Friday, 30 July 2010

Lovers Electric

I went to a concert last night at a church in the city where a "community of spiritual travellers who seek to live in a way that is honest to God and honest to now", called Moot, meet. They'd arranged for a few bands to play and a friend of mine, who knew the FATHER of one of the musicians, invited me.

That made me feel old. I'm sure I'm still of an age where I'm supposed to know musicians, not their parents. Still there's good reason in this case to blame the friend.

I don't think the bands were chosen for any particular connection to the church, or church in general, as was highlighted by one of the musicians, after extolling the virtues of the building, proclaiming "I'd love to get baptised in that!"

Pointing at the pulpit.

Anyway these guys were hot, entertaining and super-super-good.
(For a clearer version of the song [not live] click here.)

Monday, 26 July 2010

How to have a crap time camping

Why doesn’t Bella Swan just get a hobby? Like knitting. Or kayaking. Or stabbing herself in the face with a chopstick. I think I would rather have spent last night watching K-Stew take two hours to choose between two M&S ready meals than the drippy and curiously asexual vampire and wolf.

“I LOVE duck with noodles and hoi sin sauce. I want to eat it for the rest of my life.”
“But chicken and mushroom fried rice is so delicious.”
“No. I will have the duck. Even if it means I become a serial killer.”
“But the chicken! It’s so tempting. Maybe I can have a bite of it and still eat the duck.”
“Gosh I LOVE the duck so much. And it knows I want the chicken, and yet it still wants me to eat it. That makes me feel special.”
“Yummy chicken... It’s calling to me, saying, ‘Eat me too! I don’t care if you’re eating duck most of the time.’ But it’s wrong to have two dinners. Perhaps I’ll take them both camping and that will help me decide.”
“But I LOVE THE DUCK. Even though it’s cold. Maybe I should put it in the microwave.”
(And so on, for 300 hours, ad nauseam)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Bishops-Without-Penises: an appraisal.

The Church of England General Synod has inched even closer to the day when we might see people who don't have penises in the episcopacy. As a person who doesn't have a penis, and is in favour of people with all sorts of different genital make-up being ordained, I am very pleased about this.

We might even have a Bishop-Without-A-Penis in the next few years!

Katherine Jefferts Schori: Doesn't have a penis.
Now, I know what you might be thinking. Surely (you might say to me), these people who don't have penises shouldn't be Bishops! (In fact you might even think they shouldn't be priests but they are already, and you don't want to get sidetracked into a conversation about priest-genitalia.)

People without penises are definitely equal to people who have penises, but it is quite obvious (you might argue) that the having of a penis makes a person completely different to a person without one. For instance, those who don't have penises are actually more special than people with penises, because the non-penis people can be mothers! They can actually produce babies out of their no-penis area, and look after the babies! This is something that God likes, for sure. Especially because God was born from a person without a penis.

Anyway, to side-step the obvious point that Jesus had a penis (God couldn't possibly have been incarnated as a no-penis-person) and all his disciples had penises, the really important thing is that only people with penises can ordain priests (you might tell me). Thus people who are ordained by people without penises aren't actually priests and can't say mass. This is crucial, because the most important thing a Bishop does is to ordain priests. ('Theology of taint' sounds like an innuendo but in fact is very very serious.)

What Synod should have done was to make sure that for every diocesan Bishop-without-a-penis consecrated, there would also be a proper Bishop-with-penis to help out, so that those who realise that penises are crucial to sacramental authority won't have to put up with fake priests, fake eucharists, and a fake Bishop. Otherwise, any privilege usually gained by having-a-penis in the secular world is totally undermined by the fact of being under a non-penis-'Bishop' in one's diocese and puts one on a level with in other oppressed minorities, which is unacceptable. Instead we're going to have to trust that 'Bishops'-without-Penises will look after the pro-penis Anglicans.

So, you will conclude, though you are very fond of the Church of England and would like to stay in it, your only option is a) if you're Anglo-Catholic, to leave and go to the Roman Catholic Church, which is entirely governed by penises; or b) if you're an evangelical, to not pay any of your parish's huge income to the Bishop-without-a-penis. Unfortunately, the Roman Catholics don't pay very well, and you can't take your building with you; and if you don't pay your parish share, the diocese won't help out with your 10 new church plants.

It's a painful, distressing decision to make, and I have a great amount of sympathy for it. If only there was a way of thinking about sex and gender that could make it all easier: if only there was a way to trust each other that wasn't all about what we look like naked.

Monday, 12 July 2010

In My Beginning is My Spiritual Hologram...

“We are nothing without our image. Without our projection. Without the spiritual hologram of who we perceive ourselves to be, or to become, in the future.”

Amen. Thus spake the seraph aka Lady Gaga in the new-libertine creed. And forthwith the scoffers wagged their heads at “spiritual hologram” and gnashed their teeth at the po-mo superficiality of venerating the image. But wait a minute; isn’t there some ancient text that actually refers to as image, as the image of God?

And are we so sure that the glamour-gloss of Andy Warhol’s diamond dust shoes and myriad Monroes are quite so banal as arching [high-]brows, critical of mass culture would tell us.
What if Gaga has a point?

Subtly introduce the more acceptable language of imagination and it all starts to sound a little like contemporary theology. And if it’s conceded that the age of the photograph and silent film took to pieces the aura of the work of art, then high speed broadband
must surely be the death of all romantic notions of the original, authentic work of art. Perhaps we are all copies, and copies of forgeries, and counterfeit plagiarisms of copies of forgeries, and if we truly did make it to becoming perfect images then we might avoid that pernicious Augustinian originality.

Roaring introduced me last year to Martha Beck who has a lot to say about “starting from the end.” About imagining how you want a situation to resolve itself before you find yourself 1000 miles from home hacking your way through the Mekong Delta. This means a literal imaging/imagining a future that might bring you a little closer to who you are. And if my beginning can be found in my end, and my end in my beginning, this might give us an authentic spirituality which can be achieved by copying and forging ahead. But, as every successful school-girl/boy knows, the art of successfuly copying is to give it a twist, or, as Warhol would have it, a myriad of copies in negative, high contrast, technicoloured hyper-reality.

So let’s all imagine lots of lady bishops and gay bishops and see what spiritual holograms we can uncover that are unfettered by all the reactionary boredom of people with little imagination.

We are nothing without our image.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

After School Videos

You know, today's been a sad day. Andy Murray was knocked out of Wimbledon. Ghana's football wasn't good enough to beat Uruguay. Paris Hilton was detained for smoking pot at the World Cup. I had to fish a lot of my possessions, including a ton of work, out of a bin filled with maggots in true I'm-a-celebrity style without the consolation of meeting Ant & Dec.

So, naturally, to feel better, my thoughts turned to the beautiful D'Angelo and his gorgeous 'Untitled'; my favourite after-school-video of all time:

It was also Kelly Brook's favourite video back when she was a VJ in 2000. She would get all misty eyed when she played it, and can you blame her?

Of course the video was very 'controversial', and ended D'Angelo's mainstream career even as it started it. Never mind. We can keep watching (bearing in mind some excellent questions about masculinity, sexual objectification, race, and whether the, em, 'climactic' gestures are real?) and feel cheered.

How does it feel?
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