Friday, 2 March 2018

texting luke ten

You're a Ten. 07729056452

Lk10v1-2 For my husband: You're my primary pair, my first two, my prime number, my dyad 'til death. Here we are in year 5, and it's serious now. We've 9v28-35 beheld some mountain tops and v46-50 we've argued ages on the road, and I'm declaring that this symbolic now, on this threshold, this year Jesus sends us two by two, to be labourers of the harvest. So let's do this fam. Let's actually seriously definitely do this. Let's labour hard, harvest, pray, multiply. Let's do kingdom things all the way through now. You & Me, combined harvesters.

Lk10v3-4 "no moneybag, no knapsack.." Be ninja fam, tread lightly, seriously. You are lambs, so be lambs and do lambliness deftly and totally. Why be only semi-vulnerable, neither-nor, presenting as partly at-risk but with a back-up plan.  Christianity is urgent, and it's message is its medium which is carried by vulnerability because to the extent that you can display your vulnerability, you can display your invulnerability in God. Everything in me which clings to my stuff, which has a programmatic and pragmatic sense of the social aims of the Kingdom considers that this sort of travelling light is inefficient, it seems foolhardy now, naive and exploitable, a hangover from simpler times, stoic early christians who had less to lose, pre-ironic times when the world was more earnest and more receptive to that sort of display of vulnerability?

Lk10v3-4 "lambs in the midst of wolves" Go as a lamb, ..  What is a lamb? They can't fight, they can't hide, they can't run, a bleating herd, eminently edible, utterly fluffy, exquisitely vulnerable. Like, come as a child, lambiness is a true, noble and counterintuitively powerful mode of being.
~ True - being vulnerable is the most authentic expression of being human in the cosmos.
~ Noble - meekness is the highest form of machismo.
~ Powerful - there is something disarming about vulnerable non-violent resistance.
But, there are no prizes for blythe moot mutton mincing. Matthew adds Mt10v16, wise-as-serpents advice to the go-as-lambs command. There is a choreography to tactical sheepliness in the face of antagonism, which demands expedient discretion, ninja lambing which does not cast its pearls before swine and does not simply walk into Mordor.

Lk10v5-6 "Peace to this house." What could the shape of my life look like if every time I entered a new space, crossed a threshold, I spoke these words in honest prayer? It's a prayer that is both a declaration and an invitation, a blessing on the known or unknown other apart from me. But it's also a way of asking God for eyes to see, an invitation to one's own soul to tune back into the spiritual atmosphere around, to re-orient to people as people not things, and to move towards them accordingly. I'm reading these words on the Northern Line, running late for a meeting. I try to declare peace to this train carriage, but it's a struggle to mean it, to even silently proclaim God's reality truthfully to and for this carriage of people, let alone to open myself to allow God to speak to me about them. I want to practice this discipline of declaring peace at the crossing of each threshold, slowing down to see where the peace is received, to lean to the work of the spirit. Maybe this is my task for Lent. Ask me, at Easter, what it was to speak peace at the door.

v7 "abide.. (with constituent participles, eating and drinking)" (menete μένετε Imperative Active)
v8 "eat.." (esthiete ἐσθίετε Imperative Active)
Eat it. Imperative. Do it. Get what you are given. Receive hospitality. Imperative. Eat Pray Love. Imperative. It seems secondary, it seems silly, but it's serious, the imperative is missional. You must go, then you must stay, then you must eat.
1. Eat it - for the sake of the evangelist. An evangelist's remuneration is not charity, it is justice. Evangelism is a costly labour which generates value, translating and exporting the ineffable into the practical, the mysterious into the transformative. Evangelism sings for its supper, and rightly understood, is entitled to be paid, and as a venture it is kept in the real by a calibration against a market for other goods and services.
2. Eat it - for the sake of the evangelised. The evangelised are image-bearers of God, and that is the message itself which is carried by the medium itself. You cannot tell people they are divinely crafted image-bearers, but treat them transactionally utilitistically statistically. The evangelised must be treated as equals, treated with dignity, treated as reciprocal producers of value, conduits of a divine economy, participants in an activity of dominion, members of God's family.
3. Eat it - for the sake of a gift acknowledged. Evangelism is the export of the gift of Christ's incalculable sacrifice, carried by evangelists who have internalised that gift as fuel for their gift of their own incalculable sacrifices. The giftiness of the gift is dangerous. An actual acknowledged gift creates a bond of reciprocal relationship. Whereas, a gift obscured, masks a power which creates debt. Philanthropic condescension creates two codependent classes of sub-Christian individual who are complicit in a lazy exchange of sham beneficence traded with sham poverty.
4. Eat it - for the sake of a world remade through hospitality. Gerard Lemos goes as far as to define homelessness as a 'want of conviviality' (2000). Eat. Imperative. The encouragement to aggressively intentional community goes both ways, it is awkward for both parties, host and hosted. Help them. Be a good hosted, be fully present, Stay&Pray. Abide without awkward tentativity, let your host do the good they want to do, let them unapologetically pay the piper, not that they would call the tunes by so doing, but that by so doing they would participate in the gift economy that God has been so gracious to let us join.

Lk10v9-10 "Near." The Kingdom of God has come near to you. A major theme of this season is recognising my own lack of desire, or at least lack of understanding of desire. Habituated into negating or smothering true desires, I don't know what I want, I don't know what I love. This is a recipe for a boring and distant life. And the unwillingness to commit to desires is bound up with a disbelief that the Kingdom of God has come near. Nearness elicits desires, whether positive or negative. Nearness elicits: fear, disgust, longing. Comfort, intimacy, thrill. Safety, danger, invasion. Contamination, healing, love. To know that something other than oneself is frighteningly or breathtakingly near is a route into desiring God and into fleeing evil. The discovery of nearness is the discovery of love, and you are what you love, as James K.A Smith wants to tell us. So nearness elicits love elicits healing. Declare it then to your own soul, declare it to each other, that we might be lovers of the one who met us when we were still far off, and brought us home.

Lk10v11-12"on that day.." The declaration of the Kingdom comes tinged with apocalypse, because all of life anticipates the perpetually imminent peril of overwhelming calamity, conflict and suffering. Life itself is such a daily urgent time-limited invitation to an all or a nothingness. Everyday is that day, a d-day, a judgement day, every moment is a decision for Christ, when weight is applied, the mettle is tested, and the structure of your life stands or falls on the basis of its foundations.
👑 "The Kingdom" The invitation to participate in the Kingdom is a doubly urgent and ultimate invitation. It is the last train, a final edition, the only way, the definite article. The Kingdom is a mode of rule: there is a King. The Kingdom is a mode of ordering life on earth between people in the light of that rule, it is a system of civic life, a pattern for multipersonal cooperation, and it is near and it is now, it is a happening, a flourishing economy.
🌆 "your town" The invitation to the Kingdom addresses a you-plural, a collective. So we comport ourselves towards towns, communities, systems as wholes which are unKingdom and which elect to be antiKingdom. The King of this Kingdom desires towns, he desires to reconstitute your town onto a basis of life rather than death, grace rather than works, a Kingdom rather than our own cartel. This Kingdom is near, healing is within reach. Another London is possible.
💨 "the dust" In the ancient mind's taxonomy of substance, we are made of dust (Ps103v14), and life is lived from dust to dust, and as it flakes away from us, it carries with it our essence as a corrupt permeation. So that which is within me becomes an airborne particle, the detritus of my decay becomes that fine silt that clogs filters, sticks gears and smears lenses. There is a genius locii and it is stuck to you, as death clings, it is the black lung of London and it is within you.

Lk10v13-14 Jesus says hard things, and indeed looking ahead to v18-19, weird things. I do feel myself squeamish and embarrassed by Jesus being difficult and weird at this point. This perhaps a bit like being married. I find the husband embarrassing sometimes, in the strength, tone and content of what he says publicly. Often I try to interpret, hide, distance, dilute. This is hurtful to him. This leads to grievance between us. So too Jesus and I? With the husband it has been important to remember that it is these points of otherness that were and indeed are points of greatest attraction, inspired most by his strength and otherness, his willingness to speak the hard and weird things that I never would. Day after day together and I stop 'seeing' him, the hard and weird things are apt to just annoy and embarrass me, but really, when I pay attention, I remember that they are part of the reason I fell in love with him initially, and love him still, the reason it is he that I love and not the version of him I would construct. So too with Jesus? I've known Jesus all my life now, I am habituated to life together that I don't know how to 'see' him, but I wish he would stop being so difficult in public. I want to remember, recover or maybe discover anew that this strangeness and hardness is what inspires my love of Jesus, and to in this love, to submit.

