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The Death of the Dipper (Reblog #2)

I've posted this monologue a couple of times before. It purports to give Herod Antipas' take on the story in this coming Sunday's Gospel reading from the Lectionary ( Mark 6: 14-29 ). Wrote it twelve years ago now, as per the lectionary cycle, but I have only ever used it once, and won't be using it this week (I've done a couple of monologues in a row recently and you can have too much of a "good" thing... However, I thought I would post it a few days ahead of time incase any colleagues are at a loss for something for Sunday... Would be interested to hear if anyone was brave enough to attempt it... (ps. Saw the accompanying picture "The Beheading of John the Baptist" by Caravaggio in St. John's Cathedral in Valetta. Malta a couple of years ago, and this doesn't do it any justice.) Why!? Why could the damned dipper not keep his nose out of my personal life? And why could Herodias not simply ignore him? What harm could he do once I’d locked
Recent posts

Birthday Candles

Ok, before anyone sends a personal message or phones me thinking that I am teetering on the brink, staring into the gaping void of my mortality, because of this (and the fact that it is Tuesday, which, as some who know me better than others, is often not a "good day" for me due to a particular pharmaceutical regime), I am actually in a relatively "good place" today. Indeed this is partly prompted by my current reading of Philip Larkin (and remembering T.S. Eliot) and thinking "Maybe I'm not as cynical or miserable as some..." Anyway, with that brief preamble here is a "Thought for the Day." Whether measured out in cake candles Or coffee spoons, Or in my case, squeezed-out toothpaste tubes, Life surely should Be something much more Than death in slow motion. Selah

My Beloved Little Lamb (reblog)

I wrote this 6 years ago as a way of looking at this, perhaps, overfamiliar story. The Revised Common Lectionary cycle has rolled around twice and here we are again, but re-reading both the original passage and my monologue in the light of recent events I thought it was worth another outing... So I used it again in this morning's livestreamed service froom the Agape and here I re-post it, mindful of those who continue to feel that they are down in the depths, enduring pain and loss without a miraculous resolution. You are not nameless, untouchable figures in the crowd... You are beloved... OLD TESTAMENT READING: Psalm 30 I will exalt you,  Lord ,     for you lifted me out of the depths      and did not let my enemies gloat over me. 2  Lord  my God, I called to you for help,     and you healed me. 3  You,  Lord , brought me up from the realm of the dead;      you spared me from going down to the pit. 4  Sing the praises of the  Lord , you his faithful people;     praise his

The Gift

Just finished reading Louise Glück's 2006 collection of poems "Averno", and the following piece is prompted by her poem, "Landscape" where she describes the present as "the part of the present you can see." It set me thinking (possibly in the light of reading "The Order of Time" by Carlo Rovelli recently and some work I am involved with here regarding the historical legacy in Northern Ireland) that not only do we  need to make the most of the present moment in general, but especially here in Northern Ireland where the understanding of the past and hopes for the future are both contested spaces. Yes, I know that the semantic interplay of "gift" and "present" is a bit of a cliché, but it does capture for me the precious nature of the "now." There is also a shamelessly clumsy hybrid reference to famous lines by both Dickinson and Marvell. But if you are going to plunder other poets  for inspiration, pi

The Way to the Father

Recently I've been re-reading Thomas à Kempis' "Imitation of Christ". Well, I say re-teading, but this is actually the first time I ever got all the way to the end. It is one of those works that starts well but always lost me about half way through - partly that was down to format, because in book 3 he adopts an imagined dialogue between himself as the disciple and Christ. Personally I have always found that somewhat disingenuous and arrogant in serious devotional literature, although it is essentially the same idea behind the John L. Bell & Graham Maule "Jesus/Peter" dialogues that I admire and frequently seek to emulate. But there is something more obviously contrived, anachronistic and self-mocking about those that prevents them seeming like a simulacrum of canonical scripture. With à Kempis that is not necessarily the case, and indeed his famous comment on John 14: 6, rendered in one version as "Without the way, there is no going;

Connexion (Re-Blog)

The online 2021 Conference of the Methodist Church in Ireland finished on  Sunday with a livestreamed service from the Agapé Centre on our circuit, which has been the base of operations for the week. As part of the Faith and Order business on Saturday, however, Dr. Paul Chilcote continued the reflections he began on Thursday, when he focused on the transformative power of grace,  this time reminding us that the Wesley's saw conferencing together as a means of grace. It is the physical (or this year virtual) manifestation of the connexionalism, which as a former lecturer in Edgehill, Jim McCormick always insisted, should be seen as more than a form of ecclesiology, but rather a thorough-going spirituality. Our connexionalism is, as Dr. Chilcote suggests a divine gift, but it is sadly at times a neglected one. The Methodist Church of Ireland can often be, as I have often said, as fundamentally congregationalist and individualistic as many other contemporary traditions, an

Why do you Bother with us?

As part of the final Selah/Pause in our online 2021 Conference of the Methodist Church in Ireland, in the light of his theme "People First, Under God", our President Rev. Dr. Sahr Yambasu referred to Psalm 8, he pointed to the central question of this Psalm  where the Psalmist asks God "what is humanity that you are mindful of them?" or  as expressed in Eugene Peterson's version of the Psalm in the Message:  "Why do you bother with us?"  He asked a follow up question, that being "How has this conference changed our understanding of the answer to this question?" As we ponder that let me offer this dramatised version of that Psalm, which I have used and posted many times before, based in part on Eugene Peterson's version: BOTH:       O LORD , our God, your name is honoured in all that you have made! Voice 1:      Beyond the boundless reaches of space Voice 2:      Higher than the heavens where the angels offer you their symphony of worship