Sunday, November 29, 2009

ETS and the Peasants' Revolt

The Australian Liberal Party is in "meltdown" this week over the bungled Emissions Trading Scheme. It goes like this.

Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull does a deal with Labor to pass the ETS, so that Kevin Rudd can go off to Copenhagen to look like a good global citizen. Having drunk the David Cameron Kool-Aid, he's convinced being Green will play well in urban areas, and with moderate voters.

His own party, which has been long divided between "conservatives" and "moderates" does the maths, and figures out the following things.

The ETS is equivalent to a massive tax
The environmental benefits are uncertain (to put it kindly)
Copenhagen's outcome is equally uncertain (ditto)

And most importantly of all, the average Liberal Party voter, especially in the bush, hates the idea, and wants to hold off.

And they've been saying so.

Ain't that democracy a bitch?

Spooked by their full email inboxes and burning phone lines, the Liberal MP's and significant numbers in the Shadow Cabinet tell Mr. Turnbull to pull his head in.

Mr. Turnbull labels his opponents climate change deniers, wreckers, disloyal crazies, and generally acts like the Sun King on a bad day.

The result?

Revolt.

To the attack come the disloyal peasantry, demanding that the Opposition do its duty and oppose. That horrible rabble of farmers and businessmen and housewives, led by our favourite Mad Monk, and a reluctant standard-bearer press-ganged by the Mob.

This is glorious, it's quite like old times.

We're the first to fix bayonets against rebels in ordinary circumstances, but in these, we've only got two words.

Ca Ira!

Come

Today is the first Sunday in Advent--and Dr. Swift had the honour of reading the Gospel.

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Advent is the season of waiting--we wait for the Holy Child to come (to come is what "Advent" means.) But it is also the season of groaning, the season of birth, the season of trembling.

In Advent, we hear in the readings the massive facts of human evil, of natural disaster, of the four Last Things: Heaven, Hell, Death and the Judgement.

Not fashionable, perhaps. But real.

In a world of tsuamis and terrorism, of child murder and sudden death, in a world of hunger and pain, we so desperately need Advent.

The season to feel our calamities, to repent, to cry out to God for a deliverer, for Someone to help us, to be with us, to aid, comfort, assoil and strengthen us.

And the message of Advent is that He comes.

He comes, and we have hope.

From Death will come Life.

In Judgement, we will have Mercy.

From the old, the decaying, the trembling, will come a Child.

Behold the Man whose Name is the Branch.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Something about Mary


Dr. Swift is an Anglican of a High Church Evangelical disposition.

We are quite comfortable in the bell-tower to chant our Psalm, to cross ourselves, to kneel at the drop of a hat, and we are entirely in favour of crucifixes, candles, and other such trifles allowed by Elizabeth, of blessed memory.

But at the same time, we find lace on men disturbing. We are quite happy with Latin Mass, but it must be the Latin Book of Common Prayer. And while we deeply admire the Pope, we are firmly convinced that he should mind his own business.

We are in short, good, catholic minded Protestants, c. 1570.

That means, among other things, we are suspicious of Mary.

Mary, idolatrous shibboleth of Polish boot-blacks and Filapina house-maids.
Mary, inspiration of Popish Queens, and odd, Lady Marchmain-like aristocrats.
Mary, prop of bad art, milk-sop milk-maid of sickly piety.

Mary, the plain weird.

But we are nearly in Advent. And we are forced to turn our minds, and our thoughts, to the Virgin Mother of the Lord.

Mary, the simple peasant girl, drawing water for Joachim and Anna.

Mary, betrothed to Joseph, the carpenter, a good man, a solid man--an older man.

Mary of the Magnificat, that soaring hymn of hope that the weak, the poor, the lowly and the broken will no longer be shut out.

Mary, the burning eyed, at the Cross, where the sword pierced her own soul, and her Son's side.

Mary, the mother of the Church, sitting in the kitchen with John Evangelist, and the other Apostles, dispensing wine, stew and advice.

