Sunday, 26 June 2011

texting joshua

Constructing texts from Texts, gleaning a tweet's-worth to carry us through the day, here's something of our to-and-fro. If you'd like to play - 07729056452.

(v3) Step out, faith first – we are not to be passive blessees. Adventuring: as we constructed our south London lives as liberation narratives, as of Exodus, as of Attack the Block, let us consider our breaking and entering lives, as Jackie P, into another walled city: Hope to break in that Hope might break out. The God of the poor and the prostitute, here found in an architecture of nooks and fringes, and I am flooded with flashbacks to lego cities and school assemblies, an education that with serious play offered to furnish me with eyes to see the world for the fortresses it is. Hoping to break in with you, that Hope would abound.

Js2-3 Rahab an 'outsider' recognising the power of the living God, the God of heaven & earth. This God is to be taken seriously, this God is real. We have heard of your God of miracles & they need her. Affirming that the other always has something to teach me, gift me. Always in humility holding the truth of the God of river-stopping miracles, this to dialogical evangelism.

Land Art and the Lamp of Memory: What do these stones mean to you (v6)? What do these stones mean (v21)? Subjective/Objective meaning makers we are? A world without miracles has little worth memorialising, but we, how can we not? Would not the stones themselves cry out? This is place-making as worship via testimony and it *needs* to be done... God is not for us (v14), not as a mercenary, not as a cajoleable ally, not as a fraction among our ranks, not a contingency plan. God is for our better best, he is the extent, the limit, the only measure by which we can hope to battle the day through, he is our primary presupposition. He is God, we are his.

Js6 The question we've been taught this story to ask - “What is my Jericho?” “What is my walking & my shouting & how long are my 7 days?” Helpful questions, though that there are divine goals & a divine methodology a truth to apply to all our comings & goings, before attempts to crowbar tidy answers to fit these questions in the vein of immature projected biblical heroism. Maybe. Divine methodology here, trust, dependence, obedience, what else? Reading this story for its familiar message another question might be ''what is God's Jericho?' & I am, we are. 'tightly shut up' with nothing going in or out like my closed fists, my lack of surrender, my closed-up-in-myself-ness. God's work is my invasion, he employs the funniest of ways to enact the crumbling of our walls, the assault of our hearts in violent non-violence in order to make us his.

The righteous rise early for the a.m.'s annointing (v16) (as 6v15). Unhelpful to try to correlate our defeats with destructive devotions we may have engaged, but.. Ill-gotten, ill-intended, ill-devoted gain – like meat sacrificed to idols.. What is under your tent? Heaps of stones, heaps of stones and ruins: monuments to faith, monuments to unfaith..

Js9 The Gibeonites, hearing of the power of God & coming deceitfully. Some sort of correlate to a heart attitude I have, that I think I can deceive God, bargain with, reason with, make my protestations to God. Pretending before God! What an absurdity... & all pretence is pretence before God, these double lives we lead, as I profess to know that God sees & knows, brings things from darkness to light. Be unafraid in your honesty, be uncompromising in demanding mine, as we seek to image the divine. I wonder in this narrative what God would have said to an enquiring Joshua, but believing that God has a way for the unpretending, this story glimpses of grace on contact with truth brought to light.

Being and bullet-time. Do not be anxious about times, timing, deadlines, tick tocking clocks whining, ruling, reigning in against our patient faithing, our bold sabbathing. Time is elastic for our meteorological God, do not be anxious. Temporal rules bent, rules broken: do not be ruled by less than God. Prayers also that we would not wear ourselves out in the effort of suspending in tension the love justice of our God in these confusing passages. Do we give blood sweat tears in prayer: fighting prayers prayed against an active evil?

Js12-14 Old triumphs remembered & the vision for land yet to be taken. This becoming a familiar pattern, this our allotted tension, it will never be otherwise, we should not disdain it, it will never be easier, but we may be more & better. That there's more land to be taken is not a failure but a flourishing. Knowing our land allotment, what's given us, what contigent materials we work with, our sphere of influence. Promised land & promises hoped for, waitings for 45 years. Caleb's mould to meditate, seemingly not comparing his lot to Joshua's, though they began together, putting his feet in the right place, following wholeheartedly, waiting faithfully.

