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WAS NOT JESUS AN EXTREMIST FOR LOVE? M L K

Popped a fresh tin of Rattray’s Red Rapperee this morning. Like welcoming an old friend.

“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”” (Luke 14:13–14, ESV)

In other words, include the excluded! Love the last, the least, the lost, the left out by treating them like family.

This is the kind of thing that only makes sense in the Kingdom. It’s something Christians do because it’s something Christ did. It’s something God did in Christ for you and for me.

Although this might seem like quite a radical suggestion, it’s really only radical if we don’t count ourselves among the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. But if we believe what God’s Word says, that we are all broken people in need of healing and wholeness, well—that changes things, doesn’t it?

Although this might seem like a quite a radical suggestion, it’s really only radical if we consider ourselves the ultimate host. There’s a reason why the bread at the altar is sometimes referred to as the Host. Christ is the host, and we are his guests. And if these are the kind of guests that Jesus is interested it, what does mean for us?

I think it means we are indeed poor, crippled, lame, and blind. If not physically, certainly spiritually. Yet we are loved.

Jesus ignores what people in power think. He touches us with his healing presence.

He gives us a place with him at the table.

The beginner's pipe smoking starter kit [everything you need for $40 or less]

Before you start smoking a pipe, know what you’re doing. It’s not like cigarette smoking, but it’s not without risk, especially if you inhale (which you should never do anyways) or if you smoke a ton (always a possibility if you tend toward making vices habits). As with many similar pursuits, moderation and wisdom are key to enjoying the pipe over the long haul.

You need to know that you can get a great great smoking pipe for cheap to start with. Don’t believe the hype about expensive gear. If/when you decide pipe smoking is for you can invest in higher end and more artistic pipes.

Choose a pipe:

Missouri Meerschaum - Ozark Mountain Hardwood Tobacco Pipe - Oval Bowl, Straight Bit

Missouri Meerschaum Country Gentleman Corncob Tobacco Pipe Straight

I recommend a straight vs bent stem to begin with, because they’re easier to clean.

You need a butane lighter with a soft flame, or matches. Any standard Bic will do. Personally, I like the Bic minis for portability. No torch lighters; they can can damage the pipe.

Get some pipe cleaners and some rubbing alcohol to clean your pipe.

Round out your starter kit with a Czech pipe tool - small and durable.

As far as tobacco goes, I recommend you start with Lane BCA or 1Q. These are both aromatic tobaccos (usually sweet with added toppings for aroma). Get whichever sounds best to you to start.

When you can, add Orlik Golden Sliced (Virgina), and Peter Stokkebye Proper English (full disclosure, I haven’t tried this one myself but it is a well-reviewed, simple option). Virginias are bright, grassy, sometimes citrusy, and Englishes are usually a bit more savory, with a smokey wood flavor and sometimes incense-like aromas.

All of these are high-quality tobaccos that will give you a sense of the main “families” of tobacco (aromatics, Virginias, Englishes) and help you figure out what general flavor profiles you’d like to explore next. There are many more genres of pipe tobacco, and blends of families of tobacco as well, but this will get you started.

If you get all this, it should only set you back about $40 or so, plus shipping. Maybe even less.

How to smoke a pipe, demystified:

Load your tobacco however you want, just not too tight. I like to fill once to the top and press it halfway down the bowl, then fill to the top and press to 1/3 down the bowl, then fill one last time, pressing down to just below the rim.

Light the top of the tobacco once, then let it go out (this is a “char light”). Light it again, this time drawing the flame deeper in the bowl. Don’t be afraid or frustrated with relighting whenever you need to. You’ll get the hang of it, and relighting is just part of pipe smoking.

Don’t draw deeply the way you would on a cigar. Sips are where its at to avoid tongue bite and extract the most flavor. You want the smoke to be a cool as possible when it hits your mouth, so puff slowly.

When you’re done, empty the ash out of the bowl. You may need to gently(!) scrape some out. Run a pipe cleaner moistened with rubbing alcohol through the stem, then fold in half wipe out the bowl as needed.

YouTube is your friend for seeing all this stuff in action and getting ideas.

A note about filters: You don’t have to use the filter —I don’t! That said I did at the beginning and tons of people do on the regular. Filters can help reduce tongue bite by taking some of the moisture out of the smoke. Lots of people swear by them. I recommend trying with or without and seeing which you like best. I’ve been thinking of giving them another go in some of my pipes that accept filters myself. Replace every 3 smokes or so.

That’s really all there is to it–don’t overthink it, enjoy it!

This is such a great conversation with Anglican priest and author Tish Warren.

