The Steampunk Vicar

A Presbyterian Pastor on Neo-Victoriana and American Faith

Tag: steampunk

Apologia, pt. 0 – Introduction to Apology

In a much bally-hooed and now discredited scientific Study, Researchers claimed to have discovered that brief Conversations had significant Impact in altering the Opinions of Participants with regard to Same Sex Marriage. In short, actually talking to People, personally, could, indeed, cause them to shift their Stances of the great Issues of the Day.

As noted above, this Paper was retracted for poor Data. It is a Difficulty for me, however, as there is Something about the Conclusion that speaks, deeply, to my Experience. Perhaps it is merely a Desire of mine and of those like me, perhaps an eternal Truth, but I feel it in my Bones, that Persuasion starts – and ends! – in Community with a Neighbour.

I worry, from Time to Time, that in the Echo-Chamber of the Aethernet, where it is laughably easy to expose oneself only to those with whom one agrees, that now, having so divided our Society, it will become only easier for no one to change their Mind. From there it is but a little Leap to believe that I, too, might begin to fear any Disruption of either my Facts or my Beliefs.

As I remarked to an Interlocutor recently, one who was also forged in the Fire of Knowledgebowl (or Academic Decathlon, or Quizbowl, select for yourself your Flavour), good Facts matter. I strive always to project a Humility in Disagreement over Facts, because I would ever rather learn good Facts. If I am mistaken, I desire Correction, for, in Knowledgebowl (and, I submit, in Life), the Path to Victory is paved with correct Information. Persons who become defensive when disproved only serve to shut down Dialogue, and deprive themselves of Victory by means of willful Ignorance.

Of Opinions and Beliefs however, having distinguished them from Facts, I aim for a Flexibility that acknowledges the Road I took to get to them. I believe a Thing now, and can tell you how I arrived at that Belief. Tomorrow I may be presented with new Data, may be forced to change my Mind, and will need the Cartograph of that new Route.

For any Belief to which I can currently Point, there was just such a Road – an Onramp or Origin which brought me to my present Site. There were Turns or Bends or Dips in the Way, and each of these brought be closer to the Waystation – and, I pray, to the Truth, distinguished as well from Opinion, Belief, or Fact, each one.

Combining these two Points – the Instinct declaring that in personal Discourse we have the greatest Chance to bring Others to our Way of thinking, and that each of my Beliefs has its own Highway, it occurred to me that many – perhaps most – of you do not know my Story, the Route that brought me to my current Encampment. I write this Series to give myself the Opportunity to Change your Mind, if even by the smallest Degree, in hearing where the Man you know Today came from. Whether your Acquaintance with me harks from Secondary School, or University, or Seminary, or beyond, or you know me only as “that mad Bloke what writes like a Gentry-Cove of merrye ol’ England on the ‘Net,” I hope that this Apology* will be fruitful for you. I feel sure that it will be for me.

 

* The word “apology” comes to us from the Greek apologia, a Word back, or in Reply. I use it here in both the Modern and the Classical Senses, for this Document will contain not only an Argument and Narrative, but also my sincere Regrets, Griefs, and Shames. At some Points it will, perforce, resemble a Confession – and an undirected Request for Forgiveness. For this, in Advance, I apologize.

Solvo Problemata

I turned to regard my Interlocutor as I waggled the Cursor across the limis between the Monitors. “Just so,” I said, indicating that, indeed, she would also be able to copy and paste Text across the Boundaries. “This Soft Ware will permit transference of Cursor, Key Board, and Data between the two Apparati.”

Mrs. Goldberg had a nearly indescribable Expression on her Face. “I find,” she said, “that I must rather restrain myself from dancing. Thank you, oh, thank you, Mr. Johnstone. You’ve no idea what a Difference this shall make to me.”

Yes, I rather think that I do, I thought wryly as I replaced my Hat upon my shiny Pate. I rather think that I do.

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Perhaps the single most frustrating Aspect of the Pastoral Work is the Crisis of Completion. Infrequently, at best, when one serves in the Parish, is one able to complete or succeed or repair. So much of Church Employment is pure Process, and rightly so. God is best understood as in Process and Perfect, Complete and in Motion all at once. So, too, the Person and Work of Christ, and the life of the Church, which is Christ’s Body in the World.

It is a Truth to which I must accede, but which I also detest, that a Pastor’s Work is Never Done. This speaks both to the Sisyphean Proportions of our Call, and to the daily and unending Rigour of its Execution.

