Friday, 20 January 2017

texting romans fourteen

Mixed veg messages. 07729056452

Rm14v1-2 Weakness. Unity. Diet. [In the same week that St Marks have had preached the vegan verse Gen1v29. In the same week that 41 have pondered how to eat as a house of 9 different diets. Aslan is on the move.] What is strength? Voracious oblivious omnivores binging on the synthetic goosefat of empire, shovelling the minced ape and polarbear of palm oil and air miles? Or worse, the anaemically aloof conspicuously supping on glibly organic virtue signals? ~ Own the boundaries of your own weakness, and self-understand all diets in this way, for the sake of unity. Promote a tenderness to a diversity of conscience to enable unity. Unity is key, and God's strength is made perfect in weakness.

Rm14v3-4 He will stand, she will stand, for the Lord will make this happen. Get into the habit of declaring and praying the success, the good, the blessing of the other, without caveats, as a way of committing them to God. Our prayers can be simple: make him to stand, make her to stand. Amen.

Rm14v5-6 "The day" One of these days.. is not like all the other days?
~ Don't Sabbath. Christianity is total freedom. Christianity knows no ritual, brooks no compunction, and shreds the obsequious fuss of Jewish calendar nerds. Christianity is iconoclaustic, restless for justice, a muscular faith of the great outdoors, it is tireless to cross borders, languages and cultures to set ablaze a pragmatic reformation of authenticity. Paul can redact the fourth commandment because the Gospel renders the everyday sacred, it is an explosive and ecstatic imperative to unstinting prayer and rejoicing 1Th5v16, hard work 1Co15v10 and emphatic irreligion. Over and against the suffocating sentimentality of sickly Sunday-Christians garbed in their Sunday bests, Christianity is man alive, we are bound only by the law of love. For the Christian, every day is Easter Sunday, every day an adventure, every day a new creation. The Christian is not bound to Sabbath, and indeed should not.
~ Sabbath. Christianity is the why of life. Christianity is a fierce question. Christianity is a chink in the infinite extension of a twenty-four-seven mechanised universe. Christianity is poetic jiujitsu against the tyranny of technological civilization's excesses. Against the savage insomnia of super-heated global capital markets, by resting, we are the plausibility structure of heaven, the rehearsal of eternity, the why and how of sustainability. When all is noise, silence is the signal. Christianity is a deft ting, the brakes on the juggernaut entropy, the pause, the resistance, the skipped-a-beat of love, a weaponised calendar tooled for the task of moderating modernity. The Christian must Sabbath, it must be literal, it must be collective, it must be deep and it will invariably be political.

Rm14v7-8 Your life & death are not your own, not only because 1Cor6v19-20 you were bought at a price, but prior to this even (for v9 goes on 'for this reason') you because it is a true truth that you belong to God as part of His creation, & you belong to others as part oc the same created order. Yesterday in conversation a musing on how the philosophical tradition which asks how it is possible that we encounter other persons at all (the so-called problem of other minds) is flipped on it's head if we take seriously the experience of childbearing - we all spring from other persons, other minds, other bodies, & the real question is not how we connect, but how we separate. This is not to say we are indistinct, but that we are far more intertwined than we think we are. Our lives belong to others, & so do our deaths. You can't opt out of belonging to others, you can't opt out of belonging to God. As such these verses can as a description as well as a promise, a reminder as well as an invitation, a calling as well as a challenge, a comfort as well as a confrontation.

Rm14v9-10 We cannot be-toward-death as if it were a great unknown any longer, as if the here and now were of peculiar insignificance, or as if after a final curtain somehow different rules apply. Our friend and brother and Time Lord, Jesus, has been there. It is all one domain. It is all his domain. And as, and if, and when, we pass judgement on and pour scorn on and cause to stumble, those other brothers and sisters who sabbath or not, who vegetariane or other, who arrange to serve God in all manner of appropriate callings and consciences, we pass judgement on immortal beings, we pretend authority over eternal destinies.

Rm14v11-12 "The false god punishes, the true God slays." ~ Iris Murdoch

Rm14v13-14 [41's morning prayer this morning pondered Mk9v42.. what. does. it. mean?!] What is sin? // How does one stumble? // What is it to cause another's? ~ And how do you risk manage that?
You cause others to stumble. You planned the route, you packed their bag, you checked the weather. You chose their school, you bought their kit, you set the exam. You made the conditions, you gave the permissions, you taught them shame. Clean and unclean. You set them up to fail. You left the gas on, you left the knife out, you left the engine running. It was your omission, your indiscretion, your absence, your lack financial planning, your unresolved father issues. You set the precedent, you embittered them, you gave them cause to fear, and to hate, and to stumble. You cause others to sin.
Man hands misery on to man. All around is manslaughter on the hopscotch of etiquette. Decide never to put a stumbling block in the way of a brother. Actively. Clinging desperately to grace.

Rm14v15-16 Do not let the good get a bad name. One's theology of food, or theology of anything else, might be full of integrity in all kinds of ways, but if you hold it in such a way that it's goodness is obscured, then it's goodness cannot be obvious. Do not let your conviction, your system, your tone, make the goodness of God less than obvious. Otherwise, quite straightforwardly, the good will seem bad. The good will get a bad name. This is how the word 'Christianity' is used in much discourse - it has a bad name. 'God' too, has a bad name. Today trying to help facilitate a discussion on the problem of evil - pray for me, that I would define & (more importantly) demonstrate the Good, that I would not give God a bad name.

