tag : bright yellow-green apples: June 2004

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Monday, June 28, 2004

Beenie Man & principles

I'm still a bit put out that I cannot listen to Beenie Man any more. Over the weekend the Guardian published an article describing the only violent homophobic culture of Jamaica, listing him amongst the artists who actively encourage it through their music. Now at least in Eminem the apparently dysfunctional regard for others is laced with irony, but here I'm not so sure and so won't be able to enjoy his superb music again without the thought.

One of the things that might make people so threatened, and so wilfully prejudiced, might well actually be the way the struggle of people who happen to homosexual to achieve normalisation in our society confronts us so-called 'normal' people. As both Rowan Williams (in his fantastic talk, the Body's Grace, unfortunately only up on a silly conservative website) and Marilyn McCord (in a sermon preached before the General Synod debate on Some Issues in Human Sexuality) have pointed out, the process of struggling for acceptance places sexuality right there in the public identity. Those of us who happen to be heterosexual are made to consider sexuality by our relating with people who are still considered by many to be distorted, where we might otherwise be able to sit back in comfortable complacency.

"Battyman, battyman, battyman."

This is not the same as a neurotically mixed up sex-drenched popular culture. With the challenge to acceptance of people who publicly live their full identity as unashamedly gay Christians, for example, many seem to feel deeply threatened. Granted, the results are not as dramatic as those expressions shown in Jamaica. But we see something comparable - what Martin calls "the yuk factor" - which results in a harmful defensiveness, where people who don't fit the given mould are at best ostracised and at worst denounced on Newsnight as perverted human beings. Even in our supposedly relatively accepting west, even in the community that lives the body of Christ in that western part of the world, it'll probably take a long time to come to terms with ourselves and others.


On a lighter note, last night's cacophony of dreams included a scene populated by large numbers of stag beetles. They seem to have become an important feature in my subconscious for some reason.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

the tree of life

Whilest I'm particulalry struck by the potency of nature in late spring, there's still a great deal of vigor as I walk through the woods on my way. This isn't just to the eyes, most people will say that they find nature relaxing, that there's some kind of connect. I found this in my dissertation, people showed posative reactions to green plants in reduced stress and improved emotions. We seem to need nature, and in particular plants, for our wellbeing as well as for the utilitarian stuff.

And yet we're aparently so bent of it's destruction. Only this morning the news announced a new report by plantlife detailing the dramatic loss of many of our native species, even once common buttercups and poppys lost to our complacency. And we're all complicit, not just those directly concerned like the beleagered farmers and large food producers. The supposedly enlightened taming of nature, built on post-christian notions of modernity, rational order, and progreess is rapidly driving down a blind ally.

Christianity has it's own responsability, but we people of Christ seem to be strangely reluctent to embrace a shift in view in responce to the failings of what has prevailed for so long. It might take the witness of the current neo pagan revival to stimulate a comparable widespread popular theology of nature, to move on from domination to stewerdship. The idea of souls plucked from a doomed earth to an etheral heaven hasn't helped much either. But still, after talking to my housemate about the joys and frustrations of our two faiths, I'm hopeful that some reapproachment is possible. It's started with recycling and the like, a first step in practice. Yeah the divine liveth in creation, the transfiguration surely demonstrates the wonders of the incarnation. So it's about time we saw the face of Christ, the tangible expression of the transcendent ground of our being that is God, in the Ash tree as much as in our human neighbour. We owe it to the rest of creation as much as our fellow people on this little earth.

God in the woods and hills? The metaphorical tree of life allready around us? Is this idolatry? Maybe, but I'm willing to take that risk.

silver cirle
bbc religion and ethics pagan message board

Saturday, June 26, 2004

5 point plan

I was trying to scribble down some sort of mission statement for this site on the back of my thought, as I was walking in the rain this morning. But that didn't work out so here's a few things I'd hope might come out of the whole business:

(1)Keep things short and unrambly, a bit o' brevity.
(2)Write as if others might read it, not just for my own tiresome bemusement.
(3)Try and fill a niche, say what others don't bearing in mind dangers of falling into unoriginality.

Friday, June 25, 2004

light shining through the leaves

It was about time I started in the online diary game. Here's the first tracings of spring, them initial dainty aconites beginning to show through.