Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Random tidbits from England

I’ve come across two churches that have stained glass of Madonna and Child front and center over the altar. One was St. Mary the Less in Cambridge. The other was some medieval glass here in Oxford, I forget where. (Yes, I’ve been seeing that many chapels and churches.)

Although, I don’t want to be an iconoclast and smash some glass, especially if it’s pre-19th century, I feel very uncomfortable with putting Mary front and center. Christ and Christ alone should be front and center. Statues of or shines to Mary on the side don’t bother me although that’s not my inclination. But putting her front and center is going too far.

And I’m very confident she would agree.

The quality of the vocals from the best choristers at the college chapels is amazing. At some services this trip, I’ve sat close enough that I can pick out individual voices, and . . . wow. Last night, I sat across the aisle from a New College chorister. His voice was amazing, with great range. And I don’t think he was one of the older ones, either. If there were a CD of just him singing, I’d buy it in a second.

Speaking of which, I’ve been buying more CDs than books. And as heavy as my suitcases are getting, that’s probably a good thing.

The iconoclasts in English history would go nuts here in Oxford. Not just Magdalen, but also New College literally have walls of statues for their east walls. You can tell that was done after the 17th century!

I’m really missing not having wireless in the hotel room. And I won’t have any until I stay in London beginning Wednesday next week. Among other things, that isolates me more than I like.

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