Tuesday, 22 January 2019

John Fitzgerald is blogging again

My erstwhile Albion Awakening co-blogger has started a new writing project called Deep Britain and Ireland.

The first article has been posted - a future dystopian short story called The Didsbury Eucharist; why not take a look and help get this venture off-the-ground?


...On the surface, everything looks the same as it always did. Cars and buses clog up Wilmslow Road. The pavements are bustling. The shops and caf├ęs are ticking over nicely. But look a bit closer and you'll notice the differences. 

There are no beggars outside the Co-op any more. No wheelchairs either. Not as many prams or pushchairs as before. And the pubs, those time-honoured landmarks, have gone. The Station, The Dog and Partridge, The Nelson, The Fletcher Moss, The Royal Oak and The Crown. Fixtures and fittings of my youth. Places of banter, connection and fun. Vanished now. Gentrified out of existence by pointlessly unaffordable apartments. 

 Look closer still and it gets worse. The coffees and croissants in Costa are dealt out by robots. Many of the cars are driverless. Every single person, apart from me, is wearing a headset. But what upsets me most is the sight of these infernal chip things on everyone's right hand palm. 

It's a wonderful invention, they say. You can open car doors with it, buy and sell things with it, use it for ID, and even as a bus pass or library ticket. The global administration, set up after the disasters, is doing everything it can to promote it. They're not as expensive as they used to be, and just by having one you can boost your Social Credit Score (SCS) by 20% and get yourself cheap train tickets, cinema discounts and all manner of perks. 

It probably goes some way to explain why my SCS is so bad (-80 at the last count) and why I'm wearing clothes bought in 2018!...

Monday, 21 January 2019

Mitternacht quartet from Flotow's Martha - little known gem

Not much need be said but that this is a perfect performance of a perfect gem of the operetta repertoire - once a well-known concert piece, but now I suspect not.

The tenor is perhaps my favourite ever singer - Fritz Wunderlich (I first heard this on a compilation album of his). His earnest, ringing tone, and the way his voice opens-out as a musical phrase rises, brings tears to my eyes.

Anneliese Rothenberger was a wonderful lyric soprano. The dark-voiced bass, Gottlob Frick, was best known for playing giants in Wagner's Ring; here supplying a very low bottom note in the final chord (C-sharp or D perhaps - I don't have a score).

It is also amusing how German singers of this era (1961) really 'rasp'-out the consonants in 'nacht'! Almost a national pride at work, I fancy. And so different from the Italian operatic tradition, where the consonants are so elided that it sometimes sounds as if there are only vowels. 

Writing about reading the Bible - being an intuitive Christian

Anyone who goes back through this blog to its early days of 2010 will know that it was many years before I wrote about the Bible in any detail; and only more recently that I wrote about my experiences of close reading.

This is because when I converted, under the influence of CS Lewis, I regarded having opinions about the Bible as a snare, and the path to leaving the faith. However, I have never been able to freeze my beliefs at any particular point - or, at least, not without a rising tide of feeling-dishonest about it - and a consequent erosion of active faith.

So I began with the idea that being a Christian was about joining a church, then trying to find the correct church, then discovering there was none. The Bible I simply accepted as true in an overall sense; then I became unable to say sufficiently precisely what that truth actually was; only then did I realise that everything depends upon at least one act - more often several acts - of intuitive evaluation.

If which religion and which church can only be decided by intuition; the problem does not end there. Because the churches are all riven by dissent - and each position depends on different assumptions that can only be decided by intuition...

So eventually I became clear to me that I need to reach an intuitive decision on everything that was sufficiently important to trouble me - or else rely on this current decision to be guided by a previous intuition (eg about the truth of a particular church, or person).

This led, by a process of gradual homing-in, to posting accounts of my thought processes reading the Fourth Gospel.

Some of these have apparently been helpful to some people; and unhelpful or subversive to others - I have no idea where the balance of help and harm lies, nor would such knowledge be decisive. Although I defend my own understanding; I have no interest in leading others, nor in imposing a particular interpretation on others.

My intention is to show people that such things may be done. And also that they need not be destructive - because (at least at present) I have what feels like a very coherent, strong, positive and inspiring Christian witness - albeit it is very probably unique to myself, and probably not final even to myself.

How this 'work out' is not possible to know - not least because part of my understanding is that past solutions are not open to us, the present is unsustainable and undesirable - therefore any valid solution will be unprecedented.

But that is what is going-on here.

Wake up! - Ignore the mass media!

Another day, another set of worthless, lying, evil talking-points from the mass media.

Sure - there is usually something true embedded somewhere in them - but this is like adding a cupful of clear rainwater to a stagnant pond full of rotting corpses.

But it's cleverly done - and the very obviousness of the dishonesty and distortion is a trolling of the attention: it seems to easy to refute that we are tempted to engage. And then again and then again.

Yet it doesn't work, does it? No matter how obviously wrong - 'people' resist And when it does work, it is at the expense of keeping attention locked onto the media agenda... in order to decode and refute it, we must attend even-more-closely to it.

Meanwhile, we ought to be paying close attention to altogether different matters; our attention ought to be quite other directed; our perspective ought to be 'infinitely' larger...

Sunday, 20 January 2019

The Samaritan woman at Jacob's well in the Fourth Gospel

The episode can we watched here. (Dialogue expanded and edited somewhat)

In Chapter Four of the Fourth Gospel there is the episode when Jesus meets a woman from Samaria (i.e. a Samaritan) at Jacob's well (the full text is given below this post). I shall do my best to explain how I understand this mysterious section. I take the series of events from verses 5-42 form the relevant unit of meaning. 

