Archive for January, 2004

I surprised all the patients, including myself

Tuesday, January 6th, 2004

I’m engaged. Do you know that? Just to reveal a bit of my life to the readership that includes I think, pretty much only people I know. That’s why I refer to a person called Fiancé. She exists. And she wants to marry me. In September. Of this year.

I only say this because I imagine I may write about it and her more often as the year progresses.

Also, I am listening to Mumblin’ Deaf Ro right now. Who is the wonderful guy who has agreed to sing at our wedding reception? He is a civil servant by day and a singer/songwriter by night, which is immense in coolness. Or at least it is if you’ve ever worked in the Irish Civil service. I can’t imagine anyone I work with having a secret life as someone who writes subtle and beautiful songs.

Then again, I doubt it’s a secret life. His workmates probably make up about 40% of his gig attendance.

I know that one of the great Irish poets was a civil servant in the Department of Finance. I think it was Thomas Kinsella and his Another Septembers or maybe it was Patrick Kavanagh and his Great Hunger. Still, that would be cool too. Civil servant hood certainly leaves much of your day free for thinking and jotting things down and for crawling under your desk and curling into a ball and taking a nap.

Eavan Boland’s dad was a diplomat too. So the poetry runs through our civil quarter.

When I go back to the Department of Foreign Affairs in the summer, I will get a t-shirt with that excellent couplet on it, a requiem for a civil servant;
“Here lies the civil servant.
Civil to no one and
servant to the devil”

I’ve been reading “Tried For Heresy” by Andrew Furlong. Well, by reading, I mean read. Andrew was a priest in the Church of Ireland who wasn’t actually tried for heresy. Instead he resigned. The trial was over the fact that Andrew didn’t believe that Jesus was divine at any time during his priesthood. This, surprisingly enough, got some people’s backs up when it was revealed in essay form on his website. His congregation seemed to not be too happy about taking Communinion from someone who thought it was a good opportunity to be friends together and to eat some bread.

Andrew wants us to seek the real historical Jesus but I always felt that since we’ve been seeking since Reimarus in the late 1700s and haven’t found any historical figure yet, we should maybe modify the search criteria.

Looking at a figure like Jesus from the bias that none of the miraculous events attributed to him in our only close-to-source documents are true inevitably leads to a search that returns a result like this;

Jesus was born sometime. He was Jewish. Two adults seemed to care for him as if they were parents. He taught some people. We don’t know what he really thought. He died for crimes he didn’t commit. We don’t know what happened next.

That isn’t worthy of complete departments in university. That study should be part of some specific history department with an interest in Roman or Hebrew history. It certainly isn’t compelling enough for me to dedicate my life to studying it, as Andrew Furlong and his type have.

And that leads me into my next quote which comes from the Doctor of medicine, theology and music, master piano crafter, expert tropical medical expert, evangelist, philosopher, linguist and all round superman, Albert Schweitzer.

When Albert was barely older than me at the start of the 1900s he wrote a compendium of all the studies that quested for the “real” and “historical” Jesus. His Quest for the Historical Jesus from 1906 is the definitive work if you ask me. Which you haven’t, but still.

He concluded that the “box office is closed” on this historical quest. Although he started with the same bias as Furling, he ended his book by thinking that after a hundred years it had failed utterly. His final paragraph is beautiful and powerful and concise. It sums up my thinking on the matter perfectly,

“For that reason it is a good thing that the true historical Jesus should overthrow the modern Jesus, should rise up against the modern spirit and send upon earth, not peace, but a sword. He was not teacher, not a casuist; He was an imperious ruler. It was because He was so in His inmost being that He could think of Himself as the Son of Man. That was only the temporally conditioned expression of the fact that He was an authoritative ruler. The names in which men expressed their recognition of Him as such, Messiah, Son of Man, Son of God, have become for us historical parables. We can find no designation which expresses what He is for us.

He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake-side, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: “Follow thou me!” and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfil for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.”

While I haven’t written a definitive text yet, I do have a blog. Which is kind of the same thing.

If I did end up being a liberal theologian instead of someone who contributed something to the world I would be the kind who takes massive leaps in logic to make scandalous arguments that make the front pages of the Economist and Time. Here is my “Historical” picture of Jesus;

Jesus Christ was born to a man and woman in Israel sometime a long time ago. They did not have computers or stem cell research or chaos maths and therefore they were practically a different species and so they had a different “kind” of “wisdom”. Jesus was the equivalent of a pop star. He was very handsome and kept 12 advisors and style gurus along with him. They were all bulimic but they called it “basinonianik” back then. It was seen as a gift from God because these people were primitive, you see. Not like us. Islamic terrorists hated Jesus for all the decadence he stood for, much like they hate Britney Spears today and so they attack America. They attacked Jesus and the Advisors one night after a meal. We have found the bodies of the Advisors but they vomited up their meals so we can’t see if Jesus was kosher. He wasn’t though, as is logically obvious. The Jesus myth developed when the Roman Empire felt they needed an underground opposition force to demonise for their political purposes. Meat eating “Jesusians” were the result but it was the bastardising of Paul that led to what the deluded “believers” call “Christianity” today. That is the bankrupt belief system that is dying. The. End.

