Wine Before Breakfast

Wine Before Breakfast
Wycliffe College Chapel, 5 Hoskin Ave

Dear friends:

You’ve all heard the saying, “the bigger they are the harder they fall.”

Well there are corollary insights to that one. For example, the most holy the place, the most profane and idolatrous can be its distortion. The principle is pretty simple. The goodness of a thing, its significance and meaning, will have a proportional evil when it is misdirected, ideologically deformed.

Perhaps the most important example of this principle in Scripture is that when the creature who is created and called to bear the “image of God” rejects that call the only possible result is the demonic power of “graven images” or idols in human life.

Well, this principle of proportionality also works for prayer. I mean what is more sacred in human life than prayer? What time is more holy than time in prayer? When do we get the closest in our relationship with God than in prayer? And when, therefore, do we come to a most honest and truthful understanding of ourselves than when we stand (or kneel) before God in prayer?

And yet there is more bullshit in prayer than perhaps in any other dimension of our lives! There is more posturing, more hypocrisy, more self-centredness and more ideological self-justification going on in prayer than anywhere else. Or at least sometimes it seems that way to me.

Again, the deeper the goodness of a thing, the deeper is its distortion.

So it is not surprising that Jesus takes time in his Sermon on the Mount to instruct his followers of what prayer looks like in the Kingdom of God. He strips them (and us) of the pretense and hypocrisy as he strips down prayer to its bare essentials.

As a community of prayer, as a community that comes together every Tuesday morning with our thanksgivings and our petitions, as a community that prays a Eucharistic prayer every week, we do well to pause and listen to Jesus on one of those very few occasions when he actually teaches about prayer. And we will again follow his example as we pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name ….”

Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday @ 7.22am in Wycliffe Chapel

David Neelands will be preaching and presiding.

Wine Before Breakfast

Title: Wine Before Breakfast
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel, 5 Hoskin Ave.

“Love your enemy.”

I’m not sure that three more subversive words have ever been spoken.

Love your enemy.
Can you imagine anything more ridiculous,
more counter-intuitive, more impossible than this?

With these three words everything that we know about statecraft,
everything we know about human affairs,
everything we know about the history of humanity,
indeed everything we know about our own hearts,
is turned on its head.

How do you kill the enemy that you love?
How do you objectify that enemy as evil incarnate?
How do you go to war, regardless of how “just” you think it is,
when you love your enemy?

And this guy is proclaiming a “kingdom”?
A kingdom that loves its enemies?
What part of ‘impossible’ doesn’t he get?

I don’t know how he’s doing in the polls,
but I can’t imagine this thing going too far.

Wine Before Breakfast
Wycliffe Chapel @ 7.22am

Tuesday, October 26

Walsh preaching,
Asbil presiding,
Whelan leading the band.

WBB and the “Male Gaze”

I tend to be a rather ‘direct’ kind of a person. I like to look a person in the eye when I meet them. Heck, I like to look strangers in the eye as we pass on the sidewalk.

But I learned early that such directness, especially on the street, and especially with women, is usually unwelcome.

I don’t know if other guys reading this email feel the same way, but I am embarrassed that most women that I pass on the street will immediately avert their gaze (often in the direction of looking down at the sidewalk) if I glance their way. I am embarrassed because I understand that ‘looking away’ as a defense mechanism in the face of the “male gaze.”

The male gaze. That look that is undressing a woman. That look that is a potential sexual and violent threat. That look of power. That look that spells ‘threat’. And we wonder why some Islamic women prefer to where the burkha.

Jesus understands the male gaze and names it for what it is. Such a sexually aggressive gaze isn’t just a matter of male hormones kicking in. More importantly this is a matter of the heart. This is a matter of imaginative rape.

Once we started down this path of hanging out with Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount we knew that things were going to get heavy. Like Moses in Sinai, Jesus is going to leave nothing unexamined. That includes our sexual imaginations.

It might be painful.

Andrew will preach and preside.
Jake has crafted our prayers.
We’re praying that Deb Whelan will get over a whