Sunday, 15 July 2018

texting luke fourteen

Banquet half full? We do something about that. 07729056452

Lk14v1-2 "They were watching him carefully." We have someone staying with us, and we often have guests, and there is a sense in which they come to 'watch' us. Part of me is not at ease being so watched, perhaps because I think the watchers are secretly, like the Pharisees, trying to catch us out. I know that this is not really so in quite the same way, but I suppose just the structure of being 'watched carefully', even if the watcher has come to learn and enjoy, immediately sets up in my heart a fear of failure and an anxiety to present the correct image. It is a truth universally acknowledged that 'the look' of the other is apt to change our behaviour. It is helpful to note then, that Jesus puts himself in the way of watchers. He actively goes to the homes of Pharisees who he knows will be 'watching' him. And at the point of social and cultural awkwardness he firmly, but without fanfare, continues to act from his deep-down convictions, inviting the watchers to understand by asking them a question, but not changing the work of the kingdom to suit their tastes. Jesus embodies Ps119v41-48 at this moment, I think, a steadiness founded on the steadfast love of God and this universal law of love, that makes it possible to 'speak of your testimonies before kings and not be put to shame.' I pray this for all our relationships and interactions in which we are watched.

Lk14v3-4 ๐Ÿ™Š "but they remained silent.." Religione today is very present by omission, imposing vast silences according to its taboo around artefactual haecceity which renders a vast catalogue of unmentionables in an amnesiac minimalism of vapid architecture without ornament. Mute modernity is deafening in its quietude, gagged by the shame of its own obnoxious and self-reinforcing self-fulfilling abstraction. Why Beauty Matters considered the dearth of such discussions.
Robert Green Ahmanson - Why Beauty Matters
Ben Quash - Why Beauty Matters
๐Ÿ‘ฝ๐Ÿ‘ค "to heal.." Healing connects two controversies: power-from-the-outside with the-dignity-of-the-individual. This is a nuclear broadside against a worldview which believes in a closed universe populated by accidental biology.
๐Ÿ›ซ (v1) "Jesus went to dine.." Go. Do the going. Leave the house and go attend. Show up. At dinner parties. Go.
๐Ÿ“บ (v2) "they were watching him carefully" The world is watching.. Everybody is looking for something. Give them something worth looking for.
๐Ÿ—ฃ "Jesus responded.." He responded to their watching ~ so, be responsive even to their passive watching. The burden of proof is on we who carry the supernatural presupposition. The burden of proof is on we who presume to have tapped in to superabundance. The burden of proof is no burden but a joy to bring more people in to the party of superabundance. Take the fight to those locked in naturalism. Initiate. Be anything but silent. Make beauty.

Lk14v5-6 Is Jesus problematising the boundary between Work and Rest? I don't think he is so much as he is identifying that Love is a more fundamental category than either. When Freud said that 'Love and Work are the cornerstones of our humanness' this gets something wrong in setting them up as though they were equivalent symmetrical categories. Rather Love is a category that includes and transcends Work. God works and God rests but God _is_ Love. Love, then, is neither Sabbath's reward nor what we Sabbath from. Love is a work and love is something we rest in both, and it cannot be neatly packaged into its labour-intensive and sabbatical elements, for it is more fundamental than this distinction. Love has to interface with Work and Rest, of course, but I think it is crucial to recognise that the negotiated rhytmns of Work/Rest sit inside the bigger law of Love, rather than that these three are negotiated on the same terms. Love has it's own internal logic about duties and releasment and the urgent and the non-urgent, and this law of Love is the first law that we are to be submitted to. Work and Rest follow. The demands and joys of Love are 24-7. Love endures.

Lk14v7-8 Wedding seating plans? What is Jesus talking about? I tend to dismiss this parable as self-evident or self-defeating, but surely I have been misreading it.
๐Ÿ›‹๐Ÿ”„ "sit..don't sit.." Jesus baits us to play musical chairs? And it seems that the dance that follows cannot but be all the bally ballieness of gaming social niceties in a frankly British, faux humble faux mild-mannered, passive aggressive, blustering oh-no-please,-after-you-ism.. Christianity practised with a Woosterish air of the absurd, becomes a more serious pathology when an obsequious committee of shrinking violets and second-handers instigates a defacto DDoS attack on the front door of church, first-will-be-last-will-be-first-will-be-last squeals paralyzing feedback through the mic of an infinite regress of inaction, as no one dares be the first through the door.
๐Ÿ›‹๐Ÿ”š There is a terminal point in this loop, when the music stops, in death, those Mother Teresas are sainted in perpetuity, whilst Rhodes has his statue toppled. Is that it? Go low, go low and wait for death? How shall we then sit and not sit in the meantime, in a world where we are relatively positioned and thusly someone always has to be the tallest poppy?
๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ˜ถ๐Ÿ˜ณ In all seriousness, I struggle with cowardice dressed up as humility. I struggle with it in myself, and I struggle with it as I rub up against it in others. I resent nothingy structures of undirected churching and banal multi-personal faith expressions which conspire to be less than the sum of their parts by the misapplication of such parables as these. There must be a better way, courageously to stand up, stand forth and to stand against, whilst also engaging the downwardly mobile race to the bottom of the pecking order, amongsting with the least last and lost, forsaking all to gain all, considering is all joy to suffer all. Running hard to win a race that is won by losing competitively Hb12v10, Rm12v10 outdo one another.
๐Ÿ›‹๐Ÿ”€ Redistributive seating plans relates to the equity debate that has recurred this week via theequalitytrust.org and other discussions at 41. Two issues that bear on equitable wedding seating:
- the presupposed liberal individual as the object of equity, is not properly aligned with the radically diverse and necessarily interdependent beings that we are. 1Co12v21 _"Can an eye say to the hand etc.."_ Against equality of outcome and against equality of opportunity for the individual, why not consider singularity and peculiarity of the opportunity for appropriately diverse intermediately scaled groups.
- financial capital as the currency of the value we are trying to equalise is too abstract, too linear. But dinner seats as public honour or social power are still too blunt and one dimensional. What are the seats? What are the seats for you? Could they be arranged in a circle at your proverbial wedding feast? Could they be arranged in a matrix with more dimensions? Do we need to sit down even? How would you make an appropriate account of collective privilege in self-understanding the place of honour one finds oneself sitting at, in the great scheme of history?

Lk14v9-10 I find it easy to get caught up over-reading this parable when I think it is more a straightforward call to humility. Humility is born of an inward posture but it's fruits are outward facing, are always tied to the relative and the contextual, as the language of 'more' and 'less'. The call is not to get caught in an infinite loop of second-guessing the motives of oneself and others (as may be my proclivity) but rather to step back and see the context as a whole, and to ask what humility required of my place in this context, recognising that different situations and different people  have present different needs and opportunities, and that the principle of making oneself low looks different at different times. Reading Ps38 this morn gives a helpful and timely example for a current context: v14 'I have become like a woman who does not hear, and in whose mouth there are no rebukes.'

Lk14v11-12 "do not invite" ๐Ÿ•ต‍♂ Jesus issues the ninja gifter's charter, a holy summons, your mission should you choose to accept it: to no-platform all privelege always. Do not invite the who's who in their gladrags, do not oil the tits of Tatler, do not retweet influencers, do not shake the mason's hand, do not scratch his back, do not cluster with closed ranks, do not throw your younger sisters in the way of other rich men, do not play the game, do not clique, do not network.
"lest they also invite you.."  ๐ŸŽŸ Self-serving is self-defeating. Orienting your life and your dinner parties towards the reciprocating classes is a slippery slope, the oleaginous codependent gravy train is a greasy pole, a pyramid scheme's slick elite machine, a self-fulfilling hell of schmoozing begetting more schmoozing. Gilded hospitality is a dull arms race to one-up the Joneses in cahoots with the Joneses.
๐ŸŽฐ Do not invite your friends or rich neighbours. Do not live transactionally. Do not sit at the blackjack table of a transactional economy because there the dealer always wins, it is less than a zero sum game, you are conspiring to embezzle the gift economy. Do not invite your friends or rich neighbours. Jesus could not be clearer. Time is short. Pray for localwelcome's grant application. July 11th. (linklink)

Lk14v13-14 Righteousness and resurrection. June has had me speaking in the tongues of poets, where my own words have failed me, and worse. Raleigh, then:
"Even such is time, that takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust;
Who, in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days.
But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust."
- Sir Walter Raleigh

Lk14v15-16 ๐Ÿž Bread. Why spend your money on that which is not bread? Is55v2 Don't love only for the loaves Jn6v26 True bread is doing the will of the Father Jn4v34  ๐ŸŽŸ This exchange sits between Jesus condemning bad invitors (v12-14) and condemning bad invitees (v16-24).
❔What Kingdom bread are you inviting people to? Are you inviting? And who are you inviting?
❔ What Kingdom bread are you invited to? Are you heading? Are you responding?
๐ŸŒ Working for a social justice blockchain startup, we are inviting people to a sort of Kingdom economy, a total counter culture, a future frictionless and transparently just supply chain, equal access to capital, a total economy not reliant on interest. Blessed is he who eats bread in that Kingdom. Surely. It's not that easy to invite the right people for the right reasons, wise actors in this for the long haul. This spontaneous encounter with this anonymous recliner at table with Jesus, complete with its excitable naivetรฉ has the feeling of an ICO speculator, which has the feeling of Peter's response to Jesus Mk14v29 "thought many fall away I will not.."
Rather, steady the bread, and feed my sheep Jn21v17
And that bread is Jesus body broken 1Co11v24
And Jesus body broken is yours Jn21v18-19

Lk14v17-18 I'm a product of my upbringing and also I'm really tired and people are so exhausting and it doesn't really hurt anyone and I've always done it this way and it's been fine and I'm really busy at the moment and I'll just have another one and I'm allowed to think about myself once in a while and the new regime starts tomorrow and there's lots to do and money doesn't grow on trees and I'm not really in the mood and I've heard this before and I don't really like their emphasis and I find her a bit too intense and I've been treated really unfairly and my mind is quite cluttered at the moment and it's not really our style and I'm just quite a chaotic person and it's fine not to plan ahead in case it stifles my spontaneity and I think I'd rather buy my own and I really need my own space and institutional religion has lost its way and it doesn't really gel with me and it doesn't matter anyway.

