Monday, June 30, 2008

Gay Pride March in Delhi yesterday

Report from Queer Media Watch:

For a city of 14 million people, a gathering of a couple of hundred may seem miniscule. But for Delhi’s gay community, the turnout at their first-ever Queer Pride this Sunday was beyond belief. Over 500 marchers carrying rainbow-colored flags and ‘Queer Dilliwalla’ banners marched to bhangra beats, breaking into Bollywood-style pelvic thrusts and bust-heaving from time to time.

It took years of activism and advocacy — particularly fervent over the last few years — to make Delhi’s Queer Pride possible. In 2004, Voices Against 377, an umbrella group of 12 NGOs working on a range of issues from women’s rights to HIV/AIDS, was formed to file a case in the Delhi High Court against Section 377. (The case will have its final hearing on July 2 this year.) In 2006, celebrated author Vikram Seth wrote an open letter against Section 377, which was signed by the likes of Nobel-laureate Amartya Sen. “We just felt the time was right and Delhi was ready,” says Gautam Bhan, a city planner and gay activist, “We have come a long way from the ridiculous attitude that there are no gays in India. With this march, we hope to move from saying ‘Hey, we exist!’ to issues like respect and dignity.” A steady gay scene has slowly evolved in most metro cities including Delhi, and mainstream magazines like Time Out list gay socials. “Even smaller cities have a thriving gay scene today,” says Monga, “It happens on the quiet, but it’s there. Attitudes have definitely changed. If you don’t wave your sexuality in people’s faces, they let you be. There are jokes sometimes, but no organized anti-queer violence as in the West.”

The Times of India reports here.
"I could not imagine this kind of response 10 years ago. This march is a message to the political class of the country to give legitimacy to the community," said well-known gay rights activist Ashok Row Kavi.
Here are their pics.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Private Passions of the Archbishop of Canterbury

You still have a few hours to listen to the music choices of Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, interviewed by Michael Berkeley on Radio 3's Private Passions.

Update: Kate Chisholm also listened in for the Spectator and opines that the program produced a fascinating discussion between Williams and Berkeley about the inevitable conflict between belief and artistic expression. How can you reconcile the constraints of faith, the belief in God, and all the rules and boundaries that implies, with the imperative to question, to probe, to explore that is the essential driving force behind all creative endeavour?

So how does he resolve the conflict between being an artist and a believer?

Williams hesitated. ‘Faith,’ he began, ‘is not a mechanical, unquestioning obedience to something.’ Before going on to explain, ‘It’s almost thinking, well, here’s a structure, a vision, which gives me so much freedom I can test the boundaries as much as I like and somehow something is going to hold me up...Things are dissolving, the words aren’t holding up, and yet I can push the boundaries because there is...a voice.’

She continues:
Williams in conversation is like a poet, shaping and moulding words as if he were a potter with a lump of clay. Every sentence is qualified by the next, nothing is concrete; meaning fluidly segues from one thing into another. It’s all very well if you have the brain and hard drive of someone like him; not so easy for the rest of us, who need more help if we are to hold on to faith when in extremis. There’s a wonderful cerebral quality to Williams’s thinking; a daring to confront the abyss within, the darkest of human truths. And yet there was something also a bit dispiriting about listening to this conversation.

Perhaps it was because there was so little light relief, no admittance of the absurd and banal with which most of our daily lives are occupied. For sentimental music, Dr Williams chose Schumann’s piano concerto. An emotionally Romantic work, and yet still one step removed from the ephemeral laughter and tears which help us to get through the daily vicissitudes, the everyday crises which punctuate our lives.

Tom Ehrich on Anglican Bishops and Gay Pride

I'm in agreement with The Rev. Tom Ehrich who writes in the Indy Star about two groups of Anglican Bishops meeting presently in Jerusalem and Canterbury who will talk about little but sexuality, as if joblessness, warfare, surging inequalities, environmental destruction, tribal mayhem, mounting despair and fragile joys had no place at God's table. They will talk as if all God cared about now is sexuality, as if the entire Christian universe turned on whether men make love to men, and women to women, as if the provocative Gospel of Jesus Christ -- two-thirds of it about wealth and power, virtually none of it about sex -- were irrelevant to the 21st century.

As they do, their openly gay colleague from New Hampshire, whose consecration as bishop five years ago stirred the storm, will stand politely outside the circle, unwelcome. I wonder if any of our American bishops will have the courage to stand outside with him.

I'll take the parade. Not just its few hours of affirming dignity, freedom and acceptance, but its perspective.

He concludes by imagining where Jesus would be on Gay Pride day (celebrated in many cities tomorrow):

I think I know where Jesus will be next Sunday afternoon: marching for dignity, freedom and acceptance. But I know for sure where Jesus will be Monday morning: loving the lost, healing the sick, sustaining the hopeful, comforting the afflicted and inviting us to join hands in circles of faith.

Mandela's great legacy--Mugabe, are you listening?

At his 90th birthday bash in London, Nelson Mandela gave a speech to the crowd:
"We say tonight, after nearly 90 years of life, it is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now. I thank you."

Learning the ropes (baby hairy woodpeckers)

First, follow Dad and Mum encouraging them to continue feeding you. If not, try to feed yourself. Preferably from a steady food supply. But balancing on a feeder can be tricky.

Best of all, how about having your cake and eating it too?? That is, feeding yourself at the feeder and --at the same time--having Dad make sure you have enough. (BTW, these are different hairy woodpecker members of the next generation.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

From the AP comes alarming news:
The U.S. government secretly gathered personal data on more than 130,000 immigrants in the run-up to the war in Iraq, according to a purported FBI document attached to a lawsuit filed Tuesday demanding more detail about how the information was gathered and used.

The New York Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit against the Justice Department alleges that federal authorities may have violated the privacy of the immigrants under a previously undisclosed FBI program the document refers to as "Operation Darkening Clouds."

Obviously, there's more to follow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Penitent Magdalene by Titian

Milan's Ambrosiana Library reports that a painting of Mary Magdalene has revealed the signature of Italian master Titian after a film of dirt was peeled away. 'This is a very important discovery,' said Msgr Franco Buzzi, head of Milan's Ambrosiana Library where the picture has been kept since the institution was founded in the early 17th century by Cardinal Federico Borromeo, the Milan archbishop immortalised in Manzoni's Promessi Sposi. Up till now the painting of Mary Magdalene was believed to have been painted by one of Titian's apprentices.

Morning Walk in June

Its one of those perfect Maine days--blue sky, fresh breeze and clear air. Reuben and I had a lovely long walk this morning.
Lupins and Queen Anne's Lace in a field look and smell good. A phoebe caught the morning sun on a wire. Telegraph poles and electrical wires still adorn our roads. Then a flicker flew onto the top of a nearby pine tree probably for the sun and also the view. We enjoyed our own view of the sea into the rising sun. Whether that's a loon or not is known only to God.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The birth (and death) of John the Baptist

We are all familiar with the account of the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus in Luke's gospel. But there are two other sources for information about JB outside the New Testament. In an interesting extra-biblical account, Josephus, the first century historian reports the death of John the Baptist in Jewish Antiquities, 18. Today is the feast of the birth of John the Baptist celebrated six months before Dec 25th, the birthday of Jesus, according to tradition. Josephus' account of JB is much less problematic than his account of Jesus, the Testimonium Flavianum. John is probably known to the Mandaeans, according to an essay by Prof Jorunn Buckley of Bowdoin College, "Turning the Tables on Jesus" in Christian Origins, A People's History of Christianity ed. Richard Horsley (2006).

Lantana and Reuben

Is this lantana not exquisite? And here's our surviving dog Reuben. This morning the sun appeared so he and I weeded and planted.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tonight is Midsummer Night's Eve, also called St. John's Eve. St. John is the patron saint of beekeepers. Here's Gordon and Merlin getting ready for Midsummer Night's Eve by sniffing the Gloxinia.

It's a time when the hives are full of honey. The full moon that occurs this month was called the Mead Moon, because honey was fermented to make mead. That's where the word "honeymoon" comes from. Midsummer dew was said to have special healing powers. Women washed their faces in it to make themselves beautiful and young. They skipped naked through the dew to make themselves more fertile. It's a time for lovers. An old Swedish proverb says, "Midsummer Night is not long but it sets many cradles rocking." Midsummer Eve is also known as Herb Evening. Legend says that this is the best night for gathering magical herbs. Supposedly, a special plant flowers only on this night, and the person who picks it can understand the language of the trees.

BTW, I know this isn't the solstice anymore but its when Midsummer is celebrated by Europeans and Brazilians.

Speaking about cradles rocking, here's a new generation of baby hairy woodpeckers still being fed suet by Mama.

Obit of Henry Chadwick by Rowan Williams (Update: TLS's Chadwick piece on Augustine)

Last Thursday's Guardian has an obit of Henry Chadwick by Rowan Williams. In case anyone missed it.

