Monday, 28 May 2018

200words: temperate house

A happy afternoon was spent in Decimus Barton’s display case reliquary for a horticultural cult, a grand taxonomy of remnant endangered species grown from cuttings.

~ Cut crisp in Panamas with florid accessories, the waspish Waitrose card carrying preening priestly class drawls reedy dry Henley vowels, vestigial of an invisible Raj. This crystal cathedral a refuge to the raffish cad’s saviour complex.

~ Banker dad bods dazed and blasΓ© clique with like listless paternity leavers, pouting preppy with an all-terrain Bugaboo swagger, self-medicating the horror of fatherhood with a domesticated mother nature, tamed, contained and wipe-clean.

~ Bushy eager ‘lotment gardeners leaned ont spade stoic doffing floppy oilcloth capped over weather winked cagoules. Stooped and mellow fruitful, two pilgrim soil-scuffed spiral-bound sweethearts, joint attending in furtive reverent whisper, this is holy ground.

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Richmond’s rusting ruin-ready skeletal Angkor Wat has been tamed, the gnarly triffids trimmed, the heavy hulking jungle pruned. The lazy gutsy grandeur of truss trellising and galloping rivets, are now squeaky and synthetically shades of white and magnolia. A sterile anaemic modernity draws charmless stainless service trunking through the ironwork and plaster festoonery, the data veins of a parasitic plant cabletied in place. This is the stage set for aestheticised STEM porn.

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Sunday, 20 May 2018

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texting luke twelve

We live in and against anxious times. 

I hope these meditations are helpful. If you want to receive these daily, let me know, they are Whatsapped from +44 (0) 7729056452, if you want to chat, or to dissect the bible, or interrogate any of these issues, get in touch.

Lk12v1-2 Beware the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Hypocrisy. saying one thing, doing another. Pretending. One of the easiest sins, and to Jesus, it seems, the worst of all sins. And as a yeast, it gets into everything, it bloats and flavours everything. It is Ananias and Sapphira's sin unto death (Ac5), as it is for all of us. The deeper into 'ministry' or 'leadership' one goes, the more likely hypocrisy is, because one's ministry has a label, an image, an 'integrity' to it that will necessarily be breached by your being a flawed human being. I long for the wisdom of intentional, stepped-up, discipiling which nevertheless assumes the brokenness and ordinariness and the ongoing-wrestling of the unsanctified nature of my own heart. We say this, of course - every leader will repeat that they are 'not perfect' as part of the image itself, if nothing else, but there is still so often in me a prison of expectation, a fear, which leads to hiding, which leads to hyprocrisy. In many ways I would rather not be a labelled minister with a ministry as this creates more opportunity for hypocrisy. So pray for me, that I would not shy way from leadership and ministry simply to avoid hypocrisy ~ which is perhaps one of my tendencies, but rather, to really be in the midst of it with a profound sense of my ordinary and ongoing brokenness. Wisdom is needed in how to communicate this to others. Only this honesty can lead to a path of purity. Pray that I would learn better how to wear my weakness, so not to sin.

Lk12v3-4 v2-3 Yesterday, listening to Jonathan Freedland's Long View neatly mapping the Facebook data breach onto the history of the Reformation. A previous generation's social network, the Catholic church, which heard our secret confessions, which managed our identity from birth to death, was rocked by a scandal of how it monetises our insecurities. Five years ago, we were reading this in the Matthew parallel Mt11v27 at the time that Jesus Hearts Wikileaks. So now, again, Cambridge Analytica's whistleblower bringing to light that which was in the dark. It is still a true truth.
v3 Yesterday discussing religione with K. How does it happen? How is it that dry desiccated churches persist, with their appalling vacuity and utter irrelevance, labouring through turgid sombre liturgies of hypocrisy. Surely it's self-evidently wrong-headed. And yet it happens. Yeast is one of Jesus most potent parables, capturing the works, effects, motives and conditions for the multiplication of religione. The potential is in all of us, wild yeast is in the atmosphere everywhere, and given the right conditions, spontaneous fermentation will start, dormant yeast, activated, will eat out all the sugar in a church converting it to a dry, woozy, pungent community. At 41 we ferment barrels under the stairs, beside the hot water tank, the warmth and the darkness nurture perfect conditions for yeast to fester, culture, multiply and organise. More visible in bread, yeast's sophisticated structuring of the dough, binds the whole into an integrated sourdough architecture of clingy complicity. Religione is the inevitable sum of our latent yeast run wild, unchecked, in the willed darkness of lazy lukewarm middling mediocrity. Beware the yeast.
v4 Yesterday discussing killing with J, 2Sm1. David kills the Amalekite. Was it an emotional reaction? Was it the logical extension of an obedience to a revelation of God's character: the purity which Saul had encountered in God's character, but refused to practice? Engage and fear the severe holiness of God, the death-desert of us all, the wretched contamination of our total being. Killing the body in the tribal genocides of the Old Testament - these grasp the gravity of a call to holiness. But. In Christ, infinite holiness is compatible with infinite mercy, and there is sufficient supply for the risk of letting the Amalekite live.

