April 1, 2020

My Gear (Part 1)

From left to right:

A custom made metal cross given to me as a gift many years ago in high school by my good friend and mentor Tom Meacham. The cross is empty and says, “He is Alive!” Tom was my introduction to Anglicanism, C.S. Lewis, all things Inter-Varsity and many good times.

Anglican prayer beads I bought two years ago. I use them to pray the Jesus Prayer, Lord’s Prayer and for various people. When I feel a bead, I think of a person. It’s a great way to focus prayer away from distractions and to a simple, physical action. I love the cross.

An olive wood carving of Jesus Denise gave me for Christmas. He is carrying the cross, and it reminds me that there is no bottom to his forgiveness. “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”

My Alan Creech gear. I keep this in my pocket. Just feeling it in my hand during the day is a reminder of Jesus and the need to pray for my students, family, etc. Both rosaries have the cross of St. Francis, who is a very important inspiration to me as I think about living a “Jesus shaped” spirituality.

A St. Benedict’s Cross that I bought at Gethsemane monastery almost two years ago. It was a very special day I spent with my son. When I see it I think of my children and rejoice that they know and love Christ who died for them. I also think of a particular monk who has been a spiritual friend in absentia for a long time. I wear this cross when I preach during Holy Week.

None of this is “Catholic.” It’s all just a way to remember Jesus, be more focused and prayerful.

The evangelical wilderness is a lonely place. The post-evangelical journey is enriched with reminders that we have a better past than the ugly views of one another we’re sold on the internet. How terrible a thing it is to reject one for whom Christ died and to say, in the place of God, that a person is cut off from Christ. Let them grow together and God will be the judge of all of us. Kyrie.

I thank God that my Baptist tradition does not teach salvation by denomination, but by faith in Jesus alone. While we may not be in the same congregation or at the same table, we can affirm and encourage one another’s faith. Don’t we ALL need to hear the Gospel?

More gear later.

COMMENTERS: What’s your gear? What’s the story? Have any pics on flickr or elsewhere?

Comments

  1. I still have my rosary beads from when I went to Catholic school all those many years ago. Don’t tell the other members of my meeting though…

  2. GratefulForGraces says

    Brian, you’re kidding, right?

    Don’t you have a little picture your child made for you hanging up somewhere that makes you smile and think of him/her?

    What about the jar of shells you picked up on the beach that reminds you of a great family vacation?

    Do you wear a wedding ring that is a token and remembrance of your marriage vows?

    These things aren’t idols, and neither are our “gear” items. They are remembrances and devotional aids that enrich our spiritual lives.

    (Well, except maybe for that big ol’ altar to the 6′ statue of Mary I have in my bedroom . . . )

    JK, people, JK.

  3. I am not saying they are idols, and I am not saying they are wrong.

    I am just wondering if you could easily start to worship the token and not Christ?

    I do not have any “gear” so that is why I am asking.

  4. And does a total rejection of the physical not create a slippery slope towards gnosticism?

  5. Brian,
    I have quite a bit of “gear” in my study. Icons, various crosss, paintings, e.g., Rembrandt’s “Return of the Prodigal, etc. I don’t know that I “need” it but it helps me connect the sensory, to my mind and Spirit as I reflect on life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Most churches have such “gear”, even most protestant churches, whether it be a cross, stained glass, banners, etc.

  6. GratefulForGraces says

    Okay then.

    Never has it ever crossed my mind to worship “gear” and not the Lord, just as looking at a photo of my son would never cause me to prefer a Polaroid over being with my actual child.

  7. Mick

    I understand if you look at a church as building, the building itself has those things, but the church as Christ’s body is different.

  8. Good point. I think it has everything to do with it. Jesus had to be one or the other and (notwithstanding Deborah et al) to follow a woman or pray to a woman would have been unthinkable in that time and place.

  9. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaleobill/3408834659/

    Just snapped a quick picture of my prayer corner in my office. The photo has notes about what’s there and how I use it.

    For the record, I’m a Baptist and don’t pray to Mary. I’ve been using a rosary to help pray short prayers (like the Jesus prayer), have an icon, and so far haven’t slipped down the slope into idol worship yet. 😉

    Great thread, iMonk.

