The human value is not the ultimate, but only the penultimate value; the last, the highest value is God the Father. He alone is the cause and the measure of all things, cause and measure of all valuations, cause and measure of all love. Because this Father loves men--no matter whether they are good or bad--and because we prove ourselves His children precisely by showing that same love, are we to love men. My relation to men has therefore its ultimate roots in a transcendental fact, namely in that fundamental relation of love in which God includes men, all men. Man is a mystery. He is the culmination-point of an eternal love which issues from God; a point in the actuality of the world where, as nowhere else, the love of God burns. That is the reason why man is worth loving: not by reason of what he is in himself or for himself, but by reason of what he is for God; or in the language of theology: not for a natural but for a supernatural reason. I shall never reach man by starting from the earth; I must first reach to heaven to find man through God. The floodstream of the love of man passes through the heart of God. I must first have God before I can have man. God is the way to man. . . .Karl Adam. Two Essays: Christ and the Western Mind / Love and Belief, tr. Edward Bullough (London: Sheed & Ward, 1930) pp.61,66.
The lover can reach his beloved only through God. God alone can carry him over that dead point which lies between the ego and the alter and cannot be transcended by mere logic. . . . Thus in very genuine, unselfish, serious love belief in God is contained, even really presupposed. No one has expressed this truth with greater profundity than the apostle of love, St. John: 'Everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.'
Although some Episcopal Diocese of Virginia members continue to be upset by the denomination's confirmation of an openly gay bishop, delegates yesterday adopted a resolution to respect those with differing views. An attempt to amend the resolution by adding that "sexual relations should be confined to marriage between one man and one woman" failed by a 274-169 vote. The resolution, which does not mention homosexuality, was adopted in the closing minutes of the 211th Annual Council of the Virginia diocese yesterday [. . .]Exactly.
The Rev. John Ohmer of Leesburg, chairman of the diocesan resolutions committee, said the resolution captured the spirit of 11 original resolutions. The committee considered bringing all 11 resolutions to the floor, Ohmer said. But "we believe the greater work of the council is the call to mission and the call to stay in relationship to one another. The committee didn't feel any of the  resolutions would do that." [. . .]
[The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, bishop of the Virginia diocese,] added that regardless of where people stand, there is a desire to get on with the mission of the church and continue dialogue. "The majority do not want the issues to be dividing. . . . People are tired of bickering," he said.
This is the text of the resolution, adopted by the 211th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia on 28 January 2006:
Whereas, We in the Diocese of Virginia, members of the Episcopal Church in the United State of America and members of the Anglican Communion, united in Christ, called to live out our witness, are "gathered in the spirit" and moved by thanksgiving for the many gifts that mark our life together now, and over the last 400 years; and
Whereas, The Lambeth Conference and Windsor Report have called us to acknowledge and respond with compassion and understanding to the pain and suffering of those who, because of their sexual orientation, endure marginalization and rejection; and
Whereas, The bonds of affection and civility within the Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church in the United States, and the Diocese of Virginia continue to be strained as a result of the actions of the General Convention in 2003; and
Whereas, Bishop Lee, through his leadership, honesty, integrity and sincerity, models grace and civility in the midst of disagreement; and
Whereas, Bishop Lee, Bishop Jones and Bishop Gray provide witness to our unity in Christ in their efforts to keep us in relationship to one another; and
Whereas, One of the historic strengths of our Anglican tradition is our capacity to hold together persons with different, even conflicting, emphases in their understanding of the gospel; and
Whereas, We are defined by our mission in Christ to the world and not by the disagreements that lead us to focus on our internal life; now therefore be it
Resolved, That, for the purpose of advancing mission and the spread of Christ's kingdom, the Diocese of Virginia commits itself to seek the highest degree of communion possible with those members of the Body of Christ with whom we find ourselves in disagreement, and will make every effort to cooperate as co-laborers in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America within the Anglican Communion; and, be it further
Resolved, That, we commit to attend to our differences in a spirit of listening to one another, in order to witness to unity in Christ's mission; and be it further
Resolved, That, following the model of Bishop Lee, Bishop Jones and Bishop Gray, we commit ourselves to seek always to be respectful of one another and to stand together at the foot of the cross.
(sae hae bok manhi badeseyo)
In Korean, this asks you to receive many blessings at new year.
The Korean lunar calendar is divided into 24 turning points (jeolgi), each of half a month. The lunar calendar was central to agrarian society in the past, but is of less importance now. Traditional festivals, however, are still celebrated according to the lunar calendar, and with great enthusiasm.
On the first day of the year, Koreans offer respect (not worship) to their ancestors at the graveside. Greetings are exchanged with family, relatives and neighbours, including respctful bows to one's elders (sebae). The traditional foods include sliced rice cake in soup (tteokkuk) and honey cakes (yakwa). You cannot get a year older unless you eat tteokkuk on new year's day!
Robert Brown v. Forestry Tasmania
On 30 May 2005 Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown launched an action against Forestry Tasmania in the Federal Court to attack the presumption of the federal and Tasmanian governments that the national law to protect rare and endangered species, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, does not apply to logging operations under the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement, signed by Prime Minister Howard in 1997.
The trial resumes Monday Feb 6th. The Weilangta Forest website is keeping track of developments. Bob is auctioning his art and collectibles to pay for the trial. Credit card donations are being collected.
The Weilangta Forest area is part of remnant glacial refugia forest and key habitat of numerous rare and threatened. The recent discovery of a rare orchid (genoplesium nudum) highlights the unknown potential of scientific study in this area. Senator Brown's legal action takes three endangered species as examples and argues that they are threatened by logging. They are the Wielangta (broad-toothed) Stag Beetle, a flightless beetle confined to the Wielangta area; the Swift Parrot, a migratory species whose main breeding area is centred on Wielangta Forest; and the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle, which is larger than its mainland cousin and dependent on extensive tracts of undisturbed forest for breeding. All three are listed as 'endangered' under federal and state laws, meaning that they face a 'very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future'.
Action under a 'Regional Forestry Agreement' made between a state and the federal government is exempt from the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 which requires the federal environment minister to protect endangered species. But a Regional Forestry Agreement must provide for "a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system" and "the ecologically sustainable management and use of forested areas in the region or regions."