Lk14v19-20 "..Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” ... a man once gave a great banquet and invited many ... "Come, for everything is now ready." ... But they all alike began to make excuses. "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them" ... And another "I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come."
๐Ÿ‘‘❔ What is the Kingdom? Precision on this question matters utterly.
๐Ÿข❔ What is good work?" ~ this, it seems, is the question of the house in this season. Precision on this question matters utterly.
๐Ÿ’❔ How should I get married? ~ this, it seems, it the other question of this house. Precision on this question matters utterly.
Very basically, in this passage, the Kingdom is an invitation to a banquet. The response is binary: come or don't-come. And Jesus reflects on two common and compelling reasons given for not-coming:
๐Ÿข the demands of practical commercial urgencies.
๐Ÿ‘ฐ the demands of romantic familial relationships.
Surely the simplest way to adhere to Jesus' Kingdom banquet invitation is to forsake these:
1. Don't have possessions Lk18v22
2. Don't get married 1Co7 esp v33-34
Now, I could argue at greater length that forsaking these is not necessarily an appropriate interpretation, some might go further and say that this forsaking is obviously wrong, and so swing to a different pole of a dogmatic dichotomy. To me, it's not obvious, it's not self-evident.
- I don't think we can invoke a practicality maxim (as if, without marriage we would become extinct, ergo, all and any marriage is a legitimate Kingdom activity)
- I don't think we can soundbite contradictory verses in the Bible which affirm commerce (Pr31v15, Je29v7 etc) and marriage (Mt19v4-6 Jn2v2 etc) as if that flattens all distinction of context and negates the responsibility to obey specific radical callings to be extremely peculiar in response to an extremely peculiar God.
- I don't think we can merely pay lipservice to 'holding work-home-church in tension' where that tension is a euphemism for the tense tension of tacit contention simmering stifflingly unresolved on all matters of elective application in the domains of marriage and commerce as they relate to Kingdom participation.
We must urgently make a detailed and specific case for 1. commerce and 2. marriage, a case that they are legitimate Kingdom callings, yes, but that is less that half the fight, rather, my life has so long lacked a credible, substantial and practical account of how they are legitimately to be enacted when and insofar as they are Kingdom callings.
๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ„ 1. "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused."
- Why do oxen qua business conflict with the Kingdom?
- What does commerce cost you?
- What does it look like to expend yourself for the Kingdom in a way that creates a brilliant business rather than competes with it?
- What does it practically look like to have just bought some oxen and to come to the Kingdom banquet anyways?
๐Ÿข Business must be. Oxen must be inspected. Due diligence must be observed. Traders going to trade, and in doing, you are to be as wise as serpents. Competitive business must be? Even operating on the basis of abundance, it's still a jungle out there, you're still an operator in a winner-takes-all market place, there's still a long tail governed by the Pareto principle. Oxen must be inspected.
๐Ÿข Business must be. But how. Christian engagement historically in business, Quaker candy makers and all, have blazed a trail we have rarely revisited, and desperately need to.
~ There are self-righteous Christians out there who have no oxen, willfully, flimsy citizens, bearing no responsibility for anything in the economy, weightless cogs of emotionally-manipulative charitably-dependent inconsequence. Driftwood hunkered in the belly of an opaque civil service position, naive as doves and disengaged, part-timer middle managers noodling on a theology of permanent garden leave with a cosmic non-compete clause, proliferating mere busy-ness, having abandoned responsibility for excellence, I render all work as only the worst form of meaningless unredeemed toil, I thusly am a dead weight on the spaceship earth, having no oxen to inspect.
~ There are self-righteous Christians out there who have oxen and who labour the gymanastic cognitive dissonance of Sunday Christianity, living two lives which never ever meet. Monday flexes all the God given gifts to an alternative immutable infinity, diligently constructing fungible pieces for export to a sordid empire, clean hands yet complicit by omission, I am guilty of divine non-disclosure, hoping to sit at the banquet having outsourced the inspection of the oxen.
There must be a better way.
๐Ÿคต๐Ÿ‘ฐ 2. "I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come."
- Why is marriage in conflict with the Kingdom?
- What does marriage cost?
- What does it look like to expend yourself for the Kingdom in a way that creates a brilliant marriage rather than competes with it?
- What does it practically look like to have just married a wife and to come to the Kingdom banquet anyways?
[Incidentally, of marriage and banquet invites.. Maths advice for marriage-prepping couples, when you get married you will have as many as twice the number of friends/family/contacts who will invite you to dinner and you will be able to attend/host less than half as many as you could when single. Ref annual alternate exponential Christmas dinner expectations etc.]
Kingdom participation, showing up at the banquet, showing up appropriately dressed at the banquet is a very serious endeavour, costing not less than everything. (Mt22v12 is a verse that should hit you in the stomach) 
~ Marriage is the most high cost identity realignment you can possibly engage, a perpetual trauma to the foundations of all pre-existing sense of self, changing not less than everything.
~ Marriage is not to be undertaken lightly, bla blah bla, but for why? It is all-in on a high stakes table, collateralising your entire net-worth on a single bet, and, divorce stats being what they are, a probable majority of you will lose.
~ Marriage is an intensive investment, a high maintenance houseplant, rightly is the young Christian couple encouraged to labour to nurture this complex entity, rightly to set aside time to maintain it. Rightly, lest it go awry explosively or extensively. But do you have the time for that, can you make sufficient time, is it worth it?
~~ Explosively. See thoughtlessly calibrated asymmetry sets in motion a catastrophic tailspin like an unequal yoke ploughs a bitter vortex trampling ground already sown; see the vertiginous collapse of an unstable and loosely joined scaffold imperils all nearby; see two elaborately incompatibly shaped objects hurtling at high velocity through the narrow confines of matrimonial cooperation scratching nails down paint to the bone of torrid potholing; see the toxic sour cocktail curdling the vindictive feminisity of warm dairy in the bitter lime of abrasive and abrupt masculinisty. Hence if one has just married that proverbial wife (slash person), one cannot come to the banquet..
~~ Extensively. A demise no less costly. See the widespread banality of Christian marriage, marked by material privilege, shame-opaquing domestic isolation and an exhausting charade to cover ossified spiritual lukewarmth, defaulting to a lowest common denominator in a collusion of codependent mutual self-sabotage and cooperative self-deception. You rule yourself out of the banquet by a commitment to a sentimental marriage, a totalising for-itself lock-in tethered by people-pleasing to unregulated infinite social and family expectations. Those mismarried are frozen out by their own entanglement, bound inside a contract of preemptive inaction, a committee-of-two's paralysis of agency, a complete inability to risk, where risk is the most important currency of the Kingdom, the very life blood of faith.
A third way, a marriage which is by/with/from/for the Kingdom, and from which Kingdom all other things are added unto we. Living that marriage is made not impossible by Christ. I believe this.
๐Ÿ‘‘❔What is the Kingdom?
Precision on this question matters utterly.

Lk14v21-22 And still there is room. And still. There is room. There is always room in God's kingdom for more people and more of people. There's still room.  'And still', is like 'But God', but perhaps speaks particularly to the wearier, more resigned, quiet despairs. You think you have exhausted the terrain, dear heart, but you haven't. With God, still, there is room.

Lk14v23-24 ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ "..that my house may be filled.." I'm endlessly amused at the filling of Phil. Lord fill Phil that he might feel full so to not fail to fulfil his fullest Phil. What does a full house look like? Poker's diad plus triad is no royal flush. A full house. Lambeth's HMO register be twitching a moral panic past one and half nuclear families per residence, lest they be bidding beds in sheds. A full house. No midding, more moshing, the standing-room-only house party. A full house. The hospitality imperative, which is compelled to compel, a mustered mustness, a magnate's magnetism, the centre of a centripetal celebration of dwelling. God's full house is predicated on superabundance. God's love is an overcatered banquet a'wasting, it is sheer excess, it is beyond indiscriminate, it's a bottomless all-you-can eat, it's a bus when the oyster reader's broken, it is tamped down and spilling over, it is more-than.
๐Ÿ•ต‍♂ A has introduced an vital concept of not depleting a finite commodity from a sharing platter or a common cupboard which you only-sort-of-enjoy, knowing that others more flippin'-love the Stilton in question, for example. It is a tactic that is more than thoughtful generous stewarding of the common good: the brilliance of invisibly foregoing is stealth ninja gifting of the highest order, it is the magic. God's banquet rests on different presuppositions, however, authored on a foundation entirely without scarcity.
~ How should we then live? How to model infinity in our finity? The world needs to know the height and depth, the length and breadth, of God's reckless hospitality. This mere verbage needs a plausibility structure. It needs simulation by analogy, it needs parabolic symbolisation, it needs to be visceral in precisely the pertinence of its superabundance.
A full house is a relative term, a small house is quickly filled - what does your house look like? How full is it? The world-facing visibility of the essential challenge and fundamental risk is the same, however, regardless of size. Compelling randoms to a prepared banquet has been bonkers in all generations. Go, compell. And to do so, you will need to have prepared v17.

Lk14v25-26 Loving Jesus more than family. A cut to the heart, again, a call to redirect energy and longing towards Jesus. A reminder that while there are all kinds of truths in our relationship with Jesus which inform our human relationships, the bigger metaphor goes the other way - our human relationships are shadow forms of a bigger reality - my love for family is to be a metaphor for the more substantial love I am to have for Jesus. How do I love Jesus? I have been revisiting 1Cor13 this last week, but in thinking about love's definition here I tend to apply it either to God's love towards me or the love I should have for other people - I don't easily translate it into how I love Jesus. But I am called to love Jesus the most. How then am I to love Jesus? Let us allow the famous passage on love to guide our love of Jesus into more-than-these love today: What does it look like to be patient and kind towards Jesus? To be unjealous of Jesus' work in others, to be humble and unconceited towards Jesus? To not be selfish and irritable towards Jesus? How do I let go of every wrong that my heart wants to attribute to Jesus, to my feelings that he has treated me unfairly? How do I grieve evils done to Jesus specifically, and how do I rejoice in Jesus' specific truth? How do I protect Jesus, how do I trust him? What shape does my hope in Jesus have if I love him? How do I never give up on Jesus?

Lk14v27-28 ✝ ❎ ⚔ ☠ ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป "bear his own cross.." What is the crossness of the cross? Death? Merely the termination of life? There is very little bearing in that, it is over in an instant. The cross is no mere execution, it is peerless torture porn, perfected cruelty, stress-testing the human body to the point of failure. The cross is a definitionally excruciating death, caused typically by asphyxiation, where the exertion of lifting one's broken body to breath exceeds the tormented body's capacity to resist the pain of so doing. The cross is organised persecution by a calculating enemy, gratuitous enhanced interrogation with no questions and no answers, it is a political death fashioned to be emblematic of failure through perfect public abasement and superlative shame. You need to have made some very serious and determined enemies who believe you deserve to be made a spectacle of.
๐Ÿ‰ "..his own.." a customised demise, bespoke death, a limited edition form of torment. There's no one size fits all. Like Harry Potter's boggart, your cross is tailored to your fear, it is the dragon, it is your worst-case worst-fear in the worst-of-all-worlds, it is the opposite of the good life. It is antithetical to every measure of success, everything that makes it worth getting out of bed in the morning, every worthy cause, every reward scheme and incentive, the cross is the barbarian just beyond the border of your city, the city you have been building your whole life as a fortress to resist. The cross is chaos and nothingness, shredding all freedom, the end of all power, it is being hung out to dry, slowly and meaninglessly.
๐Ÿ’น "count the cost.." can you afford to be a Christian? Pounds and pence, how does your life of faith stack up. Cost:Benefit ~ what leads to misestimation? What is unforeseeable? What is contingent? The Monty project met with a cost consultant on Tuesday. We'll make it stack up. We'll hedge the bet. We'll play the game. The cost will be covered. But only an individual can be crucified. Only an individual can be a Christian, you cannot have a Chrisitan committee. Somebody has to face death. There is no collateral you can substitute for a soul, no one can die for another Ps49v7.
๐Ÿ‘ฅ๐Ÿ‘ฅ๐Ÿ‘ฅ๐Ÿ‘ฅ What accountancy protocol exists for the costs of corporate Christian exertion? Who leads, who pays who dies? At all scales of collective endeavour, from the PJs one&other, to the blur of WeWork, to the hegemon of the EU, how is sufficient cross-bearing apportioned to make of these things productive Christian expression?

Lk14v29-30 Better not to start at all than to start and not finish? Confrontational at this moment when I'm contemplating starting a new project, wanting to count the cost but finding the variables hard to weigh. Better, with such uncertainty, not to start? To continue rather with that already committed to, to foundations already laid, rather than starting new foundations? As a metaphor for following Christ the takeaway surely isn't that we shouldn't start laying foundations because the cost is high - in no circumstances is that the wisest or most prudent course of action. It's a call to step up to the hard costly labour of building. With Jesus it is always an invitation to Eph4v1 live life in a manner worthy of the calling received. Go big, don't go home.

