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A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life - Page 3

  • Luke 10: 25 - 37

    Yesterday I was preaching on the parable recorded only by Luke, which appears at Chapter 10 vv25 - 37 of that gospel.  I had been asking myself, as I researched commentaries and websites, 'why does Luke tell us this story and no-one else?'

    I have preached on this story oodles of times, sometimes trying to redeem the 'villains' the Priest and the Levite, sometimes trying to think who might I/we cast in the role of 'Samaritan'.  This week, as I wrote my sermon I felt 'convicted' (whatever that means!) about the popular title, 'The Good Samaritan' and how this perpetuates the bias against Samaritan people.  By naming the parable as we do (and neither Jesus not Luke use the term 'Good Samaritan') we make him an exception, a 'good baddy' - we can still despise Samaritans in general because this was a rare good one.

    I remember, many years ago now, someone referring to me a 'nice English person,' as if I was somehow distinct from the rest of those born or living in that nation, who were, by inference at least, not 'nice'.  I found it hurtful but didn't really understand why - the person was, I am sure, well intended, probably trying to make me feel better about something, but it felt  like a kind of 'othering'.

    Other comments I have almost certainly used, or have heard used would include 'present company excepted' or 'but I don't mean you' or 'it's not personal'...

    'Women don't make good leaders, they are too emotional - present company excepted'

    'It's not personal, but I don't think that women should be allowed to preach'

    'Brits are so cold and formal - but I don't mean you'

    And so on, we can all add our own examples I am sure , it's hard to imagine that many people have never heard or used such a phrase.

    When I was doing some work looking at racial justice, white privilege and biases, I came across the idea of 'exceptionalism' - the risk (and reality) that I/we can make exceptions for people we like and admire, without noticing or naming our own biases... the the 'Good Samaritan' allows us to appreciate the individual without recognising or naming our bias against Samaritans in general.  Okay, so we aren't biased against actual first century Samaritans, but I know I certainly have biases based on nationality, politics and world view. I don't think I am that unusual!

    I find myself strongly challenged by this familiar story, whose message I thought I fully understood, to the extent that I need to find a new title for it that does not depend on the unconscious exceptionalism of making a baddy 'good'. 

    So why did Luke tell is this story?  Yesterday I postulated that as a gentile writing for gentiles, this story in which 'someone like me (only possibly even more of an outsider than I will ever be) becomes the hero... in keeping with the universal love ethic of Jesus in this gospel, it is the often 'outsider'  who gets it and acts as example to those inside. Hmm.

    The Lord, as always, has more light and truth to break forth from the Word.   


  • Sermon Wrangling

    This week I've been looking at a parable from Luke that includes a Priest, a Levite and a Samaritan.  It has been really interesting doing the reading, but the wrangling of a sermon has been far harder.  I could write a lecture/presentation no bother, but that's not what a sermon is.  Perhaps as well it's called a reflection then!

    A bit of Talmud/Mishnah has shown me a totally new angle on this - hopefully it works out okay in the delivery!

  • Always worth another share...

    No comment needed, it's just a great cartoon worth another share.

  • Self Care

    One of my worst traits is overworking, and pretty much every year I tell myself I must do better, as the 'leave year' resets to zero and I am eligible for however much leave it is that I can never remember without checking.

    Today I have booked my first weekend break of the year, beginning after the final Zoom to Oz and ending on my day off at the end of Feb.  So, notionally, one day of leave and one free Sunday, but actually just right, and long enough to unwind and regroup before the start of Lent.

    Having given up on owning a car, and rarely if ever, driving in the past seven years or thereabouts, I choose places I can get to by public transport, which is always something of a logistical challenge.  Even so, today I have booked an apartment that's an easy walk from Lancaster railway station, with access to river walks, cafes, a pleasant town centre to explore, and which will give me privacy and space to relax.  Ideal.

    It's curious how my feelings about time out have evolved over the past couple of years, and how much I find myself drawn to shorter breaks with easy public transport.  Just need to invest in new novels and puzzle books between now and then!

  • Hope beyond Borders - The World Blessing 2022

    At the start of the pandemic, all across the world, Christians made 'virtual choir' recordings of a song simple called 'The Blessing'.  Almost two years later, someone has drawn 500 of these together into a single, incredible single video.  Click the video and enjoy a glimpse of heaven.  You may need a tissue or two though... look out for people from countries where to be a follower of Jesus is very very dangerous.