Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Black Knight

(Cue thundering guitar riff)
Black knight is not right.
I don't feel so bright.
I don't care to sit tight.

Maybe I'll find on the way down the line
That I'm free, free to be me.
Black knight is a long way from home.

Who needs a dark tree?
Who wants a rough sea?

(Chorus:) Black knight, black knight, we don't need a black knight.

I can't see - dark night.
Black knight is a long way from home.

With apologies to Ian Gillan - the master. Who knew?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Dangers of Speaking with Your Mouth Full

Oh dear, getting behind with the posting. Just a short one for today. Went down the social club and had a very interesting chat with the Secretary of the Temperance Club about the difference between methylated spirits and ethyl alcohol. Unfortunately she was well over the limit herself. Never mind, eh, do as I say and not as I do?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Literary Tricks

(Re)discovered a figure of speech on "Eggheads" yesterday and wanted to compose a few. Two to go on with:

"Time ran out and so did the dog."

"I cleaned out the garage first and the casino second."

Eggheads called it zeugma but Wikipedia says this is syllepsis, a sub-category.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Quiet Day Quotes

"It was my grandfather that taught me how to kill."

"The body is like the benefit system; designed to fail you."

(Contributions welcomed.)

Edit: and the image of the day is M... in his woolly jumper modelling the "drug baron" look.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Suffering Schillebeeckx

(Catching up on Leading Thinkers)

Anyone who gets up the nose of the Pope is all right by me.

Revelation is to be mediated through experience (but not reduced to it). The subjective/objective is a false dichotomy.

Mystery, the unknown, mysterion (Graham and I thought they were in Captain Scarlet, but apparently that was somebody else.)

Rightness of belief must be expressed in a dialectic of theory and experience. God is a transformer (where do all the cartoon references fit in?) Jesus is an eschatological prophet, the paradigm of humanity.

Must live the story of Jesus to know the God of whom Jesus witnesses. Er.

It's all about being connected.

Is he just a 19th Century liberal? Or is he really undermining authority (stop cheering at the back)? And the ontological nature of the priesthood? (More cheers, suppressed.)

And just what is orthopraxis?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Abraham was a Grumpy Old Man

If he wasn't when he started he would have been after a bit, anyway. All that stuff about I've got this promise and then you get a gift and you have to promise to give it back and you don't actually have to in the end what is all that then why can't you just go about it in a straightforward manner, never mind having faith let's just say what we want shall we?

Anyway he went on a journey so I will too. Let's hope we can manage the direct route for once I don't have two hundred years.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thoughts For the Eve of Ascension Day

The disciples did not know it until the next morning, but today is the day of closure before the start of the next phase. The waiting is finished, the unknowing and unknowable preparation has been done, the spaces are all filled. Even the i's are dotted (forgive the obtrusion). The resolution may be unexpected and shocking to some but it is resolved. Some will be happy, some will be perplexed, some are uncomfortable and inevitably some will misinterpret. How long was it before someone asked "did he really go to heaven?". Not long, I think. And then "did he come from heaven?" And then, and then .. and then the theologians got going.

No matter. The Rubicon is crossed. The gammon is averted. The study is closed. Not resignation, but a new game. The best one in town.

I have seen the sheepdogs learning new tricks.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Recipe for Disaster

1 bushel of ambition
3 rivers of frustration
2 beating hearts
1 streak of defiance
1 cupful of salvation
2 fishy tails
1 flash of anger
1 well of tears
Lifetime's supply of love
Large dollop of forgiveness
Spark of creativity
Dash of hope
Large quantity of naivety and ignorance

For a really fiery mixture, marinade in a sense of history

Preparation Time: Long

Beat the ambition, love and frustration together until the skin is tender. Break the hearts and fold in.

Separate the mercy and discard (this can be fed to swine).

Chop the rest of the ingredients into small pieces, carefully remove the peace and add haphazardly.
Stir and stir again. If it does not settle, disinformation may be added.
Important: no respect should be included.

The confusion should be visible on the surface. Don't worry if it's a bit lumpy, it adds relish.

