Texting the proverbial. This is a dialogue. Daily. You are invited. 07729056452
Pr1-2 We need wisdom literature. All the time. Especially now. .. v7 “What would you understand by someone identifying themselves as 'God-fearing'?” A question asked over the washing up here. It made for an interesting works/grace conversation, and asked whether God's friendliness or fearfulness should be primary. God-honouring is good, but not quite synonymic. You can boast in the works of honouring something. The fear of God speaks plainly, that He is big and we are small; his carpet is perfectly white and we have just dragged muddy boots across it. If knowledge does not begin there we presume grace and leapfrog the cross is our epistemology? v9 Clothing metaphors. v17 (c2004) After thousands of Napster tracks downloaded (filling electronic devices v31), I found this hoarding had hollowed out the joy of 'live' music.. Pr2 If-then promises. If you seek you will find: so let Tuesday nights be such search parties.
Pr3 Wisdom, what is wisdom? Right knowing at the right time plus the capacity to apply it in some transformative action? v25-32 Practical advice, a demonstration by example of the shape of wisdom, a sort of 1Cor13 for wisdom: v25 Wisdom is unafraid, v26 Wisdom is never mean-spirited, v28 it is very present. v29 Wisdom does not intend evil but is always trustworthy. v30 Wisdom is not competitive. v31 It does not delight in violence, but dwells and delights in uprightness. .. v9 honouring God with your wealth - of late I think I self-deceive, a limited generosity masquerading as a right frugality...wisdom trusts all its money to God. v3 14 15 22 - ornament metaphors. God makes us beautiful in and by making us wise. Today's wedding is all ornamented, flowers and jewels, declaring this symbolically over their marriage as adorned by v3 love, faithfulness and wisdom.
Pr4 v1-3 Coming as children. Father's sons are we and still young, daughters, beheld, beloved and under instruction. We are childs of the only wise God. But also. We image and embody this as parents and children biologically and pastorally. The wisdom to live intergenerationally and the wisdom for living intergenerationally is a wisdom learnt by living intergenerationally. .. A little struggle with how to read the necessity-for/emphasis-of Ch1-9's celebrating the notion of wisdom as if wise living did not speak for itself (vs v20-21 memorising aphorisms) .. Also struggle to separate wisdom from works and unwisdom from sin (vs v4-13 if-then clauses). We have to assume that grace is at work for the strength to work out these proverbs? As savviness will not save, and salvation does not automate savviness in your life. .. v16 Vice and sleepless spirals, we know these addictions and their unwisdom, yet we persist. v17 Bread of wickedness and wine of violence, this is the unHoly communion of unjust food that we labelled Tescos with at lunch. There are many tight bonds between our wrongdoing and our appetite, seen in the price we pay for battery cruelty, a culture's obese gluttony and the imperialism of unFairtrade. Let us seek wisdom and wrestle with wisdom and memorise wisdom, before we make food choices. Sin and the senses also at play in 5v3, get wise before the honey is before you, long in advance.
Pr5 This here is the only safe sex. Serious. v9-10 the consequences of an unprepared and flimsy theology of sex and sexuality is slavery v10, measured in years v9, concluding in wasting v11 and death v11. Strong words. .. Further, sex is intoxicating. Is this a self-evident platitude? Is v20 a rhetorical question? There is a radically contradictory philosophy of sex in culture which needs v20's interrogation. Illustrated in the question about The Artist's mixed fortunes, which concede, if bemusedly, that pride could be a deadly sin, but is dismissive of the weightiness of marital fidelity. We live in a culture in which, to a greater or lesser extent adultery is a sport and being-true-to-oneself is the trump card in moral inquiry. Why should embrace the bosom of an adulteress? Because it is my right and it feels good and, to answer a question with a question, why not? Because it is a death v23. .. v19 The power of breasts to intoxicate. The power of the powerful. The power to ruin v14. You are powerful and these are hard words. Oh how shall we then live?
