Friday, 13 August 2010

What hath the Monkees to do with Jerusalem?

Monkee magic: the nature of conversion?
"I saw her face
Now I'm a believer
There's not a trace
Of doubt in my mind:
I'm in love Whoah-oh
I'm a believer
I couldn't leave her if I tried."
"What hath the Monkees to do with Jerusalem?", you may well ask. Well, there is a strand of Christian thought that treats conversion as just this sort of 'Monkee magic.'

Friday, 6 August 2010

Transfiguration 2010: Climbing the mountain


Why do people climb mountains? You know it costs about £50,000 to climb Everest these days - sounds a bit steep to me. And surely it's more comfortable to stroll around here below on flat ground. But many of us do like to rise to the challenge. Perhaps it's the exertion, the exercise, the feeling of achievement when you get to the top, the beauty of the views or the quality of the cool air above. But there's also that headiness, that giddiness, that strange feeling of being in a world removed, where earth almost touches heaven. And I suppose this is why so many great human traditions over the millennia have treated their mountains as sacred space: Zion, Olympus, Horeb, Sinai, Athos, Ararat, Fuji, to name a few.
A couple of years ago, my wife and I climbed the three peaks of Dewa Sanzan in Japan, sacred to the Shinto tradition, each with a shrine at its peak.