One Man's Web

As soon as his neighbours deny the evidence of their eyes, I know it won't go well for the man whose eyes had been opened. They brought the man who had been formally blind to the Pharisees. This is a mob. Facts are irrelevant. All that matters is that the mob and its leaders get what they want, which is that the status quo is undisturbed.

Here is the tragedy of the story: never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind, but this work of God, in which you would expect people to rejoice, is denied at every turn. The man is invited to incriminate himself. JN Sanders (pp242) is completely correct to compare the story to Joshua 7:19: My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and make confession to him. Tell me what you have done… The scapegoat is being groomed— primed for confession. Only, here, the man refuses to play the role. Eyes wide open, he says, "One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."

In refusing the obvious facts, the Pharisees not only show they are blind. They set themselves in direct opposition to Jesus. The story begins with Jesus telling the disciples the man is not born blind because of sins; it ends with the Pharisees saying he was born in entirely in sins. They contradict Jesus.... Read on >>>>

I am privileged to have who friends have survived outrageous trauma. In the beginning, our trauma defines us. A husband dies of fever at a young age; another in the famine; the only one who will take on a twice widowed-woman turns out to be an animal, and abandons you. Eventually you end up living— if you can call it that— in the house of a man who hates you, who won't marry you, but who is pleased to have your service. And you live in the noon day glare of people's prejudice and judgement; traumatised, ostracised, and armouring off your soul which is, even so, as human, as alive, and as beautiful, as any other soul.

Those of us with a measure of success, even if our success is mostly in appearing to conform to social expectations, tend to project our own trauma response upon those who have suffered most, and who have more visibly crumbled. Long unconscious of this, I eventually realised I was as much defined by my own trauma, as was the woman at the well. I was worse off— completely in the dark, like Nicodemus, because, having suffered much less than the woman, I was still defined by the actions of others. But because I could look down on her, I did not realise I was just as thirsty... Read on >>>

I don't need to tell you that life is a mystery. I don't need to tell you that life is full of misery; you know that as well as I do. And if you know what life is all about, you know more than I do.

But when I stop, when I let myself calm down, when I step out of the rush of the world for a while, I find, despite all the pain, despite all the apparent absurdity, despite the fear what might happen— I'm almost surprised to find… that I am somehow at peace.

I'm not talking about simply being resigned to whatever the mystery is that I find myself in. I'm talking about being at home, despite the unfathomable nature of it all.

When I was five, my mother let me hike some miles to a neighbour's farm. I remember one moment on that hot afternoon, a moment of complete silence in the dale of a back road. I could have been all alone in the world; I think a small part of me was in awe of the place— frightened even, but the other part of me was completely at home; safe, in my place, with everything in order.

I had all the naivety of a safe childhood; no comprehension of death or dangerous people; I had not even started school. And sixty years on, I often find myself back in the dale despite some deep scars, and despite some experience of the world as a very nasty place. Not all the time, but enough of the time to be confident in the reality of it: I am at home.

One of the poets says that sometimes in our searching for life we "arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."... Read on >>>>

Prospect Road may sound a less than ideal route into Adelaide, but given the single lane each way, and the Prospect Council speed limits— down to 40kmh in places— it's a surprisingly comfortable ride home, and a good trip in, too... Read on >>>>



This is a mostly quiet backstreet run into town, with some light hill climbing.... Read on >>>>

To be born is to be absolutely dependent. It is to begin to learn life and language from scratch. To be born is to be profoundly ignorant of the world, more lost than we can know. Being born demands we find a new myth.

It is impossible for a human being to live without a guiding life narrative  ...  we are incapable of living without them. (Gordon Atkinson)

To be reborn — born from above — is a kind of dying. William Temple said of Nicodemus that he

has inherited a great tradition, for he was a Pharisee;  he has tested it in the experience of life; he has conformed to it his habits of conduct,  speech, thought and feeling. How can he break away from all this and begin again? It is as hard as it would be literally to return to his mother's womb and be reborn. (pp44)

Nicodemus is sometimes treated as a foil, or dramatic prop, for Jesus. But when we see in him the foolish Jewish leader, it is testimony to our own anti-Semitism. Nicodemus is, rather, testimony to the fact that even if we are learnèd, even if we are listed among the rulers of our roost, we need to be reborn. In John's Gospel, he is a great figure of hope for us, for fully embedded in his tradition, part of a leadership which, in the main, did reject Jesus, he is not only able to look up at Jesus upon the cross— it is by this that we shall live, John says — he also climbs the cross and carries down Jesus' body. Will we be as thoroughly reborn? ... Read on >>>>

Adelaide's suburbs are a rat-runner's paradise. The Levels Bikepath has multiple options for getting into the city once you arrive at the ABC building at the end of Galway Avenue. The direct route is straight down North East Road. You can see this in the orange line on the map. It's fast, but you'd better be prepared to hold your lane. I've been clipped by wing mirrors on this route; close passes are the norm. It's at the end of a long frustrating trip in from the north east for some folks, and they are short on patience.... Read on >>>>

My first commutes were about getting fit and avoiding traffic. I ended taking back streets which suffered a bit from having to cross highways on foot, or taking muddy little park paths which slowed the whole process down. I soon learned to find ways to keep rolling with minimal stops. One approach to this centred around the Gawler railway line and Parafield airport. It was on this route that I discovered the value of roads parallel to the main roads, and the joy of little paths and alleys between streets. These are matched only by carparks which connect roads.... Read on >>>>

There are three core routes into town. Main North Road is the central route. To the west lie Salisbury Highway and Highway One. On the east side is Bridge Road – Hampstead Road, or the option to jump the range to the range and come in along the River Torrens – North East Road corridor.

Salisbury Highway equals the centre route for flatness, and the bike lanes are generally better, although they disappear periodically. Like Main North Road, it is fast, especially with a following breeze. I've never had stuff thrown at me, and the lanes are generally clean of glass and rubbish... Read on >>>>

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The Latest Comments...

re: Memories   (Andrew Prior)
Yes... I have too many memories of doing that. A need to define seems to me to be at the root of much of my...    Read more ...

   (Bill Schlesinger)
I'm remembering a college friend - Loren- who was Unitarian when I was into defining theology. Debating, I asked if one could be Christian without...    Read more ...

Dad   (Marion)
Have just read this for the first time Andrew. It is beautiful and beautifully written. Makes me realise I hardly knew my own dad at...    Read more ...

Great   (Peet)
Great meditation. You certainly grasp the gospel, no, is grasped by it. many thanks    Read more ...

Fantastic.   (Wes)
Would have to be close to your best ever post!!!    Read more ...

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