Wednesday, July 30, 2008

There and Back Again

Well I am sure all of you were very worried about my pilgrimage into the city. Well I made it and after walking about 30-40 km in day (I had to get a ride back the next day, I was wrecked) I had an entirely new appreciation for those who could run that (although they were likely not carrying a 40lb backpack). The pain really all focused in the hips . . . who knew? Sleeping on the ground probably didn't help either. Anyway, here are some shots from along the way.
In the words of Whitesnake,
here I go again on my own
Goin down the only road Ive ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time
so here I go again . . .
Good grief my driveway was long enough. The one thing I must certainly learned from the last two days is that walking makes the world huge.

My backpack became heavy enough quickly enough so I decided to take the train tracks to save some time.

Stand By Me anyone? Probably wasn't a good a idea.

The cookie cutterization of Baden . . . it was such nice little town.

Well country mouse finally made it to the city and plopped himself down on the first bus stop bench to get downtown. What you didn't see in pictures was an over 5 hour walk that included a brief downpour where I huddled under my tiny $1.50 tarp. Also during which time my hips seized up like an old man.

Next stop was City Hall where I found out there was a free concert going on.

There where not any good acts playing so I decided to try and take a nap in Victoria Park.

After some wandering around and confirming my sleeping arrangements I made it back to the concert to watch Sloan.

I parked myself on the sidewalk where I looked over to see one of the best pieces of theological graffiti that I had seen in awhile. For some reason I like the phrase "All of God". There is a type of totalizing abandon in this phrase fitting of someone like God and well there are worse adjectives to use of God than 'insane'.

After the show I headed towards my 'camp site' which was a cemetery on a Mennonite church property on the edge of the downtown area. I debated internally on the ethics of sleeping in a graveyard but felt in the end that it should be on of the most welcoming of spaces and accessible to the weary traveler.

The first spot a lay down at looked good but when I got up to look around I was faced with this guy and he royally freaked me out.

So I moved over and lay next to a Gascho and certainly did not sleep like the dead that night. I tossed and turned and slept intermittently after which I got up at about 5:30 and hit the street again with my wobbly hips in search of breakfast and whatever was to come . . .


Monday, July 28, 2008

When they ask about the stones . . .

Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever. . . . Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been [a] in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day. - Joshua 4:5-7, 9

Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today." Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. - Joshua 7:24-26a

They were picked up from the river bed, exposed for the first time to sun and air. The stones of the river bed settled and secure in water remained always dry. What is God comes from the deep.
When your children ask tell them, "You are God's because you have come from the deep." As the stone is dry our life is from the deep but the deep does not penetrate entering our sanctuary though God is our sanctuary and perhaps God is the deep. Tell them also if you want to look for God then look to the deep. Holiness is deep and perhaps the deep is holy.

They picked stones in the valley and hurled them at Achan, his wife, sons and daughters. The stones met with the soft resistance of flesh bloodied with life but dry inside, always dry, purely dry. Gather the stones and when your children ask about them, tell them, "God possess all and God takes what is not gift. God takes all those that take as God takes. We have not God's eyes though we extend our reach as though we can possess. What God has given can be received. It can be received because God has given. What you take, God takes back, always even if it takes longer than Achan. You will feel the stones of greed, hatred or age and these stones will shake loose all that your hands grasp. And things will return to God as they already were."
Tell them that . . . when they ask.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Out on the Streets

As I mentioned I have been on holidays and tomorrow I will be trying something new. I will be walking to my nearest city, the great twin city Kitchener-Waterloo. The walk will be about 25 km of beautiful rolling countryside. Then I will be spending the night on the mean streets of downtown Kitchener living by my wits. I have always wanted to spend a night on the street. I don't think this desire is in any way condescending or at least more condescending than most other desires. I just sort of want to. I tried doing it one time in Winnipeg about 10 years ago and always got to freaked out by the noises around me when I was trying to fall asleep. We'll see what will happen this time. I have also never gone for such a long walk and am considering it a type of experimental pilgrimage. I think there is a lot of potential for local pilgrimages. I am hoping to eventually to a 3-4 day pilgrimage to Toronto. There are incredible natural, urban and industrial areas in that stretch to reflect on and pray over. I do not pray very well and consider intentional walking a form of prayer.
See you in a couple of days . . . hopefully!


