I didn’t run in the chilly rain this morning, but the rest of the morning proceedeth apace. I have some light marking before tomorrow’s tutorial, and reading toward my next essays (Anglican hermeneutics and interdisciplinarity).


(Ran my 1.7, said my prayers, went to a local café with Margaret to work on our various projects.)

A day that felt as if it might never come, I submitted my final post-reviewers, post-reviewers’ response to revisions, now on its way for proofing essay on the Epistle of James and miracles. I started it as a bit of a lark — ‘What’s miracles to James, or James to miracles?’ — but gradually, then suddenly, vistas of intricacies opened up before my inquiries. Now, to be fair, practically everything looks more intricate under a microscope. Once one begins analysing a discourse, an image, a musical composition, a recipe, a gesture, then the range of possible dimensions to it expands vertiginously. Anyone whose love has been unrequited, or perhaps more to the point ambiguously requited, knows that a casual word, inflection, smile, absence/presence, anything can indicate a multitude of possible degrees of the Other’s affection.

At the same time, James — as is the case for everything in the Bible — is blunted with community, so familiar in our Bibles between Hebrews and 1 Peter that one can hardly perceive any subtleties to the latter at all. Revisiting James after a few years (the commentary on James’s Greek was published in 2015), I was captivated by the nuances of the topic, in the context of early church offices, James’s Stoicism (or lack thereof), his odd invocation of Elijah (Elijah allegedly raised a boy from death, but James mentions him as someone just like us, whose prayers were answered), and various other aspects of the question.

And the best answer I can make to all of those facets of what James thought about miracles is, ‘Probably what most other thoughtful Jewish observers in the first century thought’, which isn’t very dramatic — but it’s the most plausible construal of the evidence, as far as I can tell.

Tuesday of Second

Ran my 1.7, prayed, had a cup of coffee, saw Margaret off to the rail station for her teaching day in Nottingham, and soon off to meet my student concerning their undergraduate thesis.

Fortnightly Music Report

I have for a while reported my recent music listening on The Platform Previously Known as Twitter, but since that’s increasingly barren of my friends (rightly, in my view), I thought I’d begin modulating toward posting the report here. It’s broken into tweet-sized bits, which has the advantage of keeping me from going on and on about random topics, but does incline toward a bare-bones style of reporting. Here we go:

It’s been a while, so perhaps time for my last fortnight according to

1 Elvis Costello [& The Attractions] 15 scrobbles
2 The Beatles 10
3 The Band 9
4 Beyoncé 7
5 Kirsty MacColl 7
6 The Clash 7
7 Frank Zappa 6
8 Juliana Hatfield 6
9 Michelle Shocked 6
10 Steve Earle 6

As always, this omits the Mountain Goats, which always turn up in a high slot in my play count, in part because they release so much music that random shuffle (my default*) will turn up more of theirs.
Sadly, this also misses out a couple of my favourites from the past weeks:

A flashback to ‘Mongoose’ by Elephant’s Memory…

Ed Watson pointed me to ‘Endurant’ by Bloodywood:

(Great as the cut is, this vocal style makes my flesh crawl, as I feel it in my throat.)

The world may weary of my promoting the music of my late friend Mikey Iafrate, but every time I hear his voice I think how strong this or that track is, and then feel the wave of grief to remember that he’s died…

Oh, and I rediscovered in the last week that my memory transposes the lyrics of the Marshall Tucker Band’s ‘Another Cruel Love’…

… with the defining melodic hook from the Allman Brothers’s ‘Jessica’.
(As Dickie Betts plays the riff, just sing along ‘It’s another cruel love, passing me by-y-y…’)

* Actually, I don’t use a strict random shuffle, but an awkward simulation of a weighted shuffle that favours tracks that I haven’t heard recently, and tracks that I’ve given higher rankings (on Apple’s five-star scale). But it’s a kludge, and I’d relish a chance to adopt a music player with a more sophisticated shuffle function.

Sorry I Missed…

yesterday’s update. Not a great deal to report, save that I ran, went to church, caught up on some emailing, and so on. I should have reported, yesterday, that Margaret and I (and the ladies) walked out to Holy Trinity Church, where C. S. Lewis worshipped and in whose churchyard he’s buried. There isn’t anything particularly fancy about the church — a pleasant, simple, English parish church, really. We visited his gravesite, and wandered back — a glorious autumn day. Then Evensong at Oriel, and home for dinner and entertainment.