I totally get what she means about not having a “camp.” As a pacifist, catholic, evangelical, and charismatic Christian with lots of questions and a preference for highly nuanced answers…I also sometimes often feel like the odd person out.

Spiritual discipline is necessary for spiritual direction.

Happy Cob Tuesday. Today is sermon day for me, so I’m smoking some Country Squire Summer Breeze in my MM Morgan. This small and lightweight pipe is a great clencher, so it’s perfect to help the inspiration flow while writing.

“I want the whole Christ for my Savior, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field.” - The Revd John Wesley, Anglican priest

This is what a Gospel-saturated heart desires.

Why I went with the Galaxy Tab 10.1

I own a great 2-in-1 laptop, a 2016 Dell Inspiron. This 13” Windows 10 machine switches easily to tablet mode by folding back on itself, which is great for giving Powerpoint presentations (I can use the stylus to mark up the slides as we go!), preaching (from MS Word in reading mode) and reading at my desk. The laptop configuration is also great for extended work times and heavy research, and those moments you really just want a mouse (lots of copying and pasting between documents, for example).

The disadvantages of my very capable laptop are basically size, weight, and battery life.

While not massive, it’s a bit too big to want to grab for a quick 30 minute work session at the coffee shop or while waiting for my kids to finish their extracurricular activities. The size also makes it feel intrusive to me to have it open in certain meetings or carry to the pulpit. Battery life is acceptable at about 6 hours of fairly heavy use, but it makes me nervous when traveling if I’m using my laptop for things like taking notes or watching movies.

I already use an Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017) tablet, primary for reading with a specific application (LOGOS Bible Study software). I also use it to have important resources at the ready for research and sharing during meetings, review and edit my weekly sermon document, triage emails, and review my calendar and task/projects lists. I’m using it to type this post (with a Bluetooth keyboard).

While I absolutely recommend the Amazon Fire tablets as media consumption devices, light web browsing machines, Alexa voice assistant interfaces, and very basic document editing, there are a few issues that have been frustrating for me when trying to get the most out of mine as a true secondary computer.

The first is simply performance. LOGOS gets really sluggish, which makes navigating multiple resources, highlighting, and copying and pasting difficult. This is the big one for me, and as LOGOS has developed it has come to need more resources than my aging Fire tablet can offer. Web browsing can be painfully slow at times (in fairness, it’s ok most of the time, as long as you don’t have a lot of tabs open), and there are some websites that simply crash the browser. There’s a lot of lag when switching between apps.

Second, screen size is an issue. 8” is a great for portability and doing one thing at a time (exactly what this tablet is designed for!) but you can’t put two apps side by side for research and writing. This is becoming more important to me as I think about doing actual work on a tablet.

Third, the app ecosystem on Amazon tablets is pretty terrible. While there a few popular apps available, many aren’t. YouTube, for example, must be accessed through the browser. There’s no native support for Microsoft Word or Powerpoint (although it is possible to download and install older versions). There are some hacks that can get you the full Google Play Store on the Fire tablets, but in my experience the Google software really slows the tablet down, and it’s based on very old version of Android anyways, so lots of stuff doesn’t work the way you’d probably like.

Because of these disadvantages, I started thinking about a lighter tablet that could make a capable secondary computer for light duty and travel.

I don’t need or want a full laptop replacement. There’s a place for a 13” screen, Core i7 processor, and 8GB of RAM in my life, and my laptop is working great for me right now. So I don’t need anything like an iPad Pro, Surface Pro, or Galaxy Tab S4.

Of course, I immediately started looking at the next level down from those: the basic iPad, iPad Air, or Galaxy Tab S5e. For a while I was really leaning toward the basic iPad, especially with iPad OS improvements coming soon.

Unfortunately, even the reasonably priced iPad and iPad Air become significantly more expensive if you want more than 64GB of internal storage. Considering the large amount of resources I use for Bible study, and how apps tend to eat up storage pretty quickly, I know I’ll likely want/need more than the bare minimum of storage pretty quickly…but Apple products were priced out of my range at those storage levels.

As far the Galaxy Tab S5e goes, it has some great features, but was still more than I wanted to spend on a secondary machine. I needed something more capable than entry-level, but I was still willing to sacrifice quite a few “premium” qualities, if I could find something with solid core functionality.

Enter the Galaxy Tab A 10.1”.

