Thursday, May 25, 2006
Very much enjoying reading Charles' book but I do think his rejection of creeds and the historical truth of the Bible is overblown. To say that "it is silly ... to take literally stories that were not written down until decades after the event." shows, I think, how weak the ground is. In an oral culture people remember things. One should also respect the integrity of the genre and the writers. But someone who hung out with all the Bishops in the 80s and lived in St George's Windsor Castle would be likely to have a very 'liberal' and non-dogmatic view.
The Ascension is often remarked on as a case in point where "it cannot have happened literally" but there seems no reason why not. Jesus clearly needed to show the disciples that His appearences on earth were at an end, and what better way? A cloud covering him is the classic biblical signal for being in the presence of God. To believe in the resurrection and not in the ascension seems to me to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. And if you don't believe in the resurrection ... well!
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
I bought Charles' book Myself and Other More Important Matters and am reading it avidly. Full of interesting apercus - eg "schools, at every level, prefer to teach what can be taught, rather than what needs to be learned." Fundamentally, as in so many other fields, business is about people.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Went this evening to a delightful performance of Barber of Seville by Opera East in which a friend is singing. The playing, voices and comedy are all fresh, all the roles are well sung and acted, and the translation (by a distinguished translator who died in 2004) really zingy. I thinkk I have seen this once before, in Italian, and I had not realised just how creepy Basilio's aria about how you start a rumour (La Calumnia) to try to destroy someone's reputation is. But of course these plots are nullified, and it ends with happiness all round - for the time being. "We'll leave the rest to Mozart"
I see that there is a new-ish Centre for the Study of Christianity in China set up in Oxford. An excellent cause. 60-70M Chinese Christians and growing rapidly. "many in the Party also see much merit in religion. They are intrigued by the capacity of Christianity, in particular, to furnish a practical morality that is beneficial to a society in flux, and provide a foundation for “modernisation” of the kind that has made the US and Western Europe rich and strong."
Extraordinary interview with David Blunkett in the FT Magazine in which he suggests that Blair and Brown are two of the pre-eminent global statesmen, right up there with Clinton, Mandela and Gorbachev. These people are quite, quite mad!
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Tom Wright's John for Everyone continues to delight. He must be right to translate judaeoi as Judeans rather than Jews for Jesus' opponents, obviously Jesus and his Disciples were Jews too. He also points out, which I had stupidly missed, that when Jesus' opponents said (John 7:52) "heureneeson kai ide hoti ek tees Galiliaias propheetees ouk egeiretai" (which Tom translates as "check it out and see! No prophet ever rises up from Galilee" though REB has "the Prophet does not come from...") in fact Jonah and Hosea both did come from Galiliee, and that both are associated with resurrection, as John reminds us with his use of egeiretai.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Hope that similar enthusiasm comes into play at St Andrew's.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
On Weds we will have the Licencing of Fr Martin who looks very nice and wise. Hopefully in time he will want to have an open Church. Fr Donald Easton preached an excellent sermon this morning about the importance of being a loving community and not having petty quarrels. I hope it sinks in.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Have started reading Tom Wright's superb John for Everyone. In the Wedding at Cana he translates tis emoi kai etoi - normally "what have I to do with thee?" as "what is that to you and me?". This was the gospel I was asked to read at my son's wedding so I made a translation and learned it, though I did have a crib sheet to hand just in case.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Well it seems possible that the electorate has woken up at last. The latest Times and Telegraph polls are broadly in line with the local election results in terms of Conservative support (38% vs 40%) although the moving average at present has Conservatives just 4% ahead. It's not that Conservative support has increased much (they were at 38% in Jan) but Labour support has collapsed. And at the moment the national mood seems clear. As the former PLP Chairman Clive Soley put it at the PLP meeting: "“If you don’t sort it out there will be a stable and orderly transfer of power, but from a Labour to a Tory government.” The Times goes on to record:"Mr Blair used his customary technique of making eye contact with every questioner, however critical, but failed to mollify them. Mr Brown stared downwards in brooding silence; other than Mr Blair, only backbenchers spoke.... John Prescott listened with the expression, according to one MP, of a bulldog chewing a wasp."
Meanwhile this incredible botched reshuffle gets even more farcical. No business could survive such mindless shakeups. The whole Jack Straw thing is a bad joke. Not only does Beckett have almost no relevant experience: humiliating someone and making them leader of the house of commons is almost kamikase tactics. It shows that Blair continues to regard the House as irrelevant - it is not. And "Downing Street was also forced to announce emergency changes to the ministerial line-up after it emerged that Mr Blair had given jobs in two different departments to the same junior minister in the Lords, Lady Ashton."
Friday, May 05, 2006
Local MP was at the Tube Station urging people to vote Tory and indeed Labour have received a well-deserved drubbing in the Local Elections. But it looks like another badly botched re-shuffle: moving Straw to Leader of the House - well we all knew that Hoon would be a disaster but (a) Straw has an excellent relationship with Condi, (b) changing FSec and Defence Sec when we have troops engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan is dangerous (c) the bolshy Labour MPs and Lib Dems are very anti-war and will mistrust Straw. Well the national mood now is clearly that Labour are on the way out - as even Frank Dobson can see (and say!) this is like shuffling deck-chairs on the Titanic.
The sheer scale of shuffling around (only 8 Cabinet Ministers stay in their jobs, 16 sacked and many deputies are moved) is something no real manager would do.
But it may be 3 more years of misgovernment before we can vote the rascals out.
PS Kate Hoey is being admirably honest on the BBC "What is Prescott being paid for?" "When is the PM going to go?" "Chief Whip departure will be welcomed."