And so, in this Hour of my own Transition, as I stand at a Multiplicity of Crossroads and work, possibly for the Nonce, possibly for the forseeable Future, at the Technology which was an early Interest of mine, I find the sudden, sharp Relief of proscribed Problems, to which there are definite and attainable Solutions. The Art of a Technician has Scope and Depth and Range, and an End – both in the Sense of Time completed, and in the Sense of Purpose.

My mission as a Differential Engine Professional is to help Users to succeed at their Objectives. Every Day, when I walk out the door of the Information Services Department, my Aim is to assure that Nurses, Doctors, Janitors, Purveyors of Food, Administrators, and, most of all, Patients are in a Position in which their Technology is completely invisible. I have failed when the Printer or the Computer or the Endoscope is a Thing Noticed, rather than a Thing Used.

For Mrs. Goldberg, her Technology had become an Obstacle. It was actively obtruding in the Flow of her Work. The Fix was complex – it required Time, and Tenacity to achieve, and the Courage to ask a Favor.

But the Light, the Expression of Joy in Mrs. Goldberg’s Eyes! Here is Triumph, here is the Victory! Not over the Children of Earth, but over their Creations. When I left Mrs. Goldberg’s Side, she was enabled, ennobled by a Sensation that her Life and Work were made easier by the Technology and Tenacity of her obedient Servant.

Treasure, too, has a Part to play in this Trifecta. All Hard Wares have Cost, and my Pay is not Insignificant. But grant me these three – Treasure, Time, and Tenacity, and I will ease your Burdens, restore your Services, make you User rather than Used. And I shall do so taking as little Treasure as I can conveniently arrange.

For I am the Steampunk Vicar. And I solve Problems.

Solvo Problemata

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Novus Locus!

As some of the cleverer among you may have discovered, the Site has Moved! Welcome to the new Unified Reticulated Locus for the Steampunk Vicar, http://www.steampunkvicar.com! This Site is now available for all your Neo-Victorian Clerical Needs.

More Updates are forthcoming, but for the Nonce, enjoy the fewer Key Strokes required to reach me!

You may also now contact me at the new Electronic Post Address, vicar@steampunkvicar.com. It is in all functional Ways indistinguishable from my previous Address, save that it is more in Theme!

Thank you, dear and supportive Friends! And to the Rest of you, may Science fail you!

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Why would you say that? That’s horrible!

De Vaporudibus

Of all the ridiculous Difficulties posed by being a Man out of Time, and, particularly, a Neo-Victorian in this former Part of the Twenty-First Century, perhaps the greatest is how, precisely, to describe the “Steampunk” movement in Latin.

Perhaps others would be unmoved by this Travail, but as a classically educated Person, the lack of a useful Translation for many of these Concepts causes me to feel as though I can never be taken seriously by any Portion of the Academy, if I should ever be able to return to my Other World and endeavour to explain, for example, the works of Professor Elemental, or of Lindsey Stirling, etc. I somehow feel that Profs. Chaplin, Sfyroeras, and Ganiban would exhibit their Disappointment were I not to give the Matter my fullest Attention.

Thus, I thought to employ the Science of the Google. My first Outing was not fortuitous – a Search for “Steampunk Latin” yielded a rather remarkable Article on Beyond Victoriana, a Weblogue I intend to revisit in Future, but no answer to my Question. Further Inquiries provided me with this Piece by Richard Coyne, who suggests vapor communitas. I shall fault his Latin and say only mildly that perhaps vaporis communitas would more accurately convey his Meaning.

Even so, I find this an inadequate Reading of the historical and literary Layers that lie behind the word “Steampunk.” I have no Quarrel with vapor – the Oxford Latin concurs with this Gloss. It is to the Interpretation of the Word “Punk” that I take Exception. Coyne rightly points out that the Word “Punk” comes to us from early Modern English, and originally meant, among other things, a male Prostitute (one Resource I encountered used the Word “Catamite,” which I rapidly discarded from my Process, pausing only to note that it did come up). However, by the first part of the Twentieth Century, that Meaning had rather drastically altered.

I would have a difficult Time sourcing this Usage, but I was perhaps first familiar with Mirriam Webster’s third Definition, “a usually petty Gangster, Hoodlum, or Ruffian.” If pressed, I should describe the Mid-Twentieth Century Word Punk as a Descriptor for insufficiently respectful young Persons, along the lines of, perhaps, James Dean.

