Friday, 31 August 2012

aggressively intentional community

Aggressively. An imperfect word connoting a violent power-over, I choose it so not to use the hackneyed 'radical' which has pretensions of virtue. Aggressive because we face a force which pushes against, the overwhelming and subliminal force of individualism which sets a minimum standard of "need" and of "normal". There is advisable isolation confected as a defence against cults, communists, paedophiles, immigrants, the dependent old, the young and the needy. It is advised that the rugged Romantic heroic Christian newly wed couple will first define themselves in a vacuum, a glorious tabula rasa, demonstrating their genius in laboratory conditions, which, it is hoped, will prepare them for the good life and the uphill struggle of raising and redeeming an overcrowded urban generation by employing suburban spatial expectations.  (Perhaps better 'Fiercely' or 'Determinedly'?)

Intentional. That is, living life on purpose. Again a problematic word, or at least redundant, as what ambition is unintentional? It is needed mostly as a qualifier to distinguish 'community' from the accidental and entirely unconnected groups of people who sail under the banner of the 'international community', the 'business community' etc. Intentional gives emphasis to a united and articulated direction, objective, cause and leadership of said collection of people. Which demands then to ask, what is my intention, what do we intend beyond gathering for gathering's sake in a cosy huddle? Perhaps we hope towards church, by another name, with an emphasis on cohabitation as a means to personal sanctification and effective witness and radical hospitality.

Community. I spilt some words here, but have since wandered through other experiences of Life Together. We desire to be hazardously enmeshed, without naive disregard for appropriate boundaries. Which is the fear manifest in so many polemic representations of 'community' gone wildly awry as Together for example. I think my present household demonstrates to me, the possibility of such an urban household (where L'Abri is a therapeutic model that I cannot conceive other than as rural retreat), but not only the possibility, but the unique and urgent contribution that only such a household can make to redeeming the manner of dwelling for so many in so much of London's housing. Space, we are learning, is a luxury, that is, an over-rated indulgence. Boundaries are sufficient, leadership is necessary and sharing is the future.

Monday, 13 August 2012

200words: eames - the architect and the painter

"...He made its posts of silver, its back of gold, its seat of purple; its interior was inlaid with love..." Song of Songs 3v10

Biographical documentaries are a funny species and this is a charming and diverting example, even while it is concerned to recount to the converted a familiar history of their heroes. In sum, Eames is an enjoyable pictureshow which struggles to get deeper than selling a certain brand of niche cinema selling chairs by a couple who made a living selling the cinematic to sell a brand to sell chairs. Self-consciously the film quotes the “quotable” soundbites and plays the “playful” self-portraits of the couple from their branding, apparently unironically. More troubling to observe is that when a canonised divinised brand such as Eames meets so weak a warts-and-all exposé, it serves neither to tarnish nor even to humanise the enterprise but rather to glamorise warts. Weak not simply because the fawning talking heads struggle to muster criticism of their idols, but by entertaining causality in the correlation between the enduring quality of the designs of the Eames studio and the chemistry of Charles and Ray's romance the interviewees bind the work's success to the marriage, while the narrative tension in the film is achieved by considering their marital dysfunction, a dysfunction centred on the personality cult surrounding Charles' successful work. Can we ask if we would have the Eames recliner today without his serial infidelity and the misogynous asymmetry in design credit?


To venture beyond 200words, if only to use the pun ends justify Eames, I would be interested to discuss the utilitarianism and the relationship between the anti-hero and form in contemporary design – perhaps then to deconstruct the 'best for the most for the least'. I would draw a parallel perhaps with Revolutionary Road, the book of the era which the Eames helped to furnish: plugging an identity crisis with commodities, and using marital bliss as the marketing trope to push it, is the tragedy of that age and ours. Of marital fidelty, genius and modernity, could we question the difference between Charles Eames and Yates' Frank Wheeler in Revolutionary Road, or indeed Hazanavicius' George Valentin in The Artist, or Marsh's Philippe Petit in Man on Wire, Fincher's Mark Zuckerberg in Social Network? Who do we admire, and what do we forgive in a genius? What is a permissible sacrifice to achieve art, progress, political protest?

