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  • More Corn

    Having reconnected with corny Christian stuff, here's another old favourite... theological suicide but great fun!

    There are three good arguments that Jesus could have been black
    1) He called everyone "brother."
    2) He liked Gospel.
    3) He couldn't get a fair trial.

    But then, there are 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Jewish
    1) He went into his fathers business.
    2) He lived at home until he was 33.
    3) He was sure his Mother was a virgin.

    Then again there are 3 arquments that Jesus might have been Italian.
    1)He talked with his hands.
    2) He had wine with every meal.
    3) He used olive oil.

    There is a good chance that Jesus was a Californian
    1) He never cut his hair.
    2) He walked around barefoot all the time.
    3) He started a new religion.

    There are three equally good reasons that Jesus might have been Irish.
    1) He never got married.
    2) He was always telling stories.
    3) He loved green pastures.

    But the most compelling evidence of all shows that Jesus was a woman.
    1) He fed a crowd at a moment's notice when there was no food.
    2) He kept trying to get a message across to a bunch of men who didn't get
    3) Even when he was dead, He had to get up because there was more work to

  • Corny but Encouraging!

    Today I made contact with a 'new' woman minister on the adjacent 'plot' to mine.  I was shocked to discover I was the first minister other than her circuit colleagues to do so - and I was only doing so out of courtesy because a couple of my people might be heading her way.  She was fun to chat to, blunt, honest and deeply committed to alternative worship and mission (see, despite local reluctance over women, alternative worship and mission, God keeps sending us to this corner of the Kingdom!  Now we have 3 Baps, one Anglican and 1 Methodist).

    Anyway, Barbara reminded me of this, which is corny, fairly accurate scripturally (except on Mary Magdalene and the Samaritan woman) and good for the ministerial ego!

    Noah was a drunk
    Abraham was too old
    Isaac was a daydreamer
    Jacob was a liar
    Leah was ugly
    Joseph was abused
    Moses had a stutter
    Gideon was afraid
    Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
    Rahab was a prostitute
    Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
    David had an affair and was a murderer
    Elijah was suicidal
    Isaiah preached naked
    Jonah ran from God
    Naomi was a widow
    Job went bankrupt
    Peter denied Christ
    The Disciples fell asleep while praying
    Martha worried about everything
    Mary Magdalene was, well you know…
    The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
    Zaccheus was too small
    Paul was too religious
    Timothy had an ulcer…AND
    Lazarus was dead!

  • Of Red Threads and Sunday School Attitudes

    Today was my Rahab sermon.  I had worked quite hard on it, felt that I had something worthwhile to share and that it could speak to each of us about the ways in which her life mirrors our own - her life on the margins, her easy dishonesty, her fears for the future, her faith in God, and so on.  I had distributed red threads to each person as they arrived, to be used within the service as a symbol.

    Two minutes into the sermon and my 'lighthouse sweep' landed on someone pointedly showing her Bible to her neighbour with that 'look she's wrong' expression in her face all preachers love (not).  Alas the timing meant she got my best Paddington hard stare before my gaze moved on.  After the service she came to tell me that Rahab was not a whore but an innkeeper since that was what the word 'prostitute' meant in those days.  Not that she was telling me I was wrong (much) but that actually generations of Sunday School teachers had been right to call her an innkeeper.  One does wonder why the scholars King James employed failed to use the correct terminology when they came to do their translation, but hey.  I will clearly need to very careful not to mention Boaz' feet next Sunday!  Years ago I was a Sunday School teacher.  It saddens me that so many loyal Christians switched their brains off at age seven and are therefore blinded to the wonder of a God who works with and through people like Rahab... and us.

    By contrast, someone else (ironically the other poor woman who'd also come under my icy stare) said she'd found the story and sermon very helpful in facing a difficult family situation, so all was not lost, even if I left feeling rather deflated.

    It was one of those Sundays when you find your paranoia gets fed as you are told that certain people are very unhappy with what 'you' are doing and are leaving the church.  It was one of the those Sundays when you get a glimpse of hope when someone else who has been on the periphery for a decade after being offended by a church decision comes and asks for a copy of the material circulated at the church meeting on ideas for mission and the way forward.

    It was one of those days when the red thread symbol was perhaps as significant as the bread and wine we also shared.  Rahab was given the red cord to hang from her window both as a reminder of the promise and so that the spies would know where to look for her.  Well, God does not red threads to find where I am, but the piece of red wool currently tied around my wrist is a good reminder of God's faithfulness.  It was good to see a few other people leaving with red threads tied to their person - I hope they at least found something of God's hope in what we shared today.


  • Tis the season to be corny...

    My little sister who is learning to be a URC minister in Cambridge (and tells me how many ex-Baptist tutors she has who 'saw the light', hurumph) frequently rings me to ask for books she might read for her essays on anything from Kingdom parables through child faith development to theologies of communion (on this, however, her view is perfectly sound, good ordinance theologian that she is, though I had to tell her what one was!).  I find this mildly amusing since she already has more theology degrees than I do.  Anyway, she also tells me that for the Christmas revue she will be offering an exegesis of the Hokey Cokey!!!  This reminded me of some of the bizarre things we had done at college, and the two of us had a merry few minutes recalling and singing down the phone such delights as...

    'Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer' to the tune of 'Soldiers of Christ arise'

    'Amazing Grace' to the tune of 'Nelly the Elephant'

    The Doxology (praise God from whom all blessings flow) to 'Hernando's Hideway'

    Oh, yes, and the valiant attempt the Greek class I was part of to sing 'I do like to be deside the seaside' in what my sister rather disparagingly terms 'Wenhamese.'  Just because she reads Greek and Hebrew!

    So, as the season of mellow corniness approaches apace, any other recollections?

  • Anything New About Ruth?

    I am feeling puzzled - not that there's anything new there - about what to 'do' with Ruth when I preach on her in just over a week's time.  Thinking about Tamar and Rahab has already used ideas about God not being constrained by people's willingness or otherwise to get involved and about being on the margins of society.  Ruth does not necessarily offer me much new.  She is a foreigner (tick) a widow (tick) she acts not unlike a prostitute in going to the threshing floor (tick) she becomes an ancestor of Jesus (inevitable tick).

    I have discovered that she is usuually preached on within Judaism as part of Shavuot (The Feast of Weeks/Pentecost) which combines harvest festival with the giving of Torah.  She is being preached by Christians using the RCL alongside Mark but I suspect playing second fiddle (don't tell the rampant feminists!).  But I am not too sure where to go with her!  I am tempted to get the whole story read out in lieu of a sermon and simply add a five minute reflection - but is that a cop out?

    Do we go for 'Ruth & Boaz' a love story?  Do we go for 'Naomi & Ruth' a case study in inter-generational cross-cultural relationships?  Or what?  Ideas please!!!