Monday, June 19, 2017

My Father, the Vegetable Farmer

My Father, the Vegetable Farmer

            Come April my dad was out in the back yard turning over his vegetable plot, a perfect rectangle positioned between the patio and the garage. The hose to the well he had drilled was conveniently hanging just outside the garage, and he was religious about proper watering.  His lawn chairs were positioned just inside the open garage door where he sat to rest, to smoke, to savor a bit of Four Roses, and to “receive.” Once that garage door went up in the early morning, everyone in the neighborhood knew that Doc “was receiving.”
            Geezers, young fellows, and little children came and went all day long. They got cokes and watermelon and cheese if they liked but mainly talk. I believe they came for the talk. Once Dad was rested enough to get back to his garden, often his visitors did not leave. They did not even get up from their lawn chairs. They watched Doc till or weed or water. The little kids, of course, wanted to help, to dig with the shovel or set the seedlings in. The men wanted to advise or compliment as appropriate.
Sometimes Dad and another fellow would disappear for an hour or so and come back with fertilizer. When the circus was in town, they would go and ask for elephant manure and bring home buckets-full. Dad would find someone in the family, usually me it seemed, and thrust the bucket in my face. “Smell that. We’ll have some good tomatoes this year.” He loved to watch me cringe and turn my head. What would he do now that Ringling Brother got rid of their elephants and then even had to close down.
            Dad loved dirt and talked about his dirt all season long. He was so proud of the soil he gave to his vegetables to grow in. It was black and loamy and luscious. All summer long it fed his tomatoes and peppers, summer squash and zucchini, cucumbers and occasional radishes. And all summer long they fed us.
What he did not grow, he bought from the farmers’ market. Our farmers’ market back then was not the sophisticated affair that many farmers’ markets are today. A permanent semi-circle of shelters, a roof and a table, gave the sellers some shade through their hot day. All of the sellers were very small farmers, some even backyard farmers, who came to town each Saturday.
            Dad was a frequent enough customer that folks knew him, and he knew which growers had the best value for the price in his opinion. They did not know each other’s names, but they spoke with the familiarity of people who get together once a week. At the farmer’s market, Dad wanted corn, kale, collards, or mustard greens, and watermelon or peaches.
            Summer was tomato sandwiches on lightly toasted white bread with salt, pepper and mayonnaise for lunch, cucumbers every night for supper, summer squash fried down with heaps of onions and lots of black pepper every Sunday dinner along with some of those greens from the market and maybe a peach cobbler for dessert. We enjoyed zucchini bread when Mama felt like baking, which was often. And there was watermelon in the backyard, cold from the refrigerator Dad kept in the garage for entertaining when he was receiving.
            We did eat protein. But in the summer meat seemed merely a compliment to the vegetables, except for pork. Dad would drive into North Carolina with a friend for pork that the farmer made available from the poor pig on that very day. And Dad fished for spot and croaker or bought them from the men who brought their boats in at Harrison’s Pier. Summer pork and fish out of the bay have almost nothing in common with a pot roast in winter. They are more like ripe tomatoes fresh off the vine.
            Mama took care of the flowers and of food in the winter. But food in the summer was my Dad’s. It was not his responsibility but his great enthusiasm. When spring arrived, he donned his warm-weather uniform, a horizontal striped tank top, plaid Bermuda shorts, and bare feet. He died on April 23, 1991. It was sudden and merciful. His heart played out as he tried to rise from his bed, and he was gone. He had already turned over his vegetable garden. I flew down to Norfolk that morning when I got the call, cried with and tried to console my mother, took care of some of the funeral business, what Emily Dickenson calls “the solemnest of industries enacted upon earth,” and then went out back for a quiet moment alone. There in the soft dirt of Dad’s vegetable garden, in his beloved dirt, were his footprints, probably from the day before. Mama set in the plants he had bought and bravely harvested his vegetables that year.

Jenny Sullivan
Father's Day 2017

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Beachhead Established in Europe by Orthodox Anglicans


Author: Woody Norman

EDINBURGH, Scotland, U.K., June, 2017 – Within sight of the mouth of the Firth of Forth, an archbishop of the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) introduced the conference's to-be-consecrated missionary bishop to Europe.

The Most Reverend Doctor Foley Beach, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) made the announcement on June 8, 2017 following a vote by the Scottish Episcopal Church changing its canons allowing for same-sex “marriage.”

