Fourth Sunday after Easter

This is the famous fourth Sunday after Easter and the superfluity of naughtiness that causes so much mirth in the front choir stalls of cathedrals, parish churches and school chapels alike. The Latin of St Jerome is less humorous or light-hearted: abundantiam
malitiæ, an abundance of malice (or wickedness).

It is difficult to imagine the scene as Jesus explained things very fully shortly before his passion and death. Who at that stage would understand the quid pro quo swap between a visible and bodily Jesus and a relationship with God at a more spiritual level?

In the last part of my sermon, I insisted on the unity of the Mystery of Christ as expounded by Dom Odo Casel and greatly admired by Fr Louis Bouyer (whose memoires I am now reading). You can read my old posts on Odo Casel and Liturgical Theology and Romantic and Patristic Liturgy in Louis Bouyer. I had another one of those “I knew it!” moments as I discovered that Bouyer had read Shelley, Coleridge and Keats. It all links up, and it takes a Romantic mindset to go beyond literalist Christianity. Of course, Christ was a Romantic in his own time, a shocking but cogent idea coming from the pen of Oscar Wilde.

Indeed the disciples had to make the transition from Jesus as their hero or leader to the transcendence each one of us would find within ourselves, the inner Christ. I certainly said something shocking at the end of my sermon, when I expressed the idea of much of Christianity being junk – insofar as the entire point is so often missed. We can be thankful that Tradition has bequeathed something of the Church of the Fathers. The work is ours to do.

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Tourism

At the risk of repeating myself, I often have these thoughts about what mass tourism has done, quite apart from spreading infectious diseases like SARS-COVID-2. I have been around some of Europe and a few times to the USA for specific purposes. My wife and I went to Venice for our honeymoon back in 2006. Our time was quite brief to suit our limited budget, and we stayed in an average hotel not far from the railway station. We frenzied around to make the best of our time, travelling by vaporetto (boat-bus) and feverishly visiting churches, art galleries and museums. We were autonomous, since we both speak Italian reasonably well. I suppose that our time in Venice could be defined as “autonomous tourism”. We managed on our own, travelling in and out by train and having a hotel reservation.

As a child, our family went on holiday each August, some years in England, Scotland or Wales, other years in France, Spain and Portugal. My father drove the Land Rover he used for his work as a veterinary surgeon, but towing a large and heavy caravan. These also were a time of education, autonomy and excitement. I approach my boat trips in the same spirit: I am not part of any group, but I just go out and explore, sleeping in my boat under a boom tent and being autonomous and self-sufficient. I have never taken my boat out of France, but these have been solitary times and almost a spiritual retreat in the “monastery” of nature. I often need to “get my life back”. My wife has been fairly realistic about our limited budget and taking a simple holiday at a campsite. When you want comfort or luxury, you get what you pay for!

I have never really understood the liking some people have for package tours, for which everything is organised and all the activities, excursions and entertainment are provided. I suppose it is convenient and people can relax without any concerns or responsibilities. Many, including our Bishop, love cruises on big cruise ships. Such vessels are somewhere between a hotel and a city. When I travel between France and England on a cross-Channel ferry, I can never wait to disembark at the port of arrival. Yet I love boats and the sea. I also hate flying, not so much because the plane might crash, but because you enter into a machine that (temporarily) takes away your autonomy and almost your very personality. You are processed, checked for anything illegal, and converted from being a person in one place to a person in another place. The aircraft is cramped and people are often unpleasant, which is understandable in such circumstances.

One thing I have noticed during lockdown is that my life has hardly changed, since I spend much more time at home than people who commute to work in a city. My village is hardly changed. The outside world exists only in my memories. If I were to go to the places where I sailed my boat just last year, I would find signs saying that everything is closed and forbidden. Like a deceased loved one, I prefer the living memories to the dead reality! Things should change for the better, and I don’t think anyone could do any better than the French government in sorting out the problem in terms of hospitals being able to care for the sick and the economy being a part of the common good. Many complain, but at this time, I don’t think the various available political alternatives would do better – to the contrary…

Perhaps next week, on the “magic” date of 11th May, many of us will be terrified to face the world, a different reality with the threat of the virus, however unlikely the probability of catching it. We have been conditioned, or have conditioned ourselves, into a kind of Stockholm Syndrome. I become very anxious on going into a supermarket, which was always a challenge for me as being “on the spectrum”. Now, it is a real effort of will, being decent and polite with people, but above all getting on with the shopping so that I can pay at the till and get out as quickly as possible. Many people love supermarkets as places for socialising and conversation. They love crowds. I don’t.