Senator Brown's case will argue that:
- the forestry operations proposed by Forestry Tasmania endanger at least one species (the beetle) and are not being undertaken in accordance with the Regional Forestry Agreement; and
- the Regional Forestry Agreement for Tasmania does not qualify for exemption from the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 because it does not meet the requirements.
I admire Bob's courage and his willingness to put principle before personal property. But even if the case succeeds, as well it may, it will do little damage to the Australian and Tasmanian governments. With an absolute majority in both houses of federal Parliament, it will not be difficult for the Howard government to change the laws to allow Forestry Tasmania to continue its course of destruction.
It's Australia Day and I have to work later today, a public holday. Many have long believed that 26 January, the anniversary of the first white settlement in 1788, is the wrong day for our national day, but we are at a loss for anything more satisfactory. Right now, as I live close to the centre of Canberra, I can see and hear the Royal Australian Air Force aerobatic team, The Roulettes, doing their thing as part of the official celebrations. (Cartoon by permission: Nicholson of The Australian newspaper: www.nicholsoncartoons.com.au)
"Front up" is a Canberra Times column for commentary by those born after 31 December, I976. I'm inclined to agree with Rhys Bower who wrote last week that "Australian identity" doesn't exist.
What he means, I think, is a that a common identity doesn't exist. Rather, I would say that each we find our Australian identity in differing ways. My Australian-ness is in my love for for the landscape, it's openess, its shapes and colors. That's about place not nationality. As to people, with Bower, I'm cosmopolitan and international.
Also worth reading: Tom Keneally: A date worthy of celebration in The Australian (26 Jan.).
Is there such a thing as the Australian identity? Does an idea of what is Australian exist and if it does, is it really useful in contemporary Australia at all? Let's say yes. In such a diverse and dispersed nation how do we find the meat on the bone that gives the Australian identity some meaning?
Firstly, what do we mean by Australian identity? A set of behavioural or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognised as Australian; the distinguishing character of Australians; some sameness of essential character. Basically, shared characteristics that are unique to Australians. Shared, unique.
Shared. What characteristics do we all share? It is a tough task to find some attribute that we all share. A big job too. We would need to look all over Australia to make sure we don't miss anybody. From Canberra to Cairns, Darwin to Darlinghurst, St Kilda to St Marys, Lakemba to Lamington. Probably too big a job, so we give it a good guess and find fairly common or widely shared attributes and this gives us a good approximation of what is Australian.
So armed with our good approximation of what Australian is we set about proclaiming our identity. But the problem with approximations is they don't capture everyone. That is, by using an approximation we miss out Australians that don't fit the mainstream, majority idea of what Australian is. In a country where British is the dominant ethnic group it is not difficult to guess what colour the approximation will be.
Unique. What are some of the ideas that the word Australian evokes? Mateship? Sure, I have mates and I'm sure you do too. I have mates that aren't Australian though, some don't even live here and one is a dog.
The Anzac spirit? Like Australia is the only country to send troops to war. I love Anzac Day, but the Anzacs probably have more in common with soldiers of the Red Army than with me or the Australians I see.
Barbies, beaches, beers, bush, cricket, farms, footy, Fords, families, fishing, outback, outdoors? All these things are found elsewhere. Is there anything about us that is unique? Probably only the shape of the island we live on.
So does the Australian identity exist as anything but a nostalgic fiction? Probably not. If it does, it excludes some Australians and really doesn't set us aside from other people around the world. So does it serve a useful purpose? I don't think so, and let's not forget that if it does I exist, it is predicated on denial of sovereignty and oppression of the culture of the original occupants of Australia, but we tend to ignore that.
Australian is just a word on my passport, oh, and the last line of my address.
"It was not possible to reach agreement on a series of key issues," commission moderator Torleiv Austad said in Oslo on 20 January, following the presentation of a report on homosexuality drawn up by the commission after a three-year study.Confessing Reader has an an English translation by Dr Christopher Barnekov of a piece by Ingunn Økland in the Norwegian paper Afenposten (21 January 2006). It discusses Church of Norway report and notes that the Report will be discusssed widely in the church and be dealt with by the Church Assembly in 2007. As all eleven bishops are members of the Board, it seems possible that the report may be adopted.
The report was requested by one of the bishops (Odd Bondevik) in 2002 and will now make the terms of another round of debate on whether people in same-sex registered partnerships may hold the consecrated offices of bishop, priest, or deacon. Current church policy is that people in same-sex partnerships cannot hold consecrated office, although several dioceses have priests and deacons living in same-sex partnerships, as some bishops in recent years have chosen to deviate from the official policy.
Professor Torleiv Austad, moderator of the Church of Norway doctrinal commission and professor Turid Karlsen Seim, co-moderator of the Church of Norway doctrinal commission, 20 January presented a report on understanding and use Scripture in regard to homosexuality. The commission stated unanimously that the disagreement about homosexuality strains the unity of the Church of Norway.
However, "this disagreement should still not split the church in the sense that we would no longer be able to celebrate the Eucharist together", Austad, a theology professor, told the Norwegian News Agency (NTB). Austad belongs to that half of the commission wanting the church to stick to its traditional attitude towards homosexual cohabitation.
Speaking for the other half of the commission, Turid Karlsen Seim, also a theology professor, told the NTB she hoped continued dialogue would settle the matter. "I think the church will now go through what it went through on the issue of female priests," she said. "I hope we will move towards the point where the church will accept the rights of homosexuals."
The Church of Norway doctrinal commission consists of the church's 11 bishops, five theological experts and four lay members. During the commission's deliberations there was a 6-5 episcopal majority in favour of same-sex cohabitants holding consecrated office.
The doctrinal commission does not comment upon the possibility that the church might choose to have two equally official views on the matter.
Read the whole post for a more complete context and background--including informative comments by William Tighe about the Norwegian church. I would much like to read the all of the recent whole Norwegian report, but I fear that the curse of Babel will have its way and we may never see it all in English.
There is more English-language background on the Church of Norway's website . Four of eleven bishops in the Church of Norway are now willing to ordain homosexuals living together.
I more sanguine than some about keeping questions open and allowing two views to be heard. The desire for instant answers is a contemporary urge that sometimes needs to be resisted. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to work as the Spirit pleases. Some arguments in the early church took centuries to resolve. It may well take the rest of the century to sort out the (homo)sexuality question in the churches. We may never come to agreement, just as we disagee on so very many other things. We must accept that and live with it. We followers of Christ must be able to live and work as church in the meantime.
