The Centre Cannot Hold; but All Shall be Well

Turning and turning in the widening gyre 
The falcon cannot hear the falconer; 
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; 
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, 
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere 
The ceremony of innocence is drowned; 
The best lack all conviction, while the worst 
Are full of passionate intensity. 

Surely some revelation is at hand; 
Surely the Second Coming is at hand. 
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out 
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi 
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert 
A shape with lion body and the head of a man, 
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, 
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it 
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. 
The darkness drops again; but now I know 
That twenty centuries of stony sleep 
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, 
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, 
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? 

That bit of Yeats pretty well sums up my feelings this morning, both as to where our 
countries are going and my personal life as well, which perhaps means I take current events 
too seriously. But I detect that same near despair in many of my friends. Many of them 
continue to fight and speak for the right, often getting at best, no response, and often a 
kick in the teeth for their trouble. Still, it’s what one does, if one has our temperament.

Is it possible to win this war against the allies of liberal progressive ( I struck that out 
because there is nothing liberal about them), the so-called media, and Islam (or Islamic 
terrorism, if you prefer)?

Sure it is possible, but it is about as likely as that the British Empire would hold on 
between Dunkirk and Pearl Harbor. In other words, yes, it's posssible, if we act with 
determination and steadfast will. Is it likely? 

I have no clue. But I notice that as I go on, my spirits begin to flag, as they do in 
others. Not all, of course, and for me, it is a lessening of intensity, a spiritual 
tiredness, and others keep me on track, as I hope I too do others. 

But it is going to be long war. But I do believe in the long run it is our war to win 
or lose. 
And perhaps Elliot is the truer poet. One prays so.

 If you came this way,
Taking the route you would be likely to take
From the place you would be likely to come from,
If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges
White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.
It would be the same at the end of the journey,
If you came at night like a broken king,
If you came by day not knowing what you came for,
It would be the same, when you leave the rough road
And turn behind the pig-sty to the dull facade
And the tombstone. And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment. There are other places
Which also are the world's end, some at the sea jaws,
Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city—
But this is the nearest, in place and time,
Now and in England.

 If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England and nowhere. Never and always.

As Mother Julian reminds us -

“In my folly, before this time I often wondered why, by the great foreseeing wisdom of God, 
the onset of sin was not prevented: for then, I thought, all should have been well. 
This impulse [of thought] was much to be avoided, but nevertheless I mourned and sorrowed 
because of it, without reason and discretion.

“But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that is needed by me, answered with these 
words and said: ‘It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all 
shall be well,and all manner of thing shall be well.'
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About NEO
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49 Responses to The Centre Cannot Hold; but All Shall be Well

  1. Surely poetry is the place that we can go to read and express our deepest thoughts and even needs, and much of the Bible and Holy Scripture is poetic in nature, but it goes further as God”s Revelation Itself…God’s Heart & Mind! And it is here that I personally have found the Psalms and the Psalter, to be my favorite expressions of God’s depth & doctrine, especially as to His Person!

    ‘Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.
    Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
    If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
    But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
    I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
    My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more that they that watch for the morning.
    Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
    And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.’ – Psalm 130

    *This of course is the sixth of seven penitential Psalms: Pss. 6;32;38;51;102;143

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      And very well chosen! I got to tell somebody, I just bought an 1865 combined Bible and Prayer book, printed by Oxford in London. Can’t wit till it shows up! 🙂

      Like

      • Oh so sweet NEO! Now your really after it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Indeed! Hurt the wallet a bit, but it’s gorgeous, even to look at, let alone read. 🙂

          Like

        • When it hurts the wallet, especially for a British book, it must be nice! I don’t even want to think of how much I have paid for all my books over the years! One London Book Shop made money off me alone!

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Could have been worse, I was looking at a 1780 Bible and a 1666 Book of Common Prayer but just couldn’t quite swing it, but this is solid in its binding, which helps keep it so.

          Yeah, I could spend several fortunes, and never regret it.

          Like

        • Btw, I dub thee, Sir NEO, now a true devout British type soul! 😉 (But you already had all that in you for sure!)

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Hey, my second knighthood. I’ve been one of Jess’ Knight Attendant for years, with her favor on my sleeve. A nice addition.

          Yep, I have. I took a quiz a few years ago about something or other British, they sen I should take the corgies back in the Palace. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • And yes, I bow to Blessed Jessica, after all she is Welsh! I am just an old Irish Brit, from the lanes of the lowly places of the Scots-Irish. My great gram was born in Scotland, though raised fully in Ireland.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Well, I agree, although she’s a farmer’s daughter, but a very good one. 🙂

          Like

        • Though born in Dublin itself/myself, we lived kind of near the Dublin mountains, and I used to go to the dairy at least weekly. I used to buy and drink whole milk, given to me by the hands of a wee lass dairy farmer. Indeed one of my first heart-throb’s! Oh my, sweet and honest memories!

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Sounds like good times to me! 🙂

          last I heard, Jess still misses the sheep.