By the latter Twentieth Century, however, a great many social Movements had coalesced into the “Punk Subculture,” rooted in the Music (and, in many Cases, I use the Term loosely) known as “Punk Music.” This passage from Wikipedia rather elegantly quotes Jon Savage, that “Early punk had an abundance of antecedents and influences, and Jon Savage describes the subculture as a ‘bricolage‘ of almost every previous youth culture in the Western world since World War II, ‘stuck together with safety pins’.” This Amalgam of an Array of youth Cultures was then adapted and absorbed by the Science Fiction Genre which came to be known as Cyberpunk. I would submit that Steampunk was so named in direct response to Cyberpunk, adapting the culturally imaginative Storytelling typified by the Latter to the Aesthetics and historical Influences of the Former.

All of that specifically to say that while Coyne is quite right to reject the Latin that he finds in such Terms as plebs, he need not take such an easy and generic Path out of his difficulties as communitas, a Word which covers a multitude of Sins. Surely, there must be a Way to cover with more Nuance and Depth the Complexities of the Genre.

I humbly submit, therefore, the Coinage you shall find at the Heading of this Weblogue – vaporudis, vaporudis, f. The source Noun from the Latin is rudis, which denotes the wooden Sword provided to Trainees, as well as retiring Gladiators. The cognate Adjective gives meanings such as “untrained,” and “ignorant,” linking back to the original Meanings, as well as a Sense of Roughness and Crudeness. We are also spared the Horror of simple Transliteration, yielding puncus, punci, m., an irretrievably disastrous Possibility.

it is with some Hope and Pride that I submit to Coyne’s vapor communitas, a new Latin phrase: sum ille vaporudis vicarius, et hoc stabo. 

The Prophet Jonah Ammitson and the Marble Messenger

The story that follows was first told me by a fellow-traveler – a merchant and trader in the Levant who, in latter days, has returned quite wealthy to Brittania. She related it to me in the words I share with you, as they were addressed to her. She tells me that she met this man, nearly dead and half-mad with thirst in the desert outside Damascus. She nursed him to some semblance of health, and when he was somewhat recovered, was coaxed into telling her of his travails. This, then, is her rendering of his account, the story of a Prophet in the desert.

*   *   *

On the night that the Word of the Lord came to me, I was dreaming.

It seemed to me that I shaded my eyes against the glare of a terrible desert sun. The vision of my dream shimmered like the haze of a summer’s day, but I could feel what I could not see – the dryness of mouth, the shortness of breath, and the unbelievable thrumming, the sound of a thousand pistons crashing and straining. The vibrations approached me through the rock and sand, screaming to a fever pitch…

…and thus I awoke, sweating, in my bedclothes. It was a cool night in late spring in God’s country. I sought the familiar features of my spare, clerical bedchamber picked out in the moonlight, when I became aware that I was not alone in my domain.

Seated rather immodestly on my chest of drawers was one of the strangest creatures I had ever beheld. The occupant of a vicarage, even an older bachelor such as myself, has ample opportunity to meet flowers of Society just as they bloom. Indeed, in the months leading up to the events I now relate, I had presided over a number of Services of Christian Marriage, uniting the belles of the county to a series of anxious squires. In my years of parish ministry, I had encountered beauties fair and dark, tall and short, slim and buxom, but never before had I faced such elegance personified. She was dainty and trim, perched on the edge of my furniture. A rather puckish smile dwelt around her lips, and the curls of her hair cascaded springily past her face. Her ankles showed with a decided want of propriety beneath her gown, and were neatly turned – likewise her wrists, poised above her hands on the edge of the walnut were dimpled and slender.

Having, at a glance ascertained these various excellences of her person, I shook my head abruptly, for a number of peculiar circumstances obtruded on my notice all at a stroke. Firstly – and I can find no other word to describe the wonder of this revelation – she was not made of flesh. Her skin was of fair marble, not so pale as to repulse, but clearly gleaming stone. Her hair, on whose bounce I had earlier remarked, was indeed springy, as it seemed to be composed exclusively of springs, tiny coils of a glossy black metal. Even in the dim moonlight, I could see rivets and joints, markers of her construction, I supposed.