Canon Andy Lines will be Gafcon’s missionary bishop to Europe. The office - a new "North See" - provides Scottish Episcopalians who faithfully uphold traditional and biblical marriage episcopal oversight.  

Just days earlier the globe-trotting archbishop attended the convocation of the FreeChurch of England (FCE), an ecclesial body associated neither with the Church of England nor with the Anglican Communion. Beach's close proximity to Scotland at that time was not coincidental.

The young North American archbishop has been, since his election by fellow ACNA bishops, working diligently to shore-up orthodoxy around the world and not just within Anglicanism.

Foley Beach has developed a relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church, especially a good relationship with the Metropolitan Hilarion of the Department of External Church Relations. Beach has also entered into talks with American ecclesiastical organizations such as the LutheranChurch-Missouri Synod. ACNA is in communion with the North American LutheranChurch (NALC).

Since its founding in 2008 by Gafcon, the Anglican Church in North America has been planting churches across the United States and Canada. Indeed, there are many “store-front” churches within ACNA. One can argue that ACNA exercises The Benedict Option.

What might have gone unnoticed in the announcement by Archbishop Beach of bishop-elect Andy Lines is that Lines’s canonical residence has already been moved from a diocese in a South American Anglican province to ACNA’s Anglican Diocese of the South, Foley Beach’s diocese.

To be sure Archbishop Foley Beach does not act independently of his Gafcon brother Primates, however, he appears to have been charged by them with pulling together any and all remnants of orthodox Christianity throughout the world. Beach is a person with strong, biblical convictions and has continually demonstrated his highly developed organizational skill as "captain of the ship."

Placing Canon Lines within Beach’s own Anglican Diocese of the South promises, to a degree, an implementation of orthodox Anglicanism - under Beach's oversight - throughout a dying Europe.

Canon Andy Lines will be consecrated a bishop on June 30, 2017 at the ACNA’s triennial assembly at Wheaton College in Illinois.

Worth Earlwood "Woody" Norman, Jr. is a biographer , historian, poet, and publisher. A community chaplain, Norman is a deacon in ACNA's Special Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy and is an assisting clergy at the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd in Pelham, Alabama.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017



Forty years my acquisition
Of books have numbered
In the hundreds. A new condition
Now tasks me; I’m encumbered.

All or some?
Which shall I pack?
This or that one?
It’s a huge stack!

It’s not the amount
Of books to flee
Into boxes that’s tantamount.
It’s their departure from me.

But, no. The change in my reality
Is actually my own departure, my leaving.
Not to depart is my plea.
Packing, the gateway, began my grieving.

I must now stop
And catch my breath.
On the holy hill atop
I should not fear death.

Endings, for sure,
Come closer every hour.
Many deaths I endure
Like the life cycle of a flower.

Where went time,
The gift coupled with space?
They, our temporal clime,
I live within that divine grace.

Time and space,
Life lifted from that place,

Dare I say
“Woe is me.”
No pity in play.
Grace is free.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Two Prescient Books by French Writers

Considering both immigration and toleration by the secular left, these two books have much to behold for unchecked challenges to Western civilization.

The Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail projects what types of immigration are possible, including unexpected and rapid confrontation by the unprepared and unsuspecting.

The book Submission by Michel Houellebecq, is a more recent publication. This novel expresses the transformation of a nation (in this case, France) by ideological/political Islam.



The secular has no clue.
Nominal Christians are nice.
Both see what Submission will do,
But are scared to fight.

Read the Prophet’s book
Just once,
And you will forever not look
And talk like a dunce.

It’s not a fight
With Submission’s so-called “Radical.”
That “Radical” is actually its pure light,
The Prophet’s binding manacle.

The real radicals of the “pure light”
Are misnamed as moderates.
If they speak up they might
Have their heads removed in their habitats.

Vast numbers of followers
Of the Prophet are not fanatics,
Neither total swallowers
Of sura dogmatics.

However, those followers are weak
And frightened by their throat-slicing minority.
Hideouts are what they seek,
They have ceded their authority.

The West then must assume this fight
And call a spade a spade.
It must recover its true grounding,
Or submit to the blade.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Coming to Terms

Coming to Terms

What’s so radical
About misuse of a term?
Words classical,
Once healthy, now deadly germ.

Radical Islam is a misnomer.
Its practice, Koran pure.
So-called moderates, the sarcoma,
The real radical offers no cure.

Radical is not
Pure Islam.
Its principles, its thought,
No peace, no balm.

