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Folklore: Varieties of Christianity

Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 Oct 09 - 07:53 AM
Mr Happy 12 Oct 09 - 07:56 AM
GUEST,Ed 12 Oct 09 - 08:06 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 Oct 09 - 08:08 AM
Jack Campin 12 Oct 09 - 08:23 AM
beardedbruce 12 Oct 09 - 08:25 AM
Azizi 12 Oct 09 - 08:29 AM
Mr Happy 12 Oct 09 - 08:31 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 Oct 09 - 08:35 AM
Joe Offer 12 Oct 09 - 08:50 AM
Azizi 12 Oct 09 - 08:50 AM
Joe Offer 12 Oct 09 - 09:00 AM
Mr Happy 12 Oct 09 - 09:01 AM
Azizi 12 Oct 09 - 09:07 AM
Mr Happy 12 Oct 09 - 09:07 AM
quokka 12 Oct 09 - 09:09 AM
wysiwyg 12 Oct 09 - 09:09 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 Oct 09 - 09:12 AM
Jack Campin 12 Oct 09 - 09:24 AM
Bob the Postman 12 Oct 09 - 09:28 AM
Jack Campin 12 Oct 09 - 09:53 AM
Jack Blandiver 12 Oct 09 - 09:59 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 Oct 09 - 10:21 AM
Mr Happy 12 Oct 09 - 10:27 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 Oct 09 - 10:43 AM
Mr Happy 12 Oct 09 - 10:48 AM
Jack Campin 12 Oct 09 - 11:06 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Oct 09 - 11:13 AM
Mr Happy 12 Oct 09 - 11:19 AM
Jack Campin 12 Oct 09 - 11:27 AM
sian, west wales 12 Oct 09 - 11:52 AM
Bob the Postman 12 Oct 09 - 12:12 PM
Goose Gander 12 Oct 09 - 12:24 PM
Goose Gander 12 Oct 09 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,highlandman at work 12 Oct 09 - 12:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Oct 09 - 01:14 PM
Georgiansilver 12 Oct 09 - 01:51 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 Oct 09 - 02:19 PM
Georgiansilver 12 Oct 09 - 02:29 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 Oct 09 - 02:40 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 Oct 09 - 02:45 PM
glueman 12 Oct 09 - 03:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Oct 09 - 04:07 PM
Joe Offer 12 Oct 09 - 10:29 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 13 Oct 09 - 04:49 AM
Jack Campin 13 Oct 09 - 05:18 AM
theleveller 13 Oct 09 - 05:45 AM
Jack Blandiver 13 Oct 09 - 06:05 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 13 Oct 09 - 06:06 AM
Mr Happy 13 Oct 09 - 07:00 AM
Jack Blandiver 13 Oct 09 - 07:19 AM
IanC 13 Oct 09 - 07:32 AM
Jack Blandiver 13 Oct 09 - 08:25 AM
sian, west wales 13 Oct 09 - 02:12 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 07:53 AM

There are sometimes comments from Christians, and comments about Christians on this site. Often such discussions seem somewhat focused on a very limited and specific style of evangelical Christianity to be found primarily in America. On the 'Cat one might easily forget that there is a great variety of less forceful and arguably rather more interesting Christian denominations to be found globally.

Probably like very many people in the UK, I love dropping into local churches and churchyards, to check out the stained glass windows and sometimes even have a chat with the vicar about the history of oddeties sometimes to be discovered therein.

In Essex (of all places!) for example, there is the most amazing Greek Orthodox monastary with absolutely stunning iconography painted throughout the monastary, completely covering the walls and ceilings of the various buildings. It was an ongoing work undertaken by the Nuns and Monks themselves. When I visited for a tour with friends, we were welcomed by Nuns who's smiling eyes simply radiated the deepest love. It was quite amazing to see people so profoundly at peace, and so completely fulfilled by their calling.

Another very ancient local Church St. Peter's on the Wall was originally constructed as an Anglo-Celtic Church, and even now is home to delightful booklets about Celtic-Christianity, which appears to be gaining popularity in the UK once again.

There is also apparently a Coptic Church (Egyptian Christian) somewhere in the area, and once I discover it's whereabouts I'll be going to check it out.

The round Templar Church in London looks pretty intriguing, though I've yet to actually see it in person.

I'd be rather interested if anyone has had any experience of the Russian Orthodox Church? Or perhaps Santeria? Or indeed has any anecdotes relating to their experience of, or interest in the many fascinating and diverse expressions of Christianity to be found throughout the world.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 07:56 AM

Will there be a musical element?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 08:06 AM

Exactly, Me H. BS please...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 08:08 AM

If Moderators deem this an unsuitable subject for Folklore, I'm sure they'll reassign it to Bullshit.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 08:23 AM

Santeria is not really Christian, though it merges with Christianity. It has some neat music, as I found out when looking for YouTube videos on the guiro (it is commonly associated with the gods of Santeria and Candomble).

