Clergy Clatter

If you are not “on Facebook”, you may not have seen the endless “photo shopped” images of Bernie Sanders sitting by himself, in a folding chair, outside in the cold at the inauguration, wearing colorful handmade mittens. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about that – just an old man (my age), huddled to the cold, with a pair of mittens crocheted and sent to him by a fan. It’s a neat little slice of life photo. But that photo has taken on a life of its own. Someone digitally removed the background, and started putting Bernie and his mittens all over the place. The other night he was up in a tree, and in what appeared to be the Hampton Roads Tunnel. He is sitting in church pews, singing with choirs, emblazoned in stain glass, and every place one you can imagine. The more amusing, the better.

What I find so interesting, is that here is a man who has been, and continues to be politically controversial. People love him or hate him, politically. He’s a U. S. senator who has run for president twice. His face has been plastered all over the news for years, at the cost of millions and millions of dollars. He has something to say about almost everything, and he has never shied away from controversy. For years he has been popular with the college age group, as the rest of us ponder what it is that young people see in this old man.

But here he is. He is appearing everywhere someone can think to place him. People are having fun with a politician, and a controversial one, at that. And I have not seen one nasty remark about Bernie and his mittens. I’m told that there are now tee shirts on sale with Bernie sitting in his chair with his mittens. The woman who made the mittens and sent them to him is now a popular guest on talk shows. I don’t care where you are politically, this is fun, light hearted, creative, and people are enjoying it. We have needed this so badly.

Sometimes the intensity of issues can become so heavy, that we feel almost pounded down by them. In the church we saw the introduction of “The New Prayer Book”, and the ordination of women, and a publicly gay bishop, to name a few issues. Those issues became oppressive, as we struggled to live through them. A lot of people couldn’t take it and left the church. I, for one, just wanted to move on. Genies don’t go back into bottles. For me, the challenge was how to move on.

Thank you Bernie for wearing your mittens to the inauguration. Thank you for helping us “lighten up” and enjoy a brighter, humorous, creative side of life. You and your mittens have made a significant contribution to our redemption as “One Nation.” You have helped us laugh.

Richard +

February 1, 2021

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A compilation of The Rev. Richard O. Bridgford’s most memorable articles from his nearly 25 years at Church of the Epiphany. Enjoy history, humor, nature, travel, and wacky experiences with Fr. Bridgford, his two-legged and four-legged friends! Recall:

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