Marion on the Visible

I quite struggled through chapter 2 of Jean-Luc Marion's In Excess where he establishes some of his methodological framework. There was however a decisive shift in mood in the third chapter as Marion appeared to me to be now expressing his project for which he has considerable passion. The chapter on the idol and paintings begins,

The visible surrounds us. Wherever we turn, it is unveiled, ready, brilliant, iconic. When I open my eyes, I fall on it, unfolded from head to foot all across the horizon. Does it seep through the sides? But there is no place for anything 'on the side' of the visible, since it faces me with the envisageable breadth of space. Would I escape from it in turning my back on it and fleeing? But if I turn around I always run into it, as it preceded me and gets around me in advance. When I raise my head, it is already hanging over me. When I lower my eyes, it always still expects me. The visible obsesses us because it lays siege to us. Wherever I turn, it surrounds me.

Marion goes on to establish the reality of the painting as offering pure visibility, something greater than its 'original'. In a painting all is visible. "The painting adds presence to presence, where nature preserves space and thus absence. At this point Marion introduces the work of Paul Klee who I had never heard of. Marion then offers an interpretation of one of his paintings. I am still not quite sure what to make of it. I have never heard a reading with so much serious drama. The interpretation is of Klee's Ad Marginem.

It is a well-named painting: the red sun, which, a little raised from the center, would have to crush with its dense, nodal mass and its dark, explosive heat the greenish marshland which, spread out, surrounds it - crush it to the point of draining it, even fade it to the point of whitening it - this quasi-atomic sun seems impreceptibly, but indisputably, to be narrowed under the pressure of the green that lays siege to it, turning it yellow and digesting, so to speak, its redness, as if asphyxiated by the exponential growth of the quasi-plants that push on the margins of the painting . They buttress themselves there all the more visibly as the painting is narrowing in on itself in sketching an ocher frame, already wood, on the inside of its physical, material frame. The redoubling of the frame renders visible, almost foreseeable, even inevitable, that the clash of the elementary forces of the sun and of the magma, both in fusion, ends in the implosion of enormous energy - the same energy of the visible struggling in the rarified space to rise, in spite of it all, to the day. The painting imposes itself like a double-armored casket, which tries to hold back the explosion of the immense visible, which will end inevitably by taking it apart and dispersing it. The painting attains the highest saturation possible of the visible in such a restrained frame. The saturation of the visible becomes, to the one who knows how to look at it as it gives itself really unbearable.

It is perhaps that final line that really set me off. I had not thought too much of the hermeneutics of sight. I considered interpreting a painting as looking and then internally processing its meaning as opposed to how I might look at it.


Help Their Road Lead to Rome

If you would like to help send some worthy students to Rome (we'd all like to be there I am sure . . . so let's make it happen for someone) see here.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Life is not for us; Life is not for me . . . Life was not for him

Life is not for us; Life is not for me
These words came clear and true. These words dismantle thoughts and plans. There is simply no reason to believe that this life is for us. This certainly does not mean that life is not good. Our manner of living is the construction of spaces that allow us to experience as though life is for us. This is, I suspect, idolatry. An intermediary was required for the unforgiveness and overwhelmingness of nature. It is claimed that this too was the role of Yahweh and Christ's Father. I recently watched Into the Wild which dramatized the life of Christopher McCandless (aka Alexander Supertramp; self-photographed above shortly before his death). McCandless attempted to live outside the constructs of life-for-us as he wander the US with little or no money. His pathology eventually led him to Alaska and an ill prepared stint of living alone in the wild. His time in Alaska became more and more grim in the movie as food grew scarce. I knew the movie was almost over and I was waiting for a 'magical rescue' a la Hollywood so that all would be well. But Christopher died. As far as movies go, I am hesitant to say this, but I was happy it ended that way. There was no triumph of the human spirit (well there was triumph of the spirit but not of the mind or body). Is this perhaps the other end of the spectrum? Existence without the constructs of life-for-us is in fact non-existence. Life/nature has no need for us and will outlast us without flinching.
What then of the relationship between the biblical God, humanity and nature? First, we are by no means the gods of nature. We are neither her saviour or destroyer. I have no answer to this. I suppose that for now I went to be more fully convinced that life is not for me and that the constructs of life-for-us are in fact idolatrous. I think there remains though something of wild. Not perhaps of McCandless' wilderness but of a more holy as wildness. Here again my reading of Williams is not far from mind. Williams on Augustine's spirituality,

