Monday, 25 July 2011

texting one samuel

Two chapters, chewed over and texted of a morning. If you'd like to play too - 07729056452.

God is with us in our barrenness. It is enough. By that and through that it is the making-meaningful of every circumstance that is worthy of songs, hymns and magnificats. And yet there are those who miss it, who, even being so close to things so miraculous, who choose quicker gratifications. Would that all sons might know that God is not like their father Eli, not quick to judge drunk, not anxious about his reputation. So in the knowledge of the God who comes running, let us love this Friday.

1Sm3 Started some wonderings about difficult words & all prophecy being for edification & that, but these thoughts seem dry & useless. I make all my narratives objectifications, & so also the narratives about my narratives. Speak Lord. Instruct me, make me teachable, learning from Eli so that I might learn to say with a whole heart that your servant is listening. Speak & disrupt my stories, categories, expectations. Need you. Speak so that I'm more than this clattering monologue, speak that I'd speak, speak that things happen. Tell us what's on your heart. We would sleep in your sanctuary so that we might hear & recognise your voice, speak, Lord, because you speak.

A chapter full of griefs, losses & humiliations. If the covenant box is the site of divine disclosure, & we know this to be our hearts bodies minds, can this be stolen? What comes to steal divine presence, divine conversation?

1Sm5-6 Divining signs and distinguishing coincidences out of the signal to noise ratio of God's will.. The gods aren't angry but. So many ways God shares a shelf with Dagons in my life, so many ways the kibod of God is not given its due weight in my life. This is life out of balance whence comes our tumours. So repentance, that our prayers may not be hindered.

1Sm7-8 Samuel led well, settling disputes, serving as a judge, building altars to the one God, interceding for a faithless people without overlooking their idols. & then we have bad reasons for seeking a leader, motivations of status, custom, false security. Let us seek God that we would not wound him, for God knows all our rejections of him, the all-powerful has made himself vulnerable before our choice.

1Sm9-10 What is handsome? The bible here has no qualms at adopting this problematic disney criteria of comparative description and discrimination. Used here in a cautionary context perhaps but why? It still stands to legitimate aesthetic partiality. Perhaps the translation could come softer 'considered handsome'? .. The culturally beautiful and less blemished are popularly esteemed as moral role models: how should we then look? How should we then look on those? Of kingship, there is a contradiction at play here that I have not squared, that Samuel would speak so strongly against this institution, and its vanity, and then verses later the text condemns Saul for hiding from it, and worthless fellows for doubting it. Anyways. Know we now that same speaking, rushing-upon spirit of God is ours today and more so, go we into today to speak expectant elaborate specific future tenses.

More questions. Genuine questions, but maybe we can tentatively hypothesise a little. Correct me. There is no one correct model of leadership? There are seasons for types of leadership? It was sinful to seek a king in this context because it was a rejection of God, a failure of trust. We are apt to make idols of our leaders? We use leaders to try to mediate with a God who whishes to be immediate and unmediated. Holding kingship & Christ together, our analogies become idolatries if we hold them too tightly or hold them wrongly. Buber talks of idolatry not being a simple substitute of something else for God in the place of our worship, but also in the way we relate to the onjet of our worship, we need to repsect the disanalogies between the way we are to relate to God and all & and human relationship in order both that these latter relationships can healthily image the divine, & that our relation to God our source, centre, sovereign, saviour does not become damaged in its being diluted or distorted by all that is incomparable in human relationships. Positively, leaders are defenders of those they are responsible for. Hmm. Go is always pleased to make us his. Breathe that in.

Funny that here at home also we wrestle in the meeting of tardiness and the well-intentioned impatience of an aging, risk-averse king? Setting arbitrary oaths is a symptom of losing fresh faith. Contrasted with Jonathan's but-if-not.. So, come, let us risk for it may be that God.. Come, nothing can hinder God from saving.

1Sm15-16 'I did obey the Lord' – not the first time Saul has convinced himself of his own godliness. how do we deceive ourselves, how do we rationalise our disobedient choices? This the desire to be our own god, the arrogance as sinful as idolatry. The end of Saul's strange reign & David's anointing a painful mess, church politics nothing new under the sun.. what might we learn about unity? The story would be different if Saul's desperate power-grasping had instead been humility. Today seeking the God who already knows, the God who looks at the heart.

