August 2017

Graphic of fat man sunbathing

INTRODUCTION

Dead owls don’t give a hoot.

2B or not 2B? That is the pencil.

I’m young at heart. Slightly older in other places.

Trying to squash a rumor is like trying to un-ring a bell.

An archaeologist is someone whose life is in ruins.

“Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them.” - Albert Einstein

“Let us all get along;
Let us sing a new song,
And love one another
As sister and brother.”

- William Arthur Ward

A WOMAN’S WISHES

I’d like to be a mother – Whose children call her “strong” – Yet speaks with gentle wisdom – And teaches right from wrong.
I’d like to be a wife – Who makes her husband proud – Who stands beside him faithfully – Alone or in a crowd.
I’d like to be a woman – Who, when the race is run – Her God calls her “faithful” – And says to her, “Well done!

- Rebecca B. Jordan

A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

On Friday, June 23th, I was sitting in the Michael Tower office at the Cathedral when I heard one of the door handles being rattled. So I went to the door leading to the Porte-cochere and opened it. Below me was a small girl about 3 years old. She looked up and asked, “Does Rapunzel live here?” At first I did not know what to say. Then an upper-middle-aged man, her grandfather, said to her, “No, this is God’s house. Rapunzel lives in the big house (Glencairn) across the street.”

They entered and the man asked if the Cathedral was built without the use of nails. It was a commonly asked question but I fumbled the answer a bit. I think he felt sorry for me. Anyway, we (the girl, her mother and grandparents) walked into the Choir Hall. As we approached the south end, the grandpa saw the large screen monitor revealing various quotes from Swedenborg. And he read one quote out loud. It was about the orderliness of the transition, by bodily death, from earth to the life after death. He slapped me on the back in a sort-of-paternal way and commented, “That’s just the way it should be.”

Later he revealed that his name was Herman Weinrich. Yes, he owns Weinrich’s Pastry shop in Willow Grove. I told him that one of my nieces bought my wedding cake there and he commented, “My father probably made it.” It was a pleasant tour, often centering on the girl, who had much joy in showing the keys to her grandparents. I enjoyed being a non-authoritarian guide. I don’t have to be. And I would not want to detract from a little child having fun with her family.

A SENIOR CITIZEN

(The following Letter to the Editor of New Church Life by Richard Linquist was published in December, 1992.)

July 7, 1970 was a fair day with a temperature of 78 degrees at 4:00 p.m. This was the time for the resurrection service for Dr. William Whitehead’s wife. He had requested that her service be held in the small chapel of our Cathedral.

Yet on this day and the previous one, several members of our congregation had turned up the heat on me. They insisted that Dr. Whitehead, age 87, was too feeble to understand that probably many more people would attend the service than could sit in the chapel. They insisted that the nave (the main section of the Cathedral) must be used.

I do not believe that I am alone among his former students in having affection and respect for this good minister in the New Church. “Where love is, there is respect….” (AC 7788) Therefore I refused even to question his request. The matter was settled and set in the mind of this stubborn Swede.

Yet the critics must have disturbed Dr. Whitehead. Before the service began, he and a group of people walked into my office. In his shaky voice he called out to me, “Where is the service to be held?” “In the small chapel” was my firm reply. As I recall, and I do with clarity, he looked relieved and happy.

No doubt some of my critics, who walked in with him, decided to write some unkind thoughts about me in their books of life. However only fifty persons attended the service, so the number of people who had to sit outside of the chapel was just seven.

Later, after the service, I stood in the Vestibule, next to my office. Dr. Whitehead approached me, extended his hand to shake mine and said, “Thank you, Mr. Linquist.” Then as if revealing a thought close to his heart he said softly, “My wife and I were betrothed in the chapel.” Pride was in his voice. His eyes seemed to shine with the innocence and cheerfulness of youth as if his spirit was again living in the day of his betrothal, May 31, 1921. Then he walked out into the warm summer weather. A gust of wind slowed him for a moment, but on he walked toward the old cherry tree. Turning left he proceeded toward the south terrace. I must have followed him a few minutes later because I recall seeing him walking down the path through the valley. What strengthened him on his journey? Although his body was old, he spirit was young and he seemed to be walking above the heat of human opinion and criticism. I dare say that he was strolling home with thoughts of and consequent companionship with his conjugial partner.