Js15-17 This land is your land, this land is my land.. We are this and not that, here and not there, now and not then. Our particular place is portioned and purposed in this particulate universe. Let us be allotmenteers to the glory of god, savour the ground. Ours is a fractal god, concerned to have stewarding done excellently and personally at each scale of existence and experience of a world that is so much richer for its more-than-one-ist otherness.

Js18-19 "How long will you wait before you taken the land the Lord has given you?" A righteous rebuke, coming with weight and urgency. We must hear this, the NIV reporting that the danites "had difficulty" taking their land, which prompted a smile, not of irony but of warmth for human clumsiness, contingency, finitude. Enjoyment of the humanity of these books, the lists & laws & mundane histories, the quirks & the ordinary & the ineptitude. Two lenses for our failings (ambiguous pronoun, prompting when who hows ), the tragic & the comic, both perhaps important.

Js 20-22 Refugee refuges here reiterated. How is your space and the defence it offers to the defenceless? Justice and true worship would/will prevail if/when we made more of this in our home policy and our Home policy. Misunderstood altars: here, just in case, fearing rightly a holy God who is just in love, Israelite body members seeks to keep the whole body from the consequences of idolatry by even its smaller body parts. For all my excitement in stones, land art and meaning making, please check me on my altar building motives. For our sake keep me from skubalon.

Js23-24 A swirling swirl of interconnected commitment, covenant, bearing witness, jealousy. Brought to mind the witnesses to our formal covenants, baptisms, marriages, & the witnesses to our everyday covenants, for in such a universe as this there are many sacraments. Holy jealousy flowing from this, jealousy proper of a holy eros, of a one true God, of marriage's right exclusions. Unlike our broken jealousies of possessiveness & insecurity, this is an overflow not a lack from belonging not resentment. The life lived from this.. as for me & my household, we will serve the Lord.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

texting deuteronomy

Constructing texts from Texts, gleaning a tweet's-worth to carry us through the day, here's something of our to-and-fro. If you'd like to play - 07729056452.

Do not fear. Do not be dismayed. Do not be in dread. Do not be afraid. Hebrew would help us, the many ways we run away, the varied shapes of dread and panic and ambivalence, all godless. Oh that his yet-in-spite-of would be matched by a faithful but-if-not from we, who journey through a wilderness 'great and terrifying' - a comfortingly less neutral descriptor than I have been apt to ascribe to the Israelite experience in no-man's-land.

Reading the 1st-person narrative in the light of its recent recounting in the 3rd-person prompts thoughts on perspective, matched by content that we may never enter into that worked for, its fullness for our children, for others. The narrative bigger than our own, 'to live is Christ' perhaps the divine perspective to measure Moses' success for his part & ours.

What is the meaning of the way you live? Calls here for intentionality and purity because we are intragenerationally culpable. Yesterday's 3rd-persons unto the 3rd generation are hanging round our neck. They are Russian dolls bobbing in the ripple's ripple of our life now. So be wary that idol factory, but not afraid, unafraid because even amongst the heat of the machines fabricating insensible senseless gods, even there God wants to be found. So for the love of God let us tattoo our factory door posts that he may be found therein.

If the -ites are my idolatry, complacency directed thus will not do. Active & passive in the command to tear down idolatrous alters. & the reminder that it is god who destroys, drives out. Even we may be fully transformed. Even we. Quick to believe there are things that can never be redeemed i forget that God is v19-20 terrible miraculous wonderful powerful strong present great..he will destroy all our idols& this process of sanctification happens 'little by little" as we advance - this aligning with conversations i had yesterday. Idols are not eliminated all at once, god knows how we are to be transformed as a process, a journey, strung out from year to year, obedience to obedience, remembering to remembering. This a painful glorious tension, god's power & our process.

