Thursday, July 25, 2013

From the beginning He made them

In the midst of contemplating how the immensely popular practise of self-submission to the-creator-and-destroyer basically fails to be a religion (at least under its presently-immensely-popular superstitious self-opposition to anything like reason), this in the midst of a f™ discussion confusing the relation between Man and reason in this immensely popular &.c. with, the relation between Men and Women in the same, and in other parts of the world; in the midst of all this, I say, the word came to me (not a new word, rather one you've heard every Easter Vigil)
And it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, of one year: according to which rite also you shall take a kid.
You see, I'd been casting about in my memory to see if I couldn't recall if there were any sense in which attempting to apply the Sacrament of Holy Orders in any degree to nonstandard matter would be a violence to the nature of that matter. I don't think I found a real case for that conjecture, but never mind.

It isn't that female beasts were never used in sacrifice — peace offerings could be male or female, sin offerings for individual common folk seem to have been female, and a ewe was required for the cleansing of a leper (though I can't tell, in the ritual described, when if ever that ewe is killed) — but definitely they mean different things, and the male and female sacrifices are not generally interchangeable, or He wouldn't have bothered to be specific.

Come now to the New Covenant. The Sacrifice par excellence is also our passover. The Priest of our passover is also the Victim, and so it is with its daily re-presentation. The Lord has said that the passover victim is a male, even before the transposition of Levi for the Firstborn. I really don't want to be about "proof-texting" as it is called, I'm all about the poetry; but there it is. If the priest is the victim, and the sacrifice is the passover, then the victim must be a male, and so therefore must the priest be as well.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A "recipe"

It isn't much, of course...

In a clean mid-size saucepan, combine
  • ½ lb chopped rhubarb
  • ½ lb strawberries
  • tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • sugar to cover (I didn't measure it. Don't be afraid: rhubarb is powerful tart)
  • water to wet sugar (< ½ c)
Apply medium heat, stirring occasionally. Bring mixture to boil, and reduce to simmer. Continue occasional stirring, until desired reduction.

I call it (for fun) “strawb’inger’barb’alade”, but, basically, it's spiced jam. What more does one need? Serve with breakfast pastries or icecream or cream tea or... The possibilities are, as Zombo says, endless!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Attempting to distinguish well

Or, beware of smoked pickerel.

There is a study (oh, there's always a study, of course!) news whereof has been lately making the rounds, apparently demonstrating that, under carefully controlled laboratory conditions, men who exhibit one particular kind of reprehensible mental habit outside carefully controlled laboratory continue to show same habits, and even more so when contemplating pictures that gratify those habits. As Jolly Shea would summarize, water is wet.

Astounding, isn't it, that this kind of study was (apparently) approved by some ethics board?

There is another article entering the debate somewhere pointing out that modesty is an ambiguous word, being emblazoned with a Renaissance statue allegory of Modestia, the virtue whose opposing vice is vainglory. And they mention that many scriptural exhortations to "modesty" are corrections of excess in dress. The noted Shalit wrote a fascinating book richly woven on this ambiguity in modern (hmm) English, which does a much better job on their relation. I suppose it's just one of those funny things that the closest-sounding thing to "pudicitia" (lat) and later "pudeur" (fr) is the English prude, which is actually a contraction of a French contraction "prud-homme", which seems to be about prudence more than anything. In short, these are not the foxes you are hunting.

Recently, in advocating that people who live in civilization should be clad1, I pointedly declined to comment on swim-wear. There are a number of reasons for this; e.g. : there are severe engineering constraints on garb that both protects and is wettable, to the extent that what you could suitably wear to Church (say) would kill you if you tried swimming in it for more than ten minutes; e.g. : the popularity even of recreational swimming, at least on these shores (hee!) is a fairly novel thing; e.g. : there are or were places where undress is expected for swimming (and if one is there not to swim, he is effectively driven away); e.g. the second time we hear of Simon Peter leaving his boat at sea, a point is made that he was in some state of undress which he hastened to correct2.

The trouble with using the study to inform (or to deconstruct) choices of swimwear is that it replaces what seems to be a moral question (what reasonably can I do not to scandalize my brother and sister?) with one of instrumental reason (how can I use clothing to manipulate everyone else? whether to allure or to push away). The trouble with using this study to inform the genuine instrumental question (how does dress affect the beholder) is that it confuses use with the expressed desire to use.

B.t.w., if there somehow is a question as to propriety around swimming, the most I will actually venture to say is that swimwear is excellent wear for swimming, so long as it really is good for swimming (and I have my doubts about lots of it). More generally, the meaning of particular garb is, of course, dependent on context (which is why carefully controlled laboratory conditions are about as silly as taking an MRI to the beach).

A former school colleague, in conversation about obvious things, asked whether deleterious behaviour that happens to find biblical condemnation should again be condemned also in our Criminal Code; the fishy point in this question is that you don't need the bible to tell you that deleterious behaviour is deleterious.

You need the Bible to tell you that God is to His people (indeed, to every created rational soul) as Husband to Wife; that is, you need the Bible (or authentic living tradition, but this is a tradition attested in ancient Holy Writ) to tell you that, if you get Marriage wrong, you also get yourself in relation to God seriously wrong. That is, you might just need the Bible to tell you that getting marriage wrong in this kind of way is itself a grave sin.

You do not need the Bible to tell you that [effacing the distinction between dwelling in common vs. establishing a productive, living family] is [the state spending itself on society killing itself]. Do not in any argument accept the premise that the marriage question is only a religious question.

1 : Allow me to remark that clothing the naked is classified as an act of corporal mercy, along with feeding the hungry, comforting the sick, and consoling prisoners; to be short of clothing, in our fallen world, is a misfortune and a poverty.

2 : This, I think, lends more support to the beautiful theory expressed by Miss Sabatina; namely that if Peter has learned to swim then he has also learned that it's boat-loads easier without the coat; so, given that he put his coat on, it's even more likely that he isn't swimming!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Borrowed from a real poet

JUNE 26, 2013

By parody of Holy Mass
A building made of steel and marble
Has been altered into paper
Let the lawful tremble

So that the rain that soon will come
Will cause it to disintegrate
A sodden mass instead of stone
Starting from this date

When marriage was allowed to be
Celebrated by the demons
He and he or she and she

We have become the little gods
And parodies of holy priests
Who revel in the sullied flesh
And turn themselves to beasts

Pavel Chichikov


Have I mentioned before? I rather think I must have, for I know it occurs to me most every year, of late...

It's just funny the way the Church has decided to celebrate the Visitation about a week after the Nativity of St. John The Baptist. Clearly, the placement of this feast (celebrating an event which must have actually take place about two or three months ago) is not about chronology, while in contrast the Annunciation and John's Nativity and Christmas are very carefully coordinated with eachother.

It must be an echo of how Time means something different in Heaven; a different reflection of how, every Sunday we witness anew the Passion, and commemorate the resurrection in the veiled presense of The Resurrection. Ours is a profoundly poetic Church.

Happy Feast Day!