Let me know my end, Lord. How many days do I have left? I want to know how brief my time is. (Psalm 39:4 CEB
Stop wasting time. Your earthly life is finite, its end both inevitable and unpredictable. Don’t use your limited time poorly.
I get it.
You’re productive. You don’t waste your time. You’re important and always do important things. Continue reading »
“Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated.”
Saint Paul, who cannot be accused of overabundant elation, in 2 Corinthians 12:7
I love him, but Saint Paul has always come across to me as a bit of a grump. I admit I could be biased. Or maybe I just have read Galatians a few times. I firmly believe he is a saint, but he hardly strikes me as a ray of sunshine walking into each room he entered. While contemporary pop culture idealises, and a bit idolises, the cheery disposition (c.f. Joel Osteen’s permasmile).
Saint Paul was a Holy crank. And for good reason. God, Saint Paul tells us, either gave or allowed Satan to give him a “thorn” “in the flesh.” Continue reading »
You return unto the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and unto dust shall you return.
Genesis 3:19b KJV
On Wednesday the bishop dipped her hand in the ashes of charred palm fronds, sketched an ancient instrument of execution on my forehead, and told me, gently but firmly, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you will return.” The middle of the work week and my boss tells me I’m going to die. In any other line of work, I suppose, that would be ethically troubling. But our deaths are not a threat, they’re a promise: an inevitability, a poignant and inescapable equality we all face.
For many people, this is just the problem with Christianity. Our tradition can seem, and can be, violent and regressive and sombre. Continue reading »