To venture yet further beyond 200 words, I really want to glory in some of the movingly beautiful bits of the film. All of this business was done on a handshake: Design is commissioned by human individual persons, the magic is lost in the departure to impersonality. Hosting meals together played a crucial role in design process, and the meals are fixed deep as memories in the stories of those who experienced them: Design is hosting as a meal. Trips to the circus to savour its details photographically as a uniting and analogous group experience, perhaps my favourite imaginative entrance into the world of the Eames studio: Design is seeing the world and its details and its textures and its mechanisms differently, together.

texting malachi

Worship:Response. Even if texting is an imperfect way, I remain 07729056452, come and play. [This is the end of the Old. After an intertestamental break, Sarah and I would like to begin texting the New, beginning with the Gospels two verses a day after Greenbelt (28.08.12). Gratitude with Love and in Hope. x]

Ml1 The problematic v3 rejection of Esau. We might problematise this as unjust predestination, or problematise this as a license for the teacher's pet to carry on sinning that grace may abound. But the greater problem of such awkward 'good news' is that election demands a commensurate response which is not less than everything. You are God's favourite, is He yours? .. Esvsb describes Mal as standing against 'diluting the strenuous demands of proper worship', against 'cynicism' and issuing a call to 'renewed covenant fidelity'. Our response to election should entail a Pauline anguish at nominality Rm9v3 in our lives and our church. So because God looks at the heart, get the heart before the course(works), in the horse and cart of faith and works. .. The line of Jacob is not so much a closed bloodline Rm9v6, but a blood-bought open door adoption to a grace. .. As we finish the OT, remember Jn5v39, it has all been about Jesus.

Ml2 v2 Because you do not lay it to heart. v1 This command is to you, oh royal priesthood: lay it to heart, your prayers & texts, your words & workmates, your ideas & practices. Holding in the centre of your heart both people's pain and lostness and the aliveness awakeness life and peace of God the uncomplicated exposed reality of this v5 life and peace, awe and imperative. The covenant, of life and peace is a promise given and received, so marriage is a three-way covenant, and honouring God cannot be done without honouring Phil. v10 We are faithful to each other because we are both God's, v15 we will be made one by a new portion of God's spirit, a new things, a holy emergent thing, more than the sum of our parts. So we are premised on God and made to be something new by God. We were once in darkness but we are brought into light, as we search each other's eyes, a veil is drawn back. Face to face with each other's possible in being face to face with this God, a geometry-defying face face triadic covenant. v15 so guard yourself, for you stand on holy ground. Guard yourself from faithlessness, which has many faces. Jesus, we ask that you show us all the ways we are faithless to each other, to the church and the world, let us name these things, repent, dialogue, forgive, accept, learn and be built up. Thank you that you bring us into a wide open space, let our witness to that be on our lips, today.

Ml2 v5 'My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me.' v6 He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turns many from iniquity.' Peace is walking with, and iniquity is turned away from. Life and peace are given, and we are to live in fear of the one who gives them. And may take them tomorrow, perhaps 'this very night'. How can we be courageous in this? Perhaps by fearing God rather than man ('what can man do?') And remembering he who ran to greet his son (the  prodigal did not count himself worthy, in contrast to the indignant other, non-fearing son)

Ml3 v8 Can one rob God? And other questions. Malachi is full of questions as a satirical device. Difficult questions considered in both of two: (1) as honest questions, (2) as rhetorical questions. (1) 1v2 Does God Love? All of a favouring four loves love? How can it be? 2v10 Is he 'Father'? Is there really a creator of all this? 3v17 Is He just? How? - Honest questions, several pints into an evening we reach these. They hurt a little. They hurt a lot. Presuppositional foundations in the architecture of reactive unbelief. How is my sense of urgent responsibility to articulate these, even tacitly, to a hurting world? (2) Rhetorical questions. Somewhat as Jb38-41, God uses questions as a refining soap/fire v2. We know the answers, we are without excuse, and questions draw out our inconsistencies. Am I listening to Jesus' questioning? Jn21v15

Ml4 v2 Sunrise,, new morning, towards a new testament. Mornings are different to the prison of the night before. The sun of righteousness will rise, with healing in its wings. Healing unfragments  and righteousness restores. Righteousness my gifted blamelessness. Healing my belovedness known. Christ the Rv22v5 sun, whose 22v4 face is our light and who 21v5 makes all things new: I believe you. Come now. New.