Most shocking of all, however, were the eyes. They were clearly jewels, or made of jewels, perhaps. Diamonds for whites, irises of emerald, and onyx pupils, broad in the evening dimness. And the GLOWED…not as the eyes of mortals, but with an inner light, nearly golden in quality, they brightened the whole of my bedchamber.

I hope that you will forgive me, dear friend, for the foolishness of the conclusion to which I immediately came. I see by the incredulity of your expression that you, like me, would not have credited your senses with honesty at such a vision. So, too, did I. The lunacy of the moonlight, the lucidity of those brilliant, gemstone eyes, and the remaining anxieties of the dream that had but lately departed led me to believe the whole a fantasy, and I waited to see what new wonders my fevered brain would lay before me.

Thus I was not unprepared when she opened her mouth – a lovely rosebud it was – and spoke. “Don’t be afraid,” she said, and I at once realized that her command was also prophetic – I had been on the edge of terror, despite my confidence of physical safety. Now was I more settled, and I nodded to her.

She spoke again. “Jonah,” said she, “Son of Emmett?”

“I am,” said I, maintaining my somnolent composure. “And who, precisely, are you?”

“I am,” she said, her marble cheeks somehow dimpling as she smiled at me, “a Word from the Lord.”

To my shame, dear friend, I responded only with laughter. In too many biblical readings from my pulpit I had read just those words as they appeared in the books of Moses and the scrolls of the prophets. I could imagine no place, time, or situation further from my snug, dark pulpit and the scent of my church’s ancient Bible than in my bedchamber, wearing only my nightgown and confronting a young woman who seemed to be composed entirely from the bones of the earth.

There may, also, have been more than a little nervousness in that laugh. The words of the Bible had always been to me composed purely of comfort. I took solace in the gentleness of Christ as shepherd, and, though trite, the 23rd had ever been my favorite psalm. The words of the Law, though stern, were concerned with the care of my own soul, and there was an ordered quality to my favorite passages of scripture that preserved the society and realities which undergirded my universe.

This apparent young woman, this clockwork beauty, fit no place in my concept of religion or faith. I could cry for wishing this was still the case, but at that hour, I had no inkling of the trials or revolutions to come. And so I laughed, in what must have been derision, and at the sound, her smile grew wider.

“I am delighted to hear you greet my arrival wish such joy,” said she, as she alighted from the chest of drawers. In her bare feet, she stood an average height, and her white linen gown flowed around her smoothly. “I have a message for you, if you are prepared to hear it.”

“Of course,” I said, “you beautiful phantasm. Whatever wonders you have to share with me, share them now, before I wake and your beauty fades.”

She smiled even more broadly. “Ah, a dreamer, are you? You dreamers are some of my favourites. I love the romance of your visions, and your willingness to accept the imagination of your own minds.” The more I beheld that smile, the more it was disconcerting me. It tugged at memories and emotions deeply buried. There was an edge to it that brought to mind my mother’s apron, sunlight on a grassy lawn, lemon ices and the sounds of village cricket.

“At any rate,” she said, briskly. “Are you prepared to hear me?”

I felt, suddenly, as though lucidity and clarity had abandoned me. The import of the question staggered me – I heard it as though with new ears, wholly unprepared for the weight of this compelling dream. A crashing wave of anxious fear and nervous terror swept over me, but I gulped and nodded in silence.

When once again her mouth parted, she spoke in a new and alarming voice. Terrible like a winter storm and powerful like the command of a beloved woman, she spoke to me saying, “ARISE, GO TO NINEVEH, THAT GREAT CITY, AND CRY AGAINST IT; FOR THEIR WICKEDNESS IS COME UP BEFORE ME.”

*   *   *

When I awoke again, it was with confusing slowness. I seemed unaccountably tangled in my bedclothes, my head was hot and pounding powerfully, and the sunlight through the window was uncomfortably bright.

Slowly, as though the gears of my mind began to grind their way to activity, I began to perceive the import of the rising sun. The dawning day was a Sunday. The hour was much advanced – a swift glance of alarm at my bedside clock revealed that it wanted mere minutes to nine o’clock, and my services – my brain now spun its engine to  a groaning, frantic pitch – commenced at ten.

In a flurry of maddened linens I leapt to my feet and began to pull vigorously at the bell. Why my valet had not roused me sooner I could not say, and the stricken expression on his countenance as he entered clearly revealed his spirits to be as much disturbed by the lapse as my own. I wasted no time on his censure, devoting myself instead to the task of preparing for the Eucharist service.

