Thursday, 7 December 2017

200words: Bloomberg

Oo err, Bloomberg.

Bloomberg's bloatware is a prune purge, bland bling in a cartoon turd. Feathering his nest like a plumed bird, frilly milled gills on a schooned gird. Spooned curd in millennial pink: puce curves, in a Boolean merge of obtuse NURBs. Foster's teardrop loam legs astride a grater grid in a tuned third: astute work by a groomed nerd. Or a smooth perv, a colluder, dresses her in a reeded glass see-through skirt. Oo err, Bloomberg. Skin tone stone of a nude blurred in pixel mottled censor. And, Walbrook crotchless portals ooze venerial, unshorn, gruesome. Down in the crypt of this new church to the Cult of Mithras' lucre. The new turn is an aviatored super trouper, all seventies twinkly couture. Whilst bristling bronze portcullising keeps out the acute hurt of a cruel world.

Ooo err, Bloomberg.


Friday, 24 November 2017

texting luke eight

Luke Eight: Her. 07729056452 

Lk8v1-2 "..also some women.." And what is a woman? What is the intended emphasis in Luke's mention of women? Notable as an historical anomaly, but are women here invoked to pattern incidental adjacency, normative equality or strategic egality? What womanhood is pertinent here? A political class? A social archetype? A biological form? And what can be inferred and applied to our own gendered lives and churches? 
That women are present is a corrective to crude exclusions from ministry, and bland maxims around economic roles and reductive gender stereotypes but I find these nowhere in my own day-to-day experience of Christian community. I am uninterested to fashion over-compensated fuel for the over-stated fire of injustice in someone else's sex-war. I want for something nuanced and positive to extract from this portrait, according to which I can conduct my own subtle, deliberate and more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts gendering.
It is notable that here, women of financial and political means thought it not beneath them, and that women of physical and spiritual disadvantage thought it not above them, to follow Jesus. 
It doesn't pass the Bechdel test but these women, whilst mentioned as wives-of-x and former-victims-of-x are not (as culture so often does) foregrounded as bodies or mothers, but rather as storied participant agents stewarding resource towards the aggressive export of good news to cities and villages. 
"with him.." So they are women. And they are women-with, with Jesus. What is the with-ness here? Babe-magnet JC gathers ungroupies to an antihareem? Suggestive as a portrait of Jesus' accessible attractive character? Representative of the sort of gendered relational whole which his gospel movement makes possible, makes meaningful and makes urgent? 
"provided for.." He brings the women and their cards out. Indicative of an upside down economic dependency?  Are these women prescriptive as a lesson in church finance? That feels like an extrapolation too far, but how then?
"evil spirits and infirmities.. demons.." Women, contrasted with men and the preoccupation with former selves and tragic backstory (like Mary and the women at the Cross and Tomb) contrasted with present-tense incompetence in the case of men (like Peter and all the disciples at the Cross) - as it pertains to what we need saving from. 
I have been thinking about the peculiarly assymetric portrait of two genders in Channel4's Humans  and whether it speaks to a more universal condition: Unfaithful feeble passive impetuous male characters (Adulterous Joe, Sloppy Pete, Angsty Bitter Leo, pervert Toby, two-faced Ed, oily insecure billionaire Milo - exceptions being perhaps kind Max, fearless wise George and gentle Odi) contrasted with capable go-getter active STEM hacker female characters rendered 3dimensional via complex tragic backstories (Fighter Niska, Legal Laura, genius hacker Mattie, genius scientist Athena, synthie Renie ~ who have clear stories of extensive emotional neglect and sexual abuse)- The above is a passing observation, rather than a strong claim. Speculation to discuss sometime?

Lk8v3-4 A triad of women, with allusions to a bigger posse. I wonder how they engaged with each other - we're left somewhat to wonder. The sparse biographical info we're given suggests they may have come to Jesus and to each other with quite different experiences. Mary with the explicitly traumatic past, Jo who presumably lived in Herod's house, familiar with wealth & politics. Clearly the women between them worked out how to co-ordinate their means and their service in joint action together for a bigger cause, clearly they'd worked out how to communicate to each other to get things done. I wonder that as they followed Jesus and watched each other beholding him they learnt all the more how to minister to each other, how to ask each other the right questions. I wonder. 

