Saturday, 13 October 2018

texting luke eighteen

Honest questions. Recently pondered, at some length and obscurity. Not without a sense of irony. All are welcome to come and think with us, to moderate the language, and triangulate the thinking - together - that we might all come as children - together - predicated on the village it needs to raise them. 07729056452

Lk18v1-2 Okay, fine. I'll ask again.

Lk18v3-4 ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿป‍⚖Who is God? What picture of God incites you to pray? What picture of God would you use to motivate others to pray without ceasing?
๐Ÿ•ท Jesus conjures a world in which we are widows. We are widows. Tragic precarious characters in a callous universe controlled by selfish genes, random chance and cruel fate, an existence pitted against nameless adversaries. We are hard-done-by ones, carrying a victim complex entitlement curdled in a survivor’s guilt. We are bitter black widows armed with the fury of being spurned by the cosmos, abandoned in an act of God, infinitely vulnerable we have nothing left to lose in gaming compassion and unabashedly importuning fate, raging at the night sky, calling down curses at the absurdity of an indifferent infinity.
๐Ÿ‘ฐ๐Ÿคต But we are not widows. We know secure attachment as the infinitely beloved bride of Christ. He, our cosmic husband, he is alive. So, why then speak of us as widows and the universe as an unjust judge?
~ The parable works if we are not widows and as such should ponder how far from widow we are, thus as an a fortoriori argument - as being much more then how much more should we enjoy to pray constantly.
~ The parable works if we consider all the ways we are widows in the not-yet dimension of our now-and-not-yet of our being - and in such we should be persevering in prayer.
๐Ÿ™❔ What, then, is prayer?
๐Ÿ™❔ What is it?
๐Ÿ™❔ What do you do in the doing of prayer that would and should be persistable resilient perseverent? I have struggled to categorise my unease with the Pray Until Something Happens bracelets. Is prayer itself not it’s own form of a Happening? What are the sufficient conditions for 'Something’?  How do you pray relentlessly without superstition? I want to learn to pray. I consider two proverbial widows: Muslims and the Occupy movement.
๐Ÿ•Œ Muslims. Five-a-day as if it be the food of love. Do you talk to God with others that often? Islam looms as a glaring a fortoriori indictment of Christian lukewarm pragmatism and our contemporary allergy to collective praxes. It is quite humanly possible to muster a community to convene to speak to a cruel and unspeaking God, how much more so we who believe in more-than? Hb10v25
Occupy. Bolshy askers who unabashedly demand justice, orphan anarchists railing to the barricade, laying their lives down. Prayer is desire. Prayer is holistic prophetic embodiment. Prayer is resistance. Prayer should risk to wear you out, or otherwise, why would Jesus have made time to encourage us not to grow faint. Christianity is an affair of the heart, it is the heart’s desires which God engages. Ps37v4
~ Desire God. Desire a world other than it is. Do the desiring together and do not grow weary. In this way, pray.

Lk18v5-6 The unjust judge is ultimately unjust because he does not rightly hold the parts and the whole. This judge ultimately caves into justice for the sake of order, he wants the whole to be less chaotic. There is something in him of the detached politician who doesn't really care about individuals but cares about 'society as a whole', cares that there are people who are not too upset or angry or revolutionary, because that makes the whole unstable. The unjust judge does not care so much for the widow, but cares if she wails outside the door making a fuss, he cares that she's a bother. This desire for peace and order in society, untethered from care for the individual, represents God's heart in the former but absolutely distorts God's heart in the latter. God is interested in justice for the sake of both the parts and the whole, the means and the end, the individual and the collective. A just society is a better society (the spirit level, and all that) and so even a theology that over-emphasises the collective and under-emphasises the individual can be made to recognise the individual through persistance. This is the heart of activism, which rails against dehumanisation. This parable tells us something about how we can pursue justice in a broken world, then, and also something about God. There are different strategies for pursuing justice in a broken world - if eliciting empathy and recognition of personhood does not work, then civil disobedience might. Insofar as the parable tells us something about God it is that God is unlike the judge in that God does not only care about creating a well-oiled society (he does, but not this alone), but also cares absolutely and deeply for the individual. Levinas highlights that in life together we must always hold together a sense of the objective ordering of society with an absolute intersubjective concern for the individual face to face. And God is the zenith of both prongs of justice.

Lk18v7-8"speedily" A relative term, in the light of eternity. It would be possible to get hung up on a metric for this speed as if to ponder a theology of speed along the lines of: ๐Ÿ‘ผ๐Ÿ‘ผ๐Ÿ‘ผ๐Ÿ“if angels can dance at the speed of light, how many of them could be said to fit on the head of a needle in a given perceivable moment. Speedily is in the eye of the beholder. It is a relative term. It is an honourific. How fast is fast enough to qualify as speedily? The world wants fast.
๐Ÿ“ข What do we want? Justice!
๐Ÿ“ข When do we want it? Now!
⏱ The bible recognises the value of speed, the prescience of efficient reconciliation, the non-linear relationship of delays to entrenching bitterness over time.
Mt5v25 "Settle matters quickly with your adversary.."
Eph4v26 "Don't let the sun go down on your anger.."
⏱ This is a quality of God which we can practice, like operating on the basis of abundance, but in the domain of time. Operate on the basis of urgent prescience. Forgive first and fast.
"will he find faith on earth?" Have you found faith? Elusive commodity that it is. As fast as justice is, it is held in loving tension with patience:
2Pt3v9 "not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient.."
Rm5v6 "At just the right time.."
Too quick justice would doom us all.
This is a quality of God which we can practice. Being long suffering, bearing up in God's strength in the not-yet for the not-yet. Waiting patiently with God, as the vast human oil tanker of the cosmos is nudged round in its orientation, by a million acts of loving forbearance and miraculous reconciliation.

Lk18v9-10 The GNB translates this: "Sure of their own goodness, but despised everyone else." The NIV: "confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else." The ESV: "trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt." Strong and evocative words. We all have a complex set of feelings about ourselves and about others, and these are interconnected. So many feelings, so much energy, so many arguments and so many stumbling blocks are the result of the tangle of deflated and overinflated self-understanding and other-understanding. We are liable to think both too much of ourselves and not enough of ourselves, and we are liable to think too little of others and too much of them at the same time. In Transactional Analysis one is encouraged to move away from [1] 'I'm ok, you're not ok' thinking and [2] 'I'm not ok, you're ok' thinking towards [3] 'I'm ok, you're ok' thinking.  Some version of this is right, we need a recovery of common creatureliness and belovedness which puts all parties in a place of safety, grace and original imago dei from which to engage one another. This also needs to be coupled with [4] 'I'm not ok, you're not ok' thinking, a sense of the thread of brokenness that runs through both self and other. Holding together the true tension of [3] and [4], rather than an unstable oscillation between [1] and [2] prompts both humility and bearing-with, rather than pride, contempt, self-denigration or idolisation.
Easier said than done. So help me God.

Lk18v11-12 Thank God I'm not like one of those, cryptobros in drop-top lambos. I tell you, it's hard being this holy, tithing my bitcoin.. Dear Christian, it is a dangerous thing to be the good-guy-over-and-against, it is a risky presumption to believe you are A Better Way.

Lk18v13-14 'All those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted'. Why is this? Not because God arbitrarily likes humility more than exaltation and rewards the former and condemns the latter, but rather because the internal logic of self-exaltation means that this method quickly runs out of itself and blocks the way of the infinite. Our egos so quickly artificially inflate and stifle the natural flow of God's power and glory and grace, whereas humility puts us in the more tender place of surrender and attunement to the already-at-work trinitarian abundance, where we join in the dance of Father exalting Son exalting Spirit. We get to join in! When not preoccupied with our own small souls.