Lk10v15-16 "heaven?.. hell." It is coming. We enjoy such a heaven at present, such peace, such privilege, such a long post-Christian hangover of personal integrity and political transparency, such stable philosophical underpinnings found in the sense of the glory of the divine person, the dignity of work, the poetry of material being, the purpose of gender and relation and covenant, the truth of history, the intrinsic value of creation, the humility of our place in the cosmos. This civilisation we enjoy, has Christian foundations with mechanisms for tempering the concentration of wealth funding a functional commons. We are as Capernaum, much has been given, much is expected. We are as Capernaum, prospering as a cultivated city twinkling on the shore of Gennesaret. We are as Capernaum, a city established by God's chosen people. Barbarians wait at the gate, waiting for us to unmake ourselves in rejecting God and choosing those hells of self-reliant religione, self-made-wealth, self-satisfied ignorance, self-important irony. We will be brought down to Hades.

Lk10v17-18 I saw Satan fall like lightening. Apt for the morning after a lunchtime discussion about Satan. Privation of being or active agent? I think surely both. Satan is like the dot of one-dimension in Flatland, compared to the trajectory towards the three-dimensionality of the Kingdom of God. God is Being, Satan is nothingness. We all choose to inhabit more reality or less.  More truth, more risk, more compassion, more healing, more faith, more prayer, more love - or less. The disciples, in stepping out on the road in pairs to declare the Kingdom of God, shivering with dependence, chose the more. The battle between good and evil in our own souls is always a case of battling to perceive the bigger better reality. It is true that Satan is part of God's good creation and is therefore a distortion of something good. Evil is not an equal and opposite force, the devil is not the yin to the divine yang, evil is the distortion of the good, it is a weakness, a brokenness, it has no higher or secret power that God has no access to. This is important to hold on to, as was expressed yesterday, for not losing hope. But this doesn't mean that Satan is impersonal passivity either: demons must be cast out, Satan must fall. We know from our own personalities that we can tend towards being or towards nothingness, that we can actively distort, actively negate, actively destroy. This is Satan's work, active distortion through lies. Lies are not overcome simply by accumulating more knowledge, but also through the exposure of lies as lies, light must be shone on them, to cast them out as active, personal distortions. Light to lightening, freedom through fall.

Lk10v19-20 🐍🦂🐍🦂 "authority to tread on serpents and scorpions.." Well, I'll remember that when I meet one.. Literal interpretations about exotic biblical concepts are strangely easy. But, what about proverbial serpents? Symbolic archetypal parabolic mythic serpents of the type that recur in my life? What is Jesus saying to me about them?
Noted from Jordan Peterson's Twelve Rules for Life:
🦀 Stand up straight with your shoulders back. "Walk, tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. Encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence." Be more lobster. Participate in authority structures Lk7v8. *Tread,* do the treading-on, the stepping-out, the striking-forth.
⛑ Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping "The worst of all possible snakes is the eternal human proclivity for evil. The worst of all possible snakes is psychological, spiritual, personal, internal. No wall, however tall, will keep that out" Tread on serpents, for surely they are everywhere, within and without, with their tactical toxic toxins and slippery arguments, they are all scuttley deceitful weaponised and animate beings.
In these, I receive from JC and JP, two convictions. Christianity is a true truth. No other description of the world is so coherent, fruitful, psychologically re-integrating, socially reforming. Jesus is, serpents are, you exist, life is ~ this is all the real real in which we really wrestle and contend within truth equipped for precisely so doing by Jesus' counterintuitive and unprecedented truth. *Christianity is heroic.* An endurance sport, an over-and-against, a long hard suffering against suffering, a battle versus. Petersonians should note that not all heroism is Christian, but we should note that all Christianity must be heroic.
🚷 "..Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this" Christianity is true, and it is heroic, and you can step on dragons and tidy your room, but this is not the main event, this is not the goal, this is not the greatest cause for rejoicing. Rather, rejoice, "that your names are written in heaven.." What is Jesus saying?
👣 "tread" = a doing
📜 "are-written" = a being
Rejoice on account of who you are as being in Christ.

Lk10v21-22 Trinity's children sing sweet songs / hanging in hammocks / hung on cords braided triple /not easily broken /chords in chorus to their beginning and end /each tied to each other / knotted crown and gordian / swinging and singing nursery rhymes praise

Lk10v23-24 👀👂 "many prophets and kings desired.." Many are the daydream believers clutching at a wish-fulfilling God-hypothesis, tortured by hope deferred, speculating on the mystery hidden for long ages, and settling for a substitute. Many still are the prophets today who sense the spirit of the age, who read the signs of the times, who know what they lack and who know the shape of the saviour they need. Many still are the kings who cast social utopias and who render powerful political solutions forcefully to address the human condition.
Whether by dint of time and geography this peculiar revelation was unavailable to them, or for reasons of seared-conscience or damage-done-to, they had insufficient will to seek the unblinkered encounter with the divine. The why of those blind back then is God's to make an account for in the redemption of all things in eternity. They missed it. They missed what is infront of you now, the more-than, the better-than, the plot twist, the unprecedented option to start over, to start new, to build back and reverse entropy and engage resurrection. Now. Now in Christ everything has changed.
"see what you see.. hear what you hear.." What do you see? Look for it, look at it, look into it deeply and actually see. Listen out, listen in, listen close, do not merely hear about. Mindfulness towards the world as it presents to our senses. Christian hedonism is a sensate seeking, a hunger with your eyes, longing to behold. Ask and you shall receive the highest possible good, ask for more voracious eyes more physically and metaphysically attentive.

Lk10v25-26 What must I do to receive eternal life? We speak of God's 'accidental properties', including His property of 'offerer of eternal life'. Pray that we might do it in such a way that enables others to ask in truth what it is to receive eternal life, rather than just playing a philosophical game, rather than, as the teacher of the law here, trying to catch God out on a point of inconsistency. Pray that we take seriously Mk9v42, that we see this as an opportunity to place words in just the right way - to ask Socratic questions as Jesus does to this man here, but in such a way as to shift the conversation away from mere safe academics. I can't do this well in my own strength, so pray for wisdom in my words selected today. Pray for all who hear us, that they would glimpse a picture of the thickness and beauty of the life eternal on offer.

Lk10v27-28 💓 On the same morning that I'm reading Eph3v14-21 with the boys. Rooted in belovedness, we love one another and so know the love of Christ. Love is beloved lovers loving. Love is the answer to the lawyer's question, and he answers it himself, because we already know, that love is the answer. But. What is love? Distinct from mere affection, different from respecting your neighbour. Love. What is love?
If love is love it is ultimate. The eternal life that we want prerequires an eternal quality of love, an unconditional self-giving, a sacrificial utter risk. Love is the answer when it is a 1Cor13 love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.. Therein if found the eternal life. But how?
Eph3 The how-to of love.
v14 : Pray to the Father
v16 -> the Father's power strengthens us by the Spirit
v17 --> by that strength you can bear Christ dwelling in you
v17 ---> and by being so bedwelt-in your being is rooted in love and grounded in love
v18 ----> rootedness in love gives we-collectively strength to jointly attend to the dimensions of Christ's love
v19 -----> and by so attending we can know love
v19 ------> But. The love that we know is a love that is more than we know.
So, pray to the Father, for the capacity to love with an irreducible unabstractable more-than kind of love.

Lk10v29-30 Who is my neighbour? This little turn of phrase has been so prolifically (and not illegitimately) smeared across advertising for Christian humanitarian and global mission work that it's hard to come at it afresh. I feel like my brain has been taught that the right interpretation of this verse and this story is that everyone is my neighbour, and that wherever global media is able to show me pictures of emotional, physical and spiritual suffering, I am called to near neighbourliness with them. I don't think that this is altogether incorrect, but it opens the floodgate to constant potential guilt, failure and compromise. It strikes me as interesting, reading this passage again, that in his answer Jesus in fact flips the question. He is asked 'who is my neighbour?', but in his answer confronts the question v36 'which one of these _was_ a neighbour?' i.e. what is it for me to be a neighbour to others, regardless of this question of who I consider my neighbour to be. He shifts the question away from the task of trying to codify who I have neighbourly responsibility for and who I don't, and towards the virtues of grace-saturated grace-enabled neighbourliness. I suggest to my own soul then, that I focus more on allowing the Spirit to enable and saturate each interaction, to build the muscle of neighbour-love in all things, for each person I encounter, each breath, each small thing, rather than trying to impose neighbour-love top-down onto myself as a tick-box exercise for specific people. There is a freedom to this, which re-sets the circuit of love for both self and other.

