One Man's Web

From the text:

The empire strikes back: John is arrested. We know he will be murdered. But Jesus does not withdraw into Galilee, as the NRSV puts it. Jesus goes back to the place of empire. He goes back to the territory of the same Herod who has arrested John. This is a confrontation.

and

From as early as I can remember, I have been encouraged to fish for people; to evangelise; to reel them in— and it's been as blunt as that. It's as though our whole reason for being, as Christians, is about saving souls— as though we can do that!  Fishing for "men" has been presented to me as an unambiguously good thing, although I have always felt uncomfortable. It is a violent image, not an image of salvation! (I've never understood ethical vegetarians who make an exception for fish!)

We have domesticated the text in our favour. But

While we automatically assume that the reference is to traditional evangelism, “fishing for people” has a quite different biblical history, especially in prophetic literature. (Tony Mundahl)  Read on >>>>

The text is difficult. Wordplay which would be obvious in the Greek is hidden by the translation. The concepts are arcane: "the whole notion of the efficacy of blood sacrifice is no longer knit into the fabric of most people’s universe." And the message is veiled: there is only a promise that we will see; there is nothing here which can be simply grasped by intellect.

But the message is simple:

What do you seek?
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Come and Behold!  
If you follow him and remain with him you will find him.
Now is the time.... Read on >>>>

Imagine a person of Jesus' time watching a Qantas commercial based around Peter Allen's song, "I still call Australia home." We'll imagine that they've heard about aeroplanes; or if that's too much, imagine a present day Israeli watching the same TV advertisement. See here or here for examples)

What would they see?

Landscapes, beaches, children, jet aircraft. It's an airline advertisement. 

But us? I can barely watch those ads without weeping. There is so much of our longings for home bound up within them. They take the emotions of the song— which were deep enough for an Aussie— and magnify them by sweeping across images of our great loves: our home, our landscapes, our children. And by joining all those with our national passion-cum-longing-and-obsession: the journey. It's a song of the Promised Land, and of coming home... Read on >>>>

I'm not sure what I expected when I was baptised. I was thrown off my feet and fell under the surface, out of control, shocked, held down, struggling to get up. This is baptism: a dying, a full immersion, a drowning in the unexpected, rising to something else.

Baptism is not something we do. It is done to us. It is the sign of our repenting, of our deciding and beginning to live in a new way. It's the beginning of the change that will be wrought in us.

In Australia, baptism is to give up the seeking of riches. It is at the heart of the Christian faith. Both the first teaching words of John and of Jesus are identical, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." This is Jesus' key teaching beyond the simple, almost unbelievable, message that God loves us. (3:2, 4:17) And Jesus is baptised. It is part of his repentance... Read on >>>>

A lot of our weight obsessions are socially generated. My dad was fat. He was pilloried for it, despite the fact that our doctor said he was the fittest farmer of his age that he knew—  he lived past 90. As a boy, I learned that being overweight was shameful, and I decided I would never let myself get fat.

But obesity is also hugely dangerous to our physical health, and to be lighter is to feel noticeably healthier. As a nation, we are overweight.

And obesity is finally an issue, and a disease, of spirit. It is not simply a matter of calories, as anyone serious about weight loss soon discovers.

Obesity is a spiritual issue because it is an indicator that we have lost awareness of ourselves, and are being ruled by our environment. If it were just a matter of calories, weight loss would be easy.... Read on >>>>

... i think
Herod had no sister when
he was four years old and
never learned a
world spun around him is
no kingdom at all only a
Taliban dream which would
drive him mad and
terrorise even those he once loved and... Read on >>>>

Summer. Woodlands Road, Cockatoo Valley 

... The Peace begins with Jesus, who is born in the midst of an ordinary peasant family.

The tradition places the birth in a stable, which we of European stock inevitably imagine as a separate shed, which we beautify with lambs, cattle, and freshly bathed and groomed shepherd boys. We preachers sometimes try to bring home the gritty reality of birth in an earth floor shed. We point out the sudden elevation of despised shepherds, and seek to preach God coming first to the poor and dispossessed. It is a true instinct, and it preaches well the meaning of the birth of the son of God in a stable.

Except…  the story almost certainly does not mean to say that He was born in a stable ... Read on >>>>

Faced with the blessing of an unexpected day off, what is one to do but go for a ride. It's the middle of December, but yesterday dawned under cloud but with the BOM suggesting the threat of rain was minimal. So I chugged up Yorketown Road to One Tree Hill, and warmed up properly on Mount Gawler so that I was ready for Checker Hill. From there it's a short ride to our favourite cherry farm.... Read on >>>>

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The Latest Comments...

Re: Food for thought   (Andrew)
I love the pun in your Comment Title, Marion! About Christmas: the art of living seems to me to be able to distinguish between looking...    Read more ...

Food for thought
   (Marion )
I have just re-read your essay Andrew, and I know I will read it yet again. Dissecting a small section I found your honest comments...    Read more ...

Wow   (Allan)
Thanks Andrew. I see again why we valued and appreciated your insights. Whyalla was not good to you but you (and all family) were good to...    Read more ...

Re: Thank you.   (Andrew)
Thank you John. That's praise indeed. Blessings upon you on Christmas Day, and always. Andrew    Read more ...

Thank You   (John Beckman)
Your good. Pastor for 21 yrs (2nd career), always searching for something good, insightful, and honest. Read through all your posts on this text. All...    Read more ...

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