Saturday, March 24, 2007

Colorblind God

Thomas and Rebecca were brother and sister. Rebecca was the older of the two. They lived in a small village in the East of England. It was a quiet place. Not much happened there. Their Mother would drive in to London to work and their father would drive out into the countryside to paint. They would often complain that nothing exciting ever happened.
Then one day in the summer, after their parents had left, the mail came. Thomas brought the mail in from the mailbox, and noticed something interesting! Two letters were rolled up like scrolls, and kept closed with wax.
“Rebecca,” he said.
“Yeah?” she replied, putting down the book she was reading. It was the last Harry Potter book.
“Could you read this for me?”
She really wanted to finish her book, but she got up anyway, saying, “okay.”
So she looked at the first scroll. Her name was scrawled in big old letters, with ink so thick that it stood off the page. She looked, and on the other was her brother’s name!
“They’re for us!” she said, forgetting The Deathly Hollows, and pulling off the red wax seal from her scroll. Thomas did the same to the green seal on his.
“Dear Rebecca… that’s me,” she read absently, “This letter has been sent to inform you that after 16 centuries Arthur, the Bear of England, the Holder of Excalibur, Eagle of the Shores, and the King of the Britons, is returning, and you are cordially invited to the welcoming ceremony. Tea and biscuits will be served.”
“This is exciting!” said Thomas.
“Yeah… but… what does one wear to see a king?” thought Rebecca.
“Well,” said Thomas innocently, “probably something that is the King’s favorite color.”
“Which would be red,” said Rebecca.
“Why?” asked Thomas.
“Because the wax is red of course,” said Rebecca.
“But mine is green,” said Thomas… and then added, “So I’ll wear green.”
“No,” said Rebecca, “Arthur’s favorite color is red.”
And so it went until the day of the return, Thomas saying green, Rebecca insisting on red. After a time Rebecca decided Thomas would be thrown out for wearing green, and Thomas decided Rebecca would be thrown out for wearing red.
And then the day itself came. Rebecca wore her very best red dress, and matching red shoes. And Thomas wore a green waistcoat with matching green tie.
Their parents drove them to the party and let them off. “We’ll be back to pick you up at 8,” said father.
“Have a good time,” added mother.
“We will,” they said.
And so they went to the gate and presented their scrolls to the doorman, whose name was Lancelot.
The building was packed.
“Look,” said Thomas, “William Shakespeare is wearing green tights, I was right! Arthur likes green.”
“But look,” reposted Rebecca, “Princess Diana is wearing red.”
And on it went Thomas pointed to Cromwell, Queen Victoria, and John Lennon . Rebecca pointed to Churchhill, Darwin, and Isaac Newton.
“One of us has to be wrong,” said Rebecca.
“Yeah,” agreed Thomas.
“About what?” asked King Arthur in his deep old voice, cracking with centuries of absense. He had stood behind them, unnoticed.
“What’s your favorite color?” asked Rebecca.
“You’re going to throw her out aren’t you?” chimed in Thomas.
“You are wearing different colors?” Arthur asked, astonished, “I am color blind. You both look the same to me. You are both equally invited to this party.”

Friday, March 23, 2007

Philippians 3:4-14

So, I'm trying to write a sermon for this Sunday, it's tough going. Part of this is contemplating that all is shit other than Christ, and also I'm trying to figure out what I believe about the New Perspective issue.
So here is what's come out of my thoughts.

Philippians 3:4b-14

An Old Perspective-

I was a follower of the Law, like those who may come and tempt you to be too. But the comfort I gained through the Law is loss once redeemed by Christ. All works are loss, only believing Christ Jesus to be LORD matters. I realize all the righteousness I stored up was shit; in this realization I gained Christ, righteous by faith alone, not by any works on my part.
Only then, stripped of all self-justifying pretention may I know Christ and live into his life, death, and resurrection.
I’ve fallen short of sanctification, but in Christ I soldier on, carried by him, to sanctification in the next life.

