Priests, Sex and Money

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…was a talk given by Terry Drummond, a visiting researcher to the Centre of Theology and Public Issues.  I won’t call it a lecture, he has still got a few years before retirement, and a title like that would be sufficiently controversial.

He came from the Diocese of Southwark, a diocese of the Church of England.  (Note on pronunciation: swallow the w and make the final syllable short.)  He holds a position there in lay ministry, allowing him to move between the positions of the ordained and non-ordained members of the C of E.  The church in his part of England is holding its own, unlike in other parts of England and the western world where it is in decline.  It is sustained in London through an influx of world Christianity, especially from the Third World.  These world Christians are willing to adopt the Church of England as an alternative to more conservative forms of Anglicanism that they come from.

Already they face the challenge of maintaining people in their culture as they face the new world.  What will happen when they reach the third generation?  Will they have new tricks to teach us?

Interestingly enough I found out that the Church of England works in similar lines as Presbyterianism when it comes to institutional life, despite having ‘bishops to show us the way’.  The recent initiative to ordain women as bishops was lost in the House of Laity, one of the three houses in the General Synod, the highest court of the Anglican Church.  A parish priest may have more influence at a local level than the bishop.

The issue of leadership (read gay bishops) is a spectre in the background.  Despite what the Conservative Democrat government might say the state church was not consulted in the debate over marriage equality.  (or is the government Liberal Conservative? I can never decide!)

The Church lost the dialogue with the Occupy St Paul’s Movement.  They were seen herded away by the Cathedral’s heritage masters.  The dialogue between faith and finance was not popularly regained.  Does finance lead mission, or does mission lead finance?

An interesting talk, having read extensively on the church union debate in New Zealand in the archives collection I am sorry that the Church of Christ in New Zealand never came to fruition.  Reformed and Episcopalian, what an interesting mix that would have made.

Can the Church of England still achieve the year of the Lord’s Jubilee:

Heal the broken-hearted,

Preach deliverance to the captives,

And recovery of sight to the blind,

Set at liberty them that are bruised.

?

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Perceptions of Empire in Inter-War Scotland

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We have had a visiting scholar from Scotland in the Presbyterian Archives for the last week, Esther Breitenbach, making good use of our material.  She gave a lecture to the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies before she left on the above subject.  I attended the lecture and the Presbyterian Archives was acknowledged as a resourceful place.

I understand that the coat of arms for New Zealand is included in the above image at the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle.  I have not found a detailed guide online after a brief investigation.  Perhaps it deserves a comparison with New Zealand’s National War Memorial in Wellington, a memorial I have visited a couple of times.  I find its architecture evocatively Tolkienian.

Hospitality to visitors from Empire was the work of the Victoria League and the Overseas League.  They provided entertainment for visiting military personnel during the two world wars.  A women’s organisation with men as leaders they came from the best classes in Scotland.

Glasgow may have been the ‘Second City of Empire’ in its own perception, an economic powerhouse.  Edinburgh was the centre for political and ceremonial power in Scotland.  It is from Edinburgh that Empire is perceived.  It hosted the Empire Exhibition in 1938.  I wonder what artefacts of New Zealand peoples when to that exhibition?  Were they received like the meeting house Mataatua?

Prime Minister Frazer visited Scotland and compared favourably the martial prowess of Highlanders and Maori.

I must do some investigation into the Empire Wireless Chain, which was to join South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.  They thought they could use it to listen in the Imperial Parliament!

In Wellington

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I went up to Wellington for the Harcourt Park International Jousting Tournament last weekend.  The tournament was fun.  We got to jousting, horse-rider displays, foot combat and demonstrations of English Longbow Archery.  It was an enjoyable couple of days out.  The jousting was in two grades: balsa-tipped lances for the beginners’ grade, and pine-tipped lances prepared with a spiral cut to allow a shattering effect and not as soft on impact.  One point for the strike, two points for breaking the tip, three points for shattering the tip into two or more pieces.  The strike has to be laid on the opponent’s shield.  A strike that lands on the horse is an immediate disqualification.  The horses also knew how to be playful if they wanted to, adding an extra disadvantage.

The event was popular, with a couple of thousand people coming out over the weekend.  It was a slow-moving spectacle and the public got into the occasion cheering along.  A shame that there is not another tournament until 2015.  It’s a fun sport to follow.

While I was in Wellington I got to two second-hand book-stores and came away with a handful of books to add to my language books.  Pegasus Books had L-Spaciality, rambling rooms stacked with high shelves reachable with steps.  I found Teach Yourself Welsh and Teach Yourself Beginners Hindi in the back rooms of its maze.  It’s in the Left Bank of Cuba Mall.  If you in the Left Bank for the Night Market you can get a good goat curry.