Probably the most remote version of Christianity still existing is the Yezidi faith. I was not very impressed with its music, but there's plenty of it on the web.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: beardedbruce
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 08:25 AM

There is an interesting Russian Orthodox church near the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia. It was for the workers on a ship being made for the Czar at the Navy Yard. ( The sister ship to the Aurora). My SO went to school with the wife of the priest there ( Parish preists are required to be married: How else can they give advice?)

Some incredible icons there.

There is also a significant Russian Orthodox community in Vineland, NJ. A large group of White Russians settled there after the War.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Azizi
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 08:29 AM

Crow Sister, I don't think that Santeria is a variation of Christianity although some people may be Christains and have Santeria beliefs.

See this excerpt from a Wikipedia page on Santeria:

"Santería is one of the syncretic religions. It is a system of beliefs that merge the Yoruba religion (brought to the New World by slaves imported to the Caribbean to work the sugar plantations) with Roman Catholic and Native American traditions.[2] These slaves carried with them various religious traditions, including a tradition of a trance for communicating with their ancestors and deities, animal sacrifice and the practice of sacred drumming.

In Cuba this religious tradition has evolved into what we now recognize as Santería. In 2001, there were an estimated 22,000 practitioners in the USA alone,[4] but the number may be higher as some practitioners may be reluctant to disclose their religion on a government census or to an academic researcher.


... in order to preserve their authentic ancestral and traditional beliefs, the Lukumi people had no choice but to disguise their orishas as Catholic saints. When the Roman Catholic slave owners observed Africans celebrating a Saint's Day, they were generally unaware that the slaves were actually worshiping their sacred orishas.[1] In Cuba today, the terms "saint" and "orisha" are sometimes used interchangeably.

The term Santería was originally a derisive term applied by the Spanish to mock followers' seeming overdevotion to the saints and their perceived neglect of God. It was later applied to the religion by others. This "veil" characterization of the relationship between Catholic saints and Cuban orisha, however, is somewhat undermined by the fact that the vast majority of santeros in Cuba today also consider themselves to be Catholics, have been baptized, and often require initiates to be baptized. Many hold separate rituals to honor the saints and orisha respectively, even though the disguise of Catholicism is no longer needed.

The traditional Lukumi religion and its Santería counterpart can be found in many parts of the world today, including but not limited to: the United States, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Panama, Nicaragua, Argentina, Colombia, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Great Britain, Canada, Venezuela, and other areas with large Latin American populations. A very similar religion called Candomblé is practiced in Brazil, which is home to a rich array of other Afro-American religions. This is now being referred to as "parallel religiosity"[5] since some believers worship the African variant that has no notion of a devil and no baptism or marriage and at the same time they belong to either Catholic churches or mainline Protestant churches, where these concepts exist."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santer%C3%ADa

[Italics were added by me for to highlight the comment.]


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 08:31 AM

Although personally not religious, I was very heartened some years back to hear in the local press that a derelict chapel in the grounds of a nearby cemetery was to be restored & used as a PoW for the Greek Orthodox community.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 08:35 AM

"Santeria is not really Christian"

Sure, it's a syncretic religion and not recognised by Rome. And yet I believe practitioners apparently will often refer to themselves as Roman Catholic?

I've been looking up Russian Orthodox music, it's got quite a gravity to it.. Male Choir of St. Petersburg


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 08:50 AM

I moved this thread to the non-music section, but I'm going to move it back. The folklore of religion is certainly a legitimate folklore topic, and it would be nice to explore that subject. I do think that the folklore of Catholic Christianity is one of the thinks I love about being Catholic. I usually don't feel comfortable discussing the folklore of faith with other Catholics, because they often think I'm trivializing the faith by viewing its folkloric aspect.
I was brought up with colorful legends of the saints, and I really loved those stories - even though I often didn't believe them completely. Then there were the fantastic "old nuns' tales" I heard in school - mostly "urban legends" having to do with the Eucharist and how it began to bleed or turn to flesh when desecrated or stolen. Icons and stained-glass windows tell wonderful stories, many legendary rather then factual. One could probably write a book on the folklore of the Rosary and its use by different ethnic groups.
In the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Basilica in Washington, DC, American Catholic ethnic groups erected dozens of different images of Mary, each according to the most depiction of Mary that group knew - Our Lady of Guadalupe for the Mexicans, the Black Madonna for the Poles, and so forth.
I hope this thread can truly be a discussion of the folklore of Christianity, not another argument about and against various churches and beliefs and practices. To that end, I will delete any messages that try to change this thread into another argument. Let's save this thread for folklore.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Azizi
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 08:50 AM

Not to long ago, in Mudcat thread terms, I started a thread on Black Church Services thread.cfm?threadid=117785

That thread presented some traditions related to Christian church services among Black Americans and some other Black people throughout the world. Among those traditions discussed (sometimes with links to YouTube videos) were the processional, women wearing hats in church or not; the meaning of red/pink or white carnations pinned on dresses/suits for Mother's Day, and call & response in Black Baptist preacher's sermons.

