Monday, November 27, 2006

Nouslife: Posada blog chain for Advent.

Nouslife: Posada blog chain for Advent.

I think this is a wonderful idea! I sat here at my computer practically rubbing my hands with glee, thinking, "Oh, I want to participate in this!"

Do you want to participate, too? I think it would be such a cool thing!

Day Job!

For those who read about my latest job-hunting challenge, here's an update.

I begin a 3-4 month assignment tomorrow that, if successful, could morph into a permanent position after that time. Right now it involves taming a big backlog. I'll be creating and updating electronic patient records for a local nephrology practice, with a little front-desk cross-coverage. The pay rate isn't wonderful, but it's more hours than I had at my previous day job. More than I want, really, but I do need the money. And rarity of rarities, I didn't even have to interview for it; they selected me on the strength of my resume, which my agency recruiter hand-carried and presented last Friday. (You'd be amazed at how there can be a series of interviews even for 1-2 month assignments. Almost no one just accepts the temp an agency sends a them anymore.)

So, if you're so inclined, I'd welcome prayers. (Remember, my last long-term, "permanent" day job was for a hospital system that went bankrupt in 2003. It's all been temp assignments or "permanent" jobs that quickly went bust on me ever since. I personally pray for something stable, soon.)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Measure of a Man

Okay, I'll admit to having forgotten (fortunately) who said the following statement and on what online venue, but I read it and my blood almost boiled:

"Mister Rogers isn't the kind of man I want my son to grow up to be."

I was dumbfounded. Really? What kind of man doesn't want his son to grow up to be godly, educated, compassionate, creative, healthy, and simply good?

Well, first of all, let's remember that Fred Rogers isn't walking about in an earthly body anymore anyway, so Sonny (yes, it was a man who posted that remark), you're speaking ill of the dead, and I'm disappointed your mama and daddy didn't bring you up any better than that. I'm certain it's not because you simply don't know jack about what you're saying and are a selfish so-and-so who has no clue what a real man is all about. *

Secondly, and this is the point I want to make, I'd like to look at just what kind of man Dr. Fred Rogers was, and see if I can figure out how an immature blowhard could possibly conclude the late Dr. Rogers wasn't "man enough" to suit said blowhard:

1. Fred Rogers was ordained a Presbyterian clergyman in 1962. Oh, yeah. All that study and talk about God is WAY too girly. (Should he have remained ignorant and talked hell instead, I wonder?)

2. Fred Rogers took care of himself, swimming every day for exercise, never smoking or drinking, and following a vegetarian diet. I guess we all know that "real men" are expected to grow beer guts and fight over whether it's going to be hamburgers, dogs, or steaks on the grill. Pass the butts, please. Oh, strike the "please." Too sissy. Just grab one and light up, and keep the brews coming, woman.

3. Fred Rogers focused the majority of his career on a ministry to children, through "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." He respected children as genuine human beings. He helped them better understand our world. He spoke to them as equals and gave them the gift of his time. Everybody knows that "real men" hang with other real men and leave all the kid stuff to the women. Everybody knows that "real men" consider only other "real men" their equals.

4. Fred Rogers was a musician. He wrote operas for his television show, he played piano, he sang songs that he wrote himself. In fact, his undergraduate degree was in musical composition. Some of the "real men" might be surprised to know that despite this, he was a happily married man, to one woman, until his death. They had two sons together. Imagine artistic man. Yes, Vern, there is such a thing.

5. Fred Rogers was humble. When presented with awards, his habit was to instruct his audience to take ten seconds, in silence, to think of those people who had helped them become the people they were. In doing this, the infamous, unmanly, traitorous Dr. Rogers made grown men (and women) cry. How dare he? "Real men" focus on self, not on others. They're self-made. They're proud. They wouldn't feminize themselves by thinking of others.

