Monday, June 27, 2005

Subversive Behaviour

The dedications yesterday went really well! After I spoke, several of the parents came up to me at the end of the service to say how impacted their not-Christian friends and relatives had been by what I had said, that [they had said that] it had been just the right word for them. On occasions such as this, I get the chance to speak into visitors' lives in a way that their Christian friends/relatives don't - but which in turn may open up opportunities for ongoing conversations after I have stepped in-and-out-again of their lives. Thank you, God, for answered prayer - I'd written the sermon in the last hour before I left work for our holiday, and prayed, "Lord, please give me your words, because there isn't any other time for this to happen!" Jo did a fantastic job of dedicating the children, and the after-service party was so much fun - hot weather, cool shade, plenty of food and bottles of beer and wine...Thank you to everyone who did all the organising!

Back in the office today, to lots of emails...But mostly thinking and praying about where we go after Sheffield, and what we need to put in place in our lives in these final months...

I got my hands on a fantastic book on holiday, Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire, by Brian J. Walsh and Sylvia C. Keesmaat. So far I've read Part 1: Context Remixed: Colossians and Empire, and Part 2: Truth Remixed: Contested Imaginations, and I'm looking forward to Part 3: Praxis Remixed: Subversive Ethics. I guess you could sum it up by saying the gist is, we live within the crushing empire of the market economy, but God equips us to be shaped by the freeing kingdom of his Son, and to see others move from one to the other too (along the way, demonstrating why the kingdom of the Son is not simply another crushing empire - despite the fact that it has often been understood and portrayed as such by the church). I always understood the original The Matrix film to be a parable of contemporary America, but reading this book - which doesn't refer to The Matrix as an illustration - I understand for the first time just how accurate that parable is...

If you are at all interested in biblical scholarship that is thoroughly applied to praxis / praxis that is thoroughly grounded in biblical story/study - in how we should live as Christians in our twentifirst-century western culture - then I can't recommend Colossians Remixed enough. It comes with a wide range of heavyweight writer-practitioner endorsers, including N.T. Wright, Walter Brueggemann, and Brian D. McLaren; "demonstrates how a faithful reading of Colossians addresses, head on, our contemporary idolatory of consumerism and the postmodern suspicion of truth that characterises our culture" [J. Richard Middleton]; and "is an outstanding contribution to the church's task of conceiving Christ rather than global consumerism as sovereign in our world." [my old New Testament prof. (shameless name-dropping!), Andrew T. Lincoln]. Every bit as much a challenge to the church as to the world through the church, this is the sort of book we need to see much more of. And the sort of book I'd like to write, when I grow up! Buy it. Read it. You'll enjoy it.


  1. any chance I can borrow it after you're done? I wanted to read it a while back but haven't been able to buy it yet.

  2. Yes, of course. but I've still got Part 3 to read...