Personally I'm ambiguous about Remembrance Day: like many do think, it strikes me as carrying a State-militarism approval subtext as well as remembering the fallen and a desire for peace. I was pleased that the service taker today made reference with disapproval of the campaign to 'morally' force people to wear poppies - I noticed "Carrotty" on BBC Radio 4 saying there is surely an obligation to support... Well, not when it gets muddied by ideologies and interests. My friend told me how it has become corporate: at his place of work he was 'required' to wear a poppy and he refused, discovering the management did not know much about its origins or meanings. It has simply there become corporate presentation policy and best show. I do not wear a poppy either - neither red, white nor purple.
The church has always had BBC Radio 4 on at 11 am and its Remembrance Sunday two minute silence. Since we set up the sound system, I now do this. Well, I nearly didn't. I set my new projecting alarm clock and it didn't go off. Normally I arrive at the church at 10 am to set up but here I looked at the celing and it was projecting 10:10. So I fell out of bed, did bathroom quickies, into clothes, grabbed keys, out the door and in the car, and arrived 10:30 (a 15 min. drive at best). "Don't panic," I said, going in - "Don't panic?" said one who also usually arrives early. Nothing had been done except the hymn board. No one seems to be able to do it (not that they had the CDs). All was set up and the CDs went on, and I listened in to the wired-up DAB radio. As the last part of Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man played and ended I put the final words of "Carrotty" through the main speakers straight to the silence which, actually, was a passenger aeroplane flying overheard. The Last Post played and then I faded the broadcast out for the service taker to light the chalice and begin. And so all the hymns and meditational music were played including, to finish, Eric Bogle's The Green Fields of France - a long listen but everyone did.
After shopping, eating and C-Span on BBC Parliament I dozed off, and dreamt of the matriarch coming round the curtain with the preacher in view, and to the empty room I said, "I'm so sorry..." as if I had fallen asleep on the job. So to the computer.
I have resisted putting anything in this blog directly about Justin Welby. I don't know him even if I have read plenty second hand. He seems evangelical that has taken on some Catholicism including social teachings and listens enough to include potential changes of mind. He seems to carry a lot of goodwill, including from liberals, though also the other candidates were either weak or had become unavailable by age or health. If the General Synod fails to put women into the episcopate he will have a bad start because the disappointment and infighting will be considerable, and also this is the best moment to do it ahead of further sectarianism by dogma. This chap may be managerial and finance orientated, and may have the wisdom to know what he cannot change. What he cannot do is change how people think, that the effective leading edge of common thinking now is provided by the likes of Dawkins, Al-Khalili and Cox, plus Derren Brown (Friday - God as a placebo), and that Christianity as an explanation for things is simply dying off. I wonder if (assuming women are equalised) he will make ecumenical moves to Protestant denominations. They are all structurally falling in and have considered again a more 1960s and 1970s view of ecumenism that then failed - necessity means reorganising and perhaps giving up to reabsorption.
Rowan Williams perhaps thought too highly of his own position and capabilities and in his "read the ordinal" Catholic arrogance forgot that his reasoning wasn't everyone else's. This chap may have more humility.