The virus is going to be around for a time. There may be less probability of catching it, and efforts are being made to find a vaccine or antibodies to prevent serious illness. Experience is showing its fruit as the doctors teach each other and make scientific progress. But it will change the way we humans relate with each other – no more hugging, kissing, la bise or shaking hands. The mask makes us all into autistic stereotypes, because we can no longer see facial expressions. We will become more literal. My own experience with Aspergers is that I don’t lack empathy or understanding of non-verbal communication, but I detest sophistry and bullshit. Maybe the mask will help to “cut the crap” in human relationships, at least with some individuals. Some may even become more spiritual. Most of us are sick and tired with the contradictions and the shortcomings of those who are organising our life like a travel agent designs a package tour. There is a lot of anger, especially in the USA, but it is a fact that lifting the lockdown prematurely will allow a new wave of the disease to maim and kill thousands more souls. It’s a tricky choice in which guns and politics are impotent.

Aeroplanes and cruise ships are going into mothballs for a while, and operators are in serious financial trouble. I do not rejoice in the plight of pilots, hostesses, caterers and goodness knows who else who will lose their jobs and livelihoods. Maybe these expensive pieces of machinery can be put to new uses, but that is several years down the line. Machines at a standstill deteriorate very quickly.

My own state of mind is that I would like to continue short solitary outings in the boat, on a river or on the sea in Normandy or Brittany. I have lost the desire to go anywhere else, except “on business”, for my Church, contacts with family and friends. Just visiting places strikes me as trespassing in other peoples’ lives, in the lives of those who live in those places. My trips in a boat take up a very small footprint. How many others will come to think in a similar way? I find that tourism is simply not a priority in my life.

Lockdown has almost become a kind of “autism” to those who had other values and ways of relating before the confinement order came. For me, little changes, but there is little or nothing with which I can relate. I will see with the “baby steps” of next week. I will drive to the sea. I won’t be allowed on the beach or go sailing, but I will gradually exchange my memories for the new world opening up. More shops will open and I will be able to buy tools and materials, other “non-essential” things, but masked and keeping distances. Perhaps my own autism will give me an understanding of a “pseudo-autistic” world. I shudder to think what that will “feel” like. Will there be much “feeling” left in this concert of a virus and a state machine controlling us?

Our desire for the exotic and beauty of other places is usually disappointed by our actual experience. The Mont Saint Michel is a beautiful place, but it is now a mass tourism machine. That fact is inescapable even in winter, and cannot be ignored. I become blasé and indifferent, cynical… In the end, for a Romantic, the imagination will create a whole new world from what we find on getting off a plane after a long and cramped flight and a bus ride to the hotel!

We will certainly find our human connections closer to home. We will become less cosmopolitan and “world citizen” and more nationalist and regionalist. I will probably identify more with the Normandy where I live that even my ageing memories of the Lake District as I knew it in the late 1960’s. We need to appreciate what is within our reach and what is accessible in no more than a few hours – or less – by car or train. Above all, we live where we live and we can give more priority to caring for others around us and participating in local life.

Another thought came into my mind. We often think about getting away, “bugging out” in survivalist / prepper language. It is a thought that came into my mind when I decided to live in the country. I am already in the desired situation, and am thankful I am not in town and surrounded by the crowds. I am already part of a pleasant reality of countryside, a sleepy village and enough room to pursue my favourite activities. Shortly before the writing was on the wall with the pandemic in Italy, Sophie and I decided to get rid of our caravan at Barfleur. We will stay home this August, and go to see a few places. For more hopeful years, we can go and spend a week camping and enjoying simple things. This year, money will be short, and we will make do with less. My boat outings will be just a couple of days at a time and not too far away from home. Brittany next year!

How many others will react the way I have evolved? I think there will be more than we can imagine. There will be those who learn wisdom. Others will be angry and perhaps violent, before thinking about things a little. Courtesy of the virus, most of us will be avoiding crowds and “mass humanity” for quite some time, for longer than what authorities require from us. Christian charity calls on us to care for others and be ready for self-sacrifice. At the same time, we are called to self-reliance and being ourselves.

As always, look after yourselves, and especially – think for yourselves. Be critical. Be sceptical. Be open to the new world.

