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Tony Grist

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Immortal? [May. 10th, 2008|12:02 pm]
Tony Grist
Google tells me that a quote from one of my Guardian articles (this one dated 1990) turns up in a popular handbook about (of all things) the Johannine literature. Wow, I'm a serious theologian, who'd have known?

I was writing about the Holy Spirit. I said the Holy Spirit is flames and a rushing mighty wind- and you might want to stand well clear. Yes, I wouldn't quarrel with that.

The Guardian has archived all its back issues online- which means the articles I wrote for it are there for anyone to read. There are quite a lot of them- documenting my progress from liberal Christianity to born-again Paganism. Not only am I a serious theologian, I'm immortal.

Only I'm not really. The self who wrote those pieces isn't me. He took himself more seriously and had a more extravagant, more laboured prose style (which he'd cribbed off G.K. Chesterton). I'm not sure I'd have much patience with him if we did that Tardis thing and I were to cross my own timeline. He'd probably find me frivolous.

Of course the current me isn't me either. He and I and a million others are moments in a continuum of 57 years and counting.   

"In my end is my beginning"? Maybe, maybe not- though I do find myself looping back to where I was when the journey charted in the Guardian began. For a while I could hardly write the word "God" without a sneer. Now I think it's as good a word as any for the unnameable and incomprehensible. 

It's fun to think and have opinions but we shouldn't kid ourselves that our thoughts and opinions are in any way important.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: mummm
2008-05-10 12:49 pm (UTC)
But still... that's nice that you are archived!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-10 01:07 pm (UTC)
I like it that I've left a trail.
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[User Picture]From: mummm
2008-05-10 01:38 pm (UTC)
Most definitely!
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2008-05-10 02:22 pm (UTC)

Thought you might like this:

"All people, including ourselves [meaning Christians], must begin by being good pagans: recognizing everything as a veiled manifestation of God. The spiritual life of the Western world tends to be so dull, drab, and secularistic precisely because it is not pagan enough. The contribution of paganism, both in its ancient form and in the Orient of today, is positively significant. That is why recent serious encounters between East and West have been so fruitful."

- William McNamara, OCD. The Human Adventure: The Art of Contemplative Living, 1974.

It all seems circular to me sometimes, too. Christianity, Eastern faiths, neo-paganism - none of it amounts to much more than vain ritual, rote liturgy, and oppressive dogma until the practitioner can get beyond attempting to identify and categorize not only relgious experience, but the divine itself. It's like trying to catch a cat: the second you stop chasing is the second it comes and jumps into your lap.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-10 03:51 pm (UTC)

Re: Thought you might like this:

Yes, I like that.

Especially the analogy of the cat.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2008-05-10 08:16 pm (UTC)

Re: Thought you might like this:

Works for me!
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[User Picture]From: qos
2008-05-10 02:26 pm (UTC)
I don't have an extensive public archive like that, but I do have all the journals I've kept since sixth grade (1976), and dipping into them from time to time is a fascinating experience. I feel alternately exasperated and tender with the striving and serious and extravagant person I find in those pages.

And yes. . . watching my own theological/spiritual self change radically over time is also interesting. I'm not sure if my high school or early college selves wouild be thrilled or horrified to know where 'we' were going to end up spiritually.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-10 03:56 pm (UTC)
I have written journals too. I destroyed the earliest ones- which covered the late 60s and early 70s- but I still have patchy records for the 80s and substantial ones for the 90s. I dip into them once in a while, but not with any great pleasure; I don't seem to have aquired a sense of humour until quite recently.
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[User Picture]From: zoe_1418
2008-05-10 09:11 pm (UTC)
But thank god you HAVE acquired a sense of humor, no matter how late! The journals you write from here on out will be masterpieces.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-11 08:08 am (UTC)
Thanks.

Ailz is to thank for the change. She got me down off my high horse.
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From: manfalling
2008-05-11 04:24 am (UTC)
How about a link? I went looking but couldn't find any of the articles...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-11 08:07 am (UTC)
Here's the digital archive page. http://archive.guardian.co.uk/Default/Skins/DigitalArchive/Client.asp?Skin=DigitalArchive&enter=true&AW=1210493070845&AppName=2

You put Tony Grist in the box and up comes the first batch of headlines. Then they insist on you signing up as a user before they show you any more.
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[User Picture]From: methodius
2008-05-11 02:31 pm (UTC)

Importance

As someone (I forget who) once said, "The importance of Christianity is that we can stand the insight that it is of no importance." I think that's important.


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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-13 07:35 pm (UTC)

Re: Importance

That's a great line.

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[User Picture]From: wyrmwwd
2008-05-11 10:21 pm (UTC)
Congratulations!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-13 07:36 pm (UTC)
It's nice to know one has left a paper-trail....:)
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