**

I think the topic of Black church tours should be part of this discussion of "varieties of Christianity". People who attend a church service to have a cultural experience should still be respectful of the people who are attending the church because of their beliefs.

With regard to that subject, see this excerpt from A Sin And A Shame: Soul Voyeurism* And Harlem "Gospel Tours" [Racialigious]
By Guest Contributor Fiqah; September 22nd, 2009

..."J. and I were seated in one of the balcony pews, along with several Italian tourists. European and Asian tour groups and buses are a common sight on Sundays in Harlem. As annoying and ubiquitous as they are, for the most part, church tourists are ignorable. Well, this group must have been especially rude, because several members of the group spent much of the service talking. Talking. In spite of being shot admonishing looks by several parishioners and being approached by one of the ushers, the conversation, though lowered to murmuring, continued. The only time it seemed to stop was when the choir led the church in a song, when the tourists watched the choir and the other attendees with that peculiar mixture of fascination, fear and envy that White people in spaces of color often seem to have. As they watched us, my friend and I watched them, swaying all wrong, clapping off beat and basically turning what was a joyful but sacred experience into a spectacle for their entertainment...

Later at brunch, we talked about what had gone down. Both of us had attended church in Harlem, so we both knew that the tour groups were common. It wasn't the first time we noticed tourists – whose presence alone is disruptive – acting out in Church. We had both also noticed that the groups seemed to be getting larger, testimony to the appeal of these tours for Asian and European tourists as well as to the drawing power of good gospel music. J. feels ambivalent about the gospel tours because as annoying as they are, no tour group member ever neglects the collection plate. My own feelings about them were firmly in the negative category. I couldn't quite put my finger on why I have such a visceral dislike of these gospel tours until today, when I decided to gather some information about them so that I could better understand their appeal. Here, an excerpt from an account by a White tourist from London** who went to a Harlem church specifically for the music:

"I meet Tim Rawlins at the Memorial Baptist church choir practise. He's rare proof of the fact that white men can sing gospel. He says I've got to surrender to the music – feel it – and forget I'm English."

That statement, which positively reeks of cultural fetishizing, gave me a headache. Forget you're "English" (read: White and proper) and "surrender" (is it attacking you?) to the wild, untamed Black Black Blackity Blackness of the music. Hallelujah, let the Othering begin"...

http://www.racialicious.com/2009/09/22/a-sin-and-a-shame-soul-voyeurism-and-harlem-%E2%80%9Cgospel-tours%E2%80%9D-racialigious/


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 09:00 AM

Miracle stories are another common folkloric aspect of Catholicism. While the Catholic Church may have put its seal of approval on some such events, Catholics are never required to believe in them. Last year, I went to the town of Santarem in Portugal, and visited the church where one of those "old nuns' tales" was supposed to have happened.
This Website (click) tells the story quite well:
    The story of the miracle centers on an early-13th-century woman with an unfaithful husband. Desperate to regain his faithfulness and save her marrige, she consulted a sorceress. The sorceress said she would cure the husband's infidelity for the price of a consecrated host (Eucharistic wafer). After much deliberation, the woman decided to commit the sacrilege.

    The next time she attended Mass at the 12th-century Church of St. Stephen, she took the consecrated wafer from her mouth, wrapped it in a veil and headed quickly for the door. But before she had taken more than a few steps, the host began to bleed. It bled so much that concerned parishioners thought she had cut her hand and attempted to help, but she ran out of the church.

    Back at home, she threw the bloody host in a trunk in her bedroom. Her husband did not come home until late, as usual. In the middle of the night, they were both awoken by a mysterious light emanating from the trunk. The woman confessed to her husband what she had done and they both knelt in repentance before the miracle. The next morning, the couple told the parish priest what had happened. The priest placed the miraculous host in a wax container and returned it to the Church of St. Stephen. Word spread quickly, and the townspeople hurried to the church to see the miracle.

    The next time the priest opened the tabernacle that contained the miraculous host, another miracle occurred! The wax container was found broken into pieces, and the host was enclosed in a crystal pyx. This pyx was placed in a silver monstrance, where it can be seen today.

    After an investigation, the Catholic Church approved the recognition of the miracle. The Church of St. Stephen was renamed the Church of the Holy Miracle, and it is one of Portugal's most-visited pilgrimage sites. St. Francis Xavier visited the Church of the Holy Miracle before setting off for missionary work in India.
Good story, isn't it?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 09:01 AM

Coo!

