Category Archives: Family Missions Conpany

A Few Important Days in December

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is a day in which I was privileged to serve as a Eucharistic minister at my parish Church at 6:30 a.m. Yesterday evening while doing laundry at my parents house while eating supper with my father and brother and visiting with my mother I missed the Commissioning of the FMC Missionary Intake Class of 2016. That morning I had begun the day as a regular participant at daily mass and as a participant in the rosary led by the Men of St. Mary. There we remembered the souls of those killed in Pearl Harbor and throughout World War II in our prayers.   Late in the evening I watched the film Pearl Harbor on AMC.  That is sort of a Pearl Harbor Day tradition for me.

At noon or so I got together with a friend named Rusty Chastant and we spoke about the work we had done on cultural tourism years ago and then headed off to the Organizational Meeting of the World Heritage Site Committee. The meeting was productive and included Warren and Mary Broussard Perrin, R. Martin Guidry, Professor T. Cauvin, Aaron Flejeance, Aimee and Al Broussard, Professor Mark Rees, Rusty and myself. Given the possibility of an error or two be corrected in rendering these names these people represented a good portion of the Acadian Historical-Cultural  community and many others were represented on the email list. Progress was made on submitting names for and setting up subcommittees. It seems as though there is a great body of knowledge and information as well as a good fund of energy in this project. I hopeful for good results

 

 

I am hopeful that as I observe this Advent, some good things will happen to help me solve my most insoluble  problems which have not shown any sign of being solvable for a long time. But in the meanwhile I go through life with a four pronged approach of life and survival in the now, seeking to relocate and start a simpler life, working on the great projects that I have long been involved in and which evolve daily and lastly being a participant in my time and society in the ways any good citizen would hope to be.

My interest in the meanwhile in the election, the coming presidency and many other matters goes on apace. I hope that I will also be able to deal with a birthday or two on my mind and other family related matters. But his post is a sort of round-up of what is going right now….

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Faith Camp, Bukidnon Youth Conference and the Future

Faith Camp is a one week long camp held for middle school aged students based somewhere in Vermilion Parish. There are currently two such camps held each year. While the kids are the focus it is an event that involves people of all ages. For many who participate in its various aspects it is both an optimistic and fun experience and a deeply spiritual one. The Catholic faith is celebrated in a context which is fairly complete and brings the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the experience of church into the lives of these young people in a complete way.

The last two weeks  before this posting there has been ongoing the 20th year of continuous Faith Camps. This ministry was founded by my sister Susanna whom I saw at Faith Camp last night. At the time she founded she and were regular prayer partners and she was in the area and living at Big Woods during the summer after having started her studies at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. It was a fairly small camp that year but I was deeply impressed with it and shared with her my own memories of a live-in conference  in Bukidnon when she was a child as one of my better memories and so the two things were linked in my mind at the inception although there was not much of a causal link.  Susanna wasalso a small child when the Bukidnon Youth Conference was going on around and near her in various manifestations in Malaybalay, Bukidnon on the southern island of Mindanao in the Republic of the Philippines. I haven’t been back since the 1980s but it was a time which I have always felt had a big influence on the rest of my life and other lives in the family. Many members of my family have played key roles in the success of the camp over the decades. This year a middle school aged child of one of the campers at the second camp was a camper at Faith Camp.

 

 This year my sister Sarah’s eldest daughter Alyse is the coordinator of Faith Camp as she was last year. This is one of the blog posts that I write that is not primarily driven by the news. It is more driven by  a series of important experiences, recollections  and feelings which resonate in my life. This is one of those posts which combines both some vivid recollection and some fading memories: But the hope one felt at key times continues. The possibility of really putting together a history of those years is a daunting and not a very promising prospect. But the prospect of trying to recapture some of the spirit of those times seems a worthy aspiration as it will help me to convey some thoughts about the current times and some of the times in between now and then. I went from New Zealand to the Philippines with my birth family when I was seventeen and arrived there around Christmas. The bottom right hand picture below is of the Maranatha Youth Group in St. Pius X Church Parish in Titahi Bay which I left behind there on those cool windswept coasts. We passed through Australia on the way there.The top set of damaged images are from my time in the Philippines as is my better picture of myself leading my sisters on the carabao. The bottom right hand corner isa picture of the wall of my Household at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

 

 We were in the Philippines for a couple of years (or so I remember without checking) and Simon was born with difficulties associated with Prader-Willi Syndrome. That was also at Christmas and was at the time of my Bukidnon Youth Conference which is the real subject of part at least of this post. Due to Simon’s condition we came back to the United States. While there I completed my Freshman Year at USL — now the University of Louisiana  — in one semester and in the preceding summer worked in some college and youth ministries in the church. Then we all returned to the Philippines and I renewed my ministry for a while and in the summer just after my brother Joseph was born and having overstayed my visa in a tense time in a country on edge and with a gift of a large and dangerous looking tribal sword I flew back alone to the United States.The picctures I took there for various reasons have not much been digitzed and the ones that were have not al made it into part of the cloud I can access. But the memories that I have of the Philippines are indeed plentiful and meaningful. Many of them were pleasant enough. Although the images in the pair below do not show the day to day life there as I justified that life they do show some of the rewards of the experience. Visiting the sick westerners in trouble, prison ministry, speaking to dozens of groups and working with college ministries all filled most of my days. But the Bukidnon Youth Conference was perhaps the  peak of my ministry there.  Being a 52 year old, divorced, childless near indigent was not the future among many possible futures which I saw as most likely in those days. But the journey since has certainly been a complicated on and rich too in color and texture and that sense of richness makes me feel like an expert on almost everything on some days. While that is not fair to much of anything neither or the days entirely fair when I feel that my onIy efforts to communicate come from having little else to do that is fulfilling and that I only ever feel that I  am well qualified to be a sage because I appear not to be qualified for anything else. My life has not been laser focused in a single direction and my time in the Philippines was not either. I like Faith Camp and I liked the Bukidnon Youth Conference in part because they touched many aspects of life from the arts to sport to socializing over dinner. This reminds me of one of my first Facebook notes when I wrote about  some of the extracurricular activities and hobbies that have enriched my life  and divided them into the big three categories of Faith, Science and Sports which I  chose to denominate as easy issues for that early Facebook note. These Easy Issues are not to be confused with the Easy Essays written by Peter Maurin of the Catholic Worker Movement. His essays were easy,  because he easily guided the reader through the complexities of political philosophy to a simple and cohesive approach which would provide the framework fo the movement he and Dorthy Day were founding. In my Facebook the subjects are easy because of my tremendous insights into the very narrow experience I had in each of those fields — I did not concern myself with the larger picture. There was some tongue in cheek in the use of there terms and words but Faith Camp and the Bukidnon Youth Conference were also founded to give young people a real body of experience that they could claim as their own. A small window of controlled positive experience from ehich to see the world.

