Tuesday, December 18, 2007

From the Princeton Seminary Application

In one paragraph, comment on a book, issue or theological idea that has engaged your attention recently.

I figure I'll be doing better if I can try this out before I send it to them - you'll probably get another one for the long essay, and another for the other short essay, but let's start where we are, shall we?

I recently picked up a text called "An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility" by Martin Luther. Having never before read Luther, I wasn't sure what to expect. I found his style confrontational, his points aggressive, and his position unshakeable. I was most struck, first, by his deep-seated anger at the Pope. I wouldn't characterize most of what he writes as a personal attack, but rather fury at the misuse of the Papal office. I noticed, then, that many of the proposals he made in the first treatise are now institutions of Protestant Christianity. Through consistent logic and thoughtful belief, one man was able to deeply affect Christian thinking. Finally, though, I was struck by the depth of his concern for Christians - going so far as to discourage pilgrimages, on the grounds that people should be invested in their own neighbours. Knowing more of the history of the church, and of one man's passion for the members of the body of Christ, helps me to see what I can do

Please, folks - comment. I need advices on this more than I was expecting.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Conversatio: Cantus Incantabans

A draft section from A Pilgrims' Congress

Then, as I was walking, a man joined my road. We greeted one another - I told him my name, and he said that his name was Cantus Incantabans. He asked me where I was going, and I told him of my quest to find the foundation stone. He looked shocked and said:

"My dear boy, that's the very object of my travels! I hear that the road to it is this very path, and that to find that stone we must walk the path to its end!"

Naturally I was very pleased to find another traveller of my persuasion, and we talked for a time of our trials and the views of the road. He was very dry, and we laughed ourselves sick at the folly of my countrymen.

Wiping my eyes from tears of laughter, I asked him, "Well then, what of you? What manner of house will you build on this cornerstone of ours?"

He looked very surprised, and not a little ashamed. "Well, now...there's an assumption there that need not be made. Why should I need to build the thing? No, it's best..."

Here he trailed off, for my incredulity could scarce have been more clear had I cursed him for a fool, then and there. "Don't act so surprised," he said. "What need should there be of a house itself? The foundation is enough for me."

"Enough?" said I. "What is this stone of which you speak, so worthy of a grand edifice, that shall have none upon it? Why, then, do you seek it?"

Said he, "I would simply that I knew it to be there, to have that comfort in my life. To have it to rely on."

I shook my head at this, and was about to grant him the benefit of his opinion when he said, "If I were you, I should do the same. There's no need to muck about with all this tedious construction of yours. Let us simply find the thing, and have done."

I rounded on him, and faced him as a man. "You fool," said I, "you know not what you say. I take the journey to find the stone to build the house. I should not be other than I am if I failed in any part. Get yourself from me - I will have no more to do with you."

And so I left him standing on the road like a landed fish, gaping after me and moving his mouth in consternation. I, though, proceeded upon my way, fuming at the lazy believer as I passed.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Death by hilarity

This site, which is now on my awesome list, pointed me here.

2: Not to be read with a full bladder.

You have been warned.

In other news - seminary looks to be an impending disaster - the theological sword of Damocles. If any of the two people who read this have any advice on ille, I would appreciate hearing it. The good news is that the theological bent of this thing won't be going anywhere. Politics, academics, yes - theology until my dying breath.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Today I won life. Like all good games, you want to keep playing after you "win," and so the game becomes a series of victories, but today was clearly game point to the Good guys in the old tennis match of Humanism versus Christianity. The score stands, as it has for some time, at Humanism - 1,343,789,021, Christianity - ∞ .

I've been working for about a month on energy and economics. It seemed to me that there the problem lies, and that if we could solve the problems of energy and economics - the gathering of energy and the distribution of energy benefits - we could cinch the whole thing up tight! No one is hungry - no one wants - all is available - all is well.

Of course, to put that together, every human being would have to contribute to energy gathering and energy distribution - a sort of communism, if you will. Which happens to require universal participation.

This typically initiates my "gnash" reflex, but for some reason today...I just realized that it isn't going to work. All the effort and expense and Brownian motion of mankind - it's not efficient enough. The goal of humanism, futurism, communism, etc., is a closed system. The perpetual motion machine, perfectly efficient. And all these little "ism"s claim to be a path to a Perpetual Motion Mankind, provided everyone pulls together and puts their back into it.