6. Fred Rogers wore sport coats, and even sweaters. Yes, sweaters. Sweaters his mother knitted for him. Mr. Rogers was fussy; he changed from street shoes to house shoes on television, fercryinoutloud. He didn't like violence, and we all know that "real men" are pro-gun and pro-fighting and all that other good manly stuff. But Dr. Rogers had the nerve to file a federal lawsuit against a Texas novelty store chain when they used his photograph, superimposed with a gun and saying "Welcome to my 'hood," on t-shirts. Dr. Rogers demanded that the shirts not only not be sold, but also be destroyed. What a wuss! How feminized can you get? He should have been PROUD of all the free publicity, and he ought to have been out there himself, teaching real boys how to love and respect guns, instead of how to love and respect themselves and other people.

Yes, I'm sorry to say, Mister Rogers was hardly the "manhood" kind of man that so many Christians--yes, it was a Christian man who made the comment!--claim that men need to be, in order to be masculine and Christian. But I simply can't shake the notion that Mister Rogers was a whole lot closer to the kind of man Jesus was, than his critic must be.

Mister Rogers' offical PBS website is here.

For a "Brilliant Careers" profile on Dr. Rogers, follow this link.

* I freely admit that I'm caricaturizing some of the "Christian manhood" movement's beliefs. I really don't know what could have prompted a Christian man to say he doesn't think Mister Rogers was man enough to be a role model for his son. But given the kind of man Dr. Fred Rogers was, I'm sorry that this father is so misinformed about the true nature of Christian manhood. May he mature past this world's lies about masculinity and femininity and come to accept the Christ-conforming humanity to which we're all called.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Faith Worth Singing, Part I: Blessed Be Your Name

The Reverend Mommy commented down below on one of "The Faith We (shouldn't) Sing" entries that it would be good to compile a list of theologically sound songs; I tend to agree with her implication that that that might be a shorter and easier list to come up with!

A song that's growing on me lately (no, not like moss) is "Blessed Be Your Name." You can link to the lyrics here.

First of all, while the song is simple musically, it incorporates a wide enough melodic range and interesting rhythm so that it does not become boring. Its form includes three distinct "sections" that contrast with each other and add to the musical interest.

Secondly, this song quotes or paraphrases Scripture extensively, but with cohesiveness. Matt Redman kept close to his theme of praising God at all times, in all circumstances.

Third (and this is a huge plus with me), the song is solidly second-person, directed at God. It's a song TO God, not ABOUT God. Paradoxically, I think it tells far more truth about who God is, than any third-person P&W song I know of.

The one thing I wish could be changed about this song is for it to be a corporate text, rather than individual. When we gather for worship, at least some of our song should be from US, the gathered Body, rather than all be from ME. Frankly, the dearth of corporate texts means there are weeks when our "contemporary" service has no corporate songs. This is one of the problems with the individualism that plagues evangelical-dom, out of which P&W-dom comes. But when the text is otherwise as good as this one, this shortcoming is not a deal-breaker.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Ill Wind that Nobody Blows Good

Yes, that's's the OBOE! A four-letter word if ever there was one.

I haven't played since I sold the blasted thing to finance a year of undergrad school "back in the day," but I "jammed for Uncle Sam" for a bunch of years playing...

...yep: OBOE. I sometimes still wake up in a cold sweat, having dreamed that my arsenal of ten perfect reeds are all either cracked or won't work because of a change in the weather. (You know that's part nightmare, part fantasy simply because NO ONE ever had ten perfect reeds at the same time; heck, nobody ever had even five at once that were better than so-so. That's God's curse on reed cane, and on oboists for being insane enough to begin oboe in the first place.)

So here's the quiz result:

What is your inner musical instrument?

You're an Oboe. Girl power?
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

And as my final two cents' worth on this bizarre subject, I'll quote a bit of oboe doggerel which I know, despite the androcentric archaic language, to be all too true (apologies to the "poet," but I don't recall who wrote it; it was in a book called "The Woodwind" that I read in high school when I was learning to play):

Veiled, soft, and sad the oboe's tone;
Not veiled or soft the player's groan
On mornings when his reeds he whittles;
He swears at life, he shuns his victuals:
He wishes he had ne'er been born,
Or learned oboe and English horn.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Guest Bloggers: Rosie & Jenny, Thankful Cats

Counting our Blessings
by Rosie & Jenny

We are grateful to the only Being superior to us in all creation, our Creator, God Almighty, for the following:

1. Greenies Cat Cookies. Our slave Psalmist bought us some last night. We have shown her all day today how grateful we are for this superb gift to catkind.