Mary at Pentecost, receiving the devouring fire.

And we find ourselves awestruck. Mary isn't simply a model of virginal sweetness (pace bad art). She is a woman of fire, of faith, of blood, of suffering.

The woman who said "Yes."

Hail, Mary, full of grace.

Yes. Just one little word.

A word for the whole world.

Here's the gorgeous, if sadly rare, Caccini Ave Maria.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hymn Search II

Our new favourite hymn search continues, and behind Door Number Two we have Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise.




Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most bless├Ęd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.

We really, really, like this one.

Reverence: 10 (utterly sublime)

Theology: 6 (A bit disembodied--Christ came down in flesh, and unveiled Himself to our eyes--steady on with the Invisible bit...)

Musicality: 8 (a good, thumping rhythm)

Scrubbing Capacity: 8 (Un HAS ting Un WAS ting--floor scrubbed in ten minutes. Thurible, maybe not, it doesn't rock enough)

To the Death

The above photograph shows Mr. Hulk Hogan bleeding after a "press conference" in which he had an impromptu brawl with his opponent, for the edification of the watching media.

Watching wrestling, and the cruelties regularly perpetrated on "reality" TV shows like Fear Factor, we give it fifty years before we're back in Ancient Rome and people are fighting to the death.

Lose Christian morality, and the nice things about Western culture, like not exposing your children on bare mountain-tops, and not beating each other to death for entertainment start looking...kinda shaky. Note the blood--or the scripted blood, perhaps, which is in a way worse.

What is good? The Will to Power, Power itself, in Man.
What is bad? All that proceeds from Weakness....

Friedrich Nietszche

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stop bugging me...

Hone Harawira is in trouble.

It appears the Maori Party are not happy with his display of anti-white prejudice, which demonstrates that some of them have functional political antennae.

We are not suprised that, having spent years shedding the image of extreme whinery, and mainstreaming Maori causes like the repeal of the sea-bed and foreshore Act, Dr. Sharples and Mrs. Turia are clearly cross about being forced into a corner by calculated running off at the mouth. Few want the radicalism, shouting and race-baiting days of yore back--except possibly, of course, those who continue to recall the New Zealand Wars with affection (and there are too many, on both sides, including our friend Hone).

The Maori Party are agressively implying that Mr. Harawira will sit as an Independent--or rather, that he's already acting like one.

Suspecting (and in our view rightly) he'd be toast without the label of the Maori Party, Mr. Harawira isn't budging.

It reminds us of one of those rather tragic playground situations--elder brother and sister playing cricket, and trying to persuade little brother he'd really be much happier playing somewhere else, while he wails and throws a tantrum, and insists on being as much trouble as possible.

Of course, tantrums look a little better when they are wrapped in the defence of the marginalised, my people, our tikanga, etc, but tantrums Mr. Harawira keeps throwing.

Little brother never wins in the end--Hone Harawira can take his medicine, pay the money back, submit to Party discipline, apologise (again) for race-baiting, and be re-admitted to his fielding position on the boundary. Or he can sod off for a permanent place in the pavilion.

If I were Dr. Sharples, I wonder which one I'd be hoping for?

Friday, November 13, 2009

O Crux Ave, Spes Unica



ABROAD the regal banners fly,
now shines the Cross's mystery:
upon it Life did death endure,
and yet by death did life procure.

Who, wounded with a direful spear,
did purposely to wash us clear
from stain of sin, pour out a flood
of precious water mixed with blood.

That which the prophet-king of old
hath in mysterious verse foretold,
is now accomplished, whilst we see
God ruling the nations from a Tree.

O lovely and refulgent Tree,
adorned with purpled majesty;
culled from a worthy stock, to bear
those limbs which sanctified were.

Blest Tree, whose happy branches bore
the wealth that did the world restore;
the beam that did that Body weigh
which raised up Hell's expected prey.

