Archive for 2008

Apologies

A brief apology to anyone who has a plugin support request pending. My brain is on (health) strike for the last few days. I’ll be back in action as soon as I can.

6 comments October 9th, 2008

The Continuing Adventures of ASBO Jesus

click for original

8 comments October 2nd, 2008

Last Words, Tragic Commons, and a Beknighted Penguin

Sometimes trawling the blogosphere is very entertaining:

1 comment September 1st, 2008

"Trying to be a Christian"

Julie Burchill has some interesting things to say on the subject. Go Julie!

8 comments August 23rd, 2008

The Queenship of Mary

Readings: Isaiah 9:1-6; Psalm 112:1-8; Luke 1:26-38

Today’s memorial might focus on Mary’s place in the cosmos — and by extension the cosmic identity and destiny of all sons of Adam and daughters of Eve — but the readings chosen to help us probe that identity and destiny are relentlessly focused on God, all about who God is and what God wants and how God brings all that about.

You could preach for days on either of our readings but — don’t worry — I don’t think you can get a better summary than a few lines from our psalm.

‘What is he like, our God?!’ asks the psalmist. I don’t think it’s so much a question as a burst of wonder. ‘So you want to know about God?’ he says. ‘There are only two things you need to know!’

Number One: God has rather a thing for this world and us its inhabitants. God is not content with thrones and celestial palaces and whatever your imagination can concoct about ‘up there’ — God likes it down here — with us, among us, and — amazingly — for us. Which brings me to …

Number Two: The single activity of God among us, the one thing God does forever and always, is ‘lift up’ — God lifts up the lowly, God dusts off the dirty, God honours the poor like princes. That’s all God does all day.

Hm… So what should our one activity be? It seems to follow — that our one concern should be to let that be done to us and, of course, to let that be done to all around us. You see? Our one responsibility is to let ourselves be lifted up — no room for false pride or false humility — and to help, and not hinder, that same work of God in everyone else. That work is going on here today. God is right here, where God loves to be, and God is looking to lift us up — to lift us up from whatever dung heap we are mired in. It’s happening now — maybe in the person sitting next to you, maybe in you yourself. All you have to do is not get in its way. Relax into it. Feel it. Isn’t it easy? … Well, maybe…

You’d never stand in the way of what God is doing in your next-door neighbour here — you’d love to see it, you’d smile and marvel — but we do all the time — if that person is ourselves — we hinder and resist. WE don’t want to let ourselves be lifted up. And the end result isn’t just that we deny ourselves a little uplift. The end result is that the work of God in this world is interrupted just a little — and, little by little, a lot. I mean, why is there war and injustice — the yoke weighing on us, the bar across our shoulders? Why? Only because so many of us, each of us, refuse to let God lift us up, lift up our lowliness, deal with us gently, give us what we have not earned.

We worry about the world, we quake in horror at another war, another atrocity, another tragic evil near or far — but all that — all the footgear of battle, every cloak rolled in blood — all of it could be burnt up to oblivion if only — if only we let God do what God so wants to do – lift us up.

What does it take to be King of the World? Queen of Heaven? Only this: to let ourselves be lifted up.

5 comments August 22nd, 2008

CFS Update

Over the last month and a half I’ve been changing medications again. I was putting on so much weight with the previous regime and feeling — how to put it — a little too detached. They might have helped manage the pain and anxiety and adrenaline poisoning but I kept realising how little care they left in me. But, not caring, it took me quite a while to talk to my doc about a change.

I don’t know if it has been coming off one lot or the effect of the new pills but I find myself caring a lot more — it’s more like living even if I am also prone to get more irritated and snappy (sorry you guys I live with)!

One outcome is that later today, for the first time in 18 months, I am going to preach at the evening’s Eucharist. It is strange to be preaching without also presiding but, by God, I have missed this part of my life!

Wish me luck!

