I woke up this morning with peach muffins on my mind.
I’ve never even heard of peach muffins; I wasn’t sure they would work, though apple, banana and blueberry certainly do. But what spices go with peaches? I searched for recipes online first thing. Allrecipes.com, which isn’t where I usually turn, had exactly one peach muffin recipe. Cinnamon, it said; oh, I said, that might be good.
Why did I wake up with muffins on my mind? I never eat breakfast; the only way I can explain this peach jag is that I recently made some fresh peach cobbler, and that was great. Does the local supermarket still have South Carolina peaches? Yes, it turns out.
I suspect there’s more to my peach jag, though. My tomatoes are coming hot and heavy now, and I’m eating them at almost every meal. So this little peach obsession is part of a larger fresh fruit tear I’m on. This time of year only comes, well, once a year, and either you take advantage of it or you miss out. (The homegrown sweet corn is now gone. I had some good ears, though.) Murphy’s still has Indiana canteloupes, and I plan to save the seeds for next year’s garden.
But I didn’t have any peaches this morning so I proceeded to my regular routine of reading the newspapers, answering my mail, checking church websites and posting the Daily Office.
Today, checking church websites proved to be a mistake. Everything I saw upset me a little. On Daily Episcopalian, Dr. Derek Olsen offered part one of an essay about the Virgin Birth, which was appropriate considering that today has been the Feast of Mary’s parents Joachim and Anne. Derek’s inclined to believe that Jesus was conceived without sexual intercourse; so am I, even though we all know that what’s translated as “virgin” in English is actually “girl” or “young woman” in the original Greek. If, Derek says, one considers God to be Creator, and this does not conflict with scientific knowledge of the origins of life, an immaculate conception wouldn’t seem to be a hard trick for God.
Nearly all Episcopalians believe both in science and creationism. Our current Presiding Bishop used to be an oceanographer.
But Derek’s essay then led to a dozen mostly negative comments, including several from our ordained clergy, the net result of which is to undermine the very reasonable faith that most Christians have in the virgin birth, without (to my mind) any good reason except these half-baked half-theolgians’ own doubts, aired in public. I don’t like things like that. I left my own comment, agreeing with Derek and Fr. Bill Carroll, from my perspective having to do with prayer, which they’d all left out. My experience of prayer is that it usually or often leads to a perception of God’s near presence, which is what most Christians (for that matter, most Americans) report. Subjective claims of God’s presence don’t constitute evidence individually, but they do in the aggregate, and if God can touch us in Indiana, Haiti, South Africa, New Zealand and Brazil, then touching a young girl in Palestine way back when really isn’t much of a stretch.
Later today Episcopal Café reported about an Anglican priest in Canada who gave Communion to a dog during the Sunday service. “What say ye?” asked the priest in Wyoming who thought this was worth the attention of the faithful (she’d already weighed in doubting the Virgin Birth but claiming she could say the Creed, including the Virgin Birth, without crossing her fingers). What say I to the dog with Communion? Ridiculous, appalling, trashy, and the priest ought to be fired. There are now at least five angry rejoinders to my comment on Facebook.
So I haven’t had a great day. I get very tired of liberal clergy to whom we the People have bestowed the collar of ordination undermining our church and our faith, when there are so many others outside the Episcopal Church, from anti-Gay schismatics and wingnut fundamentalists to rabid atheists and the pope himself, doing the same thing.
Yes, I believe heaven is full of dogs and cats and animals. But I don’t think you feed them Holy Communion at any service of the church, for any reason, at any time. People have died for that bread and wine, first but not last Jesus himself, and I will not have it fed to dogs.
So some muffins would be really good right now, especially with some ice cream. I bought my peaches, but I also saw some bananas marked way down for quick sale, and bananas with spots are perfect for muffins. They’re in the oven now, while the peaches are in a brown paper bag to ripen a bit.
And for the rest of the week I’m on a muffin jag. If my dog Luke wants a taste, he can have it and no one will be hurt.
But God spare us these scandalous priests. Their questions aren’t bad but their answers can be awful.++