31 December 2006

Bush beats Osama & Saddam as villain of the year

Americans think their President George W. Bush is more of a villain than Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden, according to a recent poll.
Bush won the villain sweepstakes by a landslide, with one in four respondents putting him at the top of that bad-guy list. When people were asked to name the candidate for villain that first came to mind, Bush far outdistanced even Osama bin Laden, the terrorist leader in hiding; and former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who is scheduled for execution.

The president was picked as hero of the year by a much smaller margin. In the poll, 13 percent named him as their favorite while 6 percent cited the troops in Iraq.
I wonder if they'll hang him.

30 December 2006

Hanging Saddam Hussein and loving enemies

Hanging Saddam Hussein will do as much for Iraq as hanging P.W. Botha would have done for South Africa -- see my earlier post: Notes from underground: What to do with old dictators.

Pastor Phil Wyman makes some interesting points on treating people as enemies in his blog Square No More: Those Who Pray Together Slay Together.

In the recent obituaries on Gerald Ford, the former US president, it seems that for many the biggest mistake he made was pardoning Richard Nixon.

St Paul warns us (in Eph 6:10-12) that our struggle is not against blood and flesh, but against principalities and powers, against spiritual forces of wickedness. Hanging oppressors does not get rid of oppression. Yet we persist in thinking that we are fighting against flesh and blood, and so the cycle of vengeance continues.

It appears the US president George Bush wants Saddam Hussein to hang -- but if Bush is ever brought to trial for his war crimes, will there be any to plead for him to be pardoned?

I have heard that at the war crimes trials of Nazi leaders at Nuremburg one of the difficulties faced by the court was convincing the accused that they were not on trial for losing the war, but for starting it. That Bush would lose the war in Iraq was a foregone conclusion; his crime was starting it in the first place.

PW Botha, so far as I know, went to his death unrepentant. Would hanging him have made things better? Did Jesus make loving enemies conditional on their repentance? It seems to me that in demanding vengeance we demonstrate that we have been infected by the same virus as those we seek to kill. Killing people does not kill the virus, it just causes it to seek a new host. And the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies behave very much like viruses in that respect -- C.S. Lewis called them "macrobes" rather than "microbes".

People with secular values find this difficult to understand. They believe it is letting people off the hook, denying responsibility, and letting them get away with it using the excuse "The devil made me do it." But for Christians that excuse doesn't wash. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." That is the real spiritual warfare -- resisting the devil when he tempts us, and especially when he tempts us with the relatively undemanding exercise of confessing other people's sins and ignoring our own.

29 December 2006

Gnosticism, neognosticism and Orthodoxy

A couple of days ago I caught glimpses of a TV programme on Leonardo da Vinci. It had to do with a picture of two babies kissing, and whether it was by him, and if so, whether it showed that he was influenced by Gnosticism. I didn't follow the arguments closely as I was doing something else at the time, but it reminded me that there seems to be a growing interest in gnosticism in the media, and I got the impression that the people who made that TV programme thought that gnosticism was cool, and wouldn't it be cool if it could be shown that Leonardo da Vinci was influenced by gnosticism.

Now I'm no fundi on gnosticism, and I'm not particularly interested in it, but I do find it interesting that there seems to be a social tendency, at least in the West, towards a greater interest in gnosticism.

Some 45 years ago I wrote to my cousin and quoted something from the Nag Hammadi documents, which recorded as a saying of Jesus, "Lift the stone and thou shalt find me; cleave the wood and I am there." My cousin, who was going through a rather puritanical Baptist phase, wrote back asking if those were gnostic documents, and implying that if they were, there could be nothing good about the saying. There seemed to be a great prejudice against anything that might possibly be tainted by gnosticism.

Now the prejudice seems to be the other way. If it's gnostic, it must be good. Leonardo da Vinci was a great genius, but if he was a gnostic, his genius must be greater still.

As I said, I make no claim to be a fundi on gnosticism, so I defer to the opinion of one who is an acknowledged expert, Elaine Pagels. And I think she got it right in her description of the difference between gnosticism and Orthodox Christianity, and why Orthodox Christianity rejected gnosticism:
Orthodox Christians were concerned - far more than gnostics - with their relationships with other people. If gnostics insisted that humanity's original experience of evil involved internal emotional distress, the orthodox dissented. Recalling the story of Adam and Eve, they explained that humanity discovered evil in human violation of the natural order, itself essentially "good." The orthodox interpreted evil (kakia) primarily in terms of violence against others (thus giving the moral connotation of the term). They revised the Mosaic code, which prohibits physical violation of others - murder, stealing, adultery - in terms of Jesus' prohibitions against even mental and emotional violence - anger, lust, hatred.

