other "delaying question" to make the reader believe that the writer dimply stating the obvious. "The horse got hotter and hotter as the afternoon on the dusty tral grew longer because it was, well, hot."
"Back in the day"
'Gaffe' It's time to resurrect "mistake."
'Iconic' Iconic has a specific meaning that goes way beyond "well-known" or "locally famous" or even plain "famous." It has a metaphysical meaning. This sentence does not need "iconic": "There's a simple reason why she and her husband co-owner Tom Swadley decided to bring new life to the downtown site -- once the home of Bristol’s iconic Woolworth’s Co. store and luncheon counter."
Em dashes where commas to set off clauses work just fine. This sentence does not need an em dash: "There's a simple reason why she and her husband co-owner Tom Swadley decided to bring new life to the downtown site -- once the home of Bristol’s iconic Woolworth’s Co. store and luncheon counter."
Brackets -- these things: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] This sentence does not need brackets: "[The lights will be] a great visual and a great statement." Make it like this: The lights will be "a great visual and a great statement," or somesuch.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
I sense a little naiveté about the [general good quality of the] current content of newspapers.
Newspapers [now] do just as good a job as [so-called] new media do in repurposing and multiplying the same content. The AP comes to mind as being one of the 1st to do this, but now it's worse, with local papers:
- Using crap -- and I mean crap -- from local TV.
- Local TV using local newspaper people as talking heads and as experts on various topics (as opposed to asking real experts, which are harder to track and are not the attention whores that media types can be).
- The very same local copy being used by a TV station as a script, and a web site and a newspaper for stories.
- So-called "citizen journalists" providing "content" for free.
- More "opinion journalism" stemming from newspapers running blogs and then mining them for "content."
- Commercial entities providing free content.
I used to have a much higher opinion of newspaper content and told myself, "There will always be a place for serious newsgatherers." Well guess what? Given a chance, struggling newspapers will suck from the same teat of mediocrity where other media outlets feed. (And by the way, real newsgatherers, people with professionalism and integrity, don't come free. Even at strip mines like [some newspapers I know] where even the best journalists are paid chicken feed they're the biggest business expense.)
Friday, March 09, 2012
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Disgruntled ex-pat returns to his home ground. Misunderstands locals and is misunderstood. Has the same noblesse-oblige toward the locals that he resents in others who've moved to the area and just want to "help." Hopeless liberal trapped in a very conservative backwater and having a hard time just chilling. Another axe-grinding Appalachia book? Yes, but it has made me curious about his region -- Green Bank, Franklin, such areas -- and he's a decent if muddled guy. He has a good wife, good kids, stability. The sad part: The author died a few years after writing this, and even more sadly he died at a hospice in Charleston (learned all this on WikiPedia), which is not the kind of place where he would have liked dying. This fellow really loved his native woods, and I appreciate that. Jack and I will plan a drive or two up there.
View all my reviews
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
The late afternoon temp was barely in the 30s and the wind was brutal; it was a good day for a free cup of coffee to take to work with me.
I stopped in at the Starbucks on Timberlake in Lynchburg with my empty coffee-bean bag. For that I get a free "tall" cup of coffee and I thought I'd go for Starbucks' new blonde roast. (It's mild but still robust and it doesn't taste burned; try it!) In fact, I thought I'd have two cups to go, paying for one. $1.78 for what's essentially a 24 oz. coffee is still a value.
That's the setup. Now the conversation.
Me: Can I get a free cup with this empty?
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Ms. Littleton's 23 Things: Thing #7: I thought flickr was a really good website. I had already browsed it for thing 5 or thing 6, I believe, I can't remember which one. I think ...
Friday, February 10, 2012
What I tell my adulto-baptist friends: There ain't no water baptism, there ain't no paedo-baptism, there ain't no believer's baptism. There's only one baptism and the Scriptures call it -- guess what? -- baptism. Whether it's done to babies, kids or adults, it's all the same baptism. Oh, and to the prissy, fussy types I say there ain't no "christening," only baptism, in which we kill whoever's being baptized and raise him or her in Christ to new life. It's a tough pill to swallow, but it's also glorious. . . .
