tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
Rev. is back!

I watched last week's episode in my old theological college, whence I had gone for a few days on the 'Deacons' Retreat'. It wasn't much of a retreat, but there was a lot of reflection and listening to each other, and I found the whole thing exhausting but unexpectedly healing. Bits of theological college were good, but bits of it made me profoundly unhappy, and I think that's a (worryingly?) common experience.

Anyway, yesterday I caught up with Monday's episode, which I think was the best they've done in ages (though I do wonder what any non-church people in the audience make of it).

Anyone who cares has probably seen it but - spoilers anyway )
tree_and_leaf: Burne-Jones angel playing trumpet, caption "Make a joyful noise." (Make a joyful noise)

Westminster Cathedral Choir singing the Advent Prose (Rorate Caeli - Drop down ye Heavens from Above, and let the skies pour down righteousness). Westminster Cathedral really do have a great choir, especially when it comes to Gregorian chant.

"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge (the church is actually the cathedral at Bury St Edmunds, though).

"Lo He Comes With Clouds Desending" - Lichfield Cathedral Choir (taking it rather slow, but it's still a cracking hymn).

"Wachet Auf" - Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Concertus Musicus Wien (nb: this is 28 mins long...)

tree_and_leaf: Peter Davison in Five's cricket gear, leaning on wall with nose in book, looking a bit like Peter Wimsey. (Books)
Weird reflections of the day so far:

(a) One of the reasons I find Reg/ Len squicky is that the situation, particularly with Jo's peculiar and slightly troubling enthusiasm for it, reminds me a bit of Effi Briest (incidentally, that Wiki article is linguistically very odd), only with bonus squick, because however ill you think of Innstetten, he at least didn't hang around watching her grow up.

(b) I was trying to imagine a worship song dealing with dark night experiences (since there are hymns which fall into that category, such as Abide With Me), and found myself wondering if you wouldn't end up with something suspiciously like 'Hit Me Baby One More Time', simply substituting 'Jesus' or 'Lord' for 'baby'/ 'boy' (you've even got the dodgy power dynamics):

My loneliness is killing me
I must confess I still believe
When I'm not with you I lose my mind
Give me a sign,
Hit me Jesus one more time....†

Oh Jesus, Jesus, the reason I breathe is you (etc)

Oh dear. Too easy. Except, of course, it's a far better crafted song than most of what emanates from Hillsong or whatever the favourite of the month is...

† Batter my heart, three-personed God, and all that.
tree_and_leaf: Screaming woman with stripe of electrical discharge, caption 'Argh!! No' (The Wire). (Aargh! No!)
So I was being an acolyte at High Mass today; this involves various jobs, but most prominently carrying a processional torch, er, in procession and standing or kneeling in front of the altar with it during the Eucharistic prayer.

Except mine - we use those pseudo-candles that are actually oil lamps - kept going out. I had a box of matches, so I thought there was nothing to panic about - but then, after the peace, when we should have been filing across to the front of the altar, I realised that not only had it gone out again, but that the wick had burnt out.... After a panic-stricken and oily attempt at rescuing the situation, just had to file out with the other acolyte and kneel down.

The Gospel reading for today was the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. Well, I like to think I may have brought the story alive for them....

To think people say God has no sense of humour!
tree_and_leaf: Photo of spire of Freiburg Minster (14th C broached gothic) silhouetted against sunset. (Schönste Turm)
Further to previous post about Eckhart: I've been reading Kurt Ruh's account of the Inquisitorial proceedings against him, and find myself somewhat upset by the whole disgraceful business. Poor Eckhard - not to mention his colleague, Nikolaus of Strassburg, who attempted to point out the thinness of some of the charges being raked up by two very unreliable witnesses, and was himself investigated for 'obstructing the inquisition' for his pains (though apparently nothing came of that, at least).

Rest eternal grant unto them O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them.
tree_and_leaf: Portrait of John Keble in profile, looking like a charming old gentleman with a sense of humour. (anglican)
Brazilian landowners destroy the chapel of an Episcopalian mission to the landless. They also destroyed a community school which was under construction, and have been harrassing and intimidating the clergy of the mission.

This is an attack by the powerful on the powerless and those who stand with them; it's an old, familiar pattern, and it's not exactly hard to find even more awful examples of injustice throughout the world - though there's a very striking symbolism to this particular case. At the same time, though, I'm glad to see the Church's mission and witness being lived out in that situation (and as an Anglican, it's quite cheering to be reminded that my particular branch of the church is in a better state than it's usually painted!) I will be remembering the people of Primeiros Passos Camp in my prayers, and also sending an e-mail of support to the Provincial Secretary, which is not much, but better than nothing.
tree_and_leaf: Photo of spire of Freiburg Minster (14th C broached gothic) silhouetted against sunset. (Schönste Turm)
This is a good idea: a Lenten initiative in Karlsruhe from the churches, environment groups and the local public transport (link in German) Basically, if you sign a statement to the effect that either you can't use a car during the period of Lent (for whatever reason), or that you will reassess your car use during Lent, you can buy a cheap pass for the local public transport network. Furthermore, taking part in the scheme entitles you to a subsequent discount on a season ticket.

... and now I ought to try to get some redrafting done. I hate editing my own work, at least academic work.
tree_and_leaf: Portrait of John Keble in profile, looking like a charming old gentleman with a sense of humour. (anglican)
Nuns and gay-rights groups make common cause.

Although it's not entirely surprising that progressive changes emerge precisely in difficult situations, because they force you to ask what's really essential to what you believe and how you express it. For instance, the first ordination of a woman as priest in the Anglican communion, that of Florence Li Tim-Oi in the diocese of Hong Kong in 1944 was a response to the very great difficulties with the faithful faced as a result of the Japanese invasion, which makes it even more irritating when conservatives talk about women's ordination in terms of a grab for something illicit because, in the selfish modern fashion, a wish to self-determination trumps tradition and principle.

This line of argument is, in itself, probably connected to the Madonna/ whore dichotomy, since I've heard it argued, more or less in so many words, that no woman could have a genuine sense of vocation to the priesthood, since campaigning for women's ordination involved being loud and pushy and rebelling against the ecclesiastical status quo, and good priests are not thus. Funnily enough, this does not seem to disqualify any of the male priests or thinkers of the Oxford Movement, who also got into a lot of trouble for promoting a vision of what it means to be a priest and do church that didn't fit the ecclesiastical principles of their day from that category. But of course, smells, bells and tat is a matter of high minded and important principle, whereas wishing to live out a vocation in the service of God's people in word, sacrament and the care of souls, is just ego-centric, ambitious feminism and/ or political correctness gone mad (™) I sometimes suspect that there's a certain type of man that doesn't believe that women are really people, ordinary human beings - devil or angel or a useful domestic animal, but never an equal of the average sensual sort of man (there are, doubtless, also women who share this view). A woman can't be a priest, by definition, because she's not fully human?†

DISCLAIMER: I am aware of the fact that there are other arguments against the ordination of women, though I don't agree with them. I am also fully aware that the Oxford Movement was not merely a campaign for ecclesiastical tat for all, even if I've met Anglo-Catholics who gave that impression, and even though I do have a slightly dubious enthusiasm for nose-bleedingly high Masses myself....

† Yes, I've been reading Sayers and 'The Human Not-quite Human'...


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October 2017

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