Love without the small print

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I have a weekly commute to London.  It keeps me in touch with the general populace in this part of the world.  A populace drawn into their own personal smartphone screen.

Music.  Emails.  Instant Messaging.  Interminable Indulgent Instagram.  Social Media.  Less and less (thankfully) those intrusive “Can you hear me?” phone-calls on (what used to be called) mobile telephones.  Voice calls much less popular now keyboard and lens replaces the need for actually speaking.

And the biggest draw of these wonderful gadgets … ?

We can all look down.  We can avoid the need to pretend we are alone.  Avoid the discomfort of not making eye contact.  Avoid all the embarrassment of not having to speak to someone face-to-face (or kneecap-to-kneecap).

I remember my younger sister commuting regularly in London years ago (before smartphones). She reported how wonderful it was to see so many people praying for such extended periods. She couldn’t comprehend that closing one’s eyes when commuting in cramped spaces was simply the accepted way of avoiding eye-contact. I still chuckle remembering her face when she found out that praying wasn’t such a common occurrence in The City after all!

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My Godmother’s husband was a chatterer.  An embarrassment.
In any situation he would strike up a conversation.  Loudly.  What we (used to) think of as “The American Way”.
That genetic malady which ignores everyone else’s comfort zones … which rides roughshod over others’ expected-and-defended “personal space”.
But the odd thing was that the majority of those who suffered this intrusion seemed to enjoy the experience.
We just cringed in the background.  With a little envy.

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And as I look out and see the headlines … the (current) forensic analysis of the (another) horrific terrorist attack on London Bridgethe repeated claim of (all) government who have “allocated £xxm in additional funding” (to fix every problem raised) the noise of right and wrong (as we reduce our planet to one giant overflowing rubbish bin)the permanent public arena of “gladiatorial protagonists” spewed out for our entertainment in news and “social meeja”the increasing and inextricable “looking down” and away from so much that unites us

I wonder what other species is quite so self-absorbed.

I wonder how we have detached ourselves from who we really are.  How we made “religion” just another science.  How we made science just another “god”.  How we manage to convince ourselves that “being connected” (to this wonderful self-healing-home) is no longer relevant to us.

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Us the alpha species … the species no longer a “species” … a “species” now having outgrown itself.   Now entitled … now complacent … now detached from the very connection that gave birth to each of us … on this planet that nurtures us … that heals us simply by the sound of a breeze – the sight of all those stars – the smell of freshly cut grass – the taste of cold icy water.   These simple things that connect us – heal our restlessness – our searching – our very souls.

I wonder what other species despises its own kind so much that it chooses to look down … chooses to detach … chooses to “talk” to someone on the other side of the world (in preference to someone sitting right next to me).

Is it fear – and if so of what?  And if it isn’t fear then … what?  Arrogance?  Entitlement?  Ignorance?  That “you aren’t interesting enough” … ?

What is it that means we each choose to look down more and more?

Even church.

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That (default) looking down when “talking” to the being who is loved and loves.  The default (of “worship”) that is now the default for (“talking” to) everybody.  The default “nice smile” that is the default for everyone in every (unexciting) conversation.

I think church has a very important role to play in the world today. 

A role to encourage “looking up” as THE default.  Making eye-contact as THE default.  Finding excitement in the ordinary (that is each of us) as THE default.  Drawing ALL together as THE ONLY default. 

(because the preaching of correctness … of sin … of division salvation … of judgment salvation …. is the default of looking down)

And “the default” of looking up can only start by looking God in the eye.   By not bitching about sin all the time.  By making Love the beginning AND middle AND end of ALL conversations.  Real love.  Unconditional love.  Inclusive love.

Love without the small print of religion and correct (rule littered) teaching”.

We need to teach THE default of looking up.

Because if the church really is “the people” …

We are ALL “the people”!

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What does “We need builder-uppers” really mean?