Dt8-10 In case we forget that we forget, remember: You deserve nothing of what you have. Nothing, and certainly none of it came by your strength and certainly none of it is by our righteousness. And this is Good News! The utter giftness of everything obliges us, freed into an hilarious boastless lovering. Love. The. Sojourner. And wear your clothes hard. Freed for freedom, loved to love. Swept up in a beautiful thing we are.

The here&now, present&personal held together with our thoughts on generations past & future. The connection between commands kept & blessing in the vein of proverbs, against the grain of job - a synthesis of old testament worldviews to add to our rethinking of Life and of the Way. Verbs here given as such commands: Love, remember, observe, (faithfully) obey, be (careful), cherish, afix, teach, write, walk (in his ways), hold fast.

Dt12-14 Deuteronomic deja vu, this book is four sermons preached by a finite knower to a forgetful people. What is your life's sermon? Who your life's people? Here exhorted are old covenant concerns symbolic (and superstitious?) regarding place, platters and people. However, can we say that even under the new covenant we are still humans, local, nodal placemakers choreographing corporately around irreducibly located locations. We are still eaters symbolically, making God-honouring dining decisions derived from categories that are more poetic than mere nutrition and hygiene. And we are still people for whom if may not be unfruitful to support the unmeritocratic employment of the unelected, with their Levitical wisdom, to serve our national interests. Too great a leap? Let us join with this passage in it recognition and celebration of the symbolic and storied over the strictly and simplistically efficient.

Generosity as breathing, & the purity of heart that goes with it, like Paul's 'without selfish ambition & cheap desire', bewaring the use of perceived generosity for one's own strategic self-interest. Cancel all your debts! What a radical system were we really to do likewise. How open-handedness & tight-fistedness would be brought into the light, otherwise easy to hide behind convention. Don't hold on to anything too tightly. Resentment a heart attitude underpinning all manner of lifelessness.

Dt17-19 Be unpresuming prophets priests and kings. Money-Sex-Power affects our capacity to hear-fear God: consider the ways our sex deafens us, consider the ways we false-prophesy on monied assumptions, consider ways our will-full willing of/for/to power disqualifies us from adventuring in God's will in His power. Interesting the forbidding of an Egyptian re-urbanisation in search of more horse wealth. Marr's BBCi Megacities refreshed this image.

Guidelines for the familial, criminal, military, religious (environmental? v19) - the domestic & the systemic more intimately interconnected than we might pretend. Here we have cross-dressing & head-shaving... contending without irony that we do better to lay these aside, we see here portraits of male power & its abuse. Granting biological difference and imbalance o physical strength, in this arena women called to trust is good men to honour & protect them rather than abuse them. As I trust you in this way we learn something of, image something of the god who could destroy us in a moment but whose love comes only as care & goodness.

Dt23-25 So immasculation was a pagan practice. Do we? On what sliding scale, with what motive? Economic laws and the world we all want.. I feel like I am peering inside not an unsophisticated ancient culture but into a just and fruitful utopia whose basic laws eschew those economic assumptions on which our world is today cruelly predicated. How can we but charge interest? Further a national political enshrining of marriage's first home year, another far-reachingly human use of legislation. Like last night's sabbathing, there is more. More we could risk, more we could profit. Oh for the imagination to See.

I love this God, I want to love this God better. This God who covenants, declares, makes we who are so small. Our declarations of intent to walk in his ways, to try to love him better replied with declarations of our worth, we are this God's treasured possession. Let us stop to wonder at this, to feel him close by, to speak words of baffled gratitude, & so back to blessings and curses, God is blessing as constitutive not causal, for God is God. Writings on stones reminds of Rev2v17, God-given identity & values that go deep given a tactile hand-held reminder.