Pr6-7 Preferring the GNB today, & navigating 'it's good to be good platitudes on one side, and problematic moral logic on the other (6v26-35 it's not worth the risk because you might get caught?! Is there a better interpretation?), there is gold to be mined. How is 6v1-4 different from Acts4v32-37? The proverb suggests we can take responsibility for the other in the wrong sense..how do we discern this without self-deceiving? Perhaps this is an issue of v3 power. When we hold the other in our power we relate to them sadistically, and when we let them hold us in their power we relate masochistically. Contrasting with right responsibility – a well functioning community who share everything they have will dissolve these power dynamics, there will be no debts between us. Power dynamics are, in part, what's at issue in the sexual pathologies here too. .. Seduction 6v24-25 7v6-23 is an exercise in power, and only in marriage, where both parties are submitted to each other might the power dynamics of sex be dissolved, and sex and wisdom come together. The seven things God cannot tolerate v16-19 - manifestations of ungrace and untruth. v9-11 lie-ins and self-deception: make me wise God.
Pr8-9 Wisdom's description here applies two-fold. Both-and the Wisdom and the Wise, personified wisdom and those persons wise: v1-7 Wisdom is a streetwise self-evidence appearing at intersections, truths visible at the city gates, the natural grace of due prudence; v1-7 a Wise woman is vocal, a street pastor, strategically situating herself at city intersections, speaking the truth in the ordinary, naming the elephant in the room. v10-11 Wisdom is priceless, v10-11 The Wise pursue priceless things. v31 Wisdom rejoices in God's inhabited world; the Wise inhabit God's world rejoicing. .. The Word. He was in the beginning with God Jn1v2. Wisdom. She v1, was in the beginning with God v22. Is there any mileage in considering wisdom's femininity and femininity's wisdom? Is it only quaint and patronising to ascribe gender in this way? What is wisdom? How would this chapter be rendered in your imagination if she were written a he? 8v1, 9v13 Both Wisdom and Folly are vocal, loud even. Life is lived out loud. What will we speak and will we have knowledge when the occasion to speak demands an answer for the hope that we have? Be prepared. Get knowledge, be it even tacit. .. 9v4, 9v16 Both Wisdom and Folly offer hospitality. Hospitality, we learn, is by no means a certain good. Looking for guidance here in becoming lifely not deathly, churchic not cultic, self-giving not self-related. (1) v17 Transparency or atleast non-secrecy? (2) v5 The involved economics of the production of bread and wine? (3) v3 Going to them, and sending others Mt22v9? Acticly outward bound, rather than sitting v14, in doorways v14. (4) v1 Preparing a 'good sized' (ESVSB) house? (5) v6 Inviting people to change, loving them as they are, leading them out of simplistic ways, so to be a wayside wise way for wayward wayfarers.
Pr10-11 God, still setting before us life and death, there is something urgent in the presentation of these two ways: choose life, choose life. Thinking some more about shame and the public/private distinction, there is much here about good and bad concealments and disclosures – the concealment of our dysfunction 10v11, v18 perhaps because we are ashamed, but making us hypocrites rather than open to transformation, and 11v26 holding back good things for selfish motives. Further, the disclosure of that which is properly private 11v13a, v22 which is a false authenticity, and does damage to self and other. There is, however, a prudent restraint 10v19 11v12, v13b which keeps private what is properly private, and is wise to how words can damage, choosing them deliberately. Lastly, right exposure in 11v10 evident worship and gladness, and 11v24, v26 the giving freely of good things. So let us properly reveal and conceal. Boldness reveals, and as such it is not the same as exhibitionism, but rather, boldness is like generosity. Jesus' truth is for the public domain, it is a truth for the specific other, confided, declared. And if shame can reside in the places where the supposedly private are exposed to the public, a false shame – premised on the sense that Jesus' truth is not for the public domain – may inhibit our boldness. We ask that God would make us new, clearing out the lingering cobwebs of false shames, that we might be bold. The good news we proclaim: 11v12 love covers all offences.
