Category Archives: Anglican

WWW Wednesday (01-23-13)

WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?


• What are you currently reading?

I’m listening to Midwinter of the Spirit (Merrily Watkins 2),  an English mystery series by Phil Rickman. I thought I’d read this kind of series before–Anglican vicar and parish priest as sleuth. I was so wrong. Rickman says: “I knew very little about vicars or how they worked. The last thing I wanted was to write series about one. I’m not much of a churchgoer… not when there’s a service on, anyway. But suddenly there she was, and I realised what a risky, uncertain occupation she’d taken on.

By the second book, that occupation is established. “Merrily Watkins has been appointed Deliverance Consultant,or Advisor on the Paranormal, for the Diocese of Hereford. This is a real job; there’s at least one in every diocese in the UK. They work with psychiatrists, social workers… and also the police (inevitably, in this series, this is the aspect of the job that predominates.) And their own beliefs are often tested. Which is what I wanted. There are few certainties in this series. The borderline between psychology and the unexplained is laid out in barbed wire.

You might know this job better as exorcist. From wikipedia:

In 1974, the Church of England set up the “Deliverance ministry“.[10] As part of its creation, every diocese in the country was equipped with a team trained in both exorcism and psychiatry. According to its representatives, most cases brought before it have conventional explanations, and actual exorcisms are quite rare; although, blessings are sometimes given to people for psychological reasons.[10]

Anglican priests may not perform an exorcism without permission from the Diocesan bishop. An exorcism is not usually performed unless the bishop and his team of specialists (including a psychiatrist and physician) have approved it.


So, a bit of paranormal. A bit of mystery. A bit of spiritual testing. And the fact that she has a pagan daughter. Ingredients blended and tossed really, really well by a very good writer. Which may explain why I’ve listened to the first book and most of the second since last week’s WWW, and yet–

I am still reading the same books I was reading last week,  The House of the Seven Gables and11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King and Blackwood (Strange Chemistry) by Gwenda Bond. Okay, I’m lying. I haven’t actually started Seven Gables but am going to read a chapter of it before beginning my next Kindle book once I finish Blackwood. Hawthorne’s waiting by my bed, and King can wait for me to start Hawthorne before I dive back into his time travel tome, right? Right.

• What did you recently finish reading?

As I said above, I just finished Wine of Angels (Merrily Watkins 1) by Phil Rickman. I discovered this series by exploring Ben Aaronovich’s site. Since I have told you before that I love Ben’s urban fantasy series set in London that begins with (US title) Midnight Riot, I decided to follow his lead here and I am loving Phil Rickman’s series, too.  I even love Merrily’s name, which might have seemed too twee in other circumstances, but she is not a twee character. The explanation, that she was born on Christmas Day and her mum hated the name Noelle. Her dad’s favorite Christmas carol, however, was “Ding Dong Merrily On High.” Well, that’s one of my faves, too. Anything that lets me sing “glorias” to my heart’s desire is a very good carol in my book.

This is not as common a carol in the US as it is in England so if you don’t know it, you can listen to the most traditional form here by the Choristers of King’s College Cambridge and a sassier form here by Celtic Woman. I don’t usually like people taking liberties with Christmas hymns and carols and prefer them the way I learned to sing them, but this is a very light, lovely rendition. Is this a new carol to you or had you heard it before? I first sang it in the 9th grade, had never heard it before then.

I also finished listening to Surrender to the Devil by Lorraine Heath, another of the Fagin’s Lads romances inspired by Oliver Twist. I really do love that premise, as I’ve said, and I think there may only be one left to read/listen to. I am totally perplexed at why these are marketed as “The Scoundrels of St James” rather than as “Fagin’s Lads.”  I think the hook that they were all raised together as thieves and pickpockets under Fagin’s care is fascinating and handled really well. I think it’s a much more compelling hook than the generic one used. Makes me wonder if somebody thought a reference to Charles Dickens was too literary for a romance series?  This was Frannie Darling’s story, who got her name because that’s what Fagin always called her, “Frannie, darling, will you fetch me my jug?” and so she thought it was her name.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Will I nab the next Merrily book, the next Fagin’s Lad? Will I finally finish Lymond? Will I read something totally different? I do have some totally different books waiting in the wings. I don’t know. I don’t know!

Don’t ask me these hard questions unless you want me to lie.

Wait, I asked the question, didn’t I?

Oh hush.

I’m keeping a running total of my reading challenges–the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge (see banner at the bottom of the right sidebar) and my own challenge, the Embarrassment of Riches Challenge –and will post a January wrap-up on those on the 31st, in which I’ll ask everybody who is participating to respond with their current numbers in comments.

$20 Amazon Gift Certificate to one lucky Amazon reviewer!

And I have to remind you–it’s here! The chance for you to win a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate for leaving an Amazon review of Scandalous (available at Book View Cafe, Amazon and now, at Kobo) before February 14. Details here.

What about you? What have you been reading lately? Put the link to your WWW Wednesday entry in comments, or just tell me!