Update: TLS for June 26th has a reprint of Prof. Chadwick's 1995 piece on Augustine.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

In celebration of the solstice-- I am enjoying today's Radio 3 program with Iain Burnside considers the influence of landscape on music with a guest appearance by Archbishop Rowan Williams.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fear or Freedom?: Why a Warring Church Must Change by Simon Barrow (Ed.) Available to order now!

The ugly public rows over sexuality, authority and the interpretation of the Bible in the Anglican Communion leave many people not caught up in internecine church conflict baffled and frustrated.

* What has this bitterness got to do with the Gospel and Jesus’ message of radical emancipation?
* Why is there so much fuss over a denomination that often appears a colonial hangover?
* What about the far more pressing issues of war, peace, development, environment, science and spirituality?
* How does such infighting impact the credibility of the Christian message in the twenty-first century?

With a short preface from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Fear or Freedom? takes a constructively critical look at the significance of ‘Anglican wars’ in the run up to (and well beyond) the much publicised 2008 Lambeth Conference, signalling some important fault lines in post-Christendom life and faith.

Drawing on material from the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia, the book asks why many historic churches are in a mess and how they can change. Its message is positive. The churches can - and must - abandon their obsession with top-down control, and rediscover the Gospel as a subversive source of hope in society at large.

Contributors: Simon Barrow and Jonathan Bartley (Co-directors of Ekklesia), Glynn Cardy (St Matthew’s-in-the-City, Auckland, New Zealand), Deirdre Good (Professor of New Testament, The General Theological Seminary, New York), Savitri Hensman (Equalities adviser and writer, UK and Sri Lanka), Tim Nafziger (Christian Peacemaker Teams, USA), Chris Rowland (Dean Ireland Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture, University of Oxford) and David Wood (Parish priest and university chaplain, Western Australia).
ISBN: 9781905565146 (2008) 139pp

ABC on Gavin Ashenden's book on Charles Williams

The TLS this week has a review by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, of Gavin Ashenden's new book Charles Williams: Alchemy and Integration 276pp. Kent State University Press. $55. 978 0 87338 781 1

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Honored to have my post on Episcopal Cafe, "Mourning Diamond" considered a "must must read" at Daily Episcopalian.
Thought for the Day, 18 June 2008
The Rev. Dr Giles Fraser

A few weeks ago, two Anglican clergymen celebrated their civil partnership at a service in a famous London church. Newspapers last weekend called it a gay wedding. A number of friends of mine were at the service and told of a happy and wonderful occasion. But there are those who have been deeply upset; people who would quote scripture to argue that it threatens the very fabric of marriage itself. So what, then, is the Church of England's theology of marriage? Back in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as the Book of Common Prayer was being put together, marriage was said to be for three purposes:

First, It was ordained for the procreation of children
Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication
Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.

How do these three concerns relate to the prospect of gay marriage? The third priority insists that marriage is designed to bring human beings into loving and supportive relationships. Surely no one can deny that homosexual men and women are in as much need of loving and supportive relationships as anybody else. And equally deserving of them too. This one seems pretty clear. The second priority relates to the encouragement of monogamy. The Archbishop of Canterbury himself has rightly recognised that celibacy is a vocation to which many gay people are simply not called. Which is why, it strikes me, the church ought to be offering gay people a basis for monogamous relationships that are permanent, faithful and stable. So that leaves the whole question of procreation. And clearly a gay couple cannot make babies biologically. But then neither can those who marry much later in life. Many couples, for a whole range of reasons, find they cannot conceive children - or, simply, don't choose to. Is marriage to be denied them? Of course not. For these reasons - and also after contraception became fully accepted in the Church of England - the modern marriage service shifted the emphasis away from procreation. The weight in today's wedding liturgy is on the creation of loving and stable relationships. For me, this is something in which gay Christians have a perfect right to participate. I know many people of good will are bound to disagree with me on this. But gay marriage isn't about culture wars or church politics; it's fundamentally about one person loving another. The fact that two gay men have proclaimed this love in the presence of God, before friends and family and in the context of prayerful reflection is something I believe the church should welcome. It's not as if there's so much real love in the world that we can afford to be dismissive of what little we do find. Which is why my view is we ought to celebrate real love however and wherever we find it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Craft of Thought with Mary Carruthers

This astonishing book was the subject of one of our workshops: Mary Carruthers, The The Craft of Thought. Meditation, Rhetoric, and the Making of Images, 400-1200. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Pp. 399. ISBN 0-521-58232-6. $59.95.

