Saturday, 24 February 2018

Yesterday, as I often do, I took a walk from my house in Southampton to Eastleigh, about two to three hours. As usual I followed the rout of the "Itchen navigation": the canal along which most of the goods from the sea-boats were carried inland. I was walking along side the ditch, almost all that is left of it admiring the reeds and plants. On the other side is the fencing of the grassland, with some openings, and I wandered there for a while and returned. Pleasantly, after a while a man (young by my standards) came in from the grasslands. A gentle chat, and we carried on. Such places can make wonders.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

The universe

This afternoon I'd run out of books, and started wandering through my shelves, lighting on Nancey Murphy and George Ellis's "On the moral nature of the Universe", written 22 years ago (1996). I had known George Ellis well and, probably, I had then read (or scanned) a fair amount of the book .
Now, however, it seems a very dry and mechanical approach to God and the universe (George and I were both physicists!). Now I feel the irreducible isness of the universe, from it's initial "flaring forth" to the multitudes of its consequences, as something that in its depth is felt, not calculable. 

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Today I again went to Southampton Common in the evening, as the light was starting to fade. The birds were starting to roost. It had been many weeks since I last viewed this. But my main action turned out to be at the beautiful secluded "beech grove", on the way to the common. Earlier, other users had collected its fallen tree-branches for their convenience for a pic-nick, gathered around the center for a fire. Since then, I had put up with it, but now was a time to open the grove's former beauty. So I settled down to drag the branches to their previous stands at the edge of the grove (taking care not damage myself with the heavy ones!).  A satisfying evening.      

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

I am sitting in the Church of St. Michael in Southampton – presently deserted.
To my left is a large stained glass window above the main door that depicts
St Michael, leader of a hundred Angels in battle, slaying with his lance
the dragon-shaped leader of evil Рa splendid picture for all its naivet̩.
To my right, tucked away between the side door and the lady -chapel, is 
a statue of a very different St. Michael, carved from the steely trunk of 
a yew tree. His body has half emerged from the core of the tree. He is 
supporting himself on his lance, twisting his head to look upward, displaying
both power and uncertainty. His mission is as yet unformed.
Both these pictures depict St Michael bringing good into the world.
In the stained glass picture it is by unremitting action, in the sculpture 
it is by working deeply within the total situation, discerning what evil really 
is in this world that he is entering. This quality of discernment lies at the 
core of what is called in the Bible “Wisdom” - the capital letter used because 
in many places Wisdom is presented as a kind of person. Action without wisdom 
can be dangerous, and as our world becomes more complex, so Wisdom must reach
deeper.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

I'm "God-bothering" again. On my own, I am drown to the wonder of 
the universe (or even universes). Among the church community I come "down
to earth" - the earth on which Jesus walked. Christianity
holds he is the "only begotten son of the Father" (John 1:14 - with Platonic tinges!)
So who is/was Jesus? For me, he is a revelation of the aspect, comprehensible for all
on our planet, of the living universes.
Given the vastness this, it seems absurd that Jesus is the only one.

Relativity and Alzheimer's syndrome

When I was young, I was fascinated by Einstein's (special) theory of gravity
(known as 'relativity') based on the idea that the four 'dimensions'
of "north-south", "east-west", "up-down" and past-future should be treated
together as a single entity: space-time. I used to try to visualize them mentally
in a kind of super-space - with minimal success!
My thinking was, as it were, mechanical - and I was became a mathematical 
physicist for my later work. A strand of spirituality was there, but
only occasionally did I bring in spirituality, which now, in various forms,
is the sea in which I swim.
Came down to breakfast, and looked out of the window to see even the largest trees in our garden swaying in bursts of wind. Later I dashed out under the gray sky to the end of the garden, to throw out vegetable rubbish: and came back shivering! Now, reflecting, I acknowledge, rather wryly, the importance all the many weathers of this planet.