Monday, June 04, 2012

Restoration & the Sabellian heresy

The camera was charged up and ready to go to Ottumwa yesterday morning when, wouldn't you know, I ran out of the house without it. Darn.

I had wanted to take some photos of an Ottumwa preservation success story involving this big old frame house at the intersection of Fifth and Market streets in the Fifth Street Bluff Historic District. This photo, snagged from a Realtor site a couple of years ago when it was on the market, shows it looking shabby.

The house still is in the process of a meticulous (and expensive) restoration, old paint now mostly removed and ready for fresh coats. The photo below, also from the Realtor site, gives some idea of the quality of the interiors.

It takes a lot of guts and considerable money to take on a project like this, but I'm sure glad there are some willing to do it. Now if one or more of these folks would just consider Chariton .... I'll try to remember the camera next time, when perhaps the new paint will be in place. But if you're in Ottumwa, drive by and take a look for yourself.


We were in Ottumwa to participate in festival worship on the Feast Day of the Holy Trinity at, appropriately enough, Trinity Episcopal Church --- the most commanding presence in the Fifth Street Bluff district. No fresh photos again, but here's how it looked during November two years ago.

It's always fun to experience how the other half worships, pipe organ, trumpet, vested choir and gothic revival splendor. Plus a great meal after --- need to get that German potato salad recipe.

Trinity Sunday is one of seven principal feast days in the Episcopal Church (the others are Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, All Saints, Christmas and Epiphany), but has the distinction of being the only one devoted to a doctrine rather than an event.

Before the church had same-sex marriage to wrangle about, it spent considerable time and effort (until about the 4th century with skirmishes thereafter) squabbling about exactly how the persons of the Trinity were related to each other. That's more or less established now and expressed in the Nicene and related (Apostles' and Athanasian) creeds. But it wasn't easy.

I can still get a little misty-eyed sometimes about the Sabellian heresy, named for a hapless third-century monk who proposed a nontrinitarian explanation --- aspects of one God, provider and creator, manifested in flesh as the Son to redeem and teach the Way and manifested as the Spirit in the lives of those who follow the Son. It's a heck of a lot simpler. That, however, just wasn't sexy enough for the church fathers.


So far as the transitory nature of life is concerned, a lot of Iowans are sad this morning about the death late yesterday after an apparent heart attack at his farm near East Peru of Iowa Public Broadcasting's farm reporter and commentator Mark Pearson, only 54.

Host of "Market to Market" and founding father of the Great Iowa Tractor Ride --- among those ag-related events that mystify those farther removed from the land --- he was both knowledgeable and personable, a combination that isn't necessarily always manifest.

One of the oddities of televsion, which I rarely watch any more, is its ability to make strangers seem like farmily members --- with mixed results. Pearson seems to have been one of those guys most of us were glad to have in the family.

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