Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cherry Ghost and 2 Clement

Took a break from church and studies to go to to see Cheery ghost at Koko on Friday evening. It was a good night.

I'd never been to Koko before. It started life as the Camden Theatre built by Ellen Terry in 1900 - at the time the largest theatre in London. Now it's a club and gig venue with a really great atmosphere.

Cherry Ghost emerged as our favourite band on our summer holiday in France this year, Simon Aldred's bitter-sweet take on life, love and politics wrapped up in great hooks and singable tunes proved to be ideal touring music.

Live he was equally irresistible, mixing songs from the album - Thirst for Romance - with new ones and keeping up a banter between songs that was affable and amusing. For some reason the last time he played London, the Evening Standard described the gig as gloomy. It just goes to show you should believe what you read in the papers!

Yesterday I sorted things in my study - mainly to get papers and books in suitable piles for my studies. I discovered a very interesting-looking paper by David Horrell on leadership in the early church and read a fascinating introduction to 2 Clement (which was neither a letter nor was it by Clement - apart from that it's well-named!) where the author argued that the work - a homily or sermon from the mid-second century - was calling its audience - probably Christians in Rome - at a time of relative peace and calm to pull up their moral socks not so much by more prayer and fasting, but by being more generous. The author says: 'Almsgiving is a good thing, as is repentance of sin. Fasting is better than prayer but almsgiving is better than both.' In other words, part of his message is that piety is ok but the Christian life is meant to change things for people.

The preacher talks a lot about Christ's fleshly existence - no doubt to counter the effects of that strong strand of second century teaching that suggested that the flesh was evil and that Jesus as God's Son couldn't have sullied himself with it - but uses it to stress the importance not just of doctrinal purity, but of what we Christians do in and with our bodies.

The simple message is that we need to live together in honesty and integrity. Obviously a good message for second century Rome - but a pretty good one for us too.

As Cherry Ghost sings on People help the People: 'People help the people/and if your homesick, give me your hand and i'll hold it/People help the people/and nothing will drag you down/oh and if i had a brain/oh and if I had a brain/i'd be cold as a stone and rich as the fool/that turned all those good hearts away...'

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