          Like

        • Well surely tell Jessica (if possible) that we miss her here! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Of course, if I get the chance! 🙂

          Like

      • And it must include something of the Book of Common Prayer, if not all of it to some degree?

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          All of it, which is what sold me, I’ve wanted a paper copy for years. I think, although not sure that the Psalter is separated out as well.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Just a guess, but I bet the whole Psalter will be there?

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Think so, but there weren’t all that many pictures, but I would think so as well.

          Like

        • Btw, I have not a few copies of the old BCP myself! The 1662 is my favorite! 😉 I have one that has Bishop Wescott signed name in it! Yes, a treasure for this old Anglican!

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          I doubt it’ll be my last, either. I have the 1928 on my computer, but need to get away from the machine some, I think.

          Those two are the best of the language when combined with Old Wil, in my opinion, at least.

          Like

        • Yes, I have the 1928 BCP too (Seabury Press)! Which I believe is an American Version? It also has The Hymnal in it!

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Mine is, I doubt they were much different, mine is just the BCP, but it’s a PDF download, if I remember. Hymnals are on my list, but it’ll have to wait for a bit. The Methodist one I have is fine, but neither CofE nor Lutheran, and I want both.

          Like

        • I have a treasure in my hands… an American Methodist Social Hymn Book, dated 1856 (before the American Civil War): Tract Society Of The Methodist Episcopal Church, 200 Mulberry Sreet. 377 pages (Light Brown Book). And I actually somehow got this in London? In the 1980’s as I remember? It’s in very good shape, and I have it covered in lite book plastic. Indeed the Wesley brothers were always really Anglicans!

          *I have been thinking about giving this book to some American Methodist group? But, will care about the content is my question? I love the Wesley Hymns! (Undoctored)

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          So do I, but I fear the Methodists today have mostly become happy-clappy pseudo-Christians. But maybe you can find one, or maybe some. Mine’s a 1964, so it’s still pretty good, but not as good as yours, I’ll bet.

          Like

        • *Street

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO: Yes, its rather hard now to find a “biblical” Methodist, at least fully so these days? Indeed so many liberals there! Someone gave a new version of a Wesley Study Bible, and I gave it away…rather quickly, after reading some of the notes! And I do have my share of older Wesley Sermons and books, etc. One of my favorite Wesley theological books, is by a Norwegian born Methodist: Ole E. Borgen, an Abingdon book, 1972 hardback: John Wesley on the Sacraments, A Theological Study, 307 dense pages, with footnotes, and loaded with Wesley Hymns.. A great book, by an old school Methodist! (Now long gone I am sure!)

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Yes, and likely rolling in his grave. Norwegian Methodist are fairly rare, of course conservative Norwegian Lutherans are as well.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Here is the Wiki on Ole Borgen…

          Ole Edvard Borgen (8 November 1925 – 24 March 2009) was a Norwegian theologian and Methodist bishop.

          He was born in Lillestrøm as a son of meat merchant Omar Emil Borgen (1900–1985) and Harda Pytte (1901–1989), and older brother of Peder Borgen. In June 1949 he married Martha Olava Rygge (1928–2003).[1]

          He attended Tomb Agricultural School from 1944 to 1946, and also completed an apprenticeship in sausage making, intent to take over his father’s store and the family farm. He was elected to Lillestrøm city council, serving from 1950 to 1956. Besides that, the entire family adhered to the Methodist creed, and in 1956 Borgen travelled to the United States to study different subjects. From 1959 to 1962 he was a choir leader and pastor for youths in Edgemont Baptist Church, Durham, and from 1963 he was a pastor at West Side Avenue Methodist Church in Jersey City. In 1968 he took his doctorate at Drew University with the thesis John Wesley on the Sacraments. A Theological Study.[1][2]

          He had then been stationed in Stockholm since 1966, as an aide to the Methodist bishop to the Nordic countries, Odd Hagen. After a spell as secretary at the Methodist World Council office in Geneva, Borgen served as the Methodist bishop to the Nordic countries from 1970 to 1989. He was a delegate to the World Council of Churches and became president of the Council of Methodist Bishops, as the first non-American. He rounded off his career as a professor of systematic theology at Asbury Theological Seminary from 1989 to 1992.[1]

          He died in March 2009 in Lørenskog.[1]

          He was old school Methodist all the way! RIP!

          Btw just a note from my own reading, but surely both John and Charles Wesley were very much affected by Martin Luther’s Reformational teaching! And even some of John Calvin’s on Justification by Faith and Regeneration. Both were simply but profoundly old school Evangelical’s, the like of which we have not seen in some time today!

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          I always thought so, but kind of hard to tell, old school Lutheranism and old school Anglicanism are nearly twin sisters, anyway.

          Like

        • That’s a good call! Old school Lutheran, and old school Anglican…very close! Btw, Luther did NOT follow Melanchthon on the doctrine of so-called free-will, he (Luther) called it “bound-choice”! See the great debate between Luther and Erasmus on the battle over Free Will! I have a 2012 book on the subject: Erasmus and Luther, The Battle over Free Will, (355 pages with Index).

