Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ax me I'm Cat'lic

I had an idea for Easter. You know how folks will come to Midnight Mass and Easter Sunday Masses, but that will be it for the year. They might be inactive Catholics; or not Catholic at all, but they just wanna come and see.

On the Saturday before Holy Week, there's a four-church walking tour here in Greenville, SC. People start at the Episcopal church, then visit the Presbyterian and Methodist churches, and finish up at my parish, St. Mary's. Each church puts on a 30-minute lecture, mostly about its history, the stained glass, the organ, and then there's some time for Q&A before moving on.

I thought this might be a great evangelization opportunity, so the parish Adult Ed czar and I split the time: he covered a bit of parish history, explained the Mary stories depicted in the stained glass, and the history and function of the Stations of the Cross. Then I covered the liturgical function of the church, starting with the Meeting Tent in the desert; running through the Temple and synagogues of Jesus' day; and ending with the church we were sitting in, and how it connected to Heaven per Hebrews and Revelation. So after it was over we had plenty of good questions, some I hadn't anticipated. Once that was done, I wound up discussing more Catholic stuff with a few visitors, including a former Catholic. He was now "spiritual but not religious," and was telling me how Jesus was really conceived out of wedlock by a Roman soldier. I gave him and a few of the lingerers my card, said hey email me and we can have lunch if you want to. I was satisfied that the liturgical pitch went over well.

So I was thinking wow, some of these visitors were way plugged in- and that likewise, many "Creaster" (Christmas and Easter) visitors might respond to some non-threatening evangelization, too. I got permission to be a one-man evangelizer at the 9am and 11am Easter Masses. I made a lapel-sized sign that read "Ask Me Anything After Mass," and did door-greeting which I would have done anyway, I think it's gracious. My intent was to make it easy for non-Catholic visitors to get answers to any questions they might have, make a personal contact with them.

Turned out be a total dud!

First, I knew most of the people, by face if not by name. Second, as far as I could tell, everybody was Catholic. No Midnight Mass seeker-types. And the only questions I got were harmless ones about the parish, where are the bathrooms, etc. asked by out-of-town Catholics. Oh well.

But it was a good experience. Acting on an idea on short notice was energizing. And I learned some stuff I didn't expect to.

I intend to do a modified version at Christmas, and (maybe) get at least 2 more people to cover the other two entrances to the church. It's a long time 'til Christmas so there's no rush. Like the Church herself, it pays to take the long view- but not a view so long that nothing happens.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Y'all get fired up about my free lecture series this summer! The world is invited! Come and See!

Saturday, March 14, 2015


This post links to RAnn's Sunday Snippets.

like that but closer

Let's talk about cars. More specifically, their engines. Even more specifically, their connecting rods. The connecting rods transfer the up-and-down energy of the pistons into rotating energy at the crankshaft, which then makes the wheels turn and all that (like so). Of course the rods are under terrific stress, and if one fails it usually ruins the engine.
Until recently, a typical connecting rod was made of four pieces seen at the lower left, with the pins resisting the side-to-side stress between the rod and cap. Nowadays, many connecting rods are made per the example at lower right: each one is forged as a single piece. Then the cap is carefully cracked off, and reattached around the crankshaft for a virtually perfect fit without needing any pins. The cracked cap and the rod it is taken from are so uniquely mated that no other cap will fit that rod; and when put together, the crack is practically invisible.

Which reminds me of this: "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; 22 and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh."

Uniquely mated.

Friday, March 13, 2015

(x)y = ελληνική λέξη

This week it occurred to me that if the second letter in an English word is y, it's probably from Greek. Let's try it out:

Ay...no Greek words. Not an auspicious start, is it?
Byssinosis, (A)byss.
Cytoplasm, Cyst, Cynosure, Cynic, Cycle, Cyanide, Cypress.
Dynamo, Dysentery, Dyspepsia.
Ey...no Greek words.
F in Greek is phi Φ, which we'd write as ph, thus: Phylum, Physics, Phytoplankton.
G/J: Gyroscope, Gynecology.
Hymen, Hydrogen, Hysteria.
I...no English words beginning with "Iy"
K/Q: Kythera (Zither)
Lyre, Lycanthrope
Mystery, Myriad, Myrtle, Myrrh, Mycelium
Nymph; but not Nylon.
Pyromania, Pylon, Pyramid.
Rhyme, Rhythm. Don't split hairs, you know the h is silent.
Synonym, Sycamore, Symbol
Tyrant, Tyro, Type, Typhus
U...no English words beginning with "Uy"
W and V...no Greek words.
Zymurgy, Zygote.

ελληνική λέξη = Greek word