As we walk through the valleys of our lives in the natural world, it is inspiring and encouraging to look ahead and see someone near the end of his path turn and smile at us.

THE SOLAR ECLIPSE

By Alfred Sandstrom

On this August the 21st, day will turn to dusk for millions of Americans living in a 65 mile wide strip from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. For us living outside this strip, (such as in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania) the result will be less spectacular but nevertheless worthy of observation!

What exactly is a solar eclipse? Well, there is a peculiar coincidence that from the surface of the Earth, the sun and the moon look approximately the same size, even though they, of course, are vastly different. The difference is distance: The sun is about 93,000,000 miles away whereas our tiny moon is a measly 239,000 miles away. Now, since the moon is a solid object, it ALWAYS casts a shadow! However, that shadow is usually out in space where nobody is around to observe it. It is only on the rare occasions that the shadow happens to fall on the surface of the Earth that we creatures look up and say; “Wow! Look-a-dat!”

Speaking of looking at an eclipse, let us dispel a common misconception: namely that it is dangerous to look at one, you will be going blind! Let me assure you, there is nothing inherently dangerous about an eclipse! It is looking at the sun that is dangerous! You know from experience that looking at the sun is uncomfortable. So, don’t be stupid enough to try it with any type of magnification!

Safe ways to observe:

  1. Take a piece of cardboard and cut a hole in it about the size of a quarter. Cover this hole with a piece of Aluminum foil and tape securely in place. Take a pin or needle and make a small hole in the foil. If you now hold the cardboard about 1 to 2 feet in front of a piece of paper so that a tiny image of the sun shows on the paper, you can safely observe that image!
  2. Use a magnifying glass or even your eye-glasses similarly to the above to project an image of the sun on to a piece of paper. (If focused too finely you may set fire to the paper.) Be careful!
  3. Welder’s glasses (#14) or special “eclipse glasses” ( The Rainbow Symphony Store) will generally be safe, but use common sense. It if looks too bright, it IS!

There is an interesting phenomenon happening during an eclipse that is worthy of observation and requires no special equipment or protection. At the height of the eclipse, (about 2:40 PM EDT.) look at the dappled shade under any tree. All the “dapples” will be crescent shaped.

Of course August 21st may turn out to be cloudy, in which case you just have to stick around until April of 2024 for the next one!

INTERESTING THOUGHT

“Every day, look into the spotless mirror that is Jesus Christ, and study well your reflection.”

- St. Clare of Assisi.

EDITORIAL OPINION – ANOTHER PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

On Friday, June 30th I was at the Cathedral, sitting in the Michael Tower office when three people entered the Vestibule. There was a large, tall man, a lady and a teenage girl. I asked them if they wished me to give them a tour. I was a bit surprised when the lady turned to the man and asked him for permission to have the tour. He said “OK.”

I think that he was about 30 years old and weighed about 250 pounds. His hair was pulled back into a pony tail and he wore sporty shorts. Then as I began to talk to this group he wandered away to look at various items in the Choir Hall. He stood, looking at the aerial photograph of Cairnwood, Glencairn and the Cathedral. With clarity of voice I told him when each of them were built. And he fed this information back to me with the dates mixed up, I think, on purpose. He glared at me. And so it was to continue – he did everything in his power it seemed to me to discredit everything I said. Apparently he was to be the authority on the Bryn Athyn Cathedral and not me.

At one point as we stood at the east end of the central aisle of the Nave, he bent his big body over and made a spectacle of reaching into a pew. He moaned a little and withdrew one of the pamphlets. Also as he straightened his body he began telling the girl about the Cathedral’s architecture. He said to her, “The weight of the roof comes down on that column and it also pushes out on that stone over there. In bigger churches that stone is on the outside.” I guess that I had had enough of him so I said with an authoritative tone of voice, “It’s called a flying buttress.” I might as well have said, “It’s called a flying buttress, STUPID.” He glared at me.