This thread's like a yo-yo!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Azizi
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 09:07 AM

For those who may be interested, here is one list of the African deities who were identified as Catholic saints (Other lists may differ in some regards from this one)


Eleggua / Elegua: Messenger, Opener of the Way, Trickster
Saint Simon Peter
San Martin (Caballero)
Saint Anthony (of Padua)
El Nino de Atocha
Saint Expedite
Saint Michael Archangel

Obatala / Obatalia: Father-Mother of Humanity, Bringer of Peace and Harmony
Our Lady of Mercy
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Yemaya / Yemalia / Yemalla: Spirit of Motherhood, the Ocean, and the Moon
Our Lady of Regla
Mary, Star of the Sea (Stella Maris)

Oya: Female Warrior, Spirit of Wind, Storm, Thunder, and Magic
Our Lady of Candelaria
Saint Catherine
Saint Theresa

Oshun / Ochum: Lady of Love, Beauty, and Sexuality, Spirit of Fresh Water
Our Lady of Caridad del Cobre (Our Mother of Charity)

Chango / Shango / Xango / Sango: Fourth King of the Yoruba, immortalized as Spirit of Thunder
Saint Barbara
Saint Jerome

Ogun / Ogum: Lord of Metals, Minerals, Tools, War, Birds, and Wild Beasts
Saint John the Baptist
Saint Anthony (of Padua)
Saint George
San Pedro (Saint Simon Peter)

Orula / Orunmila: Teacher, Prophet
Saint John the Evangelist taking Jesus down from cross

Babaluaye: Spirit of Disease and Sickness, also Provider of Money to the Poor
Saint Lazarus of Dives


http://www.luckymojo.com/sevenafricanpowers.html

[The African deities are posted in italics by me to help distinquish them from the list of Catholic saints.]


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 09:07 AM

Joking aside, I do agree, Joe, that religion, mostly the christian kind, features a lot in folksongs.

Many examples in Britain's, like Bold Fisherman, Bread & Fishes, Lord of the Dance etc


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: quokka
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 09:09 AM

Saw an fascinating documentary at a film festival earlier this year about the cult of Santa Muerte in Mexico en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Muerte


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 09:09 AM

In a word: the Shakers.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 09:12 AM

This was an interesting programme fronted by trendy hippy CofE Vicar Peter Jones: Around the World in 80 Faiths

He met this character 'Prophet Fred' who has with his own brand of peaceful Christianity 'The Church of Unity', helped to reconcile religious divisions between the Christianity rejecting John Frum Cult* and the Missionary imported Presbyterian Christianity, amongst his people, by drawing upon common traditions from the original indiginous faith.


* "The John Frum cult first emerged in Vanuatu in the 1930s, when the island was jointly ruled by Britain and France as the New Hebrides.
Villagers have lived peacefully with the cult for decades
Rebelling against the influence of Presbyterian missionaries, dozens of villages on Tanna put their faith in the shadowy figure of John Frum, variously described as either a real person or a spirit.
They believed he would drive out their colonial masters and re-establish their traditional ways.
There are now dozens of these so-called John Frum villages on Tanna.
The cult was reinforced during the Second World War, when the US military arrived with huge amounts of cargo, such as tanks, ships, weapons, medicine and food."

Beeb article: Culture Clash in the South Seas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 09:24 AM

There is a huge collection of stories like the one Joe quoted in the "Cantigas de Santa Maria", most of them set to music.

Greg Lindahl's Cantigas page

This one even works a mediaeval version of baseball into the miracle story:

Cantiga 42 with translation and images


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 09:28 AM

Further to Azizi 12 Oct 09 - 09:07 AM, I understand that in Brazil, Oya is also identified with St. Barbara because of their mutual association with lightning.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 09:53 AM

The link between Shango and St Barbara is interesting. In Renaissance Europe she became the patron saint of miners - as in the dedication of St Barbara's Cathedral in Kutna Hora near Prague, once of the wealthiest mining towns in Europe. But she only acquired this status after 1500, when gunpowder was adopted for mining. She isn't so much the patron saint of mining as of blasting. She seems to have been a thunder deity from the start. It isn't at all clear where she came from, though none of the competing suggestions puts her anywhere near the location of a Shango cult - the link must have been made later.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 09:59 AM

There is a huge collection of stories like the one Joe quoted in the "Cantigas de Santa Maria", most of them set to music.