Ml4 v1 A root and branch review, for Barclays, for us. v2 'But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in it's wings.' Righteousness – a sun, a bird – the result of fearing God more than/rather than man. v5 'Behold, I will send you Elijah'

texting zechariah

The whys and hows of shepherd texting. Words on words as worthy reminders. Thankyou for joining me. 07729056452

Zc1-2 This is the good news: 1v3 return to God and God will return to you. ALways. God rushes in for no other reasons than our repentance returning. v14 You have no idea how wide & deep God's love & concern is for you, beloved...God's immeasurable 2v4 way: God's kingdom will not fit into your into your box, your plan, or your home, always an overflow excess. 

Zc1-2 v3 2v2 'Where are you going?' And he said to me, 'To measure Jerusalem' How fast, how many, who won gold? 'To see what is it's width and what is it's length' London has a green belt (how wide, how long?) and the Olympics are it's glory (throwing spears for fun), Jerusalem had a red belt and God was hers 2v5 'And I will be to her a wall of fire all round, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst' 1v3 'Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I shall return to you' v4 'Do not be like your fathers' 'Return from your evil ways.' 

Zc3-4 Wedding dress Mt22v11: sh/blamelessness is v4 God-taylored attire, a precondition for v7 walking his ways, purposed for v10 healing Mt14v36 Ac19v11 

Zc5-6 6v13 The King is the priest, as the shepherd is the lamb. The 6v7 all-seeing eye of God does more than 'inspect', eyes that light up love when beholding her child, Jacob. 

Zc5&6 v2 'What do you see?' v6 'What is it?' v10 'Where are they taking [it]?' 6v6 'What are these?' Many questions, asking by, and of, God and his messengers. Do we ask each other these questions, about say, the games? v2 'What do you see?' v6 'What is it?' v10 'Where are they taking [it]?' Our cauldron of fire, built by 204 nations. v2 'What do you see?' v6 'What is it?' v10 'Where are they taking [it]?' 

Zc7-8 v3 Should I fast texting en France? Is it for v6 yourself or for v8 kindness? 7v9 Let kindness be your religion 8v22 it's an evangelism Jn13v35/17v23 

Zc9-10 9v9 v16 Jesus. The name & face of Jesus, fulfilling & subverting the old testament. We do well to remember, as we draw near the end of the torah that it really is changed by Jesus, more than the adding of a different perspective on it, it is undone & reconfigured by Jesus. Zech didn't know what v10 v14-15 God's overcoming victory would look like, that is would be parables, fish breakfasts, individual healings, humiliation, crucifiction & a stone rolled away. 

 Zc9-10 9v9 'Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is his, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem...' What does it meann 'cut off the war horse'? Mt24v2 'not one stone upon another'. The war horse came. But Jesus rejected the war horse in favour of a donkey, a colt. Sayers had the war horse and colt together in the same stable, presenting a choice. And so us. Hb3v19 'he makes my feet like the deer's' donkeys, deers and doves Hb3v19 'he makes me treadon my high places' 

Zc11-12 You're a shepherd. Your tools for nurture, protection, conflict resolution are v7 Favour and Union: two graces: vertical & horizontal. How goes it? 

Zc13-14 Rich with many symbols & questions, but important in this morning moment is the 13v9 confession that the Lord is my God, there is no other, and to hear God tell me/us that I/we are God's. Know it. Thank you Jesus, the unfathomable mystery incarnate, for v7 shepherding suffering for us, that it is you who models & makes us 14v9 one and it is you who v20 makes everything spiritual, v22 this table, this coffee, this daybreak with you. Thank you here and now. It is you we love and worship. 

