i finished reading margaret barker' remarkable book temple spirituality this morning at about 5:30 because i had wakened at 3:30. i had wakened at 3:30, t seems, because of a bizarre dream. in my dream, i was living in washington, d.c., the capital of these disunited states, in a rambly old apartment building across a park from an archives of some sort. i was wandering across the park to visit the archives when an older man dressed as if he were introducing some techy device--a suit fancier than necessary but no tie--started waving a nickel-plated .45 automatic at people from the far end of the park. there was a policeman at the other end of the park, who raised his gun, but then disappeared. (it's a dream, remember.) i had crossed the park and sneaked back to the end where the policeman had disappeared by hiding behind columns, and i thought i would be able turn to my apartment, where i would lock the door--something i never do. but the gun-waver was running quickly through the crowd, herding them to my end and telling everyone that he was tired of tourists and wanted to protect the wildlife. that's when he dream started turning surreal. people began arguing with him in the random manner of facebook conversation 'threads'. some pointed out that the were locals, not tourists. others argued that here was nothing about the life in a national park. i was thinking of commenting to ask him if tourists had less right to live than locals when i turned to find he was about five feet from me with the gun aimed at my leg. i was thinking 'o shit' and pondering lunging at him to knock the gun down when i woke, made some coffee, and started reading.
what i find so remarkable is that i, who can't remember another unpleasant dream for years, would have such a dream now. i didn't feel particularly frightened in the dream. i just thought 'me, too' and 'here, too'. but i do find it remarkable that such images would come up in my dreams.
it has been an outrageously beautiful day and i have been on a peregrination, fancy talk for wandering around mostly aimlessly, looking at plants and the sky and rocks. i've been thinking about my and others' pretensions to being celtic. genetically i'm celtic, but the upheavals of the industrial revolution and migrations has made the l connections pretty weak. this especially true we claim some sort of celtic christisn orthodoxy. there's a whole industry of celtic christian books, and pricey pilgrimages to holy islands, but not many of us recite the psalter up to our nipples in the cold sea water or a creek. i am given points for living in a tent, but it's a tent with carpet snd wifi.
so, i have to admit that my celticness is largely nostalgia. i like oat meal, and i'm no luddite. if i were, i wouldn't be writing on a kindle fire. i do agree with mcluhan that all our inventions are extensions of ourselves, although i don't find all the parts of ourselves h extending. my tablet seems to have advantages scratching a message on rocks, but eureka springs is full of fat people, who extend their already bloated bellies with bloated suvs. i've extended my feet to wearing shoes, but i don't want to pass the plants and sky and rocks too fast to see them. even my bicycle seems too quick many days.
this is one of those days. some folks say lent means spring, in which case this is a very lenten day. i have for several years now had a lenten koan to chew as the days get longer. this year from psalm 117 (118): 'the stone the builders rejected, the same became the chief stone of the corner). and to help me chew i've been reading margaret barker's temple books. of the many theses about what 'original' christianity was and how it's changed/been perverted, i find hers most compelling. of course what theories have in common with all the others is the lack of continuity of what we call christianity now and what jesus had in mind.
yet, this morning i began the day with morning prayer with the historic english liturgy of thomas cramner and miles coverdale, with readings from the authorized version of the bible. and, i asked myself, is there any value to my doing this beyond the nostalgic beauty of it? despite my and thousands of others repeating these prayers, and they are prayers with which i am in profound agreement, nothing much seems to have changed.
except the speed of change in the world. i also read today an interview with al gore, o is part of the growing chorus who notice the great opportunity humanity is facing for breakthrough to the plenty and justice prayed for in the book of common prayer and for systemic collapse and chaos. i look around and find only evidence that he is correct. gore says he's optimistic. maybe because i'm walking around eureka springs, which prides itself as being a town where time stands till, i confess to difficulty sharing his optimism. and i am challenged to consider whether my indulgence in nostalgia is part of the force for collapse and chaos.