2. The manufacturers of Greenies Cat Cookies, SM NuTec, for making such a great product for the enjoyment of cats.

3. Walgreens, for stocking and displaying the Ocean Fish flavor of Greenies Cat Cookies so that Psalmist would see it when she shopped there yesterday.

4. God, for creating the human species to serve the feline. We are especially grateful for our human, Psalmist, now that she has found and brought us the Greenies.

5. Our home, which Psalmist maintains for us. It is small but has a number of good places up high where we can hang out, even if Psalmist tells us we're not supposed to. Also for such a perfectly shaped bathroom sink in which to lounge. (That really sends Psalmist ballistic!)

6. Greenies. (A cat can't emphasise too much how good these are.)

7. Our food bowl, especially when Psalmist has filled it with our preferred indoor formula kibble. It may not be full enough, often enough, but we do appreciate what we get.

8. Our water bowl, again when Psalmist has filled it. We especially like it when, in the summer, she put purified water in it. Our municipality has dreadful tasting water in the summer.

9. Our toys, both the bought kind and the made kind. Catnip mice, the laser pointer, foil balls, the occasional fly on the wall...all delight a grateful cat's heart and make her play despite her dignity.

10. Each other. We aren't the best of friends and we're only adopted sisters, but with Psalmist gone so much of the time, either of us would be pretty lonely without the other. Who else would fight with us?

In honor of Thanksgiving, we, the feline singing sisters extraordinaire, Rosie & Jenny, offer the following hymn to inspire the humans and to express our grateful love to the Creator of all catkind:

For the beauty of the house, for the glory of the sink,
For the well-loved catnip mouse, for the water that we drink:
Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the kibble in our dish, for the counter where we sleep,
For the treats for which we wish, for the cabinets, dark and deep:
Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the service of our slave, for her petting and her brush,
For her lap (when she behaves), for the evening's sleeping hush:
Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

For thyself, best gift Divine! For humans, to catkind given,
For that great, great love of thine, peace to feline, joy to human:
Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

RGBP Delurkers, Welcome Here!

Happy Thanksgiving Week to all!

Here's the explanation from The Reverend Mommy:

There are so very many things in our lives that we can be thankful for. I personally, am thankful for such a wonderful group people represented by the RevGals and BlogPals and our community here online. At Bits and Odd Pieces of Mindy's Kingdom recently, some of us were noticing that there has been a drop in commenting recently. So, in honor of Mindy, Princess of Everything, we are having a Thanksgiving Delurking week! (Please notice the cow; that's for Mindy).

Place this image on your blog and announce Delurking Week, starting today and going until November 26th. When you visit a blog, you can either just say "Thank you for blogging" or place a blogstone (o) (The invention of PPB of The Ice Floe) or whatever verbage the Spirit moves you to leave.

Let the Delurking begin!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Feast for the Eyes

These are all photos from the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. It's gorgeous there in the fall. Enjoy! Courtesy of Webshots and Google Images


The more I think about this, the more I like it!

Take this quiz at

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Thankful

It's that time of year. In the U.S., college students will be on their way home, traffic on the highways will be at its highest point, cooking and baking will ensue. But before the gorging and napping begins, let's take a moment to give thanks.

Please tell us five things or people for which you are thankful this year.

1. God. That pretty much covers it. God's love, providence, patience, grace...all that God is and all that God lavishes on me and on us all.

2. Community. My congregation and each and every member of "us." It is a joy I have trouble describing to be a part of the body of Christ.

3. Pets. As much as I have fun with their cat blogging, portraying them as egomaniacal superior beings, my Rosie and Jenny are dear companions, dependent solely on me, and they give far better than they sometimes get from me. They are a means of God's love and grace to me.

4. Beauty. I love the beauty of the created world (particularly of my much-missed home state, Oregon--the Portland Japanese Gardens is featured in the opening photo). I love the beauty of music and art, of logic and creativity, of sense and sound. (I might as well post the text of the hymn, "For the Beauty of the Earth.")