Zc13-14 Mk3v1 'Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, 'Come here.' And he said to them, 'Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?' But they were silent. And he looked round at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' He stretched is out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.' Healing swamped by sin. What was the man's name? Which party knew it? Wanted to know it, to smile, to eat with him?

texting haggai

Words for rebuilding, because texts have consequences. 07729056452

Hg1 v1 Prophetic words for specific people at specific times, given by someone else. God, we hold the but-if-not first, but we also ask for such words spoken into our lives to guide us. People will say that it is v2 not the right time, not-in-your-first-year-of-marriage, but maybe God has other ideas, maybe this is the right time...but God, we ask you to speak it, as you do to Zeru & and Josh, through Haggai, we commit to v12 receiving & responding accordingly, as they did, whatever you say... v4 why should you live in well-built houses while the temple is in ruins? This is a word to ask how to apply, what does it speak to us here and now? What is the architectural equivalent for us? What are the practical, emotional, spiritual applications? There is surely more here than a warning against neglecting God in favour of self. As I think about this, I wonder whether the original sin here can be traced to the dichotomising of home and temple. False dichotomies, as all good philosophers know, will always lead to the overprivileging of one dimension of being over another, and subsequent reactive denials of one of these modes of being. Your body is a temple of the holy spirit, your home is your place of worship. Build your house church, and do not give power to the existential tangle of trying to weight domestic life against your songs and sacrifices to the living God, you will burn yourself our, as v5-8, pursuing emptiness, because you do violence to your body-and-soul made to worship Jesus. This is the opposite of sowing in tears & reaping in joy, the opposite of reaping 30, 60 and 100 fold. Seek first the Kingdom, which is brought into life in your worshipping-dwelling. v14 be inspired! 'cause God is v13with us. 

Hg1 Mt6v32 'Therefore do not be anxious, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.' Hg1v8 'You looked for much and it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away.' Mt5v6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.'  Ha1v6 'You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill' Hg1v7 'Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Consider your ways' v14 'And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of Hosts' Mt24v1 'Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down' 

Hg2 God covenants to be-with and in that strength we are fearless to work to image being-with by marriage: a love where the greater glory is its latter.

Friday, 3 August 2012

texting zephaniah

Win zipped words for a lukewarm one.  Repenting on 07729056452.

Zp1 v2 Ev-ry-thing. Such is our being, a stick of rock of sin. Shot through, riddled with, wicked thoroughly and throughout. So justice demands obliviation. No mere patchup, whitewash or blackout, but a startover. Let's start over? But we have already. He who finished a good work in you Jn19v30, will he not also begin all things a new in you (~Ph1v6 ~Rv21v5). We, new souls, in a new birth, singing new songs of new mercies, this morning, every morning. .. v6 'Yet swear by Milcom' (it even sounds like a corporation) What does it mean to swear by? Do you? He swears by his iphone, she swears by that lipstick, we swear by our substitute saviours. I like to think of my idols as supplementary saviours, as backup options, silly. Substituting the truth for a lie, I necessarily take Jesus off the pitch. .. Zippy goes on. v12 Calling me away from trying to have a foot on both boats, calling me away from the lukewarm water of complacency that I fall into. Dithering and double-minded, we are, in the Hebrew 'dregs' in the bottom of the wine barrel coagulating. Oh Phil, don't be thick, don't be stiff, you are a new soul, renewed to be unslothful in doing good. Of acting out last night's Acts 20, Paul's uncomplacent hyperactivity and marathon preaching (with tears) springs from a conviction anathema to v12. Ac20v21 Teaching repentance towards God – who *will* do 'ill'; and teaching faith in our Lord Jesus Christ – who *will* do good. .. v13 Architecture again. If my life is for rent, and I don't learn to buy, then nothing I have is truly mine. Architectural woes are here painted as the fruit of a rent-a-faith complacency. Make up your mind, Phil. Is God good? All the time? Then go all in, feet first, sell you v18 silver and gold, in your Mt13v44 joy, so that you can say Ac3v6.