Roast the mixture under a high heat and grill on one side until flaming.
Warning: the mixture may spontaneously combust during this process. That is to be expected and quite normal. If it remains cool, boil the distressed mixture in ashes.


Turn out.
Cover up with artificial sweetener.

A mock garnish may be added.

Do not serve.

At Odds With the Church

The radio came on this morning with the Today story about a Catholic priest, much loved by his flock, who has been removed from his post because he has broken the rules of the church. He got married. Another priest, his friend apparently, said that the rules must be obeyed because without the rules they would not be Catholics they would be Protestants or Jews. Perish the thought.

So Father Leon is not recognised as a priest because he sees a higher way. I wonder how he feels.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Pain and Healing

It is too easy to write comforting words about healing. Anyone can write a cosy 15-minute sermon about the story in John's Gospel of Jesus healing the man at the poolside. Wrap it up in a comforting theology.

That gives the impression that healing is always available; that Jesus is there with a sticking plaster to make it all well again. Well of course he is available, but sometimes the sticking plaster is not the right treatment. To assume this is to assume that healing is always the correct answer, that it is natural for humans to feel whole. That not being healed is due to lack of faith, or worse.

But it is human to feel pain and to continually experience it. And although it is tempting, attractive, to want to cure the pain, it is necessary sometimes to face the pain, to endure it, to live it. We develop all sorts of strategies to deal with pain. We distract ourselves, we deny it, we suppress it, we ignore it. But it is still there. So sometimes we face it. And to re-examine old pains, of bereavement, of loss, of rejection is also sometimes necessary - for although they (appear to) fade they do not go away.

So when someone tells you their pain, do not try to cure it. Just listen to it and share the dark place, and feel privileged that they have chosen you. And when you have your pain, do not look for solutions and potions. But find a friend who will share it with you, who will not ask anything of you, who will not try to do anything to you, who will not be embarrassed if you cry, or rage, or sigh, but who will affirm you in your pain. And value that friend.

And remember that pain brings growth and that growth is always painful.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Song of Cassandra

I sought Fletcher but found Metzke.
I tried to be Twain and Eliot but turned into Queen.
I am Winston's friend aged twenty-three.

You need a long spoon to study the work of fiction that is the Bible; old conversations echo through time.
To step through the looking-glass you must speak Latin backwards. Then it is just the same.
Where are you, Leo?

Can you hear me, Jane?

Break the pot. Shatter it against the wall. Grind it underfoot until none remains. The image persists.

It's time to leave Kansas.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Personality Crisis (The New York Dolls)

When you go down the rabbit hole you come back a different person. Alice knows that and so does Grace.
But do you come back ten feet small or ten inches tall?
And does it matter?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Waiting, Hoping, Believing

The holy trinity. Which is the hardest?

Rahner Rocks!

This week's leading thinker is Karl Rahner, the antithesis of Barth. Whereas Barth says all revelation comes from God and there's no other place to start from (or to receive anything) Rahner says it's the very nature of being human that enables you to be aware of God.

In one fell swoop he does away with proofs and he solves the Chalcedon paradox in a very creative but Scripturally sound way! The divine and the human are not a dichotomy but intimately complementary. Vorgriff auf esse indeed.


To live Him is to know Him.

Knowledge is Mysticism.

Secularism diminishes Humanity. Spirituality enhances it. (Poor old Dawkins, doing exactly the wrong thing again.)

We do not seek to dominate but to be suffused by. Eucharist is not an incursion but a manifestation (an epiphany???) Just need to make sure that not too much gets in under the net. Need to assert the uniqueness of Christ before we fall into nirvana-seeking. Yet nirvana-seeking isn't too far away?

Bit concerned about deeming people to be within "the Church" and that phrase was a bit too lightly used.

Oh yes. What is wrong with Schleiermacher? barely allowed to mention his name. Maybe we get there in a bit.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

What Do You Want From Me?


Friday, May 04, 2007


Speech is silver
Silence is golden
Listening is diamond set in platinum.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mixed Messages

If the church you're in starts singing different tunes
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon.

With apologies to Roger Waters