Thursday, October 26, 2006


It's a common human experience, to feel close to someone and then suddenly find a chasm of misunderstanding between you. This is something I wrote about it years ago .. I can't even remember the occasion now (which is probably a good thing)


I did not know my joy was gossamer-fragile,
Until the words were said.
Like a rock-plummet through the tissue layers,
My joy was shred.
That, which in me was all alive, upspringing,
Is now stone-dead.

Through that great, gaping wound, the world's pain
And flings me wide
To nuances I did not know of anguish;
Nor place to hide,
Nor citadel of sureness, but a hard grief,
Which sinks inside.

Our inward tears mark channels out before us,
With stinging brine;
While we trudge on to where these bitter waters
Are changed to wine;
In that sure place where love shall knit our meanings,
And you are mine.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dumbledore pickle?

You scored as Albus Dumbledore. You are very wise, observant, and analyctical. You have a very "well-organized" mind, which makes you function in a calm and fair manner. Though you get angered easily, its rare of you to ever act our of temper. You are constantly seeing the good in people and are naturally forgiving because of it. You're easy to please and a great person to learn from.

Albus Dumbledore


Sirius Black


Luna Lovegood


Ron Weasley


Remus Lupin


Bellatrix Lestrange


Neville Longbottom


Hermione Granger


Harry Potter


Oliver Wood


Percy Weasley


Severus Snape


Lord Voldemort


Draco Malfoy


Harry Potter Character Combatibility Test
created with

I still exist ..

yes, truly! Just being snowed under with end of semester assignments (and sermons, and life) doesn't leave me in the mind-frame for thinking up things I want to blog about. Just 2 more weeks to go, then I will be bouncing out of my pickle jar again!
Meanwhile, just a quote to ponder:

Come to the edge. We might fall. Come to the edge.
It's too high! Come to the edge! And they came,
and he pushed...... and they flew.
-- Christopher Logue

Friday, October 13, 2006

left-handed power

Came across this quote out there in the cyber-verse. it says something so well that I really don't think I can add anything except a fervent amen:
There is one effect that cannot be the result of a direct application of force, and that is the maintenance of a relationship between free persons. If my child chooses not to cooperate with me, if my wife chooses not to live with me, there is no right-handed power on earth that can make them toe the line of relationship I have chosen to draw in the sand. I can dock my son’s allowance, for example, or chain him to a radiator; or in anger at my wife, I can punch holes in the Sheetrock or beat her senseless with a shovel. In short, I can use any force that comes to hand or mind, and yet I cannot cause either of them, at the core of their being, to stop their wrongs and conform to my right. The only power I have by which to do that is left-handed power – which for all practical purposes will be indistinguishable from weakness on my part. It is the power of my patience with them, of my letting their wrong be – even if that costs me my rightness or my life – so that they, for whose reconciliation I long, may live for a better day of their own choosing.

My point here is twofold. The power of God that saves the world was revealed in Jesus as left-handed power; and therefore any power that the church may use in its God-given role as the sacrament of Jesus must also be left-handed. Despite the fact that God’s Old Testament forays into the thicket of fallen human nature were decidedly right-handed (plagues, might acts, stretched-out-arm exercises, and thunderous threats) – and despite Jesus’ occasional use of similar tactics in the Gospels – the final act by which God reconciles the world to himself consists of his simply dropping dead on the cross and shutting up on the subject of sin. He declares the whole power game won by losing, and he invites the world just to believe that absurd proposition.

- Robert Farrar Capon, The Astonished Heart, pp. 62-63

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

limited sovereignty?

The question, over on codepoke's blog (yeah, memo to self, Christmas holiday project is to learn how to do links) as part of a series on predestination, was whether God sovereignly limits His sovereignty. This was my take on the subject ..

... I think this is the crux issue (to me, where I'm at in my thinking) God is absolutely sovereign, has all power, dominion etc etc -- yes of course He does, those things go with the definition of being God. But what does He do with them withing creation? Or, to put it another way, of course He is God, but what sort of God is He? Is He most concerned with proving His power (what does he have to prove?) or with revealing his character (which is what is really under attack)

Yeah sure, when the godness of God is at issue He will demonstrate it (classic example: Elijah and the prophets of Baal on top of Mt Carmel) Yet even then, He gives the smallest needful demonstration to prove His point. he could have uncreated them all, done incredible, terrifying things, yet all he did was burn up the sacrifice. He was (if I can use such language of God) fighting for the soul of Israel, putting forth just enough proof of His reality over Baal to rekindle their confused and broken faith ..