The Fourth Gospel has two main messages, throughout - one is to make clear the nature of Jesus, his divinity, that he is the Son of God sent by his Father; the other message is to teach about the life everlasting Jesus will give to those who follow him, who believe him - who love and have faith in him.

The mysterious aspects of the Jacob's well episode are concerned with Jesus teaching, using symbols, about the possibility and nature of life everlasting. The main symbol is water - as befits the setting at a well. And indeed Jesus is teaching by using the symbol the woman suggests - starting from the literal water to mean something much more.

When we consider symbolism as used 2000 years ago we need to be open to the fact that words then had large, more multiple-simultaneous meanings than they do now (by contrast modern words tend towards single, narrower and more precise meanings). This is rooted in a different, more 'poetic' way of thinking in ancient times. It is the 'poetic' that enables us to understand across the gulf of consciousness.

We need to allow ourselves to understand this text in the way we understand poetry - and this is possible because the 'King James' version of the Bible is divinely-inspired and consequently probably the single most 'poetic' work of prose in the language. But because this is like poetry; as I would when 'explaining' a poem, I will try to made some helpful suggestions but without dissecting.

As well as the two main themes, there is a subordinate theme related to fact that although Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, his gift of life everlasting is for all Men - including those such as Samaritans who have a bad relationship with the 'mainstream' Jews. This is, indeed, how the dialogue opens, with Jesus breaking what was apparently a taboo relating to interactions with Samaritans.

These three themes weave through the dialogue: that Jesus is the Messiah, that he brings, now ('the hour cometh') a new possibility of life everlasting, and that this gift is for all (including Samaritans). Because Jesus is the Messiah, he can give her more than 'merely' the good water of this well he asks of her; if she asks, Jesus could give her 'living' water (life everlasting, eternal life). And while after even the best ordinary water, a mortal Man will 'thirst again' (will be subject to corruption and death); after the water (life) that Jesus gives, a Man would never thirst again (he would live forever).

The woman then challenges Jesus's ability to make this promise - saying that even the great Patriarch Jacob could offer only good ordinary water. Then Jesus reveals he is the Messiah, and that 'the hour cometh, and now is' when Jews and Samaritans will both have a new religion, both unite in this promise of 'living water'.

The fact that the Jesus told the woman all things that she ever did, is indicated by the snippet concerning her marital and cohabiting history. But presumably there were, in addition, other more striking items that made the women regard Jesus's knowledge as miraculous; and convinced many others in her city.

Why the mention of husbands, then? I'm not sure - one aspect may be that the woman was apparently loose in her sexual morals; although this seems contradicted by the fact that so many men in her city believed her account of meeting meeting the Christ to the point of travelling to see for themselves. In general, I feel something is missing from the Gospel here - in particular there is a discontinuity with 4:20 when the conversation jumps from the husbands to 'Our fathers worshipped in the mountains' and a new line of discussion.  

When the disciples find Jesus at the well, apparently just as the Samaritan woman leaves; Jesus embarks on a new symbolism about 'meat' - again correcting the mundane reference to eating used by the disciples. In essence, meat - the most concentrated food - seems also to be something like a Man's personal destiny, his role, his task - Jesus's task. And perhaps that many Men have the task of completing work begun by another - as the disciples need to continue the work of Jesus.*

In general, through the Fourth Gospel, the method is often used by Jesus of taking a mundane, narrow meaning of a word, and expanding it symbolically; and he does this to indicate the qualitative nature difference between this mortal life and the resurrected life eternal. Thus: the difference between well water and living water; the difference between meat as nourishment and the meat of Jesus's ministry.

*Also John 6:27 - Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 54-6 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

Here it may be that meat symbolises the conduct of life (work/ task). Blood when drunk may be akin to water, but with also a meaning of love (to drink Jesus's blood being to believe, have faith, love him). Thus we get something like: he that conducts his life ('labours') according to its everlasting destiny (the meat which endureth), and 'labours' not for worldly-goals which perisheth; and is then resurrected to eternal life; becomes a fully divine brother to Jesus (mutual dwelling-in; i.e. a loving relationship with direct knowledge of each other).      

John 4: 5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. 27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? 28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. 31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. 39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his own word; 42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Terminal corruption of the symbols

Madonna in 2018

Some conspiracy theorists (and I don't mean that as a term of abuse) have long been pointing-out that the Global Establishment have a tendency to signal their presence and intent by the use of a recurrent, stereotypical 'occult' symbolism - or 'Illuminati' signs; often those associated with satanic practices.

This has - over the past few years - become so overt, explicit, and compulsive as to be difficult to ignore; although, of course, the modern mind can deny absolutely anything - and the more obvious, the more aggressively they will deny it.

The purpose of this symbolism is another matter; but that its usage is increasing very rapidly is my point here.

Alongside the increase in overtly-evil symbolism, is the subversion and inversion of Good symbolism - such as the Christian cross. In some parts of the West; the cross is now worn more often by devil worshippers than by Christians.

In mass media fictions; the presence of a Catholic priest, a monk, or a protestant pastor signals the presence of evil and the probability of a sexual predator, an assassin, or a hypocritical fraud.