I do a number of these as melodies, improvisations, songs and stories. A particular favourite is #159, Non Sofre Santa Maria which tells of a piece of stolen meat revealing itself through dance. I did an improvisation on the theme using my medieval bowed lyre (crwth / crowd) just last week for YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_t0Vm7Gjrs

Check it out; no words, alas, but the narrative is there in the music!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:21 AM

Cheers Joe, my opening post was rather muddled and undirected I know, but it was the heated stuff down below that specifically made me want to initiate a more open discussion about the great variety of different cultural manifestations of Christianity there is to be found out there - each with their own sacred art, music and stories. So much of which is both fascinating and awe inspiring, for both religious and non religious people alike.

I'm glad to see this thread remain above the line, rather than be resigned to down below..


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:27 AM

.........down below.. in the fires of hell & damnation!

We're all doooomed!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:43 AM

As for fires and damnation.. The imagery contained in the Lyke Wake Dirge sends me straight into the Mediaeval folk imagination, which forged that unique vision of an otherwordly landscape directly from the bleak Yorkshire moors local to them.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:48 AM

Who would true valour see,
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather
There쳌fs no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.

Whoso beset him round
With dismal stories
Do but themselves confound;
His strength the more is.
No lion can him fright,
He쳌fll with a giant fight,
He will have a right
To be a pilgrim.

Hobgoblin nor foul fiend
Can daunt his spirit,
He knows he at the end
Shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away,
He쳌fll fear not what men say,
He쳌fll labour night and day
To be a pilgrim.

John Bunyan, 1684


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 11:06 AM

Some people had first-hand experience of hellfire...

Kirkjubaejarklaustur

That page has a nice selection of different kinds of religious folklore, from Catholicized paganism to Protestant sermon-as-theatre. I particularly liked the idea of rehabilitating one of those nuns posthumously to fit the ideas of the Reformation.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 11:13 AM

I think there are lots of aspects of Christianity that fit in nicely with folklore. In the spirit of the thread it would be unfair to suggest it is ALL folklore and a great many adherants to the various faiths would be insulted if I were to suggest that it is! I hope other posters bear this in mind.

I was brought up Russian Orthodox, my grandfather being a priest of that faith. I was then converted to Catholicism for educational purposes and now profess no particular faith but for the one inside my head:-) I did, and still do, love the mysticism and symbolism though. I think the Catholic church lost a lot in modernisation. The Latin mass, the lighting of candles and ringing of bells, the priest doing something 'mysterious' away from the eyes of the congregation. It was all part of the magic of the liturgy. Forget everyone being involved and sharing the experience with the celebrant. Give me the icons, closed doors, incense and foreign chanting anytime. Whether you agreed with the faith or not, the That WAS a show to see!

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 11:19 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOhkMeV9P5Q


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 11:27 AM

.........down below.. in the fires of hell & damnation!
We're all doooomed!


I dunno, hell isn't that bad, is it?

Boccaccio: Putting the Devil in Hell


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: sian, west wales
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 11:52 AM

Just north of where I am is an old WW2 POW camp site, with a few of the tin sheds still standing. Henllan is the village and it's fairly well known locally for the shed that the Italian POWs turned into a Roman Catholic church. I haven't been to it myself (it is only occasionally open to the public) but I hear it's fantastic. Pity the linked article doesn't have colour photos.

We also have a Christian Orthodox Church in Wales based in Blaenau Ffestiniog and ministered to by Y Tad (Father) Deiniol. Coincidentally Father D is my god-kids' mother's cousin Roger. Funny old world. Anyway, they started out with a terrace house which they turned into a house of worship which was interesting enough to begin with. Can't imagine stepping through the front door and being in an Orthodox church! They've now bought a surplus-to-requirements Church in the town. I understand that they have a really really good choir; local people who aren't necessarily Orthodox in faith but get a kick out of singing the music.

Of course, in Wales you can't ramble across a field without falling down a Holy Well (very much like Cornwall in that regard) and Bardsey Island (Enlli in Welsh) is known as the Island of 20,000 Saints.

There are probably that many again who stayed on the mainland. I visited the church of Melangell this summer which was magical. The church's other claim to fame is that Nancy Richards (Telynores Maldwyn), one of the great sustainers of the Welsh triple harp is buried there.

As is well known, Wales took to non-Conformist and Methodist Protestantism with a vengence and Roman Catholics have, from time to time, had a pretty tough life. There are two or three religious songs that were collected (I think in the 1940s) from Myra Evans. They are particularly interesting because they were Roman Catholic and had not been sung publicly by the family for a couple of generations for fear of being thrown out of chapel. (So the family had become protestant at some point.) One of them - "Myn Mair" - has been recorded quite often and 'arranged' for choirs.

Just north of here, around Llanybydder and Alltyblaca, the Unitarians were a force to be reckoned with. I understand that a great great grandmother of mine (I might need another 'great' on that) was a key figure in establishing the Unitarians in North East Wales.    It didn't 'stick' in the family though; I guess I like my Christmasses and Easters too much ...