The position of the Norwegian doctrine commission is similar to that of the Doctrine Panel of the Anglican Church of Australia. Ater two years of work and study, the Australian body reported in Faithfulness in fellowship: reflections on homosexuality and the church (2001) that it had to agree to disagree.
As people of Christian faith, who acknowledge ourselves as marvellously made, we have a responsibility to use our bodies in godly ways and to engage in relationships that reflect the substance of the covenant of love and mutual respect into which we enter at our baptism. At the heart of the current discussion are the questions of whether and how a homosexual person can fulfil this responsibility. [. . .]The General Synod commended the Doctrine Commission's report but did not wait for any further study, deciding at once to "not condone" same-sex blessings or the ordination of people in same-sex relationships.
As a panel, we represent different experiences and viewpoints; this is as it should be in a Church that also represents a diversity of experience and perspective. [. . .]
We have certainly found areas in which we differ -- sometimes strongly. But there are also points of agreement on which to build [. . .]
We are convinced that the issues of human sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular are important ones for the Church to engage and that the extraordinary complexity of the topics demands that they are approached with seriousness of purpose, discerning minds, and pastoral sensitivity.
We affirm the witness and authority of Scripture, which must be acknowledged. It is clear, however, that while specific texts do settle the questions for some, they do not settle the questions for the whole Church, since opinions on the clarity of Scripture vary. Texts must be considered in light of the whole message of the Gospel and, like all texts, need to be interpreted. The Church may need to acknowledge and wrestle with an increasing diversity of viewpoints.
We recognise that our own cultural contexts and personal experiences condition the way we approach the complex web of questions around homosexuality and therefore qualify our ability to come to a common resolution as to the mind of God. [. . .]
With regard to the blessing of same-sex unions [. . .] we believe the diversity of opinion on this issue amongst members of the Panel very likely reflects the diversity of opinion in the Church at large. [. . .]
The matter of the ordination of gay and lesbian people is rather different. [. . .] As a Panel, we have not reached one mind on this matter. We are agreed that resolute faithfulness in human relationships reflects something of the character of God. Our convictions stemming from the implications of that observation vary widely. [. . .]
It will be obvious by now that the single greatest point of divergence of opinion in addressing these questions is the use and interpretation of Scripture. None of us wishes to undermine the authority of Scripture for the Church or for individual Christians. All of us believe that the Scriptures have a crucial role to play in the way we make our moral and ethical decisions. It is plain to us that the fundamentally different ways in which we approach the texts, and the way we assign degrees of importance to particular passages are what generally control the different conclusions we reach. We have not yet discovered a way to draw our different approaches together in a unified understanding. At times we have had to agree to disagree. And we have been forced to wonder how much diversity the Church can tolerate in this regard. [. . .]
Whatever word the Church speaks on this issue must finally be a word of hope and promise. We believe that as a Church we can only reach that stage after a great deal more study, discussion and prayer that includes a broad segment of the Church and of society. (pp.196-201)
I'm an autumn colour person and prefer a darker, emerald, green!
|you are mediumspringgreen -- #00FA9A|
|Your dominant hues are cyan and green. Although you definitely strive to be logical you care about people and know there's a time and place for thinking emotionally. Your head rules most things but your heart rules others, and getting them to meet in the middle takes a lot of your energy some days. [Too true!]|
Your saturation level is very high--you are all about getting things done. The world may think you work too hard but you have a lot to show for it, and it keeps you going. [True!] You shouldn't be afraid to lead people, because if you're doing it, it'll be done right. [Yep! But it's tiringly hard work.]
Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything. [True again!]
|the spacefem.com html color quiz|
Bush fires are wreaking their all too frequent summer destruction in South Eastern Australia. This pun by Bill Leak ('Bleak') of The Australian strikes home to the many Australians familiar with Dorothea Mackellar's much-quoted poem, especially the second stanza:
My Country, by Dorothea MacKellar (1906)
|The love of field and coppice,|
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens,
Is running in your veins;
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies --
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror --
The wide brown land for me.
The tragic ring-barked forests
Stark white beneath the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
An orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the crimson soil.
|Core of my heart, my country!|
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart around us
We see the cattle die --
But then the grey clouds gather
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.
Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold;
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.
An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land --
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand --
Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.
I have been a member of the Episcopal Church in America (ECUSA) for more than 42 years. As in other Christian denominations, good changes and bad changes take place in ECUSA.1. However, as J-Tron comments:
The Anglican Episcopal Church in America did not split  during the war between the states, during racial equality movements or more than one change in its Book of Common Prayer, over the ordination of women as priests or allowing young ladies to serve as acolytes, or when more than one of its priests had sexual affairs outside of marriage.
Why the spilt now over one gay person being ordained as a bishop? During my life, I have attempted to practice the principle of working out existing problems within the framework I was living at that time. Why our priests in the Episcopal Diocese of Florida are not working with our bishop to solve what are perceived as problems is unknown to me and probably other loyal Episcopalians. Further, our bishop should be working with other bishops to resolve perceived problems.
I fully believe that Bishop S. Johnson Howard will continue to do just that. I believe without reservation that he and the Episcopal priest in this diocese do not have any theological differences. Therefore, it would appear to me to be a difference in solving a perceived problem in the overall operation of the Episcopal Church in America.
. . . to make his point Mr. Davis does lay claim to an often repeated myth of the American Church, namely that we never split over the issue of slavery. During the Civil War the Church did split. ECUSA remained in the north, while a new body called the Episcopal Church of the Confederated States of America developed in the south. The reason we can get away with pretending this split never happened is because the northern church never recognized the southern church as independent. At the General Convention that occured during the war, the southern delegations were simply marked as absent. Thus, after the war was over and the north had won, it was relatively easy for southern bishops to bring their dioceses back into the Church. Nevertheless, it is incorrect to say that a split never occurred.
- The 1000 year reign of Christ is figurative, not literal
- The main theme of Biblical eschatology is the new creation rather than the final judgment
Moltmannian Eschatology - 100%
"Eschatology is not only about heaven and hell, but God's plan to make all things new. This should spur us on to political and social action in the present." -- Moltmann's book The Coming of God is impresive.
Amillenialist - 100% - not really.