Lk18v15-16 It's been the emotionally busiest week of the year. And then these verses. I took off for a walk with God, yesterday, Saturday, phone-off, striking out to Clapham's coffee, thence winding in the sun to Brixton. Aching, at length, What is a child..? A dusty Coldharbour Lane's hum dappled by autumn was hosting a dispute in the distance, a hundred yards closer to and he was bellowing at she screaming at him. Their bus stop twitched anxiously. "You're not going to keep the child. I've got a son already.." So loud. She stepped into the bus lane to hail the P4. He wrangled her from the door and pinned her painfully against a wall. "Get rid of it." So loud. The mustered poses of the bus stop intended to intervene. She tore on to the bus. He slunk away. All of reality is shattered. It is no heroic ruin, but a soiled mediocre edifice, crumpled in a tawdry amateur social-realist film. I sat down on one of those awkward one-person benches. The unbearable banality of all my own helpless but culpable evil. The triviality of pondering what is a child? ~ Everything in me full of pride and death lurks in the discipleship on display in these verses.
๐Ÿ‘ถ What is a child? It's not self-evident what exactly the disciples see and rebuke in the bringing of children. It is preached somewhat intuitively that we are to come God as children, children qua small and humble. But somehow, the children in these verses must have been offensive to the disciples, and offensive by virtue of some childic quality other than their innocuous compact frames. All around me children are obscured, prevented, excluded and generally anathema to the elaborate system of London without, and anathema to the plausible praxis of responsible mental frailty within. Why? How might it be otherwise? What is a child?
๐Ÿ‘ถ A child is a display of the Kingdom. Not incidentally. Where children are, there the Kingdom is. It would be too strong to say, where children are not, there the Kingdom is not, but. But there is something unabstractable about a child, that cannot learnt elsewhere. There is a quality of the Kingdom which is exclusively to be understood in the close observational study of children, and by study of one's self as you are transformed by the intimate responsibility for an infinitely dependent tiny human.
๐Ÿ‘ถ A child is irreducible. A child is a distinct thing. No mere sum of abbreviated parts, no mere adult in waiting, not merely a coincidence of the qualities of physical vulnerability and prepubescent underdevelopment. A child is not a scaled-down, dialed-down adult, they are not an echo suggesting their future utility, they are a distinct things in their own right. They have their own unique ability to contribute to the well-being of society. They are agents they are participants, and, properly engaged they are a cure for many ills.
๐Ÿ‘ถ A child is an end in itself, but never apprehensible as an end in itself. No one is capable of desiring (or undesiring) a child abstracted from its social and economic signification, the mire of idolatry, powerplay, insecurity, which a child makes itself a conduit for. We are only capable of desiring the presence or absence of children in corrupt and half-formed ways, we a moved by those ends to which a child is the means, the heaven or hell it promises, the extrinsic cost or reward. The human heart is selfish above all, and a child is fuel to that fire. No child needs to be born as their parent's salvation, no child can bear that toxic mantle. No child should be unborn as their parent's salvation. Oh what a wretched man I am.
๐Ÿ‘ถ A child is cherubic innocence. A child is a trophy of purity and everything you could have been. A child is a blank slate, a vessel for the projection of ideals. These untarnished future humans are the solution to every contemporary problem of mankind. A saccharine and sentimental salvation, they are flaunted as tacit bundles of a fecundity gospel misreading 2Tim2v15 as a biological reward from the prosperity God's cosmic slot machine Ps127v3 Mt19v29 Pr3v9-10.. A child is a status symbol, a luxury accessory, the fruit of obedience to the cultural mandate Gn9v7. Queen Bey knows it; Children of Men captures it.  A child is an emotional cheat code, a totem of phenomenal influence, a lightsabre of coercive cute.
๐Ÿ‘ถ A child is an investment. A speculative investment with ROI in about 30 years. A child is a slowly appreciating asset, a nest egg, a capital growth plan. A child is a massive gamble, plurally they are a hedged bet on your pension future, so have a quiverfull Ps127v5.
๐Ÿ‘ถ A child is a side effect of intimacy. A byproduct of love within a controversially gendered, controversially heterosexual universe. A multitude of children would be the default course of action. So much so that the burden of proof should fall on our onanistic [Gn38v9] and ruthlessly contracepted civilisation in which children are not seen and not heard and not born. The abortion debate is not a niche ethical concern, it is a conerstone of modernity, Alastair Roberts draws this out into deeply uncomfortable waters. What would the opposite of our civilisation look like, wrt fertility? What would the opposite of the invisibility of children be? What furnishes a universe with that plausibility? What sort of no-holds-barred intimacy, what sort of macro finance, what sort of relentless and reconciled grandparenting, what sort of unsiloed despecialised industries of care, what sort of asymmetrically gendered self-understanding.. what would undergird a procreation of the many and not the few?
๐Ÿ‘ถ A child is a person. Awkwardly there. Undeniably infinite in value. Helplessly incapable of self-care. You were once one - embarrassing to say. There are no shades or gradients in their personhood, while their strength, size and savvy may grow, their personhood is obnoxiously binary. The newborn is unlimited intrinsic value, and zero or negative utility value. This gnaws at the pride of the disciples, it unsettles materialists. A child is uncomfortably and devastatingly a person - they are perhaps the supreme testimony to this - if only we would have more of them, more conspicuously around.
๐Ÿ‘ถ A child is link in an intergenerational continuum. Christianity is an intergenerational continuum. We are formed in such a full stack, full spectrum, holistic communion of generative generations. A child is the cause and the effect, the means and the end of enduring and adoring familiality. Have children. Bring the infants to Jesus. Contra protestantism's sterile individualism, that de-venerates Mary and disavows paedobaptism, and that so elevates a workplace work ethic as to subtly devalue non-fungible labours of care. Blessed are the breasts that nursed Jesus? Lk11v27 No. “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Thusly, believing that Jesus was raised on formula. We razed the villages needed to raise a child. We have atomised faith, and abstracted family and obscured the idea of children. Christianity is something that we do and we can do it in degrees of excellence, together.
๐Ÿ‘ถ A child is a personal liability. “Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days..” Luke 21:23; “they will say ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.'" Luke 23:29 A child is a symptom of peace. A child is a canary in a coalmine: the first to go when things turn sour. Things have turned sour. These are the last days. Motherhood is a modern death, suburban slavery foretold in Revolutionary Road, marketed to as victims accordingly.
๐Ÿ‘ถ A child is a political liability. Children are a plague, the most eradicable form of the human virus. So Herod Mt2v16, so Pharoah Ex1v16, so capitalism commitment to entrenching silos of the exploitable sexless ageless childless invulnerable worker - by a similar expedient genocide. A child is an afterthought, an externality, a fly in the ointment of a robotic future. Children are voiceless and voteless in all democratic systems of government, and children a burden to the economy for longer than the political term of any democratic system.
๐Ÿค— "Come to me" Let them. Come to Jesus - he is necessary, he is sufficient. For your inner child. For your future child. For your estranged children. Stop preventing them from coming to Jesus.
๐Ÿค— "Touch them" Christianity is negotiated contact time. Christianity is haptic and tactile. Christianity is proximity to brush up against.
~ Allow it. God, please.

Lk18v17-18 Receive like a child. Often I hear in Jesus' words here an emphasis on simplicity and security, and I think this is part of it, but today I am struck that what it is to come as a child is to come confused and unknowing but capable of learning. To come as a child is to come as clay to be moulded, it is to come with a heart for formation. Come to Jesus overwhelmed and overstimulated, flailing and out of sync, but in all this oriented towards learning, being taught, both in the what and the how. To come to Jesus as a child is to come immature, but to be on a trajectory towards maturity. Come as a child. Come as a child. Come as a child. I want Jesus to teach me what I cannot teach myself.

Lk18v19-20 Good. Good enough. Goods and services. Goodness gracious. Goodie two shoes. The good stuff. What good is it? There is a gooey sort of good. A vague nicety. A tolerable vanilla. Is your God good? Ref Tomlin's tautological father here transposed 
God is good? All the time.
All the time? God is good.
Is your God's goodness merely a negation of the negative? That's not bad. The only sufficient goodness is superabundant prevenient self-sacrificial goodness. When the world sees a church that doesn't murder, steal or lie ~ the world yet knows, that is not good enough.

Lk18v21-22 Follow. It's hard to hear and analyse the word 'follow', so ubiquitous is it to hear the phrase 'follower of Jesus' that I find it hard to wade through the meaning of the word and pinpoint what it is that Jesus asks us to do when he asks us to follow him. The word is 'akolouthei', and Strong's tell me that the word origin is 'union' and 'a road' - to follow is to be united on the road. It involves being in the same place as someone, being present to them, and becoming like them, in some sense, in the context of a trajectory. Following follows the person to be close to them but it also follows them where they are going. There is surrender in following, both to what is unknown and unpalatable in the other's will, and to the unknown and unchosenness of the future, specifically the unknown of the place that he other may lead you to in the future. Following involves this double surrender. Tonight we discuss something of leading and following. It is not for us to tell others how to follow, so I commit this to the Holy Spirit. But we pray that as we try to image and incarnate the Kingdom of God in concentric circles, that we would model what it is to follow the Christ, to double surrender to the otherness of His will and otherness of His future, to actively choose this following. This passage is a warning about the things that stop us from following - comfort, entitlement and material goods being a common blockage, but there are other things we cling to which prevent our surrender. Spirit, we pray for the understanding, the grace and the courage to 'sell everything' that keeps us from following.