Agreeing that human suffering derives from human guilt, orthodox Christians affirmed the natural order. Earth's plains, deserts, seas, mountains, stars and trees form an appropriate home for humanity. As part of that "good" creation, the orthodox recognised the processes of human biology: they tended to trust and affirm sexuality (at least in marriage), procreation and human development. The orthodox Christian saw Christ not as one who leads souls out of this world into enlightenment, but as "fullness of God" come down into human experience - into bodily experience - to sacralize it (Pagels 1981:174).
Now, on the fifth day of Christmas, one tends to think of the relationship between God and the material world, and that God so loved the material world as to take human flesh and enter it as a man. This is a stumbling block to Jews, folly to the Greeks and blasphemy to Muslims. But it's what Christians believe.

Pagels did not get everything right in her book. She had some strange ideas about some of the details, such as Orthodox Christian views of St Mary Magdalene (one of the Myrrh-bearing women and Equal-to-the-Apostles, according to the Orthodox). But she got the big picture right on the difference between Orthodoxy and Gnosticism.

Orthodox Christianity, unlike gnosticism, is characterised by ubuntu, humanity.

Christ is born -- glorify Him!
Christ is in our midst -- He is and always shall be.

28 December 2006

Gerald Ford, the unelected US president

Hearing all the eulogies for Gerald Ford, the only unelected president of the USA, reminds me of what G.K. Chesterton said:
Much vague and sentimental journalism has been poured out to the effect that Christianity is akin to democracy, and most of it is scarcely strong or clear enough to refute the fact that the two things have often quarrelled. The real ground upon which Christianity and democracy are one is very much deeper. The one specially and peculiarly un-Christian idea is the idea of Carlyle--the idea that the man should rule who feels that he can rule. Whatever else is Christian, this is heathen.

If our faith comments on government at all, its comment must be this -- that the man should rule who does NOT think that he can rule. Carlyle's hero may say, "I will be king"; but the Christian saint must say "Nolo episcopari." If the great paradox of Christianity means anything, it means this -- that we must take the crown in our hands, and go hunting in dry places and dark corners of the earth until we find the one man who feels himself unfit to wear it. Carlyle was quite wrong; we have not got to crown the exceptional man who knows he can rule. Rather we must crown the much more exceptional man who knows he can't.
Perhaps the biggest weakness of democracy is elections. because all the wrong people put themselves forward for election. Maybe what we need is for the leaders of a country to be chosen by lot. Let parliament be drafted by ballot. They would be just as representative of the country as elected politicans, and they would be replaced when their term of office ends, so they wouldn't be around long enough to establish a bribe-taking system. If Gerald Ford was as good as they are now saying, this would probably be a better system.

25 December 2006

Telling it like it is

Christians suffer for the Iraq policies of the US and UK governments, says the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Christians in the Middle East are being put at unprecedented risk by the Government’s “shortsighted” and “ignorant” policy in Iraq, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, says today.

In an extraordinary attack, Dr Williams accuses Tony Blair and the US of endangering the lives and futures of many thousands of Christians in the Middle East, who are regarded by their countrymen as supporters of the “crusading West.”

He has been backed by bishops across the Church of England, who say that Christians in the Middle East are now paying the price for the “chaos” in Iraq after the British Government failed to heed their warnings about the consequences of military action.

Well good for him, for them. The Anglican moral compass seemed to have lost its bearings with all the wild gyrations about homosexuality, but it's encouraging to see some clear thought about Iraq, which, unlike homosexuality, is an issue of life and death.

Christmas customs and traditions

We've had a Canadian visitor coming to church with us the last week or so, and she has remarked on the differences between the way Christmas is celebrated in South Africa and Canada.

I've noticed some of the differences in blogs and newsgroups and such as well, and if anyone is interested in this, I've written more about it in my LiveJournal.

23 December 2006

Mission and culture

One of the things that shocked, or at least surprised me when I began to study missiology was how many missiologists were ignorant of history. They spoke of cross-cultural mission and inculturation and things like that, but in an ahistorical way.