Ben Bova, in his book Mars, talks about thermodynamics in a lovely homespun way. "You can't win, you can't break even, and you can't get out of the game." And where two or three humans are gathered for any reason, there is disagreement. Which then magnifies into dischord and strife. War. So, all the isms are fundamentally flawed - too much grit in the works, too much friction in the universe.

What we need, then, I reasoned, is something to believe in, a solution, which doesn't require universal human participation. Something that get us through the grinding ill, but doesn't need everyone's signature.

I started off pointing to religions in general - the Barkeep most rightly pointed out that Judaism and Islam may be exempted, the one promising reward only to a chosen people, the other's utopia requiring the religious conquest of the world. But, of the big five, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism all have that vast uncaring about what others do.

In essence, as I told the Barkeep, I needed to remind myself that I was a Christian first and a humanist second. I have a lot of good humanist stuff - I like what we're about. But Christ is the centre. There can be no other path.

So, Sugarbutt! That for your futurism! Let's watch, and see who wins.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We live in a phenomenal world...

Yeah we do. Yeah we do.

I've been developing the language and the thought about this, ably assisted by the Barkeep and Sugarbutt (my shoulder angel and atheist, respectively), and it's time to take another stab at a theology of the phenomenal.

We live in a physical world. If you fail existentialism and accept some of the more obvious assumptions that we can make about living on earth (everyone else exists, everything we can experience with the senses is, to a greater or lesser extent, real, etc.), then you've got a nice duality of choices about the rest. Deity or not? Created or cosmic accident? Spiritual, inexplicable, mysterious, or methodical, predictable, Newtonian? Chaos and determinism on both sides of the crater, lava below, survival above.

But on either side of that question, and in every flavor of the middle, the world is standing there, staring you in the face, trying to get your attention. Every time I try to come up with an example of this, it sounds so banal, but think for a minute about trees. What? Why on God's/chaos'/Darwin's blue earth should there be life at all? Why should some of it grow tall, and somewhat hard? Leaves, bark, what's that all about? Burn it or build a bungalow, wood is bizarre.

And it's all like that! Bugs, electricity, humans (especially humans), we're all wired to simultaneously accept all this stuff that's in our faces on a daily basis, because it's always been there, but it's weird! It's weird just by being there, and whether it was adapted to fit us, or we to fit it, we live in a world to which we're ideally suited. The phenomena of our material universe, of which we are admittedly one of the strangest instances of the class, cry out to be acknowledged. This is smelling the roses on speed - take a moment and wonder that there are roses at all!

This is just a part of a larger idea - I'm still working on the unifying theme, but trust me when I say that levelling the accusation at the universe that it should be other than it is isn't helpful - the universe we have is a wonder, full of tragedy, triumph, and beauty. And it will be so, whatever the fate of mankind may be.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Only So Much Foucault

I want to talk to you today about torture.

There's quite a bit of hullabaloo regarding torture in the news today, and there has been for some time. Any reasonable, liberally-minded individual living in America must be disgusted by images such as those out of Abu Ghraib, or any other vision of torment and inflicted pain.

And I am.

Why, then, can an evangelical, an avowed Christian, and this nation's spiritual and moral leader condone the torture, interrogation, and the privation of human rights that "enemy combatants" endure in our present conflict?

And I think I understand.

It is not the role of the President to be nice. It was not Secretary Rumsfeld's job to be popular. In both cases, the job is to protect and pursue American interests at home and abroad. I say that, knowing full well that right now, not so very far from where I am sitting, individuals could be tortured for information in pursuit of this war.

The problem is that that information may be vital to the national security. And Messrs. Bush, Cheney, et al., and Mme. Rice, believe it to be true.

And I don't have a problem with that.

Al Qaeda will have (has had) no objections, on a moral level, to torturing, maiming, and beheading innocents and journalists, as well as our combatants. It is asked, why should we treat them any better, and as an American citizen, my answer must be, we can't. This isn't that kind of war. For the safety of our children, we must take radical, unprecedented, unfortunate steps.

And I don't have a (big) problem with that.