Zp2 In the gnb v1 says 'come to your senses.' Come to your senses! Like golden sky breaking unexpectedly into your vision, like a sea-shore's salt-sprayed gust of wind, like walkinginto Brixton village, like beholding space from the train window after a fraught claustrophobic dash to the station. Come. To. Your. Senses. And remember there is a God and there is sin that is real and there is grace that overcomes it. Feel your body and being shift & reconfigure & reprioritise, given over to the releasement God gives, that which you could never make happen yourself. Breathe deeply and openyou eyes again, hear the noise around you & the taste of your coffee and the weight of your body through your feet to the floor. Wake up, oh Eph5v14 sleeper! Come to your senses, feel death & feel the beauty of all you love anew, look again at culture & logic & other people and know Christ at the centre speaking your name. Do not blow about like v2 chaff, do not live in sleep, thoughtless, prayerless ways. wake up, for the joy of being awake with Jesus...Life and death are given to us as landscapes to live in. The land of v9 salt pits & nettles the antithesis of the land of milk and honey. When we wander from God we wander to a landsape of v9 ruin that leads to death, v13-14 deserting God for the desert. Our hearts understand this language of landscape, so Dt30v19 choose life, choose the lush and sweeping landscape not the barren prickly place – a question of heart attititude before Jesus, not of circumstance. And. v3 be humble. Be humble in the way you love your city. v15 how do you love London (or Afghanistan)? Proudly, as part of the secure story you can tell about yourself? Or as God's London, the one not your own, but as a gift for others? Let us be led humbly.

Zp2 v10 'their lot is return for their pride' v14 even the owl and the hedgehog shall lodge in her capitals' v10 'because they taunted and boasted' v9 'the remnant of my people' v9 'the survivors' Mutual (assured) destruction. What will happen? v11 'he will famish all the gods of the earth' v3 'Seek the Lord … perhaps you will be hidden' Perhaps? Perhaps. Ps23 'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me' v6 'meadows for shepherds' Ps23 'you rod and your staff, they comfort me' v6 'meadows for shepherds' Ps23 'The Lord is my shepherd.'

Zp3 [1] No Other. 2v15 “I am and there is no Other.” v2 No voices, no correction, no word from the outside, v4 no accountability, no true prophecy, no law, no holiness, v5 no shame, no Hell below us, above us only sky and Schaefferian synthesis. This the sin of solipsism and the solipsism of all sin: the claim, exacerbated by urbanism, that I am and there is no Other. v5 But in here dark streets shineth – God is amongst out urban struggles, labouring, loving, morning by morning to break in. .. [2] v3 Wolves. Ac20v29 To combat wolves, Paul tells us to Ac20v31 (1) be Alert (O sleeper) and (2) Remember to (3) Night and Day, (4) Admonish, (5) Everyone, (6) with Tears. So compassionate admonition is contrasted with the wolfishness of a repentanceless gospel of cheap grace. Sin always costs. You were bought at a price. If we claim (even by omission) that life is other than constant repentance, we deceive ourselves, we deceive others, we ruin engagements, we devastate cities. At risk of stating the obvious, preaching repentance is hard, and on atleast two counts: prophets suffer and die, nay, they get persecuted and killed for their words as Ac20v13; but secondly, their words may also appear as part of the problem: v7 all the more eager corruption. Such is the aroma of death to the dead, such is the sun that melts the ice and hardens the clay, such is preaching repentance, even (especially) to ourselves, such is v12 humility. We are Planet Earth's bloodied lions, if we skip repentance in our explanation, so my fears for Eisenstein. .. [3] Quiet. 1v7 Be silent, 3v8 Wait, v17 Quiet you with his love. In the quiet of this morning, God, teach me your pure speech v9, give me tongues to sing with the Brazilians with one rejoicing accord. Jesus paid it all, to buy our Blameless & Belovedness.