I wrote an essay giving Boniface of Crediton as an example of Christian missionaries going to people of a similar culture to their own, and the lecturer, a well-known and widely respected missiologist, queried this, and was highly sceptical. The fact is, however, that within a generation or two of beoming Christian themselves, the English were sending missionaries to their still-pagan cousins back in Germany, where their own ancestors had come from. They were not going to people who spoke a foreign language, or people whose culture was totally different. The English had been Germans more recently than Americans have been English today.

21 December 2006

The sun is a very magic fellow

The sun is a very magic fellow
He shines on me each day

Since it's the summer solstice and the longest day (was last night or is tonight the shortest night?), and because I've been discussing the Tarot with various people recently, it seemed appropriate to post this:

You are The Sun

Happiness, Content, Joy.

The meanings for the Sun are fairly simple and consistent.

Young, healthy, new, fresh. The brain is working, things that were muddled come clear, everything falls into place, and everything seems to go your way.

The Sun is ruled by the Sun, of course. This is the light that comes after the long dark night, Apollo to the Moon's Diana. A positive card, it promises you your day in the sun. Glory, gain, triumph, pleasure, truth, success. As the moon symbolized inspiration from the unconscious, from dreams, this card symbolizes discoveries made fully consciousness and wide awake. You have an understanding and enjoyment of science and math, beautifully constructed music, carefully reasoned philosophy. It is a card of intellect, clarity of mind, and feelings of youthful energy.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

The Sun Tarot cardThe main problem with it, as I've said in other posts, is the awful choice of display images that go with it, not one of which is the authentic Tarot sun.

The version on the left is authentic, though I prefer the variant with the drops going the other way. The Moon sucks life from the earth, the sun showers blessings, and the naked or near-naked children are open to receiving them. There is a variant that has one child riding a pony and holding a banner.

One of the things that struck me when I first began learning Zulu was the number of words in the i(li)/ama class (gender) that had to do with the basic elemenal things -- ilanga sun, day; amalanga suns, days; Itshe a stone, and so on. Our life on earth is dependent on the sun, and it is basic to our existence.

And for Christians the solstice is followed shortly by the feast of the Nativity, when we sing:

Nativity of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus ChristThy Nativity, O Christ our God
has shone to the world the light of wisdom
For by it those who worshipped the stars
were taught by a star to adore Thee
The Sun of Righeousness
And to know Thee, the Orient from on high.
O Lord, glory to Thee.

19 December 2006

On Tarot Cards

Quite a lot of people have been blogging about Tarot cards recently, and there was a quiz on Which of the Greater Trumps are you?.

Some of the other blog posts that mention Tarot cards are Sally on "Why Tarot?", and Matt Stone on "Incarnating into occulture".

One thing that struck me about all of these was the horrible images in all of them. The "Which of the Greater Trumps are you?" quiz offered several styles of "Tarot" card to illustrate it, but not one of them was authentic. I chose the least repellant, but it still looks like an insipid Victorian "fairy at the bottom of the garden".

Matt Stone and Sally both used the Waite pack, which loses the original symbolism of the cards. I then did a Google image search for Tarot cards, and was amazed at the huge variety, but the impossibility of finding a single authentic image.

Or am I just being a modernist old curmudgeon or control freak, and not keeping up with the postmodern spirit of "one man, one Tarot", and even "one man, one religion"? Am I falling into the trap of saying "This must mean to you what it means to me?"

I first became interested in the Tarot by reading two novels: The sandcastle by Iris Murdoch, and The greater trumps by Charles Williams. Before reading The sandcastle I'd never heard of Tarot cards, so I went and bought a pack at the Mystic Bookshop in Johannesburg, which was a pretty esoteric place, and the only place one could get such things back then.

In The sandcastle the character who uses the Tarots gives them her own meanings, but I was impressed by the imagery of the cards themselves. They spoke of archetypal human experiences, the things that shape our lives. I then read Charles Williams's The greater trumps and he extended the meaning of the imagery further. I won't add spoilers here, but just recommend that people read it.

In trying to find what others made of the symbolism, I looked for books on the Tarot, and found that most of them were by cartomancers, and were banal and boring. The cartomancers' trade relied on human desires for health, wealth, popularity and success, and interpreted them in the light of that. They were no different from the advertising industry, reflecting the values of capitalist materialist society. I went back to Charles Williams for my understanding and interpretation.