Are you ready for the turn? Because here it is. The current administration is doing what they think is right and necessary, and they will continue to do so, and it is right that they do.

But I will call, after the end of the administration, for an investigation into the acts of the administration. At the end of the war, I want to know what happened during the war. And those who committed crimes should be brought to justice for them.

As he's walking out of the White House, take all of President Bush's files, and find out who did what. Take them to trial. Let them be held accountable by US law.

Because that's the thing that must make us different from Islamic extremists. And from Communist guerillas. And from every other force for murder and torture in this world. We live under the rule of law - it is for that we fight. I can allow for the use of extreme force in the face of extremism. But I cannot condone its going unpunished.

I see a human intelligence operative in the streets of Moscow. He has a job, and he does it cleanly, and effectively. There's a silencer, a dark alley, an unfound murder, unanswered questions, and American lives are saved. It's vile and reprehensible, but for the state, it must be done.

And on the day that the USSR fell, I see him going to his local police department, or that of the Soviet Union, and turning himself in. I see this in my mind, and I cannot smile. It isn't a good. But it is there, and it is better than the alternative.

This has happened but two times that I know of, that a man guilty of crimes undertaken on behalf of his own nation was willingly and legally punished. Both were honest men; both did what they thought was right; both paid for it with their lives.

But even having escaped judgment in this life, I know that President Bush, in his own heart and mind, will have to square every act of torture, every death he undertook, with his own God. And that may be the greatest punishment that could be devised for a man of conscience.

And that I can ride with.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Erro, errare, erravi, erratus

This will not be the best-connected post in the history of blog.

I have an awful lot of tags. I felt bad about this until I realized that I had an awful lot of things I talked about. I consider eclecticism no more a sin then asceticism, and so, will carry on ballooning the wealth of tags at my disposal.

At some point I would like to re-do the style sheet for this page, and that may well be today. I like this initial style, but everyone does have it, and over-familiarity (as well you all know) breeds despite.

I understand more fully now than ever before in my life the scourge of poverty. It's not bad because some people have plenty and some live in want. That's a good objective measure for poverty, but I think JK Rowling says it best.
Probably the very best thing my earnings have given me, though, is absence of worry. I have not forgotten what it feels like to worry whether you'll have enough money to pay the bills. Not to have to think about that any more is the biggest luxury in the world.
I think one could extend that even further for true poverty. If you want to talk about the great tragedy of being poor (whose depths I have not nearly plumbed, and hope to avoid), I suspect that it is, above all, that of wasted potential. Surviving does not permit for thought beyond oneself and loved ones. Living lets you think about the plight of the world. When I worry about my job in a few weeks, and about what I shall eat and where I shall sleep (and yes, I am trying to keep Christ's words in front of me. What I wear is a matter of some indifference to me - food is rather a more important consideration), I cannot divide myself away from my immediate circle. Me, Penelope, the Barkeep, Sugarbutt, the Alchemist, the Hero and a few others I can consider and work with/for...everyone else seems to fall by the wayside. I wonder if, in Africa and Southeast Asia, in South America, if the social problems stem from that narrowness of circle, the refusal to open up to those outside, because of the need to survive.

It's not fully developed, I know, and me talking about poverty is Solomon bemoaning penury to a Nigerian slum-dweller. I will not swear, but I would that I could, if not redress the balance, than at least find a method for every person to live, truly live, rather than just survive. I think that life in Christ must be a part of that, but even Christ fed his people. When did Christ take an offering? Christ gave an offering, was an offering.

Now I have visions of being a pastor, of distributing bread, and meat, and water to all who come and ask, every Sunday, before worship. A glorious hope.

So. I have wandered a bit, as well I should from time to time. I'll be in touch.


Monday, August 6, 2007


We should all be unsettled every once in a while. We should read something that throws us for a loop. If not, why bother? Why assault the world?
And I quote:
The most that religion can accomplish is to provide a crutch for the weak or lazy-minded to absolve guilt or to negate inquiry, and to serve as justification for the exercise of baser instincts like aggression, territoriality, ethnic cleansing, bigotry, or sociopathic perversions.
I think that of the many flaws here, the one that jumps out most is the complete misunderstanding of a) absolution and b) Christ. Has our author (about whose anonymity I should be angrier, I think), ever read a gospel? Any gospel, I don't care which. I do not find my Christian walk a justification for the exercise of ANY of those things - in fact, I find in the words of the Savior condemnation for them all.
And further:

Christians absolve themselves of guilt by proclaiming that their God was a man in mortal form who died for the "sins of humanity." This is all well and good, but what exactly are the sins of humanity?

