Monday, May 05, 2003

Tornadoes kill at least 30 in three states
Surprising as well as sad - thanks to an excellent warning system using radio, TV and 1950s air-raid sirens (they sound a bit like fire whistles in East Coast towns) most people in the American Midwest get to their houses' basements in time and so people rarely get killed in tornadoes.

Tornado described in the Bible?
I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north - an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal... - Ezekiel 1:4

The Fujita-Pearson Tornado Intensity Scale

I've never seen one but a trip to the Midwest got me interested in extreme weather and I'd like to see one someday - if (and this is a big if) it's far away to the east where it can't turn around and get me. What I've seen that was most like one was during a thunderstorm (the Midwestern variety are truly, in the original sense of the word, awesome) in which I saw what's called a microburst - white horizontal rain (as if somebody had turned several firehoses on the windows all at once) and a wind, clocked by the National Weather Service at 100 mph, that nearly blew in the doors of the house where I was watching all this. It's also called a derecho, Spanish for 'straight ahead', as opposed to a tornado where the wind spins around in a vortex.

Today in church history
May 5, 553: The Second Council of Constantinople convenes under the presidency of Eutychius, the city's new patriarch. The council, loaded with bishops from the Eastern church, attacked 'Nestorianism'. St Gregory Nazianzen had harsh words about this council and the treatment he received there: the younger members of this Council, he said, 'attacked him like a swarm of wasps'. ... The Nicene Creed, known to Orthodox as the Symbol of Faith, we recite is technically the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed, since this Second Council - which was almost exclusively an Eastern council - expanded on the original Creed of the Council of Nicea. For example, the Nicene Creed simply had 'And in the Holy Spirit'. This was expanded at Constaninople II, to 'And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke through the prophets'. The West eventually adopted this Council and its Creed (and later added to this the phrase Filioque, 'who proceeds from the Father and the Son'). More about the filioque.

Happy feast day of St Pius V, traditional Roman Catholics - Renaissance Pope and defender of traditional worship vs. Protestantism.

Which got me thinking... of course the 'Reformation' was a mistake. Only two good things came out of it in England - using English in church services and the compression of the Divine Office (Breviary) into Morning and Evening Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer, Mattins and Evensong. The hours of prayer, the prayer of the Church, for everyman. (Though literate Catholic people in the Middle Ages already prayed the hours in Latin, and psalm-reading figured in the lives of ordinary Russian Orthodox in the late 1800s and very early 1900s, as described by Gorky.) The Prayer Book's system of reading the whole psalter in a month, through relatively short sessions twice a day, is perfect for the laity. Here it is.

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