Dt28 Blessed. Conditionally? What is the timescale of obedience and its consequences for us who fashion a theology of grace? Here we see suffering's source in the siege of God? Less individualistic constructions of dis/obedience I need. Beblessedness is more than a state of mind but less than a cosmic slot machine. God in Christ does not shortcut requisite obedience in his will to bless us, but makes impossible obedience possible. We are free to risk to obey to love for joy now. We are equipped to begin a blessedness in every beattitudinal situation now. We are chosen, lucky, favoured, known, pursued, held. In the city. In the field. In our toing and froing. Ok this is it: blessable obedience is itself a blessing, wrought of grace. We are nothing apart from grace.

Taped to my wall for four years now this. The answer to life & blessing...set before us ever-available, every morning a choice to live as life or to live as death. Choose life. & what is life? The Lord is your life. Love of God, the sound of his voice, holding fast to him. Choose life for the Lord is your life. The beginnings of a melting of law into love, the circumcision of our hearts, & God is very near you, in your heart & in your mouth. He is not far off, he is here to stay. Crop-planting & child-rearing, he is not far off, he is here.

Be strong and courageous. He goes before you, He will not forsake you, He will be with you, He is as a rock, the solidity of ground beneath us, grounding our minds, anchoring our ambitions, founding our imaginations. He will catch you, diving after us in free-fall, He will lead you, we who need leading, need direction, need a motive force, need a sense of the B of our A to B, and as He has fed, He will feed, and will free as He has freed. There are no grounds for anxiety in a universe such as this. Be strong, you whom I love, be very courageous.

Blessing the tribes, like revelation's letters to the churches, like praying for each other in homegroup. Petitions personal & specific to circumstance, struggle, thanksgiving, remembering & so on. Little else so affirming as other people's prayers spoken into us, their articulation alone a transformation of our being, our being-with-god. Others' prayers a need not a luxury, & so also our praying for, with others. Elsewhere, is it ever helpful to ask 'what is my jordan?'

texting numbers

Constructing texts from Texts, gleaning a tweet's-worth to carry us through the day, here's something of our to-and-fro. If you'd like to play 07729056452.

Nm1-3 Counted by name, called by name, known by name .. a meditation on name & identity. Name telling of an inheritance, ancestry, a narrative beyond myself I am part of. Substitution of Levites for firstborns perplexing – our priest becomes our sacrifice?

As sojourners we are not excused ornamenting. Ritual and the demountable become our architecture, colourfully. I want, reading for the love between the lines, to ascribe the asymmetry of the jealousy laws to the additional preciousness and profound strength of women.

Nm7-9 A voice that speaks; the Lord commanded Moses; revelation in & through cloud fire. The difference between revelation & other truth-seeking is that it is 'spoken' to us. We live in a personal universe, God is a God who speaks. And Moses spoke with Him. We respond to God's responsiveness. Today a divine dialogue of responded response.

All you can eat and the judgement of God, nostalgia begets excess, we learn that a predisposition of ingratitude is a fatal blindness. The burden of having a prophetic vision is fruitfully born by delegation, and delegation here entails a spiritual decanting of gifting, and that towards universal participation. Lucky we to have meat and have met. Blessed we are blessed.

Nm12-14 Hard to read, this. Failing to trust God the original sin that leads to inertia, retreat, fruitlessness, wasted life, death. Dwelling on the bigness of one's enemies prevents surrender to a God of miracles.

We do not have rights, we have privileges, and this is the ground for a just society towards which our God is jealous. We all should display our God-chosen-ness by the tassels (of ancient nobility) and none should be unequally compensated for their responsibility, financially – by more donkeys. Delegated complementarianism is as miraculous as a dead branch blossoming. Oh if we are the body...

Nm18-19 Allegorical application to community & individual contexts in prayer wisdom (?) sometimes as Levites to own nothing, to work no land but rather to depend on gift, literally living by prayer. But this presupposing a working community & sometimes as the rest of the Israelites, we work to gift to bless & be blessed. In each remembering that the Lord is all we need.

