Friday, April 21, 2006

False intimacy?

It bothers me when random people put xs after their name at the end of emails to me. I've had several people whom I've never met in person do this in the last few weeks, along with a few who I've only met once or twice.

Don't get me wrong - I often sign off "xxx", but only when I'm writing to someone whom I'd actually kiss goodbye if I saw them in person. I think it cheapens our gestures of love and affection when we use them with everyone. I think technology can give us a false sense of intimacy; we deceive ourselves that our lives are full of love and fluffiness, when we are actually increasingly isolated and lonely... (must get off this computer now and have a real conversation with someone!)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Gospel of Judas

So everyone's been thinking reading blogging commenting writing opining on this Gospel of Judas. Here are the conclusions I've come to so far:

1. Because it is a late 2nd century document, the GoJ doesn't really have a lot to tell us about the historical Jesus or the historical Judas.

2. The GoJ might be useful in furthering our understanding of 2nd century Gnosticism and might prompt us to ask questions such as:

  • why was Gnosticism opposed by the church?
  • what does the development of Gnosticism and its rejection by orthodox Christianity have to tell us about what it means to be orthodox or heretical?
  • what are the specific Gnostic beliefs that we should still be wary of? I'm thinking specifically of dualism and the idea that one needs special knowledge to attain salvation, but there may be others. How do these specific ideas play out in our culture today?

3. The GoJ might prompt us to reconsider our understanding of Judas and his role in the story of Jesus. In particular, why does Judas get singled out as the bad guy, when there were so many who contributed to the whole tragic story? After all, Judas couldn't have betrayed Jesus if there wasn't someone to betray him to. Personally, I don't think that it was Judas's "role" to betray Jesus. One way or another, sooner or later, Jesus was going to end up dead. He confronted people's (our) greed and status-seeking and selfishness and power-mongering and so the death-dealing powers of this world were going to oppose him and do their worst. To blame his death simply on Judas's betrayal is to avoid the uncomfortable reality that all too often, we conspire with the wider forces of evil that Jesus sought to overturn.

4. The GoJ might force us to think again about what we mean by "the Bible" and how we understand the development of the biblical canon. What do we really believe about that process and how do these beliefs inform our reading and living out of the Bible today?

5. The media interest in the GoJ might force us to ask what it is about these texts that hold such appeal for people today. On this I think the Archbishop of Canterbury has some wise and insightful words.

Easter poem

I really like this poem.

The challenge, of course, is living in a world where God's kingdom is here-but-not-yet-here, breaking-in-but-not-yet-present, where all the transformations that the poem describes are mysteriously real even though our eyes and minds tell us differently.

How does his rising change how we live? Is it merely to give us hope (pie in the sky when we die etc) or does it change how we live now, here, today?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

The great season of Easter is finally upon us. Since I started attending churches which follow the liturgical seasons, I've begun to notice how the secular world anticipates these seasons - the frenzy of the "Christmas season" in the run-up to Christmas Day obscures the fact that the ecclesiastical season of Christmas only begins on December 25. Similarly with Easter, the easter eggs and daffodils everywhere have felt strangely incongruous up till now. Perhaps it is because penitence doesn't sell well?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I'm back

OK, so it's been a few months... sorry... In amongst moving house a few times, not having internet at home for a while, moving cities and finding my feet in a new place, and giving myself mild RSI, it's been hard to find time and energy to blog! But I'm here and I'm back and we'll see if I can keep this going a bit more consistently now.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


I love the way that good liturgy puts words in my mouth.

The church I used to go to was deeply liturgical, but very little of the (spoken) liturgy was said by the minister. Instead, it was mostly said by the congregation as a whole, or by regulars who were assigned short parts that varied with the seasons. This created a beautiful sense of the liturgy being the "work of the people". Our attention was not held by a minister at the front, but was drawn through the whole congregation as first one person spoke, and we all responded, and then someone else on the other side of the room spoke, and we all responded again, and then yet a third person somewhere else concluded that prayer, and then there was silence.

One of the things I loved about this was that it gave me a chance to speak to or from or of God with beautiful, holy words rather than with my usual stumbling, mumbled prayers. Here I was, saying something so significant that it was worth saying every week!

It also meant that I really noticed when someone was not there, because as I began straining to hear Christine's slightly shy and rushed voice at "We are the body of Christ", I would suddenly hear Heather's careful clear tones instead. And I realised that others would notice when I was not there, too.

Monday, May 16, 2005


I'm back. The exams went OK. I'm glad they're over.

I've had a couple of rather strange conversations over the last couple of weeks, where I've got talking to strangers (once in a cafe and once at an alumni event) and at the end of a brief conversation the other person has said something like "call me if you need anything or if you want to talk about anything" and given me their business card. I've been a bit bemused by this - do these people really think I would call them in a week's time and say "Hey, remember me? Well, actually, I've been a bit stressed out with study and I just wanted to talk to someone about how scared I am about my exams..." I don't know - maybe I'm too untrusting. Maybe I look like I need help. Maybe they needed help and wanted someone to talk to. But the strangeness aside, it was good to feel I had noticed, listened, paid attention, connected in a way that was a little bit meaningful.

Friday, April 29, 2005


There'll be no posts here for a couple of weeks (not that that's unusual!) as I am studying for exams. I'm not feeling especially confident about my ability to get through them, but I'm just going to have to do what I can...

My last one's on May 11, so I'll be back soon after that.