  10. Ray A — try a soft suede leather cord.

    My gear: I have a Celtic advent wreath that my sister gave me last year; love using it. The only wearable gear I have is what’s called a fairystone. It’s a small stone crystal that is formed naturally in the shape of a cross, and they are found in only a few parts of the world, one being about 25 miles from where I live; the technical name for it is staurolite. They can be dark brown, light brown, gray, or almost white; mine is dark brown and I wear it 24/7. I also have one attached to the ribbon marker in my Bible, which stays permanently at Luke 19:40. The fairystone definitely bears out the truth of that verse!

  11. 1) Do any non-Catholics here have anything like a home altar? (Fr. Ernesto doesn’t count – he probably has a home iconostasis)

    2) About icons turning into idols, I’m reminded of the fate of the bronze serpent in the OT. It was made by Moses under the instruction of God. It performed miracles. It was kept for several centuries and venerated by the people, apparently without issue. But by the end of the Jewish Kingdom (somewhere in 2 Kings) it had become an idol, something rivaling God somehow. (I suspect some syncretism with a foreign god) So the authorities took it down and destroyed it.

    It seems the same with Catholics… if some devotion got out of hand, the Church would suppress it. End of story. Of course, this isn’t very reassuring if you think the authorities already encourage and participate in idolatry, or if you think the Spirit does not ultimately protect the Church from falling into error.

    3) As for gear, I have a single rosary that I found when I bought my first house. I think of it as Our Lady’s housewarming gift to me. I also have a cross above my marriage bed. I’m envious of those with all sorts of cool stuff. Holy envy, mind you.

  12. aaron arledge says

    12 stones came to mind with this discussion. Did God have them set up an idol? No. He had them set up a physical marker as a reminder to them of what he had done.

  13. That Other Jean says

    It’s not exactly “gear,” since these things serve as prompts to prayer and contemplation, not necessarily as foci. Still, I have a very traditional icon of the Virgin and Child that my mother brought back from a trip to a Middle European monastary decades ago; three very modern icons of Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel, celebrating them as patrons of modern technology, that I was given recently as a gift; a 1928 Book of Common Prayer from my youth as an Episcopalian that I love for its language; and some of the beads for a strand of prayer beads that I’ll finish when the rest of the beads get here (not exactly a single-decade rosary, but will look much like one).

    Liberal soul that I am, there’s also a framed print of Kuan Yin hanging over the fireplace–not because I’m Buddhist, but because it’s beautiful and a reminder that mercy is important to life. There are also small bronze statues of Ma’at and Ptah–the ancient Egyptian personifications of the order of the universe and of all forms of creation. The Zoroastrian Ameretat, Spirit of Immortality, hangs with the Archangels which were part of the same gift. None of them are necessary to worship, of course, but all serve as reminders to remember and be grateful.

  14. I am Protestant.
    I am Presbyterian.
    I am Born Again.
    I am evangelical.
    I have a rosary…a Catholic Rosary (I’d love to get the Orthodox rosary.)
    I pray with the rosary.
    I say the Catholic Rosary prayer..Hail Mary..etc.
    I meditate on the life of Christ depending on the day of the week in the tradition of the RCC.
    I don’t worship Mary. I venerate her, my rosary, my Bible, my parents, pictures of my family, the stuff all yooz guys are describing you wear and hang,…and venerate.
    I use the Magnificat for daily readings of prayers and scripture. Gives great focus.
    I listen to the Liturgy of the Hours of the RCC on my eyepod daily. Love em.
    Oh..did I say I’m Presbyterian, evangelical and Protestant?
    I listen to Daily Scriptures on my Ipod from the Orthodox tradition.
    I’m Protestant, evangelical, Presbyterian and Born Again.
    I prefer Orthodox books and Catholic books and I love the Pope.
    I’m Protestant, evangelical, Presbyterian and Born Again…still.
    Why not read more evangelical books? I do. But I could go into a Christian Bookstore and fire a cannon of buckshot and wouldn’t miss most of the books destroyed because most of them are pap anyway. Give me red meat.
    Why am I still Protestant. Well…I may not be one for long if the Protestants don’t get their act together. No, I won’t become Catholic because I don’t agree with so much of their structure. But, I appreciate their understanding of worship that includes using scripture in singing and worship, the way it was originally intended to be used. I especially enjoy the Orthodox worship. But…BUT…the hierarchial order really bugs me. I just can’t swallow it.
    O.K. So I may be confused…like a fox I think.
    Rich
    Fun thread Imonk

  15. Oh, yeah — I also have two pins that make frequent appearances on my denim jacket: one that says “Heck is for people who don’t believe in Gosh,” and one with a picture of Jesus knocking at the door that says “Jesus is Coming, Look Busy.”