Walt, what you described as christening I've heard called "dedication." I think it's interesting how adulto-baptist parents are eager to dedicate their child to God, but seem unwilling or unable to give, in faith, their child entirely to God in Holy Baptism. In my world, "christening" seems to be used pretty exclusively by higher-caste folk -- Episcopalians, Presbyterians, UCCers, some few RCs -- who, in my opinion, think the word and concept of baptism are too coarse for their darling little (screaming, squalling, self-centered) little baby and look instead on "christening" as a naming ceremony that coincidentally involves getting a wee bit wet and having to endure a few sin words: "What did you think of little Chauncey's christening, my dear? Wasn't it horrid that thing about sin parson threw in there? The bloodies were good and spicy, though."
From the stooppidd "dedication" link Pr. Snyder offered. Awful! Totally awful! Witness: "God honors their purity and until they understand the meaning of salvation and personal sin, water is not administered. Few argue the purity of a newborn child." I will argue it! "Purity," my you-know-what. A noted Anglican archbishop once said, "Show me two babies in a crib with one ball, and I'll show you original sin." A knowledgeable Anglican he.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Monday, February 06, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
A belated thank-you for 50,000 views on Jan. 14, 2012. Aerial of downtown Jacksonville, Fla., and the St. Johns River in July 2003. Jack and I engaged a pilot and a plane for a one-hour ride around North Florida way back when. Some day I'll afford to do it again.
Thank you for the thoughtful
response. And as I think I
stated, much of entertainment
is inherently conservative
-- nuclear families, cute kids,
etc. But you fleshed out the
point much better than I did.
I guess I should thank
Cal for classing
up my readership.
Click here for link to original article in Variety magazine Brian Lowry media columnist/
chief TV critic Variety Please note new email:
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I didn't see any spot available for comments on your Jan. 21 Variety column – "Passion play isn't easy: Religion takes the field" Click here for the link to the Variety magazine article – so I'm sending you an email. I read your column, and appreciated it, because of a reefer from Cal Thomas' Facebook post. I hope you'll indulge me.
Hollywood has been producing "Christian" movies for years without knowing it, though they've been tougher to come by in the past 20 years. I'm not talking about the DeMille extravaganzas, but quiet, excellent movies with "Christian" themes: movies like "Places in the Heart," "Tender Mercies," "To Kill a Mockingbird."
None of these was billed as a Christian movie, but all have sensibilities that draw Christian audiences – and all without the apparent Hollywood self-consciousness and embarrassment about making something that's treacly, mentions Jesus, extols virginity or chastity, or leans too heavily, or at least too plainly, on the other Cardinal Virtues. (Note that a couple of these screenplays were written or adapted by Horton Foote, and all have roots in the South. Let me also, just because it always has affected me, take some space to mention the Lord's Supper scene in "Places in the Heart" – a tableau that evokes the Communion of Saints as well as any I've seen and stirs me with all sorts of growing-up memories.)
Or consider perhaps the Coen movie "O Brother Where Art Thou?" – a movie by Jews, based on a book by some old, blind Greek guy who lived 1,000 years before Jesus and on the other side of the Mediterranean. The T-Bone Burnett music was inspiring, the plot had biblical themes, and someone's view of baptismal regeneration (whether accidental of on purpose) was very, very pleasing to this Lutheran viewer.
And of course there are those movies, like "The Apostle," that had the money and clout of a very powerful, very respected, very rich and Christian-inspired actor, producer of director like Robert Duvall (who was in some of these Foote movies over the years).
Finally, while being not-Hollywood, there is the occasional excellent foreign film, like "Babette's Feast" (probably my favorite movie ever) that touches Christian hearts. Hollywood has been known to adapt these, sometimes well.
None of these movies beats viewers over their heads with warnings of hell and demands for conversion; not featured are people disappearing and empty cars careening on the freeways. What they do have is themes – sin (or "mistake-making"), judgment (or moments of truth and conviction) and redemption. They have experiences of grace, self-sacrifice. Some, like "O Brother," ooze metaphor. And they are complex and sometimes ambiguous in their conclusions (hey, guess what? – some Christians have brains).
And not all of them are G-rated. But not one of them smirks in the least at Christians, when they are portrayed, or ridicules their religion, their faith.
At bottom, Christians are just like moviegoers: They want to be entertained and they generally don't want to be ridiculed or thought of as stupid (and many of the cloddish "Christian" films – some Kirk Cameron vehicles – are as stupid as many Hollywood films, so it's not just institutional Hollywood). We're not looking necessarily, or even at all, for overt portrayals of Christians. We aren't always looking for heavy messages, or climactic separations of sheep and goats. No, we just want our ticket's-worth; we want to be satisfyingly entertained.
