Each week on Wednesday, George Yandell, the Rector of the Parish, or other invited parishioners, share their thoughts on any topic that they choose. The most recent are presented here.”
September 1, 2021
By the Reverand George Yandell, Rector
I’m not up on current trends, but in a number of interviews on NPR in the past weeks, and on the Late Show, when the interviewer/host asks questions, the interviewee often has responded, “Absolutely!”
Example (made up by me): “In your research you’ve discovered that cats like catnip. Is that true?” “Absolutely!” the interviewee responds, with vigor. Exactly what’s absolute about that question? Do the cats respond by touching a button labeled ‘Absolutely true’? Do the cats prefer catnip over everything else, including tummy rubs? “Absolutely!” I doubt it.
The Microsoft dictionary here on my computer has this definition: “Used to emphasize a strong or exaggerated statement.” My American Heritage dictionary defines it this way: “Definitely and completely; unquestionably.”
So what part of the catnip question is strong or exaggerated? It’s a QUESTION.
Absolute Vodka came to mind. On its website, it offers an answer to the question:
Is Absolut Vodka and its production process vegan?
YES. All Absolut products are absolutely vegan, thus they do not contain any animal products and no such products are used in the production process. We do not use any animal derivatives, either directly in the product itself, or to filter the product. We do not use bone chars in any process. And no catnip. (My insertion.)
So Absolut vodka is also absolutely everything. What’s going on with this superlative?
As a preacher, I often check the Bible for information and clarity. “Absolute” and “absolutely” do not appear in the Bible as per Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the King James Version. (If they did, they’d sit between Absalom and absence. They’re not there.)
I recall that Jesus said something about yes being yes. I looked it up- Matthew chapter five has Jesus giving a sermon (on the mount) with follow-up statements and illustrations. 5:33ff speaks of swearing:
“You have heard that it was said in ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.” But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more that this comes from the evil one.”
Whoa. That’s pretty absolute. Uh oh. George Yandell
May 26, 2021
By the Reverend George Yandell, Rector
In mid-August 1991, my cousin Nancy and I rendezvoused in Butte, Montana. We planned to take three days to acclimate to the altitude before we began our 12-day Sierra Club backpacking trip in the Pintler-Anaconda Wilderness area. That hike was to take us up to the continental divide, then hike north from high-country lake to lake with a mid-hike supply. Dr. Wayne Chamberlain was the guide and leader of the trip.
May 19, 2021
By Reverend George Yandell, Rector
Each spring I watch to see how the service berry bushes are doing. Three of those small trees are planted in front of the gallery, and 30 of them encircle the ball ground just west of the nave and parish hall. (Planted there with donations for Holy Family’s 30th anniversary celebration.) The trees begin to produce their fruit in mid-spring.
March 17, 2021
The Rev George Yandell, Rector
The Key of Earth
In 1978 I heard a remarkable song on the FM jazz station in Metro Washington D.C. It was ‘Common Ground’ by Paul Winter on the album of the same title. The DJ gave some background on the album- it featured songs of the humpback whale, the African fish-eagle and a Canadian timber wolf named Jethro. (I kid you not.) The animals’ songs were woven into compositions by Paul Winter and others.