Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking about this blog, and wondered (I was not alone) whether I was just going through a bout of winter blues and writer’s block. Should I begin a new blog, concentrate on the pdf reviews under the new title of this blog? I have just spent nearly a week in England dismantling the organ from Newington Green Unitarian Church. About the only pew I didn’t use for bits and pieces of organ was the one occupied by Mary Wollstonecraft, the radical feminist of the end of the eighteenth century and mother of the young girl who wrote Frankenstein. I soaked up the spirit of the building as I worked, the smell of the dry rot and the old pews. I imagined the bowed heads as they would listen intensely to the long sermons at a time long before computers and television. The church is to be restored to its old glory as a listed building and a landmark of non-conformity and the freedom of the human mind. Rest assured, I did not become a Unitarian! I loaded up the organ last Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, and I was away on the Friday afternoon to catch my boat at Dover back to France. I am now back home, and hope to start reassembling the organ in its new home in the parish church of Vermenton in the Burgundy area from mid February.
This posting is intended to mark a new beginning for this blog. I wondered about the future of the Blue Flower review, and had to take stock of my inability to write an article for the Christmas edition. I have decided not to produce a second edition in pdf, but rather to dedicate this blog to that purpose. Articles may be less formal than I had intended for the review, but the future tone of this blog should be serious and well prepared. Like the blog up to now, it allows dialogue and an input of ideas by way of the comments. These postings will appear more frequently than every six months, and I hope to have guest writers producing work as they are inclined to do so.
What would be my role as a Christian priest in all this? This blog goes back to my time in the TAC and the end of the besieged English Catholic blog, my time almost identifying with the Goliards of the middle-ages, those rebellious priests and monks who made such a mockery of the corrupt institutional Church, itself mocking the origins of Christianity in the Gospel teachings of Christ. I still promote the use of the Sarum liturgy through the Facebook group I set up to replace the old moribund Yahoo e-mail group. I went through an emotionally unstable time in the second half of last year with a considerable amount of anxiety linked to my condition of high-functioning autism. I had to think more profoundly about the meaning of my priestly vocation (I have no parish and I don’t peddle wares as a religious snake-oil salesman) and my finding inspiration in the Romantic movement.
With the political and constitutional situation in the UK, I have had to reflect on the changes on the horizon, the death of democracy and liberalism – and the resurgence of authoritarianism and man’s lust for power and wealth. Since more or less the Peace of Constantine in 313, the Church has been addicted to secular power, the more totalitarian the better. My mind has been concerned with this question and a totally different evaluation of the upheaval of the 1790’s than I had held as a traditionalist Roman Catholic cleric. Christian fundamentalism, theocracy and integralism are a betrayal of the plain words of Christ when answering Pilate’s question Art thou a king? What helped me out of the reactionary Catholic world was reading Berdyaev and that short chapter of Dostoyevsky (The Inquisitor), and then other authors and philosophers. Man’s greatest gift and right is freedom – even when evil may be committed.
I will need to write on freedom as time goes on. It is part of our nobility of spirit as redeemed humans. Many things need to be re-thought without descending into another form of authoritarianism and ideology of hatred. I will end here. I intend this blog to become a multi-author effort, like the pdf Blue Flower, and above all a place of peace and freedom.
Therefore, I change the name and masthead of this blog, hoping to bring new life and inspiration to all of good will.