The "Seven Things" Meme

Brother Causticus has been tagged by the estimable St. Pat in what appears to be an amusing diversion called “Seven Things.” Assured by his spiritual director, the Reverend Isaac Bickerstaff (late of the Church of Ireland) that response would not constitute an unseemly descent into frivolity, BC offers these modest rejoinders for your consideration:

1. Name a book that you want to share so much that you keep giving away copies

The Ecclesiastical History of the English People by the Venerable Bede, which reminds BC that the Ecclesia Anglicana has always been a fractious body. Particularly redolent of the Current Unpleasantness is the poignant account of a plague that swept through his monastery, leaving only the abbot and young Bede to sing the Divine Offices. Despite BC’s best efforts to give this most instructive volume away, he is met only with demurrals and a swift turn of the discussion to the latest theological musings of Anne Lamott.

2. Name a piece of music that changed the way you listen to music

Beethoven’s String Quartet in A minor (Opus 132). After challenging to the point of baffling exposition in the first movement, the second movement features an atypical (for this Beethoven period) minuet with trio over a sustained tonic that evokes in BC’s mind hunting horns sounding over soft green fields as shafts of sunlight pierce a cloudy sky. It is a sweetness in the general sturm und drang of the late quartets that comforts BC and inexplicably renews his nearly spent hope for our Church.

3. Name a film you can watch again and again without fatigue

This is Spinal Tap. It becomes even more amusing if one imagines bassist Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) as the Archbishop of Canterbury. The assignment of the other roles to prominent Anglican ecclesiastics is left as an exercise for the reader. BC particularly commends the observation by the otherwise inept Ian Faith (Tony Hendra) that “in the topsy-turvy world of heavy rock having a good solid piece of wood in your hand is often useful.”

4. Name a performer for whom you suspend all disbelief

BC does not normally suspend all disbelief save during the recitation of the Creeds. But he very nearly did in the 1980s for Bono of U2 until the release of Rattle and Hum (film and album). While on this topic, BC reminds fortysomething clergy that twentysomething young people might not find a “U2charist” as cutting edge as said clergy believe it to be.

5. Name a work of art you’d like to live with

One of Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park paintings, perhaps number 54. BC finds the quality of light in this series captures most nearly the feel of standing on a California coastal cliff the moment after the October sun has dropped below the Pacific horizon.

6. Name a work of fiction which has penetrated your real life

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, something of a manifesto when BC read it first, now a rather wry commentary on the grandiosity of youth. Sadly, BC’s real life seems more informed by two works of non-fiction these days, Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism and Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer. Lord, have mercy.

7. Name a punch line that always makes you laugh

“Rectum? It killed ‘um!”

BC suggests the full import of this witticism is apparent only when delivered by a bishop with three fingers of Lagavulin in him.

Speaking of bishops, Brother Causticus has searched for the blogs of the Archbishop of Abuja and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, but alas, in vain, and so he elects to “tag” the Reverend Susan Russell and Canon Kendall Harmon for the next round of “Seven Things.”