Lk12v5-6
Lord of both the dead and the living,
whose authority stretches
beyond the body
and the breath,
Teach us all that’s hidden in the flutter of a sparrow’s wings
that we might know the deeps beneath the trap door of grief 
as Good,
And may live in the security and worth of each soul’s substance
through Christ our Lord,
Amen

Lk12v7-8 πŸ”’ πŸ§›‍♂ "..numbered" Who counts? 1⃣πŸ™‹‍♂ Christianity is radically specific, searingly bespoke, irrationally, fussily, singularly personal. You should be unsettled by the absurdism, the peculiar miniaturism, the offensive parochialism of Christianity's devotion to the one lost follicle, one lost sheep, one lost coin. In Christianity there is no pew-fodder, no collateral, no dead weight, no also-rans, no B-team, no statistics. Nothing is average, nothing is generic, nothing is calculated. When the church is a collective it is no matted aggregate of anonymised data points synthesised, groomed, combed, stylised to the tousled quaff of a clump of hair. Over and against a metric scientistic culture labouring to damage-limit quantitised problems at a total population level, Christianity is willfully and wastefully invested in the personal, the all-for-one one-to-one.
πŸ’ˆπŸ₯¨ "hairs" We are hairs. Related to numbered hairs, I was meditating earlier this week about the topological difference between a two strand cord and a three strand cord Ecc4v12. 2⃣➿ Take two threads, knot them at the top, plait them in a tightly entwined twist. Pull the two ends. The whole spins and unravels until is it extends to appear as one cord, twice as long. Two cords is the folded mirror, uncalibrated, unmediated, untriangulated, a dyadic totality. 3⃣πŸ”± Take three threads, knot them at the top, plait them. Pull at the three ends. The whole draws into itself, clenching a tighter bind. Three cords is the beginning of tapestry, macrame, shibari.

Lk12v9-10 You can sin anything against Jesus but not the Holy Spirit? I’ve been trying to ponder this most famous of contested and confusing verses over the last few days, reading some of the commentaries on it and trying to formulate a trinitarian equation for how to understand it, and I know that there’s more mystery here than I am close to grasping. The thought I have come to is that Jesus’ flesh is the hiding place for all sin (put to death, of course, and raised to life). There is nothing that cannot be absorbed into Christ’s Being in and through our Union with Him. Just as the only way to the Father is through the Son, so too the only way to the Spirit is through the Son also, because Jesus is the site of Union with God. This is why Union with Christ really is the key to the whole of reality and redemption. I pray for deeper understanding of this, the key to everything.

Lk12v11-12 
😨 "do not be anxious.."
~ Being anxious. Fraidy. Brittle Being. Scratching at the soured teeth on edge ~ prissy fussy nervy fretful flighty fidget-spinning with utterly retreated tendrils all tinny tiptoe on eggshells. The shallow breath of a veneer's squeeze. Stuck tongue tip tied to arid arch, feint rasp misting a milky glass barely there shading a wisp of unbeing. Unbecoming.
~ Saying anxiously. What do you say when you are anxious? The vorpal snickersnack of apologetic tactics, tendentious tropes, tired tracts, timorous appliquΓ© woad paint, adrenal falsetto febrile bluster, mechanical machismo.
~ Being unanxious. Ununctious. Unflapped and unperterbable. Broad-shouldered deeper vowels, the girded gutsy caribou. The fibre and bone of shalom. Be what you are, as you are, ageless, oaky, eagle. Bear all breakers and weather well.
~ Saying unanxiously. Steady stable, heather tough, fragrant frugal, easing with the ample muscularity of generous testimony with patient words in a capacious Aslan exhale.
πŸ•/πŸ‘‘/🌍 "synagogues / rulers / authorities"
~ Pondering the things which are out there available for us to be afraid of: fear of the future, fear of abandonment, fear of dark forces, fear of death, fear of chaos. [For this anatomy of disciples' fears]
~ Pondering also the possible parts of myself which are imperilled by these things: Dangers to my body physically, danger to my mind's psychological health, danger to my soul's integrity. And, danger to my identity and value, insofar as these are learnt and calibrated socially and relationally.
~ So, pondering then the domains within which these are sources of an imperilment to my self's value and identity: the synagogues, rulers, authorities are perhaps mappable onto:
- family, tribe, nation
- religious/culture, state/goverment, unseen/spiritual
- self-similar, adjacent-other, impersonal-system
How do these domains threaten you? What do you owe them? How do they own you? How can you be held to ransom by them? How can they demand an account from you? Why would they be interested in your faith, be threatened by your faith, and persecute you unto peril on account of your faith?
πŸ™Š "What you should say.." What should you say? Don't say nothing vs as all it takes for the prevailing of evil is for good people to say nothing.. Say something. A preemptive cover-all, a truism, a platitude? Better than nothing? Why is it so hard to say the right thing at the right time? What stands against my being true to my conviction and call?
πŸ•° "the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour." Holding this in tension with always-be-prepared-to-give-an-answer-for-the-hope, there is an under-emphasised maxim that apologetics must be prophetic. You are making supernatural claims about knowledge, only supernatural knowledge will really cut it. Conjuring the timeless in a timely way, perfectly, only God can. And in that very hour he will.