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Third Sunday after Easter 2020

My thoughts are dark because this plague and the necessary lockdown have put me in a bad mood. Again, I seek light from the likes of Novalis, Böhme and Berdyaev, at least a way to find hope in the Night and the mirage of the new Day. This surely is the essential message of these words of Christ.

I ask your prayers, since I have had an anxious week. I put up a posting on this blog that was shot down by a comment – and I decided that the comment was not unjustified. My thought was confused between my desire to reconcile this situation of spiritual desolation on account of the virus and the lockdowns in almost all western countries – and the existence of a loving and merciful God who cares… I gave consideration to the thought and reasoning of atheists like Richard Dawkins, because some of their reflections are a just criticism of notions of God that have no credibility for thinking adults. It all comes to a notion of apologetics and the ubiquitous problem of evil and pain to which C.S. Lewis made such a lucid approach. We all need to read Mere Christianity and The Problem of Pain at least once a year!

The theme of today’s liturgy, with a commemoration of the Invention of the Holy Cross and the holy martyrs, Alexander, Eventius, and Theodolus, is providential. Christ’s Paschal Mystery comes in three triptych panels like the Incarnation: his death and Resurrection, his Ascension and Pentecost, and our present life whilst awaiting the Parousia. There is another layer to this last panel which is what we are living through today, the apparent desolation of mankind and the wait for some ray of hope brought by Christ.

The French situation is known to those who read the news. The choice of 11th May as a date for a first stage of relaxing the lockdown is based on the activity of viral infection. If carriers infect no more than one person, the deconfinement will be possible. There are still many incoherent things, like being allowed to go to work on crowded trains or queue up in supermarkets, but not being allowed access to a beach for sailing or to a wild place for a long hike. These things are being discussed. This week will be decisive. The weather may be our saviour, to discourage frustrated people from breaking the lockdown before 11th May – we are expecting more wind and rain, especially towards the end of the week. We have to hold out until the end, and then the 11th May will not be an illusory mirage in the mouths of mendacious politicians! I live in a “green” department, which will give us a few “perks” in comparison with Paris and the east which will be “red” because of the viral transmission and the capacity of hospitals to handle serious and critical cases. We can but hope – but we will still have to wear masks, keep 6 feet away from other people and keep sanitising and washing our hands.

I have mentioned it before. Many people live in small flats in cities with large families! I am in the country and have a garden. I have plenty to do, and I am getting some financial help from the State to keep my business going in spite of the lack of orders. I am grateful. The future does not belong to us – carpe diem.

To cut a long story short, Christ prepares his disciples for the Ascension and his being accessible to us only sacramentally. He is no longer with us bodily, and people alive today have never seen him. We have to go beyond our need for matter and sensory evidence and enter into the Light in a different and spiritual way.

Lockdown has taken a toll on me, as I feel its effects around me between those who take it seriously and suffer, and those who don’t care about anyone but themselves as they carry on potentially infecting others willy-nilly. I have certainly suffered much less than I deserve! As a priest, I assure you all of my prayers, compassion and empathy in our common experience of a serious challenge to our faith…

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Henry Chadwick on Christian Platonism

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Second Sunday after Easter 2020

2nd Sunday after Easter 2020 according to the Use of Sarum, with sermon. I mention the impending end of lockdown here in France (11th May) with some continuing restrictions. I intend to continue recording Mass and sermons for the sake of people unable to attend church services for other reasons like sickness and remoteness. Watching a recording is no substitute for physical presence in a church, but it is better than nothing.

Discussion about recorded services continues in places like Facebook. The rigorist position would outlaw such “invalid” fulfilments of Sunday obligation and push people to protest against lockdown rules and even attend clandestine services. “Jesus is my vaccine“, exclaimed some Evangelical pastors in the USA. They caught the virus, and some of them died on the ventilators! Their presumption of divine intervention did not pay off. Recorded services may be a poor substitute but it is a service we priests offer in this time of lockdown, fear and distance. There are no “tele-sacraments” other than the grace a soul receives through prayer and desire.

Strict lockdown is to be lifted here in France on Monday 11th May. The French President will address the nation on Tuesday to unveil the plan, because it has to come in stages. We will no longer have to justify the least trip out of the house to police and gendarmerie, but there will still be distancing rules in place to prevent a second wave of the epidemic. We will have to wear masks in public places. Hopefully, the economy will recover and I will start to get translating orders again, and others will find their jobs. Bars and restaurants have to wait until about mid-June and there can be no gatherings of crowds before mid-July. We can only hope that the plan will be effective, since the vaccine remains academic for the time being, barring a scientific miracle which is being worked on as I write.