There is no rest in mere self-awareness, because to know the self properly is to see it in the midst of the vast landscape [read wilderness] of God's workings, a landscape with no human map, trusting only to the hand of God.
. . .
The mystery of Augustine's God is not the static and solitary purity of Plotinus's "One;" timeless and unchangeable as he is, Augustine's is rather the inscrutable God who speaks out of Job's whirlwind and makes himself known in a dying man - not "far above," but penetrating every corner, mysterious with the tragic and terrifying mysteriousness of experience and history.

The question then becomes the monastic one of fleeing the world (life) and still living in the midst of it; Of living outside the constructs of life-for-us and still promoting life, or of life after the death of life. But first let me contemplate simply that life is not for me, life is not for us. May this lead in part to a type death and so perhaps to a type of life. A life-for-God


Williams on Augustine on Speaking God

What cannot be said may still be sung. Sung not only in the hymns and psalms of which he is speaking in the Confessions passage, but in the wordless 'jubilus', the almost formless chant of the laborers in the fields:

Singing to God is singing "with jubilation" [in jubilatione]. Now what is this singing with jubilation? Think of people singing as they go about some hot and exhausting job at harvest-time, say, or in the vineyard. They start celebrating in their happiness with the words of familiar songs. But they end up turning away from words and syllables, as if they were filled with so much happiness that they couldn't put it into words. And off they go into the noise of 'jubilation.' This kind of singing [jubilum] is a sound which means that the heart is giving birth to something it cannot speak of. And who better to receive such 'jubilation' that the ineffable God - ineffable, because you cannot talk about him. And if you cannot talk about him, and it is improper just to keep silence, why, what is there left for you to do but 'jubilate' - with your heart rejoicing without words, and the immense breadth of your joy not rationed out in syllables? (en. in Ps. 32.8)

That is one of Augustine's most memorable images of Christian prayer and praise. But more profound and suggestive if another image drawn from music, occurring in the last few pages of the
Discourses of the Psalms, expressing so much of his teaching on grace, desire, purification from the world's ways, and the sheer beauty of truth that it might well serve as a summary of his vision. He is commenting on the words, "Let them sing praises unto him with tabret and harp" (Ps 149.3)

We should not pass over the mysterious meaning of 'tabret and harp' in silence. On a tambourine you have a skin stretched out, and in a stringed instrument you have catgut stretched out. So in both instruments ordinary flesh is being 'crucified.' That man who said, "The world is crucified to me and I to the world" (Gal 6.14) must have sung praises really well on this 'tabret and harp'! And he who loves a 'new song' wants to take you to be that harp, that tabret. He gives you his instructions when he says, "Whoever wants to be my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Do not let him throw away his harp and his tabret. Let them be stretched out on wood [of the cross], and all fleshly desire dried out on them. Strings or sinews sound more sharply the more they are stretched out. And what does Paul the apostle say about making his harp sound more sharp and clear? "Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call" (Phil 3.13-14). So he stretched himself out; Christ touched him, and the sweetness of truth gave tongue. (en. in Ps. 149.8)

- Rowan Williams The Wound of Knowledge, 97-99


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Brother Metal, Metal Monk

Has this been spanning the blogosphere yet?


Friday, July 18, 2008

Summer Reading?

As the question was embedded in the below post I will ask it outright. What is on your summer reading list? The only thing I would add to the below list is Steinbeck's The Winter of Our Discontent.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

When it Rains it Pours

I am on holidays and so I began a fistful of books that have been sitting on my shelf waiting their turn. The three that have emerged this summer are,
Slavoj Zizek, In Defence of Lost Causes
Rowan Williams, The Wound of Knowledge
and my first Jean-Luc Marion, In Excess
I will offer a few excerpts shortly. However, yesterday I was inundated with more books that will have to wait.
I received an order from Amazon which included,
William Cavanuagh's Theolopolitical Imagination and John H. Yoder's The Politics of Jesus (which I read about 10 years ago after which I lent out the copy never to return).
Yesterday I was also out a used bookstore and corralled the following,
Immanuel Kant, Religion Within the Limits of Reason
Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialetic of Enlightenment
Jacques Lacan, Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis
Then to top it all off as I was walking to where I parked my car there was a little Thrift Store that I went into where I perused their bookshelf and for 50 cents I picked up,
Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, In Memory of Her
Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory

I need more holidays!