Lk12v13-14 Seriously Jesus? I was told that justice was a big deal to you. I have been WRONGED and you're coming at ME with questions? How dare you! I only came out here to prove a point. Don't you think fair distribution matters? Fair arguments, fair opinions? I want you to tell him he's wrong. Because of justice of course. It would be so easy for you to show him that he's in the wrong. Isn't this what living to God is about? No? Fucking unbelievable. Jesus. Now I'm angry.

Lk12v15-16 ⚠πŸ’°πŸ’Ž πŸ†πŸ’ΉπŸ˜⚠ "Take care.." Beware. Wealth is so dangerous. Remember the rich young man. Remember Nabal (On this, at 44:20-51:30) "Rich people, on the whole, don't create culture" Grayson Perry. Bigger barns heaving with the clingy clink of coinage, leveraging your limbo twixt a mire of never-enoughs, whirling a bling-blinded lunacy through the savage vanity of brash abundunce spilt on tedious exorbitance. Take care. Beware. Wealth is so dangerous. Remember the rich young man. We wealthy ones, our life is a bad parable, a crystal unadventure, a tragic pathology, a self-harm trope. The free-falling middle class, sunk beneath the waves with bullion in our Burberry back pocket. Take care. Beware. Wealth is so dangerous. Remember the rich young man. ⚠πŸ’°πŸ’Ž πŸ†πŸ’ΉπŸ˜⚠

Lk12v17-18 What is the actual folly here? Hoarding. What is foolish in it? The selfishness or individualism of it? Or the thought that it will last? The false certainty seems to be what Jesus is particularly putting his finger on. The foolishness is the energy invested in it given its uncertainty. That is, not that storing up is itself an issue, but rather, the focus, time, energy and hope invested in the storehouses is foolish, because it will be taken away from you at some point, it might be taken away from you at any point .. and that there is something more important upon which to focus time, energy and investment first. 

[...some text missing]

Lk12v19-20 
🧞‍♂ "Soul.." Self talk. Like the Psalmist in Ps43v5, "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?" Reflective self address. Do you talk to yourself? How do you speak of yourself to yourself? When does self-conscious self-awareness err into introspective self-absorption? What chivvies, what nurtures, what reminders, what stays, what stirs your soul? Speak to your soul. Preach to your soul. Awake my soul!  Come on my soul!
πŸ§–‍♂ "relax.." says a liberal and permissive Frankie, a glutted sluggard taking-grace-for-granted. When is it wrong to be at ease? Whence comes balance, on the arΓͺte between workaholism and passivity? When is it right to be at ease? To be-chill-and-know.. Ps46v10 What are the right conditions for rest in good conscience?
πŸ‘¨πŸΏ‍🏭 "Fool!" says a twitchy, judgmental Mr T. a scowling older brother. Who is a fool? Who can call out a fool? Surely God can, but otherwise? Mt5v22 fool-calling is murder. How foolish are we? As with total-depravity in the domain of moral action, so too in the realm of thought, our thinking thinker is corrupt, if not utterly to its worst degree, but certainly it is tainted throughout. The Cogito Ergo Sum subtly presumes an unflawed thinker, but even in cool detached thinking about thinking, I am beset by folly, partiality, wilful self-interest. I am fool, if not perfectly or archetypally or infinitely, I am fool sufficiently to need to be urgently cautious as I comport myself towards my accrual of wealth: confessing my weakness, living desperately in search of true freedom found in proper humble gratitude.
πŸ— "eat, drink, be merry.." Consume. Man's gotta eat ~ when does it become a pathology? When does wealth begin? Rosling et al's Factfulness currently doing the bestseller rounds, and absorbable in this lecture, argues that we are worse than ignorant about our privilege, we are actively misinformed. This is folly. Ideological possession nurtures willful blindness. This is folly. Our eating-drinking-merry-making is beyond any Ps34v8 tasting-and-seeing God's good creation, it is out of all proportion or sustainability, bloating into a domain of pathological, entitled, indulgent, escapist and rapacious consumption.

Lk12v21-22 "Do not be anxious" - a life verse. Specifically here: do not be anxious about (i) your life or (ii) your body, qualified as (i) what you will eat and (ii) what you will wear. We might further elaborate these two basic categories that Jesus presents as the command not to be anxious about (i) your survival needs or (ii) your social standing, about (i) what you will have to do to succeed or (ii) whether you will be accepted by others. Both of these are types of fear, but at a stretch I think (i) is a guilty fear and (ii) is shameful fear. Lying in bed this morning I was thinking about the old mantra of blamelessness and belovedness. If it's true that I have been made blameless and am set free to walk in blamelessness then I am (i) free to step outside survival-of-the-fittest, what-will-we-have-to-compromise, fretting-about-how-we'll-live modes of being. If it's true that I'm beloved, I don't need to live in (ii) constant fearful shame, fantasy or self-loathing. Now seems like the right moment to make this promise foreground again: blameless & beloved, blameless & beloved, blameless & beloved.