Lk18v23-24 "Difficult.." ฮดฯ…ฯƒฮบฯŒฮปฯ‰ฯ‚ dyskolลs I really want this phrase to mean something precise, I want some reference to nuance and triangulate what exactly this "difficult" is. The phrase only occurs here and in the parallels.
Mt19v23 - Rich is always the guy on £3k more than you..
Mk10v23 - Christian climbs hill difficulty..
Part of the difficulty, is the epistemological difficulty of knowing what wealth means. We did the pejorativisation of wealth in Lk16v23-24, and a discussion with Peter ensued which I haven't otherwise revisited. Christians should create value and steward resource and have much to give much. But. I think "wealth" is not merely unfortunately ambiguous, it is actively problematic. "Wealth" can and should be excised from a vocabulary of legitimate Christian pursuits, in favour of a notion of value-stewarding which carries more intrinsic generosity.  Because "Wealth" has already been clearly defined in the popular imagination Hence presuming to be merely neutrally "wealthy" and remaining a Christian, this is extremely difficult. And, I would argue, impossible.
I want to acknowledge the range of meanings for "Wealth" and suggest that within that range there have been both good and bad meanings. This ambiguity is exploited, linguistically and so in life, by individuals trying to sell wealth products, and by the enemy trying to whitewash a deep pathology. Thus, I want to provoke, by a pejorative reading of "Wealth", a re-vocabularisation of the how we speak about money's danger and responsibility.
The range:
Good "Wealth" is Value. "Wealth"-creation is Value-creation, we are value creators, dazzling displays of the fruitful stewards bring about rich and flourishing commons, over and against all that devalues, distorts and destroys. "Wealth" is a reflection of justice in production and distribution, wealth is shalom is heaven is abundance. "Wealth" is poetic, it's a sunrise, its a rainbow, it is the commonwealth of the common good.
Bad "Wealth" is stored private equity. "Wealth" is an unfettered license to building bigger barns for the hoarded accumulation of private capital. "Wealth" is wealthier-than, it is always relative to the lower-middle-classes, "Wealth" won over and against the Jones. "Wealth" is GDP. "Wealth" is the entrenchment of the marketisation everything and rendering everything as fungible and defining all humans as producers and consumers only.
The ambiguity:
"Wealth" is a seductive word, it conjures comfort easily won, it suggests the business of high level abstraction. Would a dairy farmer identify as a "wealth" creator? would a mid-wife? would a dancer? ~ "Wealth" is a flabby vague idiom, comfortably blurry at the edges.
A friend in Nottingham wanted to cook some chicken. Do you want legs, brest, thigh, wings? No, do you have any general body meat? I his mind there was such a category, a none of the above, just meat without previous utility. So "wealth" hints at world where things have only market value* - if this wasn't the case you would talk of industry-creators etc - specific artifacts and specific processes engaged in the production of unabstractable things.
So, "Wealth"-Creators-for-Christ, who wouldn't want in on that sanctified fast-track to the middle classes. The ambiguity is exploited by well-intentioned ones such as Lausanne - who dangle the carrot of nice wealth, but I would say that they are naive to assume that "wealth creation" is a self-evident activity totally distinct from any Rich Young Man dilemma; naive also to assume that a note against "wealth hoarding" is a self-evident activity that can easily be extracted from the intrinsic mechanisms of fashioning "Wealth"-as-"Wealth"- and even if you could cleanly delineate wealth hoarding, I think it is grossly to underestimate it to think a caveat in a manifesto is proportional to Jesus' view on wealth hoarding. I think their whole project would be better served by a word other than "Wealth".  In promoting wealth creation, I'm sure Lausanne don't want to multiply a band of rich young men, an army of stock piling little emperors - but it won't not happen be merely asking.
SB are building a platform for tokenised payments on the blockchain that is different to bitcoin in a salient way - it advantages you in no way to hoard it. It is an entire economy that only realises any value when it is in use as a discount token against that use. You can make SWC work really hard, but you can't speculate on it. Amongst the things motivating this startup is the hope to enable an enfranchised middle, and in certain people's language that would be to facilitate wealth creation, but I think my own current thinking is that it is Utility and value creation. I think wealth has many positive connotations, but in sum, I find it a tainted word with too much baggage to make a manifesto for.
I'm not making a point against the private property, and certainly not a political point that any good can come of centralising the administration of resources at inappropriate scales.
"Wealth" is dewealthed in/by the subsidiarity of household management weaponised as a tool for the task of Kingdom Home Economics. Everything should be tooled towards the activity, nothing should be lumpen capital. Urgently.
This is difficult.

Lk18v25-26 Jesus used surrealist humour before surrealist humour was a thing. A camel through the eye of a needle? We've become so familiarised with this phrase that we forget it's absurd comedy. Jesus uses absurdities and incongruities to draw our attention to the impossibility of the Kingdom within our own tidy logic and effort. He playfully brings us to a jarring halt, causing us to see reality itself differently.  Allow yourself to hear the playful absurdity in Jesus' words, to feel their uncanniness. Let them unsettle you and amuse you both, insofar as both of these responses may lead you to give up your illusion of your control, of your safety and security in your own strength. The world is much much weirder than you think, the Trinitarian God wants to take everything away from you and give far more back. Don't be so fearful of this strangeness that you cling more tightly to your wealth or other comfort, lean in to the perplexing but captivating logic of the Godhead, that turns everything upside down and fits the whole cosmos into a stable. Help us, God.

Lk18v27-28 "We have left our homes." Or in KJV and others, "We have left all.." Left all. In the wake of Banksy's shredding incident, other auto-destructive artworks have been reflected on. Michael Landy's Break Down involved all his possessions being destroyed.  Where does my sense of the plausible come from? My stuff is the facility of my horizon that boundaries my possible. What if we reconfigured all stuff as dead weight? What if the human race was a race to the bottom of emptied pockets generously disgorged?
Impossible is nothing.
~ Anxious Phil believes: Impossible is no-things, the voids, the tightrope walk with no rope - it can't be done.
~ Faithful Phil believes: The so-called "impossible" is nothing, it is bluster, exaggeration and distortion, by the Prince of the air, who's only power is to rebrand possible anxiously.
"We have left all.." Peter's evidence of the impossible? Peter protesting his own salvation? Jesus, am I poor enough? The world does not need put-upon bleeding heart martyrs pity parading their beneficence. Sacrifice is searingly relative - giving up chocolate for Lent is both significant and trivial at the same time.
Operating on the basis of abundance never sacrifices anything. See David Livingstone:

Lk18v29-30 Money is one thing, but for some of us the more fundamental, wide-reaching and habit-forming idol is our relationships. When she heard these things she went away sad, because she had lots of relationships. She went away sad because there were lots of opinions that mattered to her. She went away sad because her relationship status told her who she was. Husband. Parents. Brother. The children I desire but don't yet have. Colleagues. Students. Housemates. Friends. I have to 'give up' each one as the measure of my inheritance of eternal life.  God, lead me from this sadness to surrender.

Lk18v31-32 ๐Ÿ‘€ "See.." Don't you see? The attentive life. What would Jesus have you behold? Look where you're going, why don't you? We are always going up to Jerusalem. All of life is the final countdown. All of life is a long march to the dรฉnouement. Behold.
"Everything.." The full set. All of Ps22. All of Is53. A brutal totality. A comprehensive abasement, the systematic destruction of a person, utterly in all the ways you can unmake a man. Why is that important? Why was it not enough that Jesus be merely executed? If Jesus-died-for-my-sins is a substitutionary transaction, surely the unembellished extinguishing of a life for a life would accomplish this? Was Jesus death a superlative death? Is that important? How should I then live, and die?
๐Ÿ† "Accomplished.." What have you accomplished? In the downwardly mobile Christian life, there are in fact a number of axes on which to seek to accomplish sacrifice, suffering and servanthood: physically, financially, sociopolitically..
Lk14v27-28 The cross is no mere execution, it is peerless torture porn, perfected cruelty, stress-testing the human body to the point of failure. The cross is a definitionally excruciating death, caused typically by asphyxiation, where the exertion of lifting one's broken body to breath exceeds the tormented body's capacity to resist the pain of so doing. The cross is organised persecution by a calculating enemy, gratuitous enhanced interrogation with no questions and no answers, it is a political death fashioned to be emblematic of failure through perfect public abasement and superlative shame.
Mk10v33-34 'And' Jesus is about to get chewed up And spit out And booed off stage. Jesus died for our sins. In stages. If Jesus had just wanted to die for our sins, orchestrating a single sniper's bullet would have been sufficient. What is irreducible about the distinct experiences of Jesus' total assassination: of being mocked And of being spit at And of being flogged And of being killed? In the mechanics of of salvation, somehow, suffering in every way allows Jesus to sympathise in every way and to atone in every way.

Lk18v33-34 They did not understand any of these things. What is the place of confusion and non-understanding in the Christian life? On the one hand 'God is not a God of disorder but of peace' 1Cor18v33. A well-ordered life involves some epistemic order, involves understanding, the trajectory is always towards greater understanding. But it is important for us to recognise (esp those of us who spend their days hungry for understanding) that (i) the road to understanding often involves confusion, and (ii) that epistemic order is not the only kind of order. 
Of (i), understanding often involves unlearning of old presuppositions. Deconstruction for the sake of deconstruction is quickly a boring game, but often deconstruction of something old is needed to clear the road of the current aporia. Sometimes we have to sit down on the road, or walk backwards or across in order to find our way. This quickly feels like it becomes a vague fetishisation of 'I'm just in process, man', and there's lots of that around in the ether and in my lazy heart. But this doesn't mean that it's not true that robust dialectic towards ever expanding knowledge and understanding does in fact often involve a process of re-evaluating, unpicking presuppositions, laying things out and taking time to think about what was previously hard or even impossible to think about. The process of understanding is a genuine labour, involving huge amounts of not-understanding and confusion along the way. It seems very time inefficient - surely it would be better if we could receive divine data downloads with correct presuppositions in-built? The narrative of Jesus with the disciples illustrates that the process of coming close to the divine is typically very unlike this. It involves time, dialogue, repeating oneself, embodying the assumptions, getting it wrong, more dialogue. Bear with me, as I seek understanding in and through this messy process. In this drawn-out process, the disciples spend time with Jesus, which is part of (ii): epistemic and existential confusion invite us to draw close to the Christ in the space of unknowing itself, and there is an ordering of one's heart, one's attitudes, one's desires, one's loves which, while not divorced from understanding, exceed understanding. Richard Rohr's meditations this week have all been on this famous Cloud of Unknowing, and the opportunity it gives us to 'beat on that thick cloud of unknowing with the sharp arrow of longing and never stop loving', or with Merton to assert in truth that 'I die by brightness and the Holy Spirit': that I am in fact transfigured by all that God does outside the horizon of my understanding.
I pray for both prongs of the path from confusion, for myself and for you: (i) God, draw us from chaos to order, towards deeper, sharper, taken-apart-and-put-back-together mindful understanding of your Being, and (ii) God, draw us in our confusion not only towards knowledge but also towards surrender, towards trust, towards love, towards all holy longing uncodified by the spectrum of knowledge-ignorance. I recognise huge reservoirs of confusion in my life. Come with light and come with love. Amen

Lk18v35-36 "a blind man.. begging.." The Blind Beggar pub on Whitechapel Road is aptly named. Whitechapel having qualities of the Jericho road, a likely context for the ambush of Lk10v30's pilgrim making the same journey, the pub witnessed the Kray twins murder George Cornell at its saloon bar. The Blind Beggar was also the location of wandering evangelist William Booth's initial outdoor preaching that led to the formation of the Salvation Army in the East End.
There is special spiritual interest in these strategic geographies of flux, the grey no-man's-land at the urban periphery, where a frisson of fringe interests brush against the city proper. All arteries of power and traffic must cross a contended terrain, an interstitial sub-urban halo, littered with the long tail of human marginalia, the polluted detritus of perennial battles for the city's edge condition: the expelled and quarantined, also-rans and have-nots.
The blind beggar is the archetypal denizen of this realm. A transgressive domain neither the nether reaches nor too close to home, a convenient motel heterotopia. Jesus is at work there, the pathway to Calvary always travels through it. We are blind beggars. All around us, blind beggars, "inquiring what this meant.."