One reviewer points out that the only word missing from the title is "memory."

The goal of memory -- which Augustine conceived as the "first person" of the trinitarian human soul (the second and third being intellect and will) -- is to remember what is ontologically, and not chronologically, prior to our present being in the world. It is through the proper exercise of memory that the timeless being of God becomes present in time to humanity, and the remembrance of God may be achieved only by careful practice, an "orthopraxis [which] emphasizes a set of experiences and techniques, conceived as a 'way' to be followed, leading one to relive the founder's path to enlightenment." (1) Memory, in the meditative technique of early Christianity, must remain oriented toward an eschaton, a future not in time but at the end of time.

For medieval monastic culture, meditation, and not rational argument, is the path to proper remembrance. And for monks as for artisans, the notion of "craft" implies the proper use of the body as well as a craftiness of mind. So, this is a book about meditation as a "craft" that presupposes the mastery of all of the mind's "tools" that are appropriate to the soul's own special vocation, which is to employ proper books, "places" and buildings, and images (all of which involve as well the participation of a pure and well trained body) in the quest to know God.

This book is made up of long chapters that are like mosaics composed from tesserae garnered from MC's excursions into an unusual variety of very old books, churches, cities. One cannot miss in her writing a personal presence an authorial "I" or "we" that often rises to the surface of her scholarly prose. As readers we are almost in a classroom -- one nicely free from conventional departmental and disciplinary boundaries that can often cramp the modern study of the Humanities. As a reader, "I" welcome this intellectual freedom.

I wonder if the Temple Scroll from the DSS is a very early example of this kind of thinking?
News from St Andrews:

The Court of the University of St Andrews is delighted to confirm that it is to appoint Dr Louise Richardson as Principal of the University with effect from January 2009.

And Dame Judi Dench, an award-winning actress of the stage and screen, will be awarded an honorary degree by the University on Tuesday June 24th.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Matthew's Gospel in Scots

There's an excerpt from the Beatitudes in this CD of Matthew's Gospel in Scots read by Tom Fleming from a rendering by William L. Lorimer. Scots is mostly heard and spoken so putting this version on CD is appropriate.

Here's a transcription:

Seein hou monie there wis o them, he spealed the brae, an whan he hed sitten doun, an his disciples hed gethert about him, he set tae the teachin, an this is what he said tae them:

"Hou happie the puir at is hummle afore God,
for theirs is the Kingdom o heiven !
Hou happie the dowff an dowie,
for they will be comfotit !
Hou happie the douce an cannie,
for they will faa the yird !
Hou happie them at yaups an thrists for richteousness,
for they will get their sairin !
Hou happie the mercifu,
for they will win mercie !
Hou happie the clean o hairt,
for they will see God !
Hou happie the redders o strow an strife,
for they will be caa'd the childer o God !
Hou happie them at hes dree'd misgydin for richteousness' sake,
for their's is the Kingdom o Heiven !

Hou happie ye, whan they tash an misgyde ye an say aathing ill o ye, liein on ye, for my sake ! Blythe be ye an mirkie, for gryt is the rewaird bidin ye in heiven; it wis een sae they misgydit the Prophets afore ye.

"Ye ar the saut o the warld. But gin the saut gaes saurless, what will gie it back its tang? There is nocht adae wi it mair but cast it outbye for fowk tae patter wi their feet.

"Ye ar the licht o the warld. A toun biggit on a hill-tap canna be hoddit; an again, whan fowk licht a lamp, they pit-it-na- ablo a meal-bassie, but set it up on the dresser-heid, an syne it gies licht for aabodie i the houss. See at your licht shines that gate afore the warld, sae at aabodie may see your guid deeds an ruise your Faither in heiven !

frae 'The New Testament in Scots' - William L Lorimer. This extract is from St Matthews, chapter 5, verses 1 to 16. Lorimer's translation of the New Testment, from the original Greek, intil Scots was published in 1983.

Friday, June 13, 2008

By the grace of God, next week's conference is booked solid and there's a waiting list. Not sure how much time I'll have to blog from NC...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Early worship site at Rihab in Jordan?

Dale Gavlak of AP reports that archaeologists in Jordan have discovered a cave underneath one of the world's oldest churches and say it may have been an even more ancient site of Christian worship. But outside experts expressed caution about the claim.