Today, so far, I’ve made my run, said my prayers, caught up on news and social media, and had my first cup of coffee. Sometimes coffee goes past so quickly; I try to drink coffee strategically, so I don’t want to have a second cup right away when I get to the bottom of my first, but honestly… Evidently that’s the point of decaf — to forestall a second dose of caffeine with an ersatz substitute.

Not Running, But Walking

This morning I woke up with my left knee feeling significantly wobbly, so I decided to walk my 1.7 rather than try to run the whole distance (I did run brief segments of the way). On the way I picked up the Times for Margaret, then said my prayers, had a cup of coffee, caught up on some email, and eventually cooked breakfast.

I had forgotten that within the past couple of days, I suddenly recalled the Rice Krispies theme jingle that had permeated my youthful cereal-eating days.

Something triggered the ‘crackle’ verse in my memories, and my heart was restless within me until I found myself a copy of the video. Such, increasingly, is my life.

Rainy Day, Bright Side

No run this morning — too rainy. Prayers, coffee, and desperate search of my hard drive for digital photos of my certificate of ordination. I know I took them; I have a strong feeling I edited them (not substantitally, just to remove some keystoning); but after hours of scouring all the repositories I can think of, I have to admit defeat. They may still be here, but I can’t find ’em.

I neglected to mention yesterday, concerning my marking duties, that although I’ll continue to mark ionformal exercises for Oriel, the marking I concluded yesterday is by all odds the last time I’ll ever assign official, binding marks on student work. (We don’t do much of that in parish ministry.) That is a huge relief.

A Last One For The Books

I got a run in this morning before the rain (it was misting, but the Home Office didn’t give it the ‘bold, all-caps’ treatment), then prayers and coffee, then connecting with a colleague to agree on marks, then a meeting with a Warcraft colleague from days gone by, then some emailing for paperwork, then more reconciling marks, and by the time we finished the working day was over.

The Usual?

Morning 1.7 miles, prayers, coffee… You know.

What you may not know is that while running, I had a flash recollection of the 1970 single by John and Yoko’s one-time backing band Elephant’s Memory: ‘Mongoose.’ And of course, that’s been running through my head all day, an entertaining and welcome earworm.

The good old days…

Like Torcs

A while ago I posted on a couple of the social media sites, ‘If “Bucks” is short for Buckinghamshire, and “Hants” for Hampshire, is the shortened nym for my future episcopal area of Dorchester “Dorks”?’

My friends responded with generous merriment and added considerable wit, and only afterward did I do what any sensible person would have done first. I checked the search monopolist to see whether there actually was a historic condensation of ‘Dorchester’ to ‘Dorks’ or ‘Dorcs’.*

As it turns out, nobody (so far as I can tell) has hitherto proposed ‘Dorcs’ as a shortened form for Dorchester, and ‘Dorks’ has been deployed mostly as a term of abuse by other football teams’ supporters. Tim Worstall wondered what people from Dorchester might be called (‘If people from Manchester are called Mancunians, what are people from Dorchester to be called? Dorcunians?’), in answer to which question some commenters proposed ‘Dorks’, along with Dorcastrians, Dochians, Durnovarians (attributed to Wikipedia, but the Dorset Dorch, so…). But most of these seem to point toward those Other Dorcestrians.

Hence I claim for my episcopal area the toponym ‘Dorcs’, devised this morning by me. And Dorest can just go read The Mayor of Casterbridge. In fact, I haven’t read it since my undergraduate days; I probably ought to revisit it, regional shortenings apart.

* Now, before this gets out of hand, I should acknowledge that Oxfordshire’s Dorchester (not Dorset’s Dorchester) has a complicated ecclesiastical history. doesn’t have more than recent semi-diocesan status; Dorchester was a West Saxon diocese on and off (making the reorganisation of sees in the contemporary church seem reasoned and stable by contrast) from 634 to 1072, when the seat of the diocese was relocated to Lincoln. Dorchester Abbey stands in the place of the former cathedral, though the Abbey was dissolved in 1536.

Dorchester was resuscitated, as it were, as a diocese in 1939, first as 5he See of a general Assisting Bishop to the Bishop of Oxford, then as the bishop of a formal ‘episcopal area’.

(All of the above as cursory online research suggests, very much subject to correction.)

Not Much

I don’t know where the keys are (we have only one set for this flat), so I didn’t run this morning, but I said my prayers, had a cup of coffee and some red grapes, caught up with online life, made some emails. All is okay, though I rue not running (much as I dislike it); I know I’ve been stress-eating and probably gaining, and I do relish being able to run for the bus without gasping and straining.