31 December 2007

2007 in review: a meme

Here's a look back, a year-end meme consisting of the first sentence of the first post from each month in 2007.
February: Nothing like a new blogging tool to make me post again.
April: A lot of my editing job involves creating, proofing, and fiddling with PowerPoint presentations.
May: This week's 10 random tracks with the Shuffle Songs setting switched on
June: Last full-choir Sunday until Michaelmas.
July: I'd have to say that the little book that introduced me to Benedictine values lived "in the world" was Fr. Brian C. Taylor's book Spirituality for Everyday Living: An Adaptation of the Rule of St.Benedict.
August: I've been meeting with a spiritual director for the better part of a year, every six weeks, and have been looking for some new directions or something to get passionate about in terms of ministry, growth in spirituality, and the like.
September: Here's the all-important, historic response of the bishops of The Episcopal Church to the Anglican primates' Dar es Salaam communiqué.
October: Almost a month since my last post; sorry about that.
November: Can I get an Amen to The Postulant's post about the importance of preaching doctrine?
December: Mark provides a very good basic introduction to the concept of the Daily Office, aka Liturgy of the Hours, and gives some good advice for getting started in the Roman Catholic editions.
Well, that could have been interesting, but wasn't so much. Worth the effort, I suppose. Here's to a more-interesting, higher-traffic 2008. Happy and blessed New Year to all.

18 December 2007

Happy happy versus joy joy

Something a dear friend once said has encouraged me many times when I've remembered it. It went something like, "It's not always possible to be happy, but it is always possible to be joyful," and by joyful he meant deeply trusting that God is in charge, has triumphed in Christ, and, in words that I like from a priest, "has already given us everything." Our culture prefers happiness, a fragile and fleeting and immediate thing, and that's why there's so much anxiety about doing everything necessary to have "happy" holidays. What makes me seem like a Scrooge sometimes (maybe, to some people) is that I don't want the happy, I want the joy--especially because the joy is already there, deep within, and we have only to let it well up, and we'll know what the Incarnation means...God is with us. We need not act like Christmas will be a failure if we don't do it right. It's been done right already! To me, one of the main messages of Advent is that it doesn't really end with Christmas, but the bigger and better Advent continues, and it's what we get to live through while knowing well how truly joyful the outcome will be. Great to know it doesn't depend on us.

16 December 2007

My problem with Christmas

Duncan Maclaren puts apt words to how I generally feel about this time of year, now a sprawling "holiday season" full of expectations that just become annoyances, especially when all I want to do is focus on some things that aren't related to all these things we're supposed to do for four months every year.

11 December 2007

Check out my new bookshop

Visit The Bookshop at Glenwood Place. It carries books I like, and if you're a frequent reader of this blog, you might like them as well. It's got four categories of books so far: Daily Office, Monasticism, Gregorian Chant, and Anglicanism. Feel free, of course, to suggest other categories you'd like to see here. I may add music related to these categories as well. Happy shopping!

08 December 2007

Another winner from The Topmost Apple

From one of my favorite blogs:

I think the Church is in an identity crisis, actually; it doesn't really know what it's for anymore. I think that since it is the only institution that specifically concerns itself with the spiritual life of human beings - we can do politics, and have a social life, elsewhere, after all - that it might want to get back to prayer and worship and the mysterium tremendum of God as its main focus.

04 December 2007

Daily Office 101

Seminarian Matthew Mark provides a very good basic introduction to the concept of the Daily Office, aka Liturgy of the Hours, and gives some good advice for getting started in the Roman Catholic editions. I like his personal comments and those of the commenters to the thread as to why one would want to pray in this way.