Pure Islam is
Commitment, conviction.
On infidels quiz
Belief, impose affliction.


The secular west
Did its best
To rid its root
Of Christian fruit.

First in Europe
Began to stir up
Old convictions
Creating frictions.

No need for tradition
With the Enlightenment mission
Of thinking the rational,
Being one, killing the national.

Fluid thinking,
No principles linking
To past truths.
 The secular requires no proof.


Pure Islam and the secular
In strange alliance
Make spectacular
A frightful compliance.

The secular so blind
With no principles at all
Must resign
With submission, withal.


"Radical," you see
Really are the "Moderate."
The rational and secular plea
Have succumbed to the pure threat.

Is it too late
To come to terms?
How long will the secular wait
Before western culture burns?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Common Curia

Common Curia

It was the last day
In February
Of the year 2013
Which gave us worry.

Why depart
From Office before death?
It was not physical loss
But political breath.

In the 2005 election
Joseph always led.
Jorge always second.
Ballot 4 made Joseph head.

The Curia incensed,
Plotted to change course.
Aided by red hats
Moved with no remorse.

The losers finally won
When Joseph stepped down
Unable to calm insurrection,
Relinguished the papal crown.

The Iago-like process
Took 8 years to complete.
An un-godly subterfuge
The legitimate one they unseat.


It was the
Eighth day in November
Of the Year 2016,
An election to remember.

The legitimate process
Rendered no win popular vote.
It was a college
The Constitution wrote.

Similar to the Roman,
The D.C. Curia incensed
At the unfit candidate
Plotted against.

The agitation seemed organized,
At least that was the rumor.
Certainly the attacks were politicized,
Perhaps by Senator Schumer.

But no!
Chuck’s activity too obvious.
The real source
Is silent and devious.

Who then rakes Executive-45?
Perhaps someone next door.
Someone who never left town.
Yes! Iago-44.


It has been said
Common to Benedict
And Executive-45,
The same to undercut and interdict.

The one who wants to
Close the world’s door
To true liberalism and freedom,
Is the same Iago-44.

Friday, May 19, 2017

If it smells like a rose …

If it smells like a rose …

It probably is
If it smells so.
Probably not
When you so know.

How so
With an institution?
Something as basic
As the American Constitution.

When a certain Article
Legitimates the manner
Of election,
Only one wins the banner.

An Amendment, First,
Announced freedoms
Institutionally allocated,
Created necessary legislative tediums.

When dissatisfied with
The banner bearer,
And institutional respect
Identifies no error,

Unhappy, some press
For executive removal and
Joined by legislative losers left,
Wax reproval.

Those left out
Only left now with fire,
We teeter on chaos.

With ne’er a scintilla
Of deep inspection,
A thousand baseless fits
Form insurrection.

What then smells
Like a rose?
The Constitution
We chose!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Too Many Notes

Too Many Notes

Remember the line
By the emperor
In Amadeus? A whine
From an uneducated lecturer.

The king had no credentials
In the specialty of music.
His knowing only tangential
 He misused it.

“Too Many Notes,”
How did he know?
As emperor he outvotes
Those in positions below.

So, let’s take Bill Nye,
The all-knowing
Science guy,
Whose umbrage is showing.

This mere mortal
Who calculates the future for us all
Believes himself the portal
Of understanding, to him only befall.

It is not umbrage necessarily
That certifies his arrogance,
It is hatred of God, primarily
HIS ongoing creation. Nye is incensed.

“I can be God,
Science backs me up.
My purview is broad
With an overflowing of my cup.”

“The Church is destroyed.
It was science and I
Our method now enjoyed.
‘Lo, the hour of freedom nigh.’”

No, not so fast
You feeble one!
Your method cannot last,
Your work is actually finished, done.

Too many people on earth?
You’ve made a calculated threat
To God Who gives birth.
Your life, too, owed, debt.

Nye, you have no compassion,
Abortion is just another right.
Euthanasia is a process to cash in
Body parts of the dead,  a fury ignite.

You, of all scientists,
Should know science’s premise.
The Church gave you Enlightenment
Now time for your penance.

You cannot create the world,
You can only kill it.
Is that what your science will unfurl?
Can you undo what God writ?

Think it over.
You have a brain.
Give up your hostile takeover
And let the earth remain.

Ode to My Nose


Perfectly positioned
On the front of my face,
Protrude two nostrils missioned
To cover a certain space.

Mine, appropriately shaped.
I don’t know about the rest.
Some exquisitely draped
In the form Romanesque.