Consider the greatest of the Greater Trumps, the Fool. Matt Stone uses the Waite pack, in which the symbolism of the original card is completely lost. I was going to say "original" symbolism, but then I'm not sure that anyone is qualified to say what the original symbolism was. So let me say what it signifies for me.

Waite's version of the card seems to depict a self-absorbed Victorian fop, careless rather than carefree. The fact that his pilgrim's staff has turned into a rose might lead us to think that he is a sort of hippie flower child. Perhaps that is what the hippie flower children, or some of them, eventually became, but that is a far cry from the original vision.

Unlike the original card, in Waite's card the fool's journey has no purpose, no destination. He is careless of where he is going, because he is so self-absorbed that his surroundings mean nothing to him. His journey is pointless, and the dog seems to be just as pointless.

In the original cards, however, the Fool is the "fool for Christ", the holy fool who has turned his back on the world, yet looks back inviting us to follow him, if we dare. He is being attacked by an animal, a dog perhaps, or a lynx, but it does not seem to be very much bothered by it. So those on the Christian pilgrimage may be attacked by the devil or his demons or the cares of the world, but are not much bothered by them. The response of the Fool is dispassion rather than unawareness.

He is following a road that few choose. His dress suggests a court jester, but also a pilgrim. He is a silly fool, and the English word "silly" is derived from the Greek sali, blessed, and which is also the Greek term for the saints who are holy fools, the yurodivi. And "blessed" suggests the Beatitudes, where the blessings experienced by the saints are so different from the blessings sought by the world that to the world they seem like curses rather than blessings. Little or nothing of this is suggested by the Waite image.

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16 December 2006

Rulers and authorities, territorial spirits, spiritual warfare

Phil Wyman has blogged quite a bit about spiritual warfare and territorial spirits recently here, and here and here.

I think this might be a good topic to discuss in the Christianity and society discussion forum, and I hope that Phil might write a kick-off article there, but I thought I'd put down some more personal thoughts here.

For me I suppose it started at a Biblical Studies lecture at university, when the lecturer talked about the "principalities and powers" of Ephesians 6 as if they were spiritual forces. I had assumed that "principalities" referred to places like Monaco, and "powers" referred to states like the USA, the USSR and so on. They were called "world powers" in newspapers, and the New Testament Greek kosmokratores seemed to be an exact equivalent. The lecturer exposed the limitations of my view by pointing out that St Paul had said that these powers were "in the heavenlies" and were not just earthly powers. He referred me to a book by G.B. Caird, Principalities and powers, which, he said, would explain all this.

I read Caird's book, and a couple of others on the topic, which dealt with the connection between Ephesians 6:10-12 and Romans 13:1-2, and began to look at other uses of the words archontes (rulers) and exousia (authority) in the Bible. This led to the Dionysian Nine, and a whole lot of things suddenly fell into place, including Charles Williams's novel The place of the lion, which I re-read with new eyes.

It also made sense of things like the Roman religion of emperor worship, and why Christian opposed the emperor cult, which was based on the idea that behind human authority was a spiritual authority, which could be recognised by its symbols, for our conflict is not against blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies. A flesh and blood traffic cop who steps into a fast-moving stream of traffic wearing his pyjamas is likely to be ignored or run over. In his uniform, it is a different matter. It is not his flesh and blood that stops the traffic, but his authority. If he tried to stop a 26-wheeler with his flesh and blood, the result would be painful to behold. And the emperor cult did not involve worship of the flesh and blood emperor, but his genius, his authority. A couple of emperors did think they were divine in their flesh and blood, and most of their contemporaries recognised that they were nuts.

Passages like Deuteronomy 32:8-9 and Psalm 82 (LXX 81) suddenly made more sense in the light of this. There are such things as national spirits, and it is possible for a country to become demonised. The political struggle against apartheid was more than just a struggle against flesh and blood rulers. If the struggle were just against a Verwoerd, a Vorster or a Botha, then it should be possible to solve the problem by assassination - tyrannicide. But our struggle is not against blood and flesh, but against the rulers, the authorities...

Paolo Freire, the Brazilian educationist, put a new slant on this in his somewhat turgid book Pedagogy of the oppressed, when he said that oppression makes the oppressed feel less than human, and to the oppressed the oppressor seems more fully human. So the oppressed tends to internalise the spirit of the oppressor. When the oppressed overthrow the oppressors, they tend to become oppressors in turn. What needs to be overthrown is not so much the oppressor as oppression itself.