Lk18v37-38 'They told him 'Jesus of Nazareth is passing by'. He called out 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!'.' On me. On *me*.  Much of what I am circling back around at the moment, as I try to locate and understand the voices that speak truth and lies to me, is that I believe that Jesus is 'passing by' me, and I do not have the courage to shout at him, I do not believe that he would engage me personally, would look me in the face, would have any specific love or mercy directed at me personally. I must take responsibility for having to courage to shout out at Jesus for specific mercy, I must ask him to see me specifically. This feels like such a Christianity 101 thing to be struggling with - God is personal! God loves you! These are still the absolute hardest and most unbelievable things to me. Sometimes when I try to inhabit the space in which Jesus sees me specifically and talks to me as Sarah (rather than treating myself simply as a conduit for a spiritual something, vaguely 'tapping into the Spirit' or 'being attuned to' the work of a vague transpersonal divinity, as I am apt to) I freak out. I am overwhelmed by shame, fear, a sense that it is disgustingly entitled to presume that the God would speak to me specifically. I do not want to put myself before his gaze, I want to remain in the crowd and later report to others about his goodness in a general sort of way. God is personal! God loves me! This is so hard. Please pray for breakthrough in this area, that I might hear it in the second-person from the person of Jesus, without flinching or running away: 'receive your sight'. 

Lk18v39-40 ๐Ÿ“ฟ๐Ÿ“ข Jesus Christ. Son of God. Have Mercy on me, a sinner. The Jesus Prayer, wikipedia tells me, has its origins in Lk18, combining the publican/taxcollector's v13 "God be merciful to me, a sinner!" with the blind beggar's v38 "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" and then, v39 "all the more.. "Son of David, have mercy on me!"" - building through a quick crescendo from a catechism into a mantra into a bellowed slogan. He is ripe strawberries ripe. And I am a sinner.
๐Ÿ›‘ "Those in front of him" [in their Toyotas.] I tend to think of "the crowd" as a uniform ubiquitous dull mob bustled about Jesus with a consistent tenor of vanilla adulation. A crowd is fickle and varied - swelling as a singular swarm capable of an agency more than the sum of its corrupt parts - so we become "those infront of him" by accident by default, unless you actively resist the phenomenon you will huddle tribally.
๐Ÿคซ "rebuked" the tsking NIMBYs, theatrical shushers in a Punch&Judy call-and-response. He's behind you.. "rebuked" as the disciples issued to the children in v15. The crowd wants to dictate the terms of the environment by some sort of 1Co14v33 regulative principle, collectively to curate some experience without children and without blind beggars. When, and in what ways, is it wrong to rebuke? When I am in context sufficiently heterogeneous to need policing? When am I in contexts sufficiently needy, that such policing should be over-ruled by mercy?

Lk18v41-42 'What do you want me to do for you?' I started a list of specific things, big healings and hopes that I want Jesus to do for me. It is good to be specific, but I realise also that all these things come under a desire to receive spiritual sight and the ability and capacity to act accordingly. I want to see. Amen.

Lk18v43 ๐Ÿ‘€๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿ‘€๐ŸŽ‰ "..sight .. glorifying .. saw .. gave praise.." Commentaries observe that Luke is fascinated by the phenomena of responsive doxology: Lk5v25-26 Lk7v16 Lk13v17 Lk17v15 Lk23v47 Ac3v8 Ac14:10-11 And it is fascinating, worship is peculiar. Emotional beings that we are. Affective, declarative, storied, relational, harmonic, corroborative.. Worship _can_ happen alone, but it is exponentially a collective phenomena. There is, here, worship leading to worship, a recursive or viral mode that effects a cascade of praise. You are a link in a responsive chain. We are the ripple. Faith builds faith. Testimonies beget testimonies.
๐Ÿ‘€ The blind man's praise comes from seeing from Jesus.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€ The crowd's praise comes from seeing seeing and its explication in the praise attributing it from Jesus.

Friday, 12 October 2018


texting luke seventeen

Jesus' language is not more extreme than Hollywood's iconography of the apocalypse - the zeitgeist knows we are on the brink of cataclysm. Bring all your own references to morning texting as a mode of remembering Lot's wife. 07729056452

Lk17v1-2 Strong words. Does Jesus have a David Benatar-esque anti-natalism? So serious is the call not to damage others spiritually - which includes every way you can imagine - better to just stay away from them. You're doing it for their good. Jesus suggests, however, that it would be better for the addler not to be born, rather than the addlee. The level of responsibility that Jesus demands of us for others is as strong and offensive as Benatar's, but it demands far more rather than far less from each of us. We are our brothers' keepers, the call is to step up.

This is your API for the moral universe.
If they sin, rebuke. [awkward]
If they repent, forgive. [costly]
If they repeat, repeat. [relentless]
๐Ÿ‘€ "Pay attention to yourselves!" ~ this links the millstone-for-temptation-indictment with mulberry-tree-uprooting faith. It starts with you. You are the node of faith which upside-downs what the world would otherwise do. You are the point of friction. This verse is the pivot: The money mismanagement approbation of prior verses is easily deflected towards the richer-thans. Pay attention to yourselves! And this feels like a crescendo. v10 "to Jerusalem" looms imminent. As D-Day bears down on you, pay attention to your critical and gracious capacity to be brothers: rebuking, forgiving and repeating. Rebuking, forgiving and repeating.

Lk17v5-6 Mulberry trees apparently have very deep roots and do not usually thrive when planted in water, let alone salt water. Pushing this metaphor then, might we think about the kinds of work that faith can do, as well as marvelling at the miraculous possible in the works of faith? Faith can undo and uproot things previously deeply planted. There is nothing so deeply entrenched in you that cannot be uprooted by the right seed. Faith also makes possible thriving and fruitfulness in unlikely conditions, conditions that you should otherwise avoid. Why would faith plant a mulberry tree in the sea? Presumably not for the hell of it, or to watch the tree drown in saline, but to demonstrate an otherwise unknown and unlikely alchemy. So many things seem inevitable or desperate. A prayer for my own heart this morning, that it would receive the mustard seed needed for the day's faith-work ahead.

Lk17v7-8 ๐Ÿ‘จ‍๐ŸŒพ Farm Boy.. Know your place in the feudal hierarchy of the cosmos, there are no unionised snowflakes on this farm. The inconvenient power of God's holiness will not be vitiated by a theology of cheap grace.
∞ God is a both-and of two: God's law and God's grace, both are infinite, there are no hyperbolic analogies for either. To the degree that you can make visceral the spectacular distortion and lawless depravity of mankind, that super and prevenient grace which remedies it is made the more brilliant.
๐Ÿ’‚‍♀ The Centurion in Mt8v9 knows what it is to ask for the power of healing, because he knows what it is to transact in a realm of power: the rules of the game and the need for harrowing conscientiousness.
๐Ÿ‘จ‍⚖ Why settle for the banality of Christian half-baked servitude rendered part-time with caveats in a negotiated submission presuming compensation on a sliding scale. Count your own holiness and desert as worth less than nothing and a call your own inner lawyer out as a fraudulent distraction. In so doing, and in doing so with all of your being, you will find unprecedented joy.

Lk17v9-10 Jesus' words here seem harsh. I meditate on these the same morning we read Ps78 and Mk7v24-30, which also respectively have divine words seeming spoken harshly. Words that cut and chafe. I am thinking about this at the same time as thinking about my own response to harsh words, to the perception of contempt in others and the way that this tends to undo me completely. Harshness is something I tend to feel I cannot bear. Harshness means I am contemptible in every way and not just in some ways. I experience it as totalising, as something from which I must immediately flee, and do not know how to engage. But Jesus is harsh as well as gentle. The creator pulls no punches. The spirit cuts. And in each of these passages, humanity is asked to be able to bear a little harshness, from both human others and from God. I must learn and develop the muscles with which I can bear the complexity of the God (and the humans) who are both gentle and harsh. I must bear my own complexity and multiplicity, and recognise that I resultingly need to hear a multiplicity of voices, including a harsh voice, on many occasions. To hear the hard word and receive it - and not just the hard word but the hard tone, sometimes - and to not be destroyed by it, to not give up and despair as a result. I was engineered to be more robust, and I can receive the harshness because all that underpins me is more secure than I believe, and I do not need to understand myself as decimated and turned to dirt by the other's harshness. The 78th Psalm takes us to the edge of our being and tells us that there is neverthless still a reason to come back at God, to submit actively rather than to slink away wordlessly. If the Phoenician woman had been so stung by Jesus' words that she refused to allow herself to give her humble challenge, she would not have sparred her way to the healing her daughter needed. If the servant in the parable in this passage chose to close down her heart with feelings of resentment towards the master, a sense of being treated with contempt, telling herself that her unworthiness counts her out, then full particpation in the kingdom of heaven is curtailed. The servant who expects gentleness and harshness and allows both voices to speak will not be destroyed, but will find herself in the throng of all of reality, the beauty of multiplicity, the stretching work of labour, and submission to the Good. May it be with me all the more. Rilke says it better.

