Sunday, 20 March 2016

found flowers 059

reversing the entropy of these entrepid tropic tropes: love knows no latitude.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Thursday, 17 March 2016

texting mark fifteen

At its Markest before the morn. Prayers, puns and pontifications on 07729056452

Mk15v1-2 I wrestled with the King in this sermon This morning I am given to wonder the ways true faith hangs on semantics. The nuanced bridge over the chasm between the sign 'King' and the signified. Jesus in battle-rap mode jousts that he is Whatever you say I am, that what you look for you will find, that the search for the Historical Jesus finds only our own reflection staring back from the bottom of the well. Is it? How to break this closed loop, how to find King Jesus beyond our own projections, how to clear the windscreen of all the clutter we have been taught to ascribe to Kingship? Jesus' trial is doing linguistic work: Kill me as the 'King' you despise, and I will rise as the King you need, transforming the word for you. Jesus' self-abasing love, allows the sound and fury, the scorn and pejorativisation, the language games and self-deception. His capable Kingship consists in his capacity to absorb subvert redeem our King-misdefining King-hating. Let it all out.

Mk15v3-4 Accused him of many things. Many Things. T'was my husband that introduced to me this turn of phrase, we say it wistfully or briskly, indicating the emergent complexity of the multiplicity of things, not only in their manyness, but also in the way that each thing intersects with each other thing, creating new issues, tanglier tangles. Faced with the Many Things, pulling on one thread often serves to tangle all the more. I imagine Jesus surveying the many things tangled in the many accusations and their interwoven presuppositions and brokennesses, he takes a deep breath of Abba and says nothing, for there is not one thing to say, rather he prepares for the death that will put to death, as one, the many things, and will raise them all to life, transformed.

Mk15v5-6 All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men say nothing? Except here. Silence. Nuf said. Deafening silence. Silence as defiance, critiquing a compromised court administrating a lottery justice system, a Roman roulette randomly setting free a prisoner by public demand. Is the universe so fatalistic, do we give a cruel worldview credence by engaging it?

hot with striving
chaos driving
breathe Abba
mine Barabbas

something exceeding me
troubles in total reality 
this broken insurrection
whispers future resurrection

Mk15v9-10 Jesus is killed by a toxic intersubjective triangle: Pilate-people-priests, each agent operating out of a pathology of personhood. Shame, blame and envy. What motive would I have to kill Jesus if he didn't threaten the social status quo of my codependent complicit cronyism. What motive would I have to kill Jesus his death didn't provide the perfect scapegoat to restore and reinforce the social status quo of my codependent complicit cronyism. If Jesus was resident in J G Ballard's High-Rise, what would change?

Mk15v11-12 The folly of crowds, the madness of crowds, crowd mentality, and other cliches of mere collectivity. Pilate addresses the crowd as 'you', but he cannot see their faces. Yes yes, we're against that sort of thing... How does Sarah pathologically crowdsource her information & condemnation? The EU ref debate & the skewing of tidy political categories brings home the way I ordinarily rely on stirrings. But you, dear face, who do you say that I am?

Mk15v13-14 Cometh the crucial crux, he lacks looks or luck. Culled from Heaven, he pays tax with roes, he speaks facts and woes, he makes pax with foes, he gives pause to those warming up the lamb mince grinder. Devising his own defeat, tendered a piece of meat, absording a world's deceit, auctioned to sin's fast fees finder. Portioned soul he's quids insider, he gives an inch, an arm and a leg to the mob's grindhouse minder. A petrolled pelican, close to the edge, this match is the decider.

Mk15v15-16 I, like Pilate, hand over God and God, who could 'tear [me] apart' Hos13v8 says even then: 'How can I give you up? How can I hand you over?' Hos11v8...'I will heal your waywardness and love you freely.' Hos14v4

Mk15v17-18 Jesus, the tallest poppy, nipped in the bud. Furrowed brow beaten til he bled blud. Skewered with sartorial sarcasm's wicked wit. Savage savages, we regress to a charade of jeering apes, a taking the pissing contest, aimlessly soiling the king of the jungle.

Mk15v19-20 Acting God's name in vain, the meaning of embodied prostration here so hollowed out that a false facedown holds no tinge of discomfort, nothing jarring in rememberance of the truth thar the act, as the word, is tied to. A reminder for those of us anglo-catholic & charismatic alike, as we live so much outside our bodies, & our arm-waving runs the risk of becoming cheap. Rather kneel in Rev1v17 awe, Phil2v10 truth & Eph3v14-19 love.