Oh ... and in a small side building in the chapel around the corner from me, here, is a pencil sketch of a dove hovering over an open book and radiating a sunbeam down on the book. This became the logo for the worldwide Methodist Connexion and is still seen in the crests of Methodist churches around the world. Huw Hughes, the artist, was the son-in-law of David Charles who was a great Welsh hymn writer (as was his son after him). And DC's brother was Thomas Charles who founded The Bible Society . Th.C was also involved in spiritually guiding one of the greatest Welsh hymnists of the 19th century, Ann Griffiths . My gran's cousin's grandaughter is married to the farmer at AG's old home, which is not far from Melangell's church, which brings me back to where I started.

Wales is like that.

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 12:12 PM

A variety of Christianity practised in my neighbourhood is that of the Doukhobors, a group formed to reform the religion as expressed by the Russian Orthodox church. Doukhobors are pacifists. I was privileged to hear a group of them--middle-aged to elderly men and women--farmers, housewives, and trades-people mostly--singing at the rally and march held here to protest the invasion of Afghanistan. Most of us at the rally were run-of-the-mill progressives, punk anarchists, and fifty-year-old hippies. To hear these very straight people whose great-grandparents had burned their muskets rather than serve in the Tsar's army and whose grandparents had wandered the world in search of a place to practice "toil and peaceful life" raising their voices against the wicked folly of war was profoundly moving.

The music of the Doukhobors is probably the most vigorous form of folk-culture alive in my neighbourhood.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Goose Gander
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 12:24 PM

Christianity is a remarkably diverse, global faith. It makes no sense to speak of Christianity in the abstract, any more than one can make blanket statements about Islam, Hinduism, or animistic religions. For an introduction to the subject, see the following:

Philip Jenkins. The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Oxford University Press: 2007)

Philip Jenkins. New Faces of Christianity (Oxford University Press: 2008)

Lammin Sanneh. Disciples of All Nations (Oxford University Press: 2007)

To get an idea of the diversity of beliefs and practices even among the very limited subset of (mainly) Protestant denominations in the Southern highlands, see the following:

Fred Brown, Jeanne McDonald. Serpent Handlers (John F. Blair Publishers: 2007)

Richard Callahan Jr. Work and Faith in the Kentucky Coal Fields (Indiana University Press: 2008)

Bill Leonard. Christianity in Appalachia: Profiles in Regional Diversity (University of Tennessee Press: 1999)

Howard Dorgan. In the Hands of a Happy God: The 'No Hellers' of Central Appalachia. (University of Tennessee Press: 1997)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Goose Gander
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 12:30 PM

". . . down below.. in the fires of hell & damnation! We're all doooomed!"

Talk to the 'No Hellers' about that, Mr. Happy.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 12:56 PM

One of the "varieties" that has fascinated me for a long time is that expressed in American Sacred Harp/Southern Harmony song. (Not folk music by some definitions, but close enough for me.)
Besides being just jam-up good music, a survey of the texts used will give you a pretty clear idea of a specific variety of Christian faith that thrived in the South and Appalachia (maybe still does).
There is a sense that life is hard, death and loss are always close, that the next life will bring final victory and comfort, etc... very like a lot of African American song and yet (as it should be) very different. If you're not familiar with it, check it out. Better yet, experience it in person if you can find a singin'.
-Glenn
side note to Azizi - yes I know there is a fair bit of borrowing back and forth, but I think you can still tell apart the two different traditions where they touch.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:14 PM

The ironic thing was that what get referred to as "Folk Masses", with strumming guitars and hymns to match, involve turning our back on the genuine folklore of traditional Catholic services.

In contrast there is the Taize liturgy, new, but growing out of tradition. For example.

And here's a splendid Slovak singing group at a Mass in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:51 PM

I do not believe there can be any 'varieties' of Christianity... inasmuch as a Christian is a follower of Christ... in a word a CHRISTian. To follow Christ means to follow the path He set and the words he uttered whilst living on Earth..... That means following the teachings of the Gospels and more specifically the words of Jesus Himself. Jesus is specific about what one has to do to become a disciple and about how to behave as one. Many Churches/denominations/sects put their own interpretation on these things but how to become a Christian, a disciple is specifically outlined in the Gospels....there is no other way!!!!
When a Christian has enough Faith to follow those things unswervingly, he/she has the Holy Spirit.. (the helper Jesus spoke about before his crucifiction) living within him/her to guide on the correct life path. Such a person has a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ who said that the only way to the Father is through Him.... so by the Holy Spirit... through Jesus Christ, to the Father God.........
Believe me, pre 1991, when I became Christian, I was the kind of guy you didn't want to mess with.... I fought, drank, smoked heavy, swore heavy, womanised.... was generally aggressive and not liked by most people who knew me.... Christianity changed me beyond belief... when people say a leopard can never change his spots as a suggestion that people basically cannot change the way they are.... I say that with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, anyone can change for the better.
It is not easy being a Christian as many people seem to find it fun to wind Christians up or provoke them... even ridicule them and eventually Christians will be persecuted to a much larger degree than they are now... but we have to live with that..... why do we do it??... all I can say is you would have to find that out for yourself as I can prove nothing to you.
I can only tell how I became Christian and let others decide for themselves.
If anyone is interested in my 'Testimony' then please take a look at my website at:-
My website... please read 'Mikes Testimony' and 'Mikes Healing' if you wish to
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 02:19 PM

OK, the OP was poorly phrased. But I'm not sure how it might be improved.

