Archive for August, 2011

A Remnant of Beauty

Every one of us is in the image of God, and every one of us is like a damaged icon. But if we were given an icon damaged by time, damaged by circumstances, or desecrated by human hatred, we would treat it with reverence, with tenderness, with broken-heartedness. We would not pay attention primarily to the fact that it is damaged, but to the tragedy of its being damaged. We would concentrate on what is left of its beauty, and not on what is lost of its beauty. And this is what we must learn to do with regard to each person as an individual, but also – and this is not always as easy – with regard to groups of people, whether it be a parish or a denomination, or a nation. We must learn to look, and look until we have seen the underlying beauty of this group of people. Only then can we even begin to do something to call out all the beauty that is there. Listen to other people, and whenever you discern something which sounds true, which is a revelation of harmony and beauty, emphasize it and help it to flower. Strengthen it and encourage it to live.

Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

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America’s God: RIP

“More Americans may go to church than their counterparts in Europe, but the churches to which they go do little to challenge the secular presumptions that form their lives or the lives of the churches to which they go. For the church is assumed to exist to reinforce the presumption that those that go to church have done so freely.”

More, from Stanley Hauerwas (and thanks to Serge at Conservative Blog for Peace):


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I wrote last week about the rooted radicals of Britain, and said it would be hard to imagine them persecuting the Church, as they loved Beauty so much. Ralph Vaughan Williams was one of these, and instrumental in the rediscovery of British folk music. A socialist and an agnostic, he nonetheless composed beautiful church music. Here is one of his hymns:

(Icon by Mother Anastasia)

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To most people Fleetwood Mac means the band, featuring Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, that had a string of huge hits in the 70s.

But that was only one of the many incarnations of Fleetwood Mac. Before that the shining lights of the band were Christine McVie and Robert Welch. Curiously, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, who gave the band their name and whatever continuity it had, never had a discernable sound of their own. They just sort of played along with whoever was the real creative force at the time.


And in its earliest incarnation that was Peter Green and Danny Kirwan. Although the band began, like so many British rock bands, playing straight up American blues, it was not long before Green and Kirwan began finding their own unique voices.

I commented when I was writing about the book Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music, that it was a strange omission to not mention early Fleetwood Mac at all.

Here is one of Danny Kirwan’s compostions, showing his work at its most beautiful:

Photo: Danny Kirwan and Peter Green


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“I hope you don’t have friends who recommend Ayn Rand to you. The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky”.

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Get Up Again

Another brother asked Abba Sisoes, ‘I have fallen, Abba; what shall I do?’ The old main said to him, ‘Get up again.’ The brother said, ‘I have gotten up again, but again have I fallen.’ The old man said, ‘Get up again and again.’ So the brother asked, ‘How many times?’ The old man replied, ‘Until you are taken up either in virtue or in sin. For a man presents himself to judgment in that state in which he is found.’  – Sayings of the Desert Fathers

(Thanks to Terry at Abbey Roads)


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