I was doing some thinking about that famous passage in Matthew 25, and relating it to other theologies (Liberation/Black/Feminist/Womanist/etc) and trying to see God through some different lenses to help me understand God better. (For the record, I'm less and less a fan of the "White male middle-class God" and the "Fluffy, blond-haired and blue-eyed Jesus" of Western culture...)
Anyway, I got thinking about safety and the access to and provision thereof for all people. I got thinking about "woke", and how it's so taboo for white people to be "woke."
I did some research (you should too), and decided that I don't want to be "woke" because that's not appropriate. I do want to be accused of be aware of what's going on and the injustices around me though... But I'm going to call that "Love".
Anyway, here's a poem I wrote:
20+ years since I started preaching, I am constructing any portfolio to be recognised as a local preacher in the Methodist Church.
One item asks questions about how we talk about "salvation", and as a result I found myself digging out the dissertation I wrote for my BA Hons. in 2010!
I haven't re-read it all the way through in a very long time, but am "self-referencing" in the portfolio piece, so want to make sure it's somewhere accessible for those assessing the portfolio to read!
But the real question is: Would I write the same thing again?
This is an assembly I wrote and recorded, intending to censor it for an older teen audience, but I chickened out (the right decision I think!). They'd asked for something on "Prayer", and I wanted to be honest.
I was just going to leave it on my hard drive and have it as a reminder for me, but then there was another school shooting in the US last night, and I'm angry. The extent of my prayer was "WTF!?" And that's ok. There don't always have to be articulate words when we pray. There do have to be emotions and feelings though, and sometimes the only words that can be found are the ones we often deem inappropriate.
If you're prepared to be disappointed in me, my language, and potentially my theology, then click "Read More" to see the 8 minute assembly that never got delivered.
If you're offended by profanity and don't believe God can cope with the "F" word (amongst others), then feel free to move on somewhere else.
I was reading a reflection on the Mark 14 passage where Jesus was anointed by an unnamed woman. Do you remember the story?
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
The reflection I was reading pointed out something I probably should have known before, but seeing it this time transformed my understanding of what's going on in this passage.
Or rather “The Manger Gift Hypothesis”: What do you See? How do you respond?
This is my go-to Christmas message for new groups of people...
I love Christmas.
The excitement has been building, the traditions are all rolled out of the box, and it’s time for us to watch those classic seasonal films and eat the food that we only ever consider at Christmas... I mean, when else can you justify watching the Muppets Christmas Carol and eating turkey and brussel sprouts (neither of which any of us really like if we’re being honest...)!
And then there are the Christmas specials that come on the TV, both the classics that we’ve loved and watched for years, and the latest seasonal offering produced by our current favourite shows.
My favourite all-time Christmas episode of a TV series has to be, without a shadow of a doubt the Christmas episode of the Big Bang Theory, Episode 11 from Season 2.
For those who are unfamiliar with the show and the characters, the story revolves around a group of geeky male scientists (well, 3 scientists and an engineer) who are ridiculously intelligent yet socially clueless and inept, and their socially gifted yet intellectually inferior female friend Penny. Invariably the episodes revolve around Penny trying to impart useful social practices and common sense to one of more of the men who just don’t get it.
Sheldon is the most socially inept of the 4 friends, and in this clip he is struggling with the concept of gift-giving.
In this episode, titled “The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis”, Penny tells Sheldon that she has a gift for him for Christmas and Sheldon, though he despises the concept of giving and receiving gifts, knows that the right thing to do is reciprocate the gift with something of equal value, but how does he do that when he doesn’t know what the gift is? And so, he comes up with the “Bath Item Gift Hypothesis,” which is explained, and undone, during this clip.
One last thing you should probably know before we watch: Sheldon doesn’t do physical contact.
I wonder when you’ve been hurt?
It might not have been something big, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t important.
I wonder when you’ve hurt others?
It might not have been something big, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t important.
I wonder if you can pinpoint the times when one of those things has been the result of the other, and you’ve hurt someone because you’ve been hurt?
That might be the person who hurt you, or it might be someone else who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I was asked to speak about Ephesians 4:32 : “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
But I needed a little bit more context, so want to add in the verse before it as well.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (New International Version)
The Bible talks a lot about forgiveness, and suggests emphatically that it’s a good thing.
It talks about forgiveness being a sign of love, of being a way of restoration, a way of beginning to rebuild relationships, but mostly as a way of re-discovering Shalom...
I enjoyed my first foray into spoken word with my "Culpable Disturbance of Shalom" piece that I thought I'd try again.
Compassion was a theme for an assembly, and this time I had the image, and the words came, and then the music followed suit...
It started from a single line from someone describing what "sin" meant.
Their definition was that sin "is the culpable disturbance of Shalom."
For whatever reason, that struck a chord, and subsequently this piece of written word flowed, ready for Easter Day 2021...
**No potty mouth warning, but a request for you to read with grace**
Today's "to-do" list was short from the off. I had decided that there was going to be a single item on it, and I was going to do it well. (Granted, I had forgotten about the assembly that I had to deliver this morning, so that added to it).
Today's "to-do" is simple:
Read and reflect upon "God in Love Unites Us - The report of the Marriage and Relationships task group, 2019"
The list is simple, the task less so.
The task is bound up in my history, my upbringing, my theological journey, my desire to see God, my longing for others to meet him, my calling to "Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly with my God".
Wherever my journey with this report takes me, I have to submit myself to God.
I'm going to have a rant... You've been warned.
"This just makes me angry.
WHY did they need to include the last paragraph!?
All it does is justify the church being a crap, unwelcoming and baffling place for the world, rather than encouraging significant change and positive contextualisation, on the basis that if God wants to convert them, he'll do it without us having to make an effort to be a people and place that outsiders want to be part of!
Surely it would be more helpful as an account without the closing paragraph?"
Remarcable is one man blogging about Youth Work, Theology, Family, Life and those other random things that come to mind.