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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Massively Mattering Football

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

An Enquiry

Does anyone know when the feast of Judas Maccabaeus is?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Dialogue Sermon for Christmas Day

John 10:22-39

It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; 
it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 
So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness to me; 
but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; 
and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." 
The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?" The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God." Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken),
 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 
If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father." Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

Small Victory

A Christian couple awarded £10,000 after being questioned by police about their views on homosexuality have spoken of their victory...

Monday, December 18, 2006

just because

...con atto e voce di spedito duce
ricomincio: 'Noi siamo usciti fuore
dal maggior corpo al ciel ch'e pura luce:
luce intellettual piena d'amore,
amor di vero ben pien di letizia,
letizia che trascende ogni dolzore...

... with act and voice of guide whose task is down,
resumed: 'We've left the largest body, and move
now in the heaven composed of light alone,
intellectual light full of love,
love of the true good, full of happiness,
happiness which goes beyond all sweetnesses...

Dante, Commedia, Paradiso cto 30.
Translation partly nicked off G.L. Bickersteth.

BOOOOOORNE TO WAXEN WOODE (refrain repeateth)

Chaucer's on form.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Zoe Williams on The Archers

If you like The Archers - or if, like me, you have less a liking for it than a strange fascination about where on earth the writers will next shoehorn in their socio-political directives - this Guardian piece may interest you. It also contributes to the recent slew of exposes of the BBC's biases.

One interesting paragraph is this:
Now, naturally, this assumes that the Radio 4 constituency is homogenous. Not only is it not that, but the division within its audience is almost comically binary and possessive. As Anthony Wall, who has made an episode of the arts programme Arena about The Archers, puts it, "There are two wings to Radio 4's audience - you notice it with Any Answers as well. Half the audience is literary, left/ liberal type; the other half is strongly conservative; and they both feel that it belongs to them. A tiny, silent, very British war is being fought through the aegis of its calming tones."

(I presume that I'm in the 'strongly conservative' half (and may I say that I object slightly to the implication that this makes me non-literary - and does this mean I'm illiterate, or just have bad taste?). Three points occur. (1) No one I know who shares my sorts of opinions is under any illusions that Radio 4 'belongs to us.' One might like to think that Radio 4, as probably the least unintelligent strand of the BBC's output, would not demonstrate such obvious, blanket liberal attitudes; but it generally does, and that's that. (2) It is nonetheless interesting that the left-liberal crowd (insert usual disclaimer for wild generalisations here) thinks that conservative forces are prominent enough to be threatening. (3) I wouldn't have described myself as 'strongly conservative' - partly because of the possibly misleading political implications, but partly because adherence to traditional social morality does not in fact (I think) put one on the outer fringe of any sort of continuum. This is no doubt another example of media-itis, and a false perception that the Westminster-cum-BBC village is in any way representative of wider public opinion. It also probably represents a relatively recent acceleration in changes in acceptable public opinions; though I never know how accurate my perception of this is, owing to, well, not being very old. Or wise, for that matter.)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Blair on religion

Another statement which translates as, 'This religion lark is fine as long as none of you actually believe what you say.'

Maria Immaculata, ora pro nobis!

Hale, sterne superne, hale, in eterne,
In Godis sicht to schyne;
Lucerne in derne for to discerne
Be glory and grace devyne.
Hodiern, modern, sempitern,
Angelicall regyne,
Our tern inferne for to dispern,
Helpe, rialest rosyne.
Ave Maria, gracia plena.
Haile, fresche flour femynyne,
Yerne us guberne, virgin matern,
Of reuth baith rute and ryne.

[Hail, heavenl star, hail (you who will) shine in God's sight for eternity; Light (by which) to see in darkness by glory and grace divine. Today, current, eternal, queen of angels, to drive away our infernal gloom, help, O most royal rose; Ave Maria, gratia plena; Hail, fresh flower of womanhood; govern us diligently, O virgin mother, root and bark of pity.]

Haile, yhung benyng fresche flurising,
Haile, Alphais habitakle.
Thy dynf ofspring maid us to syng
Before his tabernakle.
All thing maling we doune thring
Be sicht of his signakle,
Quhilk king us bring unto his ryng,
Fro dethis dirk umbrakle.
Ave Maria, gracia plena.
Haile moder and maide but makel,
Bricht syng, gladyng our languissing
Be micht of thi mirakle.

(Hail, young gracious fresh flower; Hail, Alpha's dwelling-place. Thy worthy offspring gave us cause to sing bfore His tabernacle. All evil things we overthrow at the sight of His sign; May that king bring us to his kingdom, out of death's dark shadow. Ave Maria, gratia plena. Hail, mother and mid without spot, bright sign, gladdening our languishing by the power of thy miracle.)

Haile, bright be sicht in hevyn on hicht,
Haile, day sterne orientale,
Our licht most richt in clud of nycht,
Our dirknes for to scale.
Haile, wicht in ficht, puttar to flicht
Of fendis in battle,
Haile, plicht but sicht, hale, mekle of mycht,
Haile, glorius virgin, hale
Ave Maria, gracia plena.
Haile, gentil nychttinglae,
Way stricht, cler dicht, to wilsome wicht
That irke bene in travale.

(Hail, thou bright to see in high heaven; hail, day star in the east, Our truest light in night's cloud, to disperse our darkness. Hail, valiant in battle, putter to flight of feinds in the battle, Hail, unseen anchor, hail, O great of might, Hail glorious Virgin, hail. Ave Maria, gratia plena! Hail, gentle nightingale; straight way, clearly marked, for the wandering man weary of travail/travel [cunning pun!].)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The "Offer"

The semi-official newspaper of the Italian Bishops conference is reporting the Patriarch of Constantinople as saying that he made an offer of an undisclosed nature to the Pope when he was in Constantinople, and that he is awaiting his response...

Interviewer: This morning's speeches and the joint declaration that you have undersigned sounded "lofty" and certainly promising. You have even spoken of the future, regarding the [future] steps?

Patriarch Bartholomeos: Regarding this, I can say that I have spoken to His Holiness about something, something we can do. I have made him an offer about which I cannot yet talk, while we wait for an official response in this sense; however, I can say that His Holiness displayed great interest and welcomed the offer favorably. We hope that it can be accomplished, because it truly follows the prospects of that ecumenical progress which, as we have affirmed and even written in the Joint Declaration, we both are determined to pursue.


To our literate readers: does anyone have the faintest idea to what this is a reference, or whence it's a quotation?

[a flower/rose] 'from the ancient garden that awaits to be awaken [sic] by the light of the new year.'

Possibly from an original in Italian or Latin, but possibly not.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Don't know if anyone out there has been following the Universities-and-Student-Unions-attack-CUs saga. Half depressing, half hilarious - the secularists display so much confusion and sheer stupidity. Nice wee article from the Guardian by a UCCF chap. Google around to find the back story if you need it - no time to find links now.

The lastest round of uproar seems to be that the Edinburgh CU's sexual morality course is 'intolerant' because it doesn't include debate and discussion. Riiight... So it's a problem that a course run by a Christian group presents avowedly Christian teaching and doesn't bother spending much time looking at alternatives... Is that in any way surprising? or problematic for anyone with HALF A BRAIN CELL????

Er. I'll go now.