    Thank God my pastor has a sense of humor!

  16. My “Gear” is simple. I have a Jerusalem Cross that I wear most days, and a dog tag-like fob on my house keys reminding me to ACT in response to God’s promptings.

  17. @Bill For the record, I’m a Baptist and don’t pray to Mary. I’ve been using a rosary to help pray short prayers (like the Jesus prayer), have an icon, and so far haven’t slipped down the slope into idol worship yet. 😉

    This reminds me of when I was at the University of Toronto (my alma mater)’s discount theological bookstore, Crux, just behind Wycliffe College. They had some very nice (and expensive) handmade icons there, and one of my friends (a theology student) wondered aloud jokingly if that actually could be construed as idolatry, to which my other friend (also a theology student) answered that icons don’t count as they’re pictoral representations that aren’t direct images of God or Christ — if it was a photograph of Christ, *then* it would be idolatry.

    …or something like that anyway. It was a while ago, and my memory isn’t what it used to be.

  18. ProdigalSarah says

    I wear a plain little gold cross, empty. It is my ever-present reminder that Christ lives!

    The rest, I grow. In my Bible garden I grow olive, pomegranate, grape and fig along with a variety of herbs and roses. Whether I’m pruning the grapes or looking at the new growth on the figs, Christ’s words always come to mind and I ponder them as I garden.

    Perhaps it’s something to do with my Baptist upbringing but I don’t have any statues in the garden. I do have a variety of little rocks and stones with verses and words like Trust and Peace.

    I keep a little Trust rock on my desk and sometimes carry it in my pocket. This probably has the greatest significance. When I was at a most desperate point going through a family crisis and then a cancer scare, I prayed for more strength. God told me Trust. Since then, through every challenge I try to remember that I don’t need more strength or more anything. I do need to keep trusting the one who brought me back into the fold.

  19. An icon is an image that shows us something of Jesus’ nature; it’s not meant to be a literal representation. An idol is meant to be the literal god/person/ whatever.

    Icons are not idols unless we mistake them for the actual thing being represented.

  20. Austin — I often get the “Catholics can be Christians” line. My favorite reply is “Yes, Baptists can, too.”

    My gear: a medal with St Dymphna on one side and St. Joseph on the other. Dymphna is patroness of mental illness and I frequently ask her intercession for my son who is seriously ill. St Joseph is, to me, a model husband and father and I strive to follow his example.

    Sometimes I wear a plain cross (not crucifix) I got while on vacation in Playa del Carmen. I was strangely drawn to it in the outdoor market and after passing by several times I finally bought it. Soon afterward, I began the journey to becoming Catholic. Make of that what you will.

    I have a rosary made by a friend of my wife that was sent to me as a birthday present. I was just starting RCIA. One day I thought to myself “I should get a rosary” while on the way to the post office. Minutes after having that thought, I opened our PO box to find an envelope from my wife’s friend with a card and the rosary. Coincidence? I think not. I still use it today.

  21. Brian,

    I don’t think we need to get into situations where we throw the baby out with the bathwater. Simply because something could be misused doesn’t mean we should avoid it altogether. There are tons of things in our lives that can be used for good/neutral purposes or bad ones: TV, radio, internet, books, certain foods and beverages. But we don’t advocate withdrawing from such things just to avoid slippery slopes (unless we’re Amish).

  22. Raga:

    I am definitely not saying having icons is wrong, I am just trying to see what others think.

    I am not saying one should or should not have them.

    I am not trying to judge. I am just trying to understand why? I have never used “gear” so it is new to me.

    If someone has and uses “gear” to help them get closer to Christ and not use them as their god, so be it.