Lk14v31-32 "..War.." what is it good for? Good for metaphors.  Good, also, for correcting social inequalities, apparently. ๐Ÿ’ฃ I've been thinking about war variously this week, via CCL on Revelation, via a contact presenting denuclearisation at General Synod this weekend, and via Margarent MacMillan's current Reith lectures.
๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ‘ Last Sunday, we visited CCL, where thissermon was convicting, if a little confusing, about Jesus' qualities "as-Lion" and "as-Lamb". Seeking to parse the paradox risks, as he did, semantic circularity, word-salading a mashup which veered in interpretation between both-anding and neither-noring the essential qualities of lambliness and lionliness.
๐Ÿฆ A Lion is archetypal strength, warringly savagely severe unmuzzled ferocity exuding peerless peril. A lion is pure muscle and claw, the size of a room, embodying comprehensive danger, flexing a proud pride's jealous vengeance at the very top of the food chain. A lion should inspire total dread. God could have chosen a different metaphor, an anticipated Holy Cow, a Mother Hen.. The Lion of Judah carries the prophetically-anticipated-one mantle but incidentally. The Lion of Judah is lion, unabstractably. See Monty P's insightful disambiguation on Lion. ๐Ÿ‘ A Lamb is archetypal innocence, perfect passive fragility, cowering tremulous at the precarious bottom of all possible dominance hierarchies. A lamb is beautiful dependence. In early muddy spring, scattered on the hillside of weather strewn mangy mutton stock there appear frolicking shining unblemished unsullied unpolluted whitest Persil white bundles of novel frail perfect beauty. A bleating lamb inspires pity and maternal affection, stirring a yearning for a Romantic bucolic idyll that is emphatically not-yet. These two archetypes are quintessentially antithetical.
๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ‘ The world is familiar with Lions and Lambs as eschatological ambitions, ultimate paradigms for the good life, and we all, secular and religious alike, bend our lives towards realising the benefits of power and purity in our public lives. We all want to be found as strongly conscientious as a lion and as gently agreeable as a lamb. Both. At the same time. Hence the spurious double-think gymnastics of recent Army recruitment videos.
๐Ÿ”ƒ The bible claims that Jesus is both. And by extension, we can be both. And more than that, mysteriously the highest form of Lionliness is found through Lambliness, and vice versa. This appeals. A clever jiu jitsu quippy epithet corroborated by the beatitudes's "other cheek" and "second cloak" and such as Rm12v20 ~ "feed your enemies, and by so doing heap burning coals on his head.." But, it's not that easy. The theology of as-Lion and as-Lamb goes awry in two ways:
1. we redact the essential supernatural presupposition and so do lioning/lambing in our own strength, and so unremarkably.
2. we hear only the emphasis that aligns with the psychometric profile of our style of church, and so proliferate the skew.
1. ๐Ÿ”ฒ In flat land, in a closed universe, in a world where it all depends on you, you are responsible for the means of effecting justice and mercy, you are responsible for the supply of resource to pay the ransom, you are responsible for collateral damage. It is all on you.
๐Ÿ‘ Being as-Lamb is risky and often immoral. Encouraging others to be as-Lamb is as unconscionable as leading cult members blindfold across a motorway at night. Equally, being as-Lamb yourself when there is something in peril is cowardice: lazy and escapist Peterpanism, shirking flimsy, irresponsibly privileged, blithely ungritty, shameless.
~ But with the God hypothesis certain, when someone breaks into your house and threatens your family, you can achieve a lionly outcome by being extremely lambly without accusation of cowardice, if and only if you have perfect confidence that the necessary lioning stands behind you to protect and ensure final justice.
๐Ÿฆ Being as-Lion is risky and often immoral. The passion to structure reality and blaze brightly, to stand-firm, to contend-for is risky. To presume to use power to exercise dominion in a world of competing agendas while you are yet imperfect-to-judge, this is everywhere contentious, callous, cruel and risks exponential escalation.
~ But with the God hypothesis certain, when you are tasked to form the world, to call sinful systems to correction, to press bravely into the unknown, and to establish a structured rule of law, to speak hard words - you can pursue a lambly outcome of compassionate care by being extremely lionly, without accusation of vindictive, patriarchal will-to-power, if and only if you have perfect confidence that the necessary lambing sits within you, to purify your conscience and pervades beyond you to translate apparently hard-words into the transformation of soft people.
2. ๐Ÿ‘บ๐Ÿ—ฏ๐Ÿ’ช CCL's sermon set itself against Mark Driscoll, who, for his many flaws, (flaws which give me to hope that God could also use one so flawed as I) - was, I think, not wrong to compare Jesus to a cage fighter. Truly, we do not worship a saviour we can just beat up. The cosmic Christ is not a tame lion, the God of angel armies was beaten up only because he planned at great length an exquisite choreography in which he would conspicuously let us believe we had beaten him up - lion-and-lambing is not incidental hybridising, it is not Venn-diagram intersecting, it an infinitely massive lion's mind-bending and very calculated choice to be meek, the extremely powerful's very intentional electing to forego the use of otherwise unlimited innate power.
⛪ CCL appears in the familiar St Mary's category of shiny metropolitan charismatic evangelicalism, erring towards a noodly definition of love which many people (as I) do need to hear, but many more (as I) will absorb only as sentimental license to remain comfortably entrenched in our silo of saccahrine privilege and British middleclass inoffense. Problematising lion allegories betrays the bent of CCL, just as Driscolls caricaturisation of hippie decaf sipping lambs betrays his. I speculate that those preaching at CCL are of an age and a gender, as I am, to have been personally hurt by Driscoll, and so is susceptible to developing his ministry, as I mine, in knee-jerk reaction to Driscoll's. Brothers, let's not. There is such a greater freedom.
☢ Last night A raised the issue of denuclearisation which a friend of hers will be presenting at General Synod this Sunday This is where the rubber hits the road, where the metaphorical Christian soldier must, at a personal, local and national scale practice the metaphors he/she preaches, and demonstrate to risk that being lambly properly as a nation state is not only possible, but effects a greater justice, strikes a greater fear, instills more shock-and-awe.
๐ŸŒŽ How should the Lion Lamb paradox be applied on the stage of international relations? I believe that unless we pursue the searing risk of being-as-Lamb and create locally and personally the Kingdom we would like the UK to be by a ferocious force of kindness rendered in untold sacrifice, then we will get the government we deserve, who can only express executively, what we ultimately given them license to offer, which is a nuclear nation state.
๐Ÿ‘ฅ๐Ÿ‘ฅ The rest of today's verses conjure something of the *multi-personal dimension of this conflict*. And they illustrate a different nuance to the tower-building metaphor of the previous verse. The spiritual realm is a contested territory.
"deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace" Negotiating from a position of weakness with the world that comes against you. The terms will not be favourable. This is not peace making, but terms of surrender and assimilation. This is not a decision to put off regarding the building a tower which you can't afford, this urgent action required to avoid submission to enemy rule, the dissolution of your identity, the end of the road.
There is a we-experience to choosing for or against participation in the Kingdom of God.
There is a clash of opposing sides, we must go into the world, and it is a world in which there is no neutral territory.
~ without God, we go into that world on the basis of scarcity, and must negotiate terms on that basis.
~ with God, we come to the denuclearisation/PCC/maritaldispute table on the basis of abundance, and we-as-we can thusly be extremely Lamb and extremely Lion.
๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’ช Come on!

Lk14v33-34 Can salt lose its saltiness? According to my (not very extensive research) salt can endure forever, it forms and sits on the seabed for millennia, after all: https://realsalt.com/can-salt-go-bad/ Jesus then selects a substance that, in its fundamental ontology, is eternal. Salt goes bad only when it is mixed with water or other additives. This makes a sense of v33's exhortation to 'give up everything'. We are wary of (unmixed) metaphors, decrying the Christian life conceived as vacuum-packed. And yes, salt is no good if it doesn't salt food. But in order to salt food forever it must be unalloyed, priestly, submitted in total not in part. We know this, and there is a danger in rehearsing the call to total submission as a clichรฉ, a going through the motions. Practically speaking, I have been stirred to think about what it looks like to walk in purity in being at the Heythrop farewell conference this week, packed with reflections on the Ignatian traditional  central to the Jesuits'. The commitment to pray the _Examen_ daily, or several times a day, in truth, to take time to daily discern the additives and the water spoliage, to discern one's own spirit before God, including a discernment of the spirits of the age and their influence - this is a commitment to high saltiness that I want to cultivate better with such rhythms.  See: ignatianspirituality and manresa-canada.ca

Lk14v35 ⚪ What exactly is the _-iness_ which Jesus is talking about? We know what salt is. Salt is salt is salt. No fifty shades of sea spray, salt is salt singularly. No? Perhaps http://www.losalt.com/ is in view here? Perhaps salt refers to simultaneously the active added agent and the total package - like alcohol-free booze? So the salt-based fertiliser which degrades, loses its vital ingredient - salt without salt.
☣ What exactly is the _-iness_ which Jesus is talking about? Do you consider your Christianity to be degradable? Dilutable? And when that happens, is it an unfortunate mishap to be mourned? Or repulsive offense to be spat out Rv3v16? Or hazardous waste to be cordoned off?
๐Ÿšซ What exactly is the _-iness_ which Jesus is talking about? Desalted Christianity is not fit for food or soil, it is to be actively avoided, even kept from the compost heap. Even rotted down to a mere mulching ground for future seeds it is less than unsuitable.
๐Ÿ‘ฉ‍๐Ÿ”ฌ What exactly is the _-iness_ which Jesus is talking about? This well-worn allegory, chivving good Christian Union members to condiment their worlds to flavour and preserve the meat market of uni, to bee a saline solution to the world's problems.. These encouragements move the metaphors sideways only, into the realm of equivalent honorifics without narrowing the interpretation into application. Tricky, as salt is fairly irreducible and unabstractable. There are no spiritual saltmines from which to extract this mineral. There is not a spiritual sodium and spiritual chloride, which, when combined, form spiritual flourishing. It is its own thing. Salt is salt. How do you muster it? Whence and whither?
๐Ÿ’ธ What exactly is the _-iness_ which Jesus is talking about? Faithiness? Riskiness? Costlyness? Spirit-fillediness? Mysteriousness? Happiness? Truthiness? In this context, costlyness would seem the primary allusion. Having laid out conditions for discipleship, illustrating it's cost: v26 hate your family; v27 bear your cross; v28 consider the cost of construction vs failure; v31 consider the cost of battle vs defeat; v33 renounce all. The implication by juxtaposition is, paying this cost is what salty looks like.
๐Ÿคฎ Saltiness is costlyness. The world knows this. Your kids see this. Your colleagues can smell this. Faith that costs nothing is a flaccid faith, a fair-weather hobby, limp chips slopped soggy into newspaper grimly starch sodden, abandoned on a bandstand bench, several generations ago.
๐Ÿบ๐ŸŠ⛵ We've brewed a Gose at 41, it's just coming ripe, it's a grapefruit zest slap in the face, a lungful of citrus steeped sour brine bubbled hissing across the prow of a catamaran cutting like a knife through all former flavours. It is fizz tang and kapow.
๐Ÿ‘‚ Jesus adds the "let him hear" for emphasis. Take heed.

texting luke thirteen

Numbers up the narrow door. Come in sideways. 07729056452

Lk13v1-2 Because. Philosophers often note that it is prepositions that you should look out for rather than the flashier metaphysical terminology. Theories of everything can be unpacked from the word 'because', all understanding of how the world hangs together, all connectedness, all causes, all reasons, sufficient and otherwise, all linear and non-linear, direct and indirect ways this is related to that. What can we say? God's grace: the uncaused reasons an unreasonable cause.

Lk13v3-4 "..unless you repent, you will all likewise perish .. (v5) unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.." If that is faith, then 41 is bourgeois, it was said last night. 41 lacks energy, lacks confrontation, lacks contentious contending, lacks urgency. 41 is found by such as he to be insufficiently provocative, insufficiently uncomfortable. 41 allows too many for too long to go unchallenged in their unexamined response to a call to repentance. 41 should make more the gouge of love, more piercing their concern for the lost, more harrowing their horror of deep concern. Affable lukewarmth brooks no absolutes, ventures no imperatives, invokes no hell. 41 is bourgeois, it was said last night. Jesus would have none of it. Rv3v16. T praised H for daring to ask - for there is love.

Lk13v5-6 Lamenting, indignant, frustrated, verging on despair, at the lack of figs in certain areas. With this picture there is both space to acknowledge the wrong, the lack, the slowness, the missed opportunities. But more than this, there is also tentative, aching and fragile hope in this picture v7-9, both probabilistic and prophetic, that it won't always be this way, that figs will fruit just round the corner. Please God. Teach us to dig and fertilise with the grain of your grain.