Birdie on #3

Managed to birdie a par 3 on a round of golf yesterday--between gardening and editing. It was one of those perfect Maine days when it was a _crime_ to be inside...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Discovery of Roman necropolis for workers in ?salt mines

Archaeologists said on Monday they have discovered a vast Roman necropolis on a hill south of Rome where the lower social classes buried their dead.

Around 270 skeletons have been found in simple tombs at the Castel Malnone necropolis at Ponte Galeria along with ceramic tankards, oil lamps and what remains of ancient shoes.

Around 70 coins bearing the effigies of the Emperor Trajan (53-117) and Faustina the Elder (100-141), wife of Emperor Antoninus Pius, were found placed in the mouths of the dead as offerings for Underworld ferryman Charon.

Archaeologists and anthropologists working at the site discovered that some 70% of the skeletons belonged to adult men between the ages of 20 and 40, and that many had spinal fractures or other disabilities.

Although most of the tombs contained only basic artefacts, the graves of two young boys led to more interesting finds.

One boy held a necklace made from bones, shells and an amber pendant to protect him in the afterlife, while another was buried with two gold earrings and a large ceramic oil lamp decorated with a scene from a grape harvest.


Our first oriental poppies in the garden this year!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I'm editing my Matthew and Mark sections today and this is the illustration for Matthew from Cawston, Norfolk.

Monday, June 09, 2008

2 Timothy 4:13, "Bring also the books and especially the parchments"

2 Timothy 4:13, the purported instructions of "Paul" to Timothy, "When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books and especially the parchments" even if not Pauline, presents evidence of parchments (Greek: membranai from the Latin membranae) as documents i.e. note books in the second century. The note books could have been anthologies such as writings of pagan authors or authors in the Hebrew Bible. They are for personal use. Could these be "Paul's" personal copies of his own letters as argued by Harry Gamble in 1986?

T.C.Skeat in 1979 argued for a reading of 2 Timothy 4:13 in which the membranae are the books.

Even if this indicates the creation, maintenance and use of note-books in a description of "Paul", they are not carried everywhere.

Absence by Elizabeth Jennings

I visited the place where we last met.
Nothing was changed, the gardens were well-tended,
The fountains sprayed their usual steady jet;
There was no sign that anything had ended
And nothing to instruct me to forget.

The thoughtless birds that shook out of the trees,
Singing an ecstasy I could not share,
Played cunning in my thoughts. Surely in these
Pleasures there could not be a pain to bear
Or any discord shake the level breeze.

It was because the place was just the same
That made your absence seem a savage force,
For under all the gentleness there came
An earthquake tremor: Fountain, birds and grass
Were shaken by my thinking of your name.

(This day a week ago we put Diamond to sleep)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Book: The Painful Verses

Here's a new literary collaboration "Les Versets douloureux" (The Painful Verses) by David Meyer, Soheib Bencheikh and Yves Simoens Publishers: Éditions Lessius, Publication date: February 2008.

The "painful verses" refers to the passages in the scripture that speak of rejection, violence and hate of others and of the other's tradition, more specifically the Torah, the Gospel according to Saint John and the Koran. Dialogue as such is dealt with in the last part of the book, with a chapter that describes a roundtable discussion among the three authors after reading each other's contributions to the book.

Strange that the Christian contribution is restricted to John's Gospel which is not true of the other contributions.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The end of an extraordinary week in politics! (And yes, this is --mistakenly exact--Hebrew).

Friday, June 06, 2008

Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker

Tim Adams reviews Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker in the Observer Review for June 1st.

A few years ago, dismayed that libraries were destroying their newspaper archives in favour of microfiche, Baker purchased 20 tonnes of old newsprint, including a complete run of the New York Times from the British Library, which was about to pulp it. He has the archive stored in a warehouse near his home in New England. His obsession, subsequently, has been to immerse himself in this paper history.

He has emerged with this extraordinary book, which is, at the very least, a new way of looking at the steps that led to 1939, and the conduct of the war until America's entry in 1941. In a series of dated snippets and cuttings, each one perfectly crafted, the reader is invited to relive an alternative history, one that asks Baker's two explicit questions: 'Was it a good war?' and 'Did waging it help anyone who needed help?'

The book is apparently conceived with an eye to the appeaser's case: For every malevolent action, Baker begins to allow, there might have been an equal but opposite gesture of peace. Churchill, in this astute, comprehensive but energetically selective reading, comes across almost exclusively as bloodthirsty and anti-Semitic, goading Hitler into expanding the conflict by indiscriminate bombing of the Ruhr, intent on promoting 'shock and awe' by inflicting maximum damage on German civilian populations.

