Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, but that's still CH related.

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michael scuffil
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by michael scuffil » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:48 pm

In the 1950s, the guidelines for salaries which graduates ought to aim at were 2000 by age 30, 4000 by age 40. (Teachers could only dream of this.)

Another Scratch story, re Isaiah 6: 2
'Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.'

"Please sir, what does 'with twain' mean?"
"Er, um, it means, er, 'with difficulty'."
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by Foureyes » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:20 pm

Thanks Scuffil, that explains why angels are always depicted without genitalia - they had no wings left to cover them with.
David. :shock:

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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by eucsgmrc » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:53 pm

Their faces are covered, so nobody knows who they are. Why would they care who sees their willies?
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J.R.
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by J.R. » Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:17 pm

I have a vague recollection of the Rev Pullen, (The Chain), teaching us that Angels and the like were devoid of any sexuality.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by rockfreak » Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:31 pm

Dr Scuffil solves another puzzle for us.

An eminent Doctor called Scuffil
Was prone to the pedagogue shuffle.
The theories did flow,
Sometimes just a bon mot:
But he always delivered a truffle.

I knew religious people back in the Chain's day who believed implicitly in angels (regardless of any confusion about their genitalia), and indeed in just about anything else in the Bible whether it made any sense or not.

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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:46 am

I think that's the first limerick that's ever been written about me.

I had the Chain in Divinity for four successive years, and quite seriously I'd like to say they were very rewarding. He taught it as though it still had the old name 'Scripture'. As a result, I have a very thorough knowledge of the Bible, which stands me in good stead in my disputations with Christians, most of whom, in my experience, do not. I say most, because among my OB friends and acquaintances are a Catholic priest, an Anglican priest, and an Anglican lay reader -- but they will have 'enjoyed the same advantage', albeit putting it to different use.

Just before my first week of reading the Lesson in chapel, I like all others in this situation had a practice session with the Chain, which was actually quite useful. In passing, he wondered about the situation regarding my faith (after all, I'd never been confirmed), and suggested it was 'muddled'. That of course was a code-word for 'unbeliever', so I just replied: Yes, sir, very muddled.
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by sejintenej » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:01 pm

michael scuffil wrote:I think that's the first limerick that's ever been written about me.

Just before my first week of reading the Lesson in chapel, I like all others in this situation had a practice session with the Chain, which was actually quite useful. In passing, he wondered about the situation regarding my faith (after all, I'd never been confirmed), and suggested it was 'muddled'. That of course was a code-word for 'unbeliever', so I just replied: Yes, sir, very muddled.
Muddled? OK so what? Amongst the founding fathers of the US of A there was a requirement that they beleive in judgement after death - a similar requirement as the Masons of which many of the founding fathers were members. At least you are not waiting for 40 virgins.

Muddled? two friends were RC priests, one having taught the other in the seminary. Both have now left the priesthood, married and have daughters and grandchildren.

The one has written:
As I see it now at the end of my life, the kind of Church the Vatican and her episcopal appointees have been in the process of delivering, in the West at least, is riddled with a spray of deep-rooted scandals – a significant number of clergy who are criminals, and of high-ranking superiors who, in the name of Jesus and to protect his Church's reputation, have been moving them around, protecting them from exposure and from the short arm of the law. We have an excessively centralized Church which is choking the breath out of small, local communities. We are ruled by elderly men who persist in dressing up like chooks in funny feathers.
http://www.catholica.com.au/gc4/cg/001_cg_300713.php
It is hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.

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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by rockfreak » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:46 pm

Michael, I would take the Chain's accusation of being muddled as something of a compliment. After all, who can be certain of anything, especially in matters of religion. A good academic will always leave the door slightly ajar for the possibility of someone discovering something new. As for the founding fathers of the American constitution, there is actually some evidence that they were sceptics, a hundred years before Darwin. Benjamin Franklin said that lighthouses were more useful than churches, while Jefferson said: "I am satisfied and sufficiently occupied with the the things which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, but of which I have no evidence."

Giles Fraser has been vocal in his Loose Canon column in the Guardian recently playing down the dogma and making the claim that the churches should be playing up the radical elements of the Gospels. As he said, ideas like the mighty being pulled down from their high places and the lowly being raised up, make the modern day Labour party sound like Mrs Thatcher. Actually, as a mild atheist but someone who, like you, had this stuff coming out of their ears in the 1950s, I think I could drum up some pretty radical New Testament stuff to form a workable manifesto for the modern-day CofE. Let me work on it. Watch this space.

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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by Martin » Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:11 am

Of course you can find a great deal in the Bible, mainly the New Testament, to derive a very radical set of ideas and ideals and they can certainly make the Labour Party out-Thatcher Thatcher herself. There were quasi-Communist Worker Priests in France for a short while after the Second World War, before that movement was squashed. But that is only half of it. There are plenty of uber-reactionary things too (e.g. the status and conduct of women). All the great religions of which I know something, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, have internal contradictions in their holy works, which can become their greatest strength. An example is, “Turn the other cheek,” versus the account of the use of a whip on moneychangers in the Temple. (I know one can argue about this not being an alleged contradiction.) So these religions can attract just about anyone who searches for and finds what suits them among the available material. How many sects are there which depend one or a few isolated quotations? Loads. (Believe it or not, there is even a tiny, obscure group of Muslims who find in the Koran arguments that Jews should live in the Holy Land. But they say nothing publicly for obvious reasons, so we don’t hear from them, except from pro-Israeli sources.) This ambiguity has contributed to the relative success of the Church over the centuries, for it has had very different emphases at different times, unconsciously demonstrating enormous flexibility. It may well finally triumph over its current general Western European malaise, for it is doing wonderfully well in much of Eastern Europe, South America and Africa.

