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Showing posts from August, 2015

Father Marina

So ... you're a woman, in the guise of a man, living as a monk, when this pregnant girl -- knocked up by a soldier -- starts telling everyone you're the father! and her dad's furious, and the abbot's all like, what?! in full-on castigation mode -- they're gonna make you leave the monastery and everything ... So, what d'you do? You accept the punishment, bring up the kid with all the care as if it were yours, and go on living a life of poverty, service and prayerful asceticism until you die. Obvs.

                Her fellow brothers staggered back, wide-eyed:                 The husk of him, respectfully undressed                 In preparation for the grave, belied                 The guilt her silence seemed to have confessed.                 Not one shred of the case against him held;                 Wherever was the means? the will? And yet                 She'd borne the sentence, exiled in the world                 To tend the yield of so…

A toastie for your thoughts ...

world-view   n.  [after German Weltanschauung n.] a set of fundamental beliefs, values, etc., determining or constituting a comprehensive outlook on the world; a perspective on life; = Weltanschauung n.  (OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2015. Web. 15 August 2015). I've been endeavouring through N.T. Wright's Resurrection of the Son of God. It's a weighty tome in both senses (or would be if I hadn't opted for the e-book version) but he does have a lovely clarity of thought and expression which renders complex academic ideas comprehensible even to (reasonably determined) laymen. I especially appreciate his framework for describing and comparing world-views via the answers to five major questions:
Who are we?Where are we?What is wrong?What is the solution?What time is it? The exercise of unpicking cultures and belief systems on this basis seems highly instructive, at least when he attempts it (more on that later). But the mere mention of 'world-view question…

Bake Off kicks off

Mr W. and myself have been unanimous, this week, in our delight at the long-awaited start of the season.

We have not, however, been quite so unanimous as to the which of the said season. He seems to think it is the Premier League lays rightful claim to our delight; I'm pretty sure it is the Great British Bake Off. However, my attempts to reason with him have fallen on deaf ears. "I honestly don't understand what's gotten everybody so ridiculously hyped," he marvels disdainfully. "It's not even real."

Well, he's right about the hype. My Facebook newsfeed is testament to that. And it doesn't seem to be peculiar to my online peers: 9.3 million tuned in for the opener; 2 million more than the equivalent figures for last year. The Telegraph even provided a live text update of the first episode, football match-style, for people (I guess?) who were unavoidably away from their TV screens between the hours of 8 and 9 last Wednesday evening but absol…


Ever since I started trying to write poetry in earnest, looking back has generally been nauseating. How can it be that lines I am so proud of at the time of writing always seem so ... so ... well, so earnest (at best) six months later?

Here's an early sonnet that I do still harbour some residual affection for. It is one of the less irksome outputs of a training exercise I set myself, to poetically connect passages in Acts with personal experience. The poem itself doesn't really rise above the status of 'exercise piece' but the process was a thought-provoking and prayerful one: Felix reminds me of a number of people I care about.

Your head is full of knowledge, and your heart
Of reticence. These strange ideas alarm —
How they alarm! From time to time you start
The Conversation: tap me on the arm,
And take a seat, and sound me out. Until:
“I’m hearing ‘righteousness’, and ‘temperance’ —
What is this? ‘Judgement’ too — I’ve had my fill;
Spare me your reasoning a while.…