Think of what you were when you were called

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called.
Not many of you were wise by human standards;
not many were influential;
not many were of noble birth.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;
God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things
– and the things that are not –
to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus…
Therefore, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'

I'm 28, and not particularly succesful at anything (in any of the standard ways the world measures success, anyway).  It's a big area of insecurity for me, especially now that I am about to leave behind singleness and join forces with Maria – I am expected, by most people, to have 'things to offer' as a husband, by which we usually mean material things and signs of success.  And I don't have them.

Leaving me in good company.  I was just reminded about the heroes of the Faith who were just plodding along quietly before God elevated them to positions of influence & responsibility.  Such as:

Elisha – ploughman
Moses – shepherd
Jesus – carpenter
Peter – fisherman
Saul – donkey-herder
Rebekah – water-collector
David – folk-singer
Matthew – taxman
Daniel – refugee
Esther – beauty-contest winner
Gideon – wheat farmer

And I guess that the big issue that comes out of it for me is, 'Am I willing to plod along without EVER being elevated?  Is being God's boy elevation enough for me?'


I feel like there's a lot to be said for hunter-gatherers.  While growing things myself is becoming one of my main life ambitions, I'm already making quite a good fist of ambling around Devonia eating things as I go.

Pretty regularly this summer, for whatever reason, I've felt discouraged & burdened & generally squashed.  The cure?  Wandering in empty lanes with just the Sun & a thousand blackberries for company.  The world is a horrible, difficult place, full of responsibilities & obligations & stuff; and then suddenly little black jewels are glistening in the hedgerows, God loves me, & valuable things don't have to come at a price.

Our conversation at dinner this evening was about how much food is just outside, waiting for us to find it: rabbits, ducks, pigeons, mushrooms, herbs of all sorts, mussels, elderberries, watercress etc.etc. (and that doesn't include what the supermarkets chuck out or roadkill!)  Loads of things.

Now, I'm not the sort of chap who wants to ONLY eat gleanings – I like pitta bread too much – and the idea of stinging nettle soup makes me feel queasy, but I do think we need to re-teach ourselves how to spot the goodness of our surroundings.  And England really is a very, very fruitful country, especially down in this corner.

The Best of Times

I remember once having a conversation with Maria about how, when we're old and grey and like to ramble on about all we've seen and heard, we'll be able to tell people that we used to watch Wayne Rooney play football!  Every week!  PRIVILEGE!!

[If you didn't know: on Saturday, Man United had a player sent off with half an hour to go.  They compensated for it by telling Rooney that from that point on, he was going to be two players.  And he was.]

Most of us probably know that, in one way or another, it is always 'the best of times and the worst of times'.  I noticed it earlier when seeing Carmelita Jeter run the fastest 100m ever by a woman not on drugs – watch it here – and then, seeing this astounding piece of Roger Federer, which also happened yesterday:

Sometimes it's good to notice that we're in a Golden Age of our own, so that we appreciate it before it's gone.  Federer, Jeter, Rooney, Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods, Gordon Brown …

Mr Orthodox

Whilst being pretty ignorant of them all, I am the kind of Christian who has a lot of time for other Christians.  Or I try to, anyway.  Today I was looking through the Catholic Calendar of Saints (wherein virtually every day of the year is designated as a feast in the honour of a hero of the Faith), and decided to look up my own birthday.  It seems that I was born lucky - I pretty much got the best one.  This fellow:


This is Athanasius, an Egyptian fellow from the 4th Century.  There's a GK Chesterton quote about how 'on five occasions in history the Church has gone to the dogs, but on each occasion, it was the dogs who died.'  The first of these near-deaths was when many in the Church decided that they didn't actually believe in Jesus – they thought that he was a creation of God, rather than God himself.  This heresy was called Arianism.

Arianism gained a huge influence – successive Emperors and many senior bishops were Arians - and orthodox bishops like Athanasius were banned from doing their jobs.  For a period in the mid-300s, it looked like the Church was headed for a future as a kind of Aristotelian Unitarianism.  Athanasius was the figurehead of the movement against it, working for half a century to safeguard the doctrine of the Trinity.

Because I don't owe my allegiance to any particular denomination or church body, when Facebook asks for my religion, I put 'Panoramic Trinitarian'.  There are a lot of us about, and Athanasius is basically our Godfather.  Yay saints' days.