Pr12-13 Here we are at 13v22. This is a tree-of-life: We, three, here, now, with-Jesus. Jesus desired, Jesus fulfilled. .. Wisdom elsewhere in this. Love discipline 12v1, discipline in love 13v24. make a plan 13v22, plan to make 12v11. Amongst the it's-good-to-be-good appeals, there is a call to be long-hauliers, long-termist lovers who leave a legacy, agriculturally engaged: diligently 12v11 and compassionately 12v10. Lovers in our doing and lovers in our speaking. Our words should be 12v18 healing, v19 enduring. We have so many good things to say, why waste breath on ironic angsting discontent? Why waste time worrying? Oh God make our words count.
Pr14-15 Trying to gather around these aphorisms, struck by 14v3 & 15v17 and the emptiness of life without God, good things become tasteless, like Melancholia's ashes, like Shame's dead eyes; addiction, depression and consumerism rob the world of joy, in frenetic pursuit or resigned overwhelmed numbness. But 15v30 the light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones. Deep down joy. God I want you today. I want those we love to know your deep down joy. Please come refresh our bones.
Pr16 v1, v9 How is your heart? How do we consider our hopes and ambitions, our loves and our plans? God entrusts our hearts with much: the responsibility for desiring well. Tend your heart, guard your heart, consider your one thing, articulate your passion. God longs to blossom your ten, five and one talents. .. v8, v19 and previously. For all our fears of proverbic prosperity theology, it is very clear in its support of austerity done well, poverty rightly embraced, living minimally rather than, in any way, effecting injustice. My life is still replete with unjust gain, sweatshopped clothes, cruel food, impatient transport, exclusive language, a grabbing, hoarding, defensive conception of material wealth. v19 it is a pride game, this richyoungmanist affliction. .. v26 the force of fasting, evangelism born from your belly 1Cor4v11-12, gutsy going, a missional appetite. Be workers for their joy, ravenously.
Pr17 v6 Grandparents. The currency of 'glory' is foreign, as is 'honour' thy mother and father.. We are so far-flung, so self-made. Let us learn to acknowledge those who made those who made us who we are. Our biological and spiritual grandparents. .. v17 A friend loves at all times. Love. Time. Friendship. Counting the cost of friending; measuring friendship in depth of love over length of time. We have to pay these our of our account. Praying for God to increase our account and/but stewarding the finite we have wisely. .. v22 A joyful heart is good medicine. Medicine taken. Medicine administered. We are workers for their joy, for our joy, medicinally.
Pr18-19 Thinking specifically about hopes for academia and how and why, but as seeps into every face to face, the way I use words to 18v2 appear clever, which is born always of insecurity, a forgetting that v10 God is my fort. Being-safe-in-God allows us to be safe to v13 listen and v15 be taught (19v20, 25, 27) which is a bit good, because this is the way of wisdom. 18v21 on words and consequences, in the GNB – 'You must accept the consequences of your words' which prompted thoughts on consequences and grace. Where damage or 'death' is wrought with words, there is a need for grace in forgiveness, but forgiveness does not automatically dissolve all the emotional consequences of words, just as there are physical consequences to actions which are to be walked with, some restorative work to participate in beyond eliciting an offendee's forgiveness, as part of God's plan to restore all things so there may be restorative work to participate in even if forgiveness has been actioned. Maybe, if mercy is not getting what we deserve, and grace is getting what we don't deserve, then forgiveness begins a mercy that is brought to a completion in grace-in-all-its-fullness, which restoratively remakes consequences. Grace is a having, where the having is of a relationship, and relationships are over time. So mercy can take a moment, but grace expands to fill a lifetime.
Pr18-19 As enacted prayer for wisdom and revelation (Eph1v17) this month I have been reading a chapter of Proverbs and of Revelation each day. And Providence had timed my return to this country in such a way that, today being the 19th, I am able to seamlessly transition from my isolated rhythm to yours, encouraged as I do so that I thus resist the temptation to 'rage against wise judgement' 18v1. But be warned my soul! As I join those who fill the air with texted homilies, lest I fall to the temptation of merely 'expressing my own heart' v2. Words are powerful v21, so may I have patience to understand before replying - with Scripture and all of life – that my words may not be 'tasty trifles' v8 found on inspection to be lies v17 leading to destruction v7, but rather gold fruit v20, a flowing stream v4. For better even the proverbial horror of poverty, than to lose integrity and lie 19v1,2. This bears repeating 19v5,9. So in all of my words, let this word be first 18v10, the name of the lord-JESUS! - who delivers me from the deaths deserved by false words.