5. Friends. I count those I know "in the flesh" and those I've been privileged to meet online. To all of you, your friendship is one of life's sweetest blessings. I am grateful to you.

Bonus. CHOCOLATE! Thanks for the yum, God!

"Lord of all, to Thee we raise this, our hymn of grateful praise."

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Absurd Photo of the Month

Thanks, Quotidian Grace, for posting this! I am still trying to catch my breath from laughing.

Pointless Family Photograph

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Faith We (Shouldn't) Sing, Part 2: Here I Am to Worship

This popular song out of the "Praise and Worship" tradition (and I have issues with that title for the movement, which I may address another time) is simply bad quality on every level, IMNSHO.

Here is a link to the text.

First of all, the music is monotonous and unimaginative. The proverbial I - IV - V (oops, in this case, I - V - IV) harmonic pattern is about as basic as it gets, and I don't mean that in a good way. The melody simply parallels the harmony in an equally boring way. The rhythm is even less inspired.

The text is awful. It falls into the individual-idolatrous trap of so many P&W songs, but does so deliberately. "Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that you're my God..." Who is being worshiped? Who is being bowed down to? It's all about "me" and "here I am." Where is this? The sanctuary of the Lord? And just who are you? WE are here, yes, and WE should be BE bowing down and worshiping! (Not merely saying we're here to do it.)

Then, what's up with "I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross." "Duh-factor," I'd say. No, we cannot in this life know the cost the Savior paid for our sins. But "seeing my sin upon that cross" is not what it's all about. The SAVIOR, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, is WHO was on that cross and is now alive. THAT is WHOM and WHY WE (not just all-important "I") worship.

Honestly, I find very little to commend this particular song. I'm trying. The verses are so-so OK, though verse 1 is still about what God did for "me." Verse 2 is much better, which makes going back to the "me-me-me" chorus that much more grating for me. Another good thing: despite there being only ONE "you" (addressing the Lord) in the chorus and despite all the "I's," it IS in second person. I guess it's all the presumptuous mentions of "I" and "my" in addressing that second person that rub me the wrong way on this one.

If you want a harmonically simple song on a similar theme that does it right, with at least an interesting rhythm and melody and a much better balance (uses "we" rather than "I" and focuses much more on God than "we"), try "We Bow Down" by Twila Paris. Not as new, but much more solid song. Yeah, it's a little too "sing-songy" for my complete liking, but solid text goes a long way with me.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hump Day Humor: "Obituary"

A number of my blog friends have posted their "obituaries" from the Quiz Galaxy, so I thought I'd do it, too.

I always HAVE had a soft place in my heart for Mr. Potatohead; glad it's mutual.


'What will your obituary say?' at

Advent/Christmas Music Meme

Thanks to Sue at Inner Dorothy, here's a meme that lets me be positive about music, after ripping "RUOMOG" to shreds below. My answers are in Advent Blue and (non-liturgical) Christmas Red (given that white doesn't show up well) or Ordinary Green (for those that aren't specifically Advent or Christmas).

1. What are your favourite Advent/Christmas hymns?
I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light; People, Look East;
O Little Town of Bethlehem (much better when sung to FOREST GREEN); Star Child.

2. Which are your least favourite?
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day; There's a Song in the Air.

3. Which secular seasonal songs make you want to run screaming into traffic? Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer; The Christmas Shoes

4. Do you play Christmas music around the house and in the car? What are your favourite holiday CDs?
Of course! I usually have some sort of Baroque music playing, either instrumental (concerti grossi, mostly, by Bach, Corelli, or Telemann) or one of several favorite recordings of Handel's Messiah. I'm also partial to a cappella choral carols.

So - how about you?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Faith We (Shouldn't) Sing, Part I: Rise Up, O Men of God

For those of you United Methodists who think there's something familiar about that title, you're correct. I'm shamelessly ripping off the title of our most recent hymnal supplement. Please don't misunderstand, though; not all--indeed, probably not most--of the songs I post in this series are included in The Faith We Sing.

I realized that for a blog that was supposed to be heavy on the music kind of posts, I haven't been living up to my own expectations. That is what gives rise to this series.