We saw a paradigm case of this in South Africa in 1976. Seventy years before, after the Anglo-Boer War, Alfred Lord Milner, the instigator of the war, tried to Anglicise the Afrikaners by forcing them to learn through the medium of English. Seventy years later Andries Treurnicht and Ferdi Hartzenberg tried to force black school kids to learn though the medium of Afrikaans. They had internalised the spirit of their ancestral oppressor, Milner. And the result was the Soweto riots, and the massacre of school kids.

What was needed was not so much the overthrow of the flesh and blood oppressors, as the exorcism of oppression. And that, of course, begins with me. It is not just Hartzenberg and Treurnicht who have internalised the spirit of the oppressor, but I have too. That is where the theological concept of nepsis (watchfulness) comes in. Spiritual warfare fought without nepsis and apatheia (dispassion) is apt to lead to prelest (spiritual delusion).

I wasn't much interested in exorcism of places until there were police riots in the Anglican Cathedral in Cape Town: police chased demonstrating students into the cathedral and beat them up inside. I asked the publications department of the Anglican Church if they had an exorcism service, and they sent me their entire stock, saying there had never been any demand for it. But I was disappointed to see that that service was only for the exorcism of persons, not places. I thought that after the police riots a public exorcism of the Cathedral would have been a good thing.

Are there territorial spirits? Is there a need for exorcism of places? I believe that there certainly has been a need for the exorcism of the White House and the Pentagon since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. There seems to have been no earthly reason for it, only an infernal one. And perhaps going back even further, to the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

Going back further still, the break-up of Yugoslavia, and the wars of the Yugoslav succession, seemed to turn formerly good neighbours into demonised furies from hell.

This post is a bit scrappy and disconnected. It probably needs to be a lot longer to join the dots, but perhaps the last word can be given to G.B. Caird, from his Commentary on the Revelation of St John the Divine (Caird 1966:163-164), when writing about the beast from the abyss in Revelation 12:
But it must not be thought that John is writing off all civil government as an invention of the Devil. Whatever Satan may claim, the truth is that 'the Most High controls the sovereignty of the world and gives it to whom he wills' (Dan iv. 17). In the war between God and Satan, between good and evil, the state is one of the defences established by God to contain the powers of evil within bounds, part of the order which God the Creator had established in the midst of chaos (cf. Rom xiii. 1-7). But when men worship the state, according to it the absolute loyalty and obedience that are due not to Caesar but to God, then the state goes over to the Enemy. What Satan calls from the abyss is not government, but that abuse of government, the omnicompetent state. It is thus misleading to say that the monster is Rome, for it is both more and less: more, because Rome is only its latest embodiment; and less, because Rome is also, even among all the corruptions of idolatry, 'God's agent of punishment, for retribution on the offender' (Rom. 13. iv) .

13 December 2006

Syncretism in Western Christianity

On 14 December 2006 a number of Christian bloggers have agreed to post something about syncretism and Western Christianity. Here are links to those who have agreed to do so.

My own contribution is based on an article I wrote a few years ago, Deconstructing Sundkler: Bethesda AICs and syncretism.

Bengt Sundkler, the Swedish missiologist, was an expert on African independent churches, but in the very act of accusing the Zionists of being unbiblical and syncretist, he betrayed his own syncretism. Instead of using the Bible to demonstrate his contention that the Zionists were unbiblical, Sundkler used Western Enlightenment rationalism and Freud.

Hymn parodies

PamBG's Blog: Very Entertaining has links to some amusing hymn parodies, including this one:

Let us, with an open mind,
Put the formal Church behind:
Sea of Faith, O let us sing,
For we don't believe a thing!

Cupitt's books we try to read,
But our minds he doth exceed:
Sea of Faith, O let us sing,
For we don't believe a thing!

But my favourite dates back to the Cold War days, and came from a book called Quake, quake, quake; I can't remember the author.

The day God gave Thee, Man, is ending
the darkness falls at thy behest
who spent thy little life defending
from conquest by the East, the West.

The sun that bids us live is waking
behind the cloud that bids us die,
and in the murk fresh minds are making'
new plans to blow us all sky-high.

Blog celebrity?

C-List Blogger It seems that my Notes from underground blog makes the C list in authority, based on links from other blogs.

D-List Blogger But my LiveJournal only makes the D list, which is the lowest, and only a few other people link to it.