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Yeah, I haven’t sorted it out but there are differences, Melanchthon changed some after Luther died, if I remember, not always for the best in my recollection.

          Like

        • On some theological subjects Melanchthon was very good, but on this subject Melanchthon appeared to move closer back to Erasmus, and surely after Luther died. And too Calvin took him to task here also. As you perhaps know the Lutheran Church has now, and for sometime, has its own position here on Free Will and Predestination. Which to my mind, is NOT Luther’s! But, it is a very hard and theological subject. I am myself more of a Neo-Calvinist as a classic type Anglican, but I usually get hammered by my modern Calvinist friends for NOT being a so-called Classic Calvinist, but that’s fine. I am closer to Calvin rather than Calvinism, at least in the modern sense and version, TULIP, etc. And I will always argue that Calvin himself did not teach a Limited Atonement, but the view that the Atonement was “Sufficient” for all men/people, but only Efficient, or “efficacious” for the Election of Grace! So the Atonement for Calvin was a general Atonement in some sense, at least as vicarious, for others. When we proclaim John 3: 16, WE don’t know who the “whosoever’s” are, only GOD knows! The great question we all have to ask ourselves, is… am I one of Christ’s? I’m I regenerate, and do I live in the fullness of Christ’s Death & Resurrection, and Ascended Life, only from here can I receive my assurance of my salvation, i.e. the Election of Grace! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Yep, somebody said that if we get to heaven we’re going to be surprised who is there and who is not. A good rule to live by.

          Like

        • Wow. we covered some ground today! Now that I know your Anglican friendly and are getting a real copy of the BCP! I am of course just kidding some! But, we have moved closer to my mind! I even have my own version of some High Church articles or issues also! But, that’s another day! 😉 Keeping The Faith is actually fun! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Yep, I am, surprised you didn’t know, although the Episcopalians today, not so much. That we did. I’ve long said that I could live with the 39 Articles just as easily as Luther’s Catechism.

          It is, leads to some good discussion! 🙂

          Like

        • Yes, the Thirty-Nine Articles, are solid biblically! And I have several of the classic books on the Thirty-Nine Articles, Gibson’s (1896), Bicknell (1919), but I believe my favorite is the Anglican Evangelical, W.H. Griffith Thomas’s: The Principles Of Theology, An Introduction To The Thirty-Nine Articles, (1930). As someone has said, “it is almost an Anglican Encyclopaedia”! With the BCP, here we have everything with our open Bible! 🙂

          Btw, what is an “Episcopalian” anyway? Of course I jest, there are only Anglican’s in my world!

          Enjoy your new “combined Bible and Prayer book” when you get it! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Very much so. Not sure they know, either. I fully intend to! 🙂

          Like

        • And as to Luther, I believe I have mentioned this classic book before: ‘Luther, Man between God and the Devil’, by Heiko Oberman, (the English version is Yale University Press, 1989, 380 pages with Index). And yes, I have a English First here, just one of the very best Luther books I have ever read! It is now out in paperback too.

          And Oberman is actually Reformed, but he writes wonderfully in this his best book I believe! He passed in 2001, a great historian of the Reformation.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          He needed a good one, I think. Lots of dross floating about.

          Like

        • Oberman has another very good book also: The Two Reformations… edited by Donald Weinstein, a few years after Oberman died. Also Yale University, 2003. Three chapters alone on Luther! Oberman’s last Reformation collection! No junk here!

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          I’ll keep it in mind, as well.

          Like

    • And yes here I quoted the KJV, it was the British standard for many years! 🙂 I am NOT myself even close to a KJV only guy, but the cadence is most beautiful, especially in the Psalms!

      Liked by 1 person

      • NEO says:

        Nor am I, but mostly. The language is so beautiful. Archaic even when written, but designed to be spoken.

        Like

        • Indeed! As an Anglican rector, I almost exclusively use the KJV at funerals, of course Psalm 23 and the Lord’s Prayer! Just of late, I was asked to read the whole of John chapter 17 in the KJV at a devout Christian’s funeral.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Yep, that’s quite a reading, not that I blame him.

          Like

  2. Btw too, let me share a quote from another one of my favorite Christians and “theolog’s”: ‘There are, then a great number of truths both in faith and morals which seem to conflict, but which hold together in an astonishing order. All heresies spring from the exclusion of some of these truths. The ground of our objection to any heresy is its ignoring of some of our truths. Men fail to imagine any relation between two opposing truths and so they assume that to state one is to deny the other.” (Pascal’s Pensee 861)

    I really love Blaise Pascal myself, what a mind and faith he had! He was simply but profoundly one of a kind!

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      That he was!

      Like

  3. the unit says:

    NEO and Fr. Robert. I’ve enjoyed reading your comments this afternoon and evening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Thanks, Unit! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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