During those years when ministry was part of my life I did a lot of work preparing to work . One thing  or another or many things must be left out including almost all my regular Catholic  school time but I now note  the religious education I received. Some I received within the context of the schools mentioned. However, I also took a set of remote preparation confirmation classes in the Diocese of Lafayette within the Come Lord Jesus Program and the brief imediate preparation course at a Parish in the Archdiocese of Wellington, New Zealand. I was confirmed by a cardinal. In the Diocese of Lafayette I also completed instruction in and was commissioned for Evangelism as a Lay Evangelist of my native dicoese. This was also where after college I was certified as a catechist. Beyond those things, I completed the Life in the Spirit Seminar, the Cursillo de Cristiandad (en Ingles), a basic Lector’s training, Prayer Group Leaders Training Course, a salvation history micro course and stdied as a journalist the English translation of the Prelature of Bukidnon’s Alagad course which was a successful lay leadership course. I also read and discussed the Documents of the Second Vatican Council many times and in many contexts. Susanna who founded Faith Camp completed here degree in theology while continuing to build up this ministry. The two things have in common that they communicate to the kids from a depp and well laid foundation.

Like a lot of activity among Christians it is designed to provide an opportunity for a personal spiritual experience. The importance of personal spiritual experience in America is more evident than in some countries. One of the reasons for that comes from a man who was not a Christian but had a profound influence on the Christian and other populations of these United States at a critical time — the Revolution. Thomas Paine, one of the great thinkers of the American revolution basically stated that one of the profound problems with revelation as a basis for any law or covenant is that as soon as it is written down or described rather than existing as a perceived miracle or apparition or Messianic epiphany it becomes mere tradition. Three things can be said about that idea that miracles and revelation become traditions:

1. It is somewhat true and worth keeping in mind.
2. If God, the universe, the gods and Divine Wisdom were communicating with humanity they might not excuse people who said “Well, I needed that direct Apparition your Highness — didn’t get it so it’s your fault not mine.”
3.In places and times such as existed in the Charismatic renewal there was a renewal within the person which was seen to confirm the written Word and the received tradition. It is out of that third connection with the renewal of the background music and lifestyle of our family that the Bukidnon Youth Conference (BYC) and twenty years of Faith Camps have come. The Bukidnon Conference was less part of the Charismatic Renewal than was some of my work in those days and the current Faith Camps only remind one of the renewal. But the tradition is there.

St. Augustine is credited with two sayings that mean a lot to me as far as faith goes. One is “Seek not to understand that you may believe. Seek rather to believe that you may understand.” That saying is not perfect and is easily misconstrued but it remains profoundly true and truly profound.The second saying I will allow to explain itself and to be interpreted without me. St Augustine wrote “The best and the worst men in the world live in monasteries.” The idea that these young people come together to find understanding and to explore a fully lay spirituality does not mean that none will later become monks, priests, scientists or theologians some do and those around usually rejoice.  But the experience is of a different focus of informing a growing faith and living for Christ in the world.

That Filipino journey  in which the Bukidnon YouthBconference was born was one  which only temporarily ended just after the conference itself. But after returning with them from my time at USL and in this region I did not stay but went to enroll at the school where Susanna was studying when Faith Camp was founded.  I returned a bit early and went to live that summer with my paternal grandparents in a larger than most two storey house beside a park. That  is where I lived in that intervening summer have lived at other times and is also where I am living  now as I type this but I have only been here for a few months this go round. Then I enrolled as a sophomore at the Franciscan University. The summer after my sophomore year I returned to the Philippines to visit and overstayed my visa yet again by only a few days and flew home alone. I left school in mid semester for complicated reasons including some to do with problems in the Philippines related to those whom I had invited into the region to help me with the Youth Conference and  shortly after leaving school I met my parents returning to Abbeville where I currently reside. All of that was along time ago and I took a break to do some more ministry and other things before enrolling again at USL and finishing my degree there. Thousands of picture taken during those and subsequent years are unavailable to me here and now on this blog. But the family on the bottom left hand of the set below are the son of Abbeville friends and his wife who have been FMC missionaries where we once served for more than a few years now. The picture on the bottom right hand corner shows my brother Simon and my parents at an FMC Donors Dinner. He clearly survived the ordeals surrounding his birth as did we all.

 

Of the  actual BYC as an event I have no photos to share and never had many photos. Indeed of the conference itself very little documentation was made and far less survives. But there are a few things and here are a pair of snippets of that time. The newsletter Resounding Praise which defined so much of our communication with the rest of the world had a feature on the conference. This gathering so distant in time and space is still near to my memory and sensibility. The sense and vision behind the conference was one of bringing young Catholics and some not sure they were Catholics together to celebrate the gospel and to deal with the real challenges not only of their personal lives but of Islamist and Communist pressures from groups which in several cases were profoundly hostile to their Catholic Christian commitments.  There was also a real openness to finding what could be improved in the generally pro-American, Catholic, free market synthesis that informed the conference. There was not a tone of xenophobia or paranoia but of relatively optimistic participation in the world as it was  for young Catholic Christians. There is something in Faith Camp’s tradition that has always reminded me of that event.

 

 

There are bigger events in the world than Faith Camp or the Bukidnon Youth Conference but bigness is not everything. Nonetheless as America approaches it participation with other countries in the Rio Olympic Games I am reminded that the New testament is full of references to Olympic events. Paul wrote of racing, boxing, archery and of the disciplines of training as well as the glories of victory in those ancient games. For those going to the Olympics who are Christians while they should respect the games and the diversity there it can be both a mission and a spiritual experience in Christ.

A few years ago London prepared to see the wedding take place in Westminster Abbey there was a lot of suffering and pain in the world. Truthfully, there is almost always a lot of suffering and pain in the world.  Whatever their role may be in adding to the sum of distress in the world, the British royals do quite a bit to lessen the sum of woe and that was not the less true in a year when they were planning a royal wedding . That  set of outreaches to those in need is an effort that  is well documented. Prince Charles, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and Prince William (the bridegroom this weekend) all have long supported a variety of charities benefiting humans, animals, ecosystems and cultural groups in distress.Prince Charles has a substantial income as Duke of Cornwall and donates a great deal of the income to charities in such a way that it leverages and is leveraged by other charitable donations. While it may well be that not a direct penny of that family’s efforts and gifts will go to help those hurt by the tornadoes whch ripped through the South last night it is also true that they are part of a philanthropic community around the world in which helping is informally circulated almost everywhere. Two babies (at least) ago the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth celebrated on the 29th of April 2011 The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. This expensive and extravagant occasion was also a Christian ritual and gathering and an expression of faith. The scene was truly extraordinary and the elegant venue and the well prepared  liturgy and preaching were all rather impressive even for those who are not so easily impressed.  The sermon of the Anglican Bishop of London is one which I have found to be a worthy sermon to address our times:

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day!

