A metaphor for modern church life. Standing on a tightrope between two differing positions, playing a sensitive intrument on one leg.

I popped in to Oxford because it’s on the way to Coventry. Also, I quite like The place. I attended a lecture series at Jesus College on Mysticism and Epistemology (AKA Spirituality and knowledge) about 6 years ago. Not everyones cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it at the time.
For those who haven’t been here before, The city is kind of jambed into the university itself. 

The uni is based on a collegiate system. A person might study at Oxford University, but in reality they enrol and study at a particular college, and there are plenty to be had. Each college has it’s own faculty and is self governing. They all teach similar courses, but you would probably choose a college with the tutors you most want. They also have very different budgets or endowments

Magdelene College is a little over the top though – it’s all about the bell tower – it’s big. 

Jesus College is a tad more subtle. No impressive bell tower, but it has a very big door. Despite the name, there’s not much in the way of reference to Jesus anywhere in the facility. Paintings of Queens and Kings  line the walls, but the motto, which should be impressive, seems to be the same as every other college, “Keep off the grass”.

The students are just returning for the new year, all wear black suits with gowns in the middle of summer. Yet with a name like Jesus College you’d expect Albs and sandals, but not at Oxford. Which begs the contextual question, if Jesus had turned up to Oxford, what would he wear. Something to ponder. 
I did note that most colleges have military style parapets on the towers and walls. I’m not sure whether they are there for architectural reasons, or for battle? I suspect the latter. I can imagine theological, philosophical and political rivalry got out of hand on occasion. Especially between Jesus, Trinity and Magdalene colleges. 

Because the city is so academic, even the headstones of dead people are testimony to the intellectual rigour of the place. I want one in Latin too.

There are people from every part of the world here. It’s busy, colourful, thoughtful and has the best bookshops I have been to in a while. 


4 thoughts on “Oxford

  1. I feel quite envious reading about all the wonderful places your seeing! I always wondered how Oxford woeked…I didn’t know that the colleges were all separate entities…what a lot of admin that must take! And why do they have to wear black suits & gowns?
    But mostly I love your discription of the modern church – snigger.

    Oh and the other day when were in bath…you should have surprised those Pride & Prejudice people and quoted chunks of the book / movie at them ….bet they don’t all watch the movie each summer holiday eh?

    Keep the stories coming…they’re sooo good!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. @Melinda, the colleges are separate but it’s not as independent as you might think. You actually enrol with the university, and the university faculties establish the syllabus for each course (not the colleges). Then you are assigned to a college (you can express a preference), and much of your student life is within that college. But colleges can arrange tutorials for students at other colleges, and the various faculties have facilities and course delivery that happens somewhat outside the college system. And there are some university-wide facilities such as the Bodleian library.


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