Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Returning to blogging

In my last article dated 3rd May I explained that I was giving up blogging for the time being, but that I might return in the future.

Having considered all the options, and with the amount of interesting things going on and the number of technical tips I have not been able to share I thought I would make a tentative return. I have updated the blog template and I have given greater prominence to the disclaimer which accompanies every article. I encourage  you to read it here.

For those of you who don't know, Ecalpemos is the word "someplace" spelled backwards and is derived from the name given to a house in the novel "A Fatal Inversion" by Barbara Vine:

The day before she left he thought of a new name for his house. For some days he had been mulling this over, trying to come up with something more interesting than Wyvis Hall. Myopotamus Manor, which had occurred to him, was just a joke. He began anagramming, twisting letters round, keeping in mind where they had been going, where Mary was still going... Ecalpemos. He asked the others what they thought Ecalpemos was. 'A Greek island,' said Mary. 'Not an island,' said Rufus. 'More like a mountain. A volcano.' 'Or a resort on the Costa Brava.' 'You just made it up,' said Rufus lazily. 'It does sound rather like a community. Oneida, Walden, Ecalpemos.' `It doesn't sound in the least like Oneida or Walden. I know what it is, it's like Erewhon: that's "nowhere" backwards.'…..
…..Erewhon is an anagram of "nowhere". Ecalpemos is "some place" inverted.' `Well, well, very clever. Don't you find 'some place' has too much of an American flavour?'
`I don't give a sod about that,' said Adam. 'It's not being called “some place" anyway, it's going to be Ecalpemos.' Which thereafter it always was.  (From A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine)

Ecalpemos is my corner of the web.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

What's the bloody point?

The last entry in Kenneth Williams' voluminous diaries is a one line entry for 15th April 1988. It reads simply:

Oh, what's the bloody point?

Within hour of writing this Williams was dead from an overdose of barbiturates, probably administered accidentally.

His diary had ended, and so has mine. For now.

Blogging has been a large part of my life for the past nine years. It has covered subjects ranging from mental health to IT to my musical work to my journey of faith. There has even been the odd recipe. Some of my writing has sparked great discussion - one post has 402 comments. There have been controversies. There have also been great meetings of minds. But there has always been freedom to discuss the things that matter.

Earlier this week I deleted a blog post because I felt under pressure to do so. It was the first time I had ever removed an article from this blog. The repercussions of this have been that I can no longer write about my personal faith in this blog or anywhere else.

Freedom is not all encompassing. Rudolf Steiner pointed out in his Philiosophy of Freedom that our ability to act freely probably lies only within our own thoughts. Everything else is subject to social norms, expectations of others, the law and cultural frameworks. So for now my thoughts must stay within my own head. My faith will remain a personal matter. Unresolved and unexpressed.

For now this blog has ended. It may return in some form in the future.

I would like to thank all of the people who have read and commented on my writings over the past nine years. Your companionship has been an important part of my life.  Until we meet again May God bless you all.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Adventures in Ordination.

I noticed a while ago that the pro independence blogger Stuart Campbell (www.wingsoverscotland.org) sometimes uses the title "Rev". I haven't been able to determine what organisation ordained him. He could be a former minister of some denomination, but his biography does not mention any church activities.

Leaving this aside, it did make me wonder what you would have to do to be "ordained". I do remember someone in Edinburgh who had served as a pastor of an independent church for many years searching for a US evangelical organisation that would ordain him based on his experience. The ordination took place, I believe in absentia in the US, and he was conferred with the title "Reverend".

Ordination seems to be easy to come by in the US, usually driven by a requirement to act as a marriage celebrant, or in some states the ability to operate as an alternative therapist (ordination covers the "laying on of hands" for insurance purposes). In one episode of the Simpsons, Homer gets himself ordained through an online service, prints out his own clerical collar and starts marrying people.

The main organisation doing this is the Universal Life Church of Modesto California which can be found at www.ulchq.com. There is also a rival split from the main church which can be found at www.themonastery.org. In the interests of science and curiosity I decided to try them both.

Submitted the form and had a very swift, and personal, email reply asking if I was the same Gordon Hudson of another address. This was, in fact, an old address of mine, and I have a vague recollection of having submitted a similar form at some time about ten years ago. It appears I am already ordained! It is as legal as any other church's ordination, but most would consider it "irregular" under their ecclesiastical laws.

Submitted the form online and received an immediate confirmation of my ordination. There was an option to buy a certificate for $7. According to the original ULC (www.ulchq.com) this is not associated with them at all and has only existed since 2006.

I also came across a British web site selling online ordination for £35, claiming that this would give people the right to act as a marriage celebrant:

The company United Europe Church Ltd was only formed in March this year and unlike the other two that allow any belief, this has a strictly evangelical Christian statement of faith.

I am not convinced that the Registrar General for Scotland would recognise this as valid for marriages. My understanding is that all Church of Scotland ministers automatically have the right to perform marriages in Scotland. Ministers of other denominations have to be officially nominated by their denominational headquarters and the registrar general limits the number to those he thinks are necessary for those denominations. Ministers of independent churches need to be nominated by their congregational decision making body. If you were to start your own church I suppose this might work, but you don't need to be ordained to act as a marriage celebrant, having a congregation is sufficient. For example, Brethren meetings and Churches of Christ who have no ordained clergy usually nominate an elder to carry out marriages. It is also not permitted to earn a living as a "celebrant" in Scotland, even though quite a few Humanist's seem to do this.

So, now, like Rev Stuart Campbell, I remain,

Yours faithfully,

Rev Gordon