Christianity does not examine what the sins are, choosing to ignore them. But having had Christ die to have these vaguely defined sins forgiven, Christians have continued to wage war on both humanity and nature for two thousand years. Christianity brilliantly fabricated a belief system to forgive all transgressions thereby absolving the human conscience of blame for tribalistic expansion. The genocide of the American Indian was justified and rationalized because these were unbelievers who had sinned by not believing in a Middle Eastern thunder god.

Our author has clearly never met a Catholic. Yes. Absolutely. I find myself examining (and confessing) my own sins on a daily basis, including and especially my sins against my planet, and my fellow Earthlings. I bring me to mind an episode of South Park when everyone claims responsibility for the actions of a few.
My real problem: I am a Christian humanist. I believe in the positive power of mankind. I believe that we can make a difference, to one another and to the world. We can only do that, however, when we recognize our hunger for the infinite. The author accuses religion of failure, because we try to describe the infinite in terms of the finite. Yet, she/he/it hopes that we will tap into that very same infinite for a religion of peace and harmony with life. We cannot escape the infinite - it will hunt us down. Better to claim the infinite as what it truly is - a Creator and giver of love, as unlike a man as can be while still being the font of love, than think of life, the tiniest mass of the tiniest mass of a single planet, as the be-all and end-all of the universe.
So, dear readers; love your planet - love your God. Love each other. The hour is coming when we will need each other as we need to breathe.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Driving yesterday, I saw a cloud in the shape of the figure of an eighteenth century man - think the fim version of the Scarlet Pimpernel, or any French Revolution film, holding out his hand to a lady while dancing. The image was more vivid and lovely than I can describe to you.

Now, I've gone to school long enough to tell you that that's not really what was there. There was a nebula of water vapor attached to dust which was being struck by sunlight in a random pattern which happened to resemble this French fop to me. And, once more, I was made aware that this debate has gone on forever, between the phenomenal and the noumenal - in other words, that the scientific reality and the mental imagery are two different things. Of course, I favor the latter, being a poet and theologian. I want to say, and to believe, that I saw a man there because God wanted me to.

I think what struck me most particularly in this case was that from that angle, at that time, that shape existed. Just as, at this moment, from this angle, whatever the arrangement of atoms and particles on the screen, I am reading words. The underlying chaos of the universe doesn't, in my mind, preclude the reality of the either the phenomenal or the noumenal.

I regret that this point doesn't have as much point as some prior ones. It was tighter when I first saw it. I suppose I'll close with this: Next time you see a whale in the sky, or a star destroyer, or just a plain ol' Cowboy, let it make you feel. That, at least in part, is what life is about.

Oh, and a shout out to Penelope. Welcome to the blog. =)

mood: ring
album: WoW soundtrack

Friday, July 27, 2007

Postgap and ecclesiology

So it's been plenty long since last I posted. Thought this would end up being one thing - I failed, signally. Maybe now that it's not a class assignment I"ll actually work it from time to time.

Anyway, I just got into a good one with Sister Mary [who is peacing (peaceing? Blasted made-up words) for points Southwest tomorrow] and had one thought re: transubstantiation that I wanted to share with the vulgar.

"I think we're getting bogged down in what's dragging Sugarbutt through the mire, and maybe that's a mistake of my phrasing. What concerns me is less what is right, and more what is true. With transubstantiation, that's probably as true as anything. The difference between "it's a symbol" and "it's the physical thing" is less important to me than the truth that in the participation in the Eucharist, we are truly eating Christ's flesh, drinking Christ's blood. Any Protestant who tries to shy away from the reality of eating and drinking Christ by hiding behind "it's a symbol" is blaspheming, to my mind - the purpose of the symbol is to make the object truer than it could ever be in reality. From a scientific standpoint, though there's a lot of allowance I can make for miracles, it's tough for me to reconcile a physical transubstantiation. That said, I believe that, whatever the physical nature of the thing in my mouth, I am truly eating the flesh, drinking the blood of Christ.
Apply as needed - I think the church is, in truth, more united than people have ever known, could ever know. I think the words of Augustine echo with me as truly as those of Calvin. Right and wrong are, as you say the concepts of legality. It's possible to be wrong and untrue, but it's also possible to be wrong and true, by any measurable standard - see miracles."

