Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ash Wednesday Reflection

Being raised LDS, and developing an 'allergy' to it and similar institutions at an early age, I didn't have any contact with Ash Wednesday until well into adulthood. My first encounter with it was actually T. S. Eliot's poem by that name. It has since been inextricably linked in my mind to that poem, and to poetry. For a number of years I would raise a glass to my favorite poets and read them out loud on this day. And, after all these years and after having become a priest, that still seems appropriate. For what is Ash Wednesday but the beginning of Lent? Which is traditionally a time of redirection, of reducing worldly attachment and redirecting that time or energy into the spiritual life. An attempt to live more poetically, as it were.

As Gnostics, we use the Lenten season for a conscious redirection. The world isn't likely to let us go long without asserting its priorities on us, while what transcends the world requires our efforts to remain a part of our lives. Use Lent to seek balance. Fast from what is “too much” and redirect that time and energy into what “is not enough.” The form of this varies from individual to individual, but the intent, and indeed the sacrifice, is the same.

This is not merely personal balance either. We don't get off so lightly as that. To sacrifice in a conscious sense is to make sacred in a living sense. An important part of that balance is to sacrifice some of our unconscious or unhelpful behaviors that trap us within ourselves and our habits and redirect that energy and time towards becoming in a small and yet real way, a secret agent of God where you hadn't been before. We fast from what consumes us, and symbolically, that which we needlessly consume. Whatever that may be, and to whatever extent and form that may take, is a matter of personal discernment.

The guidelines I would suggest come from the gospel of Thomas: do not lie, and do not do what you hate. Keep in mind the true focus, the 'making sacred' part of sacrifice. That is the important part, the rest is just a tool to accomplish that. Challenge yourself, but don't go against yourself. Keep it small, real, and conscious. Also, "fasting" doesn't necessarily mean eliminating, it means consciously limiting (or, limiting to make conscious). For example, an individual may choose to fast from television or Internet time, as well as, chocolate or eating out; then use the time from the former to volunteer and to pray, and the money saved from the latter to donate and to create.

Remember, O Soul, thy body is dust and to dust it shall return. Remember. Refocus. Redirect. All that you see around you shall pass away, yet there is that which cannot be lost even in the deepest depths of darkness—for it shines, and the darkness cannot grasp it. Our root, our anchor, our home, and our hope lay beyond all that which screams demanding our attention for its whisper is enough, if we are still enough to listen.

What we do in the world to improve things in the world is not meaningless nor worthless, yet it is always severely limited, while in our truest nature we are not. An ash cross on the forehead calls us back to the perspective of Gnosis, to refocus, to redirect ourselves in our actions so that we may bring this sacred truth more fully into our lives.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Audio Homily Experiment #2

Less noise. Less rambling. Still me. You can't have everything, can you?

Quinquagesima Sunday Homily in MP3 format.

I tried a microphone today. Unfortunately it clicked against things and made a new kind of clicking and shuffling noise. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Artist Sidney H. Sime

I found him as an illustrator of Lord Dunsany's tales.

Here are the blurbs:

"There's something those fellows catch - beyond life - that they're able to make us catch for a second. Doré had it. Sime has it."
H.P.Lovecraft, 'Pickman's Model'

"The greatest imaginative artist since Blake"
Hannen Swaffer

"No-one has ever captured the spirit of fantasy more perfectly than Sime"
Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Check out the Gallery.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Anamnesis of Philip Kindred Dick

This day marks the anniversary of the beginning of a series of experiences Philip K. Dick went through in 1974. He called these his 2-3-74 experience as they extended from the 20th of February into March of that year. It is also a few days prior to the anniversary of when Phil passed beyond the reach of the Black Iron Prison, having undergone a series of strokes in 1982 resulting in his being disconnected from life support on March 2nd.

It seems that it is this day, the Anamnesis of Philip K. Dick, whose time has come for consideration for inclusion in our observances. Though traditionally, a saint's day is his death day, it is also difficult to think of Phil as a saint in any traditional sense. He fits the archetype of the Prophet better, a sort of modern agnostic/gnostic prophet of the Gnosis. I offer the following as a possible lectionary form for celebrating this day.


O, thou great and living God who seekest us out ever more steadfastly and ardently than we seek thee; we bid thee, invade our false worlds, shatter our misperceptions, grant us that we may know thy presence, though we be unworthy and unready. We pray thee, grab hold of us when thy gentle touch we ignore, break through to us when we would bar thy way, speak with thy shattering voice when thy whisper goes unheeded by us. For we cannot be who we are without thee, nor be freed from our occlusion without thy aid. End our forgetfulness as thou ended the forgetfulness of thy servant Philip Kindred Dick; and grant us, O Lord, the precious remembering that will lead us back to thee.