Lk17v11-12 What to do with the interstitial verses in scripture?
๐Ÿ™ "Jerusalem.." see also 9v51 and 13v22 this nod towards the climax is well and truly the end of the beginning. Jerusalem, it's somewhere between the New-York-New-York-If-You-Can-Make-It-There-You-Can-Make-It-Anywhere and the One-Does-Not-Simply-Walk-Into-Mordor Cities are a heightening, the city is the coalface, the frontline, the meltingpot, the powderkeg, the colocated zenith and nadir of life, the catalysing accelerator of the human condition. I have attempted a theology cities elsewhere and Jerusalem is paradigmatic, it is the archetypal holy city. What is your Jerusalem? What does the way there look like?
๐Ÿ’ฏ "ten.." incidentally ten, or significantly ten? A full flush, a band, a constituted colony of lepers. Multi-personal and collective uncleanness. At 41, we are ten. Who are you with, who is your ten? Limping through life with tragic solidarity? Is your ten a defensive clustering? I've got not much for you on a theology of tens. Although, Harry&Chris offer a meditation, that we might know ourselves each to be a ten, and as ten of us, perhaps we might be each other's multiplication ~ that's a hundred percent. Not glibly so, but in the light of Christ's sufficiency, we operate on the basis of abundance and so multiply rather than divide.
๐Ÿค "met by ... at a distance.." Back to back they faced each other.. Have you met Jesus? How close did he come? How close did you come? There is a proximate spatiality to the Christ encounter that is offered. Allow it.

Lk17v13-14 "On the way they were made clean." I love this image, and that Jesus heals in so many different ways. So often we are healed by a word Jesus has spoken as we go in obedience on the way, as we carry on, as we embrace the ongoing and the ordinary tasks of life. Few moments in life are a clear tidy point of healing, cleaving time in two. Rather, we are to keep going, having opened ourselves to mercy. So often it is only as we look back that we see how we have been transformed. The Spirit does so much work outside our field of vision. The words that Jesus speaks have a power that follow us even when the next step feels exactly the same as the last one.

Lk17v15-16 ⛺ 1 in 10 lepers. I've thought briefly about the 1 in 10 ratio before, circa 2011 reading Nehemiah 11v1 at the same that the Telegraph reported that only 1 in 10 tents at OccupyLondon was actually occupied.
1⃣ We're currently recruiting for one (of ten places) in the house. Such a one can be sought as a practical addition, a gap on a spreadsheet, a routine replacement in the churning turning over of London's populace. Not so. The dignity of the one is fundamental to Christianity. By love, God, with harrowing specificity pursues the personal person, authors a meaningful destiny, and blazes individuation into an otherwise entropic cosmos of soupy indistinction. Who will be the one? How do we dignify each one-as-one? Only by superabundant love, only with help from beyond, only if God is.
1⃣ At work, as a minnow in the crypto ocean, we are such a one-in-ten or smaller. Likewise in so many other contexts, I am but a one. But one leper in a crowd of lepers, swept downstream on a wave of ingratitude. Unless. Unless I seize the nettle of being, convicted to be such a glorious critical minority, a sufficient counter-culture of one.
1⃣ "Now he was a Samaritan." Consistent with one's experience of self-understanding as an outsider, such are the conditions for counter-cultural gratitude. Never lose the vital mindset of being an immigrant, not from round these parts, non-native and outside of the box. Such a critical Margaret Meadian minority will change the world. It's the only thing that ever has. If only it would.

Lk17v17-18 Where are the other 9? As a non-rhetorical question: where were they? And where are you and where am I when not close to Jesus, explicitly thanking him for the gift? Did some of the 9 perhaps not realise that they had been healed, crazy as that sounds?  Psychosomatically bonded to old habits, I can imagine some of these men with leprosy continuing to act as though they were still afflicted, remaining in a cage which has already to been unlocked for them, moving to the next itinerant preacher to ask for healing and mercy, unable, in a perverse way, to accept or recognise the total healing they had already received. Are there ways I fail to respond with gratitude and worship because I don't understand what Jesus has done in me and to me and for me already?
Where were the 9? Did some of them so quickly adapt and assimilate their new healing that they just forgot to be grateful? Did they see themselves as simply restored to something that they were entitled to in the first place, and did gratitude thus just not appear on their radar? Where do I fail to worship the One through dullness of spirit, entitlement or forgetfulness?
I can imagine some of these men failed to return to Jesus in gratitude because of their excitement, joy and enthusiasm at their healing. Perhaps they immediately called all their friends and family and celebrated. Perhaps they told lots of people about Jesus' healing act, perhaps they proclaimed his power to all they met, seeing clearly the narrative of the healing, enjoying the story of it. But the fact that they did not return to the healer to offer thanks and worship in the secret place is telling. When do I fail to return to Jesus because I am too busy 'being missional', telling the story of the thing elsewhere?
Did some stay away because of fear? Did they know in a disruptive new way that Jesus is the Christ, with a power evidenced and resonating through their own flesh, and were they afraid? Healing can be a frightening thing insofar as it requires a recognition of the power of God, and one's responsibility to submit everything to him. Where do I stay away because of fear that Jesus will demand more of me than I am willing to give? Do I resist gratitude because gratitude might open me up and being opened up to the voice of the Christ recognised as such is frightening, much more frightening than staying where I am?
Where were the other 9? Where are you?

Lk17v19-20 "..not coming in ways that can be observed."
๐Ÿ‘€ "..observed" here is paratฤ“rฤ“sis ฯ€ฮฑฯฮฑฯ„ฮทฯฮฎฯƒฮตฯ‰ฯ‚ a word signifying scrupulous, superstitious, captious observation say the commentaries (see usage in Lk6v7 14v1 20v20) The dogmatist's scrutiny is a weaponised look akin to the laser sight of the male gaze, it objectifies the observed, rendering a whole universe as merely and scientistically instrumental, disautonomous, violable, fungible.
๐Ÿ™ˆ The eyes of my heart are jaded lenses reaching foregone conclusions by loaded questions and selective hearing. I tint therefore I am. My reader-response creates its own meaning. I see but do not perceive Mk4v12.
๐Ÿ™ˆ The eyes of my heart are clouded with the fog of a cultural war, the tyranny of urgent and marketised noise. Both the depth and breadth of my scarce attention have been auctioned off to pay for goods and services. With mind full, I am unmindful and inattentive, substituting all for a projection in the image of my siloed self.
๐Ÿ™ˆ The eyes of my heart are looking for the wrong thing in the right place Jn5v39; (or, tenuously, the right thing in the wrong places in the wrong ways Mt23v15)
๐Ÿ‘€ And yet, God's Kingdom can be observed.
๐Ÿ‘€ There are ways of looking.
Lk11v9 " and you will find."
Ps34v8 "..taste and see."
๐Ÿ‘€ Unprejudiced unfiltered attention to what is actually there. Comporting one's whole self towards the whole of reality as it actually is. But how?
- Mt9v29-30 Jesus gives sight to blind Bartimaeus.
- Mk8v22-26 Jesus spits in the blind man's eyes to give sight.
- Jn9v1-41 Jesus anoints the eyes of a man born blind and gives him sight.
- Ps146v8 Is35v4-5 God opens blind eyes.
๐Ÿ‘€ God, please help me look to Jesus.

Lk17v21-22 People will not be able to say of the kingdom of God 'here it is' or 'there it is' because it will be in our midst. Jesus gets there first in a critique of onto-theology? Or as Rupert Shortt puts it: "God is No Thing". The Kingdom of Heaven's truth is a way and a life, and resurrected beings do not profess their scientific validity so much as live a qualitatively different life. The Kingdom of God is within you, because you are united with Christ, He is in you, and you and in Him and you are one, and so you embody and radiate the kingdom in the way you move. The flavour of the Kingdom can be sensed, but it cannot be pinned down to a particular outcome or piece of evidence that excludes it from other places - you take it with you, and it is the pre-condition of how you engage with the world - like the categories of space and time, which shape everything though they themselves are not seen, like light, which shows up everything else though it is itself invisible. Jesus words here are a great freedom - you are already inside the Kingdom of God and you do not need to be afraid, so stop treating the Kingdom of God as a commodity to be marketed, but relax into it as you home, your identity and your calling.

Lk17v23-24 Marketing's fool's gold gaming the human need for a saviour. Look! Light! Like!0 Unfriend and unfollow, fam.

Lk17v25-26 But first. But first he must suffer. But first he must suffer many things. This is a hard passage but I love what I see Jesus modelling in his recognition,  acceptance and orientation towards death and resurrection. We were made for life with God, we are destined to rise in glory and live abundantly, live inside the shimmer and substance of all that is pure. But first. But first suffering. There is no way to resurrection except through death. Jesus shows us this. This is what makes the gospel still the most beautiful story ever heard. We have to die, we have to suffer, we have to be destroyed, in order to be transformed, in order to be renewed. I spend so much of my time trying to be resurrected without first dying. As I enter a new season with new students and a new season of care for those I'm committed to, this is a central truth I wish to model: you can't skip to resurrection without death. You can't skip to growth in Christ without the suffering work of the death of one's ego, as v33 reminds us. Pray for me, that I would be submitted to this reality in all things, and would model it well to those who are watching.

