Am I right in thinking that Conspiracy Theories are an attempt to escape legitimate suffering? And what do they have to do with the Transfiguration?
Eleven years ago, in the Good Old Days, I walked the Camino de Santiago for 800 km across Spain. I was strongly reminded of it by this week’s Gospel story when Jesus sets out on his journey to preach and heal across Galilee
One Saturday morning almost two thousand years ago, a locally famous young man walked into the synagogue of his adopted hometown. What happens next will amaze you!
The story of how Mary became Jesus’ mother is difficult. It’s crammed full of miracles that we find hard to believe in, and angelic figures, who might be even worse, and, to top it all off, it is layered over with hundreds of years of religious art and saccharine Christmas cards and frankly sexist attitudes towards women. The story manages to be both so familiar that we can’t hear it for what it is, and simultaneously even more alien than John the Baptizer in the Judean scrub dressed up like a caveman. And yet, something still resonates. It still matters that Mary said “yes.”
John the Baptizer dressed like a caveman, ate wilderness food, and refused to cooperate with the religious authorities. Church people are well behaved, often well dressed, and rarely feast on locusts? What could the former have to do with the latter?
Why would anyone pay any attention at all to someone who looked like they were engaged in an overly serious Elijah cosplay? What on earth did John think he was doing, and what does it have to say to our world?
“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down…” A year ago that text might have seemed a bit remote from our world. But devastating bushfires, fresh revelations about the injustice of our society, and, of course, the terrible plague which is devastating our world, make these words from Isaiah feel astonishingly fresh.
The parable of the talents is strange and shocking. It takes place in an alien world of masters and slaves and long journeys, where people hide their talents in holes in the ground, and where great rewards and mysterious punishments await. But what if, at the heart of the story, lies the best investment advice ever given?
What does a mysterious story about a late night wedding, 24 hour oil dealerships, and dubious ethical behaviour amongst wise bridesmaids have to say to our anxious age?
Is the Christian hope of Resurrection just an “opiate for the masses”? Or a barbaric reminder of earlier, less scientific times? Or is it something to do with trust?