  23. The only gear we have in our family are Huguenot crosses.

    The interesting part of the Cross is that it is explicitly two things – a means of identification, and a means of remembrance

    The insignia consists of an open four-petal Lily of France — reminiscent of the Mother Country of France — in which each petal radiates outward in the shape of a “V” to form a Maltese Cross. The four petals signify the Four Gospels. Each petal, or arm, has at its outside periphery two rounded points at the corners. These rounded points are regarded as signifying the Eight Beatitudes.

    The four petals are joined together by four fleur-de-lis, also reminiscent of the Mother Country of France. Each fleur-de-lis has has three petals. The twelve petals of the four fleur-de-lis signify the Twelve Apostles.

    An open space in the shape of heart is formed between each fleur-de-lis and the arms of the two petals with which it is joined. This shape — a symbol of loyalty — suggests the seal of the great French Reformer, John Calvin.

    A descending dove pendant representing the Saint Esprit or “Sainted Spirit” — the guide and counselor of the Church — is suspended from a ring of gold attached to the lower central petal.

    And Bibles of course – cause we believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Bible. Like all good Baptists. Got to stay away from that Holy Spirit. Which is ironic in itself, considering how important the Holy Spirit was once considered by Calvinists, but now the NR are afraid of.

  24. Why is it that when I ask a question on this blog everyone turns defensive?

    A question is just seeking knowledge, not judging whether or not it is right or wrong.

  25. I have a number of crossed and icons at home. One interesting thing at home is a Christmas wreath made with barbed wire. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love the symbolism.

    In my purse, I carry at least one rosary. The one that has saved me from serious sin at least once was a military chaplain’s. (It saved me from taking communion unworthily, because I got upset at the presider during Mass.)

    On me, I wear a string cross from El Salvador and a holy medal of St. Bernadette.

    Ray,

    Another solution would be a satin cord, assuming that the fasteners were strong enough.

  26. Patrick W,

    Agreed. A lot baptist will have a lot to get through if they find salvation.

    I think most Protestants, and baptist, would argue that there is at least less “stuff” on this “side” to get in the way, but I digress.

    I definately agree with your point.

    In my study, at church, there is a horrible “velvet” Jesus praying in the garden. I have never removed it b/c i’m sure somebody’s great aunt sally donated it and it would be a big deal.

    I can’t imagine SS literature without pictures.

    Along with my many other personality splits, I consider myself an avid horror film buff. I’m not sure why but horror films were allowed in my house when a lot of raunchy commedy and action stuff wasn’t (probably b/c my parents liked them and justified it to them selves)

    This question is for the Roman Catholics-

    Do you guys ever get offended or tired of all the horror stories that involve RC priest, churches, and such?

    Why are there no horror films with a bapist minister or a methodist choir master as the main character?

    That’s way off topic so cut if you want Imonk

  27. Brian,

    I think that what caused some of us to get defensive wasn’t your question, “Why do you use gear?” But the second one about it leading to worshipping them.

    To answer your first question, some of us need material things to help us in prayer, in worship, and just to be the person that God desires us to be.

    To paraphrase Morris West in “The Devil’s Advocate” “God didn’t make us with our souls in a separate bag that we could take it out and polish it, but that our souls and bodies couldn’t be separated.”

    Ed,

    Two sources for nice icons that I use are Orthodox festivals-good food and most of them do sell religous objects, and ebay.

  28. I use icons in prayer to help me mediate between God and myself.

    Like meditating on a piece of scripture (say, “Create a clean heart in me, Oh God”), looking into an icon helps me to shut my internal dialog up so that I can better focus my entire soul on God/Jesus.

    This type of centering prayer or lexio divina is something I borrowed from the Catholics and have found to be of great value in my Christian journey.

    But again, these are only tools, mediators, to help me focus myself on God — you implicitly know they are not God or a representation of God.

    Sometimes I have to pray for long periods of time before those prayers become non-perfunctory and selfish, if that makes any sense.

