Imaginary Lines daydreaming for beginners

speaking of cupboards

…does God have a Cupboard under the stairs?
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Christmiss

Many folk willingly come to a church but once a year. Not Easter: far too gory and weird. No, they come at Christmas (chiefly to the Carol Service). We all come with numerous, complex, and (often) conflicting expectations.

Despite these various expectations there is, I think, an underlying wish that wonder and mystery will be encountered; senses engaged; perhaps, just perhaps, some connection glimpsed. These folks almost universally stay away after the Christmas encounter.

Why?

Well, what do I know? No idea really: but I do have a sense of something wrong. We Christians tell our story, but we tell it badly. To a Jew, hearing it again, the story of Covenant Redemption is presented in a continuum of family. The stories are familiar and embedded in the life of the community, life around the table: nothing jarring, nothing unexpected. Shalom made pregnant and present.

Yet we Christians assume this Story is already known and understood by all who enter our doors. This is nonsense. Not only that but we offer a version plagued with Augustinian rhetoric designed to quench the spirit and suggest the big bad god will come and get you. For goodness sake, why is the Western Church still peddling Original Sin?

I actually wonder if we really do know how to tell it. Our policy is to plough on as we think we know it, or as we think it ought to be known. Shout loud and hope ears will hear. But I for one don't think it works — ever.

So, what? Let's keep the carols and the wonder (maybe getting the gender issues normalised), let's keep the candlelight and sparkly tree. Let's even have some singable new carols.

But, let's find ways of telling God's wonderful, graceful Story as a one that is relevant to those who come expectantly. I should rather tell The Story in terms of Journey from/to. Exodus from Eden; from Egypt; from Exile; from expiration; towards emancipation.

Who knows, some might begin a journey.

The Life Paradoxical

Jesus spent three years telling all who would listen that the Kingdom of God was ‘now and not yet’; that we must lose our life to gain it; be rich in our poverty; empty ourselves that we might be filled; serve if we are called to lead.

Jesus is clear that even to begin to appreciate God’s way we must learn to turn our view of stuff up-side-down. Welcome to the world of paradox – living in the mystery of ‘simultaneous opposites equally true’ which have to be lived, not necessarily resolved. Read More…

Songbird

I went to bed in a troubled state of mind: doctor’s appointment in the morning. I hardly slept and certainly didn’t rest but I lay down anyway and dozed off. At 1.30 am I woke again, still troubled. Arranging the pillows I sat up, worrying. Then I heard a song: out in the garden a Robin was singing. Such beautiful, bountiful song. No cares, no worries; just the song. Now I thought how Jesus had said that not one sparrow falls to the ground without my Father knowing. And I remembered how the lilies of the field neither work nor care and yet they are clothed. And in that moment of deep time I knew that worry is not lifted but walked with. Sorrows, there will be: but never lived alone. My Father cares and knows all my needs. And I am loved, as the songbird is loved – eternally.

No Illusion

Old Nick thought himself very clever. He strutted around the world and one day, early on, he came across the garden of God. Two innocents were doing what God knew would bless them: they were tending and caring for God’s wonderful and good Creation. And in that activity they found conversation with God their Father. Doing was the same as Being to them. Read More…