Monday, September 24, 2007

Stones in the Road

Yerushalayim.....I learned today from a CNN RSS feed that stones quarried for the Herodian Temple have been discovered. The source of the huge stones used 2,000 years ago to reconstruct the compound in Jerusalem's Old City was discovered on the site of a proposed school in a Jerusalem suburb. Today, the compound Herod renovated using slave labour houses the most explosive religious site in the Land, known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims. I read once that there are more cameras per square metre there than anywhere else on the planet. The Wall, with the mighty stones, prayers jammed by the faithful in its interstices, is a quiet place some of the time where people can simply come and soak up the atmosphere. I did, often, living only five minutes away. The Al-Aqsa and Dome over the hill is forbidding, almost austere by comparison - like visiting a foreign country where one is not quite welcome, despite Palestinian boys playing football (how very irreverent of them) under its shadow. And, someone please tell me, why has the Al-Aqsa had scaffolding up since God's dog was a puppy and there seems no evidence at all of construction. How very strange.
It's quite ironic, really, since Ehud Olmert has been investigated concerning alleged irregularities related to building purchases. The investigation is to clarify suspicions of criminal action after a complaint was filed saying Olmert received a significant reduction in the price in return for expediting building permits. I really can't imagine Herod having the same problems. The image shows an Orthodox Jew walking the quarry where a tool used to split the ancient limestone was found. How very appropriate.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Beautiful. Forty years old and almost no design changes. I'm thinking of getting one, as a reward to myself.
Life tends to eddy backwards and forwards, sometimes Unlike tidal predictability, the shifts and harmonics act more as a resonator, facilitating increased momentum. Found myself breaking a silence or two recently, the kind with skeletal fingers that brush so lightly against the fabric of the soul that one forgets that they are there. Just a word in the right quarter unblocks the ship from the ice, allowing some forward movement.
Those who know me are well used to me stumbling around in the half-light most of the time. It's quite a triumph when two or three steps work together.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Psychopathically Deranged

The British Press is always up for a good one. Especially when the TLO (tight-lipped one) is drawlin' Texan outta the corner of his mouth and threatening to commit billions more of the USA's defence budget into pushing president Ahmadinejad's nuclear cocktail cabinet - were he to possess one - a little further away from Jerusalem. This from the Telegraph: -

Senior officials believe Mr Bush's inner circle has decided he does not want to leave office without first ensuring that Iran is not capable of developing a nuclear weapon.

I do rather wonder how this might be achieved. He could of course rattle his sabre some more. If push came to shove, however, would the Rices and Rumsfeld's carry enough political clout to take Capitol Hill into a wildly unpredictable thunderstorm where an entire Islamic brotherhood from Saudi to Somalia might decide to pitch in? H'm.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Great Divorce

Blake wrote of the marriage of Heaven and Hell, C S Lewis wrote of its divorce. The brouhaha over the ordination of gays to the bishopric (no pun intended) is set to fragment what George Carey once called a 'big, happy family' - the Anglican communion. Seventeen million Nigerians and the view of their Archbishop is a force to be reckoned with, and they, together with their brethren in Uganda, conservatives all, are set to give poor old ++Rowan a rough ride in the next little while. His only response so far has been to affirm in 2005 that 'any lasting solution...will require people to admit that they were wrong'... Those of you who know me will recall that gentlemen - or indeed ladies - dressed in expensive flummery who are required to hold their hands in particular, sacramentally appropriate ways while dispensing bread and wine excite mild curiosity but little by way of transcendent joy. Similarly, despite my robustly nonconformist background, their evangelical counterparts hold little fascination, except for admiration for a faith which is transparently naive. Few would go quite as far as the gay Bishop of New Hampshire, upon whose saintly head much outrage has descended, when he suggested that Jesus might himself have been homosexual. Deconstructionist spin. Worked for Tony Blair.
A lady priest I know has no objection to gay priests - quite the reverse - reasons given, inter alia, is that they are often pastorally more adept and emotionally intelligent than their straight counterparts. At great depth, in the dungeon of my own soul, where the elevator descends no further, something murky rises against such thinking, although for the life of me I cannot reasonably fault it. The enlightened condescension of the mature thinker who has long since left all such superstition behind, where shadows blur comfortably, leaving few sharp edges, is both enviable and quietly disturbing. I think I must be showing my age. The image is Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin's interpretation, the Tom of Finland lookalikes give the game away nicely.