Showing posts from March, 2008

Whirling Dervishes

During the recent consultation on the theology and practice of reconciliation that I was periodically writing about before things fell apart pre-Easter, Derek Poole from the Centre for Contemporary Christianity in Ireland, made one of his usual "where did that come from" asides. For those who do not know Derek, he has a unique ability to speak apparently off the cuff (though I believe he practices for hours at home, pontificating to the bathroom mirror) at length, on almost any subject... and generally sounds like he knows what he is talking about! But quite often, one image or sentence will stand starkly out from the rest, having a greater resonance than that around it, and, since he never writes anything down, unless you have been taking verbatim notes, it will be nigh on impossible to trace the reasoning that tied this brilliant, but tangential comment to the rest of his stream of consciousness. For those who do know him (and indeed Derek himself), am I being unfair?

Under the Shadow of the Cross

For Holy week this year the BBC produced a version of "The Passion" which I will largely refrain from commenting on as I only saw the Good Friday "post watershed" episode through being otherwise engaged the rest of the time. If the rest of it was as good as that then I may get the DVD for future viewing. I would appreciate other people's refelctions if they saw more of it than I did. But it set me thinking about previous dramatic versions of Jesus' life and death. The obvious comparison is with Mel Gibson's "spiritual snuff movie" but it was Sally, my wife who reminded me of Dennis Potter's "Son of Man", a decidedly sceptical view, but one with some interesting insights... and particularly of the following part of Act 2 Scene 3.

Jesus and his disciples have been having a discussion in the shadow of a cross. Then, almost absent-mindedly Jesus wanders over to it and starts to caress it.

JESUS: Good timber, this. Hewed with the grain …

Where Happiness is Only a Curly Fry Away

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
But anyone who opens their eyes whilst wandering around any city in the United States will see that while our Creator theoretically made us all equal, something has gone wrong in practice. Certainly my first morning in Pittsburgh showed that some people were finding the unalienable right to pursue happiness a little difficult in sub-zero temperatures... turned away from one city-centre church by an armed guard because they were likely to frighten members of the congregation. Other churches ran cold weather shelters, but they only kicked into action at 20 F, and kicked their inhabitants out at 7am. So what if the founder of the church also had no place to lay his head... Unless it was seriously sub-zero he'd have little chance of finding somewhere to sleep in the centre of Pit…

The Confession of Judas

On preparing a Holy Week reflection on the anointing of Jesus as recorded in John 12 I remembered this version of part of the medieval mystery cycles that I rewrote as part of a production entitled "Testaments" staged in the grounds of Queens University, Belfast in 1999.

I Judas, was unjustly injured by Jesus, the Jew
And now am I perjured all of history through.
I tumbled to temptation, that much, sirs is true
I diddled the disciples of their dole.

From the twelve’s total my own tenth I took
Twas easy to do for I balanced the book
Jesus never gave me a momentary look
But now look at him... Damn his soul.

But in Bethany betimes my bale did begin.
When a woman named Mary just wandered right in
Bringing beauteous box with best unction within
I wondered what she was wanting to do...

Bowing by his bed, and breaking open the box
She then larded the lot on your lordship’s long locks!
For a man such as me twas the worst of all shocks
And I got into a bit of a stew...

What I waste! I did wail, that …

I'm Back...

Apologies... Didn't actually post anything while in America or in the two weeks since I have returned... But I will rectify that over the next wee while as I mull things over. But just for the record, the reasons were:
1) I was astounded that in the 4 years since I have been over in the US on business, technology has changed so much that everywhere is wifi and cyber-cafes are now no-where to be seen. And guess who hadn't taken his laptop in the expectation of finding an internet cafe on everycorner!
2) Our schedule was more packed than I had expected... and I believe more profitable... but more of that anon...
3) I managed to catch a dreadful lurgy when there which made me feel awful for a few days while there and then floored me when I got home... Even today, two weeks later, I woke with the king of all headaches... Everyone say "Ahh!!"
4) My computer managed to catch a dreadful lurgy when I came back... erasing all my carefully documented notes and pre-prepared blogs t…