- Amillenialism is a belief largely characterized by the supposition that the literal return of the Messiah and the 1,000 year reign is not true, but there is instead a "messianic age" with the rule of the church body politic, or in more extreme cases, no millenial reign of Christ at all. -- I do believe in the literal return -- but I'm less convinced of the literal nature of the 1,000 years.
- Amillenialism lends itself to a diminishing of the Judaic birthright as firstborn of the chosen of God. -- Quite so.
- Antimillenialism tends to put the church in place Christ himself on earth, becoming a self-ordained Christ-in-Proxy. -- Nope. The two are supposed to be united, not in competition.
Premillenialist - 30%; Dispensationalist - 20%; Postmillenialist - 10% -- Surely one can't be a mixture of all three of these?
Left Behind - 0% -- Whew!
Actually, my answer is a prayerful WJDK -- We Just Don't Know.
- Abba Père, Itinéraire d'un jeune catholique gay
- Children of God, Le journal d'un "born again" gay
- Catho & Gay, Nouvelles Catacombes pour Gay Catholiques
- Didyme, Etre catholique et homosexuel ne laisse peutêtre pas d'autre choix que celui de devenir un saint
- bendebxl, journal et réflexions irregulierement reguliers
- Combat de Jacob, L'itinéraire spirituel d'un catholique gay bientôt papa
- Dominicanis, Gay, Chrétien & parfois politiquement Incorrect...
- Journal de Furyo, Catholique et . . . bisexuel!
- L'amitié spirituelle , "Quand on n'aime pas trop, on n'aime pas assez."
- Homocatho, Blog de l'auteur de "Assis-pas-bouger!"
- Queers pour Christ, Ressources théologiques et liturgiques inclusives!
President Kennedy spoke on 26 October 1963 at the Amherst College Convocation and Ground Breaking for the Robert Frost Library. His address is a remarkable commentary on the value of the arts, especially poetry, to the modern (and postmodern!) nation. Certainly Kennedy was not faultless, but this shows once again what a loss his death was. Would that all heads of government took such account of the poets in oour midst.
I am very honored to be here with you on this occasion which means so much to this college and also means so much to art and the progress of the United States. This college is part of the United States. It belongs to it. So did Mr. Frost, in a large sense. And, therefore, I was privileged to accept the invitation somewhat rendered to me in the same way that Franklin Roosevelt rendered his invitation to Mr. MacLeish, the invitation which I received from Mr. McCloy. The powers of the Presidency are often described. Its limitations should occasionally be remembered. And therefore when the Chairman of our Disarmament Advisory Committee, who has labored so long and hard, Governor Stevenson's assistant during the very difficult days at the United Nations during the Cuban crisis, a public servant for so many years, asks or invites the President of the United States, there is only one response. So I am glad to be here.
Amherst has had many soldiers of the king since its first one, and some of them are here today: Mr. McCloy, who has long been a public servant; Jim Reed who is the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; President Cole, who is now our Ambassador to Chile; Mr. Ramey, who is a Commissioner of the Atomic Energy Commission; Dick Reuter, who is head of the Food for Peace. These and scores of others down through the years have recognized the obligations of the advantages which the graduation from a college such as this places upon them to serve not only their private interest but the public interest as well.
Many years ago, Woodrow Wilson said, what good is a political party unless it is serving a great national purpose? And what good is a private college or university unless it is serving a great national purpose? The Library being constructed today, this college, itself--all of this, of course, was not done merely to give this school's graduates an advantage, an economic advantage, in the life struggle. It does do that. But in return for that, in return for the great opportunity which society gives the graduates of this and related schools, it seems to me incumbent upon this and other schools' graduates to recognize their responsibility to the public interest.
Privilege is here, and with privilege goes responsibility. And I think, as your president said, that it must be a source of satisfaction to you that this school's graduates have recognized it. I hope that the students who are here now will also recognize it in the future. Although Amherst has been in the forefront of extending aid to needy and talented students, private colleges, taken as a whole, draw 50 percent of their students from the wealthiest 10 percent of our Nation. And even State universities and other public institutions derive 25 percent of their students from this group. In March 1962, persons of 18 years or older who had not completed high school made up 46 percent of the total labor force, and such persons comprised 64 percent of those who were unemployed. And in 1958, the lowest fifth of the families in the United States had 4 1/2 percent of the total personal income, the highest fifth, 44 1/2 percent. There is inherited wealth in this country and also inherited poverty. And unless the graduates of this college and other colleges like it who are given a running start in life--unless they are willing to put back into our society, those talents, the broad sympathy, the understanding, the compassion--unless they are willing to put those qualities back into the service of the Great Republic, then obviously the presuppositions upon which our democracy are based are bound to be fallible.
The problems which this country now faces are staggering, both at home and abroad. We need the service, in the great sense, of every educated man or woman to find 10 million jobs in the next 2 1/2 years, to govern our relations--a country which lived in isolation for 150 years, and is now suddenly the leader of the free world--to govern our relations with over 100 countries, to govern those relations with success so that the balance of power remains strong on the side of freedom, to make it possible for Americans of all different races and creeds to live together in harmony, to make it possible for a world to exist in diversity and freedom. All this requires the best of all of us.
Therefore, I am proud to come to this college, whose graduates have recognized this obligation and to say to those who are now here that the need is endless, and I am confident that you will respond.
Robert Frost said:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I hope that road will not be the less traveled by, and I hope your commitment to the Great Republic's interest in the years to come will be worthy of your long inheritance since your beginning.
This day devoted to the memory of Robert Frost offers an opportunity for reflection which is prized by politicians as well as by others, and even by poets, for Robert Frost was one of the granite figures of our time in America. He was supremely two things: an artist and an American. A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.
In America, our heroes have customarily run to men of large accomplishments. But today this college and country honors a man whose contribution was not to our size but to our spirit, not to our political beliefs but to our insight, not to our self-esteem, but to our self- comprehension. In honoring Robert Frost, we therefore can pay honor to the deepest sources of our national strength. That strength takes many forms, and the most obvious forms are not always the most significant. The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation's greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us.