3 comments August 22nd, 2008

Something, Very Belated, for Ignatius' Day

The 31st of July seems well past but maybe there is still time to remember Inigo with a link to Thinking Faith and a fine article by Ron Darwen: “Will the Real Ignatius Please Stand Up?“.

James Hanvey’s appreciation of Prince Caspian, “Waiting for Aslan“, also caught my eye.

1 comment August 3rd, 2008

Whedonesque

If, as I am, you are a fan of all things Whedon you might like to check out Dr Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog. Genius!

July 19th, 2008

Post-Plugins 2.5.0.11

I’ve just posted a plugin update with some requested features and an obscure bug-fix (or a fix for an obscure bug?).

  • a new option to include attachment posts in the listings
  • a new output tag, {authorurl}, to point to the archive of an author’s posts
  • a beefed up {php} tag which can now include other output tags in the code
  • a fix for a variety of Similar Posts ‘none found’ bug: in some non-English locales MySQL was being fed ‘0,5’ instead of ‘0.5’

10 comments July 12th, 2008

Monday Week 13 Year II

Edel McClean offers these reflections:

Readings: Amos 2; Matthew 8: 18-22

I’m perplexed by today’s gospel reading. I don’t want this to be my Jesus speaking. I want to catch a softness in his eye. I want him to smile. I want him to be a wee bit easier on people. But Jesus isn’t going to do my bidding. I have to grapple with my confusion instead.

Let’s picture the scene. Jesus, a strangely attractive young rabbi, emerges out of the back end of nowhere. He wanders the hills and valleys of Palestine. He walks among a disenfranchised people, in an occupied state. He walks through their towns and their villages, over their farmland, and on the shores of their lake, and he cries out a new message. A message of a new world order, where the mourning are comforted, the meek inherit the earth, those hungry and thirsty for what’s right feast until satisfied. He doesn’t just talk. He puts it into action. He lays hands on people and they are healed. He looks, smiling, into the eyes of a leper and says ‘Of course I want to cure you, be cured’. With a word from this man’s lips, the sick are made well. The air that surrounds him is so packed full of promise of a better life and a better world, that it seems to be exploding in bursts of golden fireworks over his head.

What’s not to love? The crowds, and the excitement, the acclaim, the glamour, the power. Surely following so talented a preacher and healer holds at least the potential of wealth and health and fame and long life. How attractive to run up and throw yourself at this man’s feet and ask to go with him.

He doesn’t ask anything of the pair we hear about in the gospel. There’s no hint of him demanding that they follow. He’s been among them, healed, preached, given his heart, his time, his love, given generously and richly. He’s told them of the Kingdom. They can believe, they can live the Kingdom message, they don’t need to leave their lives and come with him. But they ask to.

I’m not sure what he offers in response is a rebuke. It seems, instead, to be a simple statement of fact. Jesus seems to want them to be absolutely clear about what it is that’s on offer.

He doesn’t offer health, wealth. Fame. A long life. All things that, on first glance, this charismatic, popular, healing preacher might be expected to offer. There’s no guarantee of health or illness, of wealth or poverty, or fame or disgrace, a long life or a short one. That’s not what they, or we, are being asked to choose. He’s not offering any guarantee of an exciting life or a dull one, an easy life or even a hard one. He’s simply saying that it won’t always look like this.

‘Don’t fall in love with the large crowds and the status and the adulation’ he seems to be saying ‘those things will disappear. I can’t guarantee you a secure home. I can’t guarantee you the security of family acceptance. I can’t offer you an honoured place in the synagogue’. This man with no home. This man so committed to the ‘fierce urgency of now’, so committed to love, that he throws himself on the mercy of our humanity. He stands there, with one foot in the boat, heading off into the unknown. He stands there in all his vulnerability. He stands there with arms spread out saying something like: ‘What do I offer you? Myself, and that’s as good as it gets. My Self is as good as it gets. Here I am. Here’s what’s on offer. Do you still want to come?’

5 comments June 30th, 2008

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