Archive for June, 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

Image Shadow: A New WordPress Plugin

I’ve released a new plugin, Image Shadow, which creates soft, realistic drop-shadows (frames too) for the jpeg images in your posts.

Thanks to David at PhotoLinkLove for the inspiration. You can see the plugin in action with the beautiful photographs on his blog.

9 comments June 28th, 2008

Post Plugins Ready for WordPress 2.6

I’ve just posted new releases (v. of the various post plugins. There are some bug fixes and several developments to Similar Posts including an optional new algorithm for choosing key terms to match and the ability to override automatic matching by making manual links between posts. I’ve also taken account of the new post-versioning system in WordPress 2.6.

June 28th, 2008

Still Adapting to Automatic WordPress Plugin Updates

I’m realising how differently plugin development goes when my plugins are hosted with WordPress Extend. Having the SVN repository has really simplified some things and made maintenance a lot less time consuming but I’m finding a big downside. My plugins seem to be perpetually in beta! I guess before I could upload a new feature or a bug fix and, if there was a problem with it, I could sort it out before more than a handful of users had been inconvenienced. Now, however, every new version gets wide distribution and every error has a wide public.

Yesterday, for example, I was puzzling over one person’s problem installing Similar Posts. It seemed the plugin activation code wasn’t working. I couldn’t see why until I noticed he was using WordPress 2.0. I installed the same version locally and quickly discovered the problem was with the function ‘plugin_basename’. Apparently it didn’t work correctly on Windows servers until WordPress 2.2. So I thought ‘Easy! I’ll create my own version that does work’.

It seemed obvious to me at the time that, since it was being used by each of the four post plugins, the new function ppl_plugin_basename should go into the Post-Plugin Library where the shared code lives. And so the nightmare began…

I had managed to create a circular dependency between the installation of the plugins. If I tried updating the Library the other plugins blew up. If I tried first to update one of the plugins the Library exploded.

The solution was to manually delete the plugins from the server and upload new versions with the dependency removed. Easy enough but I’m waiting for the deluge of disgruntled users who downloaded version during its brief lifetime and can’t use the automatic updater.

The WordPress Extend repository gives developers a wider audience: great … but that’s all the more people to mess up in front of!

How do all you other plugin developers use the repository to the best advantage?

1 comment June 4th, 2008


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