  29. something I have not acquired yet, but will, is a mereaux –

    The méreau (plural méreaux) is a circular token which the Huguenots used in France from the 1550’s to the mid 19th century. During holy communion an elder would give, before the service, a méreau to each parishioner who qualified to receive the sacrament. The others, who did not attend catechism regularly or had been admonished by the consistory, would not receive a mereau. During the service each individual would hand his mereau to an elder standing next to the communion table before receiving bread and wine.

    Mereaux were also used as a means of identification between believers (Calvinists, that is)

  30. “non-perfunctory and non-selfish” prayers, I mean.

  31. oh, and Calvin himself suggested the continued use of the Mereau (which btw, has a representation of Jesus on it)

    The irony abounds with todays Neo’s.

  32. iMonk,

    Do you use the one decade Rosary to pray Jesus Prayers or anything like that?

    Also, one thing I do that you (perhaps with your wife) may be able to do is to meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary while praying Jesus Prayers (I use “Lord Jesus Christ son of Mary have mercy on us sinners” so it is at least a little Marian). For the last two mysteries, substitute the Assumption and Crowning of the Church for the Assumption and Crowning of Mary.

  33. oooh this is one for the Gearheads!

    As much as I feel silly when I’m not able to get “spiritual” without an adequate supply of “equipment”, I must confess….
    I have and use a rosary that my mother-in-law (catholic) gave me. She got it from the Vatican (John Paul).

    I also have one for everyday use, and I’m hoping to get a Creech model and some Anglican and Orthodox ones.
    And though these things, along with the Bible, the BCP, and the Baptist Hymnal, DO enrich my spiritual life by focusing it on Christ alone….
    I still feel silly with my stack of equipment on the bed stand that I simply need to be devotional.
    I’ll get over it. It works. *guilty of pragmatism.

  34. Dana Ames says

    Ray A (and anyone else interested): Find a good beading supply store, where they will have beading silk from Germany – yes, actual silk, stronger by weight than steel. Select from several neutral colors and make your “chain” using a four strand braid: take the outside strand under two, over one, repeat on opposite side; repeat pattern until a little longer than the length you want. Don’t use too much tension so it will stay fairly flat and not twist. Slide on your cross, make small knots in the ends and knot the two ends together. Disadvantage: not adjustable and you can’t undo it, so be sure it’s long enough to go over your head. Advantages: washable (lukewarm water), takes years to wear out, lightweight, soft and strong. I use two 2-meter packs and make a knot in the middle of the length of them together, yielding the four strands and one knotted end; maximum length with the tension I use is about 30″.

    Now to gear (don’t have a web site for photos):
    Key fob: faceted silver Celtic cross (also Montana state quarter, where I was born long before it was fashionable to be from there).
    Around my computer: icon of the prophet Daniel, icon cards of the Trinity, Christ the Bridegroom during Lent, and the holy physician healers Panteleimon and Anastasia of Rome (I work in the medical field).
    Icon corner: various icons, mostly of Jesus; also my grandmother’s ebony crucifix, a bronze “tree of life” cross from a Ben. monastery in Germany, and a crystal Celtic knot cross; my mother’s statue of St. Francis of Assisi and a tiny St.F medal from Italy which she wore often during her last years; the plaster Mary statue sent home with me by the nuns who took care of me in the Catholic orphanage the first two weeks of my life. (I got rid of most of my RC gear when I left, but I never could toss that statue- kept it wrapped up in a box during my +30 year sojourn as a Protestant. She’s out now- Carolina blue robe and Nordic features and all.)
    Bible and prayer books: many icon cards.
    On my person: a set of Alan Creech Orthodox prayer beads in my pocket; around my neck on above described gray silk “chain”, a silver phos/zoe cross I bought a few years ago -not knowing where my path would lead- and a silver and garnet cross of St. Cuthbert, in tribute to all the Celtic saints and especially Cuthbert, because looking back to those Jesus-followers was of immeasurably great solace as my theology was unraveling, and also in gratitude for NT Wright, who made it possible for me to truly worship Jesus after having been a Christian all my life- it’s his pectoral cross as bishop of Durham. I will replace the phos/zoe with a typical small silver Orthodox cross once I am chrismated.

    Forgive this for being so long- I thought the silk cord instructions could be useful.