It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

uture.

 

The future does flow through families and gathering and weddings and the like. Churches and other communities have an obligation, it seems to me to prepare young people to be conduits of the grace of God and the hope of the future into new generations. They need to be prepared for the task. All married couples, all celibates and many other classes of not mutually exclusive kinds of people have to be educated in that complete humanity. For Faith Camp that is a Catholic Christian experience An I like that best but it also speaks to those not with us in that community. I am not a young optimist and my own view of life can be pretty bleak often enough. But while  I am sorry that when caught up in nearly apocalyptic events I often already have declared myself to have been involved in a number of calamities — sorry but not very repentant. these conferences and other things have not made me boldly cheerful in that sense. But each Faith Camp and its predecessor to my view  have in fact reminded me that how one engages with life may change over the years  but faith filled engagement  and courage remain necessary.  I know that I  was at one time more fully engaged in meeting the world and the changes going on around me with gusto and energy than I am now. I beilieve that some of those now enthused will persevere in doing good but will not have the same zest when they are my age as they do now.  The world is no stranger to my dire assessments and prognostications regarding my own life and future but the truth is I am still in the fight for the same causes and so are some of those who fought with me under that old distant BYC banner. So also is Susanna and her early team.

Faith Camp prayer - 8   But there is a time and a place for looking back on all that has happened in ones life and that place is this blog. The time is spread out over many posts and pages. The truth is that I was not always quite so late middle aged, directionless and chronically despondent as I am now.  There were times when I aspired to other and more things in daily life than a differing serving of a perpetual mix of the routine, the impossible and the trivial. I was working hard at BYC but perhaps nobody got more out of it than I. I rejoice in the legacy I see although nobody else may see it the same way exactly.

The outgrowth of my various involvements and labors over the years are not all that easy to track, however there has been an institution which has grown out of all that activity in one sense or another and which is also dear to my heart for various reasons…  My brother John Paul was the head coordinator longer than anyone else so far I believe. It is also interesting that this year’s head coordinator Alyse Spiehler has a brother who although he only went to the first camp and was abroad on his birthday during the second camp has celebrated his birthday at Faith Camp several years and probably will again. In fact all of my sibling except Simon and my deceased half brother have served ads head coordinators or coordinators although I never have. I did of course at BYC which I consider to be an ancestor of Faith Camp. The family tie is a real one with my family but there are many other family ties as well. This does not make the focus more narrow and our family does not embody any analogous local set of privileges to those that shaped the hosting of the large wedding in London mentioned before. But the family story is part of the Faith Camp story.

 

That is, with everything else already mentioned and many other things not mentioned here  — the ongoing work of Faith Camp. That is the distant legacy of the BYC. And in some way it is the universal call of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are called to be the Body of Christ as Church and to celebrate the mystery of the fullness of life Christ came to offer and assure. All of that is part of the Faith Camp Story.

faith camp week 2, 2016 - 4 faith camp week 2, 2016 - 2 faith camp week 2, 2016 - 1

An Election in the Days of Advent and Christmas 2014

Happy Advent! Christmas is approaching and today as the final election between Bill Cassidy and Mary Landrieu takes place both politics and liturgical seasons are on my mind.  There is a lot of Christmas and Advent in this post and also some politics.  This post is mostly written and prepared before the final results are in and I predict Cassidy will win. Landrieu beat him in the primary and I voted for her, I voted for Cassidy in this election and sent him some money after first explaining in a post in a campaign site some of my concerns.  I did not want Cassidy to win in the Primary but I do want him to win now. He should do so because Maness was mostly to his right and Maness voters will vote far more for him than Landrieu. The wonder of Christmas and Advent’s time leading up to it have a place in my thinking about everything including today’s election.  I live my life in the context of these seasons of the Church, life and culture. Notwithstanding the nature of this blog, it might serve me well to devote this post solely to  the election. We all know that we elect people into office in a certain time and place but maybe we do not think religious seasons have much to do with it. Advent and its target — Christmas remind us of the importance of parts of life that do not vary as much as electoral politics. Goals like peace on Earth, Goodwill to mankind, Glory to God, Justice and truth in human affairs and charity to the needy.

Mom with a Christmas tree in a previous year. Today she is scheduled to buy a tree.

Mom with a Christmas tree in a previous year. Today she is scheduled to buy a tree.

There is so much to cover in current events today. It is not a slow news day. Today, Luke Somers whose name sounds like mine and who like me has sometimes made his living with words and photographs was killed. Long in captivity with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula he was killed during a failed rescue attempt. That story deserves attention and you can learn some facts here. This happened after his family pleaded publicly for his life in a stirring video message.  NASA has returned to real heavy lift rocketry and that is very important in this blog.  The landfall of Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines affects a country with importance to me, my family and the United States of America.  Beyond all that there is the race itself between Cassidy and Landrieu.  This race may well deserve a book and certainly the overall election cycle could use a lot of analysis. Knowing who voted for whom and why can shape our future.  Racial demographics alone could demand several good blog posts.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

 

With all of that to do I should probably either ignore the current events of the day or pick a few of them or certainly leave out comments on Advent. But this is another . There are riots and protests sweeping the nation over Brown, Garner and police relations with the Black community. I have dealt with the issues of this election cycle  in previous posts found here, here and here. So here I can maybe afford to take a bit of a different view.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

Last night I was at a large gathering made up of mostly voters and the election was never discussed. Advent was discussed, the Philippines, China, India and many other places. But not electoral politics. It was the Family Missions Company 18th Annual Members and Donors Dinner. I took some pictures and had one taken of me in front of the venue.  I know some people in the group are active in their parties.  But last night dealt with the issues that we all must face in different terms and in a different way. It was more the spiritual than the temporal side of our lives.

Me in a shoy by one of the proprietors on my phone as I walked into the Donors Dinner.

Me in a shot by one of the proprietors on my phone as I walked into the Donors Dinner at Magdalene Place.

In the coming days there will be  more to blog about in the political world. But one notable fact about this election of the next United States Senator from Louisiana is that the election is  being held on December 6. The sixth of December fall square into Advent.  Lord Hylton my sometimes correspondent, wrote a post on Advent in the House of Lords blog and my comments on it can be found here. Lord Hylton serves in the upper house of the British legislature which is Parliament. Our election is for the upper house of our legislature which is Congress. Where is America to find the answers to the struggles it faces? I am fairly sure the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be a big part of the foundation for a useful discussion in this country even if not in every country.  But this idea is increasingly out of sync with our laws and procedures as a society. The Senate ought not be a Church but neither should it be a faith-free institution.