Major public events are routinely staged as systematic perversions of church rituals - 'black masses' - celebrations not of Holiness; but of lust, domination, hedonism; even as real, profound, effectual rituals have almost disappeared from churches, and indeed from memory).

Another aspect is that Christian scriptures have been corrupted by so many layers of secular  'translation', and cycles of conflicting interpretation and reinterpretation - as to offer bewildering complexity and confusion, rather than clarity and guidance.    

My point is that it is now possible very rapidly and thoroughly to subvert and invert ancient positive symbols; while simultaneously promoting, rewarding and awarding personalities and behaviours that have been, until recently, universally condemned and loathed.

What does this mean for serious Christians?

My understanding is that the age of Christian symbolism and ritual, so ancient and so long dying, is now finished; and that which remains is increasingly ineffective, counter-productive, actively-harmful.

What confronts us (and soon) is an era in which Christianity will be stripped of all its practices, texts and symbols - since all will be corrupted to the point of opposition; and the followers of Jesus will be all-but compelled to rely on Direct knowledge and understanding of the Good (the True, the Beautiful, the Virtuous).

Probably we will not be able even to argue in favour of these Goods, because assumptions are poisoned and the modern mind is incapable of consecutive reasoning.

We will need to rely on our own resources, our own intuitions, and our companions will be judged by the same direct and intuitive discernments.

And, since this is God's creation, since this is happening all over The West, and since God sustains us in exactly this world; Christians should accept the challenge as the best thing to teach us what we most need to learn.   

Gospel of Matthew though the lens of the Fourth Gospel: Chapter 3

I set aside the first two Chapters of Matthew as being unreliable, probably legendary accretions and/or adopted to butress the argument of the Gospel as a whole. So Chapter 3 is the first part of Matthew's Gospel that is consistent with the Fourth Gospel - and it is an account of the teachings of John the Baptist.

This is interesting, as the author of the Fourth Gospel was a disciple of John's before he became a disciple of Jesus - so when there is subtanative disagreement, the Fourth Gospel is clearly to be preferred.

Let's see whether there is anything about Matthew 3 that adds to or deepens our understanding of John.

Matthew 3: [1] In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, [2] And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [3] For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. [4] And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 

So far this is much the same as the Fourth. Except for: Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Here Matthew seems to be reporting John stating that there is not much time for those living 'now' to repent. He will later have Jesus say the same. 

[5] Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, [6] And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. [7] But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? [8] Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

Matthew introduces here a favourite 'repent or else' theme (not a part of the Fourth Gospel) that there is a wrath to come, an apocalypse, the second coming of Jesus; which will specifically affect the Pharisees and Sadducees to whom John is talking. In other words the wrath is coming soon. The implication seems to be that John's baptism was a matter of people confessing and repenting their sins and being absolved; and that this procedure was to safeguard these people from the wrath to come.

The attack on Pharisees and Sadducees who are coming to John for Baptism seems wrong. Surely they are doing precisely what Matthew wants everybody to do - which is, from terror of the burning to come for those who are not baptised, they will accept baptist at the cost of repentance.

Matthew's basic method in his Gospel is to induce fear of 'Hell' which will be inflicted soon; and describe what to do to escape this fate. What to do entails following a set of rules that is even more numerous and rigorous than those of the Pharisees - Jesus adds to The Law. But this was presumably regarded as a genuine possibility precisely because the apocalyptic second coming was not far away...

[9] And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. [10] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 

This is the 'or else' part of of the 'repent, or else'. In other words, if people do not confess, repent and be baptized - they will be 'cast into the fire'. I suppose that the attack of the Ps and Ss is actually a criticism of their lack of rigour, their hypocritical failure to live by the laws they profess to follow. Whereas in the Fourth Gospel, Jesus preaches an extremely simple message of loving and following Jesus to life everlasting; nothing about following laws or living a prescribed life.

[11] I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. [13] 

Here is the idea of 'Hell' as an eternal punishment, of unquenchable fire; which will be implemented soon - within the lives of the people to whom John is talking. And also the idea that Hell is the default state - which everyone will go to excepting those who are saved. Jesus will divide people into those he gathers, and those he casts into fire. 

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. [14] But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? [15] And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. [16] And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: [17] And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

This is descriptively similar to the account in the Fourth Gospel - but whereas in the Fourth this event is a divinization of Jesus, leading directly on to his miracles; no such link is made by Matthew.

In sum, what we get from Matthew Chapter 3 (compared with the Fourth Gospel) is the completely different, alien and contradicting idea that the main thing about Jesus was that he was shortly to return, and divide Men into his own whom he gathers, and those who shall burn forever.

This teaching is also attributed to John the Baptist, and the only difference is that John was an agent describing how to be saved from the burning; while Jesus is the judge who will himslef make the division of men. John gave the theory; Jesus will implement the practice.  So this is the implied sense in which John 'prepares the way of the Lord'.

By contrast the Fourth Gospel has nothing about this scheme; no imminent second coming, no burning punishment; and John the Baptist's role seems to be to enable Jesus to become divine by baptism.

In Matthew, however, Jesus is already (in Chapters 1 and 2) marked-out as divine by his miraculous, prophecy-fulfilling childhood and youth; so John's baptism is merely done in order to 'fulfil all righteousness' and to enable the signs of the descent of the dove and the voice from heaven.

So, do I get anything valuable from Matthew 3? Just one thing - which is that what John was doing with his baptising was probably a temporary 'cleansing' of the individual from sin; active only in this mortal life and with no implications for eternal life.

