Saturday, September 09, 2006

or maybe the mass in B minor?

It's a shame it's too long to be a real mass, I promise I'd sit through it all if it were ever done as such. And it's a shame that such beauty would be out of place in Protestant congregations today. The only way Bach can make any entrance into a sanctuary [or "gymtuarium", I think, was somebody else's clever term from the comments on the ochlophobist's previous web-log, but don't know whose] in these last days is as a concert piece completely divorced from the actual liturgical life of a church except insofar as beautiful things done well glorify God whenever they're done [S.D.G.!].

But Palestrina sometimes is performed as a real mass, and that will have to do, if I can ever find it being done.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

background music.

Good music cannot be in the background. Bach demands your full attention. If you play him while reading a book, you're a dilletante who cheapens art and ought to be ashamed. What brings this up is I have had occasion to listen to a Boards of Canada album. While it garnered a 10.0 from Pitchfork, an impressive achievement, it is singularly unable to withstand the scrutiny of an undivided attention. It is intentionally background music. Bully for it, I suppose, everybody seems to have a cheap soundtrack running through their minds at all times these days. iPods and other such instruments of distraction are apparently mandatory enhancements to modern life. There is no time to be silent on the train or while working or even while reading in the privacy of one's home, a constant low-level din is needed. I am not averse to occasionally having background music on the train if it's too jittery to read and one has plenty of other silent time in one's life, but I know a number of people with a soundtrack running during even the slightest task. Five minutes of complete silence and inactivity are impossible and sustained critical attention to music alone with no other activity also becomes impossible. And Boards of Canada works as an enabler for such people.

Or something like that. I'm writing lazily. Music deserves respect, and worthwhile music shouldn't be used as a soundtrack. Don't waste your silent moments.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

re: Christian heresy.

What I said previously is not quite accurate. this work is, of course, wrong, but so is traditional Islamic historiography [of course]. But Islam really cannot be described as a Christian heresy in the same way as Marxism unless one is slavishly following St. John of Damascus. Better to say it drew from Jewish sources and the Middle Eastern religious milieu, redacting and inventing as necessary, with Mohammad's monotheism being almost primarily a political program and the Quran's final compilation following after his demise - which is probably true, but not as radical as the above.

Monday, September 04, 2006

that is it!

I have had it with trying to get anything to work on this cursed Macintrash. A pox! A pox on it and its demon-spawned children. I have better things to attend to, tomorrow is my name day [the Z] and later in the week is my birthday [I share it with the Mother of God]. I have a quart of guacamole to finish off. I picked up a copy of The Da Vinci Code off the ground for free. I have some "ill beats" to study and comment on. I have to wax the cat. I even have Muslim propaganda to study - the good stuff, not the cheap junk. Bah!

thoughts on dialogue and clash

spurred by Mr Sanchez's wrestling with liberalists on the matter of sexuality and Khatami's remarks on the necessity of dialogue with liberalism [notable is his idea about being wary of how one criticizes liberalism, as liberalism is the de facto religion of the west and a Muslim is not to insult the gods of others because, in so doing, they insult their own God [paraphrase of Khatami]].

Recently, The Reader had a front-page article ["His God doesn't hate fags"] featuring an Evangelical who has made it his "ministry" to enter into dialogue with homosexuals in a non-judgmental fashion and has garnered respect from both avid homosexualists and avid Evangelicals [including Moody, by the way]. In it, the reporter asks him whether homosexuality is, according to the Bible, a sin, and he admits, straight out, that it would be theologically sloppy to say it isn't. The next week, a letter to the editor appeared calling him a bigot and all manner of bad things followed by a call to abandon a Bible which teaches such things because they are based on antiquated and superstitious notions of what is natural. After all, and here's the kicker, masturbation was once considered harmful [or perhaps he said wrong?] and is now considered a normal [or perhaps healthy] part of adolescent development. I must have missed the memo: Christians still believe that masturbation is immoral, too. "Normalcy" is not a scientific label, it is a value judgment. He may even have said "healthy" instead of "normal", but the same is said of health. Science can in no way "prove" one ideal of normalcy or healthfulness is any better than another: these are philosophical questions. To appeal to what is normal or healthy begs the question, the underlying ideals are precisely what we are debating. Anyway: it seems the man being called a bigot is quite capable of dialogue and even occasionally garners the respect of those who could be called his "opponents" if he were clashing rather than dialoguing. Is the failure of dialogue in this instance on his end, or on the end which accuses him of bigotry? The end which assumes its own ideal of healthfulness and normalcy, or the one which only offers its offensive answer as a response to a direct question about theology?

One does what one can and then forgets about it.

Protestants and Muslims

Is there any difference between Protestant ecclesiology and Muslim "ecclesiology"? If there is, there are at least enough similarities when compared to Orthodox or Catholic ecclesiology to make one suspicious. This is certainly also the case when you look at, for example, treatments of scripture among some branches of Protestant [ie, being "people of the book"]. Also: anti-sacramentalism and iconoclasm.

Not that I'm trying to draw too many similarities between them, since Protestants usually baptize in the name of the Trinity, often are Trinitarians, and sometimes have an orthodox Christology. Insofar as they do these things, they are Christians, while Islam is at its best a Christian heresy like Marxism or Mormonism.