Monday, August 08, 2016

An Open Letter to John Dominic Crossan

Dear Dom,

Today is the Feast of St. Dominic and I wondered if you celebrate it as your name day. I woke up this morning thanking God for both you and the saint. Who would you be, without your formation as a Dominican? 

I am a bear of small brain and it feels as if I am almost untouched by scholarship. What a joy, that within the Body of Christ, I have brother who not only has scholarship and a wonderfully analytical mind but ears to hear and and a lucid, easy to follow writing style.

In  Jesus and the Violence of Scripture you have set out clearly, argued convincingly and further than I have ever attempted, what I mean by saying,"I am a Christ-ian and I understand what that means by being a follower of Jesus." Thanks for that!

I was particularly taken with your account of discovering your third metaphor the Biblical Iconic Focus in the Benedictine Basilica at Formis where Christ in Triumph in the apse is the focus of all the other biblical icons. Iconography, or not and the remaining evidence of Reformation  arguments are to be found in  many of our heritage churches in Norfolk  - e.g. http://www.hungate.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/hungate-trail-6fw.pdf. 

I love it that  the faces of the saints on the Belaugh rood screen were scratched out by a godly trooper from Hautbois in the Civil War. Perhaps icons/not icons is also the beating of a heart'
Although the roods, the Christ on the cross most often attended by Mary and John, were taken down by order of HenryVIII, the screens remained. But in the place of the Cross of Christ was placed the Royal Coat of Arms. The non-violent suffering servant replaced by the violence of the state. At St. Catherine's Ludham they dealt with the change of monarchy, and permitted iconography, by quickly producing a painted rood in the reign of Mary and then painting  Elizabeth's Royal Coat of Arms on the opposite side for her accession. Rescued from obscurity in Victorian times both sides of the panel are now visible - the rood from the nave  and the royal coat of arms from the chancel.

One wonders if there would ever have been a British Empire and a Pax Britannica (Peace through Victory)  if the roods had been left where they had been placed at the chancel arch. The theology was clear and true, the faithful  enter the mystery  of communion with God through the sacrifice, example and teaching of Jesus and the saints.

The Oxford Movement did lead to some of the roods being replaced but often it was a Christus Rex that was put in place. I think that allows for Peace through violent Victory. I suppose the icon/no icon is a false dichotomy. It is really, "Which icon?"  -The Reformation in England first gave us ,  the Crucified Christ or My Lord the King. Later,  as the Reformation gathered speed, statues and paintings may have disappeared but the icon was the Bible.  In reconquest Spain, at the extremes were Christ the Moor Slayer and  John of the Cross's  Beloved in the Song of Songs where the Paradise Garden was familiar idea to converting Muslims.

In the end, thank God for Francis as well as Dominic. He, more than any, championed the cause of the Peace Donkey!

With prayers and best wishes,

Richard



Friday, August 05, 2016

A Conversation with the Coot Club

It came as no surprise to pass "Death and Glory" as we made our way back up the Bure from a short cruise on Cygnet. I had been having an internal dialogue with the Coot Club ever since we came through Horning.

Back in the golden day, when I was a lad, before the old the Ferry Inn had burned down and the wherry Albion was still trading, there was nowhere near the river traffic there is today. It seems to my inner dyspeptic, grumpy old git that nothing will ever be the same. "Take a grip!" The positive. open, hopeful self replies. "Its change. All things change and yet nothing changes." The Coot club reminded me that although the Hullabaloos have taken over the pub, they tend to congregate in  certain places and the Broads are still a magic breathing space. More than ever  guardians of the Broads are called fight to protect, nurture and celebrate this unique environment.



You are right boys and the good news is there are lots of us at it. Horsey, where we had moored for two nights is in the care of the National Trust, Hickling and Barton broads in the care of Norfolk Wildlife Trust. We'd seen Hathor of the Wherry Yacht Charter ( http://www.wherryyachtcharter.org/index.php) out on Barton Broad and moored at How Hill.  Hunter's Yard Fleet boats (http://www.huntersyard.co.uk/)  were in evidence everywhere, as were the Martham Ferry Boiatyard fleet (http://www.marthamferryboatyard.co.uk/)




There are new developments in hand, the is nearly complete Three Rivers Way,  and a bike routes network that is expanding (https://norfolkbroadscycling.co.uk/).

Before long a riverside path from Ludham Bridge to St.Benet's will be open and there are plans afoot to improve and improve the  access to Hoveton Great Broad http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/environment/2m_of_lottery_cash_awarded_for_work_on_private_broad_1_4147300)

Even now Hoveton Great Broad (access from the river or by ferry from Salhouse Broad http://www.salhousebroad.org.uk/ferry.html) provides a haven of calm away from one of the most congested part of the Broads river network. What do you expect?  Its August!  Out on the river a 45 foot hire boat, skippered by a child and encouraged by adults is powering past a day boat at 7 knots, or more,  creating a prodigious bow wave! Hallabaloos ! Unimpressed Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies feed quietly on Hemp Agrimony.