Our national strength matters, but the spirit which informs and controls our strength matters just as much. This was the special significance of Robert Frost. He brought an unsparing instinct for reality to bear on the platitudes and pieties of society. His sense of the human tragedy fortified him against self-deception and easy consolation. "I have been" he wrote, "one acquainted with the night." And because he knew the midnight as well as the high noon, because he understood the ordeal as well as the triumph of the human spirit, he gave his age strength with which to overcome despair. At bottom, he held a deep faith in the spirit of man, and it is hardly an accident that Robert Frost coupled poetry and power, for he saw poetry as the means of saving power from itself. When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.
The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state. The great artist is thus a solitary figure. He has, as Frost said, a lover's quarrel with the world. In pursuing his perceptions of reality, he must often sail against the currents of his time. This is not a popular role. If Robert Frost was much honored in his lifetime, it was because a good many preferred to ignore his darker truths. Yet in retrospect, we see how the artist's fidelity has strengthened the fibre of our national life.
If sometimes our great artist have been the most critical of our society, it is because their sensitivity and their concern for justice, which must motivate any true artist, makes him aware that our Nation falls short of its highest potential. I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist.
If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth. And as Mr. MacLeish once remarked of poets, there is nothing worse for our trade than to be in style. In free society art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the spheres of polemic and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul. It may be different elsewhere. But democratic society--in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost's hired man, the fate of having "nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope."
I look forward to a great future for America, a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose. I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which will protect the beauty of our natural environment, which will preserve the great old American houses and squares and parks of our national past, and which will build handsome and balanced cities for our future.
I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft. I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well. And I look forward to a world which will be safe not only for democracy and diversity but also for personal distinction.
Robert Frost was often skeptical about projects for human improvement, yet I do not think he would disdain this hope. As he wrote during the uncertain days of the Second War:
Take human nature altogether since time began . . .
And it must be a little more in favor of man,
Say a fraction of one percent at the very least . . .
Our hold on this planet wouldn't have so increased.
Because of Mr. Frost's life and work, because of the life and work of this college, our hold on this planet has increased.
On corrected (handicap) time Gillawa made the journey in 6 days 2 hours 17 minutes 14 seconds at an average of 4.3 knots for 20th position--not too shabby.
David Kent has restored Gillawa as a training vessel to give Canberra sailors the chance to sail beyond the confines of Lake Burley Griffin. A news report on the race website tells the story.
Dave Kent is certainly one of those have-a-go heroes for whom the sheer experience of getting to Hobart is everything. There are no Olympic sailors on board his 32-footer Gillawa. Instead, Kent invites sailing rookies to join him in the adventure of a lifetime. [. . .] Gillawa is all about giving people a go, it doesn't matter whether they're good, bad or indifferent. Just give them an opportunity." [. . .]This year Gillawa achieved a PB -- a personal best--and got a rousing welcome when it reached Hobart, even though it was late at night.
The previous year Gillawa was also last into Hobart, and by some margin. In fact, most of the boats had arrived, had their parties, and had already gone home by the time Kent and his merry band crossed the finish line. They arrived some seven days, 18 hours and 23 minutes after the start gun had fired in Sydney, but then there were 57 yachts that never made it to Hobart at all, some of the biggest maxis included. That year Kent kept crew morale high through the vicious Bass Strait, with some well-timed humour. "When we heard Skandia had fallen over after her keel broke off, I said: 'Well, we've pushed them beyond the limit. Who's next?'"
But if you are resigned to coming last in a race, why race at all? Why not just go on a 600-mile cruise instead? "The answer to that is simple," Kent answers. "If you want to be recognised not just as a sailor, but as part of this small, elite group that can say, 'Yes, I've done a Sydney Hobart,' then suddenly people will say, 'Wow, you are a sailor.' Now you might not be much of a sailor at all, you might just be using your muscle to wind a winch and might never have sailed before. But it has a huge attraction, the Rolex Sydney Hobart. When someone has done one of these races, they feel like they have really achieved something. There are many other races around, but this race has a special name for itself."
Doesn't the Pope have more important things to write about than sex?
I'm not saying anything, against (or for) 'sex'. Sex in itself cannot be moral or immoral any more than gravitation or nutrition. The sexual behaviour of human beings can. And like their economic, or political, or agricultural, or parental, or filial behaviour, it is sometimes good and sometimes bad. And the sexual act, when lawful--which means chiefly when consistent with good faith and charity--can, like all other merely natural acts ('whether we eat or drink etc.' as the apostle says) be done, to the glory of God, and will then be holy. And like other natural acts it is sometimes so done and sometimes not. This may be what the poor Bishop of Woolwich was trying to say. Anyway, what more is there to be said? And can we now get this red herring out of the way? I'd be glad if we could; for the moderns have achieved the feat, which I should have thought impossible, of making the whole subject a bore.C.S. Lewis. Letters to Malcolm: chiefly on prayer. (London: Collins Fontana, 1966) p.16.
(Of course it was Lewis who was particularly responsible for popularising the agape/eros distinction in his The four loves (1960). The other two loves, he says, are charity and affection.)
P.S. The Tablet (21 Jan):
Pope Benedict said this week that his long-awaited first encyclical would be published on 25 January. In a surprise announcement during Wednesday's weekly general audience, the Pope said Deus Caritas Est ("God is Love" ) would be published to coincide with the commemoration of the conversion of St Paul and the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.Meanwhile, in response to the question, "Why is the Vatican so obsessed with sex?", Father Jim Tucker seeks to show that it's not.
Pope Benedict told pilgrims gathered in the Paul VI Hall that he hoped the encyclical, which is being seen as a keystone of his papacy, would show Christians the proper relationship between erotic love and spiritual love.
In the 50-page encyclical, Benedict XVI discusses the relationship between eros, or erotic love, and agape, the unconditional, spiritual and selfless love as taught by Jesus.
Speaking without prepared remarks on Wednesday, the Pope suggested that his first encyclical will warn that in contemporary society erotic love is losing the connection to the self-sacrificing spiritual love proposed by Christianity, resulting in sexual degradation.
"There is eros; this gift of love between man and woman which comes from the same font of the Creator's goodness," he said. This erotic love can be blended with and transformed into spiritual love, he added, "where two people really love each other and one no longer seeks his or her own joy or delights but seeks above all the good of the other person".
Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, was quoted by American media recently as saying that the encyclical would demonstrate that human love and physical desires were not morally wrong under proper circumstances.
