Confessions of a Rocket Scientist
Thursday, January 13, 2005
No progress to report on the Space Ark. It's sitting in its box waiting for fins.

My Dear Wife and I were saddened when her cousin's wife lost her mother recently. She was 84. We are kind of close to Bob and Deena, Betty's cousins, so we paid our respects at the memorial service last weekend.

Deena is a soldier in the Salvation Army, and so was her mother. This was the first time I had attended any sort of a Salvation Army function. It was an education. You see, most of my family, including myself, were raised Catholic. Those of us who were raised Protestant came from one of the more mainstream churches, like the Lutherans. We are used to a more sedate form of worship.

First off, there was a brass quartet playing at the funeral home. Yep, it was a Salvation Army band. They actually sounded pretty good and didn't hit too many sour notes. Hearing it reminded me of Christmas in the city, when the Salvation Army plays Christmas Carols on the corner to get you to put some money in the kettle. I usually put something in when I pass a bell-ringer. The other thing it reminded me of was the Broadway musical "Guys and Dolls." I had to bite my tongue a few times when the songs from the show would play in my head. ("I got a horse right here, his name is Paul Revere..." etc.)

The other thing I was not prepared for were the spontaneous shouts of "Amen" and "Hallelujah!" from the congregation.

Like I said, I grew up Catholic, and in a Catholic service NOBODY says anything unless it's a prescribed response. Catholic ceremonies tend to be very ritualistic and well rehearsed with little spontenaity. And when the priest gives a sermon, the prescribed behavior is to sit still, listen attentively, and try not to snore too loudly when you fall asleep. If anybody started shouting "Amen!" and "Hallelujah" during the Homily he would most likely be asked to either shut up or leave.

Another interesting aspect of this has to do with the structure of the Salvation Army. I always thought that the uniforms were kind of neat, and the term "soldier" was also sort of cute, but somehow I always thought it was an honorific, sort of like "Onward Christian Soldiers." But the service was conducted by an OFFICER of the Salvation Army, a Captain no less. Here I find out that they really DO have military-style ranks in their Church. Gives you something to think about. I wonder if they have sergeants? From my own experience in the military, the language employed by most sergeants would be unsuitable for the inside of a church.

Today's cup of coffee is Chocolate Cappuccino, a nice medium blend with a hint of chocolate.
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Location: Quakertown, Pennsylvania, United States

Two time cancer survivor, happily married, LaSalle Alumnus

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