Lk8v5-6 This parable encourages us to be as good soil. Is that all? Metaphor misuse mitigators would caution us to see all other aspects of the parable as either incidental or hyperbole. But I am not a metaphor mitigator, I'm a parabolic realist, an allusive extremist, a metaphoric maximalist. Sometimes Jesus suggests a portrait of God by argumentum a fortioti, like the Lk18v1-8 Unjust Judge which illustrates an if-this-then-how-much-more.. But is this sort of caveat needed here with the sower, the seed and the sowing? Or can we extrapolate a theology of seeds as well as soil, and principles of sowing as well as recieving? 
🐖 Should we imitate the reckless squandering of good seed on bad soil? Good seed trampled upon (katepatēthē κατεπατήθη) as pearls before swine are trampled on Mt7v6 (katapatēsousin καταπατήσουσιν)? What is the difference between seed and pearl? The seed is the word of God (v11). What is seediness (contra pearlesence?)
💎 Pearls are an end in themselves, an exquisite by-product, singular, inert. Trampling of such is an unambiguous travesty and cannot be rendered as costable collateral.
🥜 Seeds are multiple, light, cheap, but such a reading of seeds as mere corn kernel per cob (800:1) ratios does nothing to limit value-less pamphletification of the word of God, the mechanical replication of inert words. 
🌰 Seeds, pertinently, are fertile, having each been fertilised, by the meeting of gametes with a unique dna. Seeds are fecund, alive, varied, even bespoke. But still copiously multiple. 
👨‍🌾 So should our sowing be: in proportion to the seeds we would have if we were so fertilised. So should our lives and words be: dynamically propagated, littering a world with words which bring exponential life. Hilarious handfuls of testimony, witness, speculation, allegory, provocation.. 
❓Am I doing it right? Hurling seeds into the Clapham Road, wouldn't an incubator be better, couldn't we prime the soil, shouldn't we engineer better seeds for this context?

Lk7v7-8 The older I grow the more I'm aware of the ways that ideologies I'm sympathetic to and training I've submitted to has compromised my capacity to see, hear, think. I would like to receive Jesus' declaration here as a promise not a threat, I would like to be resurrected into a humility that enables sight.

Lk8v9-10 👾💜 Christianity as an Imitation Game : encrypted messages cracked by love. Every enigmatic parable is prefixed with your name · − − · | · · · · | · · | · − · ·  There's a war on, and the codes to Zion are tailored to those with eyes to see. An encouragement, not to willful obscurity of language, but to the necessary and emphatic exclusivity of Personalism. No one is loved generically by God.

Lk8v11-12 These specific seeds on the path suggest a hearing that doesn't hook at all, the word bounces off, it isn't recognised at all, unlike the other seeds, where something is recognised but this gets smothered or starved. I know the word of God often bounces off my heart, because I can hear the exact same thing another time and recognition of its truth dawns or springs upon the heart in a way it hadn't previously. Perhaps most of life is life as a path, life-giving seeds raining forth from an unlimited divine stream, bouncing off my blind and hard heart,  just a few making their way through to soil. The response to this is surely first prayer, that the Spirit would soften me, that God would do the work of preparing the way for God, which is God's work to do. But it is also to consider the kinds of things which harden our hearts ahead of time (a slightly different question, perhaps, to thinking about the things that smother or starve our hearts). 'What hardens your heart' is definitionally a difficult question to answer, requiring superhuman self-awareness. Maybe ideologies harden our hearts, maybe previous experiences. I want to be prepared to offer these up to God, even where I don't know how to.