Lk13v7-8 "..for three years.." I remember thinking at Nottingham about a university-as-Babylon analogy, which hinged on the three year undergraduate season being as Daniel&Co's three years in Nebuchadnezzar's court Dn1v5 a season long enough to enculture conformity, to mould and establish sappling minds to a pattern. Three years recurs, it is the season that Paul spends with the Ephesians  Ac20v31-32  - admonishing with tears, that they might be built up and bear fruit. And, most prominently, it is the season of Jesus' ministry, calculated variously by scholars as covering three passovers Jn2v13 / Jn6v4 / Jn11v55. Equally also, three years conjures a sort of third-and-final climax, like third wave coffee and third wave feminism, at various scales Jesus is the decisive and determinate third chapter, after first the Law and second the Prophets have failed. What season are you in? What fig trees are you seeking to bring to fruition? What could you achieve in three years?
"..Why should it use up the ground?" Take up space, but don't merely take up space. KJV  "Why cumbereth it the ground?" This fig tree is rendering the ground barren and infertile, the scale of this sterile tumour is preventing the growth of neighbouring vines. Somewhat as the anthropocene is net drain on the world's resources, humans are a virus taking up space, a plague, a waste of space, a bloated ecological footprint exceeding the planet's carrying capacity?
Culture's cognitive dissonance doesn't know what to do with it's own fecundity. There is a problematic oscillation between the stark nihilism of environmentalism's anti-human 'have-fewer-children' mantra, and the unfettered infinity of secularism's uncaused and causeless unbound cosmology. There must be a third way.  The moral universe is not the unconstrained anythingness of a multiverse, it is not purposeless, it is ordered by finity and directed by ambition. The world is weighty, personally purposive and held to account. Every square inch of soil is culpable, all the rocks that would cry out, every wisp of cloudy heavens would declare glory, there are no unsacred places, only desecrated places. You are not meant to be a blithely addicted consumer, you are meant to be a hyperactively stewardly producer. Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. You are not meant to be a gnawing, listless vandal, you are meant to be a wise, and sacrificial gardener.  Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Time and space are finite, doing nothing is a culpable evil.
"..dig around it and put on manure.." What does this look like in my life? Dig and disrupt dry ground, dismantle and re-form, loosen up the rigid assumptions, get to the roots. And then put on manure, the steaming rich mix of questionable and probably unhygenic shit, the composting renourishment. You have one year to make up for lost time. Would that you had failed faster, there is so much to unlearn, there is so much work to do and so little time. God help us.

Lk13v7-8 Appendix. Recent other thoughts on fruit
~ Mt13v21-22 Unfruit. What is this 'fruit' of which Jesus speaks? Gal5v22-23? Fruit of Love Joy peace etc? Or Jn12v24? Fruit containing multiplied seeds? Seeds, as sex, serve analogies for both flavour and fertility, both pleasure and procreation. [Against this...] what are our brambly strangly sterilising flavour-robbing parable-addlers. Be weeding. 
~ Ps128 Be fruit full. In your praxis and allegory, flavour and ambition, diet and delight. An apologetic for the blessedness of being fruitful is needed in the now: where families are abandoned, children are aborted and the table is substituted with television. The blessedness of such blessings is not self-evident for many..
~ Mt13v5-6 Often when the bible talks of roots and shoots etc it is we who are the proverbial plant. As in the complexity of Rm11's grafting in, of Eph3v17's 'being-rooted in love' or Col2v6's 'rooted in Christ'. Here however we are the soil: that substance whose key quality is its capacity to contain, absorb, nurture and support. How can we learn so deep a capacious receptivity to grace but by coming to know that earthy soily one in whom we are likewise and thereby rooted..
~ Mt21v19-20 This fig however faces a more annihilationist eschatology: this little figgy went to hell. Judge my fruit? Jn15v2. Assess my flavour? Jm3v12. Are my texts fruitful to multiply? Or are they fig leaves to cover my shame? Gn3v7 
~ Rm11v21-22 I am not immune from the creeping decay of nominalism, the glib rot of self-satisfied moralism, the blight of comparative praise. I am prone to the veneering of faith, presenting as the simulacrum of a plant, having resplendent leaves but no fruit, being all bark and no bite. 

Lk13v9-10 cut it down. CUT IT DOWN. I have been in a slash and burn sort of mood. I want to cut it down and not have to bother with this vexing, mocking, energy-draining, boring, stupid tree any more. I want to both acknowledge that there is some wisdom in this. Scripture does tell us to cut things down, to cut them out, to abandon them completely, to be black and white about things. But. But first. But first be patient. But first labour some more. But first try doing it differently. Or even just try hard in the same ways for a pre-set amount of time, and give it everything you have - throw everything at the tree, try to love it deeply even though it is so vexing. Today Marcel told me that 'despair is a form of impatience'. Yes. Okay then God, Teach me some patience. Teach me to bear with. help me till this soil and work out nutrients and light, even though I'm clumsy and tired and I'd rather not. We've been circling round this fig tree metaphor these days and my faith is thin and I'm fearful of all this evening could be. Would you please lead me gently, lead us gently, place our hands in the soil and show us how, unhurriedly, step by step. Would you bring us back to our vulnerability. Would you bring us to gratitude and reverence. Please, Jesus, we ask for your prophetic voice in our specific need. Amen.

Lk13v11-12 ๐Ÿ”ž "..had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years.." Have you..? Who was I eighteen years ago? What spirit has characterised that time since? What have I become? What has wracked my mind and musculature during the course of that season? The year was 2000. Secondary school was begun. Tick follows tock tumbles. Time takes it's own time and entrenches. The mangle, mask and unadventure of this sophisticate's learnt self-gagging. *What is a disabling spirit?* What is yours? Whence the kill switch? Whither the restart? What is disability's opposite? What would an abling spirit look like?
๐Ÿฆ€ "..could not fully straighten herself.." JBP's stand-up-straight-with-your-shoulders-back is all well and good for those who can muster the serotonin from some forgotten well ~ and even then, I fear it risks to fan the flames of unfettered dominance heirarchy conflicts by facading bravado and is liable to end in tears. JBP is at his best when he is being clinically observative, less so when he is being ideologically prescriptive. I was deeply struck at the time by his portrait of an agoraphobic client (p20-22) and I am brought back to it now, recalling her defensive crouch. We are integrated beings, soul, mind, body, and our conditions are spiritual, mental and physical. Life is a stance, a posture, a gait, a dance. All of which die a slow death in the pathological self-reinforcing fortress of anxious mental feedback.
๐Ÿ†“๐Ÿ†“๐Ÿ†“ "..you are freed.." You are freed. You are freed. You are freed. Over and against the stoic cadence of default conservative evangelicalism, muddled as it is with dull white guilt and modern melancholy, Jesus takes away suffering. I am still trying to learn this. It is a hair's breadth from the prosperity gospel, but the alternative is Christian masochism. Try these intentionally uncomfortable St Mary's maxims on for size:
- Jesus loves you, but I'm his favourite.
- God is nice and he likes me.
- If God intends suffering to be punishment-for-unbelievers and purification-for-believers, why did Jesus spend so much time taking it away?
๐Ÿ™ This is not to be glib about real suffering, but insofar as I tend towards self-inflicted theologically-exacerbated mental anguish, and insofar as I wallow in the learnt limited ambitions of sub-supernatural Christianity, Jesus calls me today to not resist the freedom he has for me.

Lk13v13-14 v11 'she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself'...v13 he laid his hands on her and immediately she was made straight.' This prompted thoughts on what it is to be 'straightened' out, in various different ways. Reading Ps27 yesterday morning N commented on v11 that the image of the 'straight path' is one often used by 'cousins' in their understanding of the path to God, a picture often countered by Christians with images of  Mt7v13 the path as narrow. N reflected that Christians could be better at using the imagery that the Bible gives us of the straight path as a point of connection and communication with them about The Way. I went looking for other references to the straight path - as well as Ps27v11, we have Pr3v6 and Heb12v13. I noticed that all of the verses are about healing, actually. Being straightened out, or walking the straight path, in the scriptural imagination, seems less to do with behaviour modification and more to do with healing. Perhaps interesting that we Christians, seeking ongoing healing all of us, don't talk much about the straight path. I think culturally we now honour the idea of the winding path - we think that complexity = authenticity, we think that our wounds demonstrate that we are doing something right. Many of the stories we tell fetishise the idea of a complicated and convoluted journey. God absolutely meets us on the long and winding road, and God's grace is that there are no forks or bends in the road that cannot lead back to Him with dazzling glory, but we perhaps do well to remember that this kind of story itself is not necessarily the mark of faith. The way is narrow, the way is hard, but there is also a simplicity and straightness to the way that God wants to bring us to, as part of our own healing itself. God wants to bring us to straight paths, to unselfconscious, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other walking with Him. It is He that makes our paths straight, this is a healing that he offers us - let us not resist it.

Lk13v15-16 Religione's Sabbath, like the W1A's Way Ahead Group is thus: “The fact is this is about identifying what we do best and finding more ways of doing less of it better” How do you Sabbath? What is the doing of not-doing such that you are being-still and letting-God without neglecting appropriately responsive contextual compassion? Sabbath, rightly divined, sifts the hypocritic oafs from the hypocratic oaths, but how? How do you Sabbath?
The difficulty or tension, occurs for me, in two areas:
๐Ÿ— What is work? ~ the definition of work-as-work and work's agency
๐Ÿ“† What is time? ~ the purpose of sabbatical time and its ordering principle
๐Ÿ— Religione's fastidious unwork is a category error that is upside-downed by Jesus.
Consider:  ๐ŸฅŒ [Rolling a stone down a hill]  ๐Ÿ‹‍♂ [Pushing a stone up a hill] ~ which of these is a picture of the life of faith? Whose is the strength, who is the agent, who gets the glory? Jesus calls us to a total life whose yoke-is-easy-and-burden-is-light. Jesus calls us as a redeemed humanity, a faithful humanity, whose work, eschatologically anticipated by being imminently embodied, is to live all-sabbath all-the-time. No? And how so? What is the yoke of Jesus' easy yoke such that the yoke is easy even while there must be toil and sweat-of-brow-tilled-soil this side of proverbial eternity? Do we distinguish between light recreational works of faith in a sacred domain, as distinct from legitimate heavy lifting in a secular domain? Surely not. All works are weighty and undertaken with due reverence. In all domains God is the author and the power. All works are his to achieve. But, if so, what then is it appropriate to do on Monday that it is inappropriate to do on Sunday?
๐Ÿ“† Irreligione's unsabbatical time is not the true freedom of the fulfilment of the law which Jesus offers. Even as redeemed we are yet are finite beings constrained in time, dabbling in eternal truth, casting infinite images, suggesting substance beyond our frail frames. Sabbath as a 1 in 7 days must yet endure, because without such choreography the centre cannot hold, the dance is unspun and arhythmic, a privatised and unrelational chaos portending to nothingness. Against the nihilism of mechanised atomised infinity, Sabbath rest is crystalised to a sublime excellence on a day of synchronised and coordinated, quorate and elaborate rest - where we-as-we achieve a display of heaven by intentional total-peace togethering. Thus is a personal infinity's arc rehearsed weekly.

Lk13v17-18 'What is the Kingdom of Heaven like, to what may I compare it?' Praying simple prayers that as I write to deadlines today my writing would breathe out a sense of what-the-kingdom-is-like, not getting too tangled up in its own terminology or caveats, remembering the original thought and desire in the seed of the paper which was a a hope to speak something of the is-like of kingdom hope. What is the Kingdom like? How might I compare it in pictures & prose, how to analogise & analyse? May my words, by God's grace, be themselves like seeds - more than they initially appear to be.

Lk13v19-20 
๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿฆ… Does the tree know that birds are nesting in it?
๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿฆ… The tree's very essences a structural redundancy, for-itself glorious superabundance.
⛓๐Ÿ‘พ The Kingdom of Heaven is like the blockchain a persistent Hb13v14? transparent Rv21v18? secure Mt16v19? public Jn12v32? apend-only Rv22v19? ledger..
⛓๐Ÿ‘พ In more seriousness, the Kingdom of Heaven is like the blockchain in that it is infrastructural, a trellis gamed towards justice, an intrinsically self-regulated counter-culture, an affront to monopolies of capital, a universe of possible flourishings sprung from a tiny seed.
๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿฆ… And, we are the birds, or we are the branches?