Lk12v23-24 "Life is more than food .. the body is more than clothes.." God is more-than. The Christian life is more-than. What do we mean when we say more-than? What do you consider life and the body to be, as they relate to the food you put in to it and the clothes you put on to it?
πŸ†š more-than vs merely
πŸ†š more-than vs other-than
πŸ— Life is merely food. Life is but biology: voracious in will and bottomless in appetite, but even mere-food is not reducible to surviving starvation. Food is a very sufficient religione, a complex game of virtue signalling and self-medication. I am what I eat and I do so expertly. Life is won by wine snobbery, the competitively nuanced palate of the connoisseur. The good life is measured on the chromatic variance of your Instagram feed, compressing a dizzying density of sensory experience into life's short span.
🚭 Life is other than food. Over and against carnal hedonists, whose stomach is their God. Life is spiritual, food is an inconvenience, flavour a temptress, calories the enemy. Life is an enlightened dietary calculation, anorexically assymptotically ascetic, Straight-Edge being towards bare nothingness and how to disappear completely.
πŸ‘™ Life is merely clothes. To be human is to dress, and urgently flamboyantly so, ornament distinguishes us from apes, clothing is language and language is all we have ~ a semantic game of distraction, frenetic fashion signifiers, babelling ecstatic noise to cover a nude emperor. Life is a stage, and we conduct our being performatively, combatively, we power dress. Life is mere clothes because images live forever. Life is mere clothes because modernism failed, pomo is more fun, and there is a consensus that man is hollow. Life is mere clothes because everything is veneer, everything is only language, nothing has substance, so savour sweetly the sensation, spectacle and affect that clothing conjures, a retinal analgesic for a fading world.
πŸ§–‍♂ Life is other than clothes. Bold and noble, heroically dour dowdy, in contempt of colour and tone, there is a more honest way to attire man as the machine he is. Rationalistic, deterministic, gnostic, iconoclastic, utilitarian, stoic and nude beneath a functional outfit. Life is other-than clothes: Nude is Prophetic Is20, Nude is Political Polemic Lk6v29, Nude is our original purity Gn2v25.. Disrobement is an act highlighting justice issues, there is an earnest, visceral transparency to a life other-than clothed, with a scathing critique of a corruptly clothed civilisation.
~ Contrary to all the above our life is more-than food and more-than clothes, that is, inclusive-of-and-exceeding. We get both to savour the taste-and-see feasting of a water-to-wine Jesus who was called a drunk in his time and to engage also a critical righteousness in life exceeding the Pharisees. In our walk round Mull we pondered food and the rhythms of eating which would make it fearless and excellent. Pray for us in this season to go deeper on this particular foray into being bodies.

Lk12v25-26 "Who of you can add a single hour to your life by worrying about it?" One obvious response to this is that one can actually add hours to one's life by worrying, thank you very much Jesus, because worrying flags danger and risk, and avoiding danger and risk can in fact add all manner of hours to one's life. The opposite of worry, then, cannot be blind indifference to the world and its troubles. Maybe this then helps us to distinguish 'worry' in this anxious sense that Jesus calls us from, over and against Pr24 right concern & planning. 'Do not worry' is not a call to fatalism, to 'whatever will be will be'. 'Worry' then, is definitionally that which does not contribute to preservation or flourishing. Worry adds nothing, it only destroys. Worry is not care-full concern, it is not a constructive red flag. It is its own universe. Worry becomes a place we live and it fosters indecisiveness rather than enables decisiveness and forward motion. Perhaps anxiety has its roots in a basic healthy survival mechanism needed to navigate wisely through chaos, but left unchecked and uncalibrated by the consideration of God's ultimate goodness, accessed by the consideration of the birds of the air, it replicates and multiplies in a cancerous way. It traps, it becomes its own chaos, it prevents rather than preserves. A way of assessing whether my concerns are well triangulated by God or not, then: do they lead to action, to the fruit of goodness? Do they add something? Do they  add a single hour? And can they be left behind once this action has been taken? Or do they spin frictionless in the void, leaving me helpless? If the latter, then I must pause, go outside, consider the ravens, and pray.

Lk12v27-28 😨 "O you of little faith!" Faith. In a passage commending unanxiety, the key is faith, the opposite of anxiety is faith. Switch your faith convictions: from a concept of ultimate reality as a malevolent father tyranising a precarious universe, to a concept of ultimate reality as a peculiarly and specifically benevolent father nurturing a meaningful flourishing world. In that faith lies the root of unanxiety. Where does that faith come from?
🌸 "Consider the lilies" Jesus argues from the lilies, that is, 1. an argument from beauty, and, 2. Jesus argues a fortiori ~ from the lesser to the greater: more-than.
Do likewise.
1. Beauty is. Consider nature, birdwatch, binge Blue Planet, arrange flowers, hoard and catalogue and observe the glitter and abundance of biology at every scale, become attuned to the seasons. Engage observational drawing, attempt representational ornament, curate symphonies of nature's artefacts, unfetter science from utilitatarian sponsorship, decouple science from ideology and allow wonder to unsettle your presuppositions. Beauty is. Beauty is, and, were it not for the heavy tinted glasses we obscure it through, and the abstractions with which we vandalise it to reductive quanta, we would be unmade ourselves by beholding a kernel of nature's terrible beauty. Allow it. Consider the lilies.
2. If-then. A minore ad maius. Dwell on the cut flowers fading in the vase on the kitchen table. Are you of more value than them? I cannot think that it is possible to live consistent with a framework of equity with the non-human, as Deep Ecologists profess to. You must discriminate. You must prefer humans. Only nihilism can flatten a world, only recklessness and narcissism can self-deceive a world without peculiar human rights and corresponding peculiar human responsibilities. If-then. If you give an inch to this disparity, what then? The world is unflat riven with ontological unjustice, unequity, and privilege. From this you must infer upwards, to grasp the alarming more-than-lilies truth that God supplies all and more-than you need for the beautiful flourishing of his Kingdom, his gospel, his creation, patterned in excess of lilies, ornamented more-than.
If there is a God, if his lilies are beautiful, if you are worth more than lilies, then infer how much more will he supply for the unanxiety of his children. This was a lesson from Mull, huddled in a tent in the ruins of a chapel, on the edge of the Atlantic, laying a hold of the truth of God's faithful and beautiful provision, as the antidote to anxiety.