It was as I was engaged in the last flourishes of my toilette, the final tasks before I left my vicarage in haste to the waiting congregation, that I chanced to look upon my chest of drawers, and saw its only ornament. A tiny statuette of delicate marble and painted twists of metal sat upon the varnished wood. I had never before seen this trinket, and was so much arrested by its appearance that I stood quite still for a full handful of breaths.

To my valet’s astonishment, I walked to the chest of drawers and picked up the figurine. It was the visitor of my last night’s rest, there could be no doubt. The whole of the piece was no longer than a hand’s breadth, but the delicacy of the workmanship was unbelievable – I could discern, even, the young woman’s marble dimple as she impishly smirked at me.

Dear friend, you can read in my hands, in the cast of my countenance, in the very set of my shoulders the sense of my horror and terror. Crashing wave upon wave swept over me, alarm, dismay, and consternation, each, in its turn, conquering my soul. Even as I turned the figure over in my hands, they trembled, and I could feel my jaw working involuntarily.

Even so, I could as soon have crossed the Galilee afoot as have laid by that lovely piece.  My minute examination of this sculpture was time-consuming – I recall hearing my man’s polite cough behind me at least three times before I could drag myself from my focused contemplation.  At last, though, I stormed unwary into the corridor, casting the figurine into the topmost drawer of my bureau, with my man hovering anxious behind me.

*   *   *

 I was fully through the Collect before I felt myself more fully settled in worship. The opening of the Service had been some five minutes delayed, and all throughout the liturgy of call and procession I had felt myself to be scrambling to catch up. In the familiar and timely breath of the Collect, however, I felt myself shouldering once again the burden of my clerical authority. As that comfortable friend of a thought settled upon my shoulders once again, I subconsciously fingered my stole, the ancient symbol of my blessed right and grave purpose. The fabric slid tensely beneath my fingers, but the sanctioned prayers and signs of the church poured unabated from my lips and hands, a pleasant stream of institutional grace and comfort.

I have sensed, dear friend, that you are not a churchgoer – and so I fear that much of what has been shattered in these last few weeks will not seem to you a loss. The destruction of all that I had treasured up would, to an outsider’s eye, seem no great tragedy, I fear, but I cannot let that opinion pass without a token effort to express the hideous grief of my comforts dashed to oblivion.

Even now the words, I know, will not compare to my inner sense of aching loss, but all that had surrounded my life had been, heretofore, pure beauty. The polished sheen of the oaken beams, waxed to gleaming light, the intricate and careful carving of stone and yew, massaged by masters’ hands and tools, the heartwarm glow of a hundred taper lights, reflected in the ornaments and instruments of gold, the snowy brilliance of the altar, the reliable and unchanging sounds and signs of scripture and sacrament in the service of worship, the rapt and grateful adulation of my snug parish…all these and a thousand other details of my life and work conspired to comfort and reassure me of the universe, and of my place in it. The steady rhythm of my life and days ticked endlessly on, unchanging and mechanical, like the God to whom I had devoted my life.

And it was then, during the liturgy of that final service of Sunday worship, that I last believed without doubt in the God of my mind. As the readings of the Psalm tripped from my tongue, I had settled deeply into all the solace of a service of worship – so little attention did I pay in the midst of my prayers and oblations that I scarcely noted the text of the Prophets until the page was open before me.

Consulting my notes and the markers in the Bible, I was stunned to see before me words of alarm and terror such as I had never before met in God’s Holy Word. I was seized by a sudden bout of coughing, alarming in its scope and duration. In desperation, I raised my gaze over the pulpit’s edge to catch the eye of the sexton, of someone, anyone, rather than speak aloud the horror printed on the page.

Despite the warmth and succor of mere moments before, as I searched the curious eyes in the nave, all that met my regard was a trim young woman in garments of white, her jewel-bright eyes overflowing with passionate intensity, seated on the central rafter of the sanctuary. Her hand curled around the supporting beams, and her expression was dire and terrible as she stared mercilessly into my helpless face. Her lips parted – I thought that I heard the tiniest squeal of metal on stone as she drew in a useless breath.

Struck to my very core with elemental terror, I dove with my eyes back into the text. Caught beneath an angel and the deep blue sea, I cleared my suddenly parched throat, and did the best that I could. To my ears, as my mouth gave voice to the letters on the page, the voice of the pitiless angel overlay my halting words, driving me forward to speak the brutal, prophetic truth.