Lk17v27-28 Normal life. October 14th What are you nostalgic for? What changed? What changes? The cosmic calamity has happened and will happen, perennially. Remember. What some of you once were. Remember eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building ~ a graphic asyndeton of anteduliavian participles. How sad it will be to reflect on a life characterised by insufficient urgency. ร†thelred the unready. Phil the bourgeious, the oblivious. What am I doing that I shouldn't? What am I not doing that I should? And who sees? And what helps? Wretched man that I am.

Lk17v29-30 Fire and brimstone. Interesting facts about brimstone, which we know better as sulfur: while it burns in a way that destroys, sulphur is also known as the 'healing mineral', an anti-inflammatory and needed for metabolism. This reads too much into the text perhaps, but playing with this in the imagination the brimstone of heaven does always have this double function, coming to destroy evil, burning up and eliminating all that is compromised. And further, it comes to heal, to promote life, to create something healthy. Make no mistake, my soul, the Holy Spirit comes to tear you up, destroying what is compromised in you. And the Holy Spirit comes to bring you life, to sooth your inflated spirit and to renew your spiritual metabolism and facilitate your growth.

Lk17v31-32 "..let the one in the field not turn back. Remember Lot's Wife." In this gospel reality, be turnt up, not turned back. Lot's wife, turned back and turned to salt. She was a lady for turning. And her salt is a pejorative salt. She is not salted with fire Mk9v49. She is not the salt of the earth Mt5v13.
↩ Remember Lot's wife and think about what you turn to and what that turns you into. Turning back is a turning to salt, deathly inert crystals, dessicated, blanched and ossified. It is Narnia's White Witch casting a Petrificus Totalus on Hans Solo into carbonite. All forms of fantasy, but especially nostalgia, conform you to the static image you worship. So the rigidity of plastic surgery which lusts retrospectively for a form of former self.
๐Ÿ‘ฐ Remember Lot's wife and consider your all or nothing. As we comport imaginatively towards the future. As we undertake to be husbands and wives (ruthlessly, Lk14v26). As we engage the very significant risks of the Kingdom (Mt10v38). Remember Lot's wife, starkly, that there is no hedging halves.
⚪ Remember Lot's wife and consider your latent salinity. Life is a hard water, and you are a scaling kettle (to mix my electrochemistry metaphors). You are already becoming salt perpetually. Everyday Sodom, everyday disruption, everyday temptation, find myself rusted into stasis after too long lingering
๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ’ช Dear Phil, the spirit within you offers the substance needed for a desalinised readiness and evergreen perseverance beyond your own ability to conjure them. Don't give up, don't give in.

Lk17v33-34 That in me which will be raptured to glory is found in bed together with that in me which will be destroyed. This is a hideous and unresolvable tension in the heart of human being. My strengths are entwined, married if you will, to my weaknesses. I can be refined, but this side of heaven there will always be a fracture through everything good I do, every good attempt tainted. One day I will be burnt up and burnt through. But over-realising this eschatology leads to perfectionism rather than sanctification.

Lk17v35-[36]-37 - Christianity is regime change. The Christian life is change management.
The passage has moved between two questions:
v20 When will this change happen?
v37 Where will this change happen?
The intervening verses are an essay in change management.
So, consider:
What is the Kingdom?
What does it change?
๐Ÿ•ต‍♂ v20 "..not in ways that can be observed..” Change is a’happening beneath the surface, it can’t be observed because it is hiding in plain sight in the very midst of you. The change you are looking for has already begun, it is the nascent latent graduated brownian percolation osmosing a concentration - the coming of the kingdom is imperceptible as a slowly boiling frog. The great tide of history, that bends towards justice, it is already underway.
๐Ÿ“ข v23 "..Look Here!..Do not follow them..” Change should not be prematurely announced, because change won’t need to be announced. The revolution won’t be televised, it won’t need to be. Salvation, on this scale, if it needs to be marketed, isn’t the salvation you really need. There’s no fake-it-til-you-make-it. There’s no be-the-change-you-want-to-see. There’s no hustle. There’s no hype. When the flip comes, you will know.
⚡ v24 " lightning flashes..” Change is a process, but it culminates in an instant. The caterpillar crysalises, but there will be an event at which point everything changes. There will be a stark contrast between what went before and what follows.
๐ŸงŸ‍♂ v37 "..where the corpse is..” Change’s sudden snap will happen around a particular locus. Christianity is placial. As anyone who has wrestled with the obstinate why-thereness of the bible’s Palestinocentricism may have felt in such as Rm1v16. Changes sparks from a node, the hinge crux fulcrum that bends history toward justice. The seed’s spring point. The axis of synergy. Personalism’s singularity that dignifies the responsible individual cannot but be one-to-one and therefore change, in the realm of human persons must start with one.
๐Ÿฆ… v37 "..the corpse.. ..there vultures will gather..” Change requires the past to die. Sometimes it is a slow death, sometimes the cadaver can lie in the sun a long time before it is acknowledged. The corpse and the vultures here function in the commentaries with equal prescience whether you read Corpse:Jesus Vultures:Saints OR Corpse:Culture Vultures:Sinners - both are urgent earnest gatherings. Moments of change are anticipated by the mustering of forces, the polarisation of politics, the huddling of HODLers. You will know where the battle line lies, just follow the smell of death, and so follow those species who are most attuned to death’s odour as 2Co2v16. So as Web 3.0 disrupts everything, vulture capitalists gather around the burning platforms of banks, corporations and media giants - it is where the change is happening. We subvert a culture of death by laying down our own lives - as Christ did for us.
These dynamics of change are in play at all scales:
๐Ÿ™‹‍♂ - Conversion of one soul
๐Ÿฌ - The reform of a company
๐Ÿ™ - The transformation of a city
- Allow it, that the sea-change of Kingdom generosity and regeneration is a’happening, quietly beneath the surface.
- Don’t believe the hype that changed has already completed. Patiently wait for the moment of conversion.
- Identify the lines of change by vulture-watching - and so place yourself in harm’s way, by being vulnerable at precisely the places the battle is fought most fiercely.

texting luke sixteen

Is wealth worth it? Exegetical quid pro quo, alternate mornings 07729056452

Lk16v1-2 'Wasting his master's money.' These first two lines of this strange parable are like a punch in the gut. The sins of waste and complacency are, for me, two of the most prevalent. Folks speculated this weekend that I am an Enneagram Type 9 which, I don't know wholly how to engage or whether this is so, but it certainly doesn't seem far wrong that complacency might be my greatest spiritual temptation. Maybe we all suffer slightly different proclivities in our core weaknesses, but this sin is surely not far from most of us in this culture in some form, steeped as we are in an alienation from the consequences of waste, throw-away culture and the religion of comfort. This verse seems apt for this week and this season, I have been struggling with motivation and efficiency this week, and having taken on more work for the coming year, there is now an external demand that my time be spent intentionally. I am generally far more responsive to external motivation than internal motivation. Such as me, we love a deadline, I am best brought to a realisation of my wasteful ways - whether time, energy or resources - when someone from the outside speaks, as the master does here - "give a complete account." And, as a mercy, God does say this. If God exists, there is always an outside. I cannot say that Ps36v1-2 I am unseen. With God, the hard edges of reality cannot be ignored, all is laid open to light and saturated with meaning. Each hour and choice has significance, and certain daily choices and habits are shown up as the wasteful ways that they are. I pray for our culture, that a spiritual awakening to the connection between waste and it's consequences would shape an understanding and practice of ultimate reality, and I pray for myself in this season, that I might lean into the never-complacent spirit of God, finding a joy in excellent and creative stewardship of all that I touch.

Lk16v3-4 ๐Ÿ’ธ Life and commerce are transacted with payment terms, all of life is a supply chain, everything is debt delayed. We operate on the basis of working capital loaned against collateralised accounts receivable. The world is on loan to us, and we are its middle managers. Dear God, the cheque is in the post. Oh rly?
๐Ÿ“‰ This is how I'm currently reading the parable of the dishonest manager - as a paean to the shrewd true truth of a world without usury. SB imagines a world without interest. Everyone wins. The workers get a discount, the managers get commended, and the master gets the glory. But we don't do this. The allure of interest, the getting-money-for-nothing-except-administrating-the-cost-of-financing, is pervasive, is rampant, is the status quo of our hegemonic economic system, run throughout by degrees of unjust stewards. And it has no self-limiting constraint. And the cost of this unstable ponzi scheme is born most acutely by the voiceless wonga'd payday loan classes.
๐Ÿ‘จ‍๐Ÿ’ผ "I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg." Such am I, neither properly strong enough for combat in the commercial world nor properly weak enough to inspire real pity in the charitable world. Such are we all. Therein lies the motive force for the hedging and posturing which establishes the managerial class. And this managerial class of middle men recurs, as a pitable penpushing set in a dire state, manifesting as a trope to avoid, a clear diagram of systemic sin, within the universe Jesus paints. From the hired hands of Jn10v12, to the unforgiving debtor of Mt18v28, to Jesus' tirade against the administrative sins of weights tied Mt23v4 and weights tithed Mt23v23, to a crystalised portrait in Zaccheus, the administrative cheat whose physical stature is also noted.
๐Ÿ“‘ The world is on loan to us, and we are its middle managers. Everyone owes God something, and we the religious mediators manage those debts with interest. Wherever I'm holding resentment for another's sin committed-against-me-and-against-God, I'm an older brother holding a debt portfolio for the interest. Nobody wins. Nobody has the right to charge interest. If God came to audit the books of my marriage, would he find I was running it as a payday loan scheme, an incorrigible insurance scheme of grudges and grievances? Probably. Nobody wins.