What has not already been said of this story but that it is true and particular for you on July's 23rd. Something a little Just William in David's dialogue made me to smile on my way. And oh that we would come at modernity 'with sticks' so to the woods. Spiritual jiujitsu is a true truth and we should aspire to those pebbles, to be even extremely small but incredibly well aimed, so in our gathering and all our concepts of scale. Small is beautiful and urgent. Struck by Eliab and his cruel why in this reading: discouraged discouragers, I have know this slippery slope. God stay me.

1Sm18-19 I feel for Saul. It is painful to feel that someone else has been chosen & you have not, that God is with them in a way that God is not with you. A new testiment lens changes our theology, but we can identify the feeling of abandonment. How do we then live? Perhaps we could take from this passage that abandonment to God is the way to quell competitive comparing.

These friendships are the bromances we can, in our Life less proud, be so opened to, a yet foreign intensity of filial affection, what must we do to find such, what common cause creates such comradeship? These adventures are true myths, like the one we would be swept up in: church as an mmpg enfleshed: on a mission, for a cause, against opposing enemies run we with coded encouragement and strange assistance. I will ask for the bread we need from the God who is still good, I will be a fool, seem a fool and be despised, on that path of trust, in the cause of love, in the eyes of all, in the face of doubt, now in the arms of one, let us be as Jonathan to the other and more on mission.

1Sm22-23 Fragments. Bits of David's character come through that don't quite make for a tidy meditation, so is real life, what a strange rush of fragments of thoughts sleep dreams prayers. There was something about David – what makes someone such that when trying to hide he is sought out by the needy to lead? David who notices the one, who shoulders responsibility, an adventurer carer? David of straightforward conversation with God. Hello God, you are God, we acknowledge you, we surrender. Our 'shall I..?' 'will this..?' We beg you to answer. Lead us.

1Sm24-25 Mercy justice mercy justice. The best I can do for 24 is perhaps to ask what it would be to cut the corner off capitalism's cloak? 25, Abigail here with her mercy sheeps, a woman with a plan, a lady with a lamp, a long sufferer, a visionary peacemaker, an adventuring carer, here risking in midnight mediation. Thus should we be. The non-violent world we all want cannot be come to by mere passive resistance, but by active insistence on another's behalf, may we be gifting go-betweeners, mercy mediators, defending even the rightly maligned, speaking at cost for the foolishly blind, because love wins, because God will judge, because God is still good.

1Sm26-27 Keep on keeping on, for days will follow days follow this one. When the same enemy attacks again, bring it to God with honest frustration his 54th Psalm, this is what intimacy with God looks like & remembering that God is good & to be trusted, again againembody love from the difficult place, mercy has not limit. How to square with David's subsequent decamp to the Phillistines, unsure. A running away? Or somehow the overflow of this trust? Discernment we ask for.

1Sm28-29 Consulting the dead, oh what a world is this we live in. In that state of divine disconnect, when we choose against God, we are at the mercy of any advice, strung out, strung along, filled by any fattened calf.. Then they rose and went away that night, badland drifters, as you say, abandoned by for not being abandoned to. Now David cannot, and neither we, be allied to any other. Try as we may, in trying to ease our exile, we are marked by an alterior, somewhat as AIIIH's Daniel last night, doubted by deputies, for better and worse. We can pretend a peace in peacetime but we will have to pick a side and we have already been picked.

1Sm30-31 Rescue Missions: These are God's work in us & our work in God. Restoration from captivity & then some to give away. Is David's distribution premised on Matt20's grace or Rom12's gifts? ..And when does it matter? Saul & the importance of funerals, to you in the west country as you celebrate the importance of weddings.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

texting ruth

Texting the Ruth in love, here's something of our to-and-fro. If you'd like to play - 07729056452.

In life we are sometimes sojourning, sometimes remaining, God purposes both and has kindnesses for us to embody in both. If we are Naomi, who is our Ruth to guide and to release? If we are Ruth, who is our Naomi, whom shall we cling to in the time of their need, whom shall we glean with/for in steadfast and pursuing kindness? You, better than I by far, in your gifting to gift the needy with the kind kind of prescencing-to they need.

