Meme, indeed!

I have been challenged.

James, a.k.a. Peregrinato, got it from Terrance:

Boy in the Bands–Even though he won’t do this, cuz it isn’t quite his style. But that’s his choice; I still choose to nominate him!

Don’t challege me. I might take you up on it. (I’ll also quibble that this isn’t a meme, but a rather nice party game.)

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

Being a book meant preserving it for the future. The first thing that popped into my head with Philip Jacob Spener’s Pia Desideria (1675), or another work of pastoral care like Richard Baxter’s The Reformed Pastor (1657). (I have another of the same genre on my shelf, Thomas Brooks’s Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices, (1652) which I bought mainly for the title.)

I bet you thought I was going to pick something Universalist. The problem is that Universalist works tend to be argumentative or very practical. If there can be only one book living in my head, it needs to be like one above. Universalism I know by heart anyway.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

I’ll repeat James: “Yes, many, including comic book characters. But that was a long time ago, and we won’t speak of such times.”

The last book you bought is…?

Hideaki Chijiiwa’s Color Harmony: A Guide to Creative Color Combinations. For the website. But that’s not what you meant, and since I’m mining my old collection for reading material, I can’t recall what else.

The last book you read is…?

David Christie-Murray’s A History of Heresy — a re-read, and why it has ever gone out of print is beyond me. If you see one used, get it. By using heresy as a borehole, it makes for a fine one volume survey into Christian history.

What are you currently reading?

On the nightstand, Jaroslav Pelikan’s Credo, and on the bus, William Barclay’s The Apostles’ Creed. The former I’ve only gotten through the introduction. The latter is promising apart from a seemingly naive chapter about “poor misunderstood” Pontius Pilate.

Five books you would take to a deserted island

I’ll assume a Bible since these lists usually assume a Bible and the Shakespearian corpus. Revised English Version, please.

I’ll get back to you on this.

Who are you going to pass this baton to (three persons)? And why?

  1. Adam, at Unity.
  2. ChaliceChick, at The Chalice Blog.
  3. Tom, at Prophet Motive.

Recalling East Tennessee

Hope at Appalachia Alumni Association casts my mind back to East Tennessee.

My mother and all her people are from Knox and the surrounding counties. (Her mother was born in Sevierville; Dolly Parton was born there, too.) I’ve got Chapman Highway/Gay St. Bridge/family born and died at “the Baptist”/McKay’s cred. (If you have to ask . . . )

Three notes.

1. The song “Rocky Top” has been a teasing point in my family. Like Hope, my brother and I went to the University of Georgia. I well recall the Christmas when two aunts gave my brother (a diehard Georgia fan who often went to Knoxville for the Georgia-Tennessee game) a CD with many different versions of “Rocky Top.” He doesn’t like it, but I do, and like Hope know all the words.

2. [They] “get their corn from a jar.” So goes the song. I can brag that my great-grandfather was arrested for moonshining (in Knox County).

3. I’m a member in a rather Yank-ified denomination: even our Southern churches are loaded with snowbirds and transplants. The first time I felt validated in the Unitarian Universalist Association as a Southerner was at the Nashville General Assembly (annual convention) opening ceremony. There’s been a recent practice to feaure local music (they sometimes don’t get it quite right — Acadian music in Quebec City; bluegrass in Nashville; rock in Cleveland worked — but points for trying) and when “Rocky Top” started, I cried for joy.

The event reported at

See also South Knox Blog (hat tip to Hope for the link.)

Mellow with monks

Every once in a while, Hubby and I will buy used phonograph records, with a keen eye towards the ironic. Who knew Andy Williams had so many recordings?

Last trip, I picked up a 1972 treasure Listen by the Benedictine monks of the Weston Priory, Weston, Vermont. I bought the album ($1) solely on the liner photo of the dashiki-clad monks sprawled out on the grounds playing guitars and singing. Oh, I thought, they’re trying to be contemporary. Very post-Vatican II indeed.

