Sunday, 27 November 2016
texting romans ten
Rm10v1 My heart's desire and prayer to God for [X] is that they may be saved.
Rm10v2 Paul goes on to say that the knowledge unknown is the righteousness of God, & in the absence of such knowledge we try to create our own righteousness. Isn't this true of all my religiousness, both self-comfort and self-harm: a category mistake, a failure to grasp the height depth breadth of God's love and the freedom it brings.
Rm10v3-4 Righteousness, when it is of-God, is not a code or system, not a kit of parts, not a summing up of deeds. It is its own thing. An active party. Ignorance of the righteousness of God is not a complete ignorance of righteous symptoms and side effects, nor a lack of sensitivity to the malady of unrighteousness, but rather it knows righteousness only in silhouette, and so assumes it is 2 dimensional, it knows righteousness only in a given moment and so assumes it is static, it knows of righteousness second-hand and so assumes it is as abstract as the language used to conjure it. Righteousness is not merely a quality, it is a person. Goodness in the world has a source and a purpose, an author and agent, a beginning and end. The law is as iron filings, and Christ is the magnet.
Rm10v5-6 The danger of thinking about the righteousness of Christ in distorted top-down ways. The danger of projects, of vision statements, of revisionary systems. God, deliver us from searching the heights when you call us to start with the breath.
(v5) You have heard it said, Christianity is a star chart, cosmological potty training, spiritual CBT. The good life comes by point scoring in the moral resolve to personal betterment. If I take Moses' law to be prescriptive rather than descriptive, ~ as an imperative code to strive to reach the first rung of the ladder, then I adopt a divisive religione that leads to pride and despair, pride and despair, pride and despair.
(v6-7) You have heard it said, Christianity is a vast game of snakes and ladders, up and down the precarious tightrope to holiness. Ascending to Heaven, Descending to Hell ~ a daily rollercoaster of ferocious self-abasement and redoubled reform. Mendoza's contrite yoyo perpetually clawing up the bank of a ravine. If life is a snakes and ladders game, it is like Flatland, and God addles our 2 dimensional map to the good life. He tilts and folds the board we've be sliding our little plastic counters around, as the Christ event reveals the Escher of all our laddered constructions that we so meticulously rendered in 2d ~ in this sense rightly do the prophets say no hell below us, above us only sky ~ the geometry of the spirit is far more complex.
(v6-7) You have heard it said, Christianity is mountain top experiences, and valleys of shadows of death, analogies to exceptional geographies where God is found apart from the everyday, the mundane, and the 99%. Heaven is elsewhere, the good life is later, we hold out for the ever-after, we delimit Sunday experiences and reinforce those with the earthquake&wind&fire of smoke machines and a language of sacred places which instills a notion of strangely selective loci where God is manifest, and the result is a Christianity of holiday brochures, a consumable geography of being made clean or unclean by association, by that which is external, by that which we consume.
(v8-9) You have heard it said Christianity is measured by what goes into a man, behaviours of intake, codes of moderation and propriety. The fastidiously fairtrade, the vegan, the unleaded .. my counterfeits are more feminist than your counterfeits.. Mt15v11 it's what comes out of one's mouth. And that should be the word of life, that is what changes the world.
Rm10v9-10 Sobered at this tightly interlocked relationship between the heart and the mouth, as Lk6v45. And 'tis an interlocked relationship which speaks of my own trajectory towards the kingdom of light or darkness. I need prayer for my heart-mouth system, currently a dark place. Full of cursing & huffing & rebuking on the one hand, limp & watery on the other. Jn6v68 to whom shall I go?
Rm10v11-12 Who you gonna call? We call on him Rm8v15. We call on him as "Abba, Father". We call on him and are saved.
To be saved ~ smudgey grammar makes for blurry salvation. At the very centre of Christian rhetoric is this orphaned passive participle in an ambiguous tense, soundbited without subject, footnoted without context. Are you saved?
