Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Day: December 25, 2003

Quote of the day

“Like Mark, John begins his biographical narrative with the coming of the Baptist, but precedes his chronology with the eighteen most cryptic and provocative verses in the Bible. God, says John, is the Word, and the word is the force of creation. Most people’s first reaction to this is bemusement, or displacement, or outright denial: well, he must mean that God uses the Word as his instrument, right? Nope, not according to John — The Word is God, invisible and incorporeal, and Jesus is the Word made flesh. My Bible is the Oxford edition, it runs something like fifteen hundred pages; in the whole shebang, this is the concept I find easiest to swallow. If there’s ever going to be rapprochement between me and Christianity, it’s going to come around these eighteen verses at the beginning of John’s Gospel. Why? Because it dovetails with my own empirical experience: everything in the earth and heavens is discursively manufactured. That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe the natural world exists; I do think it’s out there, sort of. But until we’ve organized it through a collectively-held system of signs and assumptions, it may as well be nothing at all. I feel you rolling your eyes now, so I’m going to break it down slow. Look out your window, what do you see? Me, I see a tree. How do I know it’s a tree? Well, I know it’s a tree because you and me and Al from Tennessee agree that it is. If the neutron bomb dropped and we were wiped off the planet today, that tree would still be there; but with no human agent to ratify or classify it, on an important level it would cease to carry any meaning. Through language, naming, and interpersonal communication, we call that tree into existence. Turn (since you’re following at home) twelve hundred pages back to the Genesis parables. What’s the first act Adam performs? He names every beast of the field. Go back further to Chapter One; here we have the big guy summoning the universe into creation through discursive act after discursive act. God speaks the breath of life into the world; “let there be x,” he says, and x exists. This text is the ultimate illustration of speech-act theory — utterances bringing forth a cosmos. If it isn’t the most vivid passage in the Bible, it’s certainly the most consequential. The natural world rises and falls like scenery. Only the Word creates.”
–Tris McCall

Happy Christmas everyone!

Yes that’s right, today is Christmas. So even if you don’t celebrate it, have a merry one, ok?

Speaking of Christmas, one of the lovely things about the season is the music. No, really. And yesterday, I came across this lovely dissection of various Christmas music and carols by Tris McCall. Wonderful, biting commentary, some surprisingly deep thoughts on religion and spirituality (of which more in my next post), and a good time for everyone. oreouk especially needs to see this one!

If you ever wondered how some of those Christmas classics were written, check out this cool webpage

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