Showing posts from July, 2017

Midweek Musing: On parables

A guest muser this week, with Amy-Jill Levine talking parables for the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins.

Midweek Musing: flares of grace

Sun on your back, you stretch
in grateful receipt of its flare.
Blue sky, smile at the reprieve
from the grey. Inhale, long
and deep, graced with life.
It's Friday afternoon in the Meadows,
and the mood is as light as the breeze.

Such afternoons in the Meadows have an atmosphere. People are there in ones and twos and groups. Musicians play and sing; the sporty throw frisbees, kick footballs (soccer balls for the non-British); the contemplative meditate in stillness or gentle movement. Dogs delight; children run across that vast green; cyclists and joggers circle the green on the criss-crossing paths; readers stretch on the green or sit beside it on benches. Today only a few fast walking people with work-like purpose, and in the corner playground laughter and tennis court action.

And me, walking some of those criss-crossing paths at a steady pace, slow enough to take it all in and be present, faster than a stroll. I covet the turreted ancient apartment blocks, pass a couple of fami…

Thoughts in response to the #Doctor13 announcement

It's a woman. The backlash in part indicates why a regeneration in female form, or perhaps more to the point why stories with female leads, need to happen on our screens. The dominant narrative we have been telling ourselves in the west is that, as in Ancient Rome, the young white educated man is the pinnacle of human being, and anyone else of different age, race, colour, creed, gender, is somewhat sub-human. That is not acceptable.

It's not a man. Someone commented that The Doctor is a male lead who challenges some dominant narratives about what it is to be a man. I agree. The Doctor prefers non-violence. The Doctor finds beauty in difference; his response whenever he encounters a species he's not seen before is 'Oh, you are beautiful!' The Doctor may appear - and appear to think he is - a lone figure, solitary, alone, but he is not. The Doctor collaborates, with people (and others) different to him, and the women in the story are very often cleverer, stronger, ev…

Midweek Musing: magical musical moments

One Sunday morning recently, Henry, organist at Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, played the meaning of the words in the songs we sang.

There is something utterly magical in music that softens for the penultimate verse with its 'quiet', and 'peace', and then builds the energy (not simply volume) for the final verse's 'earthquake' and 'wind' and 'fire', only to drop suddenly for the final line, repeated, the 'still small voice of calm'. And the congregation followed - certainly the choir had been prepared to help us pick up the cues - and we sang with soft voices for the penultimate verse, and opened our lungs for the final verse, and calmed, our demeanour, our embodiment, conveying the meaning in the words we sang.

If that was not enough, we sang the Psalms for the day, as we often do. The setting for Psalms 42–43 that is #33 in the Church Hymn book 4th edition (used in the Church of Scotland and other denominations here), so perfectly evo…

Midweek Musing: the privilege of dreams

You have been in the UK for three years, just across the channel, you can't leave without going to France.

My sister's words to me, adding three days in Paris to her third visit to the UK during my three year stay here. Not sure if there's any significance to all those threes.

I studied French at high school and university, the better part of ten years, won the prize for top of the French class in Year 12, and have rather a lot of Eiffel Tower ornaments and haberdashery for one who has never seen it with my own eyes.
The bits of France I want to see on a longer stay would be outside Paris - Mont Saint Michel and Provence - but the capital is perfect for a quick 'hop' across to say I've been.

I mentioned the trip to Edinburgh friends who excitedly exclaimed we've been planning Paris for around then, too! So with a friend of one of those two visiting from the USA, we were five women whistling through town like a multi-(western)-cultural whirlwind.

The beginni…