(Of Rt2) Better slower, left as sheaves for your gleaning, but, of Rt2, are we being taught courtship in Boaz, or charity, for his is ambiguously extravagant generosity

This is grace. That gives without telling, ninja gifting, secret blessing that does not seek its own recognition of thanks, such a love that really does prefer the other. Would that I would be. This the agape we are always to embody, & let our agape go beyond Boaz's, let us be kind to those of whom we have heard no good report. Every stranger to be welcomed. Of charity & courtship, we met as strangers once. Agape the foundation of friendship turned romance, let us never forget the agape foundation of our spiralling deeper, higher.

Ruth, I ain't saying she's a gold digger, but. For all the feminism one may want from this, how should we, should we make paradigmatic the Boazaic barley bread winner? If yes, it is a Driscollian yes to find your bible-goodjob-house man. And then, if then, to be a little bit scandalous when his heart is a little bit merry? Leaving our romances aside, can we apply this to our Romance: where are Christ's feet, what is His blanket, when is the night? More than that, but now tenuously, in our redemption that Christ bought us, who was our mother-in-law, who are our nearer non-redeemers? We are imaging weighty things for which, graciously, we are, in Christ alone, sufficient.

Rt3 (ii) (via 41 breakfast) Can we speak this of mail-order-brides as possible refugee-redeemers? And other extrapolations.. Jesus is Boaz, we are curled up at his feet dependently. Or, Jesus is the blanket, and on Calvary God suffers the cold of night as Jesus is pulled away by us? Or Jesus is the wine of God's merriment, by which God looks upon us favourably? And the Holy Spirit is the 6 measures of barley, note not yet 7 .. Over egged exegeting. Let us make of wednesday a wedding feast, let us love all as if we have been redeemed, let us love in the strength of his barley down payment.

The NIV uses 'redeem' & the GNB 'buy'. A scene such as this causes disquiet not only it its picture of the commodification of women, but all my struggles with monetary analogies for sin & redemption which I want protest. What do we mean when we say we were bought at a cost as it, indeed, mail-order brides? I cannot always get stuck here, forgive me, & a picture of redemption I do see, of pursuit, the restoration of things lost, new & more-than-imagined things, fruit bourn, a story to tell. Love will save the day.

Friday, 22 July 2011

in the woods

Design and make-believing last weekend, when architecture was as a tree, as it ought and delights to be, in the woods and free, in the fields, among and of the trees, by with from the trees. Would that architecture were made not manufactured; so, wood, that architecture be made not manufactured. Lovers, for the joy:

Elsewhere blogged:
hh/pc - bd - aj - mtw - fb-group - fb-event

Sunday, 10 July 2011


Seeing the climactic backyard football scene now in context does render the recommended application for St Mary's in a new light. Here is a very human film about the difficulties of life together, with emphasis given to certain stumbling blocks. I find here a certain resignation, a cynicism, in the story telling, it is knowing in its portrayal of idealisms as they run awry, and believable in its cautionary caricature of the immaturity of such communitistic ambitions.

The depiction of a liberal and unboundaried life and sexuality comes critically with a frank exploration of the chaotic consequences of such and offers no simple formula for a better way. We see here over-reactive self-definitions, the swinging away from the abusive to the permissive, an over-compensation which I cannot see being resolved in a middle ground but rather a third way yet to be found. I cannot hear another sermon about community, I do not need to be told that it is not good for trinitarian image bearers to be alone any more than I in a car crash need to be told about ambulances. If not in the atomised, alcoholic, pornographic isolation of the nuclear family and not in the blurred lawless porridge of a life communal, how shall we then live?

We are not two we are one. Goren's monistic porridge parable is a fairly precise summary of the appeal and the danger of this worldview, seen also in Buddhist Babylons, where we hedge our bets, auction our souls, sacrifice our singularity to be absorbed indistinguishably into the blurred, bland but secure depersonal soup. If we are to live together let us do so as pork cutlets, let us be discernible and delicious. I am not you and in that there is glory. God will sustain you beyond the city gates, and in that there is freedom to commune excellently, as a body more than the sum of its distinct parts.

Washing up. The chore which tidily bookends Together, it is a kind of foot washing and illustrates the degree to which a community's survival needs washing up initiators and a community's thriving needs washing up initiators and so we see a certain self-evidence to the qualification for servant leadership.