Hail Cross, of hopes the most sublime!
Now, in the mournful Passion time;
grant to the just increase of grace,
and every sinner's crimes efface.

Blest Trinity, salvation's spring
may every soul Thy praises sing;
to those Thou grantest conquest
by the Holy Cross, rewards supply.

Amen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lest we forget


In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing,
fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Armistice Day, 11.11.18
Lest we forget.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Indeed

Abp Cranmer, a blogger of erudition, has a reaction to the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, which is about where we've come down on it.

Cranmer thinks there is an awful lot of fuss being made over the Anglicanorum Coetibus. It will be more honoured in the breach than in the observing, for those in the observing will be so few and far between that the breaches will attract far more attention than a few women priests ever did.

And there is more pleasure in its reading and contemplation than there will ever be in its practice and application. If ‘Ut Unum Sint’ made anything clear, it is that unity is unattainable this side of glory, if only because of the infinite theological variety of Christian nature: God loves symphony, not singularity. The only True Church is the Church Invisible - the 'communion of the saints'. Christ may have prayed that believers might be one, might be united in Him, but an awful lot rests on what we mean and understand by ‘one’ and ‘united’.

Not to mention ‘Catholic’.

And Cranmer finds it bizarre that there are some who are positively wetting themselves with infantile exuberance over the supposed creation of an Anglican branch of the Catholic Church: in case they hadn’t noticed, there has been one since AD597.....

. The doctrinal history of the Church of England asserts that it is both Catholic and Reformed; Apostolic and Evangelical; Prophetic and Protestant. The Prayer Book states: ‘Whosoever will be saved, it is necessary above all things that he hold the catholic faith...’.

Anglicanism is a worldwide universal communion, and repudiates some of the claims of Rome, not least its soteriology, ecclesiology, its unique claim to catholicity and and its understanding of authority. Unless salvation has ceased to be by faith; unless church governance has ceased to be synodical; unless infallible moral authority has indeed been imparted by God to one man, the doctrinal claims of the Church of England, founded on natural law through tradition, reason and experience, have as much validity now as they had four centuries ago.

What he said.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hymn Search I

We are on the hunt for a new favourite hymn.

For reasons we won't go into, Work for the Night is Coming, Bickerstaff's favourite house-cleaning hit, really won't do any more, not least because it palls with repetition.

We'll be spotlighting the candidates for new favourite over the next few weeks, and behind Door Number One, we have Holy God We Praise Thy Name

Four criteria we examine: Reverence, Theology, Musicality, and ability to swing a thurible or a scrubbing brush to the beat.




Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy sceptre claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.

Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord.

Reverence: 10.
Theology: 8 (pastiche of Te Deum Laudamus)
Musicality: 7 (tune a little complicated)
Scrubbability: 6 (Nice rhythm for a Thurible, not so much a scrubbing brush)

Death wish

Hone Harawira is sorry for his word choice.

He should have referenced "what European colonisers have done" apparently, instead of labelling white men as "mother-fu.....".

One might observe that whatever else "European colonisers have done" they built a country, which Mr. Harawira clearly enjoys taking advantage of in his comfortable armchair on Radio Waatea.

In any case, the gracious apology from the Honourable Member for Te Tai Tokerau lost some of its impact with his next sentence.

"If I should be suspended for swearing, him and his mates should be lined up against a wall and shot," he said.

"I'm saying to Phil Goff `beware mate, beware before you start throwing stones'."

Is this a call for armed revolution? An incitement to race war?

No.

It's an idiot who can't learn one simple word.

European New Zealanders have earned our right to contribute to our country's future. We've earned our right to be here, and just like Maori, the right not to be discounted in debates about the future of our land. The Foreshore and Seabed Bill should go. And so should the chip on Mr. Harawira's shoulder.

Let's hear from the Disney Channel:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Own Goal

"If you had kept your mouth shut, we might have thought you were clever"

Boethius

We are not sure what we find most annoying about the Hone Harawira saga.