America faces many challenges in this its own country and in the world. It faces huge challenges over time. How will those challenges be met. In the observance of Advent we remember in abbreviated symbols each of the challenges  of the Old Covenant before the coming of Christ. We ought then to be prepared to face our own challenges better and to better celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ. One of the things that emerges in my comment on Lord Hylton’s post is the shift of power and wealth from the Eastern Mediterranean to the West. These issues and facts across history continue to affect us in many ways beyond Advent or even religion. An example of some of those issues can be seen here for those who wish to think about the issues.

But of course most of our lives are sufficiently challenged with current problems we need not look through much of a historical lens to feel that we can understand. we confront these issues in charitable ventures, private enterprises, family and in politics.  It is the same world where all these things are working and aspects of our lives connect. So it is Advent as we elect this Senator. Part of my experience this Advent was attending the Family Missions Company Donors Dinner on the evening of the fifth of December. I have discussed this briefly and could say more.

A picture I took of my table at the Donors Dinner

A picture I took of my table at the Donors Dinner

Today Family Missions had a Swamp Games Celebration. I got a few pics of that but did not participate directly. Like a lot of other things this event is a celebration which may evolve into something more in future years. It has a bouncy castle for children this year and a course laid out with available objects inspired by The experience of my brother Joseph, my brother-in-law Kevin and others in participating in the Warrior Dash this year. It seemed  like a pretty cool event. There are also barbecues and Advent prayers going on.

The course and the racers were visible from most sides of my home. This is across the back fence and some family land.

The course and the racers were visible from most sides of my home. This is across the back fence and some family land.

The home team of my brother, brother -in- law and nephew among others seem to have defended their honor and turf fairly well against all comers in this friendly competition among various parts of the company. We call an election a race and there are similarities between the two things.  How hostile should an election be?  What is the line between political conflict and civil war? This is a big shift in Congress. America’s future is not so clear in various respects. Cassidy will probably win. But whoever wins the Senator will have to face the Lame Duck  Congress in their old job and then a whole new set of challenges in the time after this Christmas.  I hope all my readers who can vote will. But I also hope we will remember that there is more to this time of the year than our politics.

The Church near the Donors Dinner last night.

The Church near the Donors Dinner last night.

We all have struggles ahead of us to keep a good Christmas. They vary from person to person.  But these lifelong concerns matter just as much as the political events of this time and this set of issues. O come Emmanuel! May you all soon have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! But for now may you find life a bit more reflective and worth waiting for than usual. I hope the values of patience and reflection fins some good place in our Senate as well.

 

 

Reviewing My Mother’s Memoirs

I am not an objective reviewer here. I also do not have the same exact value placed on objectivity which some critics avow. I read my mother’s second volume of her memoirs Our Family’s Book of Acts: To Love and Serve the Lord (Summerise Media Publication, ISBN 978-0-615-45595-2-5195) which is a sequel to Go! You are Sent. I read the book’s 386 or so page in a very brief time of between two and three hours. Of course I lived many of the events, knew many of the characters, edited one of the early exploratory drafts which has then been edited twice at least before the final putting together of the galleys. This is the Asian edition put together by Noah’s Ark Creations in Singapore. I am not sure when this will be available from an American publisher. There is no large distribution plan in Europe or the Western Hemisphere right now and it is really a small edition.

Nonetheless, it is a well-written and compelling story presented nicely in  an attractive volume. I think it deals with many issues, topics and persons of real interest and importance. I would not expect it to be such a fast read for most people — indeed I plan to read it again when I get the chance. However, it really has a nice flow. Discussing life as a Missionary, being a wife and mother, an intense productive and troubled marriage, the Catholic Church, social stresses around the world and the people who make up her family is a challenge for the book of this length. It does not disappoint the reader and does not waste the reader’s time in pointless  searches thought things the reader does not have the time to really grasp or understand.  It is in my opinion a good book and well worth the cost in money and time. 

I will try to  post a comment or an update on this blog post and elsewhere when plans for North American and European distribution are knwon to me. I am hoping that this post has enough detail to be of some value as it is. However, the book is definitely of some value.

Family Missions Company Intake 2010 Graduates Tonight

The Eckstine Family, Alvarez Family, Madi Dold, Sid Savoie, Sarah Carroll whose names I cannot say I know in writing very well and may be mispelling and maybe someone I am forgetting are being commissioned at a commissioning mass at Our Lady of the Bayous convent and retreat house which Family Missions is in the process of acquiring from the French Dominicans and other interested parties. I am not attending and do not work with Family Missions Company but I have seen them meeet for prayer and study, work on projects here and at the convent in terms of renovation and infrastructure. I wish them well and commit them to all of your prayers and good wishes.

My own life in the missions and in all aspects of life related to this is in the position of a long journey largely left behind but I can wish them well as they set forth. It is a challenging and worthy effort at life for God, oneself and others.

I have attended most but not all of these commissionings in the past. Life is a journey with many changes along the way. Today I post them in my blog as an important event and move on.

American Survival — American Transformation

America must decide to survive.  If it does so it must in some sense transform itself. What kind of transformation is that likely to be?

Identifying a crisis eventually becomes effortless if the crisis is severe enough. In terms of identifying the crisis the worthy trick is to identify it in time to take some kind of actions to avoid, mitigate or redeem its worst results and consequences. America is in a deep national and societal crisis. Not all of us are free to react in the same way to addressing this crisis.  However, we can perhaps do what we can do.  Suppose one is eager to do more than whatever one’s present actions are, what can be done?

To identify the real dimensions and parameters of our crisis goes beyond what can be achieved in a single blog posting.  I do a lot of listing in these posts but there would be nothing but list if I even attempted to mention every major area of concern and cause for serious  anxiety and action.  In recent posts, especially the last five,  I have outlined where I think we need to end up in very general terms. In this post I will try to outline what perhaps can be done prior to the revolutionary transformation taking hold in these United States of America.

First, if you follow my advice you will have to adopt a mental attitude quite distinct from the mental attitude on which most politics is presented, proclaimed and outlined these days. If one accepts the revolutionary changes outlined here as a goal and takes them seriously then one can still admit that it is unlikely that the goal will be achieved. Although it is not more likely im the distant future it is possible that it will happen but not occur until after a reasonable life expectancy has passed. So this means a distinct political approach recommends itself.  Agitation and campaigning for candidates must both be relatively minor aspects of this effort to achieve political transformation.

One thing that can be done is to read this blog and other related material and then to discuss it with people selected as being the best people to help push these ideas and changes forward. Another thing that can help is to find ways to build value and grow one’s own dreams in such a way that they have value on their own but also can work to bring about a larger program and pattern of change. So let us talk about some principles of creating this movement if it is to become a movement.

