liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
Recently two special interest groups I'm second degree connected to have been involved in scandals around religious attitudes to homosexuality.

The leader of a tiny UK political party, the Liberal Democrats, resigned because
To be a political leader - especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 - and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me.
And a tiny UK Jewish denomination, Orthodox-aligned Sephardim, are up in arms because R' Joseph Dweck taught something about homosexuality in Rabbinic sources and commented
I genuinely believe that the entire revolution of…homosexuality…I don’t think it is stable and well…but I think the revolution is a fantastic development for humanity.

This stuff is minor on the scale of things, but the media love the narrative of gay rights versus religious traditionalism. Anyway lots of my friends are religious Jews or Christians who are also gay or supportive of gay people and other gender and sexual minorities. So lots of my circle are exercised about one or both of the incidents.

opinions )
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
So Little Saint Mary's is a bit of a Cambridge institution. I think of it, slightly irreverantly, as the goth church, which my friend expressed more appropriately as "liturgically conservative, socially progressive". What it actually is is Anglo-Catholic, and even within that tradition rather prides itself on how "high" its rituals are. My friend invited me to join her at an Evensong service yesterday, and it was a really interesting experience.

touristing in other people's religion )

So anyway, that was really interesting and educational, and I'm grateful to my friend for bringing me to that.
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] silveradept prompted me with the commercialization of religious festivals (the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon could be used as a springboard, if you like.)

praise ye the god of gold )

Anyway, I hope everyone's had the Christmas they were hoping for. And if you didn't, I hope things improve for you in the coming year.

[December Days masterpost]


Oct. 7th, 2014 11:00 am
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
So my university had a big flagship event where they invited former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to give a talk and meet some university people. It was connected in some way I don't entirely understand to the BBC docudrama Marvellous; the subject, Neil Baldwin, knows the former Archbishop somehow. (I haven't dared watch the film, because I am scared it's going to be horrible cringey inspiration porn, but perhaps I'm too cynical, lots of people have said good things about it.) Anyway, the university decided to issue me a personal invitation to the talk and the dinner afterwards. I think the reason is because they seem to have got it into their heads that I'm the only Jewish faculty member in the whole university, which is patently untrue but anyway, they wanted to showcase their interfaith diversity, so they rolled me out.

The talk was stunning and I'm really glad I went. Although it was flattering to be seen as worthy to meet VIPs, I kind of regret bothering with dinner (bad food and octogenarian retired vicar companions who come from the era when it was considered good manners to make lots of sexist jokes if you found yourself sat next to a woman less than half your age), but anyway. Williams is not the first Archbishop I've shaken hands with; I met the antepenultimate Archbishop of Canterbury briefly at an interfaith event at Lambeth Palace when I was a teenager. I'm sure there are people who would be more excited to hobnob with Archbishops than me. But Williams as a speaker is really worth listening to; he gave a very thought-provoking talk, flat out one of the best lectures I've heard in several decades of hanging around universities.

fangirling the fluffy Archbishop )
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] jack asked me to write about God, knowing that the stereotype that Jewish people don't really like to talk about God too much is rather applicable to me. But I said I would fill prompts, so I'll give this a go.

theology )

I don't know if that actually gives you any new information about me, or if it's just a muddle, but it's an attempt, anyway.

[January Journal masterlist]
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
I'm going to do something that's rare for me and talk about actual religion, rather than just community stuff. If you hate reading about that kind of thing you're very welcome to skip.

developing a theory on the fly )


Mar. 14th, 2011 11:01 am
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] rho explains (at a basic level) how nuclear power stations work and enumerates the likely consequences of earthquake damage. It's probably not news to most of you, but I'm linking as an example of impressive popular science writing.

silly arguments about theology )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Author: Herman Hesse

Details: (c) Herman Hesse 1922; translated Hilda Rosner 1954; Pub 1998 Picador; ISBN 0-330-35485

Verdict: Siddhartha is a very polished account of spirituality.

Reasons for reading it: Although I have read Siddhartha before, it was at a time in my life when I was running away from serious thinking, so I read it very superficially. I wanted to read it properly and actually think about the theological stuff.

How it came into my hands: MK gave it to me for my birthday more years ago than I care to count. (It was also MK who got me out of that state where I was failing to cope. He helped me find the courage to face reality properly, and the strength not to be broken by it. He is a really wonderful friend.)

detailed review )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Those of you who know Gerv but don't follow his blog might want to read his latest post. It's called Thank God For Cancer. And with a title like that, people who don't know Gerv might want to read it too.

Gerv follows the kind of Christianity that most 21st century liberals, which would be most of my flist, to a greater or lesser degree, despise or even hate. His theology is about everybody going to Hell except him and a handful of people who very precisely share his beliefs (which are not exactly liberal fluffy doctrine, as you might guess). Gerv is also a wonderful person, kind, thoughtful, generous... intelligent too, but lots of my friends are bright; it's in moral qualities that he's exceptional. And he's very sick; he may be completely serene about it, but I'm not!

I'm not saying that post is a fantastic piece of theology; it's really not. But it's a fairly impressive statement of personal faith.

Comments on this are restricted, but not completely disabled. I hope I don't need to mention that I do not expect anyone to insult my friend.
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Author: Walter M Miller Jr

Details: (c) 1959 Walter M Miller Jr; Pub Orbit 1997; ISBN 1-85723-014-0

Verdict: A brilliant book, moving, complex and intelligent. Wow.

Reasons for reading it: It's vaguely famous, and M's talking about it jumped up the priority of a vague intention to read it at some point.

How it came into my hands: [ profile] lethargic_man lent it to me.

detailed review )
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Author: Olaf Stapledon

Details: (c) Olaf Stapledon 1930; the rest of the details I don't have, since I have given M's copy back to him. Random edition here.

Verdict: Some interesting ideas, and a strong style, but flawed.

Reasons for reading it: M recommended it to me.

How it came into my hands: M

detailed review )

On the whole, I'd say that Last and First Men is worth reading despite its problems.
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
I was just remarking to [ profile] neonchameleon that one of the good things about lj is that people respect threading a lot more than in many other web forums. So in keeping with this, I feel I should repost this discussion of a vaguely theological bent as a new entry. It's too interesting to be left languishing in a thread that's supposed to be about a book about town planning.

theological rumblings )

I think this is interesting enough to be worthy of its own thread.


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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