So what summer reading have you picked up?

Zizek's In Defense continues to be an enjoyable read. It is starting to get a little old the way he "turns the tables" on popular conceptions. You have heard it said that Hitler was too violent, well I say to you that he was not violent enough. You have heard it said that Stalinism was immoral, well I say to you that it was too moral . . . and so forth. This however, does not take away from insights into capitalism as the infinitely revolutionary model that can absorb almost all influences. Here is quotes Brian Massumi on the erratic excess of contemporary capitalism saying that,

the more varied, and even erratic, the better. Normalcy starts to lose its hold. The regularities start to loosen. This loosening of normalcy is part of capitalism's dynamic. It's not a simply liberation. It's capitalism's own form of power. It's no longer disciplinary institutional power that defines everything, it's capitalism's power to produce variety - because markets get saturated. Produce variety and you produce a niche market. The oddest of affective tendencies are okay - as long as they pay. . . . It's very troubling and confusing, because it seems to me that there's been a certain kind of convergence between the dynamic of capitalist power and the dynamic of resistance.

Zizek eventually comes to his question and asks, "How, then, are we to revolutionize an order whose very principle is constant self-revolutionizing?" The chapter ends with a quote from Beckett, "Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

Jean-Luc Marion's In Excess is the third in a trilogy of books (which I did not know when I bought it). It is, however, somewhat accessible having not been up to speed with his prior work. Marion asks the question whether the rejection of all transcendence by phenomenology forbids it from engaging constructively with religion. Here Marion looks at metaphysical theology and revealed theology. In as much as metaphysical theology (first philosophy) is based on "real transcendence, causality, substantiality, and actuality" phenomenology could engage in no speculative arguments beyond what is given. However, "for revealed theology, by the very fact that it is based on given facts, which are given positively as figures, appearances, and manifestations (indeed, apparitions, miracles, revelations, and so on), takes places in the natural field of phenomentality and is therefore dependent on the competence of phenomenology. What is surprising here is that phenomenology should disqualify that theology called 'natural' and rational, but it cannot deny further interest in revealed theology, precisely because no revelation would take place without a manner of phenomenality."

The opening chapter of Rowan William's The Wound of Knowledge is worth quoting in full but I will quote one of the final paragraphs after Williams has outlined the paradox and contingent nature of faithful spirituality. He then talks about hope,

The presence of this hope is what makes us alive with 'newness of life' (Rom 6.4) in the sharing of Christ's risen life. Christ's risen life is a life free from the threat of death and annihilation ('Christ's being raised from the dead will never die again' - Rom 6.9), the 'threatenedness' that is part of the human condition of human sin and distance from God. In sharing this life, we share his freedom from 'threatenedness,' it is never - as is perfectly clear in all Paul's epistles - a freedom from exposure to suffering or from fear, but it is a decisive transition to that new level of existence where God is the only ultimate horizon - not death or nothingness. 'From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer' ( 2 Cor 5.16). The 'human point of view,' for which death is the final horizon, is put away, so that we are free with Christ's freedom. We have, in John's terms, 'passed out of death into life' (1 John 3.14).


Monday, July 14, 2008

Married to an Idea

There has been significant energy around the topic of marriage and family over at Faith and Theology and Inhabitatio Dei. Ben has asked pastors and the church broadly to excuse itself from the civil acts of weddings until something more theologically responsible can be engaged. Halden has been more brazen uncovering the idolatry of marriage and family as it typically exists in the evangelical church and particularly in his new favourite nemesis Mark Driscoll.