Maybe make that 'Diverse Cultural Expressions of Christianity', or something.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 02:29 PM

Crow Sister... I think your title was adequate to provoke discussion on the subject.... I was just making the point that a True Christian is one who takes certain steps and behaves in a particular way as a result of God/ Jesus/Holy Spirit.... not meaning to criticise your title.
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 02:40 PM

"CH 16 in the Book of Mark calls for Gods followers to handle serpents and drink poisons."
Snake Handlers of West Virginia


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 02:45 PM

O.K. GS

PS the Snake Handler YouTube was following up a post from Michael Morris above.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: glueman
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 03:47 PM

Interesting topic CS. Describing oneself as a Christian used to encompass a whole range of beliefs and very few, now it's shorthand for a Theo-Con reactionary impulse with intelligent design overtones which radical atheists delight in.

Religion lost the plot when it became a list of notions the devout had to assent to, rather than a way of living. The Orthodox tradition continues to provide some marvellous music.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 04:07 PM

now it's shorthand for a Theo-Con reactionary impulse...

Not in most places. The USA might feel like it's them whole world to some of its inhabitants, but it's only a part, and a very unusual part, for good and ill.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:29 PM

I like that "theo-con" term, Glueman. They may have tried to kick us liberals and other misfits out of Christianity and claim the name as their own, but they haven't succeeded. Our roots are deeper.

Since I retired in 1999, I've been on six trips to Catholic shrines in Europe, and it's been a rich experience - but not without a heavy does of tackiness. Last year, I went to Fatima in Portugal, where the Blessed Virgin supposedly appeared to three farm children in 1917, and where the sun supposedly danced before thousands who went to see the children seeing whatever they were seeing.

After Fatima, I went to Santiago de Compostela [St. James of the Field of Stars (Milky Way)]. The bones of St. James the apostle are supposedly buried there, and the custom is to go behind the altar and hug the golden, Buddha-like stature that contains the bones. James has come back to life a couple of times to win battles for Spain. Pilgrims have walked through France and Northern Spain to Santiago since 700 AD.

After that, I went along the Camino de Santiago by bus, and through the Pyrenees to Fatima where the Virgin appeared to a young girl in 1858. That story is more mystical and less fantastic, so it's a little harder for me to scoff at.

Oh and some of our group went through heavy traffic to see the "uncorrupted" dead body of some French saint, but I went to Versailles instead. I did see "The Holy Dexter," the undecayed right hand of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 04:49 AM

"Pilgrims have walked through France and Northern Spain to Santiago since 700 AD."

I'd like to do this hike myself one year: Camino de Santiago

Pilgrim songs can be highly evocative, bringing to mind the caravan of travellers who would use such celebratory songs to keep up both spirits and the pace of a long dusty journey. As SO'P mentions upthread, much humour to be found in the miraculous interventions they can depict. In A Madre do que a Bestia we have an elderly lady who entrusts the care of her lone sheep to a cunning shepherd who lies to her, telling her it was eaten by a wolf. The devout lady implores the Virgin to intervene on her behalf, which she does, making the sheep speak cry out saying "Here I Am!!". The version I have, sung by Belinda Sykes, is much funnier than the link - as she earnestly tells and sings it story fashion. The little sheeps cry comes out "Heeeeeaaaarrrr Ayyyeee Ahhhhhhmmmm".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 05:18 AM

The Camino de Santiago was surely originally just the road from wherever you were to Compostela - not just the bit in northern Spain. I've seen the scallop shell emblem of St James on an archway between two houses in Urfa, so I suppose that was on the route too, if you were starting somewhere in the Middle East.

Urfa itself has one of the most remarkable groupings of pilgrimage destinations anywhere: links to Abraham, Job, Moses and St Thomas. (I missed St Thomas when I was there, but I guess he must be an object of pilgrimage for South Indian Christians). The Moses connection seems a bit dubious.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: theleveller
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 05:45 AM

"The round Templar Church in London looks pretty intriguing, though I've yet to actually see it in person."