Lk12v29-30 Do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink. This is a season of reckoning with food. Facing the realities of addiction, habit, idol, cheap comfort, sense of entitlement, exploitation, thoughtlessness, gluttony. Do not set your heart on food. Rather Col3v2 set your heart and mind on higher things. This simple-but-impossible-without-God task first: developing a taste for the presence of God more than food. It should be obvious but it isn't - in my habits and desires I choose food first, believing it is my best comfort, that without it I will be wronged, and I will surely die. Do not set your heart on food.

Lk12v31-32 πŸ‘ "Fear not, little flock.." I am struck by how long and uncomfortable this treatise on fearless Kingdom economics has been:
v2 don't fear, don't hide, don't be thus hypocritical
v4 don't fear killers of the body
v5 don't fear for your value
v11 don't fear litigation, authorities or words in general
v15 don't fear poverty
v22 don't fear hunger or nakedness
v25 don't fear generally
v26 don't fear generally
v29 don't fear about provisions
v32 don't fear
v33 be actively fearless, invest in the unanxious bank of God
🧟‍♂ Cowardice might be my primary vice, the timidity which shrinks all and sinks all and pales to a slack slunk scurried away version of myself. The negation and omission, the redaction and inaction, the blank withdrawal, the limited ambition, the gainless fear of shame and pain leading to stasis, frozen fright between flight and fight. Fear is a hollowing force, a catalyst for antagonism. Fear stress-hardens into brittle resentment, it leads to the dark side. Fearful Phil's is an undead life unlived as a weightless shadow self.
πŸ‘¨‍πŸ‘¦ "it is your Father's pleasure.." Don't fear a tyrannical father, don't fear a devouring mother. Don't fear culture, don't fear nature. Don't fear order, don't fear chaos. Etc. Don't fear. The antidote to fear is faith, and faith is a knowing the Father's pleasure, hedonistically. We live for the joy.
πŸ’± ".. to give you the Kingdom.." In this we conceptually and radically transition from squabbling over scarcity to negotiating abundance. At 41, it is our hope to operate on the basis of abundance, presuppositionally. Sacrificial generosity in God's economy is not sacrifice, but reinvestment: giving what we cannot keep, to gain what we cannot lose.

Lk12v33 This one is for the secret place. What does Jesus ask of your possessions this day?

Lk12v34 Thinking about the link between one's heart & one's treasure with Is45v3 also: "I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name." We talked about a hoarding mentality as we walked: food, money, travel, etc. God promises unhoarded hoards in the secret place, the place that has given everything away and only has God left. Discipline must start with this sense of what is precious. I am still in the process of having this sealed in me. I believe, help thou my unbelief.

Lk12v35-36 πŸ‘€ “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning.." Jesus, the original #staywoke. Wakefulness as analogue for faith's earnest attention, lucid anticipation. The opposite of being woke is sleepwalking and the secular prophets The1975 are currently plastering Is6v9-10 on London phoneboxes, raging against modernity's sleepfulness.
πŸŒƒ Life's tragedy and need is 24/7. Albeit cynically, the famous street pastor McDonalds gets this opportunity: If you're awake, we're awake.  ~ Always be ready to give a burger for the haste that is in you..
πŸš‘ Life's tragedies and need for Christ are 24/7. Mt25v40's least of these don't wait to present during office hours. You are the world's existential emergency services, with ontological ambulances, a philosophical fire engines. To be woke is to serve, conscious of the purpose of consciousness, ready with a default availability, serving to enable the many ways that Christ is perpetually returning in the guise of the strange stranger - if I would only let them in.
πŸ‘¬ "like men who are waiting.." plurally, organised, as a watchnight service waits. I, individually should be woke and should be ready, but further, we, the church, corporately can be always-on, always attentive, always ready. How are we on call, how do we rota readiness, how might the church missionally extend ourselves to serve to the night shift gig economy's unreached people groups?
πŸ‘—πŸ§₯ "dressed.." having called us a few verses ago to consider the lilies. The attire here is purposed, tooled for the task of welcome, service and celebration. How do you picture this clothing ~ pragmatic, warm, exuberant? How do you dress for service, how do you dress for celebration?
πŸ”¦ "lamps burning.." fuel and aforethought. The virgin vigil vigiliantes considered that light needs fuel.

Lk12v37-38 These verses and surroundings are about paying attention and posturing oneself with readiness to the inbreaking of Jesus at all times. I am thinking about this as I prepare to speak on 2Sam6 also, that my posture towards God's sheer glorious reality is often (i) passively unthinking, as Uzzah, (ii) actively fearful & withdrawn, as David, or (iii) actively entitled and distainful, as Michal. Against all these: active attentive submissive love: Love of the master, love of his house, love of the work to be done, attentiveness to his unseen closeness, to the certainty within the uncertainty, to the detail of preparation. Come Lord Jesus, teach me to mean it when I say it, in all times & all places.

