Every now and then on the podcast, I’ll mention something called a “monstrance.” It’s a glass case that holds a consecrated host so that parishioners can see it during a particular type of service. I was recently reminded by this article that (at least in the High Anglican church) this service is called Benediction, and that even though it’s a bit of a weird service, so are most other services if you think deep enough about it.
After a week or so, term started, and Choral Evensong began. I remembered seeing a fancy and quite old-fashioned thing that looked vaguely like a worship service in the film Shadowlands, Richard Attenborough’s biopic of Lewis. I was blown away to discover that this thing was on offer outside my doorstep every night of the week. I never missed it.
But there was one service, also in our college chapel, that took some time for me to attempt attending: Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Not technically reading, but I was recently introduced to a series of animated videos by Zee Bashew called The Animated Spellbook. In this series, Zee talks about various spells and gaming stories for a minute or two, accompanied by their glorious animations. This might be a good way to help newcomers to the hobby really get into the way D&D 5E can work mechanically if they want to play a spellcaster, but the spells look a little daunting. The whole series is fantastic, but this video in particular really made my day.
Also not technically reading (though the video itself does contain a lot of text) but a great watch: how to make a “hard magic” system, and what “hard magic” actually is. Be warned, some of the video is from the anime Fullmetal Alchemist, which is a bit gory and thus probably NSFW. But none of the audio is, so if you can’t watch for whatever reason, the video is still understandable just by listening to it.
The Christian Century has a really fascinating article on Judaism, Christianity, and how they’ve both spread through Africa that’s worth a read.
Practices drawn from the Hebrew Bible are not new to the continent. Seeking full conversion to rabbinic Judaism is.
If you’ve been following me on social media lately, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a big fan of Prevail II, the latest album from Kobra and the Lotus. One of the things that makes that album so appealing to me is the lyrics – and while I don’t think Kobra Paige is religious at all, a lot of the songs she writes relate to matters of faith and/or the struggle for virtue. I suspect the latter is intentional. The jury’s out on the former. In any case, it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that I enjoyed an interview Psychology Today did with her.
More, as we become enveloped in a cycle of self-criticism and people pleasing, we inadvertently become less available to be empathic towards others. Worse, we may inadvertently expect others to ignore their true selves in order to please us. The result is not genuine connection, but rather a fear-based system where everyone involved is hiding who they are and feeling lonely, misunderstood and disconnected.
Finally, Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire released on Tuesday. I was a backer of the game, so predictably, I’ve been playing it, and I’m enjoying it so far. If you’re curious about whether you’d enjoy it or not, here’s a pretty positive review from Andy Kelly at PC gamer, and a more reserved review-in-progress from John Walker over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun. I’d consider both to be reliable sources, so if you’re on the fence, reading both should give you a pretty good sense of whether you’d like the game or not.