Lk10v31-32 🎲 "Now by chance.." Apparently this phrase appears only here within the New Testament, and it seems Jesus speaks this with a certain irony. What is your theology of chance? Of luck? Of fluke..? Imagine a world in which there are no coincidental encounters, a reality where everything is uncanny, synchronous, and serendipitous all the time. A conspiracy theorist's very multivalent tangle of pathetic fallacy and implied causality.. Jesus winks at such a God-addled subjunctive universe in which circumstances are rendered parabolic and allusive by a mischievous and interfering God. For those with ears to hear.
"..passed by on the other side .. passed by on the other side.." There is a spatiality to disgust which is motivated to quarantine contamination against death. What is your road? Where does death lurk? How is your walk? Do you create safe spaces? One of the key studies needed for the progress of drone tech is the development of sense&avoid systems. Danger is everywhere, collisions seem inevitable and will be cataclysmic to life. So, pass by on the other side? When is that the wrong answer?
This parable is commonly employed to advocate instances of proactive compassionate charity in the face of a tragic event, but the question it is answering is more universal and total, that is, prejudicial barriers to mere neighbourliness. Who is my neighbour? And why does it matter?
👥 A society, a church, a household which achieves to be a unity more-than-the-sum-of-diverse-parts must wrestle with the difficulty of neighbourliness, negotiated adjacency, which is a tension of appropriately boundaried engagement. Neighbourliness must be more than tolerance, more than merely the accommodation of minorities, it must be reciprocal and relational, must cost something and cannot be reduced to philanthropy by the apparently more materially well-off. The vision is for a Kingdom of total flourishing, a coherent symphony of parts, in which a true diversity of ages, races and political/psychological consititutions are brought to cooperative engagment. It will not be achieved by caricaturing the priests and levites as the bogiemen of this parable.
🙋‍♂ I'm speaking to myself (in a slightly convoluted way this morning) recognising my own disgust at their disgust. We, the 99%, leftleaning guttersnipes, are guilty of a peverse form of disgust, a contempt for conservatives, a selfrighteous poverty, an unneighbourly discompassion for those inclined to learnt orderliness, and a disregard for the complex responsibility for the preservation of hygiene for the sake of the tribe.
🔐 How should we then live? My default position is on the other side of the road, with a locked front door and passworded computer, to boundary and preserve those of first importance against the wild of violent robbers seen in v30. The robbers' chaos is a form of death, engaging that environment is risky, there is a significant tension. The answer cannot stop there however. Living in the tension results typically in stasis over the point of your status quo. What is needed is a call from the outside, to determine the instance of Kingdom risk. What is needed also is a system-changed-by-nudges, toward more relationally engaged Othering at all levels of privilege ~ starting (As Peterson's posters are currently telling the tube) with my household.

Lk10v33-34 When JT preached on this passage last year he reminded us that while we're apt to think about how we could be more like the Good Samaritan, the first thing to remember, to orient oneself inside, is that it is Jesus who is the Good Samaritan. He bandages your wounds, He soothes you with oil and wine. The road between Jericho and Jerusalem was notoriously difficult, called 'The Way of Blood' for being such a dangerous route. I imagine myself in the ditch, broken, hating myself for making such a bad decision in walking this route, aware that I put myself in such a dangerous position in the first place, unable to do the basics of taking care of myself or my possessions. But. Rm5v6 while we were still helpless, Christ died for us. He tends your wounds, he tends mine. He puts us gently on His donkey and takes care of you and me both. This is the freedom, grace and comfort constantly open to me, so regularly forgotten. This is the freedom, grace and comfort out of which the ethics of the Good Samaritan should flow.

Lk10v35-36 💰 "proved to be a neighbour" The measure of being a neighbour, actively, rather than by mere accident of adjacency, actively, with neighbour as an honourific, when good neighbours become good friends, so to speak.. Being such a neighbour pays a blank cheque in advance, absorbing open-ended responsibility for hospitality and healing, for a stranger. Surely the onlooker and innkeeper would ask: Who is bankrolling this? What motivates this level of generosity? For surely also the samaritan has an answer: from and for the joy ~ such is the hedonism of giving in God's economy.

Lk10v37-38 "Mercy." Thinking about mercy again in this season, it was whispered two years ago and I didn't know why. I have in previous seasons defined mercy as not getting what we deserve (vs grace, getting what we don't deserve). It's a distinction I like, and helpful in lots of ways. But I sense God saying to me that mercy isn't just the act of not getting what we deserve, but also the condition, container or framework in which we live, which then transforms how we understand the response to our shortcomings, and perhaps even the nature of these shortcomings themselves. Speculatively, I think in the life of the divinely simple trinity, mercy and justice must be exactly the same thing. Usually as we use these terms humanly we're thinking about the way they interact with brokenness, but this isn't the only (or most complete?) definition of either mercy or justice, I don't think. I can more easily glimpse what justice-in-a-context-without-brokenness would be: it makes sense that a context without brokenness _would be_ a context of perfect justice: everything in its right place. It's harder to conceptualise mercy in the context of nothing-broken, it seems that in order for mercy to be mercy there needs to be something going wrong that is then responded to, as in this parable. But maybe actually this responsive-mercy is drawn from a deeper posture of mercy, a basic condition of mercy, which is the position that the members of the trinity take up towards each other, as is the condition in which we should understand ourselves to live. I have been thinking about this a lot after the weekend just gone with the Navs in Blackpool. R spoke of the 'spacious place' of Ps31v8-9 (God has always spoken to me of this place from Ps119v45). I have always thought of the spacious place as a promise for the time when I conquer sin and live aligned with my resurrected life, a place I do not yet sustainably find myself. But R spoke of this place as the place we are already in, the place where there is _space_ to bring all one's brokenness, and space for this brokenness to not be a disaster. This spacious place is a place we should, in Christ, know we can already take up in our spiritual imagination. She contrasted this with the imaginative experience of walking along an arete - one false move and you plummet to your death, it's a disaster, it's over. I realise that this is often how I imagine the spiritual landscape to be. One tiny mishap and I spiral into self-loathing and catastrophising, which makes the whole thing a hundred times worse. I get resurrection, I get that I keep getting a new dawn, but this landscape in my imagination is full of precipices with trampolines underneath, it's constant falling and bouncing back, which is exhausting. What if I re-trained my imagination to believe and inhabit a spacious place in the now? What if this is the deeper condition of mercy, that pre-exists even my failings? What if I could relax into this landscape, knowing that the mercy backdrop means that failings are not a disaster? Yes, they need weeding out, sanctifying, but only so that I can better enjoy and fit the spacious place to which I am already permitted access. We get to enjoy the inner life of God, which is the mercy of spaciousness.

Lk10v39-40 What is a Christian theology of the domestic sphere, ambiguated as it is now by unlimited technology, antagonised as it is now by feminist histories of injustice? In the old days Abigail's mastery of the domestic 1Sm25v18 was precisely a contending for God deftly over-and-against a world of male-male conflict, in the persons of David/Nabal. Just as the Pr31 woman works, makes, trades goods, helps the poor, as an agent of formidable force from/through the weaponised domestic. In the old days Gideon was called out of that notedly female domain of wheat threshing in the winepress to contend for God against the Midianites Jg6v11. Just as the divine individual, a man, shall leave his father and mother Gen2v24, shall leave his father and mother Mk10v7, shall leave his father and mother Eph5v31. Submission to archetypal asymmetry conjured distinctive realms for relevant contextual heroism, profound and unabstractable heroism. Men were to explorationally form the world, women were to invitationally fill a world. Encultured and apprenticed to a family-resemblance achieving excellence through codes of duty and instrumentalised domains. But now, Mary's dissident discipleship is a lesson in a new liberation, a new Kingdom in which there is no male or female Gal3v28, where home and work are perfectly androgynised, and heroism is found in the singular task of sitting at Jesus feet? If so, how so? If not, how not?


