The Wrong Side of the Border for Good Tamales

Even the Mexicans know the truth, if they won’t admit it:

We bring tamales by the bagful to holidays gatherings, trading them like baseball cards with friends and cousins—I’ll give you some of my Tía Meme’s pineapple tamales if you hook me up with the potato ones from your Guatemalan sister-in-law. And, once we’ve put on the pounds (the Freshman Fifteen has nothing on the Tamale Ten) and sworn to reform our ways in the new year, we freeze what’s left to extend the holiday cheer.

The truth of the matter is that the Guatemalan Christmas and year-end tamales are far superior to anything produced in Mexico.  They are some of the most outstanding holiday food out there, and let’s hope they serve them when they move their embassy back to Jerusalem.

Christmas with the Roueché Chorale

A little bit of their recent Christmas program:

The Roueché’s are some of my favourite people.  They hosted and led our Catholic Charismatic prayer group for many years, which included youth trips to the University of Steubenville.  They did so while resisting the siren song of the covenant community.  They are great people and the Chorale has been a blessing to our community for many years.

You can learn more about the Roueché Chorale here.  Merry Christmas!

Ecce Rex Tuus: St. Thomas Aquinas’ Christmas Sermon

For those of us who owe our theological sanity to marching through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae and Disputed Question on Truth, his Christmas sermon, which encapsulates his method in a very nice form.  Merry Christmas!

The Aquinas Institute would like to give our subscribers and supporters a Christmas gift: Aquinas’s Christmas sermon Ecce Rex Tuus in a fresh translation from the Leonine text by Madison Michieli. To see the Latin text in a parallel column and critical footnotes in the English, visit our online text viewer. Feel free to share.…

via Ecce Rex Tuus—a gift from the Aquinas Institute — Aquinas Institute

Sounds of Christmas Past: Robert Shaw's Joy to the World

The first Christmas album I ever owned–and I still have it–is the Robert Shaw Chorale’s Joy to the World, released on RCA Camden in 1958.  Recorded right after World War II, it has two distinctives: it’s entirely a capella and all the carols are traditional and sacred.

“Jeffnham” has done something completely different: he’s recorded the entire album while playing on his 1967 Magnavox console.  (We had one of those, too.)  It’s one of those things that could be a dud but it comes off very nicely; he did a great job miking the console and he’s brought back the experience of listening to albums on units like this.  Enjoy and be blessed!

Steeleye Span: Gaudete

It’s just a tad late in the Advent calendar, but just in time for Christmas: “Gaudete,” sung a capella by the British folk/rock group Steeleye Span.

Getting British rockers (even folk types like Steeleye Span) to sing in Latin was no mean trick, but they did it, and this video furnishes the lyrics.

Guaranteed to freak your church out if you can replicate it.

David Meece: My Father's Chair

At this time of year I usually think of my mother, who passed at this time of year.  But I heard this gem on Jradio Rewind this AM, had to share:

Why did Gondor not move the Palantir at Minas Ithil before it was captured? or, what Tech People Wonder About When Not Thinking About Tech

Check out this interesting thread at Stack Exchange, one of the premier sites for programmers of all kinds.   There are at least 2,400 other questions on Tolkien topics, and you can check them out, too.

The Wesleyan Advent Hymn the Wesleyan Pentecostals Don't Sing

It’s the classic hymn for the Second Sunday in Advent: “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending,” done in good Anglo-Catholic style here:

The lyrics were written by Charles Wesley in 1758; more than one tune has been affixed to them, this is my favourite.  It’s about the Second Coming, which is really what Advent is all about: Jesus Christ came once, he will come again.  A better known song with the same theme is “Joy to the World” but it’s been lost in the Christmas carols.

It’s a magnificent hymn, so why don’t those who claim the Wesleyan (albeit John) name sing it?  Probably the same reason they adopted Bill Clinton’s Eucharistic Theology: because the Baptists didn’t do it that way!

I am sure, however, that our contemporary ministers of music can adapt this to their style and instrumentation.  Why?  Because the old High Church types and the smoke machine people have one thing in common: they both like it loud.

Does Anyone Really Believe This Current System is Permanent?

One of side “benefits” of being in the Anglican/Episcopal blogosphere is to get to know “Anglicans Unscripted,” the video interview series hosted by Kevin Kallsen, with frequent contribution by fellow Palm Beacher George Conger.  In a recent episode with Kallsen and the Queen’s former chaplain Gavin Ashenden, they discussed a float in Justin Welby’s parade of inept gaffes, namely his statement during a meeting with the Patriarch in Moscow that he lacked freedom to speak out on issues back in the UK.  In the course of discussing this Kallsen makes this observation:

What Kallsen is saying is that, in Russia, the church understands that kings and governments come and go and the church remains.  In the West, however, the church feels that it has to get with the program so that “society” and “culture” will allow the church the right to exist.  I also suspect that, even with the much shorter history of Christianity in China, the Chinese take the same attitude, which explains why Christian churches in China experience the growth they do even in the face of government and party hostility.

For an American to come to this realisation, let alone verbalise it, is amazing, although I’ve found the debate level in the Anglican/Episcopal world to be at a higher level than many other places in Christianity.  Americans take a notoriously short view of history, which more than anything else makes them inherently provincial.  The really sad truth is that, with more than fifty years of “liberation,” world travel and the fire hose of news that the internet affords, they still have the idea that this system of things will not basically change, which only reinforces the baneful provinciality.

That attitude is the one thing that actually unites both sides of our political scene in this country.   In spite of noises such as the abolition of the Electoral College or the institution of a parliamentary system on one side or amendments against abortion or same-sex civil marriage on the other, both sides see their destiny fulfilled in the current system with the current structure.  That’s a major reason both sides carry on as vociferously as they do; they look on success in politics as an existential necessity.

But countries come and countries go, and the way they’re governed goes with it.  Americans are out of touch with reality when they reflexively oppose any kind of secession (including Catalonia, Scotland, and the best one, Calexit.)  Christians in particular should understand that regimes and systems change (just compare those we have now to those in the Scriptures should make that clear) and that the church needs to fulfil the mission Our Lord put it on the earth to accomplish.  One reason why American Christians are having a hard time understanding (let alone supporting) Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option” is that the original Benedict Option was made necessary by the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, an event which is entirely outside the experience of Americans.  (It’s hard to get Americans to understand what the collapse of the other superpower was really like, which is why we have so much foolish prattle about the Russians.)

It’s time for our ministers to earn their keep and set forth the idea that the church needs to really “be the church” (and not just in the way it worships either) and not constantly beholden to a system which is USD20 trillion in debt.  The results of that realisation may not be easy to carry out in this life, but doing so beats the blowback to what we’re doing now on the other side.