Lk16v5-6 The servant fears for his life and well-being and something of his tacit intelligence (previously unused because smothered in comfort) rises to the surface due to his danger. This scene from Minority Report has stayed with me for a long time - the thought that we all have a deep-down instinct for our own preservation, that when we get into a threatening situation we find that we are capable of being both more creative and more destructive than we ever thought possible. Our bodies are capable of much more than we imagine, so are our minds, our emotions, our co-ordination, our skills. Jesus, using the master, praises the way intelligence is released in the servant, his newly discovered savviness and higher-functioning, brought about by his alertness to danger. Ultimately though, Jesus is advocating this kind of intelligence, perceptiveness and skill for the sake of v9 kingdom generosity rather than self-preservation. What if this were possible? What if our union to Christ were so fully realised that our deepest instinct were no longer survival but love? But that this love brought out a comparable - even a stronger - alertness, motivation and shrewd action in the world?  What if it were possible that I could hum attentively and alertly to the physical, relational and spiritual well-being of others such that I was constantly provoked to excellent practical, emotional and spiritual intelligence, well co-ordinated and purposeful? Just as resurrection offers reverse entropy, it also offers reverse survival instinct: love.

Lk16v7-8 ๐Ÿ“ˆ๐Ÿ“‰ Jerram Barrs adds to the mix that archeaology records olive oil could be charged at 100% interest, and wheat at 20%, which seems to add credibility to idea that it is illegitimate interest which is being subtracted from a total that had been added to by the dishonest manager.
๐Ÿ† "The master commended the .. manager" What for? A cashflow windfall by the faster payment of these discounted debts? The PR coup fashioning the master as magnanimous amongst his tenants? Simply for the shrewdness of being shrewd, as in-itself commendable?
๐ŸฆŠ Be shrewd. Be cunning. Look out for yourself, in the truest biggest way. Christian hedonism pursues it's own joy relentlessly. You should be so extremist. You should be so shrewdly self-interested. It is more-blessed to give, so seek to be more more-blessed, develop an addiction to the heady rush of giving. Then, everyone wins.

Lk16v9-10 Trying to grapple with this confusing set of statements. At first blush this seems like a confused mixed metaphor. Who are the "friends" that Jesus is exhorting us to make with worldly wealth? In the story it would seem that these friends are people in the world who we are (to transpose the story) to serve in generous ways, using the wealth of God. But here we are to make friends so that we are welcomed into eternity...which becomes an exhausting works-righteousness if read in the wrong way. Are the friends...God? Is this verse a references to our friendship with the Holy Trinity, which is the substance and guarantee of our life eternal? Could it be that what looks like a mixed metaphor is or includes a story working at a number of different levels instead? Concentric circles of meaning nestled within each other? If so, what does the story of the shrewd manager teach us about salvific friendship with God as well as about the nature of generosity as the stuff of eternity?
I have been wondering the last few days that this story is also a picture of a conversion, as well as a story about generosity and stewardship. Just as we often point to the worship of idols to try to demonstrate the quality and structure of worship, and to constrast it to the worship of the true God, so too I think this story is a picture of a conversion, teaching us something about the nature of conversion, and also giving us a contrast case by which we can compare total and true forms of conversion with partial and compromised forms.
The manager has a 'conversion' in v3-4, conversion in the technical sense: "the process of changing or causing something to change from one form to another". In a moment, he finds himself inhabiting a different landscape, a different paradigm, he is forced to think about his life as a whole, differently. the 'affordances' available to him (as we'd say in Phenomenology) are transformed. Not only this, but he, the manager, is changed into something different. He starts to act as the master, taking on to himself the authority of one 'for whom all things were made' (Col1v16). This is an ontological change, if you will, a becoming one with the master, assuming his possessions and authority. To be united with Christ is such a transfigured state - transforming oneself and one's relationship to the stuff of the world entirely. It is a transfiguration rather than an ideology. This is why, in this new ontological state, v10 small things will be transfigured as much as big things. This is because to be in Christ transforms everything.
It is because we are united to Christ that we can become friends with God. God loves us wherever we are and however we respond to Christ, but as we accept the transformation that union of Christ brings, we are raised to friendship with God, philia, a state in which parties recognise something attractive in one another, respect each other and enjoy each other, as well as offering charity agape, no matter what. In this story the manager does also make a friend of the master as well as the debtors - the manager sees, enjoys and respects the moves that emerge from the servant's converted state, and the way that the servant assumes the authority of the master. In union with Christ, converted to a new way of being, we are welcomed into friendship with the Father, welcomed into heavenly dwellings. (And this way of being will involve a generosity, this is the other prong of the story).
But note that I think there is also a comparison here. Why on earth would Jesus use a story about dishonesty to illustrate conversion? Is it to demonstrate differences between good and bad forms of conversion? This servant's conversion is based on fear, and as noted previously - fear will do it - fear will unmake your world and force you to reconsider things differently. Fear is a furnace forging new ways of being in the world. But fear is not a good basis for true and total conversion. Fear does not have the purity of love. Fear is corrupt and weak and less-than love. A conversion based on fear is liable to lead to an inconsistent way of being, a transfiguration that is unsure of itself, that has to pretend a bit because it is not safe in the world, it cannot rest in this new identity but must stay on the alert and be prepared to change again at signs of fresh danger. As such, a fault line runs through this kind of conversion, a nothingness in its being. A fearful conversion begets forms of dishonesty, forms of compartmentalisation, forms of pretense. This is structurally so. Compare this to conversion grounded in love. Love is pure all the way through, a transformed love sprung from the revelation that what one has converted to is good and substantial and real and eternal and faithful begets a converted state that has integrity, structurally speaking. Conversion on the basis of love begets a way of being that is honest, because it has nothing to fear and therefore no need to lie or pretend. Oh, dear hearts, let's be fully converted, let us accept the full transformation that is on offer when we recognise that we are in Christ. Let us inhabit this new world because we are sure we are loved, rather than because we are afraid.

Lk16v11-12 Stealing SPJ's verse by way of establishing what "being faithful" is, in this context, with money.
(v9) Make friends, they will receive you in eternity. Make friends, game the system, smuggle your wealth through the veil of death. Invest in people relentlessly.
(v9) Use unrighteous wealth. All money is dirty money, it is all Caesar's, it is all corrupt inflated bribes traded for ransoms, abstracted distractions distorting innate value through exponentially coercive power. Redeem it. Launder it. Through people. There's no currency or system of valuation that can't be flipped, subverted and sanctified
(v9) Not if but when it fails. There's no hedging, no gambling, no speculating, no fingers crossed. Winter _is_ coming. The worst case scenario is the case. The bottom will fall out.
“They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless?” -  @rushkoff
When it fails.. who you gonna call? Be that who. Be the kind of person that you would call in that disaster. Demonstrate you are that kind of person. Rehearse being that person. Even now. While we are but playing with monopoly money. When the shit hits the fan, after "the great event..",  the men are sorted from the boys, "the unrighteous wealth" is burnt up, and you can only trade in "the true riches" and when you are no longer trading future options in "that which is another's" you will be responsible "that which is your own" the actual, the real, the ready to hand, the eternal commodities, that which you banked in your army wealth mules. Truly, I am learning this from R. Go all in.

Lk16v13-14 This again has the surface feel of Jesus just free-associating about money, throwing out some general good spiritual tips on how to comport yourself towards wealth. And these are very soundbite-able, perhaps to no harm - I think many of Jesus' statements can be read in an aphoristic fashion, containing depths within them as little proverbs that have the power to upheave and overhaul a whole way of life. But I also think that this statement placed here at the end of this parable makes a kind of sense if read through this lens of thinking about a conversion, as I have been. A conversion is a complete transformation. You cannot be partly 'in' Christ. We fail to recognise our total metaphysical and spiritual re-orientation when we try to 'convert' based on fear, and we also fail to recognise the totality of the thing when we try to retain previous desires on an equal footing to the desire for God. True conversion sees all desires submitted to the desire for God, and thus their authority becomes submitted to the authority of God. The servant's conversion in this passage is marked by a re-orientation to the work that needed doing in his life, but not a re-alignment of his fundamental desires (safety and comfort) or a re-calibration of his submission to external authority (to the master). "Purity of heart is to will one thing" says Kierkegaard - this is the Eph4v4-6 One Thing that characterises Being In Christ. May we follow the Spirit such that we might be All In.

Lk16v15-16 ❔ What was? What is? What happened? What now?
๐Ÿ‘ฉ‍๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿด Is the Kingdom of God a hardfork in the Law's protocol, an executable code injection to the Law's system shell? No. The Law was and is. The script is untouched (v17) the semantics are identical, the logic remains, but the output data is different.
So, the Kingdom of God is. It has happened and is happening. And now, that which was "exalted" is an "abomination" [and vice versa 1Co1v23] ~ The same software is running on new hardware: "your hearts" and these new hearts of flesh Ez36v26 are receptive to new input data.
๐Ÿ’ž Thusly, does v16 speak of "force" for it is a heart transplant that is in view here, for it is no minor upgrade, no mere tweak to the wiring or additional RAM. The old has gone, fam.
๐ŸŒ… I was speak to C about the what-was-&-what-is of the Christ event. It happened in 33AD, everything changed. It happened aged 20-something in a London season, everything changed. It happened this morning at a quarter to seven. New every morning. We are being perpetually resurrected. Perpetually renewed. And it is no small force being engaged to transform you.

Lk16v17-18 These 'additional teachings' feel like they're thrown together in an ad hoc and somewhat hilarious way. Did Luke just run out of steam? Where these the notes at the end of his hastily scribbled minutes that he remembered were important but couldn't really remember the whole conversation so shoved in a few quick addendums? Read out loud the seeming non-sequiter slide in these two verses from the cosmic to the domestic, the lyrical use of absolutes, opposites and analogies mixed with chiasmic repetition and list-like codification, strikes with all the beauty and absurdity of a JP poem. There's a kind of shimmering elusive madness, which is kind of frustrating but also evocative of the something that is not nothing at the heart of the universe. There is the infinite meaning burning at the horizon of comprehension that cannot be contained by language. So the little flourishes and juxtaposings and confoundings-of-and-with words and metaphors, gestures at unsayable deep truths about marriage, morals and metaphysics. Let's let the words sink in like a poem, let these words read us.

Lk16v19-20 There is something mundane, even nothingy about this portrait which Jesus begins to paint. There are rich people, there are poor people. Here is a description of the perennial 1%, the Marie Antoinettes that recur in the world and the Marie Antoinette which recurs in my own heart. The trope of callous wealth’s indifference to abject destitution. What a pity.
๐ŸŒ‰ I'm tentatively working on a theology of SB, I have been trying to find bridges in the Bible, even proto/pseudo/analogous bridges in the Bible. I can’t find that there is one. Any suggestions welcome. The Nav’s Bridge To Life, is in fact apocryphal. John has us crossing from death to life Jn5v24, and obvs Moses needs no bridge over the Red Sea Ex14v21, and Jesus needs no bridge over Galilee Mt14v25.. The bridginess of a bridge, what is it?
๐Ÿ‘ด๐Ÿป I posit, that Jesus suggests a Heideggerian bridge by its very absence, where such a bridge would exquisitely have gathered to itself, in its own way, earth and sky, divinities and mortals.
But. Without a bridge, there is the chasm.
The obvious chasm is in view here:
๐Ÿ“‰๐Ÿ“ˆ Wealth \\// Poverty - with wealth's purple robes and poverty's open wounds rendering as precipitous the Gini coefficient. The poverty is utter, Lazarus is all ulcerated ruin, a crumpled form of the infinitely pitiable, passive, so much so that it cannot lift itself to ward off the dogs. A human being on the brink on unbeing. Someone should do something. 
๐Ÿ‘ฅ This weath-poverty chasm displays my own infinitely narrow self-understanding teetering unbridged to unknowable Others, generationally and economically. Is there anyone out there, in the world that is not-me? What will shatter my myopia? How can I see and really see the legion Lazari obscured otherwise by this hedge-funded and border-moated being I have made myself on every side?
The other chasm in view:
⚰ Life \\// Death - your life now and the death you will die, and which you are living constantly in sight of. What is it to look ahead to the unbridgeable chasm looming (v22)? What will it be to look back across the looming chasm, to those left behind after our own death (v28), what will we wish to have conveyed to them while we were yet on their bank of the ravine? What is it to look backward, towards those who have already died, who speak from beyond their grave, if we would listen (v29-30) ⏱ This, our narrow slice of eternal present sheers away on all sides, occasionalistically. Is any momentary moment bridged consequentially to another? If we are not adrift in uncaused unceasing oblivion, then everything is weighty, and all time matters, and this is urgent.
✝ Jesus is the bridge. The bridge unnamed in the bible.
๐Ÿ‘‡ The time to cross the bridge is now.

Lk16v21-22 I have been stuck on these verses for days. Primarily they bring to the surface my own privilege, my inconsistent, hypocritical and closed-hearted ways of engaging those nearby who are less privileged, particularly the street homeless. It doesn't help to belly-ache, and we do look to small, sustainable ways of being the Kingdom even to just one or two in our orbit who struggle with material poverty. But still, it is hard not to flail and to want to hide at Jesus' words. As so often, it is scripture itself that breaks me out of wordlessness. I pray Ps72 for myself, a prayer for the wealthy, a prayer for the powerful - that you would 'endow me with your justice'...that I may 'be like rain falling on a mown field'. Teach me by your love how to consistently, sustainably, sacrificially and personally 'take pity on the weak and the needy...for precious is their blood in [my] sight.' This is your heart God. Help me to mean this prayer.

Lk16v23-24 ⛑ We believe in life before death. ๐Ÿง–‍♂๐ŸŒ‹ And, as such, we are in Heaven and in Hell now. Eternity is a continuum. We are immortal beings, perpetual beings, always able to access our eschaton imaginatively, and thus meaningfully and thus viscerally. We, daily, are living our last day. And on every such day the anguish of wealth's torment is a true truth.
๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ”ฅ Wealth-as-hell is an instructive lesson in the nature of both hell and the nature of money.
๐Ÿ”ฅ Not all fire is hell (see fire as pain's refining power: 1Pt1v7 Is48v10 Pr17v3..)
๐Ÿ’ฐ Not all money is wealth (see money as a commons, a measure of faithfulness, a gratuitous token Ac4v32 Lk12v48 Mt10v8..)
๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ”ฅ But all wealth is hell. All wealth is unrighteous wealth. On this, to avoid semantic circularity, it would be valuable to be precise. I define "Wealth" pejoratively, intentionally; being yet conscious that this carves difficulty into the resting state of many innocuous idioms, and that it sets up its own conundrums of definition.
๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I define "Wealth" pejoratively. "Wealth" happens instantly in the identity of the holder when stewardship becomes ownership. Wealth is never passive, you are always responsible for your self-identity.
⛪๐Ÿค‘ I would characterise the church as being stern on "greed" and disparaging of the "love of money" but permissive of "Wealth" and it is satisfied with this distinction. By this dichotomy, so-called-righteous-wealth and inherited-wealth and appreciated-assets-in-the-lottery-of-London's-land-prices are all sanitised in a fog of language under a banner of that-which-is-not-greed-per-se. This "Wealth" qua wealth-which-is-merely-not-active-greed has no equipment to make a distinction between revenue and profit or between capital and turnover, a word of such crippling opacity is a huge hinderance to holiness. Mere "Wealth" is a linguistic coup by the enemy. Beware. Wealth is deceitful, she is no inert matter. Wealth has branded herself as a propitious accident, as if wealth-just-happens-sometimes, and wealth-is-a-blessing, maybe even wealth-is-an-opportunity-to-use-money-for-the-Kingdom-...-if-you-get-round-to-it.
๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ˜ณ Beware. That which is termed "Wealth" honorifically, or even attempted to be nebulously neutral, is in fact a pitiable predicament, a grave responsibility to have to use an inconvenient amount of money wisely lest is rapidly destroy you and all your relationships. Beware, all possessions, if they are not understood to be a harrowing responsibility will be, by omission, insinuated as an unrestricted-funds all-you-can-eat blessing.
๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿค’ I define "wealth" pejoratively, as an affliction. Within the cosmic gift economy, there is no innocent wealth. If your ingoings don't match your outgoings you have embezzled that which you were tasked with stewarding. You are getting high on your own supply.
๐Ÿ’ฐ And the wealthy know this. Throughout Corporate Social Responsibility's long history, from Victorian philanthropic visitors to the GapYah grand tourers broadcasting slum porn to insta. The wealthy give-something-back because they know it was stolen. The wealthy are definitely not still Jenny-from-the-Block. The wealthy protest too much. I protest too much. The wealthy's gagged subconscious and seared conscience and crippled inner child know they are in hell. *Who will save them?*
๐Ÿ’ฐ The wealthy are by definition those who have not learnt the secret to "facing plenty and abundance." (Ph4v12) Who will save them?

Lk16v25-26 Like the puffed up sense of being honourable in another's sight Mt6v2, the rewards of material comfort are immediate, addictive and ultimately empty. Russell Brand articulates this on sex, drugs, fame and stuff  A prayer for today, that I may be baseline, disabused of the notion that comfort or honour or any other idol will do. May my hungry heart, in recognising it's constant longing, so quickly covered over by other things, find itself in the Father's house, and no other place, stumbling, running, and giving up every other thing.

Go tell it to my frat house.
"Hell is hot. Eternity is a long time."
No, lieutenant, your men are already dead.
Dear reader, you are the Ghost of Christmas Present.
You are Moses, you are the Prophets.
Who is your brother? What is your now?

it's all election and all reception
with every room for self-deception
against the good, my insurrection
surrender then to resurrection

If you are closed to the past, you are closed to the present.
If you are inured to the law and the prophets past, that same inurement inoculates you from any surprise in the present.
If you resist the supernature inherent in the pure rigour of the law, if that was insufficient to prompt or provoke you heart to right stewardship of wealth, you will not be moved by any re-rendering of the law today to your dulled sensitivities.
If you are untouched by the supernature of the dazzling adventure of the prophets, if the obviously God-addled arch of prophetic history has not piqued your curiousity, if with disbelief and disinterest you consider those faithful who have gone before, then there is nothing which can alter your prophetic imagination in the now.
If you doubt history, you turn the tap off of knowledge and you immobilise perception, you cut yourself off from the real.
We exist in a temporal continuity as contingent knowers. Signs that were, are.
Believing is a miracle which God does. Opened eyes-of-heart, softened hearts-of-stone, and the will to want it. God does that. For your past and present. And for theirs. Therefore pray.