Wednesday 6 June 2018

Dicey doodlings

 You think you know someone, but of course you don’t know them too. What might you not know about Jesus of Nazareth?

It is not the gift- and skill-sets – the intelligence and imagination, the range of reading, the elegance and wit – that separate the great theologian from the good one. The difference lies not in the brilliance but the defects. It takes a magnificent flaw to make a great theologian.

Ask me who I am and I will tell you my story. The genre, of course, is fiction.

Am I my own best interpreter? What a dumb and diabolical notion. Only God can truly interpret me, which he will do definitively on Judgement Day – deploying, I am confident, post-kritical theory.

What was the takeaway message for the great and the good after listening to that sermon at the royal wedding? The gospel according to John and Paul: “All you need is love (all together now) / All you need is love (everybody) / All you need is love, love / Love is all you need”. An uncomfortable reminder that what a preacher says and what a congregation hears may be two very different things.

A newspaper headline I quite like: “Kim’s a Seoul Man”.

BBC Breaking News (May 22nd): “Brief [Michael Cohen?] to moon Trump on handling Kim”. Oops, sorry: that should be “Moon to Brief Trump on handling Kim”.

Trump’s annotation of Titus 3:2 in his bedside Bible: “Against everything our country stands for. Most over-rated apostle in history. A total loser. Very sad.”

Might Trump win the Nobel Peace Prize? Why not? Though ISIS will present some stiff competition. North Korea, Iran, Israel/Palestine: better the Orwell Peace Prize.

Information is power. Alas, so too is misinformation.

God and I have an admirable arrangement: I need someone to love me and God wants someone to love. We’re the perfect odd couple.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor.” “Absolutely,” agreed the first four disciples: “you cannot worship both Cod and Mammon.”

Following the trajectory, expect praise music to trend as liturgical karaoke.

Revenge is a dish best served with either apomorphine or xylazine.

What’s the difference between parental abuse and neglect? The difference, respectively, between knowing and not knowing whether your children are spending most of their free time on-line.

AI may be the future but another AI is already an everyday reality. I mean Artificial Imbecility: you see it in people whose iPhone is a prosthesis.

Everything passes; nothing lasts. But there are some moments – you know those moments, all but forgotten but suddenly adventitiously triggered – that are with you all your life. Unless you stop and take a picture of them with your goddamn iPhone.

Why do I write – doodlings, propositions, sermons, hymns, whatever? Answer: authorial itch. Of course scratching only makes the pruritus worse, and can lead to all kinds of existential and spiritual lesions.

Waiters – even if the service is terrible, always be kind to them. Not because of WWJD, but because you don’t want your entrée heavily seasoned with gob.

That life can unravel so quickly, uncontrollably, and irreparably – that is the tragic. And faith? Faith does not alleviate, on the contrary, it intensifies tragic affliction. Over the abyss, faith hangs by the thread of hope alone.

The Christian is indeed simul iustus et peccator. He is also simul laetus et miser.

I may or may not be a “real Christian”, but a Christian who tells me I’m not is definitely not.

Who, in Adam, is more likely to understand me better than anyone else? My mother or father, sister or brother, spouse, partner, friend – or perhaps my enemy? No, someone who does not know me: a great novelist.

The best that I can say about me is that I am a placeholder for what I will become.

What is the basis of both Christian ethics and vocation? “What can I do for you?” (Bob Dylan).


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