First, after the reading described above try to set down a few notes and remarks somewhere to show you are committed to the project. Maybe take a friend out for coffee and explain that you are committing yourself to this project.

Second, do not diminish your participation in politics. Whether that means changing where and how you participate or merely finding ways to let those people know that you basically support there goals but have some more refinements and other profound changes that you would also like to see in our society. Be less pushy and assertive than those who can get more satisfaction out of quick short-term goals.

Third, work out the principle of autonomy linked to loyalty. That is trying to create your own resources that are really yours but which can also be restructured readily to support a movement for change and identify the causes discussed here particularly (along with country, family and religion) causes you would and are willing to support with resources that are wholly yours even if it costs you more than it is really worth to you personally.

Fourth, be invested in community and tie that to your social ideals. Don’t put the idea of revolutionary change above all the needs of your family, church congregation, soccer league, neighborhood watch and alumni association  but try to tie all the commitments you make to these community-building things to a sense of the social transformation you would like to see.

Five, learn to supply critical support.  Consider giving care boxes to local National Guard units and building a real relationship and still speak openly about changes you would like to see over time in the military culture of our country and society. Give money and write letters to candidates for office when you can and mention some of these ideals not as a condition to your modest donation but identifying where you would like to see things going over time.

Six, consider starting a discussion group. Consider getting together with some other people who are able to take small steps to help bring about these changes.

Seven, IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING LEFT CONTACT ME.  You can contact me here are on media linked to this site like Twitter. If you wish to support these ideals through me directly I am not incorporated but you could mail a check payable  to Frank W. Summers III to:

Frank W. Summers III

PO Box 22

Perry, LA 70575

If you do that, write ” Reconstitutionalize America” in the memo line. If you give me a return address I will try to let you know how I have spent it.  This is not even really a recommendation but rather an option just in case it seems right for you. I make no representations in advance about how it will be used and it will not be tax-deductible.

Thanksgiving Thursday Round-up…

1.Monday I had Sarah, Kevin, Anika and Soren as well as my nephew Eli (Mary’s son)  over for a large thankful dinner. I really enjoyed it.

2. Mom, Dad, Alyse, Joseph, Brooke, Simon and many others are celebrating the Family Missions Company Thanksgiving down in General Cepeda, Coahuila, Mexico.

3. Sarah, Kevin, Anika and Soren are down in Pensacola, Florida with Kevin’s family who are reuniting with a son of Kevin’s brother whom they never knew before recently.

4. I went by my maternal grandfather’s house and my maternal aunt Rachel’s houses yesterday for a Thanksgiving Day related visit.

5. Yesterday’s post on this blog gives some ideas and thought about the history of this holiday.

6. I sent out 41 e-cards for the holiday yesterday and my first response was from my dear niece Alyse.

7. Some notes about the holiday:

i. Most Roman Catholic missalettes have a mass for Thanksgiving Day in the missa of readings, antiphons and themes on the datel even though it is not quite an utterly official holiday in this Council of Bishops domain but it has often been proposed and much of the basic work has been done. It is complicated.

ii.The Thanksgiving Day Macy’s Parade, Advertising for Black Friday sales, two NFL football games on TV, and the National Dog Show (not the Westminster) are traditions to many people.

iii. The menu at Plymouth is the general inspiration for many regional, familial and personal repertoires from which individual meals are drawn. In my experience this is what the repertoire in the Acadian region of Louisiana more or less:

Turkey (with cranberry sauce), ham, rice dressing,  corn bread dressing, potato salad, some kind of congealed or frozen or fruit salad (or several), vegetable casserole, yam or sweet potato casserole covered with marshmallows,  pecan pie and pumpkin pie. Not all tables have all these things and many tables will have an additional set of family specialties but these are the core.

 iv.People pray for the members of the Armed Forces and often listen to some Christmas music on this day at some point. 

 8. I hope to be eating Thanksgiving Dinner with my Dad’s family who are gathered in force.

9. I will try to reach my other family members by phone.

10. For a good number of my non-American friends I am the main reminder they have that there is a Thanksgiving Day.  

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Developing Projects and Policies: The Fine Art of the Now

I like to think of this blog with all its posts as a single grander project which joins together all of it components. Each page post and theme contributes to the totality of the blog in a way which enhances its own significance rather than diminishing it. Sometimes the themes may seem very remote from one another to some people but almost always they are themes which recur quite frequently in my life and writing. This post is pretty complicated in itself. It will combine elements of my interest in Christianity, film, space colonization and  writing. It is a fairly challenging post to read I think  — but I am not about trying to write for the lowest common denominator of talent exercising their minds at the lowest level of effort. That is why I write for ye few, ye proud, ye brave, ye readers.
I have been writing and drawing about colonizing craters on the Moon for quite a while. However, now we know that a specific crater on the pools has relatively abundant water and likely neighbors others with water. That means that water and crater like qualities currently coexist. We must now take this combination very seriously in contemplating our next steps in the space colonization enterprise. So I propose we develop robots to cap these wet craters early on and follow up with a short Apollo like visit to install key components and then launch a settlement ship. This small ship’s crew would see themselves as laying the foundations of a permanent human presence on the Moon as well as developing and pursuing their own short-term objectives. Here is small set of crude drawings of the LACRIMA (Lunar Advance Capping Robot Instigating Measurable Atmosphere).

LACRIMA - Lunar Advance Capping Robot Instigating Measurable Atmosphere

The second illustration is of the LACRIMA deployed as it varied stages and components have deployed to undertake various tasks. The drawing depicts operations before the first human short duration landing.

LACRIMA operating as a sort of terrarium developer.

 

The first human flight would bring an engine and cables for heating and power and would also have a Moon buggy to be left there. This would  be used to connect to solar array robotically deposited in advance outside the polar areas. The mission of the advance human team would be to connect this set of solar arrays to the crater as well as to install the engine, improve the cap and install a good port and elevator in the cap.  The second crew would bring advanced habitation components for the crater. A group would stay a short time and another group would stay on long-term.
There is a constant dialectic of changing steps and retaining long-term objectives in any great project. I am a Christian and I find in both the life Jesus lived among us and in the memory of his life plenty of inspiration  for development and courage as regards worthy objectives.  Here is a Facebook Note I wrote dealing with some of the thoughts I have about the life of Christ.
      
 Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 4:33pm |
I write a lot. I have written a lot. I read a lot. I have read a lot.I have often read aloud in public. I have taught people to read. I have taught people to write. Perhaps I can fill this note with these short declarative first person sentences on this theme. On the other hand, I may go ahead and try to do more. I have not been a very successfull writer compared to the tiny number of people who make huge fortunes from their writing. I have not even been financially successfull compared to the ten thousand or so people in the world who really earn most of their living from writing and live pretty well. I doubt that there are a lot more than that. Notice how much of you local paper comes with a local by-line. Then take that as a generous and very inflated glimpse of how many real writers jobs there are.