-Your Correspondent dying for a pee

Hotel Debauchery

Thursday, January 1st, 2004

I hope you haven’t decided to read this based on the title of the update. I have rarely been in hotels in my life. A night in Barcelona, two in Amsterdam and a couple of weekends around the west of Ireland with my family. None of these allowed me any opportunities for debauchery. If I remember correctly, the last time in Barcelona consisted of a Friday night eating take away McDonalds and Starbucks while watching BBC World Service. It was the turning point of a horrible holiday that got worse the next day as we went to France.

Temporary insanity is the only explanation for me finding myself in France.

So a very Happy New Year to you, non-existent web readership. I pray that 2004 brings much happiness and only the character building kind of sorrow for you and yours.

I celebrated the New Year with my Church buddies. Once again, a surprisingly excellent time was had by all. Fiancé and me may have been the youngest people there by ten years and there may not have been depravity or licentiousness or wantonness and the kisses at midnight may have been on the chaste side of hot and there may have been a bunch of pre-pubescent kids in the conservatory and upstairs playing with Gameboy, Pokémon and Animal Hospital but it still rocked. I turned down a college party offer to go to Squaresville ’03 but I am happy with my choice. The selection of girls my age to flirt with and guys my age to talk cars and machines and footballs with didn’t even tempt me because they would have been three-beer-friends. After the party I would lose contact with them and never see them again but my Church buddies are my friends. They look out for me, advise me and love me. I’ll hang out with them every time.

Friendship message over.

Fíance and me are now into our sixth year together today. That means that we know people younger than our relationship. However, that relationship may not last very much longer since she is turning my early morning antics into entries for her website. I would never betray her like that but what I will say is that she has an obsession with collecting the packaging of her used cosmetics and storing them away to figure out the rate of inflation based on the rising prices.

I don’t believe in New Year Resolutions. Well, I believe in them but I don’t make any. So I can’t bore you in all the ways imaginable. I also won’t post up my “poetry” or my “music” but I may make your brain crawl out your ear by adding photos to my site. Readership would have to justify the extra effort so don’t expect that until we hit the magic threshold of ten visitors every day.

-Your Correspondent. Trying to be hip at a Hot Hot Heat concert.

I couldn’t possibly play drums.

Thursday, January 1st, 2004

Christmas has come and gone but it seems war is not yet over. Just one more reason to never trust pop music kids.

My little brother trusts it and I am worried about the dark alleyways that the vulgar noise of the pop music will take him. His current obbsession is a British band called Muse. In favour of Muse, I haven’t yet heard them encourage the cutting of one’s own skin, suicide or violent rebellion against a complex that is referred to as the Industrial Military one. They are however art college graduates (I imagine) and they want to let you know. Their music is just a way to be overly-dramatic and theatrical without actually developing any drama in their songs. Their lead singer also sings like a diseased, possessed prophet predicting the end of the world. Re-reading that, it sounds like maybe that would be cool, but it isn’t. Its marketed at 16 year olds and my 16 year old brother swallowed it. Tough luck for him.

What would be cool would be if he liked the good music in the world. By that I mean the music of me and my friends. Then we could be middle aged towards the folk of the Be Good Tanyas and Gillian Welch, white and partying to the Beastie Boys and DJ Shadow and in adoration at the feet of Ben Folds.

I am suffering from Opportunity Withdrawl. In the calm of this Festive season I have decided to sleep until 10 or 11am every morning. I get up, read a little, play a little game, maybe eat a little, perhaps write a little or clean a little or wash a little or talk a little but I never do anything. I can’t seem to plan my day or the days ahead which is distressing for someone like me. Someone cool that is because lists are cool kids. I won’t have anyone diss my little green faux-leather book of lists.

This extends even to emailing my details and a photo to a government agency for a form I have to fill in or writing some Thank You cards for engagement gifts me and Fiancé received or arranging a date for a big massive party we are planning or tracking down some turbo Catholic books that my crazy aunt wants to buy second hand online.

I badly need to get my ass in gear since next week I return to work and with that I must return to my college work. My intention is to have a huge amount of reading and writing done by the time my MA resumes. Not because of my diligence or academic excellence but because I want to rub my classmates noses in it. They are all high and mighty with their undergraduate degrees in subjects that we cover but I slipped in to the course from Computer Science with a combination of charm, bold faced lies and subterfuge. There are two particuarly stoopid induhviduals in my class who I dub here, Mrs. Idiot and Ms. Idiot, and I need to get better grades then these guys. Otherwise I may start listening to my little brother’s Cut Yourself And Revolt! music.

-Your Flashing Correspondent. Lincoln, Nebraska