Lk12v39-40 "at what hour the thief was coming .. the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.." πŸ“† Christianity is bivalent anticipation, a dynamic tension, a double edged sword, and it stands on a knife edge of nuance over against misemphasis and misinterpretation. In one both-and event our saviour & our judge comes, a lover & a thief comes, a prize & a peril, a day of reunion & a day of reckoning. We await the end & the beginning.
🧠πŸ’ͺ Consider the psychology and activity of waiting. Consider the house we steward and the preparations required to facilitate the event of celebration and to resist the event of calamity. Both require engineering ~ the excellent exuberance of preemptive fairy lights, the safe sufficiency of precautionary fire doors. Our house is ready to usher in kingdom of heaven, our house is ready to stand against the gates of hell, ready with contingency for every possible d-day.
If I could characterise two churches simplistically:
πŸ’― one grasps grace's infinity, and rests in the rich assurance of God's unconditional kindness, this church operates on the basis of abundance in the great freedom of license to supply every creative endeavour.
πŸ†˜ one grasps sin's infinity, and faces the world, the flesh and the devil with appropriate gravity, humility and urgency. This church, intimately acquainted with the awful suffering of a corrupt world in distress, engineers considerable premptive and protective compassion.
Both over-realised eschatologies bear distorted fruit.
Better by far to be both-and ready.

Lk12v41-42 Universal or particular? For those who are chosen or for those who choose? Both both. All.  Both And Both. Foreknown yet unfolding. Fated yet freely found. Formed first yet fought for. // I have been thinking about the strange mystery of grace and causation this week, with the settling of this strange peace. It seems both so hard-won, so prayed and sought for, and yet also totally utterly gifted. All without expectation is the master's, the servants have much to do.

Lk12v43-44 🏠 I am finding it so interesting that this passage about eschatological anticipation is framed as being stewardship of a "household" v42 Axiomatic household responsibility here is made actively and strongly imperative thus:
⚖ Household responsibility is held to account with terrifying severity: our delegated household responsibility is power, the abusive abuse of that power is punishable v45, but, what is more harrowing, the negligent neglect to exercise that responsibility is also punishable v47.
πŸ† Household responsibility in a limited domain is is subject to performance review, rewarded with responsibility in an unlimited domain "set him over all his possessions.." v44
🏑 What is a household? A couple of days ago, Alastair Roberts posted these thoughts on a theology of the household The household is a rooted, unabstract, parabolic place of relational integration, economic productivity, holistic apprenticeship..
πŸ‘₯ A household  is intersubjective. A couple of days ago, Giles Fraser wrote of Peterson's Pelagianism. Which led us to a discussion to define JBP's short-comings. While affirming much of his John-the-Baptistic social critique of desert-path-straightening-room-tidying and his rich revival of a theological archetypal poetic, I would say Peterson's psychocentric and left-critical affirmation of the divine individual errs to the obscuring of good being-collective, tacitly and explicitly framing corporate-enterprise-generally and the-church-specifically as less-than-the-sum of their hypocritical codependencies. For all that is right about considering-the-spec-in-your-own-eye and getting-your-own-house-in-order, household-wise, Tidy Your Room, at least as it is soundbited, inculcates a miniaturist morality, satisfied by the perfectability of monad's household, a monk's cell.
πŸ‘΄πŸ‘¨πŸ‘Ά An intersubjective household is intergenerational - profitably, even necessarily, where 'generation' is rightly defined. I've been thinking about generations. An ambiguous term, 'Generation' conjures a range as follows: the biological begats of 1Chr1, basic birthing of life, generative as it exponentially multiplies numbers of a tribe, as promised Gn17v2. In this way, the kingdom pervades generations Ps14513 by the commendation of God's acts Ps145v4-5 and by the passing down of God's wisdom unto generations Ps78v4-6. Thus it is a true truth that we exist as extensions of generations, as karma's nature nurtured us in the ways Larkin's parents fucked us up Dt5v9-10.
~ Then. Out of this tribal morass of homogenised repercussions, [Jr31v29 “In those days they shall no longer say:‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.’" pondered during the latest beer brew] Now we're no longer that sort of intergenerational community.. [Jn9v2 "who sinned, man or father..?"] it's upside-downed. A new birth is spoken, disrupting and reframing generationality [Mk3v35 "Who is my mother and brother.?"] Seeds of the gospel lead to new life, new generationality, new integenerationality 2Tm2v1-2
πŸ›πŸ› Intergeneration household provides food assymetrically. See management concerns the giving of a "portion of food" v42 - that is, practising the presence of Jehovah Jireh - cake on their plate while you wait.
I preach to myself, mostly. The above stream of thoughts leads me to two refreshed convictions.
Household responsibility (which is urgent today) which is necessarily relational is assymetrically generational and concerns the provision of food.
Generational ministry (which is urgent today), definitionally is a taking-responsibility-for - the most effective vehicle and most productive context for gifting the Other with a taking-responsibility-for-them, is the household.