What about "he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire" - this suggests that Jesus will himself be doing a better kind of baptism. But the Fourth Gospel states that Jesus himself never baptised anyone. So this is either an error, or else refers to baptism in a symbolic way.

Since Jesus is assumed to be returning imminently to dive the heavenly wheat from the hell-bound chaff, it looks as if this means the judgment itself: baptism of the Holy Ghost is for the wheat; and baptism of fire is for the chaff, baptism of fire being an indirect way of referring to the unquenchable fires of damnation. 

This corresponds with John's report in the Fourth Gospel that the 'normal' thing that happened when he baptised, was that individuals were 'touched' by the divine spirit; that they were momentarily divinized and thereby (presumably) cleansed of their sins up to that moment. John did not change the prospect for the individuals he baptised, he did not change their fate - but, nonetheless, what John was doing (as described in the Fourth Gospel) was new, different, and contrary to the usual laws and rules and sacrifices of the Jews of that era. John was, in this sense, the first to practise the new dispensation; albeit in a partial, and this-worldly, form.

But when Jesus was baptised by John, uniquely the spirit stayed upon him, meaning (I suppose) that Jesus became permanently divine by the agency of John: John had this absolutely vital role (as the Fourth Gospel implies) in making Jesus fully divine.

Note: I found the above detailed analysis to be a depressing exercise; and probably will not continue with it through the rest of the Matthew Gospel. It is the kind of thing that becomes necessary when the Fourth Gospel is really believed - but it is probably better to make such decisions in a broad brush way than to engage in this kind of miserable dissection... 

Friday, 18 January 2019

Pie in the sky - the misrepresentation of Heaven

In casual public discourse - even in what purports to be serious stuff, and written by otherwise-intelligent and well-informed people - people grossly misrepresent Jesus's promise of life eternal as a paradisal 'reward' to compensate Christians for the miseries of this mortal life.

Or as a reward for 'being good' in mortal ife. 

Christian Heaven is thus falsely presented as a ludicrous, pathetic, or manipulated kind of wishful thinking.

Yet this is literally nothing like what Jesus is reported as saying in the Fourth Gospel.

Jesus says in that Gospel that we can reach the Kingdom of Heaven only via death, by being born again after death - resurrected to a higher form of eternal life, to become - indeed brothers and sisters of Jesus and fully divine ourselves. And this life eternal will be qualitatively greater than this life.

Nothing about a reward, nothing about a compensation, nothing about being good; instead it is a gift or a promise to those who have faith. And we must die to get it.

Death is necessary.

Apart from dying first; how do we get it? By following Jesus through death (as we recognise him as divine and our Good Shepherd, and trust him).

This life eternal entails love - it is implied that the Kingdom of Heaven is a life of love - Jesus describes this in some detail, like a web of love between himself, The Father, and the disciples.

Those who do not want love, who reject love; will not want life eternal, and will not have it forced upon them.

Those who regard this mortal life as all important will not want Heaven; those who believe or want annihilation at the end of mortality, disbelieve is Heaven, do not regard Jesus as divine nor as capable of offering us this gift.

All of these will exclude thenselves from Heaven, because of the different nature of their desires.

What is Morris Dancing? - a 1976 definition

As an example of Morris Dance in the raw; this is Newcastle University's King's men rapper sword dancers - the dance was from the mining villages, designed to be performed inside pubs, in cramped spaces. The energy of the dance, and its dangers, is quite extraordinary.

(Originally, and still sometimes, this 'rapper' - or short, flexible, two-handed 'sword' - dance was performed by coal miners; and Morris dancing is associated with miners and quarrymen in many parts of Britain - leading to the speculation that originally the dance was a propitiation for man's extractions from the earth.)

I played my accordeon a couple of times for this troupe many moons ago, in rehearsal; but found the multiple repetition of the same tunes rather too boring - plus I could not keep up with the boozing.

Notice that as well as dancers there are 'comedy' elements - a dictatorial Master of Ceremonies and a Moll - macho man unconvincingly dressed as a voluptuous woman carrying something to hit people (e.g. bladder, balloon, here a feather duster).

Further discussion of the Morris Dance at Albion Awakening...

Energy derives from purpose: The polarity of love and creation

Purpose and desire emerged with love. As God's love grew between our Heavenly Parents, so, at the same moment, creation began. Love and creation: the two were simultaneous, because aspects of the same awakening of purpose and desire.

Creation began because there was a living purpose. Love itself is intrinsically creative, because love is alive, hence dynamic; love works for development in the self and the other, in relationship. Such development is creation.

The lack of such relation and creation would mean acollapse of purose; and love is replaced by despair, there is loss of cohesion, collapse.

Love coheres by creation, by participating directly in God's creation. And Not by each individual seeking pleasure.

Because pleasure is static, not developmental, not creative. Thus pleasure kills itself. As such, pleasure tries to hold-onto itself - and this also kills pleasure.

Energy is actually a false conceptualisation of purpose and desire in action. If energy is taken to be the primary reality (as many do); then we will suppose that energy can be manipulated and directed. Yet because energy is purpose, and purpose derives from Beings, this fails.

We may suppose that Beings can be directed, but actually Beings can only be used when they are moving towards their purposes. Therefore Beings can only be manipulated by inducing them to accept our purposes, instead of their own. (Or pretending that their purposes are ours, as happens when human

Purpose is only creative when the many purposes of many Beings are harmonised by love; otherwise we get chaos. Love is only purposive when also creative, otherwise we get merely evanescent pleasure. Purposes at war and cancelling-out (see below)...