    Dana

  35. Dana Ames says

    Sorry, forgot one that’s important.
    The small 1929 BCP that was given to my mother-in-law when my in-laws were married. I carried it as my “something borrowed” in my wedding, and my MIL recently gave it to me.

    Prodigal Sarah, I wish I could grow some. I have a brown thumb.

    D.

  36. I suspect I have some sort of mental disorder that turns things like beads and pictures into distractions.

    I’ve tried to develop the habit of using them a couple times, but after I kept factoring the number of beads and then counting the number of dimples on one of the beads and then calculated what the total number of dots were if that bead was an average bead, and then started counting backwards from the total estimated number of dots by the number of beads …. yeah, it never seemed to go well.

    I’m a math/science guy, so I realize I have “issues”. :^)

    Basically I REALLY have to close my eyes and work at keeping a train of thought together during prayer. Things in my hands turn into fiddling trinkets which distract me – that includes things like a Bible.

    I admit I am somewhat envious of the stories here.

  37. Theophilus says

    Brian–Joe said it correctly. I like to walk and pray because if I stand still my mind wonders. So too, “gear” should lead toward a more active prayer life, time of reflection, thoughts on things above, ect. If the “gear” is not doing that, it is worth nothing to the person.

    I wear a grey rubber band that says “pray for China” in English and Chinese. About once a month I witness to strangers in explaining the band.

  38. Ooooh I also have a “shrine” in my SBC church office.
    It includes Icons of Jesus and St. Anthony (pragmatism again) as well as a picture of the blessed virgin that some nuns gave me as a wedding gift. A wooden cross stands upright with a rosary draped around it. And finally, some sacrilege: a carved wooden Tiki statue we picked up on our honeymoon that signifies love, and a battery operated maneki neko complete with the waving arm.

  39. On the various walls of my house: a hammered steel Celtic cross, an bit of Arabic calligraphy that says, “The Peace of Christ be upon you this Christmas,” a pewter crucifix, a small brass bas-relief piece that says, “Ich bin bei auch” and a hand-carved processional cross from the Ethiopian Christian church. On my bedside table is a copy of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. On the living room coffee table are a Treasury of Daily Prayer, an ESV Bible, and Lutheran Service Book.

    I can’t pray ex corde. My mind wanders too much; two minutes into it, I’m wondering what to make for dinner, violating the Tenth commandment, falling alseep, or all three. I need the written prayers, hymns, scripture passages, and visual reminders.

  40. My wife thought I was being overzealous when I bought a polynesian artsy looking wrought iron cross and hung it outside the back door.

    My home is icon free otherwise. No religious art or symbols to speak of.

    Now I am feeling very much the stodgy protestant compared to you and all of your “gear”, Micheal.

  41. Webmonk,

    While I’m not bothered by using prayer aids, I can appreciate not being able to pray the way many can. One of the reasons that I do not pray the rosary is that I am unable to be mediating on one thing while my mouth is praying “Hail Mary’s” It will not work for me.

    That’s one reason I like the Liturgy of the Hours, your mind and mouth are on the same thing.

  42. Radagast – I know! I almost feel like getting someone more knowledgeable about digital cameras and computers and things to take a photo, just to prove that most elusive of sightings, even rarer than Nessie or the Abominable Snowman – a Catholic Bible! 😉

    My mother bought it years ago from a door-to-door salesman. She also, when driving, always stopped to give lifts to the Mormon missionaries, because she used to feel so sorry for the young men trudging along Irish country roads in the summer sunshine in their nice shirts and ties – it’s a thankless task trying to convert Irish country people to Mormonism; there was even a bit about it on national radio twenty or more years back, when they were trying to evangelise Irish speakers and had to learn a different greeting than the usual one in Irish, because to say “Hello” in Irish involves Mary* and Mormons don’t believe in goddess worship 🙂

    * Person doing the greeting says Dia dhuit/dhibh: God (be) with you (singular/(plural)
    Person being greeted responds Dia ‘s Mhuire dhuit/dhibh: God and Mary (be) with you (singular/plural)
    The Mormons were fine with the ‘God be with you’ part but couldn’t on doctrinal grounds say ‘and Mary’ so they had to find another method of saying “Hello” before they could even begin proselytising Irish speakers.