Lk12v45-46 Another verse about knowing and not-knowing. There is a form of uncertainty here which turns into its own kind of cynical certainty. Not-knowing whether the master will return becomes a kind of certainty that he won't, a form of despair, cynicism or indifference. Actions bleed all their meaning, the past, present and future become fragmented, irreverence reigns. This is why recognising the type of uncertainty we rightly live with as Christians, and the type of uncertainty we don't live with, matters. I am reading Rebecca Solnit at the the moment - she says that 'the future is dark....as in inscrutable, not as in terrible. We often mistake the one for the other. Or we transform the future’s unknowability into something certain, the fulfilment of all our dread.' I think there is something right in her diagnosis of how the frustration or pain of unknowing is easily transmuted into cynicism or despair, rather than hope. I also think there is more to say here about how we hold unknowing and also what it is that we don't know. In this picture a true calibration of the uncertainty would be uncertainty as to how and when the master will return, uncertainty as to what the master would have me do exactly, uncertainty as to the best forms of management of the household...these are different to an uncertainty that the master will return. This certainty, that all things will be restored, is the certainty that all the uncertainties can live in the light of. We need the ultimate safety and concern of God in order to hold the rest of our uncertainties well, and in order to be set free most fully to act with the grain of this redemptive work.

Lk12v47-48 πŸ™ˆπŸ™‰ "that servant who knew.. severe beating" ... "the one who did not know.. light beating" We know this. And so we long to not know. Rudd wanted to not have known about Windrush. Trump wants to not know about collusion. We all want deniability, and achieve this by gymnastic willed imprecision, a smoke and mirrors charade of civic discourse, the noisy noise of opiate fake newsery. "Everything clarified and articulated becomes visible; maybe neither wife nor husband wished to see or understand. Maybe they left things purposefully in the fog. Maybe they generated the fog, to hide what they did not want to see." (JBP p274)

Lk12v49-50 Fire. Apt for this Pentecost week. Why is fire like love? By coincidence this morning we also read Mt24v36-50, Matt's version of this same passage. PH reflected that what it depicts is mercy, which is to say, it depicts the destruction of evil, and therefore preserves and protects the good, which is the work of love. So William Blake's poem for Pentecost, shared on Sunday:
Unless the eye catch fire,
Then God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
Then God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
Then God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
Then God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
Then God will not be known

Lk12v51-52 πŸ•―πŸ”₯πŸ­πŸ‘©‍🏭 "Fire made it possible ... There was no Bronze Age without fire, no Iron Age without fire, no Industrial Revolution without fire. Anybody get here in a car today? An automobile? Nod your heads if you did – I know there were some carriages. But those of us who came in cars, fire – controlled, harnessed fire – made that possible. I know that the Bible says – and I believe it – that Jesus walked on the water. But I have to tell you, I did not walk across the Atlantic Ocean to get here. Controlled fire in that plane makes it possible.."  "..if humanity ever harnesses the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captures the energy of love – it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire." What is controlled fire as it allegorises to love? For surely, not all that burns is love. And not all that burns is appropriately controlled. Rm1v27 is a burning, Jm3v6 is a burning.
Love is fire, but. Of all places, Windsor should know the danger and the cost of the power of fire. Parabolically, in 1992, a spotlight, illuminating art, in a private chapel, ignited a curtain, which burned for 12 hours and left £36m's worth of devastation.
The God of love is not-peace-but-a-sword, this God of love is a ferocious and jealous love, and must thus be divisive. Fire, as love, will not be carelessly invoked, will not be harnessed to prop up ideologies, will not be diluted as a signifier of merely vague sentiment and naive affection.
Love divides. There is decision and discipline and, definitionally, discrimination in love. Love as love is for a this and not a that, for an other over against self, it must be difficult, it must be selective. To be personal it must be partial and preferential and direct and deliberate and delineated. To have any weight it must cost something, submit something, sacrifice something - and what is that something except everything if it is to be in proportion to the object of that love which is an infinite person.
Love is a harrowing horror, an unmaking and an undoing, a decentralising and bankrupting of self. Love is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God.
"Five.." an interesting number for division. Inter-inter-subjective facing. A dyad and a triad versus. The smallest possible asymmetric them&us tribal conflict. Jesus goes on to frame this a generational division and a gendered divide.

Lk12v53-54 On being united and divided by Jesus, marked by generation, marriage & gender. This warning meets me in a season of being with in-laws, and a season where we have been thinking about generations, natural & spiritual, on what is received & transmitted across generations, hence the Navs' focus on generations. What can we distill from this verse? Jesus can be received & transmitted across generations, or Jesus can disrupt what is received & transmitted across generations. Jesus can be received & transmitted within gendered interaction, or Jesus can disrupt what is received & transmitted within gendered interaction. Jesus can be received & transmitted in the meeting, mingling & extending of families through marriage, or Jesus can disrupt what plays out here. Glory be, for surely most of us live in a mixed up matrix of giving and receiving both the good and the bad. I have always read this verse as highlighting division between Christians and non-Christians due to the disruption of Jesus - because alligence to Him is ultimate, transforming everything. Could it also apply to divisions between Christians? Might Jesus sometimes divide us in a dialectical way, in order to bring out and break our surface differences and conflicts, for the sake of bringing us to deeper unity? I think so. A fearful thought, but also a beautiful one, holding in mind that any division Jesus brings is for the sake of deeper unity: Eph2v14-22. He Himself is our peace. So, as we said at dinner, your mother can also be your sister. What a thought.