So that's a chunk of recent thought. In coming weeks, perhaps, a theology of the physical, long-running enough now to be my problem of the year.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Reason concerning the being

See, now this I can get behind, as much as I can, in good conscience support any logos on the existence of God. Wasn't feeling the cosmological, but although I've heard them both before, I just feel the ontological more.

My one problem with Plantigna (sp? It's downstairs) is that the idea that if something is impossible in one universe, it must be impossible in all universes. You guys don't understand from universes, I think. You philosophers, me (that's in the vocative), have no problem with a universe which lacks gravity, electromagnetism, space-time, whatever, but propose for a fraction of a second a non-causal, illogical universe, and you all flip out. Philosophers, and (to a lesser degree) theologians, beware! Lest God should smite you for your hubris in setting up a false idol, called Logos.

This, of course, relates to Sugarbutt, who has decided that it is more important to have logic than to have God. I can't really fault that, as long as you realize that in some ways, you are merely replacing God with logic. Oh, that plus it makes you a godless heathen.

Class twice today...that's going to be darned exciting. Oh, well. Little nap 'ere that begins.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


My head spinneth, having been moved by an unmoved mover. I read the Anselm because, you know, I was interested, and...why not?

It's interesting to me that the proposition seems to hang on the issue of things being impossible. This leads to this leads to this which can't be true - it's obviously impossible. We seem to set about saying that the root of all philosophy is in eliminating contradictions.

I'm not saying that contradictions are necessarily good, but I'm not saying they're necessarily bad, either.

"And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare,"


"I hate and I love - why I cannot say.
But it is so, and I am in torment."

That's human life - there are contradictions, paradoxes, things that don't make sense. I understand the philosophical drive to combat contradiction and impossibility, but every once in a while, I suspect that a logical impossibility captures the essence of a thing much better than any book of sensical descriptions ever could.

Which may, of course, be why I believe in God. God is not a good explanation for the contradictions, and He contradicts a good few things by his existence, but He does say: mystery is necessary and good. Theologize, but don't get so caught up in thinking about Me that you forget what you and I are up to. We have work to do, you see.

And I'm down with that.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Veritas non posse scire

So this is my elemental criticism of Martin, that he thinks it's possible to understand unknowable truth in logical terms. I was reading, there, thinking that he might endeavor next to explain Shakespeare or Coleridge in logical terms. It's worth our while, certainly, to try and interpret poetry, and religious experience. I would be beyond foolish to deny it.

But he accuses mystics of attempting to explain the ineffable, and calls their definitions and distinctions internally inconsistent, if not paradoxical and contradictory

My skills at simile fail me entirely! It's...it's explaining purple to the blind, explicating the clarinet to the deaf! Brain surgery!

The reality we're endeavoring to discuss is clearly not the reality with which we deal on a daily basis. There is no reason why it should necessarily play by our rules, by any stretch of the imagination. There's no reason why it shouldn't, either, which is his purpose in his negative principle of credulity, but just because our language and thought are presented with a universe we can't explain is no reason to stop trying.

My favorite accusation, and I use that word with care, is when he goes after mystics for saying something can't be explained, and then trying so to explain.

He's missing, of course, the human drive to try. Just because something is indefinable doesn't absolve us of the responsibility to make the attempt. Those of us blessed with religious experience and with liberal arts educations should endeavor to give every account that we can, until reason breaks down and faith alone remains.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't always be trying to reason further, but a world entirely run on logos ends with the darkest visions of Huxley, Orwell, Bradbury and Plato (if you don't think Republic is Dystopian literature, you need to take a careful re-examination of your life).
You need mythos, and philos, and eros, and all those messy human desires, emotions and stories for mankind to maintain its humanity.

