April 28, 2011

Randall Horton, Solitary — R.I.P.

Sorry to report the death of a true eccentric: known to most as Brother Randy. He was found dead in his bathroom this afternoon — details as to cause of death and funeral plans will be forthcoming. Knowing Randy, the funeral will likely be a mix of monastic austerity and pure panache.

Randy was a fine musician, and served as organist in my parish for a few years before incipient MS began to take its toll on his abilities; and he chose to retire gracefully while still capable of performing. One of his last recitals included a performance of Franck's Grande Pièce Symphonique. And grand it was indeed.

Rest well, dear Brother Randy — your solitary days are over as you join the choir celestial.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

April 26, 2011

Thought for 04.26.11

Authority is fictive. Obedience is real.

Authority is always conferred upon the one exercising it by those who choose to obey it. A monarch with only rebellious subjects, or with no subjects at all, possesses no real authority, but only a title. Reality, after all, is composed of relationships, not substances. A conductor without an orchestra may still fancy himself a conductor, but will make no music. What, after all, is music when it is not being played? Authority is granted reality by those who obey it.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

April 25, 2011

Thought for 04.25.11

Faith exists only where it is possible to doubt.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

April 24, 2011

Easter in Image and Music: Emmaus

Another encore from a few years ago: Symphonic Poem #2 — Two of them were walking.
Think Ralph Vaughn Williams meets the Klezmatics... and enjoy, as Jesus vanishes from their sight.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

MP3 File

April 22, 2011

Way of the Cross

An "encore" from a few years back. A musical meditation on the Stations of the Cross. Themes of the Passion hymns are woven together with impressions of the mockery of the crowds, as the Servant King makes the perfect offering of himself for the salvation of the world. Drawing its musical inspiration from fractured versions of traditional Paschal hymnody, but culminating in a hopeful realization of O Traurigkeit:

O Jesus blest, my help and rest
with tears I pray thee, hear me;
now, and even unto death,
dearest Lord, be near me.

—Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG
performed by the Garritan Orchestra and the East West Symphonic Choir

MP3 File

April 18, 2011

Wash before dinner

The Canadian Anglican Bishops have affirmed the standing tradition on the question of receiving communion prior to baptism. I am not particularly surprised by this affirmation. I continue to find the logic of the traditional sequence to be persuasive, in spite of the emotional appeal of the contrary position. I am much more supportive of the efforts to link baptism with eucharistic participation -- a movement not aided by our current BCP's awkward placement of the Peace so as to interrupt the flow directly into the Prayers of the People — participation in which is historically as much a sign of incorporation in the body of the faithful as the rest of the Eucharist. (This was anciently the turning point at which the catechumens were dismissed from the mysteries.)

I've rehearsed elsewhere how we have come to this pickle, in terms of up-playing the Eucharist precisely in a time when a larger number of un-baptized persons are likely to be in attendance in churches; downplaying such liturgies as Morning Prayer at which all are clearly welcome; and emphasizing formation for baptism and making it more intentional than it was in earlier days, when it was simply expected that the baby would be done. With all of these changes, like the Red Queen we need to hasten if only to stay in the same place! If that is what we want, of course... But if we are going to change, let us look at the big picture, and not tinker.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

Thought for 04.18.11

People who desire that all would do as they do find it hard to understand that there are people who do not wish so to impose their wills on others. They imagine that those they would control must have the same desire to control them. They live in a world of categorical imperatives run amok, a world impoverished by reflected intolerance of difference. It is a world in which all things are required rather than some being allowed, an inorganic and artificial world of uniformity and not of lively unity-in-diversity.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

April 14, 2011

Civilized Conversation

I've had several thoughts in reaction to Archbishop Okoh's latest rant.

If procreation is the cornerstone of society, then celibacy is as much of a threat to the world as same-sex marriage.

Such scant attention to the place that celibacy plays in the teaching of Jesus and Paul, and in the history of the church and the world — and his failure to connect with the even more important imagery of adoption that runs through the Scripture, including the foster-fatherhood of Joseph for the Holy Child himself! — offers little to commend in Okoh's understanding. Monasticism preserved much of the world's wisdom during times when the fertility- and inheritance-driven royal families of Europe were laying waste to it. Saying that the biological family is the cornerstone of civilization is simply a falsehood. A better case can be made for monasticism.

It also strikes me that Okoh has misplaced accusations of selfishness and hedonism which he attributes to gay and lesbian persons. Many gay and lesbian Christian couples spend more time and wealth on the church, or on raising children not their own biological offspring, instead of raising their own flesh and blood. Which is more "selfish" in the long run?

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG
h/t to the Episcopal Café

Thought on 04.14.11

Worship is not principally an educational exercise but an encounter with God.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

April 13, 2011

Topic and Illustration

Ephesians is not “about” marriage; it mentions marriage as an illustration of the Great Mystery that is its proper theme: how do the two — the Gentiles and the People of Israel — become one.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

April 9, 2011

Thought for 04.09.11

It is arrogant to claim fully to know the mind of God when we do not even have a very good understanding of other people.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG