on subliminal gospel preaching

So I’ve been reading W.B. Barcley’s The Secret of Contentment recently and thinking about Philippians 4:11-13.

It’s one of my favourite parts of the Bible to feel smug and sanctimonious about – you know how it is, verse 13 is one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible; people use it to give every one of their actions divine backing and therefore diving legitimacy, because they can do all things in Christ. But in fact all the ‘things’ of verse 13 are precisely the unglamorous things Paul had listed just a sentence ago: being in want, having almost nothing, being hungry. So every time I read that verse I like to smugly give myself a self-five. Nice one, you’re not like the muggles. Continue reading “on subliminal gospel preaching”

on looking out in despair

You remember that scene in Return of the King where Denethor pines over the mortally-wounded Faramir? He thinks his biggest problem is that his son is dead and his line extinguished, but he walks to the edge of the cliff and sees that it’s much worse: the host of Mordor is at the gates and he’s had no idea. And so he despairs, telling his soldiers “Flee! Flee for your lives!” Continue reading “on looking out in despair”

on godly jobs

It’s probably true to say that in church circles, the sacred enjoys a premium over the profane. I’ve heard more than a few people express the thought that pastoring or ministry or even bible study leading is a higher calling than playing music, setting up and welcoming.

Non-Christians seem to think we think this too, and maybe it’s because we privilege church-speak and hyper-spirituality over more mundane things such as getting to know people, social justice and caring for the poor. Recently when I objected to what people were talking about during a wedding I was at, my friend thought my objections were based on the fact that not enough people were talking Jesus-talk and sprouting halos (when in fact my objection was based on the fact that everybody in the congregation was so sickeningly successful and not enough of them were telling fart jokes). Continue reading “on godly jobs”

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