The Pope quotes not only from Biblical writings, his predecessors and church teachings, but also from philosophers including René Descartes, Vatican sources said this week. The Pope is believed to have written the entire first part of the encyclical himself at the papal residence of Castel Gandolfo last summer. The second part, which deals with the need for Christians to perform charitable works, was already being prepared by theologians during the final years of John Paul II?s pontificate.
According to the Italian news agency Ansa, the encyclical begins with the words of St John's letter: "God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him." Pope Benedict told Wednesday's audience that the publication of the encyclical had been delayed because of problems with its translation. An early draft was reportedly circulated to Vatican departments and a small number of theologians last autumn, resulting in a significant number of suggested changes, including a revision of the conclusion.
While he does not expect to write as much as John Paul II, who produced 14 encyclicals, Pope Benedict has said he wants to spread John Paul's teachings to ensure they are properly understood. -- Michael Hirst
Canon AkinTunde Popoola, Director of Communications of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), in press statements here and here elsewhere made defamatory allegations against Mr Davis MacIyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Network (Nigeria) (pictured). To its considerable discredit, Anglican Communion News Service circulated Canon Popoola's second accusatory statement. Changing Attitude Nigeria issued a statement denying the allegations.
I am glad that, thanks to Colin Coward, Changing Attitude has now been able to publish information about Mr MacIyalla that shows Canon Popoola's statements to be quite false.
Changing Attitude (Nigeria) was launched in September 2005 and held its first general meeting in November. The Nigerian church tried to argue that the meeting had never been held, even though it was independently reported by the New York Times ("Nigerian Anglicans Seeing Gay Challenge to Orthodoxy", by Lydia Polgreen NYT 18 Dec 05, Section 1, Page 3.) and the Nigerian Daily Sun (5 Dec 2005) which reported that over 1,000 people were present. Representatives of various local and international bodies were also present.
There was a general report about Changinging Attitude Nigeria (CAN) in the Daily Sun of 10 October, and there are press releases from CAN here and here. Davis Mac-Iyalla and eight members of Changing Attitude Nigeria were arrested and held in Wuse police station, Abuja from 3am Saturday 22 October to Monday 24 October. The reasons for the arrest are unclear, but may have been a response to their public stance in the Daily Sun.
Congratulations to Thinking Anglicans blog for keeping us in touch with this. There was a long and vitriolic debate in reponse to one of Thinking Anglicans' posts. Ekklesia also has a well compiled report.
One commenter at Thinking Anglicans said that "If Changing Attitude Nigeria would prefer to pursue their proposed defamation proceedings in English Courts rather than in Nigerian Courts, they can do so. Caselaw shows that internet publication is sufficient for English defamation proceedings, and overseas parties may be joined to such proceedings: see e.g. Don King v Lennox Lewis  EWCA Civ 1329." However, scripture enjoins Christians to not air their diputes in civil courts. I very much believe that if we cannot say positive things, we should usually say nothing.
Perhaps I have broken that rule here. But that is only to defend Mr Davis MacIyall. I believe him to be a courageous man of faith. He and the brave people of Changing Attitude Nigeria deserve our prayers and respect.
P.S. VOA reports that on Thursday 20 January, the Anglican Church in Nigeria said it welcomes a government decision made the previous day to push for legislation to outlaw homosexuality. The government had announced that it will introduce legislation to punish homosexuality by up to five years in jail and to ban same-sex marriages. Further, formation of associations by homosexuals and lesbians will be banned as well as any form of protest for the recognition of rights.
The spokesman for the Anglican church in Nigeria, Reverend Tunde Popoola, says the proposed bans are appropriate. "The Anglican church in Nigeria has been in the forefront of condemning the attitude because the church sees it as an aberration, in other words, we see it as against the norm. We see it as an abomination," he said.
Meantime, at Thinking Anglicans Colin Coward says:
There have been further developments in Nigeria. Canon AkinTunde Popoola telephoned and spoke with Davis MacIyalla this afternoon, 19 January 2006. He told Davis that he had written to him, with a copy to me, before he published the allegations on the Church of Nigeria web site. Neither of us had received emails about the allegations prior to them being published.
Canon Popoola said it was the people in Otukpo who had given him the information on which his allegations were based, and he wanted Davis to go to Otukpo and clear his name. Canon Popoola maintained that he was told by the Diocese of Otukpo that Davis left with something approaching a million Naira and had also paid Diocesan money directly into his own bank account. Davis continues to deny this outright. He said he wasn't sure whether the Canon had checked all the churches in Nigeria as claimed before he published his allegations against him, but only Otukpo. I have advised Davis not to go to Otukpo. It is the responsibility of Canon Popoola to produce the evidence.
Canon Popoola would like Davis to stop the Changing Attitude Network and stop the members coming out as gay. He said the Church is not interested in persecuting Davis and had telephoned him because I, Colin, had reported my own fears for his safety. Davis continues to be worried about his safety despite Canon Popoola's reassurances, and even more so in view of the proposed legislation published yesterday in Nigeria.
Sir Godwin Obiakor, President of the Council of Knights, Diocese of Otukpo, who is standing with Davis in one photograph, apparently wants to take Davis to court for publishing his picture without permission. This provides further evidence that the photographs are authentic, as are the people shown in them. The picture is Davis's own, and we published the picture. Perhaps Sir Godwin doesn't like to be pictured standing with a gay Anglican?
Canon Popoola said that the Bishop of Lafia did not sign Davis's letter of dismissal and will go to court if the scan is placed on the Changing Attitude website. Davis told Canon Popoola that experts would be able to verify the handwriting of the priest who wrote the letter, and of the signature.
As a result of this conversation, a thought occurs to me. Canon Popoola, you must have had evidence in your possession before you made the allegations public, mustn't you? You wouldn't have published the allegations solely on the basis of a (supposed) report from Otukpo?
In a press release the (Liberal Party) Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Christopher Pyne, MP has praised Dr Gallop because he "has shown tremendous courage and assisted in destigmatising mental illness" Mr Pyne said.
There is still stigma attached to mental illness in this country. When public figures like Geoff Gallop, cricketer Michael Slater and actor Gary McDonald admit to suffering from depression, it contributes to breaking down the barriers to others talking about and seeking help for depression.I for one appreciate this bi-partisan response. I can only hope that one day Australian governments might begin to put worthwhile resources into mental health services.