A great film onto which I have projected a tedious, moralising review. Do see this picture and feed me how we should then live. And enjoy reds washing red wine out of a red shirt.

the adjustment bureau

Behind the curtain. Because there is a curtain and not simply the cell membrane of our ego, behind that curtain of the world we see are the movers who define our helpless existences. And they are exhausted bureaucrats, Vogons, Agent Smiths, designed via cinematic precedent and the widest audience's deepest fear: the suits at the end of the universe, men in this case and typically, here impersonally calculating and criticising our failures to achieve: that greatest failure, to fail to be the you you could be, you are obliged to your potential fame, potential power, potential personal wealth. God has a wonderful plan for your life and it as impossible and as it prescriptive and joyless: damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Chance and the one. That narrow road that leads to a New Yorker's marital bliss is 9 million to 1, a lost cause, 3 years on the same bus is foolish love unless we believe in fated love. Do we?

Run Lola, Run Neo, Run Forest, Run. Modernity and its goons are both the where and whence of our frenetic running, modernity is exhausting and pervasive and in that way cannot be fixed by a vacation. We become the sabbathless striving that we consider the world to be made of and made for.

Hollywood humanism's selective history. The most interesting of this film's betrayals of its true affections was the suggested threshold of 1910, at which point adjustment was paused until 1962 which lays bare a lingering faith in the modernist project. The world wars were not a hiccup in our Enlightenment, but an inseparable product.

Love wins. The climax sees these persistent widows get their justice from that chairman who neither fears God nor respects men. Happy would I have been to let brief love be love's reward, as better as it is to have loved and lost, but here Hollywood promises a time coming when we will have our love cake and eat it, when love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears, when we will be free to win love unlimited.

See this film for a tidy clever little plot, see this film for its dance. Dance here is as music in the Lives of Others, it is why we are, oh to carry our bodies through space creatively. Brief moments of sheer beauty in this blockbuster.


A film about the frontiers of boredom, the causes and the consequences of that restless state. Boredom is escapism is a running away, a negatively defined space, a weightlessness, floating on a breeze, idle idlers washed down the river. Drawn out and on by a hope for a purer space, away from painted advertisements and the blood sacrifices of our fathers' former way, away from the rigours of ritual to that being present unto sunsets and beetles and rustled winds, all this but at a cost. Those who would seize the Kingdom by violence deny the very thing which makes the good life good, and that is the gift of it. So drift we with them in this parable without a punchline, and they, taking time, killing time, from killing, they make forts: a particularly architectural mode of therapy.

ring of bright water

This is the Britain I was supposed to return to in 1997, this, a happily ever after England of caricatures and talking beasts, the rural real and the good life easily won.

The rural real is a myth reserved for children's television, that somehow, somewhere there exist make do and mend communities uncomputerised by computers, unfettered by pension predictions and undependent on the city's smoke. But I, in my dozen lives, have never encountered the countryside as other than recreational, subsidised, dormitory, commuted from and through.

Watching now for the first time since I was more the target audience of this, the jaunty woodwind and the interior monologue lend a pantomine clumsiness to the goings on and there is a weary ecologism pushed in mixed messages. But all is forgiven for the aquarium, and all that it inspired in its heroic, improbable, improvised loveliness.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

texting judges

Still 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.

Jg1-2 And the Israelites were doing so well.. Is 'Judges' a helpful title for these characters, how do we picture their contribution? 2v19..worse than before. What stop-gap sticky-plaster solutions do we try to stem sin's flow by? Rather than the inevitability of winding down, vicious and cruel cycles, the lows of which will propel us alaskawards.. rather let us seek and savour a present possible forgivefullness, as much as we oscillate, we may hope to know Christ better than our fathers?

Jg3-5 Loud but temporary leadership exacerbates the cyclicness of our cyclicly sinful lives... Peaking mountain top fervour with ugly war songs to a tribal god to troughs of worshipless indifference. Leadership leadership. How did Moses Joshua do differently in trying to woo faithless Israel from her sin?

Jg6-7 In a mockery of our rationalisms, best intentions and measured ambitions to do good, God here chooses to be known and celebrated through the seemingly imprudent impractical selection of one outnumbered and underqualified. God proceeds to humour and accomodate the doubting reluctant forgetful cowering coward's if-whys and if-thens, that in all He might be known as the sufficient one. The God-hypothesis in which we are adventuring offers to be qualified and proved by signs. In proving a God most other we should anticipate adventure. How?