Lk13v21-22 'mixed into'...'until it worked all through'. The kingdom of heaven is like yeast, and I am like dough. Mixed through, infected with grace, but in this picture the kingdom is not instant but process, God is unevenly distributed through my being, so I seem well seasoned in one season, and suddenly barren and lost again so soon. 'Until', says the parable, 'until the yeast is worked all through', 'until the whole batch of dough rises'. The yeast has not been extracted from the bread, how could it be? Rather, the dough is still being worked on. And God is an excellent breadmaker. She will not fail to yeast the whole.

Lk13v23-24 ๐Ÿšช Mind the gap in this slimming world's liminality where the Gods of jot and tittle are gate-keeping a capricious obscurity. Thread the needle betwixt skinny love's hens teeth and there you'll find a dark web of minority interests where the unhedged are unhinged. The many-and-not-the-few wait outside, adolescent and unformed, having narrowly avoided this tight squeeze, this tapering road to becoming an individual. Everywhere where you are you only are, with accursed and glorious singularity, you are ever increasingly selectively electively this-and-not-that. As with one-man-and-one-woman-for-one-lifetime, the good life has a particularist partiality, a zoomed in monogeneous honing. Do the one thing, because hell is everything else.

Lk13v25-26 I don't know you. Hands down the most troubling verse in all of scripture. I read this from N.T Wright last week, and I think it offers something important on Luke 13v22-30: 'The point of 1 Corinthians 13 is that love is not our duty; it is our destiny. It is the language that Jesus spoke, and we are called to speak it so that we can converse with him. It is the food they eat in God’s new world, and we must acquire the taste for it here and now.’ (Surprised by Hope, p288.) The wonderful and terrible thing is that if we do not open ourselves to love, if we do not live inside love, we have no language with which to speak to Jesus. How could we know and be known by  him if we resist love? If we do not love we will not be able to taste the Kingdom which has already been given us. What a terrible thought. Teach me your language, teach me your food, though it seems so confronting. I want to subsist in this love.

Lk13v27-28 The Kingdom of God as you know it.. Is the Kingdom visceral? Is it actual? Is it literal? Is it worth the bother? Is it urgent? Is your Kingdom experience a high stakes game writ to a gritty beat of resilient compassion rapped in a howling unflinching weather-all vigour? Is the Kingdom a doing? And, do you?
v26 _"We were in your general vicinty, eating. You were in our streets and we allowed it.."_ Jesus paints excoriating a plaintive plaintiff with a passive voice whining to defend their own dull death died in a by-standing superstitious form of faith. The passive hope of umpteenth generation C-of-E's, lipserving evangelicals, labouring that tawdry cadence of exquisitely banal cognitive assent, lukewarmly name-dropping their pedegree, glibly self-satisfied at their association to dead wasps.
Such passivity is unadventure. Such passivity is to work evil. v27 "workers of evil.." Evil prevails down the lubricated tubes of negligence and the wide road of lazy familiarity. Dull and deathly, riskless religione, disingenuous and yet, so magnetically attractive to the worst parts of me. How comfortable I quickly am with performative nostalgia and a caricature of my own faith.
Knowing about Jesus is not knowing Jesus. Merely knowing about Jesus, that is hell. ~ Where do you know Jesus from?

Lk13v29-30 in v23 Jesus is asked a question about the quantitative measurements of salvation. v24-28 his initial response is to shift the discourse from a third-personal inquiry to second-personal interrogation. Essential and existential, he judo flips abstract intellectual questions and directs them back to our own naked souls, for whom it matters, even though we pretend it does not. Once he has brought us through this face-to-face with our own souls, he moves back, in these two verses, to speaking descriptively, in the third person. Notice how v29-30 thus speaks to, but is so different in tone from, the original question in v23. Jesus describes, using poetic language, who will be caught up in the drama of salvation, but what he emphasises is that this will be generous, diverse and unexpected. Having brought us through a terrible personal examination we are set free to think more expansively, humbly and qualitatively about the Kingdom of God.

Lk13v31-32 ๐ŸฆŠ Tell that fox, that "Monday left me broken, Tuesday I was through with hopin', Wednesday my empty arms were open, Thursday waiting for love, waiting for love, Thank the stars it's Friday, I'm burning like a fire gone wild on Saturday, Guess I won't be coming to church on Sunday, I'll be waiting for love, Waiting for love to come around..." ~ That is Avicii's holy week.
Pharisees in the faux-concern of acrobatic hypocrisy turned up to 11, Jesus in kapow!-too-busy-for-religione. It is a sizzling dialogue. Jesus is a man with a plan. Herod wants to kill you.. Yeah, fam, and I'm gonna let him. ๐Ÿ“† God, teach us to number our days Ps90v12, as ones whose days are numbered Jb14v5 Dn5v26.

Lk13v33-34 Jesus' mother hen metaphor may be about many things, but one key thing it demonstrates about the mother-heart of Jesus is the fierce desire to protect at all costs, including the cost of one's own life. We are currently watching Humans, which depicts, in Karen's realisation that she is unable to put herself in physical danger, the realisation that she cannot mother, for this is, definitionally, the cost.  'I can only look after Sam when it poses no threat to my own wellbeing...I can't be a mother.' So Jesus-as-mother-hen, gathers us under Ps32v7 strong wings, unto death, protecting us bodily from the dangers of cats and fires, giving up his own body to death in order to protect us, chirping and helpless, under the strong maternal gift of love's all-things sacrifice.

Lk13v35  ๐Ÿ•ฐ "often" Jesus offers often with a frequent frequency upon a rhythmed occasion. This is no background noise of default natural grace, it is a chord struck in time. Tune in, oftly oftentimes. The invitation is an interruption, it is a junction, a happening, a gathering.  A collective attending. A synchronised muster point. Now.
๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฃ "would have gathered" shoulda woulda coulda but the luster flock would not, the broody clutch could not, so the shattered smattered are scattered. cruelly cast to the four winds, driven by the centrifuge of their own hypocrisy - the falcon cannot hear the falconer over the cacophony of the roost's feathered frenzy. Shut up birds?
๐Ÿš "desolate" Silence falls. Things fall apart. Entropic dischord tumbles disintegated and rolls dispersed to a nothingness. The opposite of gatherfold is spilt milk, so we ooze out until we are a translucent tensile narrowing to a brittle pitch, a surface stain. But. Over against the precariat hutching clung in terror, we home swell central and eat communal, merry the middle muster with married mettle gusto, throb in sync to a warm pulse in a fire's flame in a critical mass round a hearth's hope of a home's heart. We resolate housing, to neologise, we make one in the sola solar son's sun.

Monday, 28 May 2018

200words: temperate house

A happy afternoon was spent in Decimus Barton’s display case reliquary for a horticultural cult, a grand taxonomy of remnant endangered species grown from cuttings.

~ Cut crisp in Panamas with florid accessories, the waspish Waitrose card carrying preening priestly class drawls reedy dry Henley vowels, vestigial of an invisible Raj. This crystal cathedral a refuge to the raffish cad’s saviour complex.

~ Banker dad bods dazed and blasรฉ clique with like listless paternity leavers, pouting preppy with an all-terrain Bugaboo swagger, self-medicating the horror of fatherhood with a domesticated mother nature, tamed, contained and wipe-clean.

~ Bushy eager ‘lotment gardeners leaned ont spade stoic doffing floppy oilcloth capped over weather winked cagoules. Stooped and mellow fruitful, two pilgrim soil-scuffed spiral-bound sweethearts, joint attending in furtive reverent whisper, this is holy ground.

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Richmond’s rusting ruin-ready skeletal Angkor Wat has been tamed, the gnarly triffids trimmed, the heavy hulking jungle pruned. The lazy gutsy grandeur of truss trellising and galloping rivets, are now squeaky and synthetically shades of white and magnolia. A sterile anaemic modernity draws charmless stainless service trunking through the ironwork and plaster festoonery, the data veins of a parasitic plant cabletied in place. This is the stage set for aestheticised STEM porn.

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Sunday, 20 May 2018

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texting luke twelve

We live in and against anxious times. 

I hope these meditations are helpful. If you want to receive these daily, let me know, they are Whatsapped from +44 (0) 7729056452, if you want to chat, or to dissect the bible, or interrogate any of these issues, get in touch.

Lk12v1-2 Beware the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Hypocrisy. saying one thing, doing another. Pretending. One of the easiest sins, and to Jesus, it seems, the worst of all sins. And as a yeast, it gets into everything, it bloats and flavours everything. It is Ananias and Sapphira's sin unto death (Ac5), as it is for all of us. The deeper into 'ministry' or 'leadership' one goes, the more likely hypocrisy is, because one's ministry has a label, an image, an 'integrity' to it that will necessarily be breached by your being a flawed human being. I long for the wisdom of intentional, stepped-up, discipiling which nevertheless assumes the brokenness and ordinariness and the ongoing-wrestling of the unsanctified nature of my own heart. We say this, of course - every leader will repeat that they are 'not perfect' as part of the image itself, if nothing else, but there is still so often in me a prison of expectation, a fear, which leads to hiding, which leads to hyprocrisy. In many ways I would rather not be a labelled minister with a ministry as this creates more opportunity for hypocrisy. So pray for me, that I would not shy way from leadership and ministry simply to avoid hypocrisy ~ which is perhaps one of my tendencies, but rather, to really be in the midst of it with a profound sense of my ordinary and ongoing brokenness. Wisdom is needed in how to communicate this to others. Only this honesty can lead to a path of purity. Pray that I would learn better how to wear my weakness, so not to sin.

Lk12v3-4 v2-3 Yesterday, listening to Jonathan Freedland's Long View neatly mapping the Facebook data breach onto the history of the Reformation. A previous generation's social network, the Catholic church, which heard our secret confessions, which managed our identity from birth to death, was rocked by a scandal of how it monetises our insecurities. Five years ago, we were reading this in the Matthew parallel Mt11v27 at the time that Jesus Hearts Wikileaks. So now, again, Cambridge Analytica's whistleblower bringing to light that which was in the dark. It is still a true truth.
v3 Yesterday discussing religione with K. How does it happen? How is it that dry desiccated churches persist, with their appalling vacuity and utter irrelevance, labouring through turgid sombre liturgies of hypocrisy. Surely it's self-evidently wrong-headed. And yet it happens. Yeast is one of Jesus most potent parables, capturing the works, effects, motives and conditions for the multiplication of religione. The potential is in all of us, wild yeast is in the atmosphere everywhere, and given the right conditions, spontaneous fermentation will start, dormant yeast, activated, will eat out all the sugar in a church converting it to a dry, woozy, pungent community. At 41 we ferment barrels under the stairs, beside the hot water tank, the warmth and the darkness nurture perfect conditions for yeast to fester, culture, multiply and organise. More visible in bread, yeast's sophisticated structuring of the dough, binds the whole into an integrated sourdough architecture of clingy complicity. Religione is the inevitable sum of our latent yeast run wild, unchecked, in the willed darkness of lazy lukewarm middling mediocrity. Beware the yeast.
v4 Yesterday discussing killing with J, 2Sm1. David kills the Amalekite. Was it an emotional reaction? Was it the logical extension of an obedience to a revelation of God's character: the purity which Saul had encountered in God's character, but refused to practice? Engage and fear the severe holiness of God, the death-desert of us all, the wretched contamination of our total being. Killing the body in the tribal genocides of the Old Testament - these grasp the gravity of a call to holiness. But. In Christ, infinite holiness is compatible with infinite mercy, and there is sufficient supply for the risk of letting the Amalekite live.