The Lesson is taken from the Sophia of Jesus Christ:

The Savior appeared - not in his previous form, but in the spirit. And his likeness resembled a great angel of light. But his resemblance I must not describe. And he said: "Peace be to you, My peace I give you!" And they all marveled and were afraid. The Savior laughed and said to them: "What are you thinking about? Are you perplexed? What are you searching for?"
Philip said: "For the underlying reality of the universe and the plan." The Savior said to them: "I want you to know that all men born on earth from the foundation of the world until now, being dust, while they have inquired about God, who he is and what he is like, have not found him. Now the wisest among them have speculated from the ordering of the world and its movement. But their speculation has not reached the truth."

Here endeth the lesson.


The Gospel is taken from the gospel according to St. Philip

The Sophia whom they call the barren is the mother of the angels. When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness. Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way.

Here endeth the Gospel.


Robert Crumb comic strip about Philip K. Dick's theophany

Wikipedia Entry

Phildickian Gnosticism

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Audio Homily Experiment

I finally recorded a homily on my limited equipment that is at least audible. I will be posting the text version, but there are always large differences between the two.

Sexagesima Sunday Homily in MP3 format.

I'm wondering how well it translates into stand-alone audio. This is a good example to test, as it is fairly unfocused due to illness. Let me know.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Friday, February 17, 2006

Anagram Game

Jeremy got me playing with the anagram generator. So, here is a Gnostic anagram word game! Unscramble the following phrases. (Hint: the anagrams were chosen to give clues.) The winner will get bragging rights!


  1. Go Sins
  2. Isn't Cog
  3. Is a Hop
  4. Cross Hit
  5. Anchor
  6. Pearl Om
  7. Mean Up


  1. A Madam Nigh
  2. A Gem of Lost Posh

Modern People:

  1. Delphic Drip Ink Kid
  2. Healer the Pons
[Edit: Two "L"s for the price of one special on number 2.]


  • A Cure This


  • Get Mourns


  • Pages of Hot Hints

Holy Cow!

Just trying to start a holy war between the bessians and the followers of no sacred cow.

No Sacred Cows

Why should anything be "out of bounds"?
Nothing personal against St. Bessie, mind.

Gnostic? Oy! #15

Gnostic? Oy! - "It's a pun in Greek--get it?"

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Mind the Gap

First in a series of a few signs that should be on the path.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Gnostic? Oy! #14

Gnostic? Oy! - “More fun than a barrel (of a loaded shotgun)!”


Info at Fantastic Planet

Gnostic? Oy! #13

Lucky 13!

Gnostic? Oy! #12

Gnostic? Oy! - “The Gnostic Comic Strip that's far from hip.”

Gnostic? Oy! #11

Gnostic? Oy! #10

Monday, February 13, 2006

Sunday, February 12, 2006

"Controversy" or Feeding Trolls?

Just a reminder of a common net persona: the Internet Troll. The term comes from fishing, not the critters under bridges, though both can apply. In early Usenet groups there were folks who used personae to “troll for flames,” that is, wrote things just to provoke others into aggressively responding to, or “flaming” them. Over time, other forms of “trolling” have been recognized, but the common theme is the desire for the attention that provoking others brings. Since provoking a response is the point, the common way of dealing with such personae was summed up as “Please, Do Not Feed The Trolls.”

In the current Internet environment things aren't always so simple, but the patterns remain. Behind the patterns there are people, and if you look at the patterns and don't see yourself, you haven't looked hard enough.

What makes a community? What is a legitimate concern versus an attempt to provoke? These are difficult questions, and if they have answers—they aren't easy ones. But, there have to be boundaries, and there have to be limits, or it isn't a community. We all hope that the belligerent and the ambivalent can become a part of the community, but that can also be the bait on the hook of the troller. Ultimately, community can only be offered and extended so far. How far? That is up to each of us.

In such considerations we must take in as much of the picture as possible, and make an individual call. I only offer this reminder to be a part of our considerations.

Flame Warriors by Mike Reed has amusing definitions of.. well... ourselves pretty much.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Friday, February 10, 2006

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Gnostic? Oy! #3

Allan Watts Podcast

A philosopher is a kind of intellectual yokel, who gawks at things other people take for granted.

- Alan Watts

It may not be an exact quote, but it's close, and is from the first podcast. Alan's son Mark has been putting these together. Great stuff.


Gnostic? Oy! #2

Still wasting time on a comic strip. Multi-level misunderstandings are far too common.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Gnostic? Oy! #1

Of course, the real joke is anyone knowing what a "Gnostic" is.

The Gift Shop is Now Open

In my never ending, perhaps Quixotic, quest to get the seekers of Light to lighten up, I have started a series of designs that are: fun, Gnostic (without saying so), and in general are “in jokes” that could be the modern Gnostic equivalent of the Christian fish symbol—only funny.

The first design is “Abraxas Brew,” not to be confused with any other round green coffee related logo, nope. The reverse side of items that have printing on them have the phrase, “Wake Up with the Chanticleer of the Coming Dawn!”

The purchase price above what goes to CafePress, will go to the Holy Gnosis of Thomas Chapel building fund.

Visit the Gift Shop