The Third Reich, meanwhile, from scrupulous contemporary reports, is seen to dwell on a preferred Final Solution that would have seen the transport of European Jews to Madagascar, a possibility prevented by the British blockade of ports. Baker does not shirk from Nazi horror stories, but he includes, too, the Gestapo commanders who sought to bring bread to the starving Warsaw Ghetto, and by default begins to suggest that Hitler was 'forced' into genocide by the brutal Allied conduct of the war.

Gospel of Judas in recent news

Remember the Gospel of Judas? First announced in a TV programme released just before Easter in April 2006 through the auspices of the National Geographic Society?

The First International Conference on the Gospel of Judas organized by Madeleine Scopello was held in Paris, University of Sorbonne, October 27th-28th 2006. The proceedings of the conference are due to be published in August 2008 by Brill.

Then came the spate of new books on the topic. Then on Dec 1, 2007 came Prof April DeConick's OpEd piece in the New York Times (login required) followed by the response from the National Geographic Society and various reactions.

In March 2008, Prof DeConick organized a conference on the Gospel of Judas at Rice University.

Most recently, on May 30, Thomas Bartlett wrote a piece in the Chronicle for Higher Education: "The Betrayal of Judas." This received wide attention. Here's the National Geographic's response and Tom Bartlett's rejoinder.

Finally, today on April DeConick's blog comes a statement by Marvin Meyer and observations by Prof DeConick herself including updating and revision of her book The Thirteenth Apostle.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Summers Off??

Who amongst academics hasn't been told how fortunate they are to have summers off?
Ms Mentor has some helpful advice on this topic: shorten your to-do list, create manageable writing schedules, and note what you have done at the end of the day. Count me in!

And as for what I've done today, I found myself quoted in Spanish on "Once Noticias" (the topic is the connection between MM and the South of France):-

“Tenemos textos en el Nuevo Testamento y afuera del Nuevo Testamento, pero nada que apoye el viaje de María Magdalena a Marsella con sus hermanos, así que esto pertenece a la tradición cristiana, tradición cristiana medieval”, concluyó Deirdre Good, profesor del Nuevo Testamento.

Now I really will get back to work.

Gay Marriage won't feature in the 2008 election

Albert Hunt of Bloomberg News thinks that gay marriage won't be an issue in the 2008 election. It won't replace concerns about the economy and the war in Iraq.

National surveys by groups such as the Pew Research Center indicate that a growing number of voters support gay marriage. A Field Poll last week showed that California voters, by a margin of 51 percent to 42 percent, favor it, while 68 percent of young people feel that way.

And the arguments against gay marriage are eroding. While critics say it destroys the institution of marriage, there's no evidence of that. Massachusetts sanctioned gay marriages four years ago, and there have been no reported incidents of straight couples splitting because of it; indeed, the initial furor has died down as people realize this doesn't threaten anyone.

Far more insidious is the 50 percent divorce rate in the U.S. and that a third of all children are born to a single mother; that's three times the rate of four decades ago.

Moreover, the notion that gay marriage steps on the prerogatives of religion is nonsense. No court ruling or proposed statute would require any church, synagogue or temple to perform, or even recognize, such unions.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Diamond R.I.P. (+ update)

How do you describe an intelligent, independent, loving yet pretty intractable dog who has been part of your life for 13 years? We put her to sleep today after a six month struggle with OS and a leg amputation in December.

Update: Mourning Diamond is now posted to Episcopal Cafe.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Messiaen, La Nativite du Seigneur

BBC Radio 3's Jeremy Thurlow in CD Review Building a Library around 9.30am (i.e. half an hour into the recording) yesterday reviewed recordings of Messiaen's "La Nativite du Seigneur," nine meditations for organ, composed in 1935 and regarded as his first masterpiece.

If Messiaen is new to you, this is a great way to be introduced to the idiosyncratic harmonic and rhythmic system of his music conveying emotion and sincerity. Jeremy Thurlow compares recordings by Olivier Latry, Dame Gillian Weir, Jennifer Bate, Marie-Claire Alain, Eriksen, Thierry, and Louise Marsh and selects his preferred choice: Dame Gillian Weir on Priory Records (details to be posted on the website tomorrow, Monday). One doesn't have to be a religious person to appreciate Messiaen. As Thurlow points out, contact between the everyday and the eternal is not just of interest to Christians but to everyone.

Podcast Conversations with contributors to Borderlands of Theological Education

 Just thrilled that our podcast conversations with contributors to Borderlands of Theological Education are available here: https://podcast...