Increasing public awareness and helping sufferers of depression to recognise the condition and seek treatment is the key to reducing the debilitating impact of depression.
Dr Blomberg writes, in part:
If Marshall McLuhan was even partly right that "the medium is the message," then what message does the medium of blogging send?Neither am I convinced that "mediators and peacemakers win out over the rabble rousers". The sheer speed with which the good and the bad are spread can render the ways of peace and truth very difficult.
At first glance, one might argue that a blog is no different than an e-mail, or a letter to an editor in a traditional newspaper or magazine, or those old-fashioned communiqués that were hand-written and sent through something now called snail-mail. For private individuals who daily record their thoughts and experiences, it corresponds closely to what used to be called a journal or a diary. There can be good ones and bad ones, carefully and creatively written or barely intelligible to anyone but their authors. They can contain profound perspectives worth reading and pondering or banal drivel that at best wastes your time and at worst pollutes your mind. But all those options have always been possibilities with older forms of writing as well.
Is there anything distinctive about blogging? The most obvious answer is the ease of access in getting one's remarks "published." [...]
And what of the choice to solicit responses to a blog posting on a particularly controversial subject? With unprecedented ease of access comes the temptation to 'shoot from the hip' and respond with little thought or care for how one comes across. Are "Christian" blogs noticeably better in this respect? Or does the lack of a filter for all but the worst of responses almost inherently set up the readership for having to deal with extremists (in either tone or content) on both sides of a divisive issue? Of course, one can learn a lot from seeing how the far ends of a spectrum react. But is the church of Jesus Christ edified and built up? Are non-Christians who choose to peruse the conversation likely to be attracted to the faith? Will mediators and peacemakers win out over the rabble rousers? I'm not yet convinced that the answers to any of these questions are affirmative.
Besides, what messages are we sending when we allow bloggers or those who respond to them to post almost any linguistic utterance at will for all the world to read? To the undiscriminating, surely the answer is that even the most meaningless, intimate, hateful, crude or careless thought deserves an outlet enabling others to talk back. From a non-theological perspective, this is the ultimate demeaning of human language. From a Christian perspective, it may be an offense to the Word who alone gives human communication grace. But then, you might not be reading these words if it weren't for a blog site. So am I overreacting?
At all times we need to think. But it's not easy. In the past, the educated and knowledgeable elite had the most opportunity to publish. Now the internet gives this opportunity to the unthinking and the unprayerful alike. The challenge always is to know when we know and when we don't know. "From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded." (Luke 12.48)
There are many reports (such as this and this) about a Jackson Missouri High School senior who was barred from a school dance because he was wearing a Scots kilt. He's now received an apology following outrage among Scottish heritage supporters, with an Internet petition (more than 10,000 signatures) and even a legal fighting fund.
The brave lad in tartan deserved his 15 minutes and the apology. But no wonder there was shock-horror. What he's wearing just makes him a boy in a skirt.
I'm glad some Scots are going to fix him up with the right gear (expensive!): an 8-yard kilt, knee-length not calf, with a sporran, belt and pin, sgian dubh and the right socks. Then he'll look the man!
|Three years ago today, on 13 January 2003, shortly before the invasion of Iraq on 20 March 2003, the Anglican Communion News Service posted [ACNS3252] the prayer below as an invitation from UK National Justice and Peace Network, Pax Christi, British Section, and Cafod to join with others every Friday to pray for peace in Iraq and the Middle East. |
It wasn't to be long before ACNS circulated another call for prayer [ACNS 3279] on 26 January 2003, as the Ahli Arab hospital (pictured) and St. Philip's Episcopal Church, in Gaza, were hit by a missile. (Picture: Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem)
Now seems a good time to remind ourselves to continue in prayer.
Prayer for Peace in Iraq and the Middle East
At a time of war and rumours of war,
we come to you, God Creator.
You are the source of life and beauty and power.
Your son Jesus is the way of faith and hope and love.
Your Spirit is the fire of love, the fount of wisdom, the bond of unity.
You call us at all times to be people of the beatitudes,
witnesses to the Gospel of peace and love and forgiveness.
You call us at this time, when war and rumours of war, weigh heavily on the peoples of Iraq and the Middle East.
Their lives are already broken by suffering and violence.
We renew our acceptance of your call.
We promise to work
to bring the light of the Gospel to those living in darkness,
to bring the hope of the Gospel to those living in despair,
to bring the healing of the Gospel to the lonely, the disadvantaged, the marginalised,
and to bring the peace of the gospel to a divided world.
For 2 kilos of chicken pieces.
Bend to a fine paste: 2 large onions, 2 candlenuts, and 2 stalks of lemon grass. You also need: 4 tablespoons good curry powder, a teaspoon of mustard seeds, a tablespoon each of cumin powder, coriander powder, and chilli powder, a can of coconut milk and 4 tablespoons of cooking oil.
Heat the oil in a large pot, fry the mustard seeds till they 'pop', add in the blended paste and fry for 4 minutes, stirring and not burning. Pour in the coconut milk (open the can first!), then add the rest of the spices. Simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes. Then add in the chicken pieces and mix well. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and tender.
|Another glorious lily from our garden.|
His bishop, Sam G. Jacobs of Houma-Thibodaux, commended Father Morrisson's ministry and said that the Roman Catholic Church makes a clear distinction between homosexual actions and orientation. The bishop wrote that people do not choose their sexual orientation and should not be discriminated against because of it. And, he said, people should be judged by their acts.
"As Jesus says, one judges a tree by the fruit it bears. A good tree does not bear bad fruit and a bad tree does not bear good fruit," Jacobs wrote. "In my short tenure as bishop of Houma-Thibodaux, I have known Father Jim Morrison to be a compassionate and energetic priest who has provided good pastoral ministry to the people he has served. Unless I discover otherwise, as with all of our priests, I support him in the good that he does for our people."