Arty Bees has changed it’s layout since I first visited it.  The front of the shop has Science Fiction and Fantasy novels on display, both first-hand and second-hand.  Then up to the mezzanine for popular fiction, and upstairs for second-hand non-fiction.  It is a veritable library up there.  I found a copy of Teach Yourself Hausa, which was a title I did not recognise and had to buy.  I took it to the counter and the guy immediately when to Omniglot to say “My hovercraft is full of eels” and Hausa wasn’t listed!  Somehow the world seems a smaller place!

Quilters was also mentioned as a bookshop to visit.  I didn’t get the chance.  Never mind.  I’m happy for what I found.  It makes up for missing the Regent Theatre’s Everything But Books Book-sale in Dunedin.

Hobbit-spotting

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I’m off to Wellington tomorrow because I want to attend the International Jousting Tournament at Harcourt Park in Upper Hutt.  I went some years ago and it was an enjoyable day.  Also it allows me to visit my brother The Ghost Who Walks and meet his partner-in-law’s family on that side.  Maybe I might meet other people I know while I’m there.  I have not made any plans.

Life does lifelike things that involve committees.  So far this year I have been to meetings for Interfaith, the Good Friday Procession of the Cross, and Pastoral Care at Opoho Parish.  Life goes on around me and people are changing.  Perhaps if it remains interesting in that perspective and no catastrophic dramas occur then I will be happy.

Catch you later!

Top Ten Song

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I haven’t posted up a contender for a Top Ten Song in well over a year I think.  The conceit is the New Zealand / Australian / Irish Actor Sam Neill has a website on his Two Paddocks blog where people list their ten favourite pieces of music to play at Sam Neill’s imaginary(?) Dayglo Disco.  When I pulled up Top Ten out of my tag-list I discovered I already had thirteen artists listed.  These include: Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Johnny Cash, Johnny Clegg, Cruel Sea, Sheryl Crow, Enzso, Dido, the Moonlight Sonata, Gin Wigmore, Masters of Chant, Hot House Flowers, Tom Russell, and a fanfare from Malcolm Gordon or Cold Chisel.

I haven’t picked out a song from Gin Wigmore’s new album Gravel and Wine.  Shuffling through bits of it recently material on that album caught my ear’s attention.

Anyway I have decided to add O Mensch, Gib Acht by Mahler to the list.  I changed discs in my player a couple of nights ago, including a disc of symphonic extracts from Mahler.  I hoped this piece would play as it shuffled between discs.  It rewarded me by playing the piece first, nine minutes of sad and beautifully paced music.  Just perfect.

Ash Wednesday is approaching.  I should go look out another favourite piece from Tom Russell for that occasion.

What did you do on Waitangi Day

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I wasn’t going to write anything on the topic until I was inspired by the discussion on Public Address on this topic.  I realised that I used the day like a lot of other New Zealanders — I had a half-day holiday in the middle of the weekend, an extra Saturday.

I stayed in bed an hour late, then got up to take advantage of the House laundry room so I could do an extra load of washing in the middle of the week.  My devotions looked at two readings from the Holy Bible for a national holiday.  They did not inspire me to new insight.

I made the mistake of turning my computer on and browsing early in the day.  I would have been better to have gone out for a walk.  Especially as the afternoon was spent listening to Matinee Idle on my bedside radio, an institution on National Radio that celebrates playing exceptionally absurd music that wouldn’t get air-time otherwise.  Once I had finished my work-avoidance activity I wrote up some notes from Pastoral Committee from the beginning of the week and posted them out to the appropriate people.

I managed to go out for a promenade for half an hour after Matinee Idle was over, before tea.  I had prepared some pork ribs at the start of the week so I had one of those with vegetables, tasty if not adventurous.  In the evening I surfed between Pub Dig on one channel and Wild Columbia on another.  The latter, hosted by the exuberant wild-life presenter Nigel Marven, caught more of my attention.

I did not attend any Waitangi Day events in the city.  If I had been alert early in the day I could have ventured into the Octagon for the celebrations there at mid-day.  Instead I took the day like many others, relaxing and enjoying a fine day.

Exchangetide Greetings 8

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A second post-card arrived today from China.  This one is an evocative extract from the Akrama Epic “Alaxaba” written by Christopher Tang.  The language looks like long agglutinative sentences transcribed from a pictographic script.  I would like to know the inspiration for this language.  A close examination shows that a symbol resembling an eye is used in sentences for ‘my eyes’, ‘to blind’, ‘tears’, and ‘to stare at’.  The word for ‘my eyes’ is transliterated uxukta in two sentences.  I think I recognise the symbol for ‘ancestor’.  I can’t work it out in the transliteration, one sentence uses it to translate ‘ancestors’ and the second time it is used in a character which is translated ‘ancestral land’.  That is my guess.

I will keep vigil in hope the final cards turn up in the next few weeks.