Lk12v5-6
Lord of both the dead and the living,
whose authority stretches
beyond the body
and the breath,
Teach us all that’s hidden in the flutter of a sparrow’s wings
that we might know the deeps beneath the trap door of grief 
as Good,
And may live in the security and worth of each soul’s substance
through Christ our Lord,
Amen

Lk12v7-8 ๐Ÿ”ข ๐Ÿง›‍♂ "..numbered" Who counts? 1⃣๐Ÿ™‹‍♂ Christianity is radically specific, searingly bespoke, irrationally, fussily, singularly personal. You should be unsettled by the absurdism, the peculiar miniaturism, the offensive parochialism of Christianity's devotion to the one lost follicle, one lost sheep, one lost coin. In Christianity there is no pew-fodder, no collateral, no dead weight, no also-rans, no B-team, no statistics. Nothing is average, nothing is generic, nothing is calculated. When the church is a collective it is no matted aggregate of anonymised data points synthesised, groomed, combed, stylised to the tousled quaff of a clump of hair. Over and against a metric scientistic culture labouring to damage-limit quantitised problems at a total population level, Christianity is willfully and wastefully invested in the personal, the all-for-one one-to-one.
๐Ÿ’ˆ๐Ÿฅจ "hairs" We are hairs. Related to numbered hairs, I was meditating earlier this week about the topological difference between a two strand cord and a three strand cord Ecc4v12. 2⃣➿ Take two threads, knot them at the top, plait them in a tightly entwined twist. Pull the two ends. The whole spins and unravels until is it extends to appear as one cord, twice as long. Two cords is the folded mirror, uncalibrated, unmediated, untriangulated, a dyadic totality. 3⃣๐Ÿ”ฑ Take three threads, knot them at the top, plait them. Pull at the three ends. The whole draws into itself, clenching a tighter bind. Three cords is the beginning of tapestry, macrame, shibari.

Lk12v9-10 You can sin anything against Jesus but not the Holy Spirit? I’ve been trying to ponder this most famous of contested and confusing verses over the last few days, reading some of the commentaries on it and trying to formulate a trinitarian equation for how to understand it, and I know that there’s more mystery here than I am close to grasping. The thought I have come to is that Jesus’ flesh is the hiding place for all sin (put to death, of course, and raised to life). There is nothing that cannot be absorbed into Christ’s Being in and through our Union with Him. Just as the only way to the Father is through the Son, so too the only way to the Spirit is through the Son also, because Jesus is the site of Union with God. This is why Union with Christ really is the key to the whole of reality and redemption. I pray for deeper understanding of this, the key to everything.

Lk12v11-12 
๐Ÿ˜จ "do not be anxious.."
~ Being anxious. Fraidy. Brittle Being. Scratching at the soured teeth on edge ~ prissy fussy nervy fretful flighty fidget-spinning with utterly retreated tendrils all tinny tiptoe on eggshells. The shallow breath of a veneer's squeeze. Stuck tongue tip tied to arid arch, feint rasp misting a milky glass barely there shading a wisp of unbeing. Unbecoming.
~ Saying anxiously. What do you say when you are anxious? The vorpal snickersnack of apologetic tactics, tendentious tropes, tired tracts, timorous appliquรฉ woad paint, adrenal falsetto febrile bluster, mechanical machismo.
~ Being unanxious. Ununctious. Unflapped and unperterbable. Broad-shouldered deeper vowels, the girded gutsy caribou. The fibre and bone of shalom. Be what you are, as you are, ageless, oaky, eagle. Bear all breakers and weather well.
~ Saying unanxiously. Steady stable, heather tough, fragrant frugal, easing with the ample muscularity of generous testimony with patient words in a capacious Aslan exhale.
๐Ÿ•/๐Ÿ‘‘/๐ŸŒ "synagogues / rulers / authorities"
~ Pondering the things which are out there available for us to be afraid of: fear of the future, fear of abandonment, fear of dark forces, fear of death, fear of chaos. [For this anatomy of disciples' fears]
~ Pondering also the possible parts of myself which are imperilled by these things: Dangers to my body physically, danger to my mind's psychological health, danger to my soul's integrity. And, danger to my identity and value, insofar as these are learnt and calibrated socially and relationally.
~ So, pondering then the domains within which these are sources of an imperilment to my self's value and identity: the synagogues, rulers, authorities are perhaps mappable onto:
- family, tribe, nation
- religious/culture, state/goverment, unseen/spiritual
- self-similar, adjacent-other, impersonal-system
How do these domains threaten you? What do you owe them? How do they own you? How can you be held to ransom by them? How can they demand an account from you? Why would they be interested in your faith, be threatened by your faith, and persecute you unto peril on account of your faith?
๐Ÿ™Š "What you should say.." What should you say? Don't say nothing vs as all it takes for the prevailing of evil is for good people to say nothing.. Say something. A preemptive cover-all, a truism, a platitude? Better than nothing? Why is it so hard to say the right thing at the right time? What stands against my being true to my conviction and call?
๐Ÿ•ฐ "the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour." Holding this in tension with always-be-prepared-to-give-an-answer-for-the-hope, there is an under-emphasised maxim that apologetics must be prophetic. You are making supernatural claims about knowledge, only supernatural knowledge will really cut it. Conjuring the timeless in a timely way, perfectly, only God can. And in that very hour he will.

Lk12v13-14 Seriously Jesus? I was told that justice was a big deal to you. I have been WRONGED and you're coming at ME with questions? How dare you! I only came out here to prove a point. Don't you think fair distribution matters? Fair arguments, fair opinions? I want you to tell him he's wrong. Because of justice of course. It would be so easy for you to show him that he's in the wrong. Isn't this what living to God is about? No? Fucking unbelievable. Jesus. Now I'm angry.

Lk12v15-16 ⚠๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’Ž ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ’น๐Ÿ˜⚠ "Take care.." Beware. Wealth is so dangerous. Remember the rich young man. Remember Nabal (On this, at 44:20-51:30) "Rich people, on the whole, don't create culture" Grayson Perry. Bigger barns heaving with the clingy clink of coinage, leveraging your limbo twixt a mire of never-enoughs, whirling a bling-blinded lunacy through the savage vanity of brash abundunce spilt on tedious exorbitance. Take care. Beware. Wealth is so dangerous. Remember the rich young man. We wealthy ones, our life is a bad parable, a crystal unadventure, a tragic pathology, a self-harm trope. The free-falling middle class, sunk beneath the waves with bullion in our Burberry back pocket. Take care. Beware. Wealth is so dangerous. Remember the rich young man. ⚠๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’Ž ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ’น๐Ÿ˜⚠

Lk12v17-18 What is the actual folly here? Hoarding. What is foolish in it? The selfishness or individualism of it? Or the thought that it will last? The false certainty seems to be what Jesus is particularly putting his finger on. The foolishness is the energy invested in it given its uncertainty. That is, not that storing up is itself an issue, but rather, the focus, time, energy and hope invested in the storehouses is foolish, because it will be taken away from you at some point, it might be taken away from you at any point .. and that there is something more important upon which to focus time, energy and investment first. 

[...some text missing]

Lk12v19-20 
๐Ÿงž‍♂ "Soul.." Self talk. Like the Psalmist in Ps43v5, "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?" Reflective self address. Do you talk to yourself? How do you speak of yourself to yourself? When does self-conscious self-awareness err into introspective self-absorption? What chivvies, what nurtures, what reminders, what stays, what stirs your soul? Speak to your soul. Preach to your soul. Awake my soul!  Come on my soul!
๐Ÿง–‍♂ "relax.." says a liberal and permissive Frankie, a glutted sluggard taking-grace-for-granted. When is it wrong to be at ease? Whence comes balance, on the arรชte between workaholism and passivity? When is it right to be at ease? To be-chill-and-know.. Ps46v10 What are the right conditions for rest in good conscience?
๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿฟ‍๐Ÿญ "Fool!" says a twitchy, judgmental Mr T. a scowling older brother. Who is a fool? Who can call out a fool? Surely God can, but otherwise? Mt5v22 fool-calling is murder. How foolish are we? As with total-depravity in the domain of moral action, so too in the realm of thought, our thinking thinker is corrupt, if not utterly to its worst degree, but certainly it is tainted throughout. The Cogito Ergo Sum subtly presumes an unflawed thinker, but even in cool detached thinking about thinking, I am beset by folly, partiality, wilful self-interest. I am fool, if not perfectly or archetypally or infinitely, I am fool sufficiently to need to be urgently cautious as I comport myself towards my accrual of wealth: confessing my weakness, living desperately in search of true freedom found in proper humble gratitude.
๐Ÿ— "eat, drink, be merry.." Consume. Man's gotta eat ~ when does it become a pathology? When does wealth begin? Rosling et al's Factfulness currently doing the bestseller rounds, and absorbable in this lecture, argues that we are worse than ignorant about our privilege, we are actively misinformed. This is folly. Ideological possession nurtures willful blindness. This is folly. Our eating-drinking-merry-making is beyond any Ps34v8 tasting-and-seeing God's good creation, it is out of all proportion or sustainability, bloating into a domain of pathological, entitled, indulgent, escapist and rapacious consumption.

Lk12v21-22 "Do not be anxious" - a life verse. Specifically here: do not be anxious about (i) your life or (ii) your body, qualified as (i) what you will eat and (ii) what you will wear. We might further elaborate these two basic categories that Jesus presents as the command not to be anxious about (i) your survival needs or (ii) your social standing, about (i) what you will have to do to succeed or (ii) whether you will be accepted by others. Both of these are types of fear, but at a stretch I think (i) is a guilty fear and (ii) is shameful fear. Lying in bed this morning I was thinking about the old mantra of blamelessness and belovedness. If it's true that I have been made blameless and am set free to walk in blamelessness then I am (i) free to step outside survival-of-the-fittest, what-will-we-have-to-compromise, fretting-about-how-we'll-live modes of being. If it's true that I'm beloved, I don't need to live in (ii) constant fearful shame, fantasy or self-loathing. Now seems like the right moment to make this promise foreground again: blameless & beloved, blameless & beloved, blameless & beloved.

Lk12v23-24 "Life is more than food .. the body is more than clothes.." God is more-than. The Christian life is more-than. What do we mean when we say more-than? What do you consider life and the body to be, as they relate to the food you put in to it and the clothes you put on to it?
๐Ÿ†š more-than vs merely
๐Ÿ†š more-than vs other-than
๐Ÿ— Life is merely food. Life is but biology: voracious in will and bottomless in appetite, but even mere-food is not reducible to surviving starvation. Food is a very sufficient religione, a complex game of virtue signalling and self-medication. I am what I eat and I do so expertly. Life is won by wine snobbery, the competitively nuanced palate of the connoisseur. The good life is measured on the chromatic variance of your Instagram feed, compressing a dizzying density of sensory experience into life's short span.
๐Ÿšญ Life is other than food. Over and against carnal hedonists, whose stomach is their God. Life is spiritual, food is an inconvenience, flavour a temptress, calories the enemy. Life is an enlightened dietary calculation, anorexically assymptotically ascetic, Straight-Edge being towards bare nothingness and how to disappear completely.
๐Ÿ‘™ Life is merely clothes. To be human is to dress, and urgently flamboyantly so, ornament distinguishes us from apes, clothing is language and language is all we have ~ a semantic game of distraction, frenetic fashion signifiers, babelling ecstatic noise to cover a nude emperor. Life is a stage, and we conduct our being performatively, combatively, we power dress. Life is mere clothes because images live forever. Life is mere clothes because modernism failed, pomo is more fun, and there is a consensus that man is hollow. Life is mere clothes because everything is veneer, everything is only language, nothing has substance, so savour sweetly the sensation, spectacle and affect that clothing conjures, a retinal analgesic for a fading world.
๐Ÿง–‍♂ Life is other than clothes. Bold and noble, heroically dour dowdy, in contempt of colour and tone, there is a more honest way to attire man as the machine he is. Rationalistic, deterministic, gnostic, iconoclastic, utilitarian, stoic and nude beneath a functional outfit. Life is other-than clothes: Nude is Prophetic Is20, Nude is Political Polemic Lk6v29, Nude is our original purity Gn2v25.. Disrobement is an act highlighting justice issues, there is an earnest, visceral transparency to a life other-than clothed, with a scathing critique of a corruptly clothed civilisation.
~ Contrary to all the above our life is more-than food and more-than clothes, that is, inclusive-of-and-exceeding. We get both to savour the taste-and-see feasting of a water-to-wine Jesus who was called a drunk in his time and to engage also a critical righteousness in life exceeding the Pharisees. In our walk round Mull we pondered food and the rhythms of eating which would make it fearless and excellent. Pray for us in this season to go deeper on this particular foray into being bodies.