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

texting luke nine

Stuff and things? Lighten the load. 07729056452

Lk9v1-2 "power and authority" "demons and diseases" "proclaim and heal" both-and. You need both, to defeat both, to do both. I want to render this triplet of pairs as a comprehensive description of ministry, or at least to say with more precision what Jesus is invoking in bothing these. Particularly, what is authority when it is distinct from power?
🏛 Authority exousia ~ qualification and permission , ability and license , method and mandate , weaponry for the hand to hand skirmish and artillery backup . Dear self-identifying imposters, we move with authority, we are sent with a purposive commission, over-and-against the noise of spiritual anarchy, we are in charge now.
⚡ Power dynamis ~ the signs and wonders grow to a prominence in Luke's Acts. Christianity must engage power, the power of Power Evangelism, power vs power, against the cosmic powers of this dark age Eph6v12. We must believe that the power of the God who sends us, the power which is within us, power which is infinite but granular, relevant and acute in any given moment, this power is greater-than the powers we observe which control people in the world. God's power for freedom is greater-than every financial power and debt, every tendril of family shame, every bond of guilty duress, every system of parasetic politicking that leeches life from the body - these all have real power, they have power to hold and control, but they are each a power which is less-than.
Star Wars' formula is so successful for so reflecting the zeitgeist and so richly giving definition to the vocabulary of contemporary longing. Whilst it arrives at a nonsensical mysticism, having it's good&evil cake and eating it through incoherent balance, Star Wars does appreciate the universal experience of captivity, the long expectation of a begotten saviour and the role of power. Power from beyond, power to move rocks Mt17v20, power to grasp concepts Eph3v18, power to convert hearts and to hope. Hope requires power. Christians, we channel cosmic electricity which is more-than, in all things more-than, into every given minutiae, more-than.

Lk9v3-4 'take nothing'. This command has been round the peripheries of vision the last few days, it strikes me as important for my spiritual maturity in 2018, and centres on the near-impossible task of clinging to nothing in life, ministry and marriage but Jesus. What are my staff, bag, bread, money? What do I need to renounce, untie, leave behind? What does it look like to trust Jesus with everything in my context? What do the PJs need to leave behind together? How do we practically personally prophetically lean into simple trust? I don't know the answers to all these questions but I feel sure these questions must shape my and our conversations these next few days. Pray for us, that we would cling to nothing but Jesus.

Lk9v5-6 📤 "Leave." Christians, when is it persevering to quit? When is it loving to leave? When is it right to be ruthless? Agile evangelists believe in pragmatic providence, nimbly knowing that all timing is God's timing, they weather rejection lighty, relishing to suffer with Christ, they fail early, fail often, fail forward.. Bootstrapped and unsentimental, they move fast and break things. But who is called to that? There is a tension between disruption and compassion, adventuring and caring. But if I was to assess the deficit in my life and in the church at large it would call me to be more barrelling forth, at the expense of less noodling at home.
🧖‍♂ "Dust" Dust's dustiness is a musty stasis, the detritus of life, the flakes of decay, the aroma of death, which clings to disuse, which settles on and settles for and settles down. No church should be dusty, and not by neurotic vacuuming, but by being-unsettled. The Christian is a kite in a hurricane, ours is a faith of the great outdoors, thieves cannot break in and steal, moths will find nothing there ~ we are romping through town, anti-static, and squeaky clean.

Lk9v7-8 Perplexed. Perplexity happens when self meets world and things are not as expected. It strikes me that we might catergorise two types of perplexity - egocentric and allocentric. The later is genuine confusion about how things are in reality, coupled with a desire to understand better, birthing the virtues of humility, curiousity and exploration. Egocentric perplexity is a form of outrage, an incredulity that reality - and therefore God - has not conformed to the understanding or will of the I, the Great Self, leading to the vices of hubris, anger, and a demanding and controlling spirit, as we see here in Herod -  'John I beheaded!'
I pray for myself specifically that my perplexed outrage, frustration and entitlement would be transfigured into perplexed surrender, openness and trust.

Lk9v9-10 "who* is this!?" Herod's WTF. There is something very unusual going on, extermination-as-usual isn't working, rule-by-force is unravelling. This comic turn riffs on a diabolical incomprehension trope. The baddie in his lair flies into a rage as it dawns on him: the swarm is breeding faster than we can swot them. Luke places this scene-change cutaway in between the sending of the 12 and the sending of the 72, and nestles it beside the feeding of the 5000.  🔢📈 Do the math fam. The emphasis being twofold:
- As a Holy Hydra, beheading John draws the blood of the martyrs, which is the seed of the church, this Kingdom movement is stronger than death
- As a Godly Grey Goo, this Kingdom movement is exponential
➖ So 2018, in my life, what should die?
✖ So 2018, in my life, what should multiply?

Lk9v11-12 "now the day began to wear away"...'"or we are here in a desolate place". I have never noticed before the emphasis placed on weariness and desolation at the beginning of this story, and it is interesting to note that with these two phrases there is an acknowledgement of weariness with both time and place, with process and product, with duration of time elapsed and with the barrenness of where that time seems to have led. If you are weary with where you find yourself, or if you are weary with the means by which you seem to have to try to get somewhere - know this: Jesus is an infinite spring of life within the finite, he wants to set up tables in the wilderness to feed you loaves and fishes. He makes something out of nothing. He can redeem your days and your places.

Lk9v13-14 "go and buy" is contrasted with "sit in groups" ~ perhaps I am heavily over-reading this juxtaposition in this context, but I am convicted that the comparison otherwise and generally is not nothing. I'm interested to consider the posture of faithful communion over-and-against the posture of market-exchange.
💱  "Go and buy.." I have been recently stirred by Alastair Roberts' account of gender in the context of modernity, and I find his very compassionate essentialism to be rich, provocative and vital. The rendering of the liberal individual as the primary unit of our universe and economy renders all labour and commodity as fungible and alienable. We are a hypermobile workforce that knows only exchange value. We go and we buy, transient consumers remunerated commensurably. We go and we buy.  When the going get tough the tough go shopping. We go and we buy. Poverty is measured quantitatively and solved quantitatively. We go and we buy.
🧘‍♀ 🧘‍♂ "sit" See _How to Be a Poet_ by Wendall Berry begins "Make a place to sit down. Sit down. ..." To sit is not nothing. Be still and know that God is God. And, sit in a group, y'all, quakers gonna quake. As Leibnitz fears and Harman relishes, a circle of men holding hands is a thing, it has thinghood, and so we are so irreducibly thung to cast ripples in eternity by sitting in groups, for communion, and against the marketisation of everything, marketisation which is the source of poverty.

Lk9v15-16 Verb tables for the day.
He took.
He looked.
He said.
He broke.
He gave.
(That we might set before others).

Lk9v17-18 🍞🍞🍞🍞🍞🍞🍞🍞🍞🍞🍞🍞 We exceed excess, we broke the brink, to more than mar a margin, for more and more than more-than. We left a land littered lots and now gather to defrag the fragments. We're Mosaic mosaicists, we reframe residue as the substance of superabundance.

Lk9v19-20 But who do you say I am? Apt after conversations with P this weekend on the foundational questions we are to ask ourselves and others, the who what where when why and how. The who is the only one we know the answer to, and this is our starting place and our source. Here Jesus asks the foundational question, and though I know the Sunday School answer, I seek to really know the answer to the 'who' question in a new way for the new year. Jesus is the Christ, is the answer - and in some ways the answer for me is also that the Christ is Jesus. In this previous season it has felt easier for me to speak in terms of the cosmic Christ rather than the historical Jesus. I seek to know deeply what it is to recognise that the Christ is Jesus. Part of this is to ask - what in the words of the Jesus of the gospels speaks to my depths? How does this flesh-and-blood Jesus speak by the Holy Spirit to me in the present? How does Jesus not only say what I am supposed to do in the abstract, but actually impart the strength to be able to do it - that is, the How as well as the What, Why and Who? Come Lord Jesus.

Lk9v21-22 📼 "must suffer.. be rejected.. be killed.." If Jesus had a cassette player and recorded the thirteen reasons for his death, would I be on those tapes? Hannah Baker's suicide account is disanalogous is many ways, the series is the darkly seductive tragic glamour of long-form intrigue playing reprehensible suicide voyeurism to baying binge watchers. But.  It observes human depravity with a candour, and accurately portrays the dominoes of sin, how thick black pollution is funneled, curdled, and distilled to finally melt the lighting rod in death's pent up fury.  We are such walking dead, victims each, pariahs each, and/but collectively culpable. Where does all the pain go? What do you do with the death you inherited? Jesus offers to drain the tank, he is the firebreak, he is the shockabsorber, he is the mop, he is the bucket, he takes all the portions of death we carry and puts himself to death.

Lk9v23-24 I have been dancing around these words a few days. This familiar saying of Jesus has a kind of black-hole quality to it for me - I feel in myself both a kind of magnetic draw and repulsion to these words at the same time, I feel like I can't quite access their depths but I know the depths are there, I teeter on the brink of them, attracted and resistant to the promise and cost of these words that I can't quite grasp, wanting to flee, longing desperately. Chasms of distortion are everywhere about me, and a hasty response to these words is sure to trip me into one of these chasms. Here I am God, a bundle of tension and trying and failure to try. Here I am, caught between death and death, between ego and resurrection, between wisdom and folly, between too much labour and not enough and the mysteries of grace, between glimpses of understanding and uncertain conclusions. I don't pretend that I have yet learned how to take up my cross daily. Part of me doesn't want to learn, but part of me does. Pray for me, that I would fall into the black hole and die daily, in order to be more fully alive.