Love and creation are a polarity - which means that they are aspects of a single and indivisible dynamic process: which is the development of living Being. If the polarity is denied and rejected - what then?

If we take love unilaterally (leaving aside creativity) we get Nirvana, we get Eastern religion. Creation is illusion, the self is illusion - all is illusion except the static, unchanging, one of deity.The self aims to dissolve into deity - since deity is the only real reality.

In actuality what is attained in Nirvana is an almost-static, almost-unchanging, almost-loss of self... hardly (but somewhat) differentiated from deity, hardly conscious yet slightly conscious, not free except to embrace this state of unfreedom.

This is granted to those who want it by our loving God; with a near approximation of the impossible (because paradoxical) state that is desired - impossible because the self is indestructible in a world eternally composed of Beings.

If instead we take creatively, unilaterally, and reject love as a principle of reality... this is modernity, scientism, materialism. We get novelty without cohesion, mere variation and recombination; lability and change but incoherent and without purpose or direction.

Thus, when creativity excludes love, creativity goes - because creativity relies on cohesion, and the cohesion must be real, not arbitrary. Since the reality of cohesion is divine love, and this is denied; there can be no genuine creativity.

Human creativity only makes sense when it happens with a created-reality. If reality is explained as random or wholly-determined (or some combination), then human creation is just a free-spinning cog, a subjective delusion that dies with the self. Indeed, when reality is random/ determined not-created, this awareness will sooner-or-later invade and destroy any conception of individual creativity.

In sum individual creativity makes no sense except in the context of a creation; creation makes no sense except with love.

With modernity, then, from its denial of the objectivity of love (and of God the creator) we get an increase of chaos, warring purposes and purposeless despair; and a reduction in the purposive development of loving creation.

Because there is no purpose, there is no meaning; because there is no love-creation there is not purpose - the modern condition.

The modern denial of love as a metaphysical reality is, implicitly, an attempt to undo creation; to return to the primordial chaos that surrounded Beings. This modern project can only be partly successful, because the attempt is made from within God's coherent and loving creation; indeed having this as a purpose its itself a fragment of creation that has purpose and meaning; and derives its energy in-action from this desire for chaos.

But as chaos approaches, energy will dwindle; the desire necessary to attain the goal will dissipate into the desired chaos - before its goal could be attained.

This is one way of understanding why evil cannot win in the long-run. Creation has happened, and cannot be undone wholly, but only diminished quantitatively.  Creation depends on free agency, but creation can wait until love is freely chosen.

Why invent the Far Right White Supremacists? Fake opposition is mainly for controlling the Establishment minions, not the masses

The modern Western governments have taken a leaf from Orwell's 1984 where the nebulous, non-existent organisation of saboteurs led by Emmanuel Goldstein is created by the totalitarian state as an excuse for violent oppression.

But the modern Establishment have a different purpose in mind in creating, sustaining, and propagating their fake opposition of Far Right White Supremacists.

Instead of violent oppression of the masses, the modern fake opposition serves to discipline the millions of managerial minions who implement the Establishment's totalitarian strategy.

At the top, among the global ultra-elites, they know exactly what they are aiming-at and why; and they want it. But lower down the hierarchy, cooperation needs to be achieved by duping, bribing and intimidating.

It is important to prevent the armies of mid- and low-level totalitarian functionaries from noticing that they are engaged in building their own prison; therefore they need to be kept in a contiuous state of 'wartime' urgency by inducing then to regard themselves as fighting bogeymen.

The more nebulous the bogeymen, they more all pervasive and un-defeatable they seem to be. Every denial of reality of the opposition is seen as evidence of a system of lies. The lack of any official organisation means that the opposition must have a covert organisation.

The exclusion of opposition from the public arena - so that no explicit alternative ideas are allowed; leads to a fixation upon coded 'dog whistle' communications, and micro-aggressions. Once these subtle, indirect influences have become the focus of concern - they are found to be everywhere, all pervasive! (Plus undisproveable.)

And the fact that The Leftist Program is not met with immediate and universal welcome, the fact that some people show a decided lack of enthusiasm for, or even resist, this-month's initiatives; shows the scope of the opposition power, and their sinister capacity to seed hatred through society.

In the end, nothing short of total surveillance and total control will suffice to close-off all the boltholes of an imaginary opposition.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

My shock on reading Matthew, Mark and Luke after sustained immersion in the Fourth Gospel

I have been reading the Fourth Gospel, almost exclusively, for most of a year - deliberately avoiding (so far as is possible) the other Gospels, the New Testament, and indeed the whole of the rest of the Bible. I found the Gospel wholly convincing, at the deepest level of which I am capable.

Over the past couple of days I have read quickly through the Synoptic Gospels (in the order Mark, Matthew then Luke) - to try and get a sense of how they strike me; having come to what feels like a secure and true understanding of Jesus's nature and teaching from the Fourth Gospel.

The experience, so far, is very shocking. The Synoptics, each in somewhat different ways, seem to have missed the point and made something very different than Jesus intended. Unlike the unity and coherence of the Fourth, none of the other Gospels make sense of Jesus's teaching.

Mark reads as incomplete, a collection of notes from various sources, not integrated - and without a take home message; set it aside for now. Matthew seems to be fitting Jesus into the Old Testament expectations, without taking any note of what Jesus actually said. Luke tells a good story - but the teachings are all over the place, and again it is unclear what the core implications are supposed to be.

