Saturday 16 July 2016

Dumdum doodlings

Brexit: well, so much for plebis*ites.

“What the fuck just happened?” exclaimed one observer. “Inept, embarrassing, horrible, clueless,” said another. And a third: “It’s a sad time to be English.” But were they speaking about losing to Iceland – or to Brexit?

So The Three Stooges (Boris, Michael, and Nigel) and have gotten us into another fine mess on the model of Laurel and Hardy (Tony and Dubya): no (Br)exit strategy.

Shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are stages in the grief process. We have just learned that they are also stages in the Brexit process. Except that with Brexit, the bargaining comes last; in fact, it’s just about to begin.

Let’s ditch the highfalutin language of “pilgrimage”: we’re a mass of migrants, (in ecclesial imagery) a bunch of boat people, an ethnic salmagundi. God help us if St. Peter is a Brexite or a Trumpeteer.

You’ve got to hand it to Trump on his cunning necropolitical disguise: an angel of darkness impersonating an angel of darkness.

“Why, some people might lose their faith looking at that picture” (Prince Myshkin, in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, on seeing a photograph of The Donald). Unless, of course, you’re an American evangelical.

Why should we doubt Trump’s religious convictions? If asked for a faith-statement, I’m sure he’d say, “I like crucifixion a lot. I don’t think it’s tough enough.”

There’s a lot of celebrity gossip in both the UK and Hollywood about Idris Elba being the next James Bond. And I’m thinking: if Bond, why not Superman? Why not an African American embodying the struggle for “truth, justice, and the American way”? Well, two out of three.

Why, of course racism is a pathology for whites to resolve, not blacks, just as domestic violence is an issue for men to resolve, not women. Oh yes, and an issue for the church to resolve too, for it has been – and still is – complicit in both.

Yes, Jesus spoke truth to power, but first he spoke truth to ordinary people. After all, the powerful get away with telling lies only because ordinary people like hearing them.

“Jesus said, ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock’” (Revelation 3:20a). No he didn’t. With respect, allow me to correct John’s Pelagianism: “Jesus said, ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock it down.’”

What makes God laugh? Eulogies.

As soon as Judas took the bread, Nike entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Just Do It!” (John 13:27, Original Autograph)

If you’ve ever wondered about the way Jesus called the first disciples with an imperious “Follow me!”, taking them from their families, then ran them ragged, constantly hounding, intimidating, and rebuking them, indeed risking their lives, yet still they stayed with him, defended him, identified with him – what is the explanation for the disciples’ behaviour? Stockholm syndrome.

Listening to a bad preacher is like listening to a good umpire when the pitcher can’t find the plate: what you hear is mostly balls, with perhaps the occasional strike.

As far as the 18th-century political debate between Right and Left goes, you’re either a Berk or a Pain.

Some mothers are matriarchs, others nags, others my “best friend”. The church too – for conservatives, legalists, and liberals respectively.

God is not needy. Certainly God does not need me or my love. Which is precisely why I can trust him and his.

“We are not enough. We are none of us enough! Including the man who does everything right!” Thus screams the character Jerry Levov to his brother Seymour (the Swede) in Philip Roth’s American Pastoral. I would have said, “Especially the man who does everything right!”, but otherwise it’s as good a description of the person “sold into slavery under sin” (Romans 7:14) as you are likely to find. And from the pen of a ferocious atheist.

Why are young people leaving conservative evangelical churches? Here’s a theory: it’s due to the stiff competition that their virtual Jesuses now face from the multitude of virtual presences in social media.

Of course I wouldn’t say that the theology of Karl Barth has any normative authority. Nevertheless, tolle, lege.

I recommend reading great theology aloud. Just make sure you stutter.

Everything important you try to say is like the first two bowls of porridge that Goldilocks tastes: it’s either too hot (you say more than you intended to say) or too cold (you say less than you intended to say). Alas, there is no third bowl.

The last words of the Wicked Duck of the West: “I’m molting! molting!”

1 Comment:

Alan K said...


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