Lk9v25-26 "gain the world.." 👜👟📱🎰🎸🏘🕹💳🚁 On Thursday to a small group of MW, JW said, of the title of his book, Stuffocation, that he has had no one puzzle over what his title means, we already know. The coagulation of modernity's detritus, a vast tide of preemptively obsolete broken plastic promises, Rem's Junkspace, fruit of a Frommian comportment towards the world via 'having' rather than 'being'  How should we then live?
~ So to not forfeit our soul, W proposes "Experientialism" [coined from a more Virgin Experience Days meaning than the Metaphors We Live By meaning] Is this it? Is this all? Because the boomers sold the farm, the consolation prize for millenials is to become connoisseurs of cake and circuses, young and nimble gnostic cyborgs trapped in the long tail, precariat pawns in the palms of the tech tyrants, pliable poodles strung along chasing the next latte for their insta, choreographing a kinfolk community alone with a projection from their scandi ascetic pod, scratching off countries on a wall chart, pissing the world into a bucket list of private adrenaline highs? Experientialism is still trying to gain the world, and in so far as it has an overreactive antagonism towards that material world it will be soulless.
~ So to not forfeit our soul, JS, also on the panel offered that we should rather enlarge our tent (Is54v2?) in a way that only a barrister can say so blithely. As we peer through his privilege, however, there is a dazzling hope in his convicting vulnerability. It is by such an irreducibly very material household, formed and managed at an intermediate scale, humbly owned, generously shared, that the world is being made whole, people being made less proud, less lonely, less damaged and less damaging. And it was unashamedly about Jesus, by Jesus, for Jesus.

Lk9v27-28 I'm currently reading Philip Pullman's 'The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ', in which he re-writes the gospel stories with two characters - Jesus and Christ, brothers standing in for the historical Jesus and the ideology of Christianity respectively. It is an impressive and consistent picture of what it is to live in a totally disenchanted universe, a reductive naturalism in which ideology is layered over the top. I just read Pullman's storying of the transfiguration, reduced to strong light, manipulation and a sense of self-importance. As I think about what it means to try to get outside my own feelings and into reality this morning, I want to behold a fraction of the Christ transfigured, reality transfigured, all the way down and all the way through.

Lk9v29-30 💡❕ "altered.. dazzling white" Four of us walked through Piccadilly Circus a few days ago, the vast screen has changed in the last couple of months to an even more glowy seemless liquid 11 million pixel expanse of magic. C returned from Barcelona with patiently captured pictures of sun glinting in the tinted panes of Sagrada Familia. Moths to a flame, magpies to glitter, the human heart knows that the universe is luminous at its core and yearns for it. Jesus' metamorphosis is not an exception to the rule, but an illustration of the real: you are made of light, and you were made to blaze brightly. If Dn12v3 Ph2v15 are "mere" metaphors what are you left with? "Mere"ing metaphors is desertion of our post in the semiotic battlefield and embezzlement of the words of God. If metaphors are mere'd, light does not lose its power, it is simply released to serve another master with that power, coopted by other agents, as we outsource meaning-making to Hollywood we cede the keys to the gates of wonder.
🙏🔌 " he was praying.." Prayer is touching the live wires of reality, fingers in the sockets of eternity, the laying on of hands to a Van de Graff spirituality, God's great Tesla coil. As Vanilla Ice said in Mt6v6, when you pray, turn off the lights..

Lk9v31-32 I find myself comparing this moment with that in the Garden of Gethsemane Mt26v36-45. Here on the Mount, the disciples are shaken from slumber to wakefulness, whereas later in the Garden, when they most needed to be awake, they slipped into sleep again and again. On the Mount the prophets speak of the moment of Jesus' departure, but the Garden, it was the moment of departure itself. As I think these last few days about lapsing and relapsing after spiritual breakthrough, and about things that seem misaligned and wrongly timed, there is much to recognise in the picture of the disciples asleep at the crucial moment, though they had v27 seen the kingdom of God. And God continued to fight the battle despite them,  their legacy was fruitfulness nonetheless. May it be.

Lk9v33-34 ⛰  "we are here.." We've been here before, to the Mount of Transfiguration. It is an event that bears revisiting, a many varied wonder each time, in my biannual pilgrimage: 2013  2015  and 2017 And if we read the remaining NT in order, as I am inclined to, incl John, but less Acts (hard to enrich at 2verses/day) and Romans (texted last year), at 2 verses a day, 6 days a week, we'll return to the Mount of Transfiguration at 1Pt1v16 in something like August 2022. DV.
"we are here.." and it is "good that we are here.." says Peter. Here. Is it good? I'm a bigly fan of the notion that we should be a "We are here and this is now" sort of a people Over against nowhere places, placeless places, escapism and the virtualisation of place. We should be here, and very here. Fully present and exclusively present. Phones away at the dinner table. Here, in your constitutive finitude and glorious singularity. Be here. And take time and make time for your hereness. Fabricate an architecture of undistraction.
⛩ But, ever so subtly, Here, which is better-than a nowhere, becomes better-than a somewhere else, here-by-comparison. Here becomes not just the holy ground of God's universe, but holier-than ground, superstitious sacred space. Weaponised hereness. Protectionist parochial localism's narrow horizon and bland racism. Siloed thinking inside a familiar box. A go home stay home theology of fortified castle hereness. Here-huddled in a shrine to the self-related stasis of the eternal present. A shelter in the storm, pausing muting harried time. A symbol of your status, that you have arrived, forever preserved in a gallery of your own making.
🥫 Wherever your here is, it is in relation to everywhere else and everytime else. There is no pickling of the god-encounter, no backup here-and-now, no caging of the spirit, no resting on your laurels. The Kingdom is a happening, perpetually. Architecture serves this only as it is nimble and hospitably allocentric.

Lk9v35-36 "And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone." I have been trying to imagine what this moment might have been like for Jesus. Trying to imagine gospel stories from Jesus' perspective is not natural to me, especially in stories like this one, in which Jesus seems so particularly divinely Other. It seems too presumptuous to try to psychologise Jesus, I much more naturally imagine myself into the perspective of the confused disciples in this scene. But I am increasingly convicted that trying to think-into Jesus' perspective in the gospels is an essential for us if we are to take seriously what it is to be in-Christ. This resistance to trying to imagine-into the consciousness of Jesus betrays a shallow view of the incarnation, I think, and a failure to engage our already-true union-with-Christ. Jesus did not fall into the world in full God-consciousness, as though he was chuckling to himself in the manger but playing stupid for camera. Jesus, in full humanity, shows us what it is to develop into full God-consciousness perfectly, and for this reason is our model for our own union with God, which we only ever manage in part. What was it like for him to be on this Mount of Transfiguration? Where would he place this in his story, if he were bearing witness to the work of the Holy Spirit throughout his life? How did he experience his transfiguration? There are indeed unanswered questions here, but I am drawn to this line about his being found alone. The moment on the Mount is a moment in which Jesus draws on the resource of the law and prophets that have gone before him, where he is prophetically open to the direct word of God, and where he is witnessed by those he loves. But he is also singled out as an individual, he also stands alone, he also surely must have felt the weight of his life and calling in that moment when the voice had spoken and he was found alone. So too we, in taking up the consciousness of Christ, must know ourselves surrounded by tradition, scripture, community and direct access to the divine through prayer, but we must also know ourselves called out as individuals, know that we cannot hide in the crowd, we cannot simply hope for the best - we are each called to a specific, irreplaceable standing before God, in which, in this sense, we find ourselves alone - that is, that no-one else can live it for us.

Lk9v37-38 👨‍👦 In this story, I am the son. "a great crowd.. only son" Crowd:Only child. Ratio-nise that. Jesus loves y'all the 99 sheep, but I'm his favourite. Particularly partial selective election. A homing missile honing in on a singular target. The necessarily and constitutively tragic only-child, our only hope [Obi Wan], the last remaining last posted last chance saloon, the cake-or-death, the all-or-nothing at-all-costs one-and-only. God goes after the one that I am, the one lost coin, the one lost sheep, the one prodigal son. You are in his laser sights, the crosshairs of his affection.
👨‍👦 In this story, I am the father. "I beg you.." And so, this nameless man from the crowd cries out, desperate. A desperate prayer by a father on the brink. This is fatherhood? A task bigger-than you, a unconscionable risk, fathering qua fathering, in the fathering of anything, biologically, spiritually, conceptually. In fathering, we bear responsibility for an other in a context of chaos, in the face of entropy, in spite of our inestimable wickedness, we would dare to father foolishly, apart from Christ. Apart from an immersed and involved, interfering God who bears all and who hopes all and who can heal all, and who works all things for good. We, reckless fathers, bringing forth risk in a roulette of life. I beg you, teacher: Look. At. My. Son.

