Jude 7

I WAS reading Love is an Orientation last night like the good SSAed Christian that I am. And, firstly, I should say it is a good book written by a guy who is on mission and has obviously spent a lot of time thinking about this particular issue and doing some great practical things. For a straight Christian it is obviously a must-read. But, but in chapter 7 where “the big 5: principles for a more constructive conversation” are outlined, there is talk of Sodom and Gomorrah with a conclusion partly based on Ezekiel 16:49-50 (the bad hospitality passage) without mentioning Jude 7 “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” (ESV).  I don’t mean to point the finger at the author; he goes through plenty of passages against homosexuality.

But, I can remember when the pro-gay minister at the church I was going to in 2004 did a series on homosexuality and gave the Sodom and Gomorrah story a favorable treatment by using Ezekiel and not mentioning Jude 7. So here I am mentioning Jude 7. Jude 7 brothers. It’s there. It exists. Though I’m not really a fan of bringing Sodom into discussions anyway because I find the word Sodomite to be unfortunate and not likely to achieve a good response. Sodom has also been misused I would say by a certain type of Christian, which is unfortunate. I used to hate the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, but whether I like it or not, it’s there.

If I had to be involved in a ministry to do with SSA I think it would be helping the church deal with the issue. Helping straight Christians think about it and act on it rather than dealing with GLBT people, but I’m not opposed to that either.  It worries and frustrates me when I see the church and Christians handling it badly or not at all. Like ask your average Christian what they think of gay marriage and it’s not likely to be pretty. Or you see older Christians who are basically homophobic and then young Christians who think it’s fine. But even more than that, I’d like to help people fit it into the narrative of creation, fall, redemption, restoration. That has been one of the most helpful things for me as a Christian. Rather than dealing with an issue by looking at the few verses relating to it, analysing it based on how it fits in with the character of God and the fall of man and Jesus’ sacrifice and the reality of living as paid for people who haven’t experienced all the blessings yet. Instead of just having a bone, it’s like wrapping my thinking in muscle and skin. Chicken bones are just useless bones. Chicken bones with meat are satisfying.

Haunted by a holiday

UPDATE 1: since my post the other week I have kick-to-kicked the football with my dad twice. So healing. I’m still pretty bad at it, but I’m improving and it’s such a genuine delight to redeem this painful, developmental memory. It’s also given me an insight into my dad. Like he’s not the kind of guy who initiates something and he’s even a bit reluctant to come and say, ‘can I join in?’ I need to reinterpret my memories in light of his personality and not my childish inclination to see him as cold.

UPDATE 2: the morning after I wrote about my lack of desperation for God and life an email from Desiring God blog arrived in my inbox called “God make me desperate”. Timely, much? Those kinds of non-coincidences usually seem to happen to other people.

Now to this post…

WHEN I was
a kid my family would visit my uncle in Canberra (the national capital) and then travel to the New South Wales coastal town of Bermagui for several days in a house near the beach. Great times of sand, waves crashing on young skin, family interaction and general peace obviously followed.

Now, in a way, this place haunts me. When I think about a holiday my first thought isn’t Europe, but ‘Bermagui’ and then a warm inner glow comes over me. It stands in my memory as the moments when everything in my childhood was close enough to perfect. Even though, I know it wasn’t.

’Cause one holiday at Bermagui my sister and I were compelled to build networks of dams in the sand that captured the ocean. As the waves rolled in we’d build higher, stronger walls and more and more connecting dams. For some reason at that time, on that day it was perfectly balanced, so the waves weren’t strong enough to ruin our dams, but they delivered water to fill them. I think it was near the end of this particular holiday and our week there had thawed each of our -mum, dad, sister, me- hearts. It came time to go. And my sister and I didn’t want to. We needed to suck the marrow out of this moment for as long as possible even as cooling air called us inside.

Times change and we couldn’t go back to Bermagui, but for a while when we went on beach holidays we tried to bring back this moment. (Usually tentatively, because we didn’t want to expose our dam-making fairy tale to the light of reality.) And of course we couldn’t. The ocean was too strong or too weak or the sand was too gritty. And we were different as well. We could never go back, never recapture what happened one late afternoon on a pristine beach in the twilight of our childhood.

So I know I can’t return to a memory…

But I’m still pondering the idea of taking myself, my Bible, Mark Driscoll’s Death by Love, Mark Buchanan’s Things Unseen and Will Metzger’s Tell the Truth and spending a good 10 days in a holiday house near the beach. No internet; no one else there and just cleaning out my mind. (My uncle and cousin live near by and I’m sure there’s mobile phone coverage, so it won’t be a complete escape, but that’s good as well).

Just thinking about it makes me excited. And it’s so cheap if I go before school holidays…only $640 for 10 nights in a nice looking two bedroom bungalow walking distance from the beach in the middle of nowhere.

Hmmmmmmmmmm.