Of course this whole thing is just a ploy to get more links to the blog that does these things, and thus push up its popularity :-)

12 December 2006

Synchronising a blog on syncretism

There has been a suggestion for synchronising a blog on syncretism, initially in American culture, but perhaps on Western culture generally. You can also find more information about the proposal here.

It seems as though it could be an interesting exercise, though there's not much time left.

For what it's worth, I've written an article that deals with the topic to some extent: Sundkler deconstructed: Bethesda AICs and syncretism. I'm not sure how relevant that is, but it could be wroth discussing.

What's happening to the Anglicans?

It seems as though racist imperialist Brit Anglicans and sexual-orientationist Tanzanian Anglicans are going at each other like Kilkenny cats.

Of course, I could be wrong...: Where is Tanzania?
Is it that island off the bottom of Australia?

It's really rather sad.

11 December 2006

Orthodox youth conference and monastic tonsure

The weekend of 7-10 December was a historic occasion for Orthodoxy in Southern Africa, with the first diocesan youth conference for the Archdiocese of Johannesburg and Pretoria, and the first monastic tonsuring of a South African monk to take place in South Africa, when the novice Brother Matthew was tonsured as the Monk Seraphim, and was ordained deacon.

Full report, with pictures, at:


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The newly-tonsured Hierodeacon Seraphim with His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa

04 December 2006

Orthodoxy and premodern and postmodern thinking

Bishop Seraphim Sigrist recently posted some notes for a paper he read on Christianity and Society in the Christianity and Society discussion forum, and has now posted a report on the retreat where he read the paper. The retreat was held at a Coptic centre, and his report is illustrated with some Coptic ikons of the desert saints and led to some interesting discussion in which Bishop Seraphim referred to a piece written by William Dalrymple on the role of miracles among Coptic Christians, and especially among the monks of the desert today.

I think this piece by Dalrymple is from his book From the Holy Mountain, in which he compares Near and Middle Eastern Christianity today with what it was like shortly before the Muslim conquest in the 7th century.

What it brings out most clearly are some of the characteristics of the premodern worldview. Compared with Western Christianity Orthodoxy is generally premodern, but in Coptic monks this can be seen in a particularly pure form.

What is interesting is to compare this approach to miracles to that of Western Fundamentalism, because the latter is clearly imbued with moderniity, and even modernism. The Western Fundamentalist approach to miracles seems to be that miracles are important because they are thought to prove some doctrinal or ideological point. Miracles have been taken up into a system of rational argumentation, and this approach is characteristic of the modern worldview. Read almost any theological discussion in Usenet newsgroups, for example alt.religion.christian and you will see that even when Christian fundamentalists are arguing with atheists, both presuppose the same modernist worldview.

I became acutely aware of this in discussions with some Calvinistic Baptists in Durban some thirty years ago. It was apparent that to them the resurrection of Christ was an important "fact", because it was in the Bible. But it did not seem to be a significant fact. It was merely a kind of adjunct to the importance of the Bible and so another matter for rational argument and prooftexting. If one said to them "Christ is risen and the angels rejoice, Christ is risen and Hell was angered for it was mocked" they saw no cause for rejoicing but went scurrying to find proof texts to show that such rejoicing was unseemly and that it wasn't so.

Compare this view with that of the Coptic monks, for whom rational argument occupies a much lower place in the scale of priorities. Miracles are not there to "prove" anything about anything, they are just there to enjoy the commuinion of saints and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

03 December 2006

Ecumenical encounters

For those interested in the recent meetings of the Roman Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch, this web site is giving a running commentary.

02 December 2006

I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star

A friend over on LiveJournal writes
I just spent a little time on the We Feel Fine page. Someone (or more likely a group of someones) is studying the "feelings" of people who write blogs by scanning LiveJournal, MySpace and Blogger every ten minutes for "I feel" or "feeling," then producing the results. You can search by country, city, gender, date, and you can also find some of their conclusions, like "angriest cities." Try the "murmer" display, for little snippets that appear on the screen: "I feel like a slug, but at least I got some good thinking done" "I feel like noone reads this." It is a little addictive, but it's also a touch sad, I find - I'm not sure why. Little whisps of anonymous feelings drifting across the screen.

What can one say? It took me back 25 years to our church youth group in Melmoth, Zululand, with Sister Charity, CHN, teaching the kids a song:

Shoo, fly, don't bother me
I belong to somebody

I feel, I feel, i feel like a morning star.


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