Around where I live in the East Riding of Yorkshire, the Templars were well-established, with several preceptories. Funnily enough, I have just finished reading a fascinating book in the subject. Nearby there were preceptories at Temple Hirst and Temple Newshan (the names are a give-away) and on the banks of the Humber, the little village of Faxfleet was once a large and bustling Templar port, though nothing now remains. There were other preceptories around York and into North Yorkshire. The only remaining evidence that I have found locally is on a couple of local churches in the form of the Templar cross carved into stonework and, on one, the eastern end is built in the typical circular shape.

One interesting legend concern the disappearance, literally overnight, of vast sums of gold and deeds and documents that were stored at Faxfleet, when the order was suppressed. I have been told that a secret Templar-based society still exists in the area and that clues to the whereabouts of the treasure are to be found in the surrounding landscape, but I doubt if there is any truth in that.

Unfortunately, I don't know of any musical connection but maybe I'll write a song about it on day.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 06:05 AM

Since I retired in 1999, I've been on six trips to Catholic shrines in Europe, and it's been a rich experience - but not without a heavy does of tackiness.

The BVM is still making monthly appearances in Medjugorje. I read Randall Sullivan's The Miracle Detectives a few years ago and found it deeply affecting. According to the UK Medjugorje Group Home Page, her last appearance was on 25th of September when she imparted the following:

Dear Children,
With joy, work persistently on your conversion. Offer all your joys and sorrows to my Immaculate Heart that I may lead you all to my most beloved Son, so that you may find joy in His Heart. I am with you to instruct you and to lead you towards eternity. Thank you for responding to my call.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 06:06 AM

"They may have tried to kick us liberals and other misfits out of Christianity and claim the name as their own,"

I recently discovered down below, that there's actually a conservative rewrite of aspects of the new testament that are deemed too 'liberal'! Whatever debatable issues there may be concerning the history of the organised Church, there has ever been a comfort and hope to be found in the teachings of JC for the poor, the oppressed, the broken and dispossessed* (a comfort that I'd never ridicule or dismiss). The attempted exorcism of these politically inconvenient 'liberal' Christian teachings - which are so crucial to whatever peace, anchorage or comfort the dispossessed find in Christianity - I find deeply repugnant and ethically corrupt. But I guess it's not exactly a brand new phenomenon.

Anyway - sorry if this is veering too far into dodgy areas....




*The first thirty seconds of this song, recorded from the singing of an anonymous homeless man, illustrates the point. Though IMO the remainder is pure schmaltz.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Mr Happy
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 07:00 AM

Hell & Damnation courtesy Hieronymous Bosch's 'The Garden of Earthly Delights' triptych, 'The Last Judgement' triptych, the 'Paradise and Hell' triptych and 'The Temptation of St Anthony' triptych.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bSZslEDUl0

Lots biblical references!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 07:19 AM

I recently discovered down below, that there's actually a conservative rewrite of aspects of the new testament that are deemed too 'liberal'!

The Eye of a Needle is interesting in Christian folklore, with many so-called Christians believing their man was referring to a narrow passageway in Jerusalem called The Eye of the Needle, which it might be difficult to get a camel down, but not altogether impossible. Of course no such passageway ever existed, and JC was nailing a rather inconvenient truth for the wealthy consistent with the rest of his teachings.

Seems we might therefore dub these Conservative Christian Revisionists Burn Again Christians.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: IanC
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 07:32 AM

Sometimes worth reading things in a wider context ...

24 "Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved?" 26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 08:25 AM

The wider context notwithstanding it's nevertheless intriguing to ponder why it was felt necessary to fabricate the myth of The Eye of the Needle as being a low, or narrow, gateway along which camels passed with difficulty*. This isn't, after all, a discussion of theology, rather of folklore, although in essence I dare say the two aren't that dissimilar.

S O'P

* There's an interesting piece on it Here.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Varieties of Christianity
From: sian, west wales
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 02:12 PM

In terms of interesting architecture, anyone planning to be in South East Wales should take a look at St Teilo's Church which has been reconstructed at the Welsh History Museum (a.k.a. St Fagan's Folk Museum). It had been left to rot on the flood plain of the Llwchwr river (where the M4 crosses it) but someone realized there were medieval wall paintings under the flaking plaster. As you can see in the photos, the church is fantastic now. We forget how bright - even garish by our standards - the painting of the time was.

By the way, Joe, three trips to Bardsey Island (above) or two to St Davids in Pembrokeshire equal one pilgrimage to Rome! Good luck trying to make the 3 to Bardsey though - terribly rough crossing!

Oh, and if you're looking for interesting denominational practices, have a listed to the Baptists of Pembrokeshire and their canu pwnc - literally, 'singing the topic'. They chant whole chapters of the Bible in a special convocation once a year. Not sure how many still do it, but I think there are one or two meetings each spring.

sian


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