Technically, the music isn’t bad, though the somatic effect is something between Brian Wren and the New Christy Minstrals. (For the uninitiated, the later was parodied in A Mighty Wind as the “family” singing group.)

With music like this, who needs barbituates? (Still, good to clean and wrap gifts by.) Oh, and the monks are still making albums, albeit in CD format. From the look of the album art, I gather they haven’t strayed far.

Music by the Monks of Weston Priory

IKEA's pluralism and particularity lesson

Hubby and I went to the local IKEA for some meatballs and a little light shopping. Passing though the several sections, we were were greeted with signs wishing us a particular happy holiday, sometimes with a word of explanation of what the holiday was, or how it was celebrated. Every conceivable winter holiday was included, with exacting neutrality, Yule/Jul — perhaps the most Swedish of the offerings — standing in for the winter solstice.

After Hubby learned about Divali, he and I wondered if Christmas would ever roll around. It did, by the discount compact florescent bulbs. (Which we needed.)

But far from making Christmas a bland cultural festival, as usual, the sign described it as “the birth of Jesus Christ” and it was observed with “midnight mass or church services.” I was amazed at the, well, religiousness of the description. (Which was matched with the other religious holidays, like Eid.)

None of the “magic of Christmas is in your heart” (see Polar Express) tripe that we get when Christmas is treated as the default, and therefor civic and semi-secular, December holiday.

The IKEA promotion has it right: let each holiday be, and let it be itself. Let individuals decided which one he or she would identify with.

Pluralism at the cost of integrity and identity is no pluralism at all. Now, can Unitarian Universalists do the same?

The first caramel cod

One of my favorite repeat episodes of The Simpsons was on tonight: the one telling the story of the first Halloween. The one where Marge turns out to be a witch, and where she and her sisters inaugurate trick-or-treating. (Remember? Salem Flanderses: “Wouldn’t you rather have gingerbread children?” “They’re boneless.”)

It is also the one where Rev. Lovejoy wears a Geneva gown and bands. You know I like that.

See for yourself. [Alas! it’s gone!]

Favorite flash

If you’ve got the bandwidth, then take a gander at my favorite use — a bit bombastic and over-much, but fun — of church-related Flash animation.

It never fails to make me smile. Not entirely sure why.

Armenian Catholicosate of Cicilia

Something to post while I plow through some new content management options. Perhaps something a bit less feature-filled than Mambo.

2006 Oct 27. Arg! The flash animation is gone!

Sweetser's Universalism Explained, part eight

Continued from Sweetser’s Universalism Explained, part seven

It was necessary, therefore, in order to save men, that in some way God should reveal His great love to mankind. This He gas done through His Son Jesus Christ, whom He sent into the world for the special purpose of saving it. “We have seen and do testify,” says the Bible, “that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world,” that is to says of the human world, the world of humanity, all mankind. That is what Universalists believe about Christ. They believe that he is the Son of God — not God, but the Son of God in a way which is past our comprehension (Matt. 11:27). They believe in his divine humanity, and that by virtue thereof he is the very brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person, so that in seeing him we see the Father, just as in looking upon a photograph we may be said to see the original. In him we see a reflex of God’s fatherly character; in him we see God’s love revealed as nowhere else in all the universe; and in him we also see an example of righteousness, of that perfect humanity which we all must attain to before we can be fully saved. Thus it is that he saves us from the sinfulness which curses us, — by revealing God’s love to us, and so inspiring us to give our affection to Him in return; by giving us a perfect example of righteousness; by his sympathy for us, for we have not an [sic] high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin; and by demonstrating for us the glorious truth of immortality, without which all our labors would be but in vain. Thus he becomes to us “the way, the truth, and the life.” Thus he draws us to himself, and through himself to God the Father. Thus he sheds abroad the Holy Spirit in our hearts and transform us by degrees into his own divine likeness.