Saturday, July 26, 2008

Many, Many Musings to Mention

It's been a slow blog week--partly because of work and numerous friend activities, and partly because we're leaving for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area tomorrow! Yes, the Hanson/Bratrud conflagration corporation is heading to the Great Watery North.

I've had a revelation of sorts; as you know, I've gone a month and a half without discussing the political stage on this blog. Shocking, really, when you think that up until that point this blog had been politics first and everything else secondary. But anyway, the revelation is that I rather enjoy not discussing politics. Politics is down-and-dirty, spontaneous, easy. If I'm under mental pressure to post about something, anything, politics immediately floats to the top because it's so easy. Everything in politics is either outrageous or pitiful or hateful or laughable--or all of the above. I don't hate politics, as the people who simply don't understand it say they do, but I have no illusions about what it is. I can't deny that it's necessary, either, but this blog attains a higher intellectual level by discussing politics, but discussing the cultural, religious, and societal trends that forge the political scene. Take, for example, the issue of the Anglican split, and deeper than that the confrontation between religious liberalism and religious conservatism. The Liberals are the Pacific plate, the Conservatives are the North American plate, and politics forms the San Andreas fault between them.

So, in the future, politics will be kept at a minimum at Mosings. This kills two birds with one stone, in fact. Many of my faithful readers profess to "hate" politics and to be bored out of their skulls when I write about it on this august pixelated faux-intellectual late-capitalist ex-literary collection of random coding known as a blog. So, I no longer have to ford the muddy river of politics to achieve the nirvana of blogging success, and I no longer have to bore and disappoint my audience!

Important Reader's Note: By "politics" I generally and non-bindingly mean the 2008 elections, and the lowest battleground of politics. Campaigns, political speeches, and that sort of thing. I will still be discussing important issues that have been unfortunate enough to have been deemed "political" but are, in fact, part of the plates rather than part of the fault.

Speaking of religious conservatism and religious liberalism, Abe and I have been watching episodes of the strangely addictive eighties British sitcom (I can think of no words more repellent to your average Simpson's fan than "eighties British sitcom") "Yes, Minister," and its sequel "Yes, Prime Minister" on YouTube. It's incredibly interesting and humorous to see Jim Hacker, MP (Paul Eddington) being held at the mercy of his Civil-Service advisor, Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby (Nigel Hawthorne), while his rather hapless Private Secretary Bernard Woolley (Derek Fowlds--how's that for a Welsh name?) is caught in the middle. It's mixture of G-rated tongue-in-cheek humor, political satire and intrigue, with fairly veiled political commentary is, to me and Abe, addicting. I can't explain it.

But anyway. One of the episodes we watched today was called "The Bishop's Gambit." In this episode, the Church of England forwards the customary two names to the Prime Minister so that he can pick one to reccomend to Her Majesty for a new Bishop of something or other. It's quintessentially British to leave the choosing of Bishop's names to forward to secular politicians. It leads to some frank conversation about the degenerate state of the Anglican Church. The Church official who briefs Prime Minister Hacker has already made up his mind, and tells him that so-and-so is a "Modernist." Sir Humphrey later tells Hacker that "Modernist" is key for "athiest," which indeed it is. The episode later descends into political shenanigans, but I winced at the smiling-on-the-surface-but-quite-barbed-underneath critique of the Church. Eddington (a devout Quaker) played Hacker's blindly altruistic secular caution about religious matters perfectly, and the great lines build up: (I paraphrase) Hacker: "Surely it's alright for a Bishop in the Church of England to believe in God?" Sir Humphrey: "Oh, you'd be surprised Prime Minister."

The whole "seperation of church and state" idea is carried much too far. But some people (David Limbaugh and his book "Persecution" come to mind) think that all our problems would be solved if all our leaders were at least outwardly Christian. Say hello to religious fascism. When sinful man and religion and the church (as opposed to Christ's Religion and Christ's Church) and government get mixed up, the result is either puritanism or resolute indifference for both parties. In Britain in the centuries following Henry VIII's self-serving break from Rome, the church has become steadily more indifferent to real Religion, so that it is now acceptable, as Hacker finds out, for a complete unbeliever to become a Bishop--as long as everyone knows but nobody tells the churchgoers (less and less every year in England--wonder why?). It is so pervasive, in fact, that true Christians are "extremists." But I'm walking on treaded ground--I've already covered the sad state of the Anglican church.

In other news, I've found plucky Kiwi blogger Poneke's post about one of the original Global Warming toadies renouncing it completely.

In still other news, I'm reading Marcus Tanner's Last of the Celts. Expect a post or series of posts about the state of the Celtic nations--as well as a trip log of our BWCA trip!--when we return.


elisabeth said...

Um, intresting.