Lk9v39-40 Evil spirits. E preached on evil spirits last night as we looked at Saul's torment in 1Sam18, concluding with Jm4v7-8, in the Message paraphrase - 'Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time.' After a week where the elusive and vague sense of 'spiritual attack' is in the mix there, wound in with up with sin, sickness, ordinariness  and so on, this is how I choose to start the week - a quiet yes to God.

Lk9v41-42 "Generation" What is our generation? What is this Gen Y, Gen Z characterised by? What adjectives would Jesus use, if he were to address us corporately? We watched Hypernormalisation a few days ago. We are faithless and twisted in an organised fashion, on an epic scale, we each and all are collectively and collaboratively complicit in the disorder and injustice, benefactees of violent corruption, willing participants in the charade of government. Perverse and perverted, tawdry internet players and pliable internet pawns, we ape faith in an opaque soup of utter subjectivism, infinite selfishness, unlimited pessimism.   //    "How long shall I suffer you?" (KJV) Jesus suffers us. As should we, as we face our generation. To be Christ to the world, we weather a dose of this generation as an active choice, putting ourselves in harm's way, in difficulty's path, putting ourselves into the lives of others whose pain is pronounced, whose thoughts, words, deeds are a suffering to you.

Lk9v43-44 There are forms of wonder which don't "sink into the ears", in the ESV's quite lovely translation. There are forms of worship which don't get under the skin, don't stay, don't stick, don't transform. I find myself frustrated that, after, say, a week of insight, worship and unanxiety, it often seems that I am liable to have a week of being out-of-joint and even worse than before. Maybe sometimes some of this is spiritual pushback, but often it's that I've been marveling at Jesus' actions without letting Jesus' words - words about suffering - to sink into my ears, into my skull and my muscles and my core. And so when the marveling falls away, there's little I'm left with, little I can really think about or practice, little I actually understand. And interesting too, looking ahead to tomorrow's verses, that a lack of understanding in the disciples seems to be the soil into which petty arguments between them emerge. Failing to allow Jesus' words to penetrate deeply beyond surface joy leads to a frustrated sense of one's own weakness - a sense of tasting but not really getting it, and while confusion can lead to humility, if it's confusion borne of a superficial posture then it's more likely to lead to hubris, and a desire to prove that at least I get it more than the other disciples. Inattention leads to shallowness leads to confusion leads to posturing leads to oneupmanship.

Lk9v45-46 😱 "..they were afraid.." 😤 " argument .. as to which of them was the greatest.." The severity of Jesus' kindness, fearsome grandeur of his love, utter sheer supreme cosmic power in a frail mortal frame. The disciples, as we, are seeing but not seeing it. We see what we want to see, we live in dreams of our own making, projections of the myths we've inherited, immune to the new, inspite of the data, staring down eternity, we in our infinitely limited ambition, choose to play games of distraction to reinforce unsurprise to keep the calm and carry on. It is the same self-related unheroism, which is blind to the Christ, that also motivates our petty, chaotic and combative being in the world. Choosing not to see Christ, choosing a blander world which I author and control, in which I am the greatest. Default narcissism leaves we each as insecure primates merely jostling in a dominance hierarchy. The disciples here are written as pantomime cliches, a fumbling muppety dullard chorus. Such am I, in my subjectivism, in my willed self-pity, in my word games, in my lack of boldness, fearful so fractious, competitive and uncontrite. The disciples are written as portraits of me, as a manifesto that God uses such as these, redeems such as these with a cosmic purpose of unblinding detimiding substantialising into the new man.

Lk9v47-48 Whoever welcomes this child, whoever receives this child. Not - whoever idolises children, or the abstract concept of intergenerationality, or the status of parenthood, but whoever receives children for their sake. And not just 'a child' in Jesus' words, but 'this child' - specific, particular vulnerable, those children in your world which you have been tasked with caring for, training, witnessing to, modelling for. Receive them. Welcome them, for their sake, and in Jesus' name. This, Jesus' tells us, is the antedote to pride, comparison, overthinking and posturing. This is a secret doorway to receiving God.

Lk9v49-50 🤦‍♂ Discipling is one long facepalm. Unfit for purpose to an unbelievable degree: they crudely didn't understand the mission (wanted to settle in tents v33), ineptly couldn't do the how-to (couldn't cast out demons v40),  deafly couldn't grasp the explanation (didn't let these words sink in v44), divisively attacked each other (least vs greatest v46), jealously attacked supporters (tried to stop him v49), vindictively attacked detractors (wanted to call down fire v50).  //  On 11th March, I'm preaching 1Sm25 at St Marks, which is a (currently quite opaque ~  help!?) study in two pathologies: David vs Nabal (ft Abigail's Kendall Jenner Pepsi Ad), the impetuous vs the cowardly, the wreckless vs the feckless, the sadistic vs the masochistic, the aggressive vs the apathetic, the insecure vs the insecure. The world is run by such as these, we are such as these, Jesus calls into his special service such as these, you will live amongst to nurture and disciple such as these. We, and they, are not merely ludicrously underqualified for spiritual service, but dangerously illsuited to this responsibility.   //   None of this stops Jesus persevering with such a ragtag gaggle, and til today he is still in relentless pursuit of your substantial flourishing, your very real adventure, your ever fuller redemption, and by these, his glory.

Lk9v51-52 "Set his face" Set. Meditating this morning that "set" evokes both readiness and resolve, stable conviction and willingness to move. Listening to a lecture last night about personality traits and proclivities towards liberalism/exploration of the new/openness/free form vs conservativism/preservation of the good/boundaries/systematising, there are virtues and vices in both proclivities. Often I trade in the vices of these two leanings - self-preservation on the one hand and inconsistency on the other, but as Jesus set his face for Jerusalem, he demonstrates what it is to be well-ordered and consistent  as well as open and compassionate. Let us learn from the master.

Lk9v53-54 Jesus, elsewhere, in the grainfield, draws a *parallel* between *Jesus+Disciples* (holybread with his 'mightymen': Lk6v3) with *David+Mightymen* (holybread: 1Sm21v1-6, with his mightymen!: 2Sm23v20etc)  🔥 "tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them.." Lk9v54  ⚔ "God do so to the enemies of David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him." 1Sm25v22
🤢 *Disgust --> Fire* David vs Nabal, disciples vs villagers, religiouse vs irreligious, older brother vs younger brother, pharisees vs sinners.. Having previously thought of David vs Nabal in terms of revenge in a conflict of egos, I have found it interesting this morning to read these characters and their scorched earth annihilation bids through the lens of Jonathan Haidt's Moral Disgust. There is necessarily a trajectory towards genocide in the religiouse mind, and it stems from disgust. Whereas you run or freeze in the face of Fear, in the case of Disgust you have to destroy or expel the infection, drown the witches, swat the cockroaches ~ an evolutionary advantageous intuition to the herd/tribe against pathogens from the outside which is a disposition which should be held-in-tension or counter-balanced by others in a tribe who have more of a trade-openness trait.
🏛🔥 *Political Fire* If we can extend calling down fire beyond mere personal vendetta, into the realm of a socio-political disgust-motivated purification, does Jesus/Abigail help us live wisely in the context of disgust-motivated protectionism and polarisation from Left and Right in contemporary politics? [The Right's brexit and other exits, draining swamps, building walls, witchhunting such as Hilary? The Left's no-platforming, siloed safe-spacing, pronoun-coercing, witchhunting such as Damore?]
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🔥 *Personal Fire* If we can extend calling down fire beyond mere personal vendetta, into our own disgusted lives, how does this exchange inform my own life and my attitude to others? David was the annointed King, just as we are princes in the Kingdom, we are the smug elect, the Chosen-One tropes. I comport myself to Weinstein, as to Nabal, as to sinners Lk18v11: "Thank God I'm not like one of those.." It is not untrue, but it is a selective truth, because I deserve fire doubly for my selfrighteousness, for my embezzling the gospel, and neglecting the calling I had.
*Why Fire?* "the people did not recieve him.." Lk9v53 // "Who is David? .. Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where?" 1Sm25v10-11
🙊 Both candidates for the fire are guilty of a refusal to offer hospitality. Rudeness which vandalises the gift economy, it is an affront to the dignity of the person, but most interestingly, inhospitality is a passive sins of neglect or omission. Nabal didn't do anything, the villagers didn't do anything. So me and my absenteeism, my lack of adventure, sins of cowardice and silence, rightly deserve fire from heaven.
✝ *Why inhospitality?* The text says explicitly, "the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem." We know. We already know. We are without excuse. Life is suffering, the Christian life is suffering, it gladly pays the exorbitant cost of discipleship, which is suffering, which is Jerusalem - the nexus of personal and political utter suffering. Which is why Luke goes on in v57-62 to lay out the costs. For Nabal the cost was trivial, barely taxing his considerable wealth, and yet even then, he chose inhospitality, as I do, out of pride.