I've been saved. Like, I've been married? Like, I've been filled with the Holy Spirit? Go on.. [Eph5v18 plērousthe πληροῦσθε ~ we go on being filled..] Saved like a one-off windfall from the cosmic slot machine? Saved into a new folder, saved like a backup, saved like coins for a rainy day? Saved unto a Christianity preoccupied with the threshold rather than the hearth? Have you been saved?
I am saved. Adjectivally. But saved from what, saved for what, saved by what?
~ Saved from God's wrath, saved for God's glory, saved by God's mercy?
~ Saved from yourself, saved for good works, saved by grace?
The 'saveds' abridged of any from/for/by makes for an identity adrift, a freedom untethered, a vague sense of malaise against which we are approximately 'saved'. Are you saved?
I am being saved. Like church is a salvage yard, like we are in furniture restoration, like painting the Forth Bridge? Christianity is a process not a product, a covenant to a perpetual maintenance contract, 2Cor3v18 a being transformed from glory to glory... Are you being saved?
I will be saved. The home-and-dry in the here-after, the but-if-not in the come-what-may, the happily-ever-after beyond the here-and-now.. Pie-in-the-sky is a signifier needing signfieds in the now, fractal theology's imperative to display the anticipated in miniature, to rehearse heaven in prototype. 1Pt1v5 "guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." Will you be saved?
~ Has the perfect assurance of a binary state whilst being also infinitely deep.
~ Has the humility of a passive voice whilst being also an invitation to participate intimately.
~ Has the definitive completion of a past tense whilst being an open door to a progressive and expansive domain of salvation.
Rm10v13-14 Proclaiming. Thinking about this even before coming to this verse this morning. I tend to think I pray best by journalling, by writing. Writing is my most natural prayer language. And this is good. But there is a 'voice' I access in writing that doesn't always make it into my whole body, into my speech. This is not to deny that writing can be a form of proclamation or that it is good that different people have different gifts, but I felt God suggest that this discepancy in my writing life and speaking life reflects a compartmentalising on my part, that he would wish to break down. I pray for my voice, and for yours, for speaking out loud the depth and breadth of the gospel, praying for teaching, preaching, performing, that I and you would find integrated ways and voices, as part of my own healing and wholeness, as well as to the end of communicating life to others.
Rm10v15-16 Like eating glass? Like fire shut up in my bones. Body ache for something better. Go all in, fall in, feet first, less a fist fighting more a foot fetish. Head and shoulders knees and go? We go toe to toe. Do si do, yo ho, we go go going gone, sent across seas to step up, step 2, we're standing on all four paws and more, holy trotters what, we kick a hip hop hoof, we break a hole in Rick Ross' roof. Man dwells balletically.
Rm10v17-18 Natural theology means we have to pay attention to the earth. But revealed theology means we have to talk to one another.
Rm10v19-20 This Peej is a 'nation' scapegoating scrape coating the kettle's laq calling the pots bible black. This Peej is nowt but a bitter brother older who knows neither bolder or wiser ways to stem v19's 'anger' and 'jealousy'. A bitterer fool, pity the petty Peej pained to be pipped at the post, still convinced second generation Christians are second rate. Stop. Suck on the marrow of scripture, Peej, with less Joycean garble, Peej.
We make a nation great again, through repentance. Such a nation starts with me. Spake another fool with less folly, (in quite another storm with no brolly):
When usurers tell their gold in the field;
And bawds and whores do churches build;
Then shall the realm of Albion
Come to ...
What's your Albion going to come to? Answers on a postcard.
Rm10v21 All day long (while you daydreamed, while you cycled, while you slept) I held out my hands (while you clamped up with petty stresses and distractions) to welcome (while you sat with your abstractions) a disobedient and rebellious people (while you swore and smirked and lied and chose the easier unkindness). All day long. God holds out Her hands. To welcome. A disobedient and rebellious people.