Sunday, 22 February 2009

My trip up to Leicester to visit with Sweetie and his father went very well. I've been fed and watered most excellently, stayed up far too late on Friday night discussing philosophy and (to an extent) theology, and we've made some plans for when the weather gets a little warmer: a sort of picnic tour of some of the old rural churches of Leicestershire, a church crawl if you will. We drove straight by Tilton Church but didn't have time to stop and look, you see, and that got us talking. So sometime this summer I'll go on a church crawl with an atheist and an agnostic, both of whom know more about history and architecture than I do.

One of the things we discussed Friday night was whether we live by any "-isms". Sweetie's dear father claims he doesn't. I'm not so sure. I listed some of my own beliefs and Sweetie quickly catalogued them for me. My conviction that what I do in the world actually matters is idealism. My hope that my mistakes will be forgiven, that trying to improve things (with care and discernment) is better than not trying, is optimism. I'm not sure I agree with the classifications, but it was good to talk. Sweetie doesn't share my yearning for religious ritual and fellowship and as far as spiritual journeys are concerned he'd rather stay home in the warm and dry, but he does share my ethics and morals and, I think, more of my beliefs than he might like to admit.

I was able to read a bit while I was away, but not to post.

The ABofC visiting the USofA (whee, more alphabet soup!) mostly made me think, "Well, maybe he'll learn something." Which probably just shows how naive I am at the political side of this all this church stuff, or possibly about people in general.

The Sunday Sermon over at Faith in Community made me think. I certainly know that feeling, that "I'm going to stick with you, I would follow you anywhere, PLEASE DON'T GO" feeling that is somewhere between love and desperation. I think I used to have it of my parents, a long time ago. Now, I most closely associate it with people in whom I find it easier to see the Divine, people I perceive as working and living within the Spirit... I don't really have the language to explain this, because it isn't only those who are actively or openly religious who appear that way to me.

I feel a bit like this sometimes, the bit where Good In Parts describes a very busy time of life, spinning the hamster wheel as fast as possible. I'm studying, teaching, trying to fit as much into this life as I can, and sometimes it feels like I've lost track of what's important.

I still believe a "Glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" when I sing it, and can't quite understand well enough to believe it when I say it, but something is shifting. I'd like to believe it as easily as I believe in the existence of God. I'd like the idea that God loves us and forgives us to be as accessible to me, as automatically part of who I am, as the idea that he exists and created us. Right now those are still very much in an embryonic form of 'maybe' when I think in terms of "us" or humanity and quite a bit less than that when I think in terms of "me" or the person that I am. For a lot of people that seems to be tied up with an understanding of or relationship with Jesus... something that I find difficult at best. I can deal with the Father. I can cope with the Holy Spirit. I'm really, really not sure about the Son.

Maybe that just means I need to sing more.

This evening I'm hoping to go to Evensong in Leafy South London Suburb to see Deacon Friend. I will have to see how I'm feeling: I am very tired after my travels yesterday, and finding something closer to home might be wise. This morning, I'm teaching, though some of my students are still away for half-term so I'm starting at the scandalously late hour of 9am and will be finished by 2.30pm. Bliss! But I don't live in the area where I teach, so I have to leave pretty soon, especially as the Tube is not running to my local station today.

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