Celtic Christianity

October bests …

Draw the LineFrom the reading chair: Celtic Christianity: Making Myths and Chasing Dreams by Ian Bradley; The Quest For Celtic Christianity by Donald E. Meek; Banner in the West: A Spiritual History of Lewis and Harris by John Macleod; Why Study The Past?: The Quest For The Historical Church by Rowan Williams; Loving God With Our Minds: The Pastor As Theologian edited by Michael Welker and Cynthia A. Jarvis; Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization by Jeff Rubin; Liberating Reformed Theology, Christianity and Democracy: A Theology for a Just World Order and Theology & Ministry in Context & Crisis: A South African Perspective by John W. de Gruchy; Witness to the World: The Christian Mission in Theological Perspective by David J. Bosch; Black and Reformed: Apartheid, Liberation, and the Calvinist Tradition by Allan A. Boesak; Praying with Paul by Thomas A. Smail.

Through the iPod: Kind of Blue (50th Anniversary) by Miles Davis; Looking for Butter Boy by Archie Roach; Daughtry and Leave This Town by Daughtry; Draw the Line by David Gray (this is easily in my top 10 for 2009); X&Y by Coldplay; Christmas In the Heart by Bob Dylan (Judy says that it won’t be being played in ‘our’ house this Christmas, so does anyone want me over for lunch).

By the bottle: Mt Difficulty Long Gully Pinot Noir 2007; Carrick Josephine Riesling 2007.

Living in the Celtic twilight

celtic-crossRecent days (and nights) have seen me delving into the fascinating world of research on Celtic Christianity, helped along by a bottle of Laphroaig, the able Ian Bradley, James Mackey, Noel Dermot O’Donoghue, Oliver Davies, John MacLeod, Donald Meek, and the delectably fun Adomnán of Iona. All the while, the assessment offered by J.R.R. Tolkien in his famous lecture on ‘English and Welsh’ (reprinted in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays) has been ringing true in my ears:

“To many, perhaps to most people outside the small company of the great scholars, past and present, ‘Celtic’ of any sort is, nonetheless, a magic bag, into which anything may be put, and out of which almost anything may come. Thus I read recently a review of a book by Sir Gavin de Beer, and, in what appeared to be a citation from the original, I noted the following opinion on the river-name Arar (Livy) and Araros (Polybius): ‘Now Arar derives from the Celtic root meaning running water which occurs also in many English river-names like Avon’. It is a strange world in which Avon and Araros can have the same ‘root’ (a vegetable analogy still much loved by the non-philological when being wise about words). Catching the lunatic infection, one’s mind runs on to the River Arrow, and even to arrowroot, to Ararat, and the descent into Avernus. Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight, which is not so much a twilight of the gods as of the reason”. (pp. 185–6).