Jg8 Forgivenesslessness & justify yourself. Forgivenesslessness & vengeance. & we? I can only think of how Jesus inverted subverted converted such a way as this: Turn the other cheek, pray for your enemies; remaking justice, remaking honour, remaking the interpersonal, remaking paradigms of masculinity. Remaking theism from superstition into faith's foulweather endurance, casual idolatry into purity of heart. It ends well.

Jg 9 Violence multiplies, always. Here I would parallel Ab's cruel striving for uncontested leadership to last night's Thessalonican discussion of the now-not-yet dimensions of 2Th2:3-4's lawless one. Paul issues apocalyptic warning because such striving proclivities, such aggressive hierarchies, and the insecurities of ill-wrought and unshared selfish leadership are ruinous in the now. Trees, ESVSB claims this happy quartet of parabolic plants is not an indictment of the institute of kingship. But. It strikes one that the trees would have been more fruitful left in an anarchist's agraria.. Left to produce wine pleasing to a God seemingly partial to a glass, a happy image. Here also we see the measure Ab used measured against him running over in the way of a cleanly consequentialist God of karma?

Jg10-11 Jephthah a hero of faith? His daughter the lesser-known Abraham's Isaac unsaved by faith, a happy ending hard to find. Because of foolish human promise? If your yes is yes & your no no, then be careful, very careful what you promise. We need stories of Isaacs & miracles to increase our faith. to know that with God all things are possible.. but also such stories of senseless tragedy. Were we better at telling these stories would there be less disillusionment, less church pain? Remembering this morning that God is not proud, he will have us even when he is our last resort.

Jg12-13 The slaughter of the lispless siblings: God in a long journeying-with has not dechosen this one so divided within itself and self-destructive. Now Samson. Out of the promise of the miraculous comes 'mission' and 'manner of life'. Such supernatural foundation is the necessary and sufficient for those that would be other than pew fodder, but happily such is the nature of all true new births: we each are ones untimely reborn and as such are enmissioned to such a life that demands/permits/enables that we be remannered. Stop doubting, Phil, and believe. Spirit of God rush upon us.

Jg 14-16 Questions splay out in many directions. If we allow the philistines to represent godlessness, samson still acts in & from deceit, disobedience, greed, lust, small-mindedness, pride & more. Wordplay as a weapon? Such are our heroes of Hebrews. The encouragement again that God uses such as these, we can never be too ugly or unwise to be beyond divine purposing. A warning also that being filled with the spirit does not make us automatically immune to bad & broken decisions. We should never follow even the Godly uncritically or unprayerfully & we should never defer our inalienable responsibility, even to God. Samson shrugging responsibility for his fire foxes rampage, but not as surrender submission. What is my responsibility & what is God's responsibility? Seek wisdom/wisdom comes from the Lord.

Jg17-18 What is kingship? Here Judges, it seems, is written as a cautionary tale by later kings defending kingship? What is kingship and why did/does evil prevail? In the not-yet of our now-and-not-yet, at all the scales at which we lead and are lead, and by all the necessary compromises we employ, falling short of genuine theocracy as we do, is there really an option other than anarchy or acknowledged and intentional kingship? A little lost for application as we near the climax of this lawless spiral.. we, do we, are we settled Levites ever? Priests for hire, sold-out second-besters? Could we be better lead?

Jg 19-21 At a stretch these last three chapters manifest something of sin's state as divided & divisive, the 'double-mindedness' of James 1:8. A sinful heart & its action wars against itself, as in the procrastination of ch19's beginning which I identify in myself – this a self-deception, a compartmentalisation, the deferral of responsibility, an escapist flight from reality. This dividedness playing out in the anger at injustice done where one is complicit, or more than complicit, in its enactment, the picture of this levite's anger at the abuse of the woman he himself 'sent outside' to be so abused an absurdity in its self-deception. And so the dividedness of Israel against itself, the body's civil-warring & the strange grief for their lost tribe at the end, seemingly dissociative in a lack of acknowledging that it was they who brought about these painful circumstances. Dividedness is deceit is darknes. & this may be a picture of my heart & actions. But Christ is the light of the world, all things will be brought into the light.