Sunday, June 03, 2007

Speaker's Corner, Evensong at St. Paul's

We had stake conference on Sunday. The main chunk of the meeting was a broadcast from Salt Lake City. President Hinckley, Elder Eyring, Sister Dalton, and a couple members of the Seventy spoke. It was fun to hear President Hinckley talk about his time in London.

President Hinckley mentioned his days as a missionary preaching at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park, and we were in the Hyde Park Chapel, so we walked over through Hyde Park after the meeting and listened to some people at Speaker's Corner. There were six or seven people speaking at any one time. A few were there the whole time, but others came and went. There was a crazy toothless guy who had a sign that said "open forum", a woman preaching about God (but against religion), a Muslim guy, a guy from the Socialist Party, a really judgmental "Christian" guy who told a bunch of Muslims that their god was a devil, an environmentalist guy (in short shorts), and a guy with a cowboy hat and a sign that said he would debate any of ten widely varying topics. Crowds around speakers fluctuated from between zero and 50 people. Some speakers stood on boxes or stools; others just stayed on the ground.

Jeffrey (one of the guys in our study abroad group) debated point #4 from the list of ten topics that the cowboy hat guy had. The point was that "faith is knowing that something isn't true and believing it anyway". Because the cowboy hat guy had control of the debate, Jeffrey had a hard time getting his point across and "lost". I thought it was interesting that the guy was actually arguing a different point than he had written on his sign: he was arguing that faith is not knowing that something isn't true and yet believing it; his sign said that faith is knowing that something is not true and yet believing it. Oh well. Contentious debates are pretty pointless.

Later in the afternoon we went to Evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral. The building, especially its famous dome, is pretty amazing. I really enjoyed the service there. The acoustics were really echoy, so it was a little hard to understand at at times, but it wasn't too bad since I had a printed program that spelled out the words to all of the songs. The choir at St. Paul's was better than the others I've heard.

The sermon that the (once again, woman) priest gave was very good--better than most sacrament meeting talks in my church. I guess that's what happens when you have a professional, trained clergy. She talked about how we in the world make up gods unto our own image instead of being humble and worshiping the true God.


Unknown said...

Wow! President Hinckley came!? That's awesome!

Bruce said...

Um, no. I think you missed the second sentence:

"The main chunk of the meeting was a broadcast from Salt Lake City."