Pr20-21 The gospel in Proverbs: v9 All have sinned .. v22 He. Will. Deliver. You. Interestingly both these verses are followed by the same warning against false scales v10, v23. Making out own scales is the epitome of the false gospel, we deceive ourselves, oh 'sin'-less generation we. .. Learning to sleep to the glory of God. 'Love' in v13 (similarly 21v17) is bad love, addictive, compulsive, mere craving (v26), an ungrateful dead-end that acknowledges no source and no reciprocation in no gift economy of no right worship. This Lent I should enjoy to abstain from those indulgences (wine oil bad sleep patterns) which detract from a right Christian hedonism which gives and gives v26. .. v29 What is our strength for in a technolopolised world? .. 21v9, v19 It takes two to quarrel. More interesting, which hadn't appeared to me previously is 'fretful'. Oh let us be unanxiously beloved. Beloved beloved beloved.
Pr22-23 for Lent. 23 First, this Lent may we be taken out of our v20 assumed & everyday gluttony, which leads astray, obscures the bigger picture and does damage to body and soul. A season to de-clutter, re-align, re-perspectivise, and v13 be disciplined. Praying for those known with food and alcohol addictions, Jesus, please set them free. Would we all v17 continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. Affirmed in 22 that v11 Jesus desires friendship with even me, my prayer for Lent is for being-with-Jesus, my prayer to learn by heart is v17-19 a season of listening, learning and being-with, Jesus makes himself known to even me. Happy mystery.
Pr22-23 Only the second day of texting homilies and already I find myself having missed my deadline. And in this era of of superpowered online communications where anyone can make millions blogging from home, the good old excuse about the lion 22v13 is no longer effective. So I shall apologise, hope that such negligence does not forever tarnish the reputation of my 'good name' (as we say in India).
Pr24-25 25v2 Our illusive allusive God is so as an invitation to engage. God is concealed the disengaged, but known through honey 24v13, rather like God calls us to dance Mt11v17(/Pina) as a mode of knowing Jesus rightly. The call to know God and to get wisdom is a call to engage his metaphors. 24v14 Honey was made for its metaphor, like salt and mustard seeds and sheeply sheep, like kisses 24v26 and ornament 25v12. God is concelaed in these rather as a baby is concealed in one's football bump – ours is a pregnant reality and we are Rom8v22 midwives (to mix my metaphors for metaphors). Being-by-metaphors is also as much a call to self-control and patience in our self-revealing, 25v6 not claiming your rights, 25v7 not proclaiming all you have seen, 25v27 not promoting your glory. Tricky. There is a time to speak Acts4v20 and a time to be silent Mt8v4. But we can give wordless love at all times in between.
Pr26 v12 Foolishness is thinking that you're wise, thinking I'm wise, so humble yourself. v4 Wisdom doesn't engage with foolishness on its own terms, wisdom rejects the premise that foolishness is founded on, wisdom elevates the conversation, wisdom lifts the train from off the tracks. Wondering what this really looks like – how do we overturn foolish premises with other than words? What is our silence like? There is a time to speak and a time tobe silent, for 27v14 speaking even good things too loudly or out of season can be unprofitable...but how then are we silent? Silence isn't nothing, its disengagement can contain an engagement...how can our silence embody different terms, how can it shift a dialogue rather than constituting a withdrawal? Hoenst questions, in prayer for prayerful silences and yesterday's wordless love.
Pr27 On friendship, and v17-19 food friendship metaphors: sharpening, cultivating and mirroring – descriptions of how God relates to us in befriending us, and what community done well looks like, sharpening, cultivating and mirroring, that we might know ourselves better, that we might be transformed from our roots through our veins to bear fruit and to flourish, that we might be put to good work, with all the ergon of a well-sharpened knife. Let us be.