The internet has been full of comments and articles written by those who think all this is a conspiracy to gather the “sheeple” into a totalitarian dystopia. It is interesting that the same image of sheep is used, but in a very different meaning to that of the Good Shepherd. It is more like the image of the slaughterhouse! Many French people project collective memories of the 1940 Occupation onto the present situation and call for massive demonstrations and strikes against the Macron government. As far as I see it, it is not a conspiracy, but perhaps something that could have been better planned and managed from the beginning of the epidemic in France. It makes sense to the government to let us go back to work and buy goods and services as soon as the levels of people needing hospital care can be kept under control within the given threshold. That is just common sense and concern for the economy and the common good.

Another thing is that many people have deserved to be treated like sheep as they behaved in a very selfish way, refusing to take the epidemic seriously and their duty to protect others against themselves (in the event of their being infected). I hope that after the date given by our government, people will behave responsibly and not need to be threatened with fines and other sanctions by the police. There is every reason to believe that we will soon be allowed to go cycling, hiking, sailing and other things that bring health and happiness without endangering others. These are things we can look forward to and no longer to take for granted.

I hope and pray that the conditions in the UK will also make it possible to introduce a process of release from the lockdown. May churches be allowed to reopen and welcome back those who thirst for the liturgy and prayer in the community of the Christian faithful.

Some talk of a new normal, which seems to me a very nebulous idea. Lockdown cannot continue indefinitely anywhere, certainly not the years needed to produce a reliable vaccine. We cannot behave like flocks of sheep and risk a second wave worse than the first. I will certainly be avoiding crowds this year. Any sailing I do will be solo and far from collective humanity. Spring brings optimism and a ray of light.

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Self Reliance

This is a theme on which I have already touched in my posting about Transcendentalism which I encountered through Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson was distinguished through his Self-Reliance. It is a point that is still uppermost in my mind. Don’t rely on others, because they will let you down. Don’t do something because others do it. Expect nothing from the mass or the crowd. Be critical about churches and the clergy – including me! Cut the bullshit, mean what you say and say what you mean! Travel less, stay away from mass tourism and be yourself in relation to nature and beauty. Those are bold things to say.

This evening, I will not approach Transcendentalism or self-reliance from an academic point of view, but from the experience most of us are living through. We are “locked down” in our homes, confined, in order to stop the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from areas with more cases than others from person to person. The idea is to prevent hospitals from being overloaded with critical cases. The idea of lockdown is to prevent travel except defined cases like work or buying essential food and medical supplies. It also prevents gathering of people in which any infected (even if non-symptomatic) person would reinfect others.

Laws have to apply to all, and I have become aware of how collectivist our society has become. This will inevitably make people think of Orwell’s Big Brother and the dystopian heritage of Nazism and Soviet Communism. To be frank, I find it absurd that lockdown forbids long solitary walks and hikes, mountaineering, sailing and other such activities, because they do not necessarily involve social gatherings – and therefore risks of propagation of the virus. Here in France, all pleasure boating has been forbidden since mid-March, and only now are professionals like fishermen and boat conveyors being allowed to put to sea. In an ideal world, we would be trusted to use common sense. Unfortunately, some people are still flouting the lockdown rules for frivolous purposes, congregating in parks, and causing the State authorities to take stricter measures. We are all responsible for each other. The point of wearing a mask is to protect other people against us, unless we are using an FFP2 mask, which is hard to find. If the other person is wearing a mask, then we will be protected – at least about 80 to 90%. The pandemic has made us into a single collective society in which our own feelings, opinions, gripes or whatever else have no importance.

Lockdown has brought most of us into self-reliance, but one that does not involve kicking against the pricks, but living with what we have. For example, I need to make something in my workshop – a flatbed for my small boat trailer to take some stuff to the dump. I don’t have the materials I need, at least not ideal ones, so I have to become inventive. I can’t go to the timber yard or the DIY shop, because they are closed until 11th May, the date presently chosen by the Macron government to begin the deconfinement process. So, I rummaged through my workshop and found bits of old wood to “jury-rig” a trailer flatbed. I’ll be starting work tomorrow, and then, as the rubbish dumps re-open, I’ll be able to get rid of the eyesore of stuff to get rid of.