I have some strong opinions on what makes for good, and not-so-good, songs for congregational singing. This series will present examples of what we settle for, but those for which I believe we shouldn't settle.

Rise Up, O Men of God
Text: William P. Merrill, 1867-1954
Generally sung to
Composed by
William H. Walter, 1825-1893

For full text, follow this link.

First of all, this hymn reeks of "this text doesn't apply to me" to the female half of the congregation. Maybe once upon a time it didn't, but an inescapable fact of the English language is that it is changing. Women no longer consider themselves part of "men." And the fact is, especially considering the full context of the hymn text, this hymn never really means to address women. So do we really need to use a hymn that excludes (over) half the congregation?

Secondly, the theology is simply terrible. Follow the link and pay particular attention to verses 2 and 3. "[The Church's] strength unequal to her task/rise up and make her great" simply isn't true. The Holy Spirit's power makes the imperfect Church equal to whatever task God calls us to do. It is not the strength of the male half of the church that will make the church great, it is the strength of the Lord Jesus himself.

Third, this hymn reinforces the church's historical error of thinking that men can more fully conform to the image of Christ than women can. Verse 4 is particularly bad about this. Women obviously cannot be "brothers of the Son of Man." And just as we need to not forget that there are men in the body of Christ, we must not forget that there are women in the body, as well. This hymn doesn't forget it, it ignores it.

"Rise Up, O Men of God" is not fit for either full congregational or for men's group singing. I suppose verse 1 is acceptable for the latter, if groups will stop with verse 1. But there are better hymns that express the need for all of us, including all the men, to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. It's not especially difficult to find and use them instead.

(EDIT: Thank you to the gender hierarchalist critic who made much of the fact that I typed a "u" instead of an "i" in the word "inescapable." What a terrible, horrible, unforgivable gaffe on my part! My typing error was by far the most supportable of your objections to this blog entry. By the way, I'm going to consider it a typo that you missed one of the "l"s in "Merrill" at several points in your rant against my blog entry. Your toss shattered a wall in your glass house, brother William.

I'm glad my actual objections to the rotten theology of this hymn offended you, though; your unbiblical, worldly theories about what constitutes masculinity and femininity may sell books and seminars, but that will never change the fact that they're false and ungodly theories, based on self-serving eisegesis and bad scholarship. By the way, my thoughts are my own; we women can and do think for ourselves, despite your lie about my being a mere parrot for historical secular feminists. I'm still waiting to read even one legitimate, biblical defense for the appallingly bad theology in this hymn. I'm not holding my breath. It's the same old, same old idolization of masculinity that you've been peddling for years. Talk about parroting! You really ought to stop lying through your teeth about me. I do indeed know the Scriptures AND the power of God, neither of which supports the world's practice of patriarchy which your writings show that you idolize and seek to promote. I continue to pray that you forsake your lies and come to accept the truth that we Christian egalitarian women ARE your sisters in Christ, and we are your equals in the faith. That you deny both these inescapable facts, impoverishes your soul and damages your Christian witness. Again, I pray for you to repent. As your sister in Christ, despite your lie that we Christian egalitarian women are not, I'm calling you to start showing to women, some of the respect you so loudly demand for yourself and all men. That would be a good first step toward actually deserving that respect.)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Well, this is about right!

Thanks to St. Casserole for posting her definition, and for Singing Owl for reminding me that this world (and none of the US states therein) is NOT my home.

Psalmist --


An alien

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Purple (red+blue) RevGals Friday Five

Those of us who are in the United States have just been through quite a topsy-turvy election. During the campaign we heard a fair amount about red states and blue states, when in fact most of us live in some shade of purple. And so... a lighter look at those confounding colors:

1. Favorite red food: Raspberries (yum!) - Even better if combined with chocolate.

2. Tell us about the bluest body of water you've ever seen in person. Crater Lake. Indescribably gorgeous. If you ever visit Oregon (or better yet, live there), you MUST visit this spectacle in the state's only National Park.