Mk15v19 Jesus, the creative creator of creatures big and small is beaten by the bastard brutes we are. A reed, innocuous and thin, beautiful in whispering evocative of a certain still small voice. Like Icarus we came close to the sun, unlike Icarus we face not the fate that befell him.

Mk15v21-22 Simon of Cyrene, the patron saint of just-popping-out-for-a-pint-of-milk ends up inside one of the Stations of the Cross. Compelled thus there is no particular heroism, no especial moral application, no road map to virtuous cross-bearing, this is a story about Jesus, the cosmic author of all serendipity, who makes the wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time the right-place-at-the-right-time. Simon is accessory to the murder of God. Simon is a facilitator of human salvation. Thus are we caught up in a vast adventure that God is writing.

Mk15v23-24 Then they crucified him. So quick, stark, matter of fact. I have been reflecting on how quickly goodness can be destroyed. Goodness is patient in it's essence, it is long-suffering and stable, healing takes time, & yet skin can be ripped apart in a second, undoing all the good work, words can damage in an instant, it only takes one decision to push the big red button. This is why the Christian has to believe in reverse entropy. Death always wins out over life otherwise. Selfishness and confusion always lurks ready to annihilate relationship otherwise. Unless it's true that death dies and resurrection reverses the order of things, then there is no place outside despair. Then they crucified him.

Mk15v25-26 After a hard day's all nighter night, a last breath fighter fights for death to death's might and he's 'King' claims the subtext titler's write, the labellee dogged by dagtag spite, the freak King flips this fixed fight, he dies just as he'd fixed to, right?

Mk15v27(-28) Crucified with Jesus. A picture of the good news spiritual reality that we dare to hope God communicates to us at Eastertide and always. Rm6v3 v6 v8 v10-11 Col2v20 3v3 for you died, & your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Mk15v29-30 "Aha!" Οὐὰ (Gk) Used only here. Approbation translated by C. Bing as Woopah! Connoting small wonder mixed mostly with contempt, called out in the overthrow of a boastful adversary. There is a similar word in the Hebrew variously in Ps35v21, Ez26v2, etc - an utterance of inarticulate scorn. The tsk, the ach, the disappointed sigh, the fart-in-your-general-direction. Jesus a tonkable tankard, capacious to absorb our wordless moans.

Mk15v31-32 Richard Holloway in his autobiography put words to the way that scripture verses can burrow down deep into the bones of consciousness. 'He saved others, himself he cannot save' was one such verse for him. Holloway writes from the far side of faith, his story an honest pursuit of God, but the way this verse sits with him is perhaps indicative of lies we're apt to believe about God. These words hurled at Jesus are not true. Rather: Eph1v18-20.

Mk15v33-34 Eclipses, like rainbows, like the Northern lights, like crepuscular rays: see the heavens are telling Ps19v1! Meteorology, astronomy, the vast expanse of curdled clouds and scorched skies, they are about something: signs Lk21v25, signs Gn1v14. Signs describing a reality in which there is light shining in the midst of utter darkness (before Is9v2 is Is8v22). There is darkness. In which we are all blind, fumbling in pitch dark rooms, screaming noiselessly into an unthung void of perfect gloom, tumbling forever through the formless density of lightless infinity. Jesus, briefly, was the light. And he saw by the light that he was. And he brought form through the light that he shone. And then he was unplugged. Blacked out, and with him the many shaded nuance of a three dimensional world melts howling into a primordial eternity of indistinction. "Why have you forsaken me?" is a rhetorical question, to which we are the answer. From what cause? To what end? We are why. This is love.

Mk15v35-36 Playing dare with cheap wine and Jesus, how close can you get to the entrance of the house before the owner takes a shot at you, like playing ouija board, like positing God as the transcendental signifier in order to get a theory to work - the sort of superstitious-ironic-goading-irreverent disbelieving mere belief without awe or worship, all talk of God without holy fear plays this game.

Mk15v37-38 The first effect after Jesus last breath? Architecture changes. Heaven, kettled for so long in a Jewish incubator unit, breaks out. Heaven, prototyped in a demonstration model, is ready for export. Heaven, a hypothesis proved in laboratory conditions bubbles over as Jesus, the mad professor of world salvation looks on. Heaven is the catalysed superheated nuclear core of God's presence which ruptures the containment building in an uncontrolled power excursion. The threshold in the ultimate architecture of altarity is transgressed and the hound of heaven is unleashed.