A New Perspective-
If people tell you inclusion in the Kingdom requires outward signs don’t listen to them. I say this as one who has these outward signs… lots of them. These circumcisers might take a lesson from me! In guarding the doors of the Kingdom of God I persecuted citizens of the Kingdom!
All these outward things matter not, because of what Christ did to widen the Kingdom of God. I count everything as loss in comparison to knowing Christ’s full kingdom.
For my radical understanding of inclusively I’ve given up a lot. Yet all that was shit anyway, for I have gained Christ! I have found myself a rightful citizen because of his Lordship over both Jews like myself and Gentiles such as you. We are citizens of the Kingdom because we trust Christ as resurrected King.
Because of this understanding I have I follow him in suffering, death, and perchance in resurrection too.
I’m not conformed to Christ, but attempt such an audacious act because I am a citizen of Christ’s Kingdom.
Fellow citizens, lend me your ears. I say this, press forward to God’s calling to us in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Deep Thought Friday: If you can’t describe it while playing pool…

A few days ago I knew exactly what I was going to say about Philippians 3:4b-14. I’d read a whole bunch of commentaries, I was going to talk about how all things must become “skybala,” that is shit, that we might gain Christ. It all made good sense in my head, then I went to St. Ed’s to play a game of pool. As per usual I started talking about what I was up to, and talked about the Cloud of Unknowing and how covering the physical with said cloud leads to the cloud above parting. It makes no real discernable sense outside a monastic context, yet I was going to preach it on a Sunday.
So, word up, if you can’t preach something authentically while shooting pool you can’t preach something authentically.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A solution for Darfur?

Remember Allen's post about Independent contractors well, it may be just war, but could sending in mercenaries be the solution to Darfur? Specifically could/should the Save Darfur folk scrounge up donations to hire these guys to stop the genocide? I don't know, something needs to be done, and no one is doing anything... All those comic books I read as a child are telling me vigilanteismis the only way to get things done...
Anyway, just a thought.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Short Story Sunday: The Valley of the Kolpo

The valley of the Trickster echoed metal and motion in the early dawn. Greece’s sun, the luscious hand of morning, painted the clouds and the sky, and its fingers lay hold of the valley’s wall.
Below House Thirio was on the move. Met pissed on camp fires, phalanx lined themselves up before their leaders. Their shields, touched too now by the rising rays, rang out bronze light. The Bear banners were raised; the javelineers took their place in the rear.
Not too far off Blep, a Thirio runner, came back toward the camp by way of the shadowy side of the great Trickster corridor.
His Lord would laud him for the information he had gathered whilst spying on the Pouli camp, Vulture banners tattered, men tired. Easy prey for the Thirio legions. Bleop thought of the old oracle, “The news bearer is beaten or blessed,” and ran faster still, to his reward.
And then, by some divine mischance, his foot touched an unstable rock, his leg twisted right, his body left, and he fell. His head hit the valley wall, and he went down. He lay there a moment, flat on his back. He struggled to get up, but then he saw it.
Above him, blotting out the sky, was the shadow of a vulture against the rising sun. It was magnificent, a celestial omen. It frightened him. He tried to scramble away, and managed to get up.
So he ran all the faster, back toward his camp. He came to the first legions, beginning their march to their eternal foes. And he shouted to them, “I have seen the Vulture upon the sky. He overcovers everything! He is writ large upon the world. He overcomes all the beasts of the ground.”
The men became ill at ease hearing this. A few faltered as the sun rose high above them and Blep continued to speak. Coba, their captain, shouted at the runner, “Be quiet you.”
But he did not. Blep continued to speak about what he had seen. So Coba, seeing that Blep would not quit speaking, unsheathed his sword and severed Blep’s head. And then he looked at his men, with anger, and said, “Go forward you dogs. Do not listen to the madman.”
So the men went forward and soon met with the Pouli, with their shreaded banners, their sapped strength, breath heaving deeply through heavy armor. Yet, the Thirio, were repulsed. Soon Coba was cut down. After this the Thirio became cautious, and soon the Pouli took the offensive. They scattered the Coba, and the front line of the giant Thirion army collapsed; it fell in on itself. The retreat turned into a stampede, and those multitude of Javelineers were crushed, and the mighty host overthrew itself. And there was a great slaughtering of men that day.
Receive as they give
Random chance
And above it all Kolpo watched and turned to three of his sons. “Sons,” he said.
“Yes papa Kolpo?” they asked.
“What does this tell you of fate?”
“We receive as we give,” said the eldest.
“Yes,” Kolpo agreed.
“Life is dictated by random chance,” said the second son.
“Our perceptions change reality,” said the third.
“Yes,” Kolpo agreed, satisfied at the wisdom his sons had gained.
“And also due to a child flying a kite,” said Kolpo’s fourth son, arriving sheepishly holding the strings of his kite.