Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Patron Saint of Contested Elections

What we need is a patron saint for contested elections so that, should 2000 repeat itself, we can ask for his intercession.
Well, it turns out there is one. And you're not going to believe what follows, but it's true: his name is St. Chad.
No, I am NOT making this up.
Chad was born in ancient Britain, probably about 620, to Saxon parents. His people had been pagan, but his parents were baptized by St. Aidan. Thus he represents the Celtic, rather than the Roman stream of Christianity.
As a youngster he was sent to the bishop of Northumbria to be educated. Later, he seems to have gone to the Irish monastery-schools established by St. Patrick, and then to Iona, where he was ordained priest, and, after the death of two of his brothers in a plague, eventually became head of a small abbey near Whitby.
Chad is perhaps best known for NOT being Archbishop of York.
In mid-life he returned to Northumbria, being called by its king to be chief bishop there (and thus, Archbishop of York).
He was elected and duly installed, but various persons raised objections on the grounds that his consecrators were bishops who followed the Celtic church calendar and customs rather than the customs then being imported from the continent and from Rome.
Not wishing to cause division in the Church, Chad withdrew (nota bene!) in favor of another candidate! The Archbishop of Canterbury, who was greatly impressed by Chad's humility, subsequently consecrated him bishop of Litchfield, in Mercia, where he worked for the remainder of his life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Little Sure Shot and Kaiser Bill

Annie Oakley was one of the stars of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in the 1890's.  Her specialty was sharpshooting.  Oakley, born Phoebe Ann Mosey, joined the troupe only five years before. Only 5 feet tall, Oakley was nicknamed “Watanya Cicilla” (Little Sure Shot) by fellow performer Sitting Bull.

While touring Europe, she performed for Queen Victoria, and other crowned heads of state. In Berlin’s Charlottenburg Race Course, she performed a feat of legendary proportions.  Annie announced that she would shot the ashes off any man or woman’s Havana cigar. Normally her husband Frank Butler come out of the audience for the stunt and her speech was just for show.

Unexpectedly, Kaiser Wilhelm II himself accepted her offer; the police thought it was a joke until the Kaiser took his position and told the police to get out of the way. Annie Oakley raised her pistol, aimed and blew the ashes off Kaiser Wilhelm II cigar.

Talk about a coming together of two individuals of uncommon nerve!

When World War I started, Annie wrote the Kaiser asking for a second chance. The Kaiser did not respond.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Middle Path


Let me tell you about the middle path.

Dressing in rough and dirty garments, letting your hair grow matted, abstaining from eating any meat or fish, does not clean the one who is deluded.  Mortifying the flesh through excessive hardship does not lead to a triumph over the senses. All self-inflicted suffering is useless as long as the feeling of self dominant.

You should lose your involvement with yourself and then eat and drink naturally,
according to the needs of your body. Attachment to your appetites - whether you
deprive or indulge - can lead to slavery, but satifying the needs of daily life is not wrong.  Indeed, to keep a body in good health is a duty, for otherwise the mind will not stay strong and clear.

This is the middle path.

From "Discourse II"
Edited by Anne Bancroft, The Pocket Buddha.