Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pimp My Liturgy - 04 (Special Incense Edition - 1)

The 'Botafumeiro Incense Swing' for Evangelicals

While holy incense is not big in the Evangelical movement, my hope is that this post, and the next, will recover something of this wonderful high church tradition for my fellow evangelical brethren. I was inspired watching the following video of the famous 'Botafumeiro Incense Swing' in Spain:

One of the commentators on this video on Youtube, a DavidGPardue, says:

'The Botafumeiro knocked the priest who caught it on his rear end in 2004 ... I saw it happen. That censer is dangerous, hot and heavy — it is made from solid sterling silver. He did not seem hurt when he got up'.

Right. Nothing like risking life and limb for a bit of jolly good Botafumeiro swinging. It is, after all, in the service of the Lord.

Wikipedia reveals that there is quite a history of Botafumeiro accidents:

'There have been a number of accidents that occurred during the swinging of the Botafumeiro over the years. Apparently at one time, the Botafumeiro was attached to the rope with a hook which sometimes became disconnected. One of the most renowned accidents took place during a visit of Princess Catherine of Aragon. She was on a journey to marry the heir to the English throne in 1499 and stopped by the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. While it was being swung, the Botafumeiro flew out of the cathedral through the Platerias high window. No one was reported to have been injured on this occasion. The ropes and other devices securing the Botafumeiro have also failed on May 23rd, 1622, and more recently in 1925 and July of 1937 ... [when] hot coals were spilled on the ground'.

Now, time to get the calculator out for some maths. A bit of internet research informs me that the Botafumeiro reaches speeds of an astonishing 105 mph (or 47 m/s). Remembering Newton's laws, at an astonishing weight of 160 kilograms this means that a Botafumeiro in the face might lose you your ... face. And head, along with everything attached to it. Still, it would at least decorate the church walls in an interesting hint of brain. But we can be much more precise:

Let's ask some sensible questions. How far would an unlucky worshiper be propelled were the Botafumeiro to connect with his centre of gravity? The momentum (mass x velocity) of the Botafumeiro comes to roughly 7520Ns at maximum speed. As force x time = momentum, a half second contact with the thurible would exert 3760 Newtons of force on the churchgoer. Remembering that v = u + at and F = ma, we can work a few more matters out. If this hapless worshipper was a rather sturdy adult male, weighing approximately 90 kg (or 200 pounds), then he would be accelerated, by the Botafumeiro, at 41.7 meters per second per second.

Let's assume this man was stationary, kneeling during prayer, when it hit. This would mean a contact of half a second would set the man flying at a velocity of 20.88 m/s (that is almost 50 mph. 0-50 mph in half a second!). Which further means that our praying saint would travel a clean 100 meters in just 4.8 seconds! ("Dear God, draw me closer to youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu")

It would probably be worth keeping your eyes open during prayer times in this church.

I wonder how many 200 lbs choir singers it would take to stop our smoking Botafumeiro, in 2 seconds? I leave that for our resident scientists to work out, but I'm guessing that it would need to plough through a row of quite a few 200 pound men in order to reach a state of rest. That would probably wipe out an entire choir.

Hang on, on second thoughts it is quite simple, isn’t it? Think of Newton’s Pendulum. In order to bring the thurible to a stop, you would need 160 kg of men (or two 176.4 lbs men). They would of course themeselves fly off at 41.7 meters per second per second, and traverse (in a vacuum) the length of two football pitches (about 230 meters) in about 4 seconds.

Wiki continues: 'It costs about 250€ for each thurible "performance" at the cathedral ... The Botafumeiro produces large volumes of smoke. This is in accord with the well-known saying in religious circles, "More incense, less nonsense."'

Indeed, it is all about the smoke, as we shall see in Pimp My Liturgy - 05 (Special Incense Edition - 2).

To learn how to swing the Botafumeiro, do check out this great interactive flash animation.

So, Evangelical community, why not consider introducing the Botafumeiro Swing into your churches. Think what fun it would be to have a speeding 160kg mass of potentially murderous and heavy, scorching hot metal fly around your Sunday services, dispensing enough incense to get all the smoke detectors within a 1 mile radius beeping. Surely revival would quickly follow.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pimp My Liturgy - 03

It is time to turn to from the Dead Sea Scrolls to that related of Christian denominations, the Southern Baptists.