To return to the thread. Although the Chain was Chaplain when I had my week of lessons in Chapel, he said nothing to me. It was early on in his time at CH. I was very nervous indeed and fluffed it on the Monday morning. I could have benefitted from his help.

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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by michael scuffil » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:43 am

Michael, I would take the Chain's accusation of being muddled as something of a compliment.

I did, that's why I replied 'Very muddled.'
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by michael scuffil » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:52 am

Michael, I would take the Chain's accusation of being muddled as something of a compliment.

I did, that's why I replied 'Very muddled.'

while Jefferson said: "I am satisfied and sufficiently occupied with the the things which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, but of which I have no evidence."

Jefferson also said: "I am an Epicurean." The Epicureans were thoroughgoing materialists, and it would be quite impossible to call oneself an Epicurean if you had even a hint of Christianity about you.

At school I too was a thoroughgoing materialist, but I now think this was an adolescent aberration. I still can't get my head round Christianity, though.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by rockfreak » Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:15 pm

I suppose that in the end people take whatever bits of dogma appeal to them, and if enough people subscribe then these things turn into myths. And by myths I don't mean lies, but legends which for some reason exercise a powerful psychological pull on people's imaginations. After all, there are various versions and derivations of the Greek and Roman myths but they usually trim down at some point into a main and popular myth which is then immortalised by painters, poets and opera composers.
Maybe this is how it is with religion. Different ages emphasise different bits of the NT (I've always viewed the OT as a pretty nasty set of books of which we know even less than the NT). Today, what do we emphasise? The Good Samaritan. Christ driving the money changers out of the Temple - their usuary rates were probably modest by today's standards: today Christ would probably bring nuclear warheads rather than a bullwhip. As a social democrat I like the Parable of the Widow's Mite - a plea for a system of progressive taxation. In spite of the Christian hang-up about sex Christ is actually charitable in these matters - the Woman Taken In Adultery, for instance. In the matter of the coin with Caesar's head on it, he is probably saying that "yes, we know there has to be a commercial world but there are other values as well" - a good, pragmatic way of seeing off his tormentors.
Also, I do rather like Christ in the House of Martha and Mary. Mary is taking a break listening to Christ's wisdom while Martha tut-tuts and impatiently bangs their ankles with the Dyson. I see this as a rather mischievous, almost Catholic, poke in the eye to the money-making, hard-faced, work ethic Protestantism which has been taught in our public schools for as long as anyone can remember and which has now brought our country to its present sad state (although I doubt whether Banker Brown would agree - but don't worry, I have a limerick ready and waiting for him). Some things are a bit out of date of course. When Jesus said: "The poor you have with you always," he couldn't have known that two millennia later along would come an economist called John Maynard Keynes who said: "Hang on, we might be able to do a bit better," and for seventy years in many countries in western Europe they have indeed abolished poverty as we understand it. Also, the story of the Gadarene Swine: a modern-day psychiatrist would say: "This chap is suffering from delusions or schizophrenia - there's no need to send a bunch of poor old pigs over a cliff."
So OK, there it is, some ideas for a modern-day Christian manifesto in which the dogma takes a back seat and is just viewed as a rather charming set of fantasies to be enjoyed. As the Catholic recluse and author Karen Armstrong says in her book on mythology, they're not meant to be taken literally: they're symbolic. Should I lob this at the Rev Oilwellby (as Private Eye calls him)? Might it get me a PR job and maybe a grace-and-favour apartment in Lambeth Palace?

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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by michael scuffil » Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:08 pm

You also seem well-versed in the scriptures, David.
My favourite JC story is the fig tree. Matthew 21: 19, also Mark 11: 13 and 20/21.

However, the story about Caesar's head on the coin is very apposite today, when we have people saying the government steals their money. Without governments there would be no money, as the Nazarene pointed out.
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by postwarblue » Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:01 am

I read the coin parable differently with Jesus dodging an attempt by others to trap him into making a statement against the secular government. Instead he points out that opposing the secular government is not what he is about, he is (as in all his teaching) telling you to face up to your personal moral responsibility for your own behaviour, and if everybody did that we should have a better world.

In the end the lie, repeated often enough, won with the inscription placed on the cross.
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by rockfreak » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:33 pm

Your reply Robert neatly sums up the age-old argument between Left and Right in politics. Forty years ago I would have agreed with you about personal responsibility. A time when things were getting better for most people - largely as a result of the policies of the 1945 Labour government and indeed by the one-nation Conservative governments which followed. Harold Macmillan, housing minister under Churchill, built more council housing than any other housing minister before or since. But times have changed. The ideology of Milton Friedman and the University of Chicago have let loose a tempest of globalised mayhem which has in the end failed to lift all boats. It has lifted the yachts of the rich but left the fisherman's boats stuck in the mud.
It is, as a consequence, very hard today to stand upright in the winds that blow. The inequality index is back to Edwardian levels, job insecurity is rampant, homelessness and foodbanks proliferate. Do you think this is an accident? No, it's a deliberate policy. If you studied that poem from which you take your signature lines a bit more thoroughly, you'd find the other, most famous lines in it: "Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey. Where wealth accumulates and men decay." Goldsmith was writing that in the wake of the enclosure laws and the capitalisation of agriculture. Today we have a similar capitalisation going on, but all over our country. Some level of inequality is inevitable, even desirable, but obscene levels of inequality cause greed, assumptiveness and the kind of speculative mania that brought down the economy on Wall Street in 1929 and in Britain and America in 2007. We still struggle with the consequencies.

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