Mk15v39-40 'The women watched at a distance' - With this phrase Mark captures the status that women were given in most things of importance in the culture at the time. The tearing of the temple curtain in two, giving all we priests access to the Holy of Holies that is Christ himself, is good news for all in a million dimension, & specifically good news for women, who previously had been kept further out of the temple than their male counterparts. The radical grace that Christians believe is at the centre of the universe that outplays every power structure there is always works towards love between persons and to juster systems. With the resurrection of Jesus Mk16v4-11 the women are moved in the narrative from 'the distance' to the centre of the story - the same women the first humans to bear witness to the resurrected reality of Christ. No longer simply accessories to male encounters with God but persons in their own right, looked in the face and called by name. It is the Christian gospel before any other text that commands us to look at every power (dis)advantage in our lives and social structures, and subject it to the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

Mk15v41-42 "Also women .. and also many other women." Many. Lk8v3. How many is many? How many makes many worth mentioning? Many more than average? Many more than you'd think? Many as a conspicuous majority in his full time entourage? Many, lest you forget and lest you later think it's less than many? Females here foregrounded and first place, women boldy taking-up-space, around Jesus, a magnet for an emancipating movement. First at the cradle, last at the cross, why women qua women? Because qua system-outsiders, women had eyes to recognise another system-outsider. Because qua culturally powerless, women had no power to lose by following his counter-culture. Because qua physically vulnerable, a vanguard of women was God's chosen affront to man's sense of man's security in man's strength. Let us all be such women, outsiders able to see, powerlessly predisposed to divest the city, and so vulnerably able to be make God known as our sole strength, and so to flourish as God's new humanity.

Mk15v43-44 Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead. Hard to theologise much from this detail, though we might imagine in Pilate a jolt of realisation that his decision had become reality. As Jesus tells us, it is what comes out of a person that makes her unclean. I do not live in my head, but the world of things & others. Mind becomes matter, decisions have consequences. Remember Sarah, thoughts leak and shape the dust, for good or evil.

Mk15:43-47 Joseph of Arimathea, establishment and old guard, awake and searching, courageous and courteous, went to the Chief Pilot of Justice Airlines Plc's Palestinian plane. 'Already dead?' He who founded the universe? He should have taken much longer to die. The centurion, a man of military precision, confirms. The corpse of the Son of Man is now an item to be gifted. The corpse of the Son of Man, bringing hope to an end, is buried in the ground. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Shrouded in sadness. He who was born son to a Joseph is buried by another.

Mk15v45-46 How do you dispose of a body? And what's its worth to you? One slightly worn dead God, One careless owner, Free ONO? 'Bestow gratuitously' 'dóreomai' (Gk - only here and 2Pt1v3) emphasises that Pilate freely donates what he could have charged for. There would be currency in the cadaver of God which Pilate might have extorted were it not that a service is also rendered by Joseph's cleanup crew in covering Pilate's guilt. Joseph is here to oust Pilate's damned spot, a bespoke service, tailored in fine linen, discretely to bury a hatchet job. And so the saviour of the world is sold for a song. The transactional choreography here is a picture of redemption from sin: we are Joseph of Arimathea to the world, when we speak the gospel of Christ's worth and enact the couriering away of the world's guilt in his body.

Mk15v47 You have to know what died, and where, in order to recognise resurrection.

Monday, 7 March 2016

200words: Newport Street Gallery

High Priest Hirst's new temple positions his brand to cater culture to the emerging diplomatic quarter brokering nuclear power at Vauxhall.

Newport Street Gallery is a deft manoeuvre by the former formaldehyde-monger, schooled in YBA's practice of neo-liberal warehouse renaissance, flogging flesh and gilded bones to kleptocrats in a stylised performance art of self-aware gentrification. From without, the monied machinery is worn lightly, woven discretely into a rugged industrial street-scape. Within, however, turbo-charged religion is going on.

Caruso St John have choreographed a substance dualism, calculated to enshrine art thusly: the vast immateriality of infinite white gallery chasms interlinked by exquisite exercises in a very material obsession. The staircases are gorgeous. Gracious, balletic, asymptotic gestures manufactured with unspeakable precision. Wombs of nougat brick, every surface suggestive and seductive. The million-pound milled handrail, cast deep into the wall is a cavity that invites caress, a building yearning that you would run your fingers across the rim of the groove. Here, newly clothed emperors are nude descending a staircase, briefly and illicitly embodied, between the heady cerebral galleries.

Lastly, and lately added, the Pharmacy bar. If the gallery is the Father's transcendence and the stairs are the Son's immanence, here is the Holy Spirit cabinet. And Hirst, drunk on his own communion wine, vomits mixed metaphors on every surface. Bubblegum flavoured décor jostles with surgical memento mori. This clowning gory finale gives a sickly glib aftertaste to an otherwise sumptuous building.