Bah! Silly people with your desire for a fully explicable universe!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Troubling reading, very troubling. I like much about it - I'm very inclined to agree, at least that there has historically been a progression of moral and ethical development. Moses knew more than Abraham - Jesus knew more than Moses. This is the only explanation for the "change" in the character of the Deity from the Old to the New Testament (or the only explanation I'm willing to accept, perhaps).

My problem with't is twofold. I have trouble chucking the Fall with the ease of Iranaeus and guy (guy's name escapes me). It's very textual, and it's a significantly better explanation for the existence of Satan than the (non-)explanation that is offered. Satan (and the Fall) are in the text...this thing isn't in the originals, as Iranaeus thought it was, and text, even if it tells us things implicitly, is still the source of Christian faith. I have to hunt a bit, before I can give that any credence.

I'm also inclined to agree that his vision requires global salvation. Again, there are some pretty firm textual precedents to say that this couldn't be true, at least from a classical Christian perspective. Thick and troubling, in truth.

That said...it's appealing. I'd like to think that all are saved, and have no real emotion one way or the other as regards the Fall...just pretty standard textual uneasiness. We'll keep wrestling, but I don't think my answer lies here.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Why they gots to be after my God?

So, not the same evening. I lied.

Then shining Siderus, the man of bronze,
Replied in cold, metallic, winged words.
"Imagine, then, this justice for our God:
That he should for one soul this ill create.
We know the long-lost lightborne star to be
An angel fallen, once-knight of the Throne.
On seventh day, he faces all that is,
The scope of grand creation, shining suns,
Aetherial voids and wide, terrestial orbs,
All things most worthy of his praise and awe.
But in his heart he finds a deeper space,
A vacuum where the Word of God is null.
Thus Satan, questing in unfriendly dark,
Found in himself unLove, unLife, unGod.
This done, he turned his aspect from the Throne.
Th'eternal Deity, though, struck accord,
That th'Accuser, as he now was styled,
Should have his chance to prove the worth of ill.

That's all I have for this, and I'm not sure yet if I will maintain the perspective. I like it from a story perspective (it may well remain in the Epic. Incidentally, the poetry you've reading is from a work-in-progress called Dux Argens, the Silver Duke. Who knew my epic would end up this didactic? That said, this piece is from a book, yet unnumbered, which may contain the Pilgrim's Congress), but I'm not positive that it's my final solution - I think there's something more to be said. We'll track it down yet.

It's an odd confluence, but what do you say to a man who desires that you should abandon the things you hold dearest, and believe with greatest hope? Who would have you give up faith? I can accept with equanimity the failure of his belief - I can even applaud his conviction. But I cannot be what he wants me to be, believe what he wants me to believe, even as I face the questions that concern him most in this course.

All that said, I'm sure I'll find an answer - else what am I here for?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Responding to Augustine - the beast defeated

…within his grasp, the hated creature’s head.
This loathsome load he cast before the throne,
Availing heart and soul of burd’ning words.
“You kings and princes, ministers of worlds,
Look well upon this shattered, bestial cap,
And speak to me of evil’s whelming floods.
I have beheld the weary eyes of sin,
Have gazed on fuming demons and their looks,
But stand here, bold, triumphant ‘gainst their wiles,
Not through my petty strengths, but God’s own will.
Yet still you ask how God could make such pain.
I claim to you the victory of love;
I sing the triumph of my mighty Lord.
For love’s sake will I grant the mystery,
For love alone can make life’s tortures joy.”
The kings and princes, ministers of worlds
Looked down on hated foe, defeated, pale,
With all the chit’nous beetles shine and hate,
Withdrawing, then, they whispered Argent’s fate.

This I wrote just after reading an excerpt of St. Augustine's Confessions. I have been (and am still) arguing with a friend regarding the existence of God (this post goes out to you, Sugarbutt). He has a fair point, that the logic must drive us towards the non-existence of God in the face of evil. I, however, am, in the face of that traitorous lady, logic, still opposed.

It seems to me that for the sake of love, which I accept as the very highest of naturae (essences), and which is, in its essence, mysterious, we must be willing to accept a little mystery in our universe. I believe in the love of a deity for his people. That love is a mystery. Why there is evil in the creation of a loving God must also be a mystery - else coldest logic wins and heaven is dead.

More to come - probably this evening.