When the same events are reported as we can read-about in the Fourth Gospel; the other three evangelists consistently misunderstand the significance; and get them in the wrong (and a meaningless) order.

My feeling is that Matthew and Luke are not very concerned about stating clearly what Jesus actually said, nor are they troubled about the contradictions between their reported deeds and teachings - because both have apparently seized upon the imminence of Jesus's Second Coming when all such minutiae will be swept away.

Even misrepresentations of God's basic Goodness are scattered here and there, as if casually and without comment. And the reason for such apparent carelessness seems to be that Jesus will very soon be coming again (in clouds of glory etc) to end this world. For Matthew and Mark, the imminent Second Coming is The Big Message.  

Yet in light of the Fourth Gospel, the Second Coming is clearly a false invention, and one that would serve no role in the work of Jesus. An invention that could only have been made by someone who fundamentally misunderstood the nature of Jesus's teaching and gift. Plus, It Didn't Happen - so one might have supposed that this would put an end to any notion of the Synopic Gospels pretence to primary authority...

(And the Second Coming is only the largest of numerous dissonant and inappropriate additions to Jesus's teachings that are found in the Synoptics.)

Shocking indeed; especially when it is realised that it was the Synoptics which 'won' authority in the Christian churches; and the supreme Fourth Gospel which was wrongly relegated to the status of a kind of optional extra appendix to the Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts and the Epistles of Paul.

"Not of this World" - My comment on a post at William Wildblood's blog

A comment to the post My Kingdom is Not of this World, at Meeting the Masters.

What I think has made matters difficult for so many Christians, is that they have been taught (for nearly 2000 years, including many great saints and other Christian exemplars) that Christianity IS The Church. And outside The Church there is no salvation, and no truth. The individual's job is to obey the The Church.

Which specific church varies, of course. But for centuries the contrast was between The World and The Church. Unworldly meant within-Church.

But we are now in a situation where nearly all of the Churches are worldly first-and-foremost - and often leaders in worldliness; and if their teachings and practices were followed - then this would do as much, or more, harm as good.

Especially in terms of a materialistic, this-worldly focus. The churches mention Jesus from time to time; but the context is one that firmly puts Jesus in a subordinate place to the really 'serious' Church concerns of antiracism/ pro-mass-immigration, the feminist and LGBT agenda, leftist politics, global warming etc.

It really is difficult to escape from this Christianity=Church trap - at least I found it so, despite being a late life convert. I expended a great deal of time and energy (about four-five years) trying to find a church that was really Christian/ not-worldly - and to which I could promise obedience.

Only when the possibilities seemed exhausted did I reluctantly try to devise a means of 'survival' while waiting - and then only later did I realise that this was in fact what I needed.

I needed to take ultimate spiritual responsibility - and I had been looking for a way to pass this off onto an institution.

The main loss is the sacramental side - specifically Holy Communion in a traditional and not-worldly Church of England setting; which I did find to be valuable. Suitable occasions for this are now few and far between.

The loss is real, but there is no alternative for me - and overall my spiritual situation is much better than when I was rather desperately church-shopping.

Note: When Jesus says 'my kingdom is not of this world', I believe that he primarily meant that we enter his kingdom fully only after death and resurrection. Secondarily, because of this fact, our priorities in this world ought to be changed. Having faith in that eternal destination, re-frames (or, ought-to re-frame) our basic and detailed understanding of our mortal lives; and therefore our conduct of our mortal lives.

A handy monocular

Looks much like the above

For Christmas I got a neat little monocular - which is basically half of a binoculars - but set-up to look like a stubby telescope about 5"/ 25 cm long; with rotary disc focusing like binoculars.

It cost only about £10, bottom of the range. I'm not sure what is the degree of magnification, since no relevant information is provided - not massive, maybe 12X?

A monocular is good for me because my eyes are significantly-differently short-sighted - and binoculars can't usually compensate, so I end up closing one eye anyway. Whereas a normal telescopic-telescope - of similar price, has a small viewing field and is difficult to focus.

This little device is used during daylight for getting a closer view of wildlife; and at night it provides exactly the degree of magnification and extra light gathering that I need for stargazing. I can see all three stars in Orion's belt in the same view and all the 'seven' sisters of the Pleiades; and many stars too faint to show against the light pollution of the city centre are brought into visibility...

In general, with the monocular, I can probably see in the night sky (albeit only in a small circle) what somebody with perfect vision could see in the deserts of Egypt. If I spent more, I would presumably get something better; but anyway this is a valuable addition to the window sill.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

The Dystopian Drumbeat: Media disaster rehearsal, desensitisation and framing (Therefore, expect the Unexpected)

Since 2016 there has been a sense of crisis in The West - and it is real. Although there is no substantive change, the Establishment are clearly worried that they are losing their grip. The rhetoric and repression have both escalated.

It is interesting, therefore, that for the past few decades, there has been a constant dystopian drumbeat in the mass media; narratives and scenarios relating to disaster, collapse, terror, totalitarianism, humans taken-over by technology and so forth.

Since the mass media are a part of the Global Establishment, it might have been supposed that They would be feeding the masses an unvaried diet of soothing distraction - rather than making us mentally rehears and subjectively-experience a vast range of threats - both plausible and grossly implausible (e.g. alien or zombie invasion).