On Wednesday night the White Horse, Neatishead there were morris dancers - Kemp's Men and an appreciative audience. Beer and dancing, cakes and ale - what could be more English?

And the built heritage was being maintained too - work on the Horsey Wind pump, St. Benet's ruins freshly restored, church towers raising eyes heavenward and windpumps, soon to benefit from the Water, Mills and Marshes project (http://www.broads-authority.gov.uk/looking-afte
r/projects/water,-mills-and-marshes)
I


















There are places where the Broads river network is over crowded. The increase in the size of hire boats over the years has reduced the number of boats that can fit on moorings.

The increase in air draught limits where the biggest boats can now go.
And so at some spots like the Bure by Salhouse Broad, with Hullaballoos racing to the next congested pub mooring, the river is pretty busy. In other places, the southern rivers and above Wroxham and Potter Heigham bridges there is less pressure.

In fact, the 6 foot air draft of Potter bridge acts as a Hullabaloo filter. There was plenty of room on the morrings - all very Swallows and Amazons (to stay with Arthur Ransom but to leave the Coot Club behind) ! A walk across the meadows to the beach revealed few humans bathing and sunbathing.


The seals were something else!

A Conversation with the Coot Club

It came as no surprise to pass "Death and Glory" as we made our way back up the Bure from a short cruise on Cygnet. I had been having an internal dialogue with the Coot Club ever since we came through Horning.

Back in the golden day, when I was a lad, before the old Ferry Inn had burned down and the wherry Albion was still trading, there was nowhere near the river traffic there is today. It seems to my inner dyspeptic, grumpy old git that nothing will ever be the same. "Take a grip!" The positive. open, hopeful self replies. "Its change. All things change and yet nothing changes." The Coot club reminded me that although the Hullabaloos have taken over the pub, they tend to congregate in  certain places and the Broads are still a magic breathing space. More than ever  guardians of the Broads are called fight to protect, nurture and celebrate this unique environment.



You are right boys and the good news is there are lots of us at it. Horsey, where we had moored for two nights is in the care of the National Trust, Hickling and Barton broads in the care of Norfolk Wildlife Trust. We'd seen Hathor of the Wherry Yacht Charter ( http://www.wherryyachtcharter.org/index.php) out on Barton Broad and moored at How Hill.  Hunter's Yard Fleet boats (http://www.huntersyard.co.uk/)
were in evidence everywhere, as were the Martham Ferry Boatyard fleet (http://www.marthamferryboatyard.co.uk/) and the Welpton fleet too https://www.eastwood-whelpton.co.uk/index



There are new developments in hand, the is nearly complete Three Rivers Way,  and a bike routes network that is expanding (https://norfolkbroadscycling.co.uk/).

Before long a riverside path from Ludham Bridge to St.Benet's will be open and there are plans afoot to improve and improve the  access to Hoveton Great Broad http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/environment/2m_of_lottery_cash_awarded_for_work_on_private_broad_1_4147300)

Even now Hoveton Great Broad (access from the river or by ferry from Salhouse Broad http://www.salhousebroad.org.uk/ferry.html) provides a haven of calm away from one of the most congested part of the Broads river network. What do you expect?  Its August!  Out on the river a 45 foot hire boat, skippered by a child and encouraged by adults is powering past a day boat at 7 knots, or more,  creating a prodigious bow wave! Hallabaloos ! Unimpressed,  Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies feed quietly on Hemp Agrimony.

On Wednesday night the White Horse, Neatishead there were morris dancers - Kemp's Men (that's me on the left) and an appreciative audience. Beer and dancing, cakes and ale - what could be more English?

And the built heritage was being maintained too - work on the Horsey Wind pump, St. Benet's ruins freshly restored, church towers raising eyes heavenward and windpumps, soon to benefit from the Water, Mills and Marshes project (http://www.broads-authority.gov.uk/looking-afte
r/projects/water,-mills-and-marshes)
I


















There are places where the Broads river network is over crowded. The increase in the size of hire boats over the years has reduced the number of boats that can fit on moorings.

Air draught limits where the biggest boats can now go.
And so at some spots like the Bure by Salhouse Broad, with Hullaballoos racing to the next congested pub mooring, the river is pretty busy. In other places, the southern rivers and above Wroxham and Potter Heigham bridges, there is less pressure.

In fact, the 6 foot air draft of Potter bridge acts as a Hullabaloo filter. There was plenty of room on the morrings once we were through - all very Swallows and Amazons (to stay with Arthur Ransom but to leave the Coot Club behind) ! A walk across the meadows to the beach revealed very few humans bathing and sunbathing.


Seals were something else!