  43. If we’re getting sidetracked on the Rosary, I have to link to the LOLSaints for yesterday:

    http://www.lolsaints.com/

    See the entry for 2nd April 🙂

  44. Matthew Peterson:

    I usually either:

    1) Pray my own version of the Jesus prayer on the bead: “Lord Jesus Christ, (Lamb or) Son of (the Living) God, have mercy on me, a (the) sinner.

    2) Or I pray for people/requests on the beads. Just by name. No yakkety yak.

    peace

    ms

  45. How could I have forgotten? A good friend who swam the Tiber years ago went to the Vatican and brought me back a Rosary that had been blessed by Pope John Paul II. It hung in our entryway as a decoration for years, until we moved, Now it is in my daughter’s bedroom in a Jewelry box.

  46. Rich–just have to give a shout out to your list of who you are. You aren’t alone… 🙂 I’m with you on about 95% of it… Which liturgy of the hours do you listen to?

  47. ProdigalSarah says

    I am one of those easily distracted while praying. This discussion got me thinking about prayer beads, something I’ve never given any thought to. A little more research took me to this page about Anglican Prayer Beads including a number of prayers.
    http://www.kingofpeace.org/prayerbeads.htm

    In particular I feel drawn to the Celtic Prayer.

  48. Austin:
    Do you guys ever get offended or tired of all the horror stories that involve RC priest, churches, and such?

    In the past 3 or 4 years I’ve gotten a little weary of the “bad priest” theme, and tired of the trivialization and stereotyping of religion in general.

    As for the Catholic stuff I seldom get offended. I think mostly we are just accustomed to it the same as everyone else. Catholic or High Anglican liturgy with candles and stained glass and incense and bells, and crucifixes and statues and the stations of the cross are very dramatic and moving images. The vestments and a little Latin. Throw in some pipe organ, Gregorian chant, Gothic architecture. A real deliberate sense of the ancient and the mysterious.

    With so much rich symbolism and imagery I can see why people love to use it in drama. Usually, I’d say I’m sort of pleased that they are attracted to using such scenes.

    In the last ten years I have found myself more often being disturbed or frustrated by particular shows – especially on TV. Of course the DiVinci Code is pretty bad.

    What disturbs me is that a new formula seems to be emerging of really being demeaning or critical of faith in general and Catholicism in particular.

    Where I used to just enjoy Catholic scenes, now I watch more critically, half expecting to find something to object to. Actually, most of the time my objections are minor. Occasionally, I feel offended. However, most of the shows that have offended me haven’t lasted even a full season.

    Law and Order, particularly SVU has had a number of episodes and scenes with Catholic themes and they haven’t been perfect, but I haven’t been too upset by them. CSI has dealt with some too, and have been reasonable.

    Criminal Minds had a recent episode revolving around exorcism that I actually felt fairly positive about. From the previews I was expecting it to be deplorable.

    I guess what I am growing tired of is the theme of the ‘evil lurking in the Church’ (Catholic or otherwise) not the using of the imagery.

    Just my Take
    @GNW_Paul

  49. Prodigal Sarah:

    Those are examples of the kinds of prayers that are found in the Anglican Prayer bead tradition. Awesoe theological prayers. And we call all value them.

    Sad to hear anyone disparage these prayers, which can become part of our memory and be so full of meaning.

    peace

    ms

  50. Radaghast says

    Austin,

    “Do you guys ever get offended or tired of all the horror stories that involve RC priest, churches, and such?”

    In the seventees I watched a lot of movies from the 40’s and 50’s. Seemed there were a lot of priests representing religious folk (Bing Crosby, Walter Brennan, Cagney and Bogart portraying the bad element when some good Irish priest was trying to talk them back to the light) – and since I grew up in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood (actually you were either Catholic or Jewish) this seemed “normal”. In fact I remember for a while I couldn’t understand why the “Priest” (he was a minister) in the cheesy 1950’s War of the Worlds Sci-Fi flick had a daughter!

    The Exorcist (which scared the bejeezuz out of me at age 11) had some priests too and again seem to fit OK. Since that time though I haven’t watched some of the other stuff so I can’t judge. The diVinci code and that ilk never interested me.