I am very lucky to be living in a house in the country with an outside garden and yard. I have plenty to do even though I have no translation work at present. Lockdown is a hard thing to live through psychologically, because the anxiety is always there about the virus itself and the effect on the economy. I fear that my wife is cracking at the seams, and there is little I can do about it. Being an “Aspergers” autistic person has been a great advantage for me, because I am much less reliant on social support and contact. Spending a lot of time alone at home is quite normal for me. I also had the experience of being a working guest with a monastic community, following the monastic way of life and spirituality. That for me was very hard, but I had time out each week for a long excursion in the Vercors hills and the little villages. Even all that did not prepare me for something that may turn out to be a “Spanish Flu” of our own times, exactly a hundred years after the post World War I tragedy involving millions of deaths.

They are (normally) letting us out on the 11th May. I might be allowed to go sailing!!! Maybe I’ll have to wait a little longer, because it will all be in stages. They have to stop mass travelling and tourism, and they can’t allow gatherings for sports, concerts, etc. until they are sure there will be no second wave. The assumption is always the same, that we all want to crowd up and socialise with large numbers of people. Few of us are content to be alone even when we are out of the house!

I returned to Emerson’s essay and his mention of travelling. In his day, travelling was reserved to the rich. Now, it is crowds, large numbers of people all wanting to do the same thing at the same time. I last travelled by aeroplane in 2013 when my mother died and we needed to be in England quickly. Prior to that, I made four trips to the USA and experienced the post 9/11 security procedures in the airports. Now what I have noticed about the current pandemic is that much of the propagation is the direct result of mass tourism by planes and cruise ships. The virus moves because people move. My wife and I visited the Mont Saint Michel last January, when there were few tourists – because in the high season it is jam-packed and most unpleasant. Even in January, it is plain that the place is made for mass tourism. Is tourism worth it? This may be a lesson we all learn from being impeded from travelling: having to have an attestation paper just to buy food and get stuff from the chemist’s. The borders are closed in Europe. I would not be allowed to go to England even if I wanted to at this time. I can take my wife to work because she has no driving licence, because she has to work, and I have a legitimate excuse of helping a family member. Our life is certainly crimped, but we live with it. I have no desire to return to crowded cities, queues, jostling, the wasps’ nest colony, etc. How Emerson could have imagined where tourism might go, it is very thought-provoking.

I think it would be good for there to be a drastic reduction of the number of flights for the sake of the environment. Over the European Continent or the USA, long distances can be travelled by high speed train for those who have to travel for reasons of work or culture. Just for going on holiday, some of us are content to stay nearer our homes and enjoy some self-reliance by camping, boating or whatever. I hate hotels, large campsites with “bottled” entertainment, noise, oof-ta oof-ta bang-bang and anything designed for the inevitable collectivist paradigm. If we were less collectivist, we would be healthier and would bring less diseases from parts of the world where exotic animals are eaten or where security in microbiological laboratories is lax. Who wants to go to China, any more than North Korea? There are places to keep well away from. We don’t have to go there to learn about comparative culture!

There will come a time when we become dependent on others, because we get old or sick. That will be a time for spiritual freedom like what we are going through now. Even those of us who have not caught the virus are part of a sick society. Society as a whole is in quarantine and being examined and tested by medical and scientific experts. We have no more freedom than a hospital patient waiting to be discharged. Again, this theme of collectivism comes through.

Each time I read Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, it is like beholding a diamond several times and seeing a different facet each time. I read this:

It is tragic how few people ever ‘possess their souls’ before they die. ‘Nothing is more rare in any man,’ says Emerson, ‘than an act of his own.’ It is quite true. Most people are other people. Their thoughts are some one else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. Christ was not merely the supreme individualist, but he was the first individualist in history. People have tried to make him out an ordinary philanthropist, or ranked him as an altruist with the scientific and sentimental. But he was really neither one nor the other. Pity he has, of course, for the poor, for those who are shut up in prisons, for the lowly, for the wretched; but he has far more pity for the rich, for the hard hedonists, for those who waste their freedom in becoming slaves to things, for those who wear soft raiment and live in kings’ houses. Riches and pleasure seemed to him to be really greater tragedies than poverty or sorrow. And as for altruism, who knew better than he that it is vocation not volition that determines us, and that one cannot gather grapes of thorns or figs from thistles?