Thanks for your time,
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Why did the author of a perfectly good editorial have to use as his similic* foil one of the few deciduous trees that holds onto its (brown, dessicated, dead) leaves throught the fall and winter? In the city of Thomas Jefferson and the always grammatical University of Virgina, one must be careful.
And this is what copy editors are for.
* In the nature of a simile (my coinage)
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Thanks for 40,000 views on Flickr as of June 25, 2011. Funeral for Col. John S. Hudson, USMC Ret., Monday, June 14, 2010, at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia. Died July 7, 2009, in Atlantic Beach, Florida. Semper fi, Dad. (E. Houston Lynch photo.)
Friday, June 03, 2011
I am most honored, and in response I promise that a) I shall post more to Luther's Deer Leg and 2) I shall be more intentionally Lutheran, or at least that my posts will, I hope, exude Lutheranness. Lutheranity? Lutherality? Whatever, I am honored.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Lauer, a host of NBC's "Today," was the moderator earlier this week of a debate or forum (or whatever) between the (two major) California gubernatorial candidates. The site was a California "women's conference" (read "liberal women's conference," and reactions from the audience bear me out; it was a lot like watching "The View"). The campaign between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman has become increasingly hard fought, even bitter. Brown has called Whitman a "whore" (in the political sense, but a whore all the same). I'm sure Whitman has gotten her licks in.
In his usual namby-pamby, Rodney King way, moderator Lauer besought the two candidates, "Could we get the two of you to promise not to run anymore negative [he did not define "negative," natch] campaign commercials?" Brown, the Democrat man, said something like, "Well, I'd sure be willing to try," and got big cheers from the audience. Whitman, the Republican woman (and probably the only Republican woman) at the women's conference, said she would be glad to, but not at the expense of the truth or the issues. Big grumbles, boos and hisses all around.
The responses were totally predictable. But the main question remains, "Who is Matt Lauer to issue such a 'challenge' in the first place?" Put another way, "Why does it seem to be the supposed guardians of free speech who often seem to want to limit it?" because Lauer is hardly the first to decry "negative campaigning."
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
We've all been instructed to follow the road signs as we travel along life's way. I took a right turn at this one -- it's in Sullivan County, Tenn., near the Bristol Motor Speedway -- and though it was not a through street, it was a very well kept, very pretty and pleasant street that I think I could be very happy on. But then I had to turn around at the cul-de-sac and head for work. (Well, actually I had to turn around and hurry to a place where I could punch out a quick blog post before I went to work.)
I'm all about metaphors, but I'm also all about the plain sense of things, and the message I received through the radio embedded in my tooth right then was plain -- as plain as the tinfoil hat on my head: "You only think you're domesticated, pal. You're still a barbarian, and you need to listen better to the one God gave you too civilize you."
And her name just happens to be . . .
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The soon-to-depart publisher visited folks in the newsroom today one by one to say thanks and to give each a little bronze replica Pulitzer medal of a paperweight size, mounted on a little slab of polished marble. Classy memento, very classy guy. Makes me proud. And I will most certainly miss Carl Esposito as he and I both move on.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
|If anyone comes into a post office with one of these, run. Very. Fast. Don't. Yell. Banzai.|
The Japanese thought it was better for things else, like beheading and gutting and such. Of people. On the battlefield. Or just on oneself if one were having a family-shame and bad-self-esteem day.
Actually, all I can is mythologize on this cute little slicer you see above. I know two things: It's war loot that my father liberated from some dead Japanese soldier on Iwo Jima or Okinawa or in China, the entire package is 18 1/2 inches to 2 feet long, and even though many people brag that this or that thing is "razor sharp," this little sword really is rrrrrrrrrrazor sharp. And it's teeny, tiny, pointy, stick-you-like-a-pig-bleed-you sharp, too. And the weight of the package is heavy, and 7/8s steel, 1/8 wood.
Wait, that's four things. Well, you're not going to argue with me, are you? I have the sword.
Next. I have a letter-opener; now I need pen and ink.
And remember that every Sept. 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
|My father's saber, which has seen better days. I need to clean it up.|
Today, the saber is on tarnished display. I am not proud of the way I've treated it, though I mean to respect to its former owner. It's just an impossible bear to keep such a bear of a polish job shiny, especially when it leans on the stone hearth of a gas-burning fireplace. Someplace better someday, perhaps, though not likely in this house-with-no-walls.
