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.
Dt1 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.
Dt2-3 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.
Dt4-6 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.
Dt7 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.
Dt11 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.
Dt15-16 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.
Dt20-22 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.
Dt26-27 I love this God, I want to love this God better. This God who covenants, declares, makes personal..to 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.
Dt29-30 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.
Dt31-32 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.
Dt33-34 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?'