In this note I am going to do something that even I think is a bit odd and irregular. That I think is even a bit out-of-place for this type of note. I am going to use as one of my flow-in-flow-out points of reference a hypothetical writing task involving real, living and controversial people. I have in several notes recently revealed a long time secret esoteric interpretation of the New Testament. Now, just suppose it were to be commercially published outside of this little blog in the world of free access with only 499 possible subscribers as I type these words. What would be among the highest and best and most appealing uses for me? Where might it be best released?

Probably if Mel Gibson bought partial rights to the notes here as part of a prequel to Passion of the Christ called Life of the Christ that would be close to the best. Really my preferences would be that specific. Why?

Because he can make a good movie and movies reach lots of people who are hard to reach.
Because he cast real ethnic Jews in many roles and they look right.
Because he used original languages, imperfectly but better than almost anyone else.
Because both he and I might make some money and I could use it.
Because he seemed to interface effectively with a large section of the Christian community.
Because even though he filmed in Malta he got a better feel of the period at least than most.

I often watch media presentations about Jesus that are just plain horrible in my honest opinion. Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth and the Passion by Gibson stand out as among the best I have seen. Screenwriting is highly collaborative. I have done a good bit of work in newspapers and it is pretty collaborative too but not nearly as much as screenwriting. But all writing is related to a larger world than the page. I think that such a set of relations is often not given enough respect as being very hard to trace and analyze. On the other hand some quite literate critics and some illiterate dismissers also treat the nature of literature’s relationship to the real world as being hard to establish. They simply argue that it has no real significance.

There is no substitute for practice in writing. Jesus reading in the synagogue then preaching. teaching fro long periods of time at a relatively regular feeding of multitudes and training his Apostles and high ranking disciples. In that rhythm were produced stories and words that still compel many of us like no other words. Shakespeare, writing for a play editing when it did not work and then eventually producing one worth copying down and putting in the company chest. Such works have endured. Faulkner earned more money over almost the whole course of his life from screenwriting in Hollywood than from writing novels in Mississippi. Hemingway cranked out war reportage and did many stories in the first person about fishing and traveling. From that routine of work the literary Hemingway emerged. Enduring literature is born from the grind of human interaction, nature and writing more often than not. Writers write. they keep writing and they keep improving in a struggle to realize their dreams on paper and express their real life insights in their dreams.

Northrup Frye, a distinguished literary critic wrote a book about the influence of the Bible on literature and called it “The Great Code”. I was influenced by that book and enjoyed a great deal but its name has no overt connection to the esoteric interpretation of coded frames in the Bible which I have been writing about lately. rather he makes the important point of how scripture is a vital core and framework of understanding for subsequent literature especially English literature.

There is a great deal of the Gospel account which is best understood by the fact that Jesus was a literate story-teller and orator who by distributing wealth on a fairly large-scale while being interesting attracted a significant number of writers to his movement. Probably there were as many as hundred pamphlet like texts about him produced by those who knew him. St. John’s Gospel ends as follows:
“Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?’ Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain untill I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just “What if I want him to remain until I come? (What concern is it of yours?)” ”
“It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are so many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the world could contain books that would be written.” John 21: 20-25

In this passage the we who believe and are writing the gospel we have seem to suggest pretty clearly that they have known St. John who knew Jesus and have received an oral tradition from him. They suggest that John also wrote a book which is the basis of the current Gospel of John which they have edited. Finally they make very much the noises that one might make when there are many documents one did not get to include in a history and so one apologizes to the authors of those texts and tries to find an excuse for not included the tidbits and themes that one may have taken great trouble to make available. I am not sure that Mel Gibson could get a real clear feel for that across to his audience but he might do better than some have done. There is a chance that even I would feel the richness of the work outweighed its flaws.

John was an episcopos and an Apostle within the Church but though he is not named with Judas (definitely not Iscariot), Joseph, Simon and James as one of Jesus’s brothers by the people of Nazareth he was also a relative of Jesus and one of Jesus’s purposes in telling Mary that John was her son and she is his mother is to designate John as heir of such privileges within the house of David as he has it in his power to give. This is limited compared to some systems but John is now the man of the house in which his mother is matron which is temporal and not the nascent Christian church. I am aware that the public Christian church has never had a tradition that the holy family adopted anyone but in our esoteric tradition Judas and Simon were cousins whose mother was a descendant of the Maccabees and a fairly prominent one. Their father was a Zealot and a devoted one despite being a Davidian of prominence. He was crucified and while the family was in Egypt and then when they returned the mother and children came to live in a small house that Joseph built on the edge of his struggling compound. She died before Jesus reached adulthood. They were adopted but in a rather more loose and House of David way than other Jews would have used. It was through them that Jesus acquired his first ties ti the Maccabean element in Israel. James and Joseph the other brothers of Jesus were not blood brothers of Simon and Judas. While Catholic prayers seem to emphasize Joseph as not having had sexual relations with anyone it is our esoteric tradition that Joseph was Joseph’s son by levirate marriage to another relative who had lost a husband while they were in Egypt. She raised him as the dead man’s son until her own death and then without parent or siblings he was also adopted. Note that when the people of Nazareth mention his family they are ready to stone Jesus. He had tow near relatives who had met violent deaths and in the ancient world people frankly found it easier to kill people in that class. Modern people do as well but they are not as open about it. Jesus’s family business and household were substantial and although there were many dependents Jesus’s designated heir had more leisure to write books than some living in the relative communism of the early church. To modern ears this sound s hypocritical. But there would have been no church movement without the funds drawn from Jesus’s household at various times and in various ways.

The Gospels also make it as clear as they can that the Herodian dynasty regarded Jesus’s family as a very major threat. They remained more or less continuously at war with them. Herod the Great orders the killing of Bethlehem’s little boys to get Jesus. Herod Antipas is only a quarter-king but as Tetrarch he kills John Jesus’s cousin who is known as the Baptist. When he first hears of the ministry of Jesus he mentions killing John right away and then asks to meet Jesus. Everyone knew Jesus had a better claim dynastically to any Jewish throne anywhere than any Herodian did.

Jesus’s household was clearly not rich. Zealot assaults on cashiered mercenaries at the time of the death of the Holy Innocents in Bethlehem involved members of the House of David and Herodians were killed to in part as revenge for Herod’s atrocity in the most ancient seat of the House of David. This sort of conflict was not only unequal, easily terrifying and cruel it was very expensive for the Davidians. Though he generated a lot of wealth as an adult they were poor when he was born and always had many expensive burdens to bear. Nonetheless, John could afford to write.