And yes, the handle is real ivory (still legal and available "back then").
Coming next: My new "letter opener."
Friday, August 27, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
General evaluation? Mixed feelings. Hard for me to evaluate. Will have to give it another read.
What's it about? A man's healing encounter with the Holy and Most Blessed Trinity, One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, after a life-shattering event.
Would I recommend it? Yes. It's nothing to be afraid of. It's not polytheistic. It's nor overly modalistic. It's not unitarian. It falls easily into the realm of Christian fantasy. It's not too stilted. It's not namby-pamby, treacly or too carefully Pollyannish.
Good for kids, teens, youths, young adults? I don't think so. It deals with graphic subjects (serial killing, kidnapping and sexual molestation), the emotional responses are at times visceral, it has tragic loss and it demands a reader with a certain number of years and a certain amount of experience of loss to best relate to it.
Good parts: Didn't have to force myself to read. It moved very quickly and it was not long. It treated a very complex subject with humor and with dignity and reverence. It was plainly fictional; whatever heresy was in there had to be in there for the sake of propelling the story; this was not systematic theology.
Bad parts: Conventional plot device to end the story without too much suspension of belief. Didn't like the story-within-a-story; wasn't sure why the author didn't have the courage or didn't exercise the imagination to go first person or at least try some other POV.
Surprise: How Papa became a "man" figure at a pivotal point because that's what the protagonist needed for the difficult journey he was about to take.
Credibility issues: Dishonest complicity with a deputy to make up a cover story on how he found his daughter. (Also, how they covered it up was not explained to the reader, or else I don't recall.)
Possible sequel: I'd like to know more about the reconciliation between the father and the murderer. Did it happen? Where was Trinitarian love in that?
Best theological moment: Author did a good job of illustrating the intimacy within the Trinity of the three persons.
Theological disappointments: Author did a good job of showing the distinction of persons but didn't do too well in illustrating their oneness and their "likeness"/"sameness"/"equality." Didn't handle theodicy very well; I didn't find Jesus' or Papa's explanation of the lessening of the little girl's fear very satisfying; however, theodicy isn't something I've had a big problem with so far in my own life, so maybe all those "Why does God let these things happen or else he must be an ogre" arguments just bore me; I'm fairly comfortable with the fact that I'm a sinner (of a redeemed sort), that the world and the creation are broken by the fall, and some things are just beyond our power to understand.
Personal disappointment: I would have liked getting to know Suraya (the "Holy Spirit") better.
Refreshing things: Not too preachy. De-emphasized decision theology and emphasized God's sovereignty and grace, but without going hyper-Reformed. It fell well within my Lutheran comfort zone.
These are my gut reactions. It ain't a classic. It's no "Pilgrim's Progress." But at least it's in American English and I'm not slogging through C.S. Lewis.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
|Photo by Mike Williamson of part of company-sized honor element and Marine Band for the Old Man. (I'll level it off when I get back on the Mac.)|
Monday, July 19, 2010
Well, I have purpose now.
My father's funeral over a month ago had a huge impact on me. I learned lessons about love, about grief and sadness, about the love of Christ, about loyalty, beauty, liturgy, mortality, memory, eternity and the Communion of Saints.I also found relief. I'll be writing about those. Promise. Meantime, I'm posting a picture of the stern colonel as inspiration.
Friday, July 16, 2010
And here's the book's endplate:
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Posted using ShareThis
I've linked this from the Rev. Paul McCain's Cyberbrethren blog because it best expresses my sentiments about MLK Day. If you think this is a dumb holiday, then maybe you need a different skin color and a few slaves in your family tree.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Thursday, September 03, 2009
"No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status today."
Gee, will I go to hell if I don't change my status and send this to 25 of my friends?
So I've changed my status thusly:
"Somewhere along the way, some came to believe that "'affordable' (or free), quality health care" for all, citizen and non-citizen alike, is a heaven-granted right that's buried somewhere in the U.S. Constitution. How came this to be, and why at this moment? Seriously. And I'm staking no position here."
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Monday, February 28, 2005
So, Luther and I welcome you to "Luther's Deer Leg." What will you find here? You'll find self-indulgent musings from Luther's dad, of course. You'll also find encomiums to Luther, cairn terrier extraordinaire, laird of LutherLand, lead dog of West Botetourt.
John, Luther's dad