Sunday, October 19, 2014

Vinyl worship too

I suppose one could imagine that “vinyl worship” refers to the current affection some have for vinyl records. Fine, but it was not the imagery I intended. I was referring to the main cash crop south of my residence, the proliferation of vinyl-clad homes. That’s not a criticism. To a man, almost no one who lives in these miles and miles of cookie cutters is native to central Indiana. So what do you do if you’re being transferred to central Indiana? You look for a house in a place where the schools represent a choice that is safe, where streets are safe and where the choice of a house is safe. That means Carmel, Fishers or Noblesville, and to make houses affordable, they are vinyl clad. There’s no sense in disliking it as natives sometimes do and as I have done in the past. There is, however, an attitude that is both dominant culture, college educated and simultaneously arrogant and ignorant that tends to make everything around vinyl villages strive to look traditional, and as a result, they end up looking terribly, horribly contrived. See downtown Carmel for an extreme example. But what are the alternatives? What would a small town’s downtown look like in modernist, Bauhaus or Lloyd Wright appearance? Virtually unimaginable? Sure.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Vinyl worship

I know the people who support the liturgy in both parishes I attend are wonderful people. I genuinely believe this and I believe they are people who, in short, do their best to do a good job. Without regard for what I know is the hard work done by those who support liturgy, this is a complaint about what I only know to term “suburban worship” that I think has become so without awareness of its perpetrators not because of any ill intent whatsoever. Far from it, the problem is a lack of exposure to liturgy overall, including liturgy in its traditional forms. The problem is exacerbated by a lack of understanding and the appreciation that comes from a full understanding of both tradition and change that is authentically organic and not revolutionary. The result is a Mass setting that is all too informal, banal, bland, of only passing sensory stimulation at best and feminized not to an extent that alienates men but to an extent which simply leaves men wholly disengaged.

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Destination Arcadia, Indiana…an Air Heritage Community

[Ed. note: This post is under periodic revision. If you are interested in this topic, check back for revisions.]

Almost everyone loves an airshow, aviation museums and eating out. Add camping, hiking, flea markets and history and you have Arcadia, Indiana, a living air heritage community that has embraced flying, aerospace and a whole variety of complementary things to do, all in one location.

The airport is unqiue. It was “built” after a period of building of community support. Much work was done to give the assurance of an airport that would never be allowed to expand to allow airline service or even business jets. This airport was designed FOR the community and to preserve and showcase the nation’s aviation heritage and the airport board fiercely guards that mission.

As an example, there is both a paved AND turf runway,but the 4000 ft. turf runway is by far the most popular. The 4000 ft. paved runway is long enough for most business jets but business jets are not allowed to be based at the field.

The airport is the centerpiece of course, but one which has attracted and grown thanks to pilots and aviation enthusiasts from all over the United States who have contributed to a family-friendly aviation culture that includes plenty even for those whose neck doesn’t crane skyward to see the source of a belching radial engine.

Getting around is easy. Buses an even volunteer-driven golf carts are everywhere and take you anywhere you need to go. Golf cart and car rentals are available at the airport.

The centerpiece of the airport is a museum of both aircraft and agricultural machinery. The Experimental Aircraft Association and Commemorative Air Force locate aircraft for the exhibit and maintain several in airworthy condition.

There are only two airports in Indiana with onsite restaurants. The Heritage Airpark is one, with choice of a Dog -N- Suds or Cracker Barrel cafe. The CB Cafe is a slightly scaled down version of the full size Cracker Barrel, an concept being tried by the Lebanon, Tennessee based eatery. The Dog -N- Suds has both a drive up format but also a dining room, a rarity for Dog -N- Suds. Both restaurants have large windowed dining areas with a view to the ramp and runway so patrons can watch aircraft take off and land.

Visiting on a Sunday? Catch worship services or a Catholic Mass at the airport chapel. In the summer, services and Mass are frequently held at the outdoors amphitheater.

The amphitheater? It’s a smaller version of nearby Klipsch Music Center, with a covered area with chair seating as well as a grassy knoll siting area and features live concerts, from bluegrass to oldies to rock, many which have minimal or no admission. 

