Relics of Old Decency

You see the good Irish linen napkins here? These are relics of old decency. But what are relics of old decency? They appear in Ulysses:   But when my mother so describes her napkins she is quoting her father, and he, although roughly contemporary with Joyce, was a minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church and on […]

My mother is saying ‘Now’

St Oswald’s Ashbourne, Friday 30 May 2014 (service and lunch for retired clergy), on these readings  A matter of questions about words and names, says Gallio in the first reading, and he isn’t interested in questions like that. Nonetheless I would like to preach about words, two in particular. The word Now, because in this […]

While Riding a Bicycle

‘Bertrand Russell has described how one day in 1902 while riding a bicycle he suddenly realised that he was no longer in love with his first wife – and from this realisation there followed in time the break-up of that marriage. Kierkegaard would have said, and surely rightly, that any attitude whose absence can only […]

Just as Well

‘the relationship of our beliefs to sentences that we only or primarily sing, let alone to the music which accompanies those sentences, is not at all the same as the relationship of our beliefs to the sentences that we primarily say and say in an assertive mode.’ Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue, chapter 4. MacIntyre is writing […]

Depend Upon It

Another quirk [of speech in the sayings of Jesus] is Jesus’s frequent and apparently unprecedented use of the emphatic Hebrew and Aramaic exclamation ‘Amen!’ before he makes a solemn pronouncement: ‘Amen I say to you…’. The word was considered so important that it was preserved in its original form in the Greek biblical text; in […]