Lk9v55-56 I have been calling down a lot of fire. Jesus rebukes me. He lets me stay with him though, and we go on to the next village together. I don't know how to relate to him now though, I am not someone who knows easily what to do with rebuke. It feels like the world has caved in, it feels so shameful. It feels perpetual and that it will always be remembered. I'll always be that kind of disciple. I don't want to look at him. I hate him for showing everyone how wrong and stupid I am. I can slink through with the rest of the pack but my rebuke alienates me and sticks to me. I think I've definitely used up my 70x7 by now. Apparently Rm8v39 and all that, but it doesn't feel like love after rebuke. Pray for me, and we all, to grasp the shape of Jesus love, to want it rather than resisting it, to believe in his love and not to disbelieve, to surrender to his love and not to abstract it. Pray for Eph3v14-20 actually really, there is no other way I will be transformed.

Lk9v57-58 🦊🐦 This is one of those passages which is at risk of being entirely swallowed by caveats:
🚫 We worship a homeless man who lived in obscurity and died young! But. It's wrong to despise the good gift of housing, place, rootedness, hospitality..
🚫 We worship a homeless man who lived in obscurity and died young! But. It's wrong to fetishise homelessness, to promulgate poverty porn, and so abdicate responsibility to steward..
And by these caveats we are prudently insulated by legitimately framing homelessness as merely proverbial, merely an argument from hyperbole. We don't literally give everything away Lk18v22, we don't literally hate our parents Lk14v26.. And so we miss the adventure.
🏘 What is a home? - a default gift. Foxes have them, birds have them. Your heavenly father knows what you need. We live in a context of abundance. There are far more beds than people in London. It is only by injustice and incommunication that anyone should have to go without. I am reluctant to say it is a human right, but it is a basic condition like sunlight. We assume housing, slowly formed, gradually embellished habitations built with a sense of proportional opulence that is consistent with the abundance we have, and the truth that it is more blessed to give it away into a thriving civic commons. Why settle for mere housing. Foxes have them, how much more valuable are you, more capable are you, more adventuruous are you. You are called to exceed the default.
🏰 What is a home? - a limit condition. Homeliness, domesticity, the great indoors, stuffy, stultifying, the umbilical infrastructure of NIMBY conservativism, fortresses of privilege, status quo status symbols, safety deposit boxes in the sky, a ball and chain for the card carrying unadventurous class, the landed riche. I have advocated weaponised housing and aggressively intentional hospitality, not as a nice-to-have, but on the grounds of basic self-preservation for my soul. A home is a sticky idol, a kettle of self-relation, the perfect culture tray for me to believe my own hype within the toxic interiorty of my own empire. It must be othered, it must be for something, it must be cracked open, as that is how the light gets in.

Lk9v59-60 Who was this person to whom Jesus said 'follow me'? I assume this was someone on the road rather than one if the existing band of disciples. There is no conclusion after this tiny two sentence exchange - what did this person do? Did he follow Jesus, leaving the dead behind, or did this loud and competing impulse win out? Interesting that Jesus uses two totally different approaches to the person of v57-58 and to this person of v59-60. The first, boldly insisting that he has what it takes to follow Jesus, is countered with active questioning and indeed dissuasion on Jesus part, with J listing reasons not to follow him, highlighting the cost, probing as to whether the confident assertion has weight. This fellow, on the other hand, presumably sorrowing the recent death of his father, Jesus directly tells and encourages to follow him. In both cases there is something both unrelatingly uncompromising yet deeply invitational in Jesus' words, but they are very different approaches. Jesus has no formula. Jesus knows what people need, Jesus knows what you need. He does not want your professed but cheap alliance, nor does he want you to count yourself out because of your sadness. He challenges you. He invites you. He knows where you've come from. He wants you in truth.

Lk9v61-62 "I will follow you, but first.." 🔜 Christianity is urgent. No ifs no buts, urgent. Christianity is urgent. Christianity is antithetical to the dulled conscience and pawing noodling procrastination of extended adolescence. Christianity is urgent. Christianity's time is now, because the disaster looms. Christianity is urgent because suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45. Christianity is urgent because if you don't help, Jordan Peterson's cult will.
"looks back is unfit for the Kingdom.." Christianity is urgent. Christianity is a headlong plunge into real life, confronting evil, contending with powers, setting captives free. Christianity is urgent. Christianity is unsentimental, unnostalgic and unnerving. Christianity is urgent. Christianity requires white-knuckle courage and demands a self-examination that is viscerally uncomfortable and a world-facing that is acutely dangerous.
Urgency and timing in Christian rhetoric swings between an “if you were to die tonight..” and leaving things “to the Lord’s timing” ~ the former being timing only in the most ultimate sense the latter contributing to Christianity-as-hobby religion – rarely an informed sense of the intermediate urgencies of current social calamities in waiting.
Christianity is urgent. This is the life we get to live, the freedom we get to free, the substantial and fully present life in its fullness which is unpostponable, which is rich in every minutiae, with exuberant grace in every circumstance, with unflagging compassion and uncompromising justice and uncounted mercy and unstoppable generosity.
👨‍🌾 This plough must move forward to turn the soil.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

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.

Lk8v27-28 when in a spiral of darkness, the last thing I want is the light, Jn3v20. I can identify this in myself - lethargy begets lethargy, lust begets lust, listlessness begets listlessness, greed begets greed, anger begets anger, unkindness begets unkindness. To she who has, more will be given, to she who does not have, even that will be taken away. I know when I'm in the darkness, and it is when I am in the darkness that I least want the light (when light-filled I am baffled that I would ever choose otherwise). In the dark Jesus is a torment, not a joy. Thank goodness it is not I who is responsible for banishing my own darkness.

Lk8v29-30 🎎 The devil is cleverer than me, and the devil is stronger than me. I am a marionette: flopsy and coercible, I wobble limply, I waltz mindless, ceding control, my loose threads trail eccentrically from a frail mind, strings tweakable, I'm tugged about, my paddle hands clasp no handle
🖥 The devil is cleverer than me, and the devil is stronger than me. He volleys a blustering DDoS of lies and false positives, my ports are insecure, my identity is hackable, I don't know what I don't know. I run a flawed operating system with a compromised conscience - a back door left open for cyber squatters. I am not alone in my mind, I am preoccupied by an occupying force.
🏇 The devil is cleverer than me, and the devil is stronger than me. Left to my own devices, I am mental putty, an impressionable addictive character with a corrupt appetite , I eat short term gain, a sucker for a dopamine buzz, I am merely animal, a beast of burden, knowing only the carrot and stick of faceless exploitation.
Welcome to my dis-order, a parasetic augmentation, a military fixation, my periodic paranoid paroxysm. Note the intermittent intervals, bouts of a mood, seasonally affected torment. Jesus addresses this condition by name. Calmly. Personally. Jesus is cleverer than the devil. Jesus is stronger than the devil. Jesus' perception is perfect and his power is ultimate.
We drift in mental dinghies, the devil pulls the tide, Jesus is the bedrock.
We see in part, we know in part, the devil can write in the gaps, but Jesus is the whole.

Lk8v31-32 Pigs. All of my other readings this morning have been about sheep - Is40v11, Ps95v7, Mt9v36 so I have been thinking about Jesus the good shepherd and me the sheep. What are the differences between sheep and pigs? Holding lightly,  aware this is a comparison that may break a metaphor, but it strikes me the Bible doesn't make much of us as pigs relating to our pig-keepers, but there's lots of sheep-shepherd relating. Why is this? Both are argricultural animals that need rearing in this context and landscape. Why are we to be sheep and not pigs? Pigs are more intelligent than sheep, but more prone to anxiety? We can picture the demonised pigs in this story as the zenith of what we see in common or garden terrified pigs - shrieking squealing running, refusing comfort or challenge. Pigs apt to Mt7v6 damage what is precious, to 2Pt2v22 fixate on what is damaging? Sheep on the other hand can be frightened and confused, but their straightforward proclivity to teachability and trust makes it possible for the shepherd to lead them beside quiet waters. Keep calm and listen for the shepherd's voice. Be more sheep.

