2 November 2009

A gallimaufry of fire and gangs...

I recently met a young woman who claimed, in all earnestness, that she regularly speaks in Tongues. These ululations would sound like gobbledegook to you or I – not versed in that divine language – but the Supreme Lecturer in the sky knows his modern languages, and she was sure that he bends his ear to hear her expressive verbal nonsense.

There are, I think, different flavours of atheists, your flavour largely governing your response to the above. Firstly, your existentially untroubled atheist for whom any chatter of religion provokes boredom, just an irrelevant voice from an uninteresting past, distracting a few localised loons from the real business of material life. An alternative account – where I’d position myself – are those atheists who entertain a strange obsession with the stuff of religious life, its significations, rituals, theologies.

Thus, in a curious way, I appreciate the Herald for keeping on Ron Ferguson and his regular forays into religious themes and questions and characters. I notice from his article this morning a mention of the Amazing Grace Baptist Church in North Carolina, who celebrated Halloween by “burning perversions of God’s word”. Owing to the wonders of the internet, this group is easily discoverable and outline – without a sprinkle of irony – their menu for last week’s literary campfire. Perhaps the most sinister element is the promise that they would be “serving fried chicken, and all the sides”.


Just a second brief morsel of news for today. I notice that the Scotsman have covered the CIRV program – the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence. The article is peppered with a number of evocative qualitative flourishes. A while ago, I posted here about my qualms about employing a discourse of masculine aggression to overcome the problems of masculine aggression (in particular, Chief Inspector Bob Stevenson, quoted). Certainly, one can detect in some of the article’s quotes the same approach and vocabulary. However, there are significant divergences – and clearly the scheme draws on a number of, dare I say, mutually contradictory approaches simultaneously. My qualms thus persist, despite the article’s claim that post-CIRV, youth violence in Glasgow has decreased. While it is daft to be deaf to substantive improvements and decreased hullabaloo - you can flay a feline in a number of ways - and the spectre of unforeseen consequences lurk always in the shadow of our best laid schemes.

Lets hope I'm wrong.