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“I have come to realise that many Christians question much that is taught (and written) in and of the bible but … privately. “ 

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“Needing to know the bible”

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“My bible teaching started young with The Nice Bits.   Even “The Most Important Bit” is  airbrushed beyond recognition.   Being “washed in blood” has only ever been (and remains) a gratuitous-gore-fest-of-senseless-killing … unless it is The Story of The Cross.”

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“Bigging-up the bible” has to be done in the right way, or else it is “knocking the bible”.   And then we open up that “we have enough criticisers” – we need “builder-uppers”.   And – of course – the qualified-in-God “facts” of what God and Jesus actually meant by sin and saved – all the “correct” (builder-upper) bible stuff.

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“Being scripturally correct … The devil does it … atheists do it … Christians do it … we ALL do it … We ALL screw with the bible.  And yet the bible remains The Way.”

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Want to read the rest?.

“Needing to know the bible”  – justmebeingcurious

.Might not be what you expect.

Thank you –

Paul

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This Easter Sunday …

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“My teaching as a Christian was that these past three days were busy days not sad days. That the deceased Son of God was busy visiting dead people – saving all those dead people who had died before the cross and all that – saving the ones who should have been saved throughout time before the cross – the ones who weren’t saved because there hadn’t been a cross – and now there was …?

Well Jesus was busy retro fitting saving.”

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PARTEEEEE … !

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I was taught that today the party is in church.  Well …

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“This Easter Sunday I am not going to church.”

 

– – – – – – – – – –

 

(why not invest a couple of minutes in finding out why … )

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That is the choice of the living, paulfg

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Happy Easter

🙂

 

Paul

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But I am no teacher

I am finding that, as a trainee Local Preacher (always capitalise the title), people want to talk to me. For some reason, just being one of the ones “at the front” endows me with something akin to that of a doctor, or a visiting dignitary.  Why is it that being one of the ones at the front “endows me” with anything at all?

“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father – the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” “ Matthew 23:1-12

Therefore … BUT!  Therefore … BUT!  Therefore … BUT!

Imagine if Jesus was here today. Would He be saying this … ? Therefore do what Paul teaches you – BUT … See how he is one of the ones at the front – BUT … You have one Father – one Instructor – and Paul is not it.

Today I am prepping a service for tomorrow with my mentor and tutor.  I was sent an email.  There are children present at the service tomorrow – it is unusual to have children present.  So the suggestion is that we  “engage them” – and then we do a grown-up talk for the grown-ups.  That is what teachers do.

But I am no teacher.

I remember being invited to take part in a Sunday School via skype – me in England and the Sunday School in USA.  I remember there was a child sitting next to the Sunday School leader – who had turned the skype camera/laptop on himself (so I was less of a distraction to the group).  And this child was quite happy.  Quite happy to listen.  Quite happy to watch.  Quite happy NOT to be talked down to (sorry – “engaged”) as a child.

I have also watched many wonderful “children’s films” that work for all ages – no need for “one for children and another for adults”.  And I have a resentment in being encouraged to become a trained performer – able to work an audience – able to entertain an audience – able to use “tools” to engage and “connect”.  I always had – and still have – an alternative view: that all I need to do is get out of His way – and let Him do the “performing and engaging” through me.  Because His “tools” are far and away (FAR AND AWAY!) in excess of mine.  He so easily has one-to-one conversations – in the same place – at the same time – with any and all who allow (and all at the same time as I am at the front – allowing Him through me)!  Isn’t that just so …  cool!

But the best discovery of all in this training?

The fellowship of “prepping”!!!!  THAT is where it is at baby!

This afternoon my mentor and I will let God run amok – no “teacher and pupil” – and what He gifts BOTH of us will be far in excess of what He ever could for either of us if we prepped individually.  And that means another certainty tomorrow: no matter who does what tomorrow – we will each have God running amok – which means He will be at the front (looking like the two of us).   And that is really … cool.

And as for the “two audiences” issue I have been asked to think about … ?  I already know.

There will be just one “audience” tomorrow.  It has to be that way.  Because neither my mentor or I can “chat” to everyone (or even 2 x everyone) in every sacred creation’s personal language.  Because if we were to even try … ?

We would just get in everyone’s way.