3. It's movie rental time: Blue Planet, The Color Purple, or Crimson Tide? The Color Purple. But had "The Hunt for Red October" been a choice, I might have voted for that (both Clancey & Connery fan here). Nuh-uh on "Blue Hawaii," though. My King outranks Elvis, and is definitely alive! ;)

4. What has you seeing red these days? Politicians. Especially the newly-re-elected Texas Lieutenant Governor, whose loudest contribution to the electoral process here in Texas was to declare that repeat sex offenders should get the death penalty. What he played on and failed to speak the truth about, is the fact that the vast majority of sex offenders--who already have to register as offenders for life--did not commit violent crimes. Most were guilty of indecent exposure (most when intoxicated) or consensual sex with underage partners when they themselves were very young (such as an 18-year-old high school senior with a 15- or 16-year-old girlfriend). I don't mean that these aren't reprehensible actions. But even a second offense, even in a pro-death penalty state, cannot possibly be a capital offense. Statistically, what few people know is that approximately only six percent of sex offenders re-offend, and that's untreated offenders. With treatment, it's about three percent. Anyway, Dewhurst simply tapped into the fears and misconceptions people have about sex offenders in order to boost their opinion of him. It fries me that this is the kind of person who stands to inherit the governorship if our equally distinguished governor cannot complete his term. And as for him, I see red at his stunt of election-season "crackdowns" on the Texas-Mexico border. He ought to have been doing things that were actually effective, throughout his term. He outright lied about the state of education and teacher compensation. And because Texas is a legendary "red state," people swallowed it all and re-elected him. Aaargh!

5. What or who picks you up when you're feeling blue? The children in our church's choirs. From 3 to 15 (the one youth boy who rings handbells), they always say or do or pray something that makes my heart glad. But the adults often do, too. (See the All Saints post.)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Follow-up: All Saints' Sunday

OK, enough about the job-losing and job-hunting woes. Sunday was glorious! We celebrated the day as All Saints' Sunday. Our pianist had a line-up of jazz-inspired service music. The choir presented a Mark Hayes arrangement of "Blessed Assurance" which was about as soulful as our anglo church will ever sound. We remembered the saints who have died. We heard the Word proclaimed about what the blood of Jesus means to us, then we celebrated the Lord's Supper. It was, to my way of thinking, just the right mix of solemnity and exuberant celebration.

One of my least favorite things--applause--erupted after the anthem. But somehow, it was OK this time. It was absolutely spontaneous. The choir members were totally absorbed in singing this beloved expression of faith for God's glory. We were well-rehearsed and able to sing with abandon. We were sharing with the congregation and our God what we all hold to be true: we belong to the Lord, in whose blood we're washed and in whom is our eternal hope. So it seemed to me that applause for that particular anthem was a way the full congregation could participate in the choir's representative celebration of faith.

That may not make a lot of sense to those who've never sung in choirs. I had to think about why applause seemed so appropriate this past Sunday when it so often does not. But I would challenge any congregation to remain silent when an anthem that expresses their faith well and which is of a celebratory style, is sung well. A hearty "Amen!" is good, too, and probably more appropriate than applause (actually, we got both). But I suppose I'd rather be irritated by even inappropriate applause from enthused, engaged worshipers than by their indifferent silence.

Anyway, it was a wonderful to experience the "communion of the saints" so powerfully. I do feel somewhat sorry for churches which don't observe All Saints. It's one of the times in the Christian Year when I always give thanks to God for the gift of the liturgical calendar. It keeps us balanced in its panoramic focus throughout the year. I read once that the liturgy "entertains" us easily-distracted humans. There's a lot of truth to that! We cannot possibly comprehend all that God is, but with the help of the Christian year, we can systematically focus on many of the various aspects of God's nature and self-revelation.

Praise you, O Eternal One, for all your saints and for the Savior who calls us by his own precious name!

Hunting Again

Yep, I'm hunting once again: for a day job, that is. I'd been close to resigning and even offered to do so, at the height of the depression trouble. I've been half-killing myself to get things caught up again and was making significant progress. Apparently, however, it was not enough. Despite the days on end with few private clients, my boss insisted on making the correlation that they've lost money since I was hired. Never mind that they went with no insurance filings for nearly two months BEFORE I was hired. Never mind that the therapist did zilch to drum up general practice clients (as opposed to the court-ordered clients with whom he holds group sessions). Never mind that he has near-zero grasp of how his own business works. (He's a great therapist, but that's where his understanding ends.) Just as things have turned around, he fires me. C'est la vie. In most ways, I'm relieved. But it still bites. Their loss, though. It was too few hours for me in the first place, so I stand to make more money even temping. The sheer number of hours on top of the church position is what has me exhausted just thinking about it.