One might suppose the dystopian drumbeat was counter-productive - but that would be to underestimate the enemy. So what's going on?

My inference is that something big is going to happen, and soon; and this something (let's call it IT) will have the tendency to produce a massive wake-up to the realities of our current situation; and if this wake-up to reality happens - then it would be very bad for The Establishment.

I don't know what IT is, and neither does the enemy - so they are trying to blunt the effect of whatever-IT-is by desensitising us to... everything they can think of. When IT arrives; the hope is that people will think, and they will be encouraged to think - Oh, it's just like that movie/ TV series/ novel I read a few years ago... Now, how did that end?

In sum; when IT happens - the spontaneous response will be blunted, and there will be a frame ready prepared to receive it; and the Establishment (via the media and official channels) will be able to shape and direct people's responses to negate any possible threat.

For example, if there is some kind of invasion - the media might claim that even to notice what is happening is 'racist'. If there is a religious revival, then this could be framed as actually due to sexism and homophobia. If there is a collapse, it may be put down to Russian infiltration, toxic masculinity or white supremacists. A whole range of narratives have been prepared - and are ready to trigger.

What this means is that if the triumph of evil is imminent, and there is indeed an End Times divine intervention aimed at triggering a Christian Awakening - then we should expect it to be unexpected. Because no matter how many narratives have been rehearsed; there are an unbounded number of other possibilities - beyond our finite powers of imagination.

We would expect that if God is responsible for IT, then It will be something out-of-the-blue, so unexpected as to be incomprehensible... at least for a while.

The Evil Establishment will - of course - unleash an onslaught of narrative explanation and interpretation; to fit IT into their prepared scenarios - but there will be a period of time when everybody is on their own; and trying to make sense of IT for themselves.

And upon our individual response at that time hangs our salvation - because to choose wrong, to fit with the Establishment narrative, is to choose to reject Jesus and to embrace damnation.

Brexit balls-up update

Some good cheer at Albion Awakening...

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Real tough men versus what currently passes for it

As a child I had opportunity to see the tail-end of a culture of real tough men - I mean the face working coal miners of Northumberland, such as my grandfather.

They toiled eight hours per day deep underground in 18" seams with a pickaxe and shovel, removing coal and rock (eight hours at the actual coal face - they were not paid for the 'travelling time' getting there and back).

These were smallish, wiry, bow-legged men of immense strength, stamina and toughness.

Very few could do this face-work - most who tried it failed and were reallocated to lighter but lesser-paid types of work.

And these miners were not just exempted-from, but forbidden to enlist for the military during the two world wars; because their work was essential. Indeed, some conscripts ('Bevan Boys') were sent to the mines instead of the army - but very few were able to do the work.

The contrast with the modern idea of a tough guy - the product of weight training, hormones and the tattoo artist - could not be greater.

In contrast with those miners, the modern tough guy looks like a Hollywood hero, a comic strip, or a member of The Village People. The one was calibrated against tons of coal shifted against time, the lash of hunger and the constant threat of disablement or death; the other by posing in front of a mirror.

The one was reality, the other a simulacrum based on fantasy.

For Heaven's sake, make an Effort with Christianity (like you do with politics)!

Over the past couple of hundred years, many millions of Western people have made a really major Effort to fix their own political views.

They have expended many hours per week, for many years of their lives - sometimes even their whole lives - learning about politics; reading, thinking, discussing, trying-out ideas; modifying, tinkering, correcting...  Joining parties, changing parties, leaving parties; contributing money and time, going on marches and demonstrations; they do it at work and during leisure.

The mass and social media are full of this - newspapers, magazines, mainstream best selling books, textbooks, TV, movies, college courses... all are full of politics. The social media are full of people arguing about politics, virtue-signalling about politics. Great shoals of people do politics first thing in the morning and last thing at night; and probably dream about politics.

Everybody expects that they need to hammer-out their own particular political view. 

What about Christianity? For several generations, plenty of people have been dissatisfied with Christianity - just like they are dissatisfied with politics. But when it comes to Christianity - they find something they don't like and then... They give up

People don't work on their Christianity like they work on their politics." Christianity?" A glance and then - "Nah!" "I cannot accept what I have vaguely heard it is all about? I can't be bothered". "This church says X, which I am sure is wrong - so that's it. I flush whole thing down the toilet."

And when modern people do work on Christianity, it is usually merely in order to bring their Christianity into line with their politics!

As I say, this has been going on since about 1800. I wrote the other day about an early example of the phenomenon: Ralph Waldo Emerson. As a young man in his twenties, he ran into problems with the church of which he was minister; and gave-up on Christianity altogether. This process has been recapitulated multiple-millions of times since; although the age at which people give-up has become younger and younger.

Yet real life is about religion, not about politics.

Religion addresses the big issues and the minutiae of living for every single person and all the time.

Politics, by contrast, is a tissue of manipulative lies and purely a spectator sport for 99% of its participants. For all that we devote so much of our lives to it; politics consists merely in shouting inaudible encouragement or abuse from the touchlines.

If only people would stop wasting their time on politics and use their precious effort and resources on understanding Christianity and working on it!

Christianity is just the beginning; it is a problem that each person needs to engage for himself; it is not something handed on a plate for immediate consumption or rejection.

People would never briefly peruse a brief list of what it means to be a progressive or a conservative - and then take it or leave it, as a whole, for the rest of their lives, without further discussion. But they adopt exactly this casual and lazy attitude to Christianity.