Many at the grass roots of the Southern Baptist movement are not, I am led to believe, the most ecumenical of Christ's flock. Especially when it comes to Catholics. Added to that, the Southern Baptists are also not too hot when it comes to liturgy. So, instead of pimping their own liturgy, I thought I would simply write a pre-pimped liturgical chant with which to greet Catholics during any so-called 'ecumenical gatherings'

i. to be chanted repeatedly in a Death Metal kind of way, but also said in love.
ii. To the tune of 'He's got the whole world in his hands'

"Don't look at me like that
you scabby little phallus,
Or I'll rip off your Catholic head
and play glockenspiel with your ecumenical frontal lobes

See that dog poo lying on the floor over there?
That's your room temperature IQ mum that is.
Your theology looks like it fell out of the ugly tree
and hit every heresy on the way down


In the comments, one wise soul pointed out that I should have made so much more of this liturgical nugget had I given more effort to the form of the text when chanted to the tune of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands". Below is the new text, for those who don't want to attempt the "loving death metal version":

To the Tune of "He's got the whole world in his hands"

“Don't look at me like that (you scabby little phallus)
I'll rip your head right off (you scabby little phallus)
And I'll play glockenspiel (you scabby little phallus)
with your ecumenical frontal lobes!

See that sloppy dog poo? (that's yo mama)
with room temperature IQ (that's yo mama)
theology fell out the ugly tree (like yo mama)
and hit every heresy on the way down.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pimp My Liturgy - 02

Yes, I know. Too much time on my hands.

But this second instalment of Pimp My Liturgy focuses, as did the previous, on the Dead Sea Scrolls. There is so much boring shite in those scrolls, they need my help, believe me.

However, today will also throw into the mix that peculiar and silly NT philosophical faddism that denies the significance of authorial intent (I'm imagining certain rabid NT scholars punching desks, crying that we have documents, not authors). Against all that claptrap, cf. P Esler's treatment of authorial intent in his New Testament Theology: Communion and Community, and Max Turner's article in Between Two Horizon's. But assuming the anti-authorial-intent twaddle for a moment, today I will pimp: 4Q503 (4QDaily Prayers^a).

The original fragments (11 vv 1-3; 13-16 vv 3-7) to be pimped run as follows:

"1. [...] ... Blank [...] 2. [The twel]fth of the month, in the evening, [they shall bless ...] 3. [...] ... And we, his holy people, exult this night [...]; [... the lig]ht of day [...] 4. [... Blessed be] your [na]me, God of Israel, in a[ll...] 5. [...] Blank [...] 6-7. [...] ... [...]"

(The [...] and ... refer to illegible or lost text. Text within [] is a restoration of sometimes minimally preserved text)

I wouldn't want to try and reconstruct authorial intent here, obviously. We have documents, not authors. So I thought I'd pimp this old liturgical nugget with plain old tongue speaking – so this is really one for charismatic brothers and sisters.

To be sung to the tune of 'You can't touch this' by MC Hammer (one should also preferably wear enormous trousers for this rendition):

"1. Kiwiminebananana, Bananananana
Blank kiwiwiwbenenene
2. The twelfth of the month, in the evening, they shall bless Banananananana
3. alalalalblalala brrrrzipweepop And we, his holy people, exult this night kiwiminebananana the light of day kiwiminebananana
4. Blessed be your name, God of Israel, in all kiwiminebananana
5. kiwiminebananana
6-7 kiwiminebultmanndidnthaveacluebanananakiwiminebananana"


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pimp my Liturgy - 01

It was a dusty, hot day when, in 1947, a group of Arab Bedouin shepherds stumbled upon a long forgotten cave – filled with ancient scrolls and artefacts. What they found is considered by many as the greatest archaeological discovery of the last hundred or so years. A few years later, even more caves were found, bringing even more scrolls to light. Included in them were many deeply religious and inspiring liturgical texts, including liturgical calendars, hymns and poems.

So, today's Pimp my Liturgy will start off with a sensitive new rendition of 11Q6 (11QPs^b - click here for the original):

"Surely a Maggot"

- to be sung to the tune of Old MacDonald Had a Farm

"Surely a maggot cannot praise thee e-i-e-i-o
nor a grave worm recount thy loving-kindness e-i-e-i-o
With a wriggly maggot here and grave worm there
Here a wriggle there a wriggle
Everywhere are wriggles

But the living they can praise thee e-i-e-i-o
even those who stumble can laud thee e-i-e-i-o
With a living person here and a backslider there
Here a stumble there a stumble,
Everywhere are stumbles

In the Rule of Community there are sons of light e-i-e-i-o
and on top of that even more sons of darkness e-i-e-i-o,
With a evil person here and a good person there,
Here a goody there a bady
Everywhere are badies

And in these communities there are appointed times e-i-e-i-o
And rules for dipping and washing and crapping e-i-e-i-o
With a splash splash here and a chant chant there
Here a belly flop there a splash
Everywhere an appointed time

Surely a maggot cannot praise thee e-i-e-i-oooooooo"