🌋🌊 Seedlings I've known fell away when life got too hard.
🍞🎪 Seedlings I've known choked on a life too full of ease.
But what about me?
~ Can I choose the soil of my soul into which the word of God roots? In the Venn diagram of life choices it must not be that I would navigate a not-too-hot not-too-cold intersection of moderation, as if culturing yeast in a luke-warm agar tray, abstracted ideal laboratory conditions. Life's experiences come at me unbidden, searingly hot, blisteringly cold. The Christian faces a Venn union of lived experiences within a world replete with rocks and thorns, trials and comforts. A neutralised, disemotional universe that is escapist in times of trial and austere in the midst of plenty: the highly selective engagement with an emotional universe as a simulation of good soil is not Christian.
~ Can I affect the soil of my soul into which the word of God roots? The seed falls to me as a heart rock-hardened by bitter grief - can I break up this rock and irrigate this arid patch? The seed falls to me as a heart overgrown by addictive entanglements - can I strim this verge and douse with spiritual herbicide? Maybe. It cannot be that the seed is God's word and the soil is immutable context and the meeting of these two contains no question of my responsibility. So how?
~ Can I alter the soil for others who have fallen amongst thorns or stones? The Robin Hood ninja gardener, labouring to change the circumstances of the world: as christians working towards the alleviation of poverty and the mitigation of extreme wealth. This is back-to-front, putting the gini-coefficient cart in front of the Kingdom horse.
~ Can I advise others whose seed has fallen to them as amongst thorns or stones? Can I offer to introduce new top soil? Can I brush the seeds into the field proper? Can I, should I, labour to change their disposition to circumstance, their attitude to poverty or wealth? How?

hold it fast
don't take it fast
self ordered last 
grows fruit to last
tied to this mast
the harvest vast
a fractal blast
from a humble past

Lk8v16 'But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light' Eph5v13-14 Anything. That becomes visible. Is. Light.

Lk8v17-18 💡👂 "Take care how you hear.." Hearing light, what does that sound like? Absorb, reflect, glow and tell.
🕯 The transfer of the gospel is as the passing of a flame from candle to candle, take care that the wick has infact been ignited. Then you will have light, and give light.
🌠 Light is a strange substance, being bodied in a flame and yet, for the most part light's being is ephemeral, invisibly passing through space, apprehended only in the visibility of that which it illuminates.
Light is not so much a thing as it is movement, hence a covered light has ceased to be. Doubly poetic for the living breathing life of a candle's light is quickly and permanently extinguished by so covering. In the light of this light, then, treat words like candles.

Lk8v19-20 Prayers this morn for natural siblings, that we would ever more deeply know with them the Eph2v11-22 unity of supernatural siblings too.

Lk8v21-22 Fam, get familialised.
👩‍👦‍👦 Far be it from me to overread meaning where none was meant. But. Maybe there is to be more-than incidental maternality and fraternality in the relations of believers. Between me and you, let's be good enough mothers, a brilliant band of brothers.
🤰 And what is a mother qua irreducible mother? Distinct from the fatherheart, distinct from the sisterhood. As Mothering Sunday celebrates the church as supreme surrogate, spiritually suckling, postively coddling, tender the hand that rocks the cradle, feather a nest for a brood. Don't merely aunty, be more mother.
👬 And what is brother qua brother? The brethren born and raised to be a brother's keeper, with all kith associations of proximate intimacy and sharpening competitivity, we are the &sons, be brothers blud.

Lk8v23-24 We are perishing. We both truly are perishing, and, at the same time, and even more truly, we are not perishing (for Jesus is in the boat, his 'waking' and his ''resurrecting' the same word, both secure) but we believe we are perishing, so we fear, and the fear itself leads us to live a perishing way. I spend so much time panicking, insisting to Jesus that I am perishing. In fact, I am no longer perishable, because it is not I who live but Christ who lives in me. Is31v3 yes, but Rm6v9 forever.

Lk8v25-26 "Where is your faith?" A question of geography? ⛵🌏
🔭 Jesus calls to absentee persons "Where are the other nine lepers?" Lk17v17; "Where are the pharisees to accuse you?" Jn8v10; and ultimately, "Where are you?" Gn3v9 A calling out to the corners, to the many wheres, the Lk14v21 streets and lanes, Lk14v22 highways and hedges, the wherevers. Where are you?! Here I am!
🔎 Jesus calls also to absentee faith. Here in the midst of the wide lake of Galilee, if your faith was not packed onboard this boat, it's too late ~ the needle-in-haystack is a drop-in-the-ocean expansive Where?! So I look inside myself. How have I misplaced faith? What displaced it? Wary persons that are here but spiritually elsewhere, they/we/I must be moved from an awareness of faith, to a where-next in faith, through more confrontational questions: "What do you want me to do for you?" Mt20v32; "Who do you say I am?" Mt16v15; "Who has bewitched you?" Gal3v1
~ Where is your faith? Here, I am.


Tuesday, 7 November 2017