We understand he didn't want to stay in Brussels to discuss yoof affairs and multiculturalism with boring Belgians and Eurocrats.

Who would?

Admittedly, the other MPs in the delegation did their jobs without complaining--we pay MP's to be bored so we don't have to.

But still, we don't mind him skipping the pretentious onanism for once--listening to posturing Belgians would tax anyone--and even a disciple of high taxes like Mr. Harawira should be cut a break once in a while.

He then told his Leader he was ill, and sloped off to Paris with the missus on the tax-payers dime.

Again, one might think, a warmly human fault.

The City of Love, Paris in the Winter, the Seine in the rain, the neo-brutalist pyramid outside the Louvre, Stalinist 1970's architecture, lots of Socialists and oppressed minorities to smarm up to.....

Who could resist?

Politicians, academics, mercenaries, models and whores chase the sun, and we find it difficult to blame them, given the soul-destroying nature of their jobs.

But when asked who paid for the escargots, Mr. Harawira replied:

"Gee Buddy, do you believe that white man bulls... too do you? White motherf...ers have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries, and all of a sudden you want me to play along with their puritanical bulls... "

Setting aside the enchanting idea that white men routinely fornicate with their mothers, we note that the basic idea of public accountability is now "puritanical bullsh..." Further, note the aggressive implication that what goes around comes around--the Taranaki Wars thus provide the justification for a free lunch at La Tour d'Argent for the well-fed descendents of the losing side.


I put in s...loads of hours and bucketloads of energy in my commitment to advancing Maori, and I am happy to put my body, my freedom, and my personal credibility on the line for that cause. And I don't do it because of the salary, or the political position I hold, or for any other reason than that I believe in fighting for Maori rights and I love doing what I do.

Although the perks don't hurt, clearly. This is what is known as A Sense of Entitlement, and it drives ordinary people, including the very Maori Mr. Harawira claims to represent, utterly nuts to spend their tax money supporting it.

After a heart-warming but irrelevant tribute to his wife, Mr. Harawira continues, shaking the earth with the force of his eloquence:


And quite frankly I don't give a s... what you or anyone else thinks about it. OK?

PS and if you want to take this to the press, go right ahead. I answer to my people, not to them or to anybody else.

Mr. Harawira might indeed deserve a break (although the accepted mode, we believe, is to put your wife on the New Zealand France Friendship Board (or a real equivalent) before you take her with you on the public credit card).

But there's no reason we should have to pay for it. And no reason at all he should react with such a detestable and plain rude sense of entitlement, showing arrogance as pretentious as his politics. He should resign--and speedily, for the honour of his party, and the credit of the country.

We wonder whether Mr. Harawira is tired of life--or perhaps of his job? To dare the recipient of the e-mail to release it to the press seems to us very like a kamakaze maneouvre.

Although, of course, even if he does resign, it will not wipe out the cruellest irony of all.

Has anyone told him that the Paris he was so desperate to see is also "white man's bullsh..."?

Take it away, Edith. They're playing our song......



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stupid Songs 50: So in Love

Dr. Swift has often noted the stupidity of the musac industry.

One wonders whether anyone actually reads the lyrics of the songs they publish.

Example Number 50: Cole Porter's So In Love, otherwise known as I'm a Doormat.





Strange, dear, but true, dear,
When I'm close to you, dear,
The stars fill the sky,
So in love with you am I.

Even without you
My arms fold about you.
You know, darling why,
So in love with you am I.

In love with the night mysterious
The night when you first were there.
In love with my joy delirious
When I knew that you might care.

So taunt me and hurt me,
Deceive me, desert me,
I'm yours 'til I die,
So in love, So in love,
So in love with you, my love, am I.

The unbridled stupidity of that last verse never fails to amuse us--even though Kiss Me Kate is our favourite musical here in the bell-tower, we have never been fans of the kind of woman who gets more slavish and devoted the more terribly she is treated.

Honey, dump the cad and make yourself some tea instead.