I availed myself of the opportunity of seeing The Merchant of Venice down at The Globe on Tuesday (still only a fiver in the yard). It stars Jonathan Pryce and his daughter Phoebe as Shylock and his daughter Jessica. Their surname gives just one tiny extra layer to a play full of interesting ideas about property and wealth and cost. I was not really familiar with the play and so it was good to see, especially in this well executed performance. Though a tragedy (I assume) there was plenty of comedy and all done very well, especially by Stefan Agdebola as Lancelot. The programme notes explain that this is really two stories (that of the Jew Shylock and that of Portia) sewn together. It's not that well done really but Shakespeare is able to give the audience what they want and get away with some quite amazing stunts in the mean time. As ever there are famous phrases (The devil can cite scripture for his purpose; all that glisters is not gold) and speeches and it is good to hear them in their proper context. I did not know that Shylock's question "If you prick us, do we not bleed?" is followed by "if you tickle us, do we not laugh?". The speech beginning "The quality of mercy is not strain'd,: It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven" really is quite something.
Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.