The good Bishop's words illustrate the point that a very significant (and wrong) change in Catholic theological policy is inherent in the recent Instruction on homosexuality and the priesthood. Andrew Sullivan pointed this out clearly in his Time essay of 12 December 2005, The Vatican's new stereotype: why its new rules barring gay priests turn Jesus' teaching on its head:
The one consolation that gay Catholics have long had is that the church hates only sin, not sinners. Yes, many of us are far from perfect, and like most married, heterosexual Catholics, we have been known to have sex without making a baby. But we were, as the Vatican assured us in official documents in 1975 and'86, "made in the image and likeness of God." The condition of homosexuality was, for many, "innate" and not in itself a sin. Gay people were "often generous and giving of themselves," said the Vatican, and the notion that gays could not lead celibate lives was an "unfounded and demeaning assumption." The bar on any gay sexual intimacy was still firm--but it was the same bar that prohibited heterosexual couples from using contraception, or single people from masturbating, or any other nonprocreative sexual act. It was a coherent, if difficult, doctrine--and not bigotry. [. . .]
In the past, all that mattered for a priest, as far as sexual orientation was concerned, was celibacy. If a priest kept his vows, it didn't really matter if he were refusing to have sex with a man or with a woman. All that mattered was that he kept his vows and had sex with no one.
But that has just changed. Even if a gay priest remains completely celibate, his sexual orientation is now regarded, according to a Vatican expert, as a threat to "priestly life." [. . .] What the new Pope has done is conflate a sin with an identity. He has created a class of human beings who, regardless of what they do, are too psychologically and thereby morally "disordered" to become priests.
There is a simple principle here. The message of Jesus was always to ignore the stereotype, the label, the identity--in order to observe the soul beneath, how a person actually behaves. One of his most famous parables was that of the Good Samaritan, a man who belonged to a group despised by mainstream society. But it was the despised man who did good, while all the superficially respected people walked on by. Jesus consorted with all of society's undesirables--with tax collectors, collaborators with an occupying power, former prostitutes, lepers. His message was that God's grace knows no boundaries of stigma, that with God's help, we can all live by the same standards and receive the grace that comes from his love.
The new Pope has now turned that teaching on its head. He has identified a group of people and said, regardless of how they behave or what they do, they are beneath serving God. It isn't what they do that he is concerned with. It's who they are. They are the new Samaritans. And all of them are bad.
The next morning, my sister and her daughter took us with them on a one hour river cruise on the P.S. Cumberoona. Built as part of the 1988 bi-centenary of Australia celebrations, this paddle steamer is a locally-built relica of an 1866 boat of the same name. It uses two original 1906 Buffalo Pitts 18-horsepower steam engines, powered by a replica wood-fired 130 p.s.i boiler.
About a dozen paddlesteamers still operate on the Murray River. Some are replicas; others, like the Marion are a century old and have been restored. Murray River transport was important from about 1860 to about 1920. The river is long, but could not take boats large enough to compete with the railways; in times of drought, water levels are too low for navigation. There are still large tourist boats that offer luxury cruises of several days on the lower reaches of the Murray. But in middle reaches of the river, use of water for irrigation lowers the river levels for much of the year.
The P.S. Cumberoona had been pretty much out of action for months, because of the drought and consequent low water level in the river. But now, after recent rains, the reservior is filling and authorities have begun to release water into the Murray from the reservior, to flush the river and for irrigation. So the river was in full flood.
From September 1988, the P.S. Enterprise, a small Murray River paddle steamer has been operating on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra as a working exhibit of the National Museum of Australia. Constructed in 1878, Enterprise has been restored to working condition as it was in 1910 when it was in use as a barge towing vessel. It is now the second-oldest paddle steamer in Australia and, as one of the oldest steam vessels still afloat anywhere, is a vessel of world significance.
Not long after this picture was taken, I travelled the Trans-Australian Railway line of 1,108 miles from Port Pirie to Kaalgoorlie which includes a section of 297 miles without a curve--the longest straight stretch of track in the world.
This train is a lot older than me! Its a Victorian Railways, 2'6" gauge NA-class 2-6-2T locomotive no. 15A working a mixed train on the line from Cockatoo to Gembrook. But the the locomotives and cars have now been operated for fifty years as the famous Puffing Billy tourist railway, a favourite excursion. Volunteers have restored 24.5 km of the original route.
I remember travelling in Victoria on a train pulled by one of these in the 1950's to visit my Grandparents. The 'R' Class steam locomotive (the second of this pair) was the most powerful steam locomotive (except H220 'Heavy Harry') to be used on the Victorian Railways. They were in mainline service from 1951 to 1968.
Melbourne has a large modern sububurban electric train network. In its earlier days Melbourne had these Tait cars, variously called 'dog boxes', 'red-rattlers' and other ruder things. They were draughty and noisy, yet efficient and reliable. It was well into my adulthood before the last of them was replaced.
Also in the Treasures exhibition (see previous post) was the original manuscript of "Waltzing Matilda", rather different from the popular version usually sung today. This first setting is so high that surely only a soprano could sing it!
Purchased for the Australian nation in 1923, before the National Library was founded, the Endeavour journal of James Cook is described as "the founding treasure of the National Library" Officially, Cook was to observe the transit of Venus. He was also under secret orders to search for the great south land and claim it for Britain. The manuscript of the orders was also in the exhibition, in meticulous handwriting. By the end of the voyage, the coastlines of New Zealand and eastern Australia had been charted, and the tally of the world's known plant species increased by a staggering 10 percent.
The Journal has been nominated for inclusion in the UNESCO memory of the World International Register. The description notes that "This is the key document which foreshadows British colonisation of Australia (which actually began in 1788) and presaged the tragic consequences for Australia's indigenous peoples -- the oldest surviving culture on Earth -- who, under British law, were effectively deemed not to exist (the 'terra nullius' doctrine)." -- But Cook is not to be blamed for any of that.
James is 60 today! Here, he plays with the birthday toy as we do coffee together on a bad hair morning. I love you baby.
The feast of the Naming and Circumcision of Christ.
The first Sunday after Christmas.
New Year's Day
. . . of all these, it is the naming of Christ that resonates with me.
Philippians 2.5-11: Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death--even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I'll let this picture stand for my resolution this year (which I actually made at Advent, the beginning of the church year).
A Young Man at Prayer (mid 1470s), by Hans Memling (worked: 1465; died: 1494; National Gallery, London): "This portrait of an unidentified young man at prayer is likely to have formed the left-hand side of a small devotional picture. The open book, probably a Book of Hours or other devotional book, suggests that after a period of prayer and meditation the young man has looked up to see a vision of the object of his devotions, perhaps the Virgin and Child, which may have been shown in the right-hand panel." (Oil on oak 39 x 25.4 cm.)