Regardless, all of them drip
From time to time
Falling toward the lip
With an opaque slime.

Though in a dripping situation
That slime do I seethe,
I am grateful for my station
As a person who breathes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017



Have you taken time to consider the source of life,
The unfathomable mystery of our being?
The richness of our breathing rife
With gracious gifts for our finite seeing.

Consider the children of our affection
Helpless but unwittingly trusting in our arms,
To nurture and provide protection
From the world’s devious charms.

What can a God-less society provide
As basis for the moral life?
Its secularist pendulum sways to one side,
But its return cuts as a knife.

The secular is never permanent
It changes with the winds
Bringing to our detriment
No stable community, our chagrin.

So how do we protect His little ones,
The Holy Vulnerables He loves so dearly?
For the good of our daughters and sons
Our tasks can be stated clearly.

'Roe v. Wade' is a prison,
Its legal cuffs allow no room
For the pre-born children of the One Risen,
He Who walked away from the tomb.

Now is the time
To turn the legal table.
A time now ripe and prime,
A sinful law to disable.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mary At The Cross

Mary At The Cross

At the Cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing
Now at length the sword has passed.

Oh, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep
‘Whelmed in miseries so deep
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother’s pain untold?

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender Child,
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of His own nation
Saw Him hang in desolation
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O sweet mother, fount of love,
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my heart with yours accord.

Make me feel as you have felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.

Holy Mother, pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.

Let me share with you His pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Mix’d with yours let my tears be,
Mourning Him Who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the Cross with you to stay,
There with you to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of you to give.

Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share that grief of yours.

Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of yours.

Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it has swooned
In His very Blood away.

Be to me, I Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In this awful judgment day.

Christ, when You shall call me hence,
Be Your Mother my defense,
Be Your Cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul Your goodness praise,
Safe in heaven eternally.

Source: Rev. Hugo H. Hoever, S.O.Cist., Ph.D., ed. Saint Joseph Daily Missal. (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1961, New Edition), 252-253.

This sequence hymn was established for Friday in Passion Week. It is included in one of the seven sorrows (dolors) of The Blessed Virgin Mary.

A sequence (Latin: sequentia) is a chant or hymn sung or recited during the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations, before the proclamation of the Gospel. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Per Omnia Secula Seculorum

Per Omnia Secula Seculorum

 After seventeen hundred years
Western man, enlightened,
Challenged ecclesial peers
With reason, new life to heighten.

Birthed in the tradition
Of The Way,
This rational ambition
Aimed to keep the Church at bay.

No longer any authority revealed,
No transcendent absolute.
A new rationale to wield
Fluid thought making the Word moot.

Indisputable benefit from
This thought-provoked alliance
New depths to plumb
Discovery of modern science.

Though great its gift
To humankind abound,
It began its drift
From absolute ground.

Progressive thought
Lives in the abstract,
Its moorings fraught
With no absolute truths to transact.

Enlightened people crown
Themselves with scientific certainty
Using governments and law to drown
Out any opposing views fervently.

They decide to call
Themselves secular,
To distance from all
The religiously spectacular.

The secular don’t want to hear
Of any tradition in the public square.
Rhetoric is what they fear
From traditionalist who dare.

Diversity is the thought of the day,
A tolerance for almost any.
But listen closely to what they say,
Because they tolerate not the many.

If Hindu, Muslim, or Sikh,
Or Yellow, Brown, or Black,
The secular consider them weak
Because of the Christian historical track.

The secular controls the square
Admitting only what it allows.
While denying who gave it air
To the ungodly it bows.

But there is no secular,
So to this thought make a moratorium.
God’s universe is bound molecular,
Per omnia secula seculorum.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Musing Reason

My Musing Reason

At seventy-three I find
My thoughts and writings emerge
From my mind
With hardly a surge.

Then there are times
When an unknown Source
Creates lyrics of rhyme
Like water flowing its course.

That Spirit might hover
For hours, days, or weeks at a time.
Any writer covets this Lover
With powers so sublime.

In the low country of the tall palmetto
With that Source an artist wrote
A prose, a fluid libretto
Painting life from within an encircling moat.

But at the yellowing of his physical frame,
Came a visit from his Guide.
At first acknowledging his prosaic flame
 He then said, “Come home to Me, abide.”