I fully confess that my life is marked increasingly by something that Halden would liken to idolatry. In the past ten years I have lived and worked in some of the most dangerous and impoverished communities in Canada (yes we have them . . . I could tell stories). A year and half ago I took my first pastoral position at a rural Mennonite church in Ontario. It was with some sense of insecurity that I left the only context I had known as an adult (though as a child I grew up on the farm) and moved to the small town of New Hamburg. Fortunately we first moved into an apartment on Hincks St which we were promptly told was in the ‘rough’ part of town. At least I could still carry some stree cred I thought.
However, this month we moved into a small house in the country that we are renting. It is so peaceful here and our neighbours are so supportive.

I feel some guilt . . . but it is only slight. I am offering increased attention to my wife and our household duties which now includes a garden (and hopefully a pig that we will butcher ourselves). We are also thinking of starting a family. This is all taking greater time and energy that I what used to devote in my urban context.

I am rambling like this because while I appreciate the critiques about family being offered there is always something humorous or perhaps sinister about academics critiquing family as though their commitments to study could somehow be cleansed in the process. To dare use an overused phrase by some the above mentioned bloggers, perhaps evangelicals (and the bloggers who critique them) have not elevated marriage and family enough. While yes there may be none ‘married and given in marriage’ in the Kingdom theologically marriage and family remains one of the most analogously fecund expressions we are given in life (I am of course expanding the notion beyond biological husband and wife). The ‘eviscerating call of the Crucifed and Resurrected One’ (Halden) is always towards marriage (to Christ, to justice, to neighbour . . . yes even to spouse) and not away from it. The form and expression of marriage is of course important but that is what should be at issue.

Our critiques should not be doing away with such possible expressions of faithfulness but adding to them. What I have added in the this move is the opportunity to get my hands dirty in a different way then I did in the urban contexts I lived in. Doing away with the theological expression of marriage is like doing away with the theological expression of land and its relationships. Through our social and economic system we have largely done away with expressions of land. We need to add and fortify this. I was reminded of an old post where I quoted Dostoyevsky having read Crime and Punishment for the first time. Faithful relationship to each other and land is weaved together as symptom and perhaps source of Raskolnikov’s apocalyptic social plague.

Raskolnikov was in hospital during the last weeks of Lent and Easter week. When convalescing, he remembered the dreams he had while running a high temperature and in delirium. He dreamt the whole world was ravaged by an unknown and terrible plague that had spread across Europe from the depths of Asia. All except a few chosen ones were doomed to perish. New kinds of germs – microscopic creatures which lodged in the bodies of men – made their appearance. But these creatures were spirits endowed with reason and will. People who became infected with them at once became mad and violent. But never had people considered themselves as wise and as strong in their pursuit of truth as these plague-ridden people. Never had thought their decisions, their scientific conclusions, and their moral convictions so unshakable or incontestably right. Whole villages, whole towns and peoples became infected and went mad. They were in a state of constant alarm. They did not understand each other. Each of them believed that the truth only resided in him, and was miserable looking at others, and smote his breast, wept, and wrung his hands. They did not know whom to put on trial or how to pass judgment; they could not agree what was good or what was evil. They did not know whom to accuse or whom to acquit. Men killed each other in a kind of senseless fury. They raised whole armies against each other; but these armies, when already on the march, began suddenly to fight amongst themselves, their ranks broke, and the soldiers fell upon one another, bayoneted and stabbed each other, bit and devoured each other. In the cities the tocsin was sounded all day long: they called everyone together, but no one knew who had summoned them or why they had been summoned, and all were in a state of great alarm. The most ordinary trades were abandoned because everyone was propounding his own theories, offering his own solutions, and they could not agree; they gave up tilling the ground. Here and there people gathered in crowds, adopted some decision and vowed not to part, but they immediately started doing something else, something quite different from what they had decided. And they began to accuse each other, fought and killed each other. Fires broke out; famine spread. Wholesale destruction stalked the earth. The pestilence grew and spread farther afield. Only a few people could save themselves in the whole world: those were the pure chosen ones, destined to start a new race of men and a new life, to renew and purify the earth, but no had ever seen these people, no had heard their words or their voices.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Peace in Unpeaceful Places

[Excerpts from this morning's sermon]

