Monday, September 04, 2006

Swift Round-up

I don't have as much time for this right now as I'd like, but I'll make up for it with a nice thick post in the middle of the week about something only rarely hinted at on this blog, but of considerable potential importance if people were willing to become cool dudes like me. You'll just have to keep checking back to find out what I mean.

For now, though, here we go.


In the spirit of the "and Friends" portion of this blog, I'd like to direct you to two excellent articles about and/or by the legendary soapbox apologist, Frank Sheed. The first is an article by Patrick Madrid, writing for Crisis magazine, called "The Prophet of Hyde Park." Here is the basic story of Sheed's life, detailing his travails before the hecklers of Hyde Park while defending and promoting the Catholic Faith, his literary output, and his foundation of the Sheed-Ward publishing company with his wife, Maisie Ward, best known to us as Gilbert's biographer.

Having read that, you will be well-equipped to tackle the stalwart, readable style of Sheed himself, as demonstrating delightfully in his essay, "What Spirits Are and What They Aren't." Here is a man who ran in the same circles as Gilbert and Evelyn Waugh and so on, and it shows in his manner of delivery.
When I was very new as a street-corner preacher for the Catholic Evidence Guild, a questioner asked me what I meant by spirit. I answered, "A spirit has no shape, has no size, has no color, has no weight, does not occupy space." He said, "That's the best definition of nothing I ever heard," which was very reasonable of him. I had given him a list of things spirit is not, without a hint of what it is.
Check it all out, if you'd be so kind.


Moving on to less profound things, but no less Solemn and Majestic, I'm delighted to report a Chesterton plug at the wonderfully important Totus Pius, where all things are orthodox and all the Popes are Pius - even the Antipope. The plug includes a Chesterton poem that, I must confess, I had never seen before. I'm glad I now have. In part:
“Queen of Death and Life undying
Those about to live salute thee;
Not the crawlers with the cattle; looking deathward with the swine,
But the shout upon the mountains
Of the men that live for ever
Who are free of all things living but a Child; and He was thine.”
Good times, as is the blog itself. Get thee hence.


Speaking of Chesterton (as we are wont to do), he has often made mention of the great mirth of God, and of Christ in particular, setting it up as something that we would do well to remember. That's one way to go. As I've often been fond of contrasting Chesterton and Nietzsche on various points, however, I think it would be worthwhile to look at Christ vis-a-vis his tremendous love of dancing, assuming it existed.

Luckily, thanks to a song from the 1960's (of all decades!), my work has been done for me!

The Lord of the Dance
By Sydney Carter
I danced in the morning
When the world was begun,
And I danced in the moon
And the stars and the sun,
And I came down from heaven
And I danced on the earth,
At Bethlehem
I had my birth.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he

I danced for the scribe
And the pharisee,
But they would not dance
And they wouldn't follow me.
I danced for the fishermen,
For James and John -
They came with me
And the Dance went on.


I danced on the Sabbath
And I cured the lame;
The holy people
Said it was a shame.
They whipped and they stripped
And they hung me on high,
And they left me there
On a Cross to die.


I danced on a Friday
When the sky turned black -
It's hard to dance
With the devil on your back.
They buried my body
And they thought I'd gone,
But I am the Dance,
And I still go on.


They cut me down
And I leapt up high;
I am the life
That'll never, never die;
I'll live in you
If you'll live in me -
I am the Lord
Of the Dance, said he.


I find it to be a thoroughly delightful song, reminding me heavily - for some reason - of the character of the Fisher King. To see how it works musically, you can download a pleasant version of the song here. The musician changes the Bethlehem line to "every year," though the rest of it is just the same. Seems like an odd change to make, in that case.


Finally (for now, anyway; as I said above, check back in a few days), I am happy to report that regular posting has resumed at my own blog, A Gentle Fuss, after a sort of summer hiatus. You are welcome to check it out, as always.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I, too, like this song, but I usually hear it as the Communion song during the "folk music" Mass, and that annoys me (folk music during Mass, that is). The tune was also the background music for a commercial a few years ago - I think for a luxury car...maybe diamonds. Either way, I thought it was amusing.