of sin and death – Pastoral Backstory – April 6th, 2017
Apr06

of sin and death – Pastoral Backstory – April 6th, 2017

April 6th, 2017 It was bound to happen. Koda, as many of you may know, is the most recent addition to our family: a jet black Labrador commissioned to service as a diabetes alert dog for our oldest son. She’s been specially trained to detect just by scent abrupt rises or falls in Seamus’s blood glucose levels. Those amazing powers of smell have now been finely tuned to do more than just search out food at a distance. To...

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Laughing at life, or at death–a pre-Lenten Pastoral Backstory – February 23rd, 2017
Feb23

Laughing at life, or at death–a pre-Lenten Pastoral Backstory – February 23rd, 2017

February 23rd, 2017 There’s an old joke: Two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of them says, ‘Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.’ The other one says, ‘Yeah, I know, and such small portions.’ Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life — full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly. Woody Allen   It’s the assumption of many,...

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the glorious spectacle of weakness – Pastoral Backstory – January 5th, 2017
Jan05

the glorious spectacle of weakness – Pastoral Backstory – January 5th, 2017

January 5th, 2017   Last month something beautiful happened. Beautifully unexpected. Beautifully uncommon. Even if the one who occasioned the moment might just as soon have not been party to it. Last September, folk-singer, poet, troubadour Patti Smith was invited to sing at the 2016 awards ceremony for those receiving the Nobel Prize. She’d been tapped to serenade the audience as an homage to the then undisclosed...

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Ponder anew – Pastoral Backstory – December 22nd, 2016
Dec22

Ponder anew – Pastoral Backstory – December 22nd, 2016

December 22nd, 2016   In a season that erupts with clamor, we need a little quiet. Where it trades in the trivial– a turn toward the substantial. In this the last Backstory of the year, no stories to tell, arguments to be made, or cultural phenomena to comment on. Just images, and melodies, and verses to ponder. First, two choral pieces, both here reprised from previous Christmas posts. Lauridsen’s Mysterium (the...

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