To put this back on topic, what i am saying is yes, i believe God restrains the full exercise of His sovereignty in this present world .. not because He doesn't totally know what will happen (He is omniscient) but because he genuinely leaves some wriggle room for the free exercise of human faith and love. He so set up this world not just to be a puppet master pulling the strings (if that's what God is really up to salvation history was a very strange way of going about it) but to woo something from us, which for some incomprehensible reason (called love, i think) He really wants from us ..

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Random thoughts on Spring

Just because it's been a beautiful day ..

# Some things you never get tired of, even though they're repeated every year

# I'm glad I don't live in an age or place where Spring demands an insane orgy of housework. Then again, we get plenty of fresh air and sunshine, even in mid-winter

# My northern hemisphere friends might find this hard to believe, but even in a climate where we have green grass all year round, Spring is still magic.

# Why do all 4 seasons have 6 letter names?

# there is nothing like the first feel of warm sunshine on bare arms, or the smell of jasmine, or the delicate glory of azaleas

# Spring is the promise, woven into the very fabric of this creation, that one day there will be a new creation, perfect and lovely beyond anything we can imagine

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Lest all the world ..

Lest all the world You hold within Your hands
Should not suffice the hunger of my heart;
The fields and forests, and the distant strands
Where You have worked, Your beauty to impart.
Lest I, blind in intemperance, should fail
To hear Your voice in every whispered breeze,
And find my very love of life grown stale,
And my ears blocked to Your sublime decrees.

Take then this self (by self impoverished),
Make me the captive of Your large delight.
In You my broken cisterns are refreshed;
Your glory burns the scales that cloaked my sight.
Show me Yourself. My heart, stretched wide to meet,
Is satisfied. I conquer in defeat.

The incarnate Jesus

Heavy theology warning:
Suddenly it seems, in the big wide world of on-line theological debate, the identity of Jesus is up for grabs. An American guy named Driscoll, at a major conference, has declared that one of the problems with emergents is they have concentrated too much on the incarnate Jesus of the gospels, at the expense of the transcendent Lord of the epistles. Talk about creating a false dichotomy!!

Internet Monk, at has answered this silliness well, and for once I feel like chiming in on a hot topic. Normally I leave such things alone, there is far too much heat and far too little warmth between Christians on these issues already. But I can’t overlook a misrepresentation of Jesus – whatever else may be debatable, this is not. The Jesus of the gospels is fully God and fully Lord. When we look at Him, we are meant to say “this is who God is” – I don’t mean that in a silly way, referencing the physical or socio-cultural characteristics which inevitably come as a package deal with incarnation, that is setting up a straw man a five year old could knock down, but the reality of what He said and did, and how He functioned in relationship was God made visible. The man Jesus was, in very fact, the image of the invisible God. God is, in very truth, someone who is angry with Pharisees and religious hypocrites, who is infinitely tender with the needy, the victimised and the broken, who shatters our theological idols, who restrains His power in order to empower mere human beings, who has authority over storms and a heart that delights in flowers, who leaves us no wriggle-room in our excuses, but then lavishly forgives us, who does not disparage either the masculine or the feminine, who has a sense of humour, whose wisdom overwhelms our deepest profundity. Is there a different Jesus in the epistles? Only if you read them through the distorting glasses of a fixed (human) theological system.

A house divided against itself cannot stand, a bible divided against itself has lost its authority. Certainly one part of scripture illuminates another, but we must never pit them against each other. Perhaps Driscoll has come the closest to saying outright what I have long suspected some Calvinists of believing, that the gospels are inferior, that all our “real” theology must come from Paul. There is an inarticulate feeling that the incarnate Jesus was somehow incomplete, perhaps dangerous to build theology on because, after all, liberals seem to like him too! Propositional theology is somehow exalted above what Jesus actually said and did. I don’t want to make accusations against people who are sincerely seeking to exalt my Lord, but I do wonder why they feel they have to chop away part of His essential nature to do it ..