Lk12v25-26 "Who of you can add a single hour to your life by worrying about it?" One obvious response to this is that one can actually add hours to one's life by worrying, thank you very much Jesus, because worrying flags danger and risk, and avoiding danger and risk can in fact add all manner of hours to one's life. The opposite of worry, then, cannot be blind indifference to the world and its troubles. Maybe this then helps us to distinguish 'worry' in this anxious sense that Jesus calls us from, over and against Pr24 right concern & planning. 'Do not worry' is not a call to fatalism, to 'whatever will be will be'. 'Worry' then, is definitionally that which does not contribute to preservation or flourishing. Worry adds nothing, it only destroys. Worry is not care-full concern, it is not a constructive red flag. It is its own universe. Worry becomes a place we live and it fosters indecisiveness rather than enables decisiveness and forward motion. Perhaps anxiety has its roots in a basic healthy survival mechanism needed to navigate wisely through chaos, but left unchecked and uncalibrated by the consideration of God's ultimate goodness, accessed by the consideration of the birds of the air, it replicates and multiplies in a cancerous way. It traps, it becomes its own chaos, it prevents rather than preserves. A way of assessing whether my concerns are well triangulated by God or not, then: do they lead to action, to the fruit of goodness? Do they add something? Do they  add a single hour? And can they be left behind once this action has been taken? Or do they spin frictionless in the void, leaving me helpless? If the latter, then I must pause, go outside, consider the ravens, and pray.

Lk12v27-28 ๐Ÿ˜จ "O you of little faith!" Faith. In a passage commending unanxiety, the key is faith, the opposite of anxiety is faith. Switch your faith convictions: from a concept of ultimate reality as a malevolent father tyranising a precarious universe, to a concept of ultimate reality as a peculiarly and specifically benevolent father nurturing a meaningful flourishing world. In that faith lies the root of unanxiety. Where does that faith come from?
๐ŸŒธ "Consider the lilies" Jesus argues from the lilies, that is, 1. an argument from beauty, and, 2. Jesus argues a fortiori ~ from the lesser to the greater: more-than.
Do likewise.
1. Beauty is. Consider nature, birdwatch, binge Blue Planet, arrange flowers, hoard and catalogue and observe the glitter and abundance of biology at every scale, become attuned to the seasons. Engage observational drawing, attempt representational ornament, curate symphonies of nature's artefacts, unfetter science from utilitatarian sponsorship, decouple science from ideology and allow wonder to unsettle your presuppositions. Beauty is. Beauty is, and, were it not for the heavy tinted glasses we obscure it through, and the abstractions with which we vandalise it to reductive quanta, we would be unmade ourselves by beholding a kernel of nature's terrible beauty. Allow it. Consider the lilies.
2. If-then. A minore ad maius. Dwell on the cut flowers fading in the vase on the kitchen table. Are you of more value than them? I cannot think that it is possible to live consistent with a framework of equity with the non-human, as Deep Ecologists profess to. You must discriminate. You must prefer humans. Only nihilism can flatten a world, only recklessness and narcissism can self-deceive a world without peculiar human rights and corresponding peculiar human responsibilities. If-then. If you give an inch to this disparity, what then? The world is unflat riven with ontological unjustice, unequity, and privilege. From this you must infer upwards, to grasp the alarming more-than-lilies truth that God supplies all and more-than you need for the beautiful flourishing of his Kingdom, his gospel, his creation, patterned in excess of lilies, ornamented more-than.
If there is a God, if his lilies are beautiful, if you are worth more than lilies, then infer how much more will he supply for the unanxiety of his children. This was a lesson from Mull, huddled in a tent in the ruins of a chapel, on the edge of the Atlantic, laying a hold of the truth of God's faithful and beautiful provision, as the antidote to anxiety.

Lk12v29-30 Do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink. This is a season of reckoning with food. Facing the realities of addiction, habit, idol, cheap comfort, sense of entitlement, exploitation, thoughtlessness, gluttony. Do not set your heart on food. Rather Col3v2 set your heart and mind on higher things. This simple-but-impossible-without-God task first: developing a taste for the presence of God more than food. It should be obvious but it isn't - in my habits and desires I choose food first, believing it is my best comfort, that without it I will be wronged, and I will surely die. Do not set your heart on food.

Lk12v31-32 ๐Ÿ‘ "Fear not, little flock.." I am struck by how long and uncomfortable this treatise on fearless Kingdom economics has been:
v2 don't fear, don't hide, don't be thus hypocritical
v4 don't fear killers of the body
v5 don't fear for your value
v11 don't fear litigation, authorities or words in general
v15 don't fear poverty
v22 don't fear hunger or nakedness
v25 don't fear generally
v26 don't fear generally
v29 don't fear about provisions
v32 don't fear
v33 be actively fearless, invest in the unanxious bank of God
๐ŸงŸ‍♂ Cowardice might be my primary vice, the timidity which shrinks all and sinks all and pales to a slack slunk scurried away version of myself. The negation and omission, the redaction and inaction, the blank withdrawal, the limited ambition, the gainless fear of shame and pain leading to stasis, frozen fright between flight and fight. Fear is a hollowing force, a catalyst for antagonism. Fear stress-hardens into brittle resentment, it leads to the dark side. Fearful Phil's is an undead life unlived as a weightless shadow self.
๐Ÿ‘จ‍๐Ÿ‘ฆ "it is your Father's pleasure.." Don't fear a tyrannical father, don't fear a devouring mother. Don't fear culture, don't fear nature. Don't fear order, don't fear chaos. Etc. Don't fear. The antidote to fear is faith, and faith is a knowing the Father's pleasure, hedonistically. We live for the joy.
๐Ÿ’ฑ ".. to give you the Kingdom.." In this we conceptually and radically transition from squabbling over scarcity to negotiating abundance. At 41, it is our hope to operate on the basis of abundance, presuppositionally. Sacrificial generosity in God's economy is not sacrifice, but reinvestment: giving what we cannot keep, to gain what we cannot lose.

Lk12v33 This one is for the secret place. What does Jesus ask of your possessions this day?

Lk12v34 Thinking about the link between one's heart & one's treasure with Is45v3 also: "I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name." We talked about a hoarding mentality as we walked: food, money, travel, etc. God promises unhoarded hoards in the secret place, the place that has given everything away and only has God left. Discipline must start with this sense of what is precious. I am still in the process of having this sealed in me. I believe, help thou my unbelief.

Lk12v35-36 ๐Ÿ‘€ “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning.." Jesus, the original #staywoke. Wakefulness as analogue for faith's earnest attention, lucid anticipation. The opposite of being woke is sleepwalking and the secular prophets The1975 are currently plastering Is6v9-10 on London phoneboxes, raging against modernity's sleepfulness.
๐ŸŒƒ Life's tragedy and need is 24/7. Albeit cynically, the famous street pastor McDonalds gets this opportunity: If you're awake, we're awake.  ~ Always be ready to give a burger for the haste that is in you..
๐Ÿš‘ Life's tragedies and need for Christ are 24/7. Mt25v40's least of these don't wait to present during office hours. You are the world's existential emergency services, with ontological ambulances, a philosophical fire engines. To be woke is to serve, conscious of the purpose of consciousness, ready with a default availability, serving to enable the many ways that Christ is perpetually returning in the guise of the strange stranger - if I would only let them in.
๐Ÿ‘ฌ "like men who are waiting.." plurally, organised, as a watchnight service waits. I, individually should be woke and should be ready, but further, we, the church, corporately can be always-on, always attentive, always ready. How are we on call, how do we rota readiness, how might the church missionally extend ourselves to serve to the night shift gig economy's unreached people groups?
๐Ÿ‘—๐Ÿงฅ "dressed.." having called us a few verses ago to consider the lilies. The attire here is purposed, tooled for the task of welcome, service and celebration. How do you picture this clothing ~ pragmatic, warm, exuberant? How do you dress for service, how do you dress for celebration?
๐Ÿ”ฆ "lamps burning.." fuel and aforethought. The virgin vigil vigiliantes considered that light needs fuel.

Lk12v37-38 These verses and surroundings are about paying attention and posturing oneself with readiness to the inbreaking of Jesus at all times. I am thinking about this as I prepare to speak on 2Sam6 also, that my posture towards God's sheer glorious reality is often (i) passively unthinking, as Uzzah, (ii) actively fearful & withdrawn, as David, or (iii) actively entitled and distainful, as Michal. Against all these: active attentive submissive love: Love of the master, love of his house, love of the work to be done, attentiveness to his unseen closeness, to the certainty within the uncertainty, to the detail of preparation. Come Lord Jesus, teach me to mean it when I say it, in all times & all places.

Lk12v39-40 "at what hour the thief was coming .. the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.." ๐Ÿ“† Christianity is bivalent anticipation, a dynamic tension, a double edged sword, and it stands on a knife edge of nuance over against misemphasis and misinterpretation. In one both-and event our saviour & our judge comes, a lover & a thief comes, a prize & a peril, a day of reunion & a day of reckoning. We await the end & the beginning.
๐Ÿง ๐Ÿ’ช Consider the psychology and activity of waiting. Consider the house we steward and the preparations required to facilitate the event of celebration and to resist the event of calamity. Both require engineering ~ the excellent exuberance of preemptive fairy lights, the safe sufficiency of precautionary fire doors. Our house is ready to usher in kingdom of heaven, our house is ready to stand against the gates of hell, ready with contingency for every possible d-day.
If I could characterise two churches simplistically:
๐Ÿ’ฏ one grasps grace's infinity, and rests in the rich assurance of God's unconditional kindness, this church operates on the basis of abundance in the great freedom of license to supply every creative endeavour.
๐Ÿ†˜ one grasps sin's infinity, and faces the world, the flesh and the devil with appropriate gravity, humility and urgency. This church, intimately acquainted with the awful suffering of a corrupt world in distress, engineers considerable premptive and protective compassion.
Both over-realised eschatologies bear distorted fruit.
Better by far to be both-and ready.

Lk12v41-42 Universal or particular? For those who are chosen or for those who choose? Both both. All.  Both And Both. Foreknown yet unfolding. Fated yet freely found. Formed first yet fought for. // I have been thinking about the strange mystery of grace and causation this week, with the settling of this strange peace. It seems both so hard-won, so prayed and sought for, and yet also totally utterly gifted. All without expectation is the master's, the servants have much to do.