God gives the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai which is somewhere in the desert between Egypt and Canaan. The giving of God’s law happens between the place of slavery under foreign power in Egypt and the giving of land and control to the Israelites in Canaan. The place of Mt. Sinai and the giving of the law is not insignificant. God’s law is given outside of the context of any human control or authority. Laws and rules work in our society and with our children because we are somehow able to enforce them through our authority. God’s laws, however, are not given through any institution. Samuel Balentine writes this of the location of Mt. Sinai. “[T]he location of Sinai is finally indeterminate; it lies in the wilderness somewhere between Egypt and Canaan. This elusiveness functions in [the Hebrew] tradition as a symbol of both Yahweh’s freedom and Yahweh’s authority. Like Sinai, Yahweh’s authority is not confined by, indeed may stand in opposition to, the sovereignty claimed by any earthly kingdom.” The authority of God’s law in the Old Testament ultimately lies in the presence of God alone.
. . .
It is God’s presence then that becomes important for understanding the Ten Commandments and how they might lead towards peace. If peace is to be found in God’s presence then it can only be experienced in a place like Sinai, in a place outside boundaries of human power and authority. This is why right after the Ten Commandments and other laws were given we read that God called Moses up to the mountain again were he was given instructions on how to build the Tabernacle. God says, “Make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.” And in the heart of the Tabernacle was the Holy of Holies where there was an empty space reserved for God. God said, “There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites. The Tabernacle functioned as a sort of portable Mt. Sinai. The people of God were always to carry with them a space reserved for God alone; a space that was not influenced or controlled by any individual or group.
. . .
What then does the law have to do with peace? We often assume that following these commands will lead to peace within ourselves and peace with our neighbours. There is an extent to which that is true. But if we look at the structure of this passage something more significant emerges. We find that the people witnessing this event on either end of the Ten Commandments are trembling with fear. As God meets Moses on the mountain the people witness smoke, fire, thunder, lighting and earthquakes. The people are not yet prepared to enter the presence of God and so they roped off at the foot of the mountain. Then after Moses brings the Ten Commandments to the people it says that “when the people saw the thunder and lightening and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled in fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.’” When God’s commands come to us they shake our foundations. They search out our thoughts and actions sitting in judgment on them. They force us into confrontation with our neighbour as we attempt to throw down the idols within and around us. If they are allowed into us these commands leave us trembling, vulnerable and at the mercy of God. They leave us in the wilderness in the space of Mt. Sinai where no one can claim power and status. According to the text it is then, and only then, as we enter into the commands from either side, the commands to love God and to love our neighbour that we encounter something in the centre.
For those of you who were counting I have left out one commandment. It is at the centre of the commandments. It is at the place where the love of God and love of neighbour meet.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

This the heart of the commandments and the place of peace. This is where God is honoured and neighbour is loved. After the commands have searched us out and we have trembled before them as they overturned our idols and desires then we are able to receive peace from God and peace with all those who gather in this place. This is Sabbath. The place of peace is a place of the worship. We gather each Sunday so that in some real way we can enact and honour Sabbath and this way live at the heart of the commands. This was God’s call on Moses. God called Moses to lead a kingdom of priests and a holy nation; a kingdom not of kings and generals but of saints, a nation not ruled by war and economics but by right relationships with God.
As we leave from here we are called to overthrow the idols of our culture and undermine the national foundations of wealth and power. We leave knowing that as the Tabernacle was a portable place to live with God’s presence now our bodies are the temple of God’s Spirit. Our bodies carry the place where God met with Moses on Mt. Sinai. The Spirit searches us and shakes us until we let go of control and fear and misdirected desires. The Spirit moves in us so that others also might tremble as their idols are exposed. The Spirit empowers us so those who suffer under the powers and idols of the world may find rest. The Spirit carries us so that we might travel to heart of God. This is the place of Sabbath. This is the place of peace where are passions find fulfillment and our fears are healed. May we not be afraid at God’s commands for though they are often not peaceful they are indeed the way to peace.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Rad Ox Weigh-In

Anyone care to weigh-in on Adam's reflections on Radical Orthodoxy?


Hard Times

It looks like the North American economic downturn continues as Starbucks will be closing over 600 locations. We will wait to see if people will be willing to cross over to the other side of the street to enjoy their brew.

GM considers bankruptcy. Would the picture have been any different had they begun 'greening' their vehicles earlier?