I reflected that he may have been abused by someone at a church in his childhood. Or maybe he just liked to throw his weight around, challenging anyone is sight. I walked away from all of them.

As I walked back into the Choir Hall this small group followed me. I went into the Michael Tower office. There I spotted another guide and I asked him if he would show the keys in the key cabinet, to my group.

And for the next 15 minutes the group listened to our guide talk about the keys and other subjects. And surprisingly the big man stood at attention, and I thought that he looked like a Marine at military attention. Gone were his wanderings and defiant attitude. I suspect that our Cathedral guide revealed that he had spent 21 years as an Army medic. So, our visitor may have disrespected me but not a former military man. Or perhaps after I left the tour abruptly the woman told the man that he was ruining their visit to the Bryn Athyn Cathedral.

They had travelled from Schwenksville, Pa to see our church. Actually the man and woman were on a date and maybe she thought that our Cathedral was a safe place to travel to. But I do think that her male companion acted very immaturely and perhaps was seen by her as being just another dominant male by his treating me like dirt under his feet. But he found out that this New Churchman doesn’t get abused without a response, perhaps a painful one, as when I simply walked away from them. Perhaps he was stunned into some humility.

(It seems that often we are humbled at those times when we are the most arrogant. “And whoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whoever shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matt. 23:12)

QUOTATION

“For all your days prepare,
And meet them ever alike:
When you are the anvil, bear;
When you are the hammer, strike.”

- Edwin Markham

QUOTATIONS FROM WILLIAM ARTHUR WARD (1921-1994)

“A life without forgiveness is a prison.”

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

“A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.”

A LITTLE SUMMER HISTORY

Towards the end of last June, Garrett, my across-the-street buddy, age 11, and four of his friends set up a lemonade stand. For about 4 hours they sold lemonade at the corner of Buck Road and Woodward Drive. When I stopped to get a sugary drink I noticed that Garrett had a wad of dollar bills about 2 inches thick. He told me that they had earned 150 dollars. Although the drinks cost 50 cents each, many people gave an extra 50 cents, so they paid one dollar per cup.

With their earnings in hand, later the boys were taken by one of their parents to a store to buy some camping equipment. They purchased a tent that sleeps eight, plus flash lights and other items. The new tent is set up by a house in Albidale. I wonder what lies ahead for these adventurous and perhaps millionaires-to-be.

I will add that recently I was talking with several of the local boys. They had nicely styled hair. I pointed to my partially bald head and commented that they had much better hair than I did. One little fellow looked up at me and commented most sincerely, “But you are more intelligent than we are.” God bless his parents for instilling a sense of charity and kindness in their son. I felt his goodness.

A SUMMER DAY

On June 28th I decided to go Lambertville, N.J. I planned to park at the Lambertville Train Station Restaurant and then walk across the bridge and back. However as I drove toward Peddler’s Village, the road, narrowed to two lanes and a car accident stopped all forward movement. So I turned around and came home.

Then I took the July Sunshine Magazine to Cairnwood Village. After that I drove over to the Cathedral where there was a children’s summer camp. About 50 kids were having a grand old time, running around, sitting on the ground, eating goodies and talking loudly to each other. On the parking lot, as it narrowed toward the Porte-cochere, there were designs on the black top made by colored chalk markers. I watched the kids run around for a while and soon I spotted a box of markers. I simply could not control myself. I removed a light blue-colored crayon and bent down and sketched a box-type design on the driveway.

As I stood up with pencil in hand, looking and feeling rather guilty, a teenage girl approached me and told me that I could not make designs in their allotted area. I told her that I already had. Oops.

So I introduced myself and she smiled and shook my hand. She may have thought: “I guess that I should be kind to the old goat. Maybe he is someone of financial influence in Bryn Athyn.” I like to think of myself as a person of influence but only with the innocent, young or old. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of the heavens.” Matthew 19:14