Views from my current neighborhood

I am at the point where I can notice things going on around me once again. I’m about over the not-really-but-almost panicky feeling (mild anxiety) one gets when everything is unfamiliar and takes twice the time to accomplish and you have to rush to catch the train or subway or a parking space where the car doesn’t have to be moved for another 5 days!
There is this rather large woman I’ve seen walking her dog the last four days straight. She always wears black, and although it looks like the same clothing I certainly hope it is not. I said hello to her yesterday morning while I marched to the subway – sweating. She grunted I think – perhaps attempting to say something, then clearing her throat as I marched on. The funny thing is, her dog matches her. He is a very chocolaty colored lab (I think) and very over weight. They both lumber along down the street as he does his business. Now, I’ve seen men and their dogs and marvel at how they truly do look alike, but this is the first time I’ve seen such a striking resemblance between a woman and her dog.
Walking home from the subway this evening – a bit cooler than the last few days – I saw a thin-ish, artsy kind-of-guy coming out of his apartment just ahead of me. He had a ponytail and loose tank-top, and he reminded me of my friend John. (I was John’s best man and because I am pathetically lazy at keeping-up with friends I want to stay in contact with, I haven’t spoken to John in a very long time.) Anyway, this man had a bundle of laundry on his shoulder and his young son in tow. This happens 1,000 times a moment, I’m sure, but I was privileged to see it: as the man walked between parked cars heading for the other side of the street with his son quickly trailing behind, his son reached for his shirt to grab hold of him. He tried a couple times before finely getting a fistful of shirt to hung onto. Halfway across the street, the man reached down and took hold of his son’s hand, effortlessly, quickly, instinctively. No words passed between them, just the deep familiarity of son and father. For me, today, it was simply a very touching moment in time – something done so unthinkingly to be so common and yet so touching.
I’ve been in my current neighborhood, Park Slope in Brooklyn, for a month now. I say ‘current’ because this is just another in a string of places I’ve had to live and will be living for over a year and a half. Being ‘homeless’ for over a year has taken its toll, but I can’t claim that moniker – while it is true that I have been living out of boxes because I haven’t had a place of my own, the reality is that I have stayed in some very nice places. On the Close for two months after graduation, Llewellyn Park in West Orange, NJ for 10 months, to name two, and now in Park Slope.
It’s the same with being Cherokee – I am and can claim the designation, but I will not because I have not lived as one, I have not had the hardships, I do not have the awareness, and it would be very hypocritical and unjust of me to try to claim such an identity. Come November, Lord willing, I will finally be in my own place at St. Andrew’s House in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, where a SINGLE FLOOR apartment of a newly renovated brownstone is going for something like $1.6 million.
In this neighborhood, Park Slope, I live in an incredible townhouse on 6th Ave. owned by a couple from St. Paul’s. They are letting me stay here rent-free (except for next week, when I need to move all my stuff once again into the rectory while the rector is on vacation, which he took at this time because he knew I needed a place to stay and felt sorry for me). They are great, but I’m tired of it all. The neighborhood is great – just two blocks from Prospect Park with lots of great restaurants and interesting people to watch. I just want to be in a place I can honestly hand my hat, but I feel a bit guilty when I complain because I see around me those who are truly homeless and without resources. I have been provided for, God has been gracious with me.

Reform of the Reform

I came across a website/blog dedicated to a “reform of the reform” within Roman Catholicism called “The New Liturgical Movement“. It seems interesting and confirms what I’ve been hearing on many fronts that there is a renewed interest, particularly among younger laity and clergy within the Church of Rome (and within Anglicanism), to re-examine much of the Liturgical Renewal Movement and return to some of the more traditional rituals and piety – the disciple, splendor and beauty of worship rendered unto a glorious and mysterious God.
Considering that I’m now serving as Curate in a “non-fussy, Rite I, Anglo-Catholic” parish (the legacy of the Oxford Movement) with increasing numbers of young people, I think they may be onto something! Of course, we in “High Church” Anglicanism have known this for some time now! 🙂 (To be honest, I’m a relative new-comer, but I’m being trained well!)
I came across this particular website/blog via “Dappled Things” – a blog/website by a Gen-X Roman priest. I’ve been visiting his blog periodically for a while now – interesting guy.
Here is a couple paragraphs of a post on “The New Liturgical Movement” blog:

Two titles relating to the revival of Ritual in Anglican Britain
The scenario faced by the figures of the Oxford Movement presents a remarkable parallel, liturgically speaking, in the case of the Catholic Church today.
We face a variety of variants, with some parishes being liturgically more traditional (in Anglican parlance, “High” or “AngloCatholic”) and then some being more “low” in nature — that is, less traditional, less elaborate in its ceremonial, less ornamented generally. Of course, there is also the matter of theology. In the case of Anglicanism of course, these distinctions were far more hard and fast; in Catholicism, by contrast, it really comes down to what is legitimate liberty and what is simply dissent as compared to Catholic orthodoxy. That is a big difference of course.
Still, the liturgical parallels are interesting. Those Catholics with a keen sense of the need to “reform the reform” or preserve the classical liturgical forms face opposition and a “liturgically low” mentality from a number of quarters, be they some bishops, priests, or laity.
As such, I think it can be interesting to study the approach, trials and tribulations (not to mention the successes) of the likes of the Oxford Movement and Anglican Ritualists, as well as the Cambridge Camden Society who sought to restore an architecture suited toward Catholic liturgics.
In that vein, I wanted to share a couple of interesting titles with you.

The books he recommends are:
+ Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain 1830-1910 by Prof. Nigel Yates.
+ A Church As It Should Be edited by Christopher Webster and John Elliott

FrJake Comments

Fr. Jake comments about this new breed of people who refer to themselves as “conservatives,” yet hardly demonstrate the traditional definition of “conservative” by their actions. He references and posts a short essay by Teresa Mathes, wife of the Bishop of San Diego, who writes of her own experience being raised by true Episcopalian conservatives. She, too, suggests that what we see going on within our Church is not really traditional Anglican conservatism.