Lk12v43-44 ๐Ÿ  I am finding it so interesting that this passage about eschatological anticipation is framed as being stewardship of a "household" v42 Axiomatic household responsibility here is made actively and strongly imperative thus:
⚖ Household responsibility is held to account with terrifying severity: our delegated household responsibility is power, the abusive abuse of that power is punishable v45, but, what is more harrowing, the negligent neglect to exercise that responsibility is also punishable v47.
๐Ÿ† Household responsibility in a limited domain is is subject to performance review, rewarded with responsibility in an unlimited domain "set him over all his possessions.." v44
๐Ÿก What is a household? A couple of days ago, Alastair Roberts posted these thoughts on a theology of the household The household is a rooted, unabstract, parabolic place of relational integration, economic productivity, holistic apprenticeship..
๐Ÿ‘ฅ A household  is intersubjective. A couple of days ago, Giles Fraser wrote of Peterson's Pelagianism. Which led us to a discussion to define JBP's short-comings. While affirming much of his John-the-Baptistic social critique of desert-path-straightening-room-tidying and his rich revival of a theological archetypal poetic, I would say Peterson's psychocentric and left-critical affirmation of the divine individual errs to the obscuring of good being-collective, tacitly and explicitly framing corporate-enterprise-generally and the-church-specifically as less-than-the-sum of their hypocritical codependencies. For all that is right about considering-the-spec-in-your-own-eye and getting-your-own-house-in-order, household-wise, Tidy Your Room, at least as it is soundbited, inculcates a miniaturist morality, satisfied by the perfectability of monad's household, a monk's cell.
๐Ÿ‘ด๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿ‘ถ An intersubjective household is intergenerational - profitably, even necessarily, where 'generation' is rightly defined. I've been thinking about generations. An ambiguous term, 'Generation' conjures a range as follows: the biological begats of 1Chr1, basic birthing of life, generative as it exponentially multiplies numbers of a tribe, as promised Gn17v2. In this way, the kingdom pervades generations Ps14513 by the commendation of God's acts Ps145v4-5 and by the passing down of God's wisdom unto generations Ps78v4-6. Thus it is a true truth that we exist as extensions of generations, as karma's nature nurtured us in the ways Larkin's parents fucked us up Dt5v9-10.
~ Then. Out of this tribal morass of homogenised repercussions, [Jr31v29 “In those days they shall no longer say:‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.’" pondered during the latest beer brew] Now we're no longer that sort of intergenerational community.. [Jn9v2 "who sinned, man or father..?"] it's upside-downed. A new birth is spoken, disrupting and reframing generationality [Mk3v35 "Who is my mother and brother.?"] Seeds of the gospel lead to new life, new generationality, new integenerationality 2Tm2v1-2
๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ› Intergeneration household provides food assymetrically. See management concerns the giving of a "portion of food" v42 - that is, practising the presence of Jehovah Jireh - cake on their plate while you wait.
I preach to myself, mostly. The above stream of thoughts leads me to two refreshed convictions.
Household responsibility (which is urgent today) which is necessarily relational is assymetrically generational and concerns the provision of food.
Generational ministry (which is urgent today), definitionally is a taking-responsibility-for - the most effective vehicle and most productive context for gifting the Other with a taking-responsibility-for-them, is the household.

Lk12v45-46 Another verse about knowing and not-knowing. There is a form of uncertainty here which turns into its own kind of cynical certainty. Not-knowing whether the master will return becomes a kind of certainty that he won't, a form of despair, cynicism or indifference. Actions bleed all their meaning, the past, present and future become fragmented, irreverence reigns. This is why recognising the type of uncertainty we rightly live with as Christians, and the type of uncertainty we don't live with, matters. I am reading Rebecca Solnit at the the moment - she says that 'the future is dark....as in inscrutable, not as in terrible. We often mistake the one for the other. Or we transform the future’s unknowability into something certain, the fulfilment of all our dread.' I think there is something right in her diagnosis of how the frustration or pain of unknowing is easily transmuted into cynicism or despair, rather than hope. I also think there is more to say here about how we hold unknowing and also what it is that we don't know. In this picture a true calibration of the uncertainty would be uncertainty as to how and when the master will return, uncertainty as to what the master would have me do exactly, uncertainty as to the best forms of management of the household...these are different to an uncertainty that the master will return. This certainty, that all things will be restored, is the certainty that all the uncertainties can live in the light of. We need the ultimate safety and concern of God in order to hold the rest of our uncertainties well, and in order to be set free most fully to act with the grain of this redemptive work.

Lk12v47-48 ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™‰ "that servant who knew.. severe beating" ... "the one who did not know.. light beating" We know this. And so we long to not know. Rudd wanted to not have known about Windrush. Trump wants to not know about collusion. We all want deniability, and achieve this by gymnastic willed imprecision, a smoke and mirrors charade of civic discourse, the noisy noise of opiate fake newsery. "Everything clarified and articulated becomes visible; maybe neither wife nor husband wished to see or understand. Maybe they left things purposefully in the fog. Maybe they generated the fog, to hide what they did not want to see." (JBP p274)

Lk12v49-50 Fire. Apt for this Pentecost week. Why is fire like love? By coincidence this morning we also read Mt24v36-50, Matt's version of this same passage. PH reflected that what it depicts is mercy, which is to say, it depicts the destruction of evil, and therefore preserves and protects the good, which is the work of love. So William Blake's poem for Pentecost, shared on Sunday:
Unless the eye catch fire,
Then God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
Then God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
Then God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
Then God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
Then God will not be known

Lk12v51-52 ๐Ÿ•ฏ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿ‘ฉ‍๐Ÿญ "Fire made it possible ... There was no Bronze Age without fire, no Iron Age without fire, no Industrial Revolution without fire. Anybody get here in a car today? An automobile? Nod your heads if you did – I know there were some carriages. But those of us who came in cars, fire – controlled, harnessed fire – made that possible. I know that the Bible says – and I believe it – that Jesus walked on the water. But I have to tell you, I did not walk across the Atlantic Ocean to get here. Controlled fire in that plane makes it possible.."  "..if humanity ever harnesses the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captures the energy of love – it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire." What is controlled fire as it allegorises to love? For surely, not all that burns is love. And not all that burns is appropriately controlled. Rm1v27 is a burning, Jm3v6 is a burning.
Love is fire, but. Of all places, Windsor should know the danger and the cost of the power of fire. Parabolically, in 1992, a spotlight, illuminating art, in a private chapel, ignited a curtain, which burned for 12 hours and left £36m's worth of devastation.
The God of love is not-peace-but-a-sword, this God of love is a ferocious and jealous love, and must thus be divisive. Fire, as love, will not be carelessly invoked, will not be harnessed to prop up ideologies, will not be diluted as a signifier of merely vague sentiment and naive affection.
Love divides. There is decision and discipline and, definitionally, discrimination in love. Love as love is for a this and not a that, for an other over against self, it must be difficult, it must be selective. To be personal it must be partial and preferential and direct and deliberate and delineated. To have any weight it must cost something, submit something, sacrifice something - and what is that something except everything if it is to be in proportion to the object of that love which is an infinite person.
Love is a harrowing horror, an unmaking and an undoing, a decentralising and bankrupting of self. Love is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God.
"Five.." an interesting number for division. Inter-inter-subjective facing. A dyad and a triad versus. The smallest possible asymmetric them&us tribal conflict. Jesus goes on to frame this a generational division and a gendered divide.

Lk12v53-54 On being united and divided by Jesus, marked by generation, marriage & gender. This warning meets me in a season of being with in-laws, and a season where we have been thinking about generations, natural & spiritual, on what is received & transmitted across generations, hence the Navs' focus on generations. What can we distill from this verse? Jesus can be received & transmitted across generations, or Jesus can disrupt what is received & transmitted across generations. Jesus can be received & transmitted within gendered interaction, or Jesus can disrupt what is received & transmitted within gendered interaction. Jesus can be received & transmitted in the meeting, mingling & extending of families through marriage, or Jesus can disrupt what plays out here. Glory be, for surely most of us live in a mixed up matrix of giving and receiving both the good and the bad. I have always read this verse as highlighting division between Christians and non-Christians due to the disruption of Jesus - because alligence to Him is ultimate, transforming everything. Could it also apply to divisions between Christians? Might Jesus sometimes divide us in a dialectical way, in order to bring out and break our surface differences and conflicts, for the sake of bringing us to deeper unity? I think so. A fearful thought, but also a beautiful one, holding in mind that any division Jesus brings is for the sake of deeper unity: Eph2v14-22. He Himself is our peace. So, as we said at dinner, your mother can also be your sister. What a thought.

Lk12v55-56 ๐ŸŒ… "You know how to interpret.." Don't you? Jesus accuses the Pharisees for their unread sky at night in Mt16v1-4; here he accuses the crowd at large. He is making disinterpretation a culpable offence. The universe is sufficiently ordered, sufficiently patterned, sufficiently legible as a domain of cause and effect, that I bear a responsibility to interpret signal from noise and to live accordingly. I observe epidemic disinterpretation - in my millennial self and in so called postmodern culture at large: the sanitised hypocrisy of abdicating epistemic responsibility (see Mt21v27.. _"let's say we don't know"_ ), the infinite palliative agnosticism that claims we cannot know, which ambiguates order and willfully disconnects cause from effect. Chaos ensues.
๐ŸŒซ To return, meteorologically, to JBP's "..maybe they generated the fog, to hide what they did not want to see." His antidote to this chaos? Set your own house in order, tell the truth, or at least, don't lie, and be precise in your speech.. Ignoring for the moment, the detail of his advice, there is an underlying call to take responsibility for your language, to let your yes be yes. JBP, perhaps, exaggerates the extent to which this is a contemporary predicament, or perhaps not ~ see similar has long been the case, Jonah is called to a Ninevah in which "120,000 persons who [did] not know their right hand from their left.." Jh4v11 Let your yes be yes, your left be left, your pronouns and your identities. JBP's surprisingly controversial, surprisingly disruptive, common sense maxim, is coupled with counsel to study nature, as a mindful and political action, consider the world as it is, be it lobsters' serotonin or Ruskin's morphology of leaves Christopher Alexander butterfly wings, in all the inestimably rich throwness of our being in nature. Observe, draw, speak, imitate.
๐ŸŒง I was struck yesterday re-reading SC's letter to me from a few years ago, cautioning perfectionist procrastinators . "Like clouds and wind without rain, is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give." Pr25v14 I want to be of substance, to follow through, to grasp the world weightily, to be consequential, to be of consequence. True seeing, true interpretting, in all things, has it's allegory and instruction in attending to the natural world. God let me learn to see and understand, and to speak with like consistency, to attend to the logos, and carry meaning deep into the modern maelstrรถm.
๐ŸŒŒ Tangentially, of observing natural phenomena, I am reminded of Blade Runner's paean to humanness as it is being lost, Roy Batty, a robot, has recognised the heavens  declaring what humans in their depravity and hypocrisy have forgotten "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the darkness at Tannhรคuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die."

Lk12v57-58 Try hard to be reconciled. Try hard to be reconciled. I spoke the words up and down the library steps and through the corridors yesterday after and before difficult conversations with multiple parties in need of reconciliation. It feels somewhat devoid of content, these two verses, hard to grasp on to some new insights with which to approach this difficult situation in a new way, but I step inside the command - try hard to be reconciled - and acknowledge that this is a word for this situation. I pray it over all involved, that each one would continue to press into the labour of it. Jesus identifies the need for labour in this situation, and also for 'judgment', which is to say - clear thinking, perception, discernment, wisdom. I pray for all parties that they would see newly and anew, that the 'judge for yourselves what is right' would be illuminated by the holy spirit, Jn16v8, judgment shaped by conviction of one's own sin and of God's righteousness. Reading ahead to Lk13v6-8, this picture of having tried three times and yet there being space for another try, this too is a picture for this situation. I pray that labours yesterday all round constitute digging and fertilising. I pray for a full and fruitful trajectory of total reconciliation, in the name of Jesus.

Lk12v59 ๐Ÿ’ฐ "paid the very last penny." Everything costs. Time foments. Intermediation escalates. Comeuppance is inescapable. Hell is being-unresolved. Moral debt does not fade, is not subjective and cannot be transferred by the debtor. v56 "Judge for yourself.."  Indeed, judge yourself, tune in to the objective and substantial consequences of the sins of your-ignorance, your-weakness and your-own-deliberate-fault.
๐Ÿ†“ Of these pennies, however, note that you can absorb others' costs, you can set people free, out of the bank of the superabundance of your spiritual inheritance. Thusly Paul writes 1Cor6v7 "Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?" to address a context of conflict between believers. It is more important that the body of Christ be unitedly one than it is for me to be technically right. Down to my very last penny?
๐ŸŽ I have been thinking about debt in the context of asymmetric and uncalibrated gift transactions. Gifts which are not given out of a legibly superabundant source, gifts which imply, even by omission, a sacrificial cost to the giver in the register of the givee, create debt. In the context of an ongoing relational web of substantial and symbolic gift-exchanges, that debt is a rich and literally priceless source of solidarity. In abstraction, in disunity, in mediated, sub-personal translations however, debt is power to the creditor and a robbing of the dignity of the giftee.
⚖ This morning, I would be interested to hear any help applying a framework of debt to other familiar do-not's in assymetrical relationships:
"do not be unequally yoked" 2Cor6v14
"do not exasperate your children" Eph6v4
"do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain" Dt25v4, 1Cor9v9, 1Tim5v18
~ what is it to pay the last penny for disobedience in these realms?