Jesus grew up with double entendres and stealth as part of his extended family lore and his way of life. Jesus’s only land based attack is not mentioned in the Bible at all and is perhaps the most gruesome and shocking to modern sensibilities. Jesus recovered from his fasting and prayer, meeting with the Essene emissaries, leading the demon assassins into the lion’s den and he immediately met with Simon the Zealot, a group of unmentioned zealots and relatives and relates his tale of the Devil’s camp. There are pens of captives, huge supplies, torture chambers, guards and time is of the essence. He gets a handful of people to accompany him only one of whom will become an Apostle. He agrees to position them around the camp at night with an emphasis on opening the cages of the captives and setting them on horses and asses kept there with supplies and scattering to the winds. Then they are to take the loot they can killing such guards as they can and bring the loot to a place agreed upon. With about a dozen or so men he assigns all but one to this task.

The only assistant he takes with him is led to a prearranged spot with cages of birds dragging tiny bundles of fire starter on string and a couple of donkeys. The assistant set the fires and released the bird and as they flew over the camp the fire reached the strings and they were burnt through creating tiny bombs. All of this took place at night and so it had a stunning visual effect. The birds were then freed as well by the fire and disappeared. This was timed to occur when the first guard sounded an alarm in the main camp. The men in the larger group would attack at that time. Then the assistant would sling stones dipped in poison at those guards moving near his position. Jesus would be the only many leading an assault on the main cam. The only human assaulting it. Using asses dragging meat and a relationship with the now man-eating lions he led a pride of recently man-eating lions into the camp. The camp had literally a thousand armed men. The other smaller camp was unusually filled with camels and donkeys and packs of booty and unusually lightly guarded had many things not been very unusual the raid on the adjoining camp would have failed but as it happened the camp lost all its prisoners many trade animals and lots of supplies and wealth. A few prisoners were armed by the raiders and died fighting but only one raider died and not on site. When the guards from the main camp arrived they found burning tents dead bodies and little else.

Jesus held back in shadows with a sling and a bag of stones. Whenever a guard drew a bow or a spear effectively against a lion he hit the guard with a stone not caring much if he killed, wounded or stunned. He simply supported the lions letting the blood and food smells of the camp drive them into a frenzy. When groups assembled to attack or defend against a lion he picked a few targets and hit them. He kept this up for a very long time. Then with fires in both camps and the howls of men and the roars of lions he slipped away to meet his men. He never returned to the camp again. He never got a full report on the damage. But when he did return to the meeting place he had enough supplies to begin his public program. The skirmish itself is now lost to all history but there were laid the economic foundations of the Jesus movement.

Jesus then gave the real life speech on which the parable of the talents would be based (see Matthew 25: 14-30). Keeping a double share of the loot himself he divided the rest equally among his followers. Reminding them that he also expected there support within the coming campaign. Further any loot they could not take at that time he agreed to take on an opposite understanding — He would give them back a portion of the value he could realize from the loot upon demand after a reasonable delay. How much was this fortune? It was a significant loss to the fabulously rich demons but it was almost an immeasurable fortune to the struggling House of David. Through his interview with the Devil Jesus knew that the Devil saw three primary men to be eliminated in order to destroy Galilee. One was himself. The other was the most successful fisherman on the Lake — Peter. The last was Jesus’s mortal and hereditary enemy Tetrarch Herod Antipas. Jesus used the fortune in several ways, first he ordered several large loads of wood and supplies through his Household’s carpentry shop and then fabricated the platforms he had already envisioned for dealing with the swine. He used a silent partner to fund his distant cousins James and John to pay off their own debts and then to buy a share of Peter’s business. Thus unknown to any becoming their partner. He paid to have many amphora of fine wine switched with the ablutions water at the wedding of friends having hard times, all of this was wine seized in the raid.

While waiting for the wood to arrive he converted the now empty bird cages to fish cages with hidden compartments and hid a different currency of coin in each of the cages. These coins also helped to anchor the cages by weighing them down. However, there were animals, saddles, weapons and clothes he could not safely use or sell. Through Simon the Zealot he found that Chuza was in trouble with his Lord Herod Antipas for both using court funds to support Zealots and skimming some off for himself. Jesus met with Chuza and Simon and came up with a system where Jesus would send loot to Chuza who had the only institution in Galilee large enough to launder the goods. Jesus would take a fraction of the real value of the loot and allow Chuza to make a cut so long as both the debt incurred by the Zealots and his enemy’s own treasury were also enriched. All three in this set, Joanna, Chuza and Simon would sign off on each transaction. Joanna would bring Jesus and his disciples payment disguised as gifts and then encourage others of women of means to give to his ministry as well(see Luke 8:1-3). This real life experience was the basis of the parable of the wily steward(see Luke 16: 1-15).

Jesus then contracted with foreign merchants so that trade with Galilee would not fail. He ordered lumber, millstones and anything related to bread-making and wineskins. He also bought up most local production of these same items. He traded a brand new millstone in Galilee for anyone who would give him a used stone and a ruined or cracked stone. He traded a new wineskin filled with fine wines from his booty for anyone who would give him two badly used wineskins with any wine in any quantity enough to slosh audibly. He also contracted to build the ovens he would use. He was nearly broke except for a half dozen platforms, a collection of millstones, old wineskins of bad quality, a set of secret ovens and some very part-time help he could demand. With these resources and a handful of new disciples who barely knew him he prepared to face down one of the world’s greatest foes.

The basic schematic of the raids is laid out in my note titled “Easter & War”. As the calming of the storm would indicate, Jesus and his Apostles would cross the seas in a life threatening storm and only then. They would free the captive and drive the swine into the water they would slaughter and butcher the swine bringing only the fish shaped meat pieces to land. Jesus and Peter were seen on one of these platforms in the walking on water. The porkfish were baked on skeletons both of leftover feedings and form the piles of unusable fish fishermen left around. These piles on the shore are mentioned in Jesus’ parable of the net. Jesus always asked people to pass up food to be shared out at his meetings. The normal thing was that a good amount of food was passed up and mixed with the available supply of porkfish. The feedings mentioned in the gospel are manifestations or signs ( and therefore also risky) because the manufactured famine had reached such a point that the people in the crowd had only tiny amounts of food to contribute to the feeding.

Jesus used rituals, parables, acts of charity, instructions and acts of war all overlayed in the same framework of facts. While this gets even more complicated as it passes through layers of writers it was immensely complicated as he lived it. Yet on the other hand this redundant meaning approach made things simple, increased security and aided in his moral teaching ministry. while the phrase “pearls before swine” for example had a history it was used because the bones of the swine tangled in old nets and strings and sunk under water were like white underwater pearls. Some acts of his war are told in parables outside the ordinary form and also repeat technical instructions. Jesus wants his Apostles to find spiritual meaning in the work they do which is largely illegal by most standards. The teaching on scandal is the best example of this style of work.