Filed under Anglican, Books, Reading, Reading Challenges, WWW Wednesday

Just a Bunch of Choirboys

A few years ago I was cruising iTunes looking for a few Christmas hymns and carols, simply done, without a lot of swoops, slides and embellishing.  Yes, Sarah MacLachlan sings like an angel, but this is not the What Child Is This I was looking for. And if you want to know what else I think of as swoopy, slidey and embellished, try Jessica Simpson or Vanessa Williams or Andrea Bocelli & Mary J Blige.  There is a place for that, but it was not what I wanted. [By the way, Andrea and Mary J did end up in my collection. I have trouble saying “no” to passion, and boy did they bring passion to the song.]

The version I found that fulfilled my needs shocked me, though in retrospect it shouldn’t have. Is it perfect? No, but it’s simple and unembellished and just what I was looking for. The Moody Blues? The Moody Blues. Okay, they were always rather different as rock bands went, but it did catch me off guard. And it shouldn’t have, because from what I can tell, half of them were choirboys.

Speaking of choirboys…


Imagine, Keith Richards!

Did he remember being a choirboy? He [Keith Richards] bridles with pride. “Albert Hall, Festival Hall and once at Westminster Abbey singing in front of the Queen. Frankly, my career’s gone downhill ever since.”

[My apologies for a rather un-holidayish image, but without it, you don’t have the full impact, now, do you?]

Mick Jagger, too. Yes. Really.

So many English rockers started out as choirboys, and as a child who sang in choirs, I can attest that there is a beauty in being surrounded by so much music–inside, out and around–that is sheer magic. It’s transformational.  I can’t imagine being raised in Anglican churches with their profound belief in music as worship and the atmosphere in churches and cathedrals up to 1,000 years old.

Next time you hear this, see this, think of Keith Richards.

And with that I leave you with a stunning piece by that Irish Anglican, Sting.


Filed under Anglican, Christmas, Music

‘Tis the (other) season

Last year I riffed on Mel Gibson’s The Passion.
This time I’m letting Financial Times take on cinema and religion.


Imitations of Christ

By Nigel Andrews

Published: March 15 2008 01:33

What is the connection between a bunch of penguins in the Antarctic and a wardrobe leading into a wonderland? Or between a modern-day murder in the Louvre and a 2,000-year-old story of a man crucified for teaching messages of love and forgiveness?

It’s a weird time in Christendom, and for no one more than this doubting film critic, once educated by Anglicans. I meet religion every day on the screen, be it self-declared or subtly disguised. I challenge its myths and mysticisms in my mind with rational humanism. Yet what westerner born in the 20th century – to the emergent din of new audiovisual support systems for the scripture stories (movie epics, TV, rock operas) – can ever quite escape the Good Book or its echoes? Even when those echoes take, as they do today, a more elusive, changeable form.

Read more by clicking here.


Filed under Anglican, Film, Holidays, Holy Week, Movies, Religion

Maidens, Guard Your Virtue!

The Minefield of Caddishness,


Why It is Advisable to Save Your Virtue for a Keen Member of the Church of England

Who is this Harry Enfield, and where has he been all my life?

I’m in lurv.


Filed under Anglican, Harry Enfield, Humor

The First Moon Walk (and more)

One thing I love about being an Episcopalian is our many Feast Days.

Methodists don’t pay attention to this stuff. But I love reading Lesser Feasts and Fasts and seeing the many great people and events that are remembered in prayer and celebration by Episcopalians. Some are the same as those recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, but others are uniquely ours.

Which brings me to today.

Today is a very tres cool anniversary.

But I’m not just talking about, “The Eagle has landed.”

And I’m not just talking about the moon walk.


I’m talking about this:

“Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, whoever or wherever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the last few hours, and to give thanks in his own individual way.

“In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.’ I had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute Deke Slayton had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O’Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly…

“Eagle’s metal body creaked. I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

Buzz Aldrin — Astronaut, Author, Episcopalian
July 20, 1969.

And the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven were there.

There has been a movement in the ECUSA to add the Moon Eucharist as a Lesser Feast and I think eventually that will happen. (I actually started writing this entry because I thought it already had. Ooops.)

But — July 20 is already taken, and quite admirably.

Which is another reason I love the ECUSA. Because social justice and history are honored here, and as so many have said before me, “You don’t have to check your brain at the door” to be an Episcopalian.

We still believe in science. (Go ahead. Read it.)

Postscript: You might notice that on this day of all days, there seems to be an absence of anything Harry Potter in my blog. Well, yes. I haven’t decided whether I’m going to attend the midnight madness tonight, but I’m pretty sure I won’t start reading the book until my copy from the UK arrives which means many, many, many people will have finished before I even hold mine in my hands. I am going to attempt to remain unspoiled, which I fear will be very difficult. This means I won’t watch any media for several days and will be very cautious where I surf the ‘nets.

Right now, I’m listening to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince again on audio, which is taking longer than I anticipated as my iPod died and I can only listen when I’m in the room with the computer or can abscond with borrow the Resident Storm Chaser’s iPod. But at least this will keep me occupied as I await the owl from the Royal Mail….


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Filed under Anglican, Episcopal Church, History, Moon, NASA, Space