Pr26-27 In a world filled with untameable tongues (Ja3v8) guilty of all manner of sins of speech (lazy excuses 26v13-16, meddling v17, lies – the hilarious v18-19 being possibly my favourite proverb, gossip v20-28, boasting 27v1-2, nagging 27v15) it is tempting to stay silent. For if you think you are wise enough to avoid such pitfalls, then already you have fallen 26v12. But biblical love is unambiguously a love that confronts 27v5-6 Lev19v17:'Don't hate your brother in your heart – rebuke him to his face.' We have been learning on outreach the importance of this for team unity. But what about Mt7v1? When do you confront 26v4 and when do you not 26v5? O God, give us discernment!
Pr28-29 Particularly challenging, these verses, with acute immediacy. .. 29v18 KJV translated as without vision the people perish, here it is rendered without 'prophetic vision' the people 'cast off restraint'. This is my house, or threatens to be. Please pray as we seek a way forward, as we seek the next right step, that it would not be a heavy-handed visioning, nor a Myers-Briggs conflict of planners vs non-planners. For prophetic vision we need prophets, for those prophets we have only ourselves. Open our ears, please God, guide us. .. 28v2 Also seems bizarrely pertinent, 'many rulers' may refer to increasing bureaucracy (ESVSB). Please God, guard us. .. 28v1 'Flees is a mysterious verse, I want to make it apply to Shame et al's city running. We run from ourselves, we run from any Other, we dull the light (29v13) of our tube eyes as flight pre-empting pursuit, ashamed before we are even caught. Rather be bold, stand firm, be seen, as she in 8v2, unblurred by running. This flight relates to 29v25's 'Fear of man'. But what is a snare? Status Anxiety and mere Affluenza are not the same menacing metaphor as 'snare'. What lures your to this snare and how does it kill you? How do we consider people-pleasing profitable, and in what ways is it eventually or even suddenly ruinous? .. 28v11 What is rich? Mk10v25 What is rich? Who calls it? A name given, or one I call myself? And on what scale? Is this identity or state of mind a vague matter of personal conscience? Is it enough to be invisibly rich in your stewardship of wealth? you can live minimally in a plurality of ways, how do we own rightly? How do we rest in right un-'rich'-ness? .. Then 29v1 and 28v9 are super hard, for this is us in our hypocrisy and this is those de-churched whom we love, such are our prayers, such is their brokenness. Please, God, not beyond healing.
Pr30 On this life mysterious and amazing. In tutorials this week I was told the idea that there is a God is ridiculous, whilst it was conceded that the idea that there is anything at all is ridiculous too. How ridiculous, that there are chemicals and sunshine and trees, and that I exist as this stream of consciousness, that I have access to your consciousness through dialogue, and that the ways and telos of animals can be read from their furry gestures and modes of organisation v18-19, 24-30. Oh this psalm evokes joy and pain and wonder aand seeking at v4 the physical universe, like watching planet earth and at v18 death, bearing children and falling in love. Oh, God. God I find in all these things, present in absence, discolesed in my yearning, God who is always out of full reach but so very immediate and surrounding. My v1 helplessness leads my back to God, I am God's I will kneel here.
Pr31 Prayers for our homes, especially as you meet to plan this evening, a benediction over your home, my home and homes known to us ... homes that v12 do good and not harm, v13-24 are productive, constructive & creative, v14-15 where all are well fed and food is well managed, where organisation is done in an optimal way. May your home be v16 invested in, and sustainably so, may ownership be felt such that it is v17 a place of hard work, but joyfully so. Would those who dwell with us v18know the value of things, God we pray, that our lives would be invested in valuable things, begetting and inspiring and revealing that which is precious is our home. Make our homes v20 extravagantly generous, open, merciful and just. Make our homes v21 unanxious, safe in God, v25 strong, rightly prophetically towards-the-future and places of wisdom. Make our homes v27-28 places of being-together, places of care as harbours. And, v30 make our homes God-honouring, centred around Jesus.