12 Steps recovery – What higher power?

12 steps

The original 12 steps recovery programme is still used by AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). Many alcoholics have a hard time admitting that they can’t control their alcohol use. If they believe that they are unable to stop on their own, AA say the recovery process can begin. There is a big idea they promote. Most of … Continue reading 12 Steps recovery – What higher power?

Fidelio: A Critic’s Disappointment.

Fidelio

Welsh National Opera Production

Hippodrome Theatre Birmingham 12/11/10

Future performances will be at Llandudno, Southampton, and Oxford.

At the outset I’ve got to say the other night’s performance of the opera Fidelio by Beethoven in Birmingham was a disappointment for me. This despite the inspirational nature of the music as a rousing, triumphant affirmation of the belief that the most important human qualities – love, courage and kindness – can exist in even the most inhuman of conditions. It is a story about a woman who disguises herself as a man working in a prison in order to save her husband who is languishing there through no fault of his own.

There were both tender intimate scenes and highly charged choruses. However, the emotional impact of the performance on me was lacking. The singing was first class and the soloists in particular deserve admiration given the great vocal skill and endurance demanded of them by the score. But to my mind the acting of the performers seemed wooden. What little movement on the stage seemed to happen in slow motion.

The Five Ages

Swedenborg’s View of Spiritual History

Extracts from Emanuel Swedenborg with commentary by P L Johnson. Swedenborg Society, 2008; ISBN 978-0-85448-154-5; xv + 243 pp; £11.95 + p&p.

This intriguing book is a selection of quotations from Swedenborg’s writings that relate to his view of different spiritual ages of the world in human history. In bringing together this material, nowhere found in one place in Swedenborg’s voluminous writings, Patrick Johnson has provided a useful service. His added comments are helpful in giving continuity and relevant recent historical knowledge, as well as some of his own suggestions.

Swedenborg can give us little guidance on dating these past ages, for his account is derived from an interpretation of the Bible as to its religious meaning. Despite this, The Five Ages shows how current ways of speaking might relate to both ecclesiastical terminology and biblical figures and events. The claim is that this holistic approach helps us to understand mankind’s psycho-spiritual development across different epochs, despite