Here’s a $250 tablet (at Costco.com) that offers the perfect size screen, the latest Android OS (Pie), and solid middle-high specs. As far as I can tell, the main things I’m missing out by not going for a higher end tablet in the $300-500 range are:

  • Integrated keyboard accessory (I’m ok with this as I already have portable Bluetooth keyboards I’m very happy with).
  • Super AMOLED or Retina Display (Full HD on a 10” tablet is really all you need. Yes, those higher displays may “pop” more, but for my usage it’s not that big of a deal. Plus, the Tab A 10.1” display is fully laminated, a nice perk at that price point that the iPad doesn’t have)
  • High end performance (Specs are still solid though, so in theory it should should be more than capable of running what I really need it run–LOGOS–quite well).
  • Quad speaker setup (not very important to me)
  • Active digital pen support (I’m not a digital artist and find a capacitative stylus sufficient for what I do on the regular)
  • GarageBand (this stings a bit as I love GarageBand on my phone, and would love a simple and easy way to record into a tablet–maybe I’ll discover an Android alternative).

The main things I like about the Galaxy Tab A 10.1” are the spec for the price, full keyboard and mouse support, windowed mode (so you can have a very desktop-like experience) and enough app selection to really make it the only machine I would need for short burst of work and/or while traveling.

I loathe to even dip my toes in the water of publicly critiquing a political or even simply a public figure (especially as a pastor and a priest) because emotions run so high and rational discussion is nearly impossible in the current cultural climate. At the same time, these people wield immense influence and I know President Trump in particular is widely listened to and respected in the Christian community.

Today President Trump accepted and republished a statement approvingly saying that he is loved “like he’s the King of Israel…like he is the second coming of God.”

As a Christian pastor and priest, I feel a responsibility to emphatically insist that regardless of how any group perceives President Trump and his policies, only one person can rightfully, truthfully accept such accolades, and that person is King Jesus Christ, God with us in the flesh and the savior of all people.

Matthew 24:4–5 (ESV): See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.

Today is a work-from-home admin day. Catching up on emails, updating the calendar, etc. Also trying out Dynalist as a possible replacement for Workflowy.

Happy Cob Tuesday. Parson’s Blend in my Shire churchwarden.

I’ve come to realize I’m just not really an Apple customer, even though I do appreciate the overall hardware design, reliability of the software, and security focus. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of small annoyances, for instance the terrible mail app (edit: that’s probably not fair–it just doesn’t work me as a very heavy email user with multiple accounts, need to deal with lots of attachments, etc), a frustrating keyboard, and a lack of value-focused hardware (and some software– looking at you, iCloud) which is important to me.

Being her husband is the best.

Preaching Against Racism Is Not a Distraction from the Gospel

“All of us are called to embody the love of Christ, which is not bound by race, gender, or class. What I want, then, is to see the church become the family that Paul describes when he says that we should “carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). The burden of deconstructing racism and white supremacy should not be the sole province of black and brown Christians. It should belong to the whole family of God, which is comprised of people who believe the same Scriptures, confess the same creeds, and share in the common bread and the common cup.”

Preaching Against Racism Is Not a Distraction from the Gospel - CT Pastors - Christianity Today

Today I got the August lectionary up at Anglican Daily Office. Took a little more work than I anticpated as I had test a few different formats/layouts to see what would work best on different size screens without complicating things. In the end I think I found something that works.

I made something today! Check it out: anglicandailyoffice.online You’ll find the texts for Morning and Evening Prayer from the 2019 Book of Common Prayer in an easy-to-scroll format for phones and tablets. I plan to add supplemental material, the lectionary, and additional offices as time allows.

Date night last night celebrating 14 years married to my lovely Amber.

A mosaic made by a local in West Point, GA. Beautiful.

There is no one more beautiful, more loving, more full of grace, more merciful, more truthful, more wise and just than Jesus, and it is so freeing to know what God is like–no longer shrouded in mystery, but revealed concretely and completely in Jesus. This challenges and changes me and—when I am in a place of contemplating it–energizes me for me ministry like nothing else.

I have had a great system for backing up photos for years:

  • Google Photos app automatically backs up my photos to Google Photos cloud
  • Google Photos cloud syncs with Google Drive
  • Google Drive syncs with laptop

So I have copies on my phone, the cloud, and laptop.

Now that Google has de-coupled Google Photos from Google Drive, that flow has been seriously broken. I’ll be switching to Microsoft OneDrive, which is simpler, more integrated into my OS, and and works as expected.

Took a moment to enjoy God’s good creation.

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without Church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without contrition. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ living and incarnate”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

A wonderful reflection. I used to celebrate ad orientem (fading liturgical East) weekly at our Wednesday Eucharist. Properly understood it is a beautiful way to worship together, and as Porter notes, can actually facilitate a deep sense of common worship.

A Few Thoughts on Eucharistic Orientation – Porter C. Taylor

A comprehensive and clear introduction.

The ACNA’s 2019 Book of Common Prayer (BCP): A Rookie Anglican Guide - Anglican Pastor