THIS AND THAT (60) I regularly visited two gaols in my second Australian parish. One was for the criminally insane, the other for more conventional rogues, rascals, scallywags and perverts. When I first visited the latter I was all but overcome with nostalgia. The atmosphere of the place reminded me of boarding school. It was not so much the lack of freedom, as the uncomplicated macho philistinism of an allmale society. Simple masculine values and predilections were very much in evidence: beautiful women and muscular men. The walls of the cells were plastered with pictures of gleaming pectorals and bulging, bulbous bosoms. Dominant inmates swaggered around in minuscule shorts that showed off beefy calves and monstrous hams. I felt at home. It was boarding school all over again. Perhaps one of the reasons for there being fewer men in church than women is the Church's failure to recognise that to most males God, to be God, needs muscle and machismo. That many young, “macho” men prefer Islam to Christianity might partly be for just this reason. Where in the Church does a red-blooded male find muscle? I am not immune to the appeal of “muscular Christianity”. Aware of the Church's less than virile image I often find myself over compensating. Gentle Jesus, meek and mild rarely features in my preaching, writing or conversation. Light on a dark horse One of my favourite autobiographies is by possibly the twentieth century's most virile of Christian poets, Roy Campbell. He was a hunter, fisherman, bull-fighter and the scourge and satirist of effeminate, left-wing poets. He converted to Roman Catholicism, was one of the very few intellectuals and poets who fought on Franco's side in the Spanish Civil War and was a very fine poet. His autobiography, Light On A Dark Horse is an excellent read. His translations of the poems of St John of the Cross are still considered incomparable. The following two samples of his lovely lyrics are not necessarily his best, they are simply favourites of mine: Fishing Boats in Martigues Around the quays, kicked off in twos The Four Winds dry their wooden shoes. Mass at Dawn I dropped my sail and dried my dripping seines Where the white quay is chequered by cool planes In whose great branches, always out of sight, The nightingales are singing day and night. Though all was grey beneath the moon's grey beam, My boat in her new paint shone like a bride, And silver in my basket shone the bream: My arms were tired and I was heavy-eyed, But when with food and drink, at morning-light, The children met me at the water-side, Never was wine so red or bread so white. Bogus This most attractive, swash-buckling, brawling, bullfighting, fishing, soldiering, virile man's man, Roy Campbell, is at least three quarters bogus, I gather. The subject of his enjoyable autobiography is largely a self-invented myth. Wider reading reveals him to me as nowhere near the virile dare-devil he paints himself, or appears to be from his poetry. This adds an ironic authenticity to his attractiveness. Virility is always largely an act is it not? It is a male's dream or fantasy. The decapitating, swaggering, misogynistic barbarians who flock to the black banner of “Isis” are also, surely, just as fundamentally bogus. (Andrew Neaum) All Andrew’ Neaum’s weekly articles are at: http://www.andrewneaum.com/ FOUR WEEK DISCUSSION GROUP AT VICARAGE Starting Mon, 17 Nov at 7.00pm in the Vicarage: a four week Advent Discussion Group open to all. Using either a chapter from Rowan William's “The Christian Faith” or one from "Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense" by Francis Spufford, we will talk together about the Christian faith openly, frankly and critically. St John the Baptist, Boldre St Nicholas, Pilley Parish Priest: The Reverend Canon Andrew Neaum Phone: 01590 718439 Mobile 07808057168 Email: [email protected] St Mary the Virgin, South Baddesley Parish Priest: The Reverend Lynda Mead Phone: 023 8084 8901 Email: r [email protected] Benefice Office (at St Nicholas Pilley) Church Secretary: Tim Macair e Office hours: Mon, Wed & Thur s: 9am-11am Phone: 01590 673484 Email: bsbbchur [email protected] Benefice Website: www.boldr echur ches.co.uk/ Today: Last Sunday after Trinity 26 Oct 2014 St Nicholas’ Pilley 8.00 Holy Communion St Mary’s Sth Baddesley 9.30 Matins St John’s Boldre 10.30 Eucharist & Children’s Club St John’s Boldre 6.30 Group Evensong PRAYER TODAY: Last Sunday after Trinity Worldwide Church: Church of Ceylon: Its Bishops, cler- gy and people. Pray for reconciliation between Tamils and Sinhalese. Church of Sweden, Diocese of Vaxjö: Bp JanOlaf Johansson, clergy and people. Church of England, Diocese of Oxford: Bishop John Pritchard, clergy and people. On Bible Sunday: Biblical theologians, scholars, and expositors. Prayers are asked for : Sue Bedingham, Colin Erne, David Balme, Janet, Lucy, Yvonne. R.I.P. Antony Havers, Marjorie Mathew and Alfred the Great, King and Translator Activities This Week . Tue 28 Oct - 10.30 am Vintage fitness. Seated exercise to music at St Nicholas, Pilley & refreshments Wed 29 Oct - 10.30 am Eucharist at St Nicholas’ Pilley Thu 30 Oct - 10.30 am Vintage Fitness. As Tuesday. Sat 1 Nov - 2.30pm St John’s. Funeral Antony Havers Next Sunday 2 November: All Souls’ Day St Nicholas’ Pilley 8.00 Holy Communion St John’s Boldre 10.30 Holy Communion, including All Souls Remembrance & Children’s Club 6.30 Group Evensong St Mary’s Sth Baddesley Dates for the Diary 2 Nov Sun - Group Advent Service, St Luke’s Sway 8 Nov Sat - Winter Bazaar (St John’s Stalls) 9 Nov Sun - Remembrance Sunday 15 Nov Sat - Benefice Quiz 17 Nov Mon - 7.00pm Start of Advent Study Groups Vicarage 29 Nov Wed - St Mary’s Christmas Fair, Sth Bad. School Hall 13 Dec Sat - St John’s. Walhampton School Carol Service 15-16 Dec - St Nicholas Singers Carol Concerts 17 Dec Wed - St John’s. Hill House School Carols ALL SOULS DAY SUNDAY NOVEMBER 2 Put the names of loved one to be remembered by name at St Nicholas’ and St John’s next Sunday on the list by the door WINTER BAZAAR: MEMORIAL HALL Saturday 8 November St John’s has five tables to raise funds for our church at this Pilley Pantomime Players event. If you are able to contribute to our tables please contact : Books & DVDs Graham Edmiston 678550 Bread, Cakes, Biscuits, pastries Janet Anderson 673858 Gifts – new/nearly new (not clothes) Jean Gibbins 672755 Jewellery & Scarves Jean Gibbins 672755 Jams, Chutneys etc Jean Gibbins 672755 If you are able and willing to help man a table on the day please contact Graham : home 01590 678550 mobile: 07810 862292 Email: [email protected] FOOD FOR THOUGHT— a fair exchange? The Benefice Quiz, our annual competition with St Mary’s, is at 7pm on Sat. 15 November. It is St Mary’s turn to organise the event and supper this year. Apparently Lewis and Linda’s questions will be slightly less abstruse than in the past. Tickets for St John’s (6 tables of 8 people each) from Graham Edmiston at £8 per person, including supper. His contact details are above.
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