Lk12v55-56 πŸŒ… "You know how to interpret.." Don't you? Jesus accuses the Pharisees for their unread sky at night in Mt16v1-4; here he accuses the crowd at large. He is making disinterpretation a culpable offence. The universe is sufficiently ordered, sufficiently patterned, sufficiently legible as a domain of cause and effect, that I bear a responsibility to interpret signal from noise and to live accordingly. I observe epidemic disinterpretation - in my millennial self and in so called postmodern culture at large: the sanitised hypocrisy of abdicating epistemic responsibility (see Mt21v27.. _"let's say we don't know"_ ), the infinite palliative agnosticism that claims we cannot know, which ambiguates order and willfully disconnects cause from effect. Chaos ensues.
🌫 To return, meteorologically, to JBP's "..maybe they generated the fog, to hide what they did not want to see." His antidote to this chaos? Set your own house in order, tell the truth, or at least, don't lie, and be precise in your speech.. Ignoring for the moment, the detail of his advice, there is an underlying call to take responsibility for your language, to let your yes be yes. JBP, perhaps, exaggerates the extent to which this is a contemporary predicament, or perhaps not ~ see similar has long been the case, Jonah is called to a Ninevah in which "120,000 persons who [did] not know their right hand from their left.." Jh4v11 Let your yes be yes, your left be left, your pronouns and your identities. JBP's surprisingly controversial, surprisingly disruptive, common sense maxim, is coupled with counsel to study nature, as a mindful and political action, consider the world as it is, be it lobsters' serotonin or Ruskin's morphology of leaves Christopher Alexander butterfly wings, in all the inestimably rich throwness of our being in nature. Observe, draw, speak, imitate.
🌧 I was struck yesterday re-reading SC's letter to me from a few years ago, cautioning perfectionist procrastinators . "Like clouds and wind without rain, is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give." Pr25v14 I want to be of substance, to follow through, to grasp the world weightily, to be consequential, to be of consequence. True seeing, true interpretting, in all things, has it's allegory and instruction in attending to the natural world. God let me learn to see and understand, and to speak with like consistency, to attend to the logos, and carry meaning deep into the modern maelstrΓΆm.
🌌 Tangentially, of observing natural phenomena, I am reminded of Blade Runner's paean to humanness as it is being lost, Roy Batty, a robot, has recognised the heavens  declaring what humans in their depravity and hypocrisy have forgotten "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the darkness at TannhΓ€user Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die."

Lk12v57-58 Try hard to be reconciled. Try hard to be reconciled. I spoke the words up and down the library steps and through the corridors yesterday after and before difficult conversations with multiple parties in need of reconciliation. It feels somewhat devoid of content, these two verses, hard to grasp on to some new insights with which to approach this difficult situation in a new way, but I step inside the command - try hard to be reconciled - and acknowledge that this is a word for this situation. I pray it over all involved, that each one would continue to press into the labour of it. Jesus identifies the need for labour in this situation, and also for 'judgment', which is to say - clear thinking, perception, discernment, wisdom. I pray for all parties that they would see newly and anew, that the 'judge for yourselves what is right' would be illuminated by the holy spirit, Jn16v8, judgment shaped by conviction of one's own sin and of God's righteousness. Reading ahead to Lk13v6-8, this picture of having tried three times and yet there being space for another try, this too is a picture for this situation. I pray that labours yesterday all round constitute digging and fertilising. I pray for a full and fruitful trajectory of total reconciliation, in the name of Jesus.

Lk12v59 πŸ’° "paid the very last penny." Everything costs. Time foments. Intermediation escalates. Comeuppance is inescapable. Hell is being-unresolved. Moral debt does not fade, is not subjective and cannot be transferred by the debtor. v56 "Judge for yourself.."  Indeed, judge yourself, tune in to the objective and substantial consequences of the sins of your-ignorance, your-weakness and your-own-deliberate-fault.
πŸ†“ Of these pennies, however, note that you can absorb others' costs, you can set people free, out of the bank of the superabundance of your spiritual inheritance. Thusly Paul writes 1Cor6v7 "Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?" to address a context of conflict between believers. It is more important that the body of Christ be unitedly one than it is for me to be technically right. Down to my very last penny?
🎁 I have been thinking about debt in the context of asymmetric and uncalibrated gift transactions. Gifts which are not given out of a legibly superabundant source, gifts which imply, even by omission, a sacrificial cost to the giver in the register of the givee, create debt. In the context of an ongoing relational web of substantial and symbolic gift-exchanges, that debt is a rich and literally priceless source of solidarity. In abstraction, in disunity, in mediated, sub-personal translations however, debt is power to the creditor and a robbing of the dignity of the giftee.
⚖ This morning, I would be interested to hear any help applying a framework of debt to other familiar do-not's in assymetrical relationships:
"do not be unequally yoked" 2Cor6v14
"do not exasperate your children" Eph6v4
"do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain" Dt25v4, 1Cor9v9, 1Tim5v18
~ what is it to pay the last penny for disobedience in these realms?