The good thing is that three different agencies have strong assignment possibilities for me, though I turned down one because of a ridiculously low hourly rate and a relatively long period of time at that rate. There's supposed to be a good desktop publishing assignment in the works that I'll hear more about tomorrow.

Friday, November 03, 2006

For All Souls

With yesterday being All Saints' Day, I've thought a lot of a Schubert lied I studied years ago, which still moves me deeply: Litanei [auf das Fest Aller Seelen]. My brother died in a tragic accident the semester I was preparing this song, which I'm sure is a major part of why it spoke so deeply to me at the time.

While not strictly speaking a sacred song, the author Jacobi tapped deeply into the spiritual realm with this text. Schubert wrote one of his most sublimely simple melodies and a hauntingly beautiful accompaniment for it. I consider this one of Schubert's most undeservedly neglected lieder. It is an exhausting song to sing, however, with its long phrases which require absolute control on the part of the singer and restraint by the accompanist. In no sense of the word is it a "fun" song to learn or to perform. However, singing this remarkable lied was, despite its technical demands, always a prayerful experience. I commend the Litanei to you.

Litanei auf das Fest aller Seelen
(Litany for the Feast of All Souls)
Author: Johann Georg Jacobi (1740-1814)
Composer: Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828), D. 343 (1816), published 1831

For an English translation and additional information, see

Among artists who have recorded this lied, I recommend Elisabeth Schwartzkopf (vintage, native language) and Heidi Grant-Murphy (current, American).

(Verses set by Schubert are bold.)

Ruh'n in Frieden alle Seelen,
Die vollbracht ein banges Quälen,
Die vollendet süßen Traum,
Lebensatt, geboren kaum,
Aus der Welt hinüberschieden:
Alle Seelen ruhn in Frieden!

Die sich hier Gespielen suchten,
öfter weinten, nimmer fluchten,
wenn vor ihrer treuen Hand
keiner jeden Druck verstand:
Alle die von hinnen schieden,
Alle Seelen ruhn in Frieden!

Liebevoller Mädchen Seelen,
Deren Tränen nicht zu zählen,
Die ein falscher Freund verließ,
Und die blinde Welt verstieß
Alle die von hinnen schieden,

Alle Seelen ruhn in Frieden!

Und der Jüngling, dem, verborgen,
Seine Braut am frühen Morgen,
Weil ihn Lieb' ins Grab gelegt,
Aus sein Grab die Kerze trägt:
Alle die von hinnen schieden,
Alle Seelen ruhn in Frieden!

Alle Geister, die, voll Klarheit,
Wurden Märtyrer der Wahrheit,
Kämpften für das Heiligtum,
Suchten nicht der Marter Ruhm:
Alle die von hinnen schieden,
Alle Seelen ruhn in Frieden!

Und die nie der Sonne lachten,
Unterm Mond auf Domen wachten,
Gott, in reinen Himmelslicht,
Einst zu sehn von Angesicht:
Alle die von hinnen schieden,
Alle Seelen ruhn in Frieden!

Und die gern im Rosengarten
Bei dem Freudenbecher harrten,
Aber dann, zur bösen Zeit,
Schmeckten seine Bitterkeit:
Alle die von hinnen schieden,
Alle Seelen ruhn in Frieden!

Auch die keinen Frieden kannten,
Aber Mut und Stärke sandten
Über leichenvolles Feld
In die halbentschlaf'ne Welt:
Alle die von hinnen schieden,
Alle Seelen ruhn in Frieden!

Ruh'n in Frieden alle Seelen,
Die vollbracht ein banges Quälen,
Die vollendet süßen Traum,
Lebensatt, geboren kaum,
Aus der Welt hinüberschieden:
Alle Seelen ruhn in Frieden!