Indeed what about altruism in a world where others do not care about us. We do good for others because love is better than hate. However, Wilde said:

But while Christ did not say to men, ‘Live for others,’ he pointed out that there was no difference at all between the lives of others and one’s own life. By this means he gave to man an extended, a Titan personality. Since his coming the history of each separate individual is, or can be made, the history of the world. Of course, culture has intensified the personality of man. Art has made us myriad-minded. Those who have the artistic temperament go into exile with Dante and learn how salt is the bread of others, and how steep their stairs; they catch for a moment the serenity and calm of Goethe, and yet know but too well that Baudelaire cried to God — “O Seigneur, donnez moi le force et le courage De contempler mon corps et mon cœur sans dégoût”.

Our unity with God and all of human nature is our essential unity or non-duality which we have to learn. More recent philosophy makes a clearer distinction between the person and the individual. We are not merely individual units of a same nature, but persons in communion and solidarity. We have to accept that one’s man’s treasure is another’s rubbish.

It is certainly by being our personalities that we can be ourselves without being selfish and sinful through refusing the other person his or her rights and dignity. Self-reliance, far from being sinful individualism, solipsism and selfishness, is not expecting from others what they cannot give. Some have more gifts than we have, and others have much less. Our strength as persons can only come from self-knowledge and spiritual health.

As I expressed in my little talk yesterday about Sectarian Religion and the Abdication of Reason, I would like to learn more about the concept of Non-Duality as expressed par excellence by the Hindu tradition, but also by our own western Christian mystics. We are dogged by our alienation and the sentiment of Jean-Paul Sartre when he came up with the astounding idea – L’enfer c’est les autres.

Sartre expresses the idea of shame as the original feeling of the other person’s existence. I see myself as the other sees me, as an object. It is similar to that exclamation of Baudelaire quoted by Wilde – Grant me the strength, O Lord, to contemplate my body and my heart without disgust. Our shame is our self-esteem in relation to others. Being examined and looked at by others makes me what I am not. There regard exposes me, makes me fragile and an object. They are my hell. We have to escape and become ourselves again. Sartre saw relationships in terms of conflict and alienation. The play Huis clos illustrates alienation by the other and who closes me into a given nature, which deprives me of freedom. French existentialism is hard to understand and follow, but how many times we have felt like that!

Self-reliance does not prevent us from being benevolent and making friends among specially compatible personalities. We may be able to experience close communion with some. Others will remain a mystery of otherness and alienation.

We still have another couple of weeks of lockdown, and then the “social distancing” has to continue through “barrier gestures” like keeping a certain distance and wearing masks – all to avoid transmitting or catching the feared virus. Perhaps this will help some to rely more on themselves than to depend on the unreliable characteristics of fickle human nature. Some of us will become cynical (modern meaning) and divide people up into hylics, psychics and pneumatics – denying that any might cross the boundaries. The problem is that many people fit into these categories. Do we as Christians say that we do not care? On the other hand, do we throw pearls to swine?

For the time being, we are at home, comfortable or bitter as the case may be. We will again face the world of trying to earn a living by work and dealing with our shame as we wear our masks and keep the proper distances from those we have to consider as potential sources of infection. In this way, other people become our hell. I have confidence that prayer and meditation will help us in our Way of the Heart, to acquire compassion and empathy. Perhaps a new society and humanity will come out of it all. I have my doubts but I also have faith…

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Sectarian Religion and the Abdication of Reason

Some reflections on irrational religion, “red herrings” and diseases of the mind. I discuss some aspects of the “ecclesiastical freak show” that attracts curiosity, and how this curiosity needs to give way to critical reasoning and creative imagination. I touch upon the idea of Non-Duality which is uppermost in the Hindu spiritual traditions but also in the Gospels and Christian mysticism. We need to learn from each other.

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Low Sunday 2020 Mass and Sermon

I have just uploaded my Mass for Low Sunday. I used the “weekday” Sunday Mass rather than the series of repeats of Easter Sunday at odds with the clausa paschuae on Easter Saturday in the Gregorian and Gelasian Sacramentaries.

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Informal talk on the Use of Sarum

Here is an informal talk on my book A Twitch on the Sarum Thread with greater insistence on the founding cultural and philosophical principles underlying liturgical traditions. Indeed it is not specifically about the Sarum Use / Rite but the diversity of local traditions and Christian culture. To get an understanding of things, we need to go to fundamental principles before considering the details.

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An Easter Day Ramble

I have put this little talk on my Romantic Christianity book. I finish with IX of the Spiritual Songs by Novalis on the Resurrection – in German and then in George McDonald’s beautiful English translation.

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