🐖🐖🐖 "..pigs.." Och, the saving bacon, the great exchange, the atoning animal like Gn22v13 Ram-instead-of-son.. The right answer is that Jesus was such a pig's death, such a scapegoat slaughtered. But I don't tend to think of salvation's collateral, I have no fluency in animal sacrifice's mechanisms, or do I? BluePlanetII is showing the global scale of our civilisation's fundamental dependence on sin's very real transferability. Physical matter is a pliable conduit for moral content, ethical effluent and conceptual pollution: See the sea soiled by plastic porn, the detritus of post-consumer guilt and shame, the failed idols littering the shore, strangling seagulls, choking whales. It is them-for-us, them-for-us, them-for-us. Our demons can be cast into the sea, Jesus makes this diagram legible. But now. Every Primark disposable disguise, all synthetic makeup warpaint, every escapist plastic toy, every polystyrened comfort food, every bottled addiction, every packaged device to distract you, they are redundant and obsolete in Christ.
🏃‍♂💨 "..fled.." If God showed up at your church service, there'd be pandamonium. The spark to boom, the starter's gun to an ec-static motion, a centri-petal great commission: Run. Many of the Bible's runners appear in my imagination as joggers, really. Steady-state endurance Hb12v1, present-tense continuous Gl5v7, finishing well eventually 2Ti4v7. But there are other runners, sprinting urgent, strong as a horse Jl2v4, competitive 1Co9v24, hasty the return from Emmaus Lk24v33, Peter runs earnest to the tomb Lk24v12, Elijah outruns chariots 1Ki18v46.
🔉🔊 "..told it.." Pray. Tell.
🌆🏞 " and country.." Urban and Suburban Saviour. Beyond these Ends, to the ends of the Northern Line, to the ends of the Earth. Far and wide. The image I have of these pigs farmers fleeing, arms flailing, breathless expletive, tearing through a landscape in panicked proclamation. City and country would sufficiently merely refer to distance measured by sheer diversity of environs, land and sea, further and far.. But it is not nothing, the qualitative difference of encounter, the word proclaimed into different soils, in languages peculiar to the the city-ness of cities, and the country-ness of the country.

Lk8v35-36 Right mind. A simple prayer today for my own healing and restoration, that I may demonstrate Jesus power. That I may be seen 'clothed and in her right mind', and that it might prompt the fear of the Lord in others.

Lk8v37-38 "asked him to depart" .. "begged that he might stay with" The polarised responses to Jesus are two sides of the same tribalistic impulse. Clique with what you know. Like for like. Holy huddling. Vs. Your healing is for something. For other others. Awkward adjacencies. Go to them. Stay with them. Have them to stay. Be alongside. Your story is their good news.
The polarised responses to Jesus also strike me in their very binary form, Marmite's radicalisation, all-in or nothing. Are there semi-Christians? Do we drift into belief on a gradient of acquiescence, sort-of convicted? Do we drift away by a linear depletion of faith? Or are all shades of grey a lie, a misconstruction? I think I live like, and comport myself to others, with a tacit supposition that faith is like David Cameron's Magic FM in the Chilterns.. But Jesus is superlative or nothing. Life to life or an offensive stumbling block. I cannot serve two masters. I am for him or I am against him. There is no neutral ground. No foot-in-sea-and-one-on-shore. And so those in our life who have heartbreakingly dropped off the radar suddenly and utterly, the landscape is precipitous cliffs and exponentially self reinforcing barriers. The binary state of life should summon me to waking urgency. My healing is for theirs.

Lk8v39-40 Return to your home and declare how much God has done for you. Return to your home. The most obvious witnesses to the transformation of our lives are to those who knew us previously and know us well. Christmas is coming, which brings with it the rituals of family, origins & returnings. Would this, as such be a time of declaring what God has done in our lives. It is also hard to declare God to those who know you well and knew you previously, because they are entangled with your old self from which you have been redeemed. Remember,  you have been healed, you are made new. Return to your home and declare your healing in a new way. God, we pray for the languages to do so.

Lk8v41-42  👨‍👧 "only one daughter" Luke draws on this elsewhere Lk7v12 an only son is carried in the funeral procession, Lk9v38 an only son is thrown into convulsions by an evil spirit. Misfortune in these is amplified by the child's special singularity ~ sharpened to a point of total tragedy, utter terminality. This only daughter is the end of the line, a seedling sprout on a drought-vitiated family vine, she is the narrow generational thread which holds Jarius above barren nothingness and his family's non-existence. Was Jesus moved by this plight peculiarly? Should we care specially about familial endurance? [see note on maternality and fraternality last week]
🙏 "implored.." παρακαλέω appeal, beg, beseech, entreat, exhort, plead, urge (the NAS exhaustive concordance goes on..) Earnest intecessory fatherhood. How is yours? Interceding, that is, on behalf of another, as Lk5v18. How is yours? Raging against the dying of another's light. How is yours? For we are all dying.

Lk8v43-44 I'm reading these passages about miraculous, sudden & longed-for but unexpected healing next to Is48v6-7, which has God declaring that He does unexpected and new things in part as an affront to our pride, to really show us that he weaves time and causality, that reality is alive, that nothing we bank on - good or bad, habit or personality, sin or sickness, comfort or alienation -  is inevitable, but that we are always subject to His great re-making. Important after 12 years of bleeding, important after Is47 acknowledged screw-ups. We are in the Great Remakery, let us not forget.

Lk8v45-46 🤝 "Who touched me?" Thandi, 41's adopted stray kitten, little fur bundle of metaphors, thus far untouchable, sits on the table opposite, fixated on my mousey typing hands, alarmed occasionally to discover that they belong to the head at the top of the dressing gown. The Hand of Rob that passes through our reality, does so in search of relationship, who to whom, whole person to whole person.
⚡ "power" 41 engaged Gary Chapman's Love Languages, of which a fifth is touch. I have some reservations about Love Languagising love, I am reconciled to the descriptive but wary of the prescriptive application of Love's Languages. Identifying my own primary modes of giving and receiving not only love but all communication is a healthy self-knowledge with which to plumb the origins of my mysterious predilections. But as prescriptive formulafication of love, actions without sacrifice, robotic interactions, useful to make love happen by taking power over, less so. "power" ~ see Jesus knows power had gone out of him, power under, if anything. Power made available, free sockets in a cafe, power to be free-loaded, by touch.
💃🕺Gifts, service, even words can be ninja'd. Touch, less so. As Tango take two, so our dance with the trinity, is a mutual, tactile, embrace.

Lk8v47-48  'Some days I don't know whether my faith is riddled with doubt, or, graciously, that my doubt is riddled with faith.' ~ Lauren Winner

Lk8v49-50 A dead ting. Placed first in the Greek for emphasis: Dead, is your daughter..
🔚 There is the eventual event of death, the statistical, biological, ebbing of vitality. The conclusion of breathing, worn out to expiration. We all die at last. It happens sooner sometimes. She, snatched as a redaction of a thing, plucked from happening. She that was, is not any more, prematurely. We may die sooner. These consider death as momentary, the mere punctuation.
🕳 What of deadness. The vast void, the not-ness, the substantial absence, the thick bellowing abyss, the infinite extension of total dark that rushes into the crevices under an extinguished light. The death which is just so full (And man so small). We meet death daily.
🧟‍♂🧟‍♀ What of the dead. Death's denizens. The cold inert insensate bodies, turkey in plastic shelved stolid under a white fridge light. Mere matter, mechanically present but animated by no appetite, responsive to no signal, relating to nothing. Entropic zombieform humans, eyes averted, in a mute freefall of silent sound and fury. Rehearsing an eternity of mere accidental movement, wafted unbearably light as hollow spaceships passing in endless night, a grinding grand decay of unmeaning. Without God, we are such living dead.

Lk8v51-52 'maybe we're dying' I wrote in my journal yesterday. Maybe Jesus would speak that we are only sleeping. That we should not mourn. Maybe He says 'arise'.

Lk8v53-54 [Diabolical Laughter] At the scene there were hired mourners, contracted to cry, pantomime actors paid to give articulation to another's grief by simulation. Death is a peculiar force, commanding ritual, wielding taboo, generating a specialised economy of experts. There is comfort in his strong and stable certainty, death's bankable infinity, for he comes to us all. We are death's entourage, and we become such a mocking mob, tragicomic laughing stock. We, with our cynicism, our being-merely-towards-death, our zombiform nihilism, we backed the wrong horse. And we get in the way of resurrection.

Lk8v55-56 Spirit returned...he instructed them to give her something to eat. Jesus knows we are body-mind-spirit, and he invites us to (i) breathe (ii) eat (iii) move one's limbs with a resurrected spirit.