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Tony Grist

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On The Feast Of The Conversion Of St. Paul [Jan. 25th, 2009|12:13 pm]
Tony Grist
The visiting priest who has taken the morning service these past two weeks is the non-stipendiary curate at  St Anne's- the church where I used to be vicar. He arrived after my time and doesn't seem to recognise me- though he must have seen my portrait on the vestry wall back home. He keeps talking about St. Annes. It's not quite a case of "of all the gin joints in all the world"- because St. Anne's is only a couple of miles away-  but it does mean I'm continually being brought up against my (in)glorious past. Maybe the Goddess wants it this way.

Ailz finds it perfectly easy to meld her Paganism and her Christianity. As soon as we're settled in our pew she mentally erects a little side altar to the Goddess- and she's happy.  "All Gods are one God and all Goddesses are one Goddess". I believe that too. Gods and Goddesses are just masks for a Divine Reality we're incapable of picturing. Still, there's rather a lot of stuff in the service that isn't to my taste- and especially all that harping on and on about Jesus.  One of the great things about Paganism is you're not always staring at the One Mask. You're allowed to swap them around. It can be Hercules one week, Aphrodite the next.  Jesus is lovely: I just can't be doing with him all the time.

We were celebrating our patronal festival this morning- The Conversion of St. Paul.  I'm not one of those who think Paul was a disaster for Christianity. For one thing Christianity would probably not exist without him. And for another he's not necessarily responsible for the "Pauline" teachings that make modern people want to spit. For example: I Timothy, 2, 12-  "I do not suffer a woman to teach etc..." Did he write that?  Probably not. The Epistles to Timothy and Titus are almost certainly forgeries.

[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2009-01-25 05:20 pm (UTC)
Strangely, it was the population of Heaven with all those saints, with Mary and angels and whatnot, that made Catholicism feel real and comfortable to me. Not particularly because I wanted to go through intercessors to reach God, but because it made things feel homey and crowded. Like a big family, sometimes bickering, often in each other's way, sometimes contradicting, but in the end pulling toward the same end.

And perhaps there is something to the notion of intermediaries, if truly one believes that the Divine is beyond our mortal grasp. Using the example above of the blind men trying to discern the truth of the elephant, I get the sudden image a blind man sitting on a rock, listening to a toga-swaddled saint attempting to explain (in Latin, to one who knows almost nothing of that tongue) what exactly the elephant is.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-26 09:33 am (UTC)
Yesterday we walked round the church identifying all the figures in the stained glass windows. Like you, I find comfort in the Communion of the saints- especially since so many of them are pagan gods and goddesses in disguise.

I believe in intermediaries- in spirit guides and angels and ascended masters. I think it would be a very chilly universe if it was just us and God.
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