We have each got to make an effort to fix our Christianity; like we each make an effort to fix our politics. That means doing what it takes, and keeping on doing what it takes until we have fixed it.

It means reading, discussing, trying-out ideas; modifying, tinkering, correcting; joining groups, contributing money and time, at work and during leisure - most of all, and above all, it means thinking

Why was Lazarus the only person Jesus resurrected?

The author of the Fourth Gospel (who I believe was Lazarus) goes out of his way to state that Jesus loved Lazarus - just after Lazarus is first named (11:1) saying (11:5) "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister [Mary], and Lazarus". In 11:35-6 we get "Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!"

It strikes me now that this love for Lazarus is linked to him being the first resurrected Man; since in this Gospel, love is mutual; and it is those who love Jesus that are resurrected to life eternal.

Perhaps, then, Lazarus was the first and only person who loved Jesus to die after Jesus became divine and commenced his ministry and before Jesus himself died.

Lazarus was, therefore, the only person 'eligible' for resurrection during the period when Jesus was divine and dwelling upon earth.

This would explain why Lazarus was resurrected, and why no other people were resurrected, during those three years of Jesus's mortal life.

Rehearsing the primacy of the Fourth Gospel

To recapitulate, in brief, why I have settled on the Fourth Gospel as the primary source of communicated-knowledge (i.e. not direct knowledge) about Jesus and his mission:

1. When I read the Fourth Gospel (at the times of my best reading) I get a strong intuitive endorsement of its coherent overall truth (excepting a few verses).

I do not get this coherent witness from any other section of the Bible; but instead variable amounts of partial endorsement balanced by variable amounts of intuitive rejection.

(This feeling about the special quality of the Fourth Gospel goes back about forty years, to long before I was a Christian but tried reading the Bible to discover what it said.)

2. This means that I take the Fourth Gospel as true; and read it as such; and this makes clear that the original Gospel was written to be read by people who knew the author, and knew the author's identity and history.

The first readers were pretty much 'handed' a copy of the Gospel by its author (or a scribe who took it from dictation - or whatever).

The Fourth Gospel (Chapters 1-20) makes it clear that it was written soon after Jesus's ascension - when such events were fresh in the author's mind. Except where otherwise indicated, the Fourth Gospel is either an eye-witness account or came directly from Jesus.

(Chapter 21 was added considerably later, after the death of Peter; and after the church had moved in a different direction from that envisaged by Jesus in the Fourth Gospel, under Peter's direction.)

3. From the internal evidence of the Gospel, the author of the Fourth was Lazarus; and he had, by the end, a very special relationship to Jesus:
  • Best friend to Jesus - whom Jesus loved from before he commenced his ministry; Lazarus initially a disciple of John (the Baptist)
  • Disciple of Jesus, in the inner group; his most-loved disciple
  • Brother in Law to Jesus (who married his sister Mary 'Magdalene' of Bethany)
  • Adopted brother of Jesus (via the instruction given Lazarus from Jesus on the cross, to take Jesus's mother as his own)
  • The first Man to be resurrected*; then an immortal prophet in his own right
  • The first and only eye-witness chronicler of Jesus's ministry, death, resurrection, ascension
These, in summary, are some of the strong reasons why I believe that authority ought to be accorded to the Fourth Gospel above all other sources;including  above any of the other parts of the Bible.

(Each of the above 'evidences' also needs to be tested by intuitive prayer and meditation; to ensure they have been understood and until stable clarity is attained.) 

The Fourth Gospel is our only Primary Source about Jesus; no other Bible sources even claims to be primary.

I further believe that, because of this primacy, the Fourth Gospel has (by divine intervention) been preserved adequately and almost completely down to our time (in the English Authorised/ King James version) - and this miraculous translation and preservation can be seen by its almost absolute coherence (such that the added or changed parts stand out from the whole); and also by its unique beauty and profundity.

If this primacy of the Fourth Gospel is accepted; it should make a significant difference to our core understanding of Christianity as compared with the usual ways of understanding that have arisen since the Fourth Gospel; and which have come down to us via the various churches that arose after the Gospel was first written.

 *Note added: The author of the Fourth Gospel goes out of his way to state that Jesus loved Lazarus - just after Lazarus is first name (11:1) saying (11:5) Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister [Mary], and Lazarus. In 11:35-6 we get "Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!" It strikes me now that this love for Lazarus is linked to him being the first resurrected Man; since in this Gospel, love is mutual; and it is those who love Jesus who are resurrected to life eternal. Perhaps, then, Lazarus was the first and only person who loved Jesus to die, after Jesus became divine and commenced his ministry and before Jesus himself died. Lazarus was, therefore, the only person 'eligible' for resurrection during the period when Jesus was divine and dwelling upon earth. This would explain why Lazarus was resurrected, and why no other people were resurrected, during those three years of Jesus's mortal life.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Supplement to 'That Antichrist feeling'

It is relevant to my discussion of that Antichrist feeling I got from reading some discussion of Mormon Transhumanism to mention a talk I gave back in 2008 using Transhumansim and Mormonism as examples of the two opposite directions which were open to modern Man:

As this talk was given, I was on the cusp of becoming a Christian - but still wavering... Actually preparing and delivering this lecture, and some events that happened shortly after the talk, had a role in making my decision clear.

Regular readers will know that I have continued to think; and now see a third possible future - but this video may have historical interest for those who don't already know it.