That’s all at the airpark. As for Arcadia-the-town, with the help of consultants from Ball State University, it has kept its Midwestern small town character intact while hosting everything from art galleries to restaurants for every budget and palate, as well as some excellent flea markets that operate mainly during the warm season. Wilson;s Farm Market, a regular at area farmers markets and locally famed for a wide variety of fresh, locally-grown vegetables and unusual “full flavored” delights, maintains a grocery in town. A farmers market also operates in an area known as the Bazaar.

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Arcadia Air Heritage Airpark: An Economic Development Idea

Arcadia, Cicero and Atlanta have at various times undertaken economic development ideas, each having found individuals willing to work hard to implement plans ranging from lake-based tourism to development of an arts culture. 

Airports are often unwelcome in a community or neighborhood. This is unfortunate because airports take so many forms.

The Arcadia Air Heritage Airpark will emphasize the educational and recreation elements of aviation and will integrate with the community in tangible and important ways. First, by offering a welcoming culture that encourages the community to be involved. It is not and never intends to be a jet port or center for corporate or airline activity. That would not only not be its purpose; to become a “sanitized” suburban airport facility would be damaging to its mission and detrimental to its results.

Some characteristics of the facility:

–5000 x 100 ft turf runway and/or 5000 ft x 100 ft paved runway.
–Onsite conference facilities with amphitheater.

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A model homeless response for Hamilton County, Indiana

Friday, July 4, 2014

[Ed. note: This post is under periodic revision. If you are interested in this topic, check back for revisions.]

In 2010, Hamilton County, Indiana had a population of 289,495. Also in 2010, according to (“People in Group Quarters in Hamilton County”, 2012) there were about 20 homeless in Hamilton County, Indiana, as well as 49 people living in “group homes intended for adults.”

Hamilton County is by far the most prosperous county in the State of Indiana so there’s no surprise that the homeless numbers are low. Therein lies an opportunity, however, to create an affordable and effective model program for the homeless that can be readily modified and scaled up for parts of the nation with higher homeless populations.

The following were chosen as models:

a. State and county parks.
b. The community and self-sustaining life within the Catholic monastic system.
c. Workable elements of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s (Maricopa County, Arizona) Tent City jail.

It would be set up like a large county park or small state park in a lower density location in Hamilton County. It would have lots set up for tent-type camping for both individuals and families, usable from May to October. The grounds would be maintained by residents and volunteers under supervision by the Hamilton County Parks Department.

It would also have a permanent multi-use building whose primary use would be winter normal and emergency housing. Summer use would allow primary use for meal preparation and service, clinic facilities, a training and education center with offices and classrooms, a chapel, and administrative offices. The building would be set up for maximum flexibility to permit ease of use expansion for winter sheltering without compromising essential services already housed in the facility.

The State and County Parks Model: A Quality of Life Consideration

A Possible Military Housing Variation

A large percentage of America’s homeless are military veterans. The shelter can be set up to accommodate a population of homeless veterans living under one or more of the following scenarios:

a. homeless veterans having failed to navigate the transition from military to civilian life.
b. veterans who are compelled to travel frequently, for various reasons, to the Veterans Administration (VA) Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, Indianapolis.



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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Latin, traditional: Feast of Christ the King)

23rd Sunday After Pentecost (Byzantine/Eastern Catholic)

I sure miss the traditional when it comes to commemorating Sundays and feasts.

Ok, problem of the week: How to keep Sunday holy. At the outset I accept that under the new covenant established by Christ and confirmed by His words and example in the Gospel, the Holy Spirit was sent to men to govern and guide the Church. This business of asserting that the teachings and precepts of Catholics are merely “laws of men” tries to erase the words and actions of Christ in the gospels and His apostles and disciples in Acts of the Apostles, and assumes that the Holy Spirit plays no role in the guidance of the Church. That’s unfortunate, but I accept that Sunday is the right observance of the Sabbath and yet, I struggle with how to keep it holy.

I have decided to take today and begin to change that.

First and foremost, attendance at Mass is a given. As I have told my students, God gives us 176 hours in a week and only asks for 1-2 hours in return. That strikes me as extraordinarily reasonable, even generous. Father Saunders at also suggests we make it a day for family. I like that but it contrasts with others who suggest, and occasionally insist that it is a day to carry out the corporal acts of mercy. I don’t disagree but one of my weaknesses is that I’m not especially good at ministering people in particular situations, including the sick and likely, those in prison.

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Ad orientem vs. versus populum


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