What is the answer to “Why have you brought us to the wilderness?”? Who brings whom hence, of what cause, to what end? Because He has and does, and not on the winds posited by these, we, incorrigible grumblers. We are enwildered to know God leads, heals, provides, speaks, waters. In a misuse of given wilderness, Moses defaults to a default, a ruinous unfaith, employed in exhausted anger. And the people are smitten for impatience.

Nm21-22 Bronze snake, strange mercies & water again, sustained & symbolic in all its life amidst lifelessness. Balaam a hero for us, in confused uncertainty. Words from God seemingly contradictory, on top of the pleasures of other's agendas & financial prudence … still the one certainty to speak what God puts in our mouths. What God reveals we must manifest, speak, embody … that He does & will still evident through uncertainty, amen.

Irrevocably blessed, in spite of our unfaithfulness, uncursably blessed. God, unchangeably a blesser, blesses us with a future Hope, so we are hope carriers to rise above those threats whose 'wiles beguile' in my translation. May it be said over us “How lovely are your tents” May God's love for loveliness leads us, and pattern our Dwelling and empattern our dwellings.

Nm26-28 Re-remembering our identity again again, re-remembering why we do as we do, for God, to prevent empty ritual & small honest petitions, the stuff of our life with God. Joshua's commissioning in & by community, deeply affirming, sought out, for shepherding, full of the spirit.

“Afflict yourselves”, fasting presents a provocative counter to any mild theology of suffering. Here in a positive command to action, the boundary question of “How far is too far” is far more interesting. Afflict yourselves. The partridge in a pear tree carnage that follows ascribes a gravity to the affair but is not further illuminated by the commentary. If we genders let our yes be yes, then all is vow now, serious.

Nm31-32 Even navigating the rape, plunder & genocide, this is perplexing. Reuben & Gad choosing a 2nd-best way over discovering that there are a multiplicity of ways to follow the Way if God-honouring & oriented? Unsure. That generational solipsism breeds forgetfulness breeds sin an easier inference, as sin's destructive power directed selfwards & otherwards.

Fromness is our frame round our blank canvas blanked by an iconoclastic disornamenting readied for a new thing. Where are we from, what are our and-then-and-thens by which God has prepared us for this Here and this Now? Barbs in your eyes, a thorn, as in Paul's flesh: be encouraged to deal a pre-emptive strike in the spiritual battle we face, given Ch31, particularly in the battle of things sexual. And so to the promised land, do we know the measure of our gifting, limits of our influence, boundaries of our calling, the geography of God's promise to us? In postcodeable incarnation, God is with us, God Is with us, God is with Us.

Nm35-36 We are all refugees sometimes, in need of temporary but physical places of undeserved grace on the restorative journey home. Loathe to take numbers from numbers, an eighth of their city structures specifically designed for this refuge grace alone, how do we best?

texting leviticus

Constructing texts from Texts, gleaning a tweet's-worth to carry us through the day, here's the beginning of our to-and-fro. If you'd like to play 07729056452.

...Lv14-16 We can still order our emotional worship and harness a delight in God by furnishing our mundane language with analogies for God's holiness. Unclean and contagious we were. New mercies to you.

Lv17-19 Be holy because you know & are chosen by a holy God. May your holiness every day be evident & distinctive in a culture of idol worship.

Lv20-22 As priests our romance is called to a higher holiness by a greater measure of covenant-reality-imaging. God sanctifies us, that we would sanctify God. What a strange significance, for we who are so tiny.

Lv23-24 Sabbathing a rest unlike the rest of distraction or entertainment but a ritual remembering God, re-orienting one's being around God's reality. We are to sabbath beyond what seems sensible in the world's currency as a declaration of dependence on God & not on ourselves. Sabbath to rejoice in God. So today.

When with God, we are freed to walk with a different posture, an other body language. When against him we will yet eat but suffer the unsatisfaction of wrong food or insatiable ingratitude? A query about urban perpetuity exceeds texting but what a radical and life-giving economy of restraint to the commodification of space is assumed to be possible here.