“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.”

No further could I speak – no more would the words come. At once I let forth a great cry, and stripping my robe, stole, and cross from around my neck, I ran, shouting down the aisle and out the great oak doors into the winter sunlight. Heedless of dignity and station, heedless of position and prestige, heedless of anything but that messenger’s dreadful purpose, I summoned a waiting hansom cab, my whole frame shaking with fright. His dense accent was nearly impenetrable, but I simply shouted, “Portsmouth!” casting a quantity of gold into his waiting hand, and leaned back on the leather seats to weep and flee my destiny.

The Twenty-third Psalm

The Lord is my Engineer, I shall not break down.
He shuts me off in well-stocked workshops.
He runs me beside full refineries.
he repairs my soul.
He leads me on straight rails
for his Name’s sake.
Even though I chug up the darkest mountain,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your wrench and your driver –
they comfort me.
You prepare a workbench before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my gears with oil;
my tank overflows.
Surely I shall pull goodness and mercy
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the garage of the Lord
my whole life long.

De Creatione

As is often the case, the best conversations start on one of the more bizarre (and brilliant!) inventions of this 21st Century, the Avian Medium of Society, “Twitter.” We encountered against one another a brief working out of the distinction between creation and manipulation with Mr. Smith at @NSFChurch (a note – it is possible that Mr. Smith is more appropriately styled Rev. Smith – I have no way to confirm this easily. I am quite pleased to be corrected). I made a rather snide offhand comment – some of my best friends and acquaintances being rather on the “Mad” end of the Scientist Spectrum. I’m sorry, sir, if I came across as more serious than I intended to do.

Nevertheless, I feel that the ensuing exchange was worth exploring. Purely from the perspective of the physical sciences, nothing has been created – or destroyed – since the very Beginning. All the matter and energy of the universe are all that there has ever been, or will ever be, allowing for some translation from one state to another – thus relativity. EnergyisMass, with the interruption of a constant.

Mr. Smith’s point seems to be a vigorous defense of creativity – an endeavour to which I am thoroughly sympathetic, to wit, my current occupation. However, I would prefer a nicer distinction between creativity and creation. I have never created anything, as my physical analysis above should prove. I have been creative on multiple occasions, as have both the Bohemian Artists and the clever Mechanics of my acquaintance. It is in the cunning rearrangement of the elements that true Creativity is to be found.

Having established in the necessary brevity the difference in our arguments, the topic turned slightly to my initial, rude comment, which was that some persons I know have been creative to the Detriment of themselves, their offspring, their monstrous Creations, and any innocent villagers who happened across the paths of said Abominations.

The points victory went to Mr. Smith, who rightly indicates that our creativity is ultimately bad – or, rather more to the point, Evil – when it becomes self-serving. Poor Dr. Frankenstein’s error may well have been not in creating a monster, but in creating one to serve his own ego, and not the needs of his neighbours. And, also, I suspect, in failing to control it. There’s a message of humility in there for any Creative Persons, particularly those of the Post-Modern bent. It is worth reflecting on how your Art or Work will affect those who encounter it…as well as for Whom you are making it, and with Whose materiel.

At any rate – well played, @NSFChurch. Thank you for the inspiration, and the correction!

The Steampunk Vicar

Greetings, travelers and wanderers, adventurers and exoticists, rationalists, spiritualists, moralists all! Welcome to a catalogue, a travelogue, a weblogue, a counterlogue – an essay into the world of the fantastic, the Romantic, the Gothic, the entropic, the myopic. Welcome to this religious, prestigious, prodigious endeavour – the articles and histories of the Steampunk Vicar.

Who, I hear you ask, is this amazing man – this Romantic Renaissance man, this insightful and inciteful man, this erudite and recondite man? Is he fully depraved? Fully, are you quite sure? Is he entirely saved? Most entirely? Who is he, I hear you ask, and, so I echo: who am I?

Consider me an alter-ego, who says what must not be said, who knows the God but dare not speak His Name, who inquires and replies. My other parts may remain shrouded in mystery, but all that you must now, o best beloved, is that I am a man of many parts, of history, lost in time but not in Grace, and that my times and inquiries are most germane to the lives you lead.

For I am the Steampunk Vicar, and I am most glad to make your acquaintance.