Imagine the platforms on which Jesus and Peter walked on water as large wooden squares of planks mounted on a heavy timbered cross. The central section over the centermatched cross beams is not platformed. There a ring of pig bladders and skins are inflated and secured under the edge of the platform. A similar rim of inflatables is on the edge of the platform. An odd tube of old nets, sackcloth and trash is weighted down from its open mouth to the lake floor with a small rock. Int hat tube all intestines, pigs trotters, skins, heads and notable pig organs are thrown. Once the butchering is done a millstone is secured around the neck of the tube which is then tied.This is then thrown in and drag the tube down compressing the pig wastes. Later the platform is moved and the place will be the site of several great catches. All of this is done mostly so that Jewish children can eat porkfish and not starve to death while also avoiding scandal.

With that factual scenario in mind listen to the following quote from Matthew 18: 6-9,
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause sin! Such things must come but woe to the one through whom they come! If your hand or foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled than with two hands or two feet be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into fiery Gehenna.” An honest and thoughtful reading will show many parallels unlikely to be coincidental.

Not every aspect of Jesus’s life is documented in some close code on the one hand or retelling in recorded parable on the other. For example the Gospels mention that he sent the sick to be examined by priests, that the manufactured mud pastes for eyes, that he encouraged people to give clothes to the poor and that he was involved with both baptism and healing baths. But there is no real evidence for what I propose as a normal Historical Jesus meeting per se. All lepers and sick people would be gathered first. A divider would go from the shore and into the the lake, dividing men and women bathers. All donated clothes gathered by his traveling followers from others would be given to those with the worst clothes. Those worst clothes would be burnt in the fire pits which heated the ovens elsewhere where the porkfish was made. A very unique and kind of crude but sophisticated soap would be given to the bathers. All those who were free of visual uncleanness after bathing and getting new clothes would be released into the crowd and told to confirm their healings with the authorities. Those still not well would receive what salves and bandages were available and be sated separately near Jesus. He would speak for a while and call for gifts of food to be offered to the front. His Apostles and others would mix these foods with porkfish and other goods they had and redistribute the greatly increased food supply to all after Jesus blessed it. Then Jesus would speak again after all had eaten and listened he would bless those in the section of seating for the sick and many would get well ( though obviously here Christians and atheists must see my scenario differently). Then he would encourage people to go to a section in the middle of the crowd to exchange any gifts that they might have brought with those in need. While this was going on he would allow questions from the crowd. After all of that he would usually dine with a prominent local resident for supper. This would be an all day affair requiring the work of dozens of people. He may have had between 12 and 30 of these days.

Jesus and his disciples hit each of a number of camps twice in raids and had a secondary feeding in most cases by moving small pigs to a wild site where they could forage and slaughtering them later. On each raid they freed all captives not killed in the fighting and used captives they armed with captured weapons though more captives were not fighters. The huge herds of swine also were deliberately chosen because as omnivores that helped create the famine by eating any human food available and not just grass. The demons also had a science of using the swine to foul as much drinking and fishing water as possible.Jesus and his disciples all veiled their faces during these raids.

These raids and feedings created the framework around which the rest of his public ministry coalesced. However, as Herod Antipas killed John the Baptist and began to track Jesus it became harder for Joanna to bring her payments. Pilate desecrated the great Temple in Jerusalem killing Galileans during worship and the Temple guard who had killed many armed foreigners did not dare risk an open battle. Then he was spotted walking on water. It is in this crushingly intense historic period of his life ( and not at some later date) that two things begin to happen. Jesus begins to state repeatedly that he will be crucified in Jerusalem and he increasingly supports and defends his reputation as a Messiah and a the Son of God. Son of God is a term rarely used for human kings in the Old Testament when they have a special mission from God but Jesus begins to push even this most lofty of claims to a higher place. He often spends all night alone in prayer. It is here that the Christ emerges whom atheists find it difficult to admire. However, the literary beauty of his teaching reflecting on all his life is still very sharp and sweet. As a verbal artist he is admirable to any one.

I chose the Mel Gibson prequel device partly because I do not wish to deal with the last week in this note. Gibson’s prequel should go to the Last Supper but I will leave off here. What I have to say about the unknown life of Jesus is largely said in covering these earlier months and years. The Gospels are a rich trove of insights even if not always understood as I see them. However, I hope that as long as we have biographies of Christ in various media there will be some I think are artistically worthy of the subject. I also hope that we will always have such biographies.

End of My Facebook Note–
I hope ye brave, ye few, ye proud, ye readers will find some focus and inspiration.  

The Ananias Project: Good Music, Creative Artistry

I did a post a while back in which I mentioned the Ananias Project. To see that post go to: https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/a-jambalaya-round-up-or-potpouri-post/ That October 19, 2009 post was the first of my round-ups which have since become a regular feature of this blog.  Because it was only one of several items I can reproduce everything I said about it here.

” 9. My brothers and brother-in-law (and some other people without the good taste to be my relatives) have come out with a CD I believe is titled ”The Ananias Project”. I have not heard it but I know all of them have made beautiful music and I have enjoyed it. One of the best guitar riffs I ever heard was two of them playing together. I wish them well. You can order here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ananiasproject  I hope that I did not promise WordPress not to publish commercial links, I did not really read the contract. ”

As of today I have still not heard the exact disk which you will get if you order it from CD-Baby. However, I did get to listen to one of the production studio CDs that was mostly complete.  I was impressed at what a unique musical experience it was there was live recording from several  places where Family Missions Company Missionaries have served which added color and depth to the many original pieces of music.  The raps and intros had a lot of personal feel and universal quality.  Their was a wide range of musicality and it showed that these are people serious about music who have other real connections that empower their vibe.

This is religious, spiritual and Christian but I think anyone could appreciate the work with a certain attitude and be glad to have this piece in your collection. You may not  have heard of Joseph Summers, Kevin Granger and Sarah Summers Spiehler Granger or Sheila Aggresta or any of the others on these tracks but you can hear the fact that there is quite a bit of both musical training and popular audience experience in these digits your machine is reading.

One of the things that impressed me the most is that these artists and especially my brother-in-law Kevin Granger did much of the mixing, equalizing, editing and production. In my opinion much of the CD is extraordinary in its perfection.

There is a sense of a debut album by people not on a big label — although some members have had there CDs distributed before under various names but this is not raw. It is Christian Indie and contemporary fusion folk in a post deconstructionist milieu but it is not amateurish. These people have gone surely where they wished to go. We must now see if they  can connect with the listeners who connect with their music and art.