There is a time for everything under heaven,
For everything there is a reason.
His artistic life was literary leaven,
Never a losing season.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Jesus and the Woman at the Well

Jesus and the Woman at the Well
John 4:5-26, (29-38), 39-42
 March 19, 2017

Today is the Third Sunday in Lent and for those of us in the Anglican tradition we are in Year A of the three-year liturgical cycle in the Lectionary.

This is the Sunday when we read about what many call “The Woman at the Well.” I prefer “Jesus and the Woman at the Well.” It is a very interesting story, a story that can be taught or preached from many points of view. Indeed, today I preached from an historical perspective, and in another church this morning my youngest son preached from a person-to-person perspective. 

Preachers use many resources in preparation for a homily of ten to fifteen minutes or sermons from twenty to forty minutes. Yes, even in some Anglican parishes we have clergy who preach for forty, even fifty minutes. But with a story like “Jesus and the Woman and the Well” it simply must be preached regardless of sermon length. The story is about an encounter. 

Today I preached for 21 minutes, my son for nine. Hear the Nine Minute Sermon, an eloquent presentation.

Both sermons provide a touch of biblical history, something necessary to place the gospel reading into perspective. The longer sermon’s perspective was one of "God seeking us." The shorter homily’s perspective examined personal prejudices that we all hold, prejudices similar to those held by the Woman at the Well and even Jesus’ own disciples.

We read of Creation in Genesis 1 and in John 1. And God made man(kind) in His image. So from the beginning of time God is seeking humankind, seeking us to live in Him and to follow Him. Later God created the Israelites and brought them out of slavery so that they would be His earthly vessel carrying and proclaiming His Word to the rest of the world. The Israelites were “chosen” for this purpose. But over the centuries this broke and Israel split into two kingdoms. By the time of Jesus the "northern" kingdom consisted mostly of Samaritans. The "southern" kingdom was Judah. They were distant cousins who deeply disliked each other.

“Give me drink,” Jesus said to the Samaritan woman. Shock. Given the vitriolic history between the Jews and the Samaritans, why would the Jew Jesus even talk to her. More shocking, Jesus was talking to a woman. The disciples upon their return to Jesus with food after leaving him alone at the well wondered why he was talking to a woman, but they would not ask. They remained silent on the obvious breach.

The Samaritan woman came to draw water at the noon hour. That was an unusual time of day to draw water. It was hot at noon. After all, they were in the desert. She was alone, too. Drawing water was usually a community affair in the cooler mornings or evenings. Community women would come as a group. Several different conclusions could be drawn from these circumstances.

One interpretation concludes that the woman was a public sinner. How so? Jesus was offering her "living water" and she became interested. Jesus then invited her to bring her husband. She told Jesus that she had no husband. Jesus then told the woman that she was right because she has had five husbands and the man she lives with now was not her husband. That insight of Jesus was enough for the woman to take pause and notice of who Jesus might be. He knew too much about her. Now the dialogue was beginning to get sensitive or touchy. That is one interpretation.

Another interpretation of this Bible passage examines what is not known or what the passage actually does not report. The nine-minute sermon mentioned above poses questions about other possible reasons for the woman’s multiple marriages. Was she widowed (even more than one time); did her husband(s) leave her; was she deliberately made destitute? This homily focuses on the person, a perspective which drives home a question about making assumptions about the woman or any other person’s situation in life.

How do we treat one another? Are our actions or attitudes about other people based on faulty information? Are our actions toward others based upon assumptions or about what we might have overheard? 

Jesus, in this reading, does not dwell on the Samaritan woman’s circumstances. Jesus is SEEKING her. Her life can be transformed regardless of circumstances. His is the eternal “living water” and not the finite water in the well. 

Though the language in this passage seems cryptic, it expresses the eternal love of God through His Son Jesus to the Samaritan Woman and to us. The Samaritan woman and we must respond to Jesus' calling appropriately by surrendering our old lives and taking on the new. We drink forever the "living water" of the New Reality.

The timing of the story about Jesus and the Woman at the Well occurs only days prior to the cosmic redefinition of reality. In other words, Jesus’ death on Good Friday and His resurrection on Easter Sunday fundamentally changed reality - the core of the Gospel. Jesus became the fulfillment of Israel – Jesus indeed became/was/is Israel. At the encounter by the Well this was not yet known. But a glimpse of the new reality emerged.

God the Holy Trinity is THE seeker of human hearts. Nothing short of a transformation of each individual human heart will bring us to Him when He seeks us. Our transformation is a turning around – a metanoia – of our lives into living within the heart and light of God.