Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Oddities 2) Winnie the Pooh

So many of my old newspaper cuttings are dated and in a way this one is, because it was written about the church denominational scene in the 1970's. Christopher Idle, one of the Church of England's prolific hymn writers at that time examined: The Theology of Winnie the Pooh.  

I see that a new Winnie the Pooh story collection is to be released shortly to celebrate the bear's 95th. anniversary so why not mention this cutting. I realize that for some readers these book characters may be hazy in memories at best.  But I chuckled as I read this. 

Idle explained that each of A.A. Milne's famous characters had denominational identities. He had no doubts that Rabbit is a Baptist.  Unlike the Pentecostal Tigger, Rabbit neither bounces people into the river nor speaks strange tongues -' Worraworraworraworraworra'.  Nor does Rabbit mother everyone like Catholic Kanga with her liturgically repetitive offspring Roo.  

Rabbit is not so high-flown as Owl, but earthed in the world. He does not need such learned language as his Reformed and Presbyterian friend.   Nor is he so easily excited with Methodist Piglet's enthusiasm.  While serious in an 18th century way, Rabbit cannot retain the gloominess of Eeyore, who know no denominational label but is found in all of them.  Above all he is is not Winnie the Pooh. No-one ever accused Rabbit of having Very Little Brain. Rabbit does not wander through the Forest aimlessly, vaguely compiling pointless statistics of his steadily diminishing assents (honey) nor does he walk around in circles pursuing non-existent quarries (Woozles) like his easy going Anglican friend.  

Don't forget this is an Anglican assessment of the characters. More strikingly he also sees the positive signs that Rabbit is a committed Baptist!....see next. 

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