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Showing posts from December, 2015

Good Hearted

At the end of every year I attend the St. Hilda's prizegiving service and the leavers' service and see a string of young women cross the stage. All of them are big fishes in this particular small pond of the school where they have spent the last five or seven years of their lives. They are making the journey we must all repeat a hundred times, that of becoming a small fish in the next pond, whatever it may be. And at every service the school hymn is sung: Blest Are The Pure In Heart . Whoever, back in the day, chose that hymn to be the one that defines the school and its relationship to the almighty had a particular idea of the what a girls' school should aspire to be, and what a girl should aspire to be. I'm guessing, of course, but I think that vision would have to do with all the characteristics we attribute to the heart: feelings, loyalty, relationship, emotion. With that vision in mind, the aspiration is one of pure and chaste behaviour springing from undefil

Ain Karem

When we were in Spain we heard a group called Ain Karem . They are popular in Spain but little known outside of the Iberian Peninsula. The group is named for the village where, according to tradition, The Virgin Mary conversed with her cousin Elizabeth while both women were pregnant. The group contains a priest, but is otherwise a womens' group, originating in the Carmelite order but now containing lay women as well as nuns. Their music is usually about issues of justice and the above clip is an example. What I really like is the juxtaposition of the cheerful 60's folksy Singing Nun ambience of the music and the radical, revolutionary lyrics. Sort of a 21st Century Spanish incarnation of the Magnificat We have a CD of theirs playing as Advent draws to a close. If you're looking for "the real meaning of Christmas", here it is. The women and the children do not count, Those who wander on the margins do not count, The poor and the sick do not count, Nor do

Violence and difference.

During the troubles in Northern Ireland all those many years ago, those of us on the sidelines looked on with incredulity at what was happening between Protestants and Catholics. The news was dominated by images of bombings and fires and assassinations, and, from this distance, no one was quite sure which side was doing these terrible things or why; radical Catholic and Protestant groups seemed to be pretty much indistinguishable from each other in their barbarity, their strategies and their modus operandi. And so it is with all conflict. Rene Girard describes conflict as " a subtle destroyer of the differential meaning it seems to inflate ", and when I first read that sentence a week or two ago I had to go for a bit of a walk and think about it for a bit. Girard is right, as he is about so much, and what I think he means is this: We learn pretty much everything, says Girard, by copying from other people. This applies to skills and behaviours but also to attitudes an

Back Again

Since synod my life has been.... busy and what with the pressing demands on my time and with my head being filled with things I couldn't talk about, I have just had to keep away from here for a while. But I'm back. This last week I've even taken a few photos And read a few books. I intend to start blogging regularly, I hope twice a week. I'll be posting also to a Facebook page called, surprisingly enough, Available Light. Keep in touch. I will if you will.