Rm14v17-18 Be free to be vegan. But.
- The Kingdom of God is not vegan, it does not require veganism, it does not affirm or even suggest veganism.
- The Kingdom of God is not a law, it is not an ethical position, it is not a strategic response or even a measurable solution to environmental problems, except ultimately in a gradually redeemed eschaton that is truly complex, infinitely surprising and necessarily beyond analysis.
- The Kingdom of God is no ism, it will not lend its brand to any form of _ought_ or _must_, it is not allied to behaviour modification, it does not broadcast advice, it does not respond to statistics.
- The Kingdom of God cannot be inferred from the data. Proportional responses to the projections of climate scientists cannot and must not make your actions _more Kingdom_ than another's.
- The Kingdom of God is not an adjective, it is not comparative, it does not exist in degrees.
- The Kingdom of God is a true truth, accessible to all, comprehensible to all, interactable by all, the schooled and the unschooled, the one and the ninety-nine.
- The Kingdom of God is accessible to all who are open to the Spirit, accessible to those who seek first the King ~ his qualities and activities are added-unto-thee as side effects, oblique bonuses.
- The Kingdom of God effects change in neither a strictly top-down nor bottom-up way, it is from the outside, whilst being already within you.
- The Kingdom of God cannot be homogenised by populists nor calibrated by experts. It is not gestural, it is not generisable, it is granular and artifactual, it is site-specific and person-centred.
- The Kingdom of God is absurd and wasteful and counter-intuitive and risky and parochial and offensive.
[Knowing the flaws of syllogisms..]
- The world will be sustainable when it is populated by gardeners-fully-alive.
- Gardeners come fully alive when they encounter the Jesus story.
- They encounter the Jesus story if we pour perfume out with reckless abandon.
∴ The world will be sustainable if we pour perfume out with reckless abandon.
This thoroughly modern PJ struggles to believe the above. I like the good-enough that I can measure. I like a piechart. I like conspicuous cause and effect. I want to tithe my dill, I want to be busy, I want to _feel_ alright, I like a code of mere damage-limiting ethical minima that I can at least control. I believe arrogantly that I can work back to a description of God through inferential reasoning via that which seems to have greatest impact for the visible good in the now. Right living, ethical living, and a conscience clear ~ these proceed from a life of faith, a life of prophecy, a life in dialogue with _the_ author of all good, _the_ stakeholder in everyone's good, and _the_ host of all contingency, consequence and circumstance. The hilarious, hedonistic and aggressively amoral life He leads us in will effect abounding peace and a riot of joy and food-ethics righteousness.

Rm14v19-20 A similarity between v15 & v20 - both speak of how it is possible to damage (destroy, ruin) the work of God, by damaging the people of God. How vulnerable God makes himself, in making us so vulnerable to one another, for we are. Every unhelpful conversation we have with a brother or sister stands against the power of the resurrection. This is why Jesus speaks in such hard-hitting terms with regards our capability to harm each other Mk9v42. Praying this morning that I would know where to repent, where to pray for redemption, where (& how) to speak, where (& how) to stay silent.

Rm14v21-22 We keep to a stricter (or, in other contexts, a more liberal) diet than we might otherwise, for the sake of others.
~ pursuing an empathetic teetotalism for to strengthen and to put-at-ease and to normalise and to woo to freedom those historically alcoholic.
~ being compassionately vegan so to allow those addicted to the meat of empire to be weaned off.
~ going conspicuously social-media-free to invest ourselves for others in creating rich offline social worlds of recouperation for addicts.
~ we compassionately forego fleeting pleasure and disadvantage ourselves in the world's eyes, for the sake of others' freedom.
In the landscape of conscience, we, with the grace gifted to us, with energetic vigour seldom applied to amoral categories in areas not of your own struggling, each according to their own call, we carve out arenas for freedom from guilt and freedom from shame, we build the infrastructure for others' flourishing, we spend ourselves and shape our lives with precise contextualisation, precise to a tolerance of ± 1 person.
~ Giving up alcohol is like this: If your life is a living sacrifice, fill four pitchers with water and pour it on your offering. Do it a second time. Do it a third time. Then let them watch you burn like a Christmas pudding at Pentecost. 1Ki18v34
~ Time is so short, your context is so narrow, and of the thousand Londons behelden to a thousand specific prisons, you are amongst but a handful, you have access to their pain, you have a platform to show Christ's satisfying sufficiency over-and-against their precise addiction.~ Whose freedom are you called to?

Rm14v23 Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. Sounds a bit extreme,  but only because I tend to have such a narrow understanding of faith, as the bit of life I do when explicitly referencing BibleJesusChurch things. Faith is a posture. I'm either in the right posture or the wrong posture, and so often I'm in the wrong posture. There are two different ways of thinking about reality - one where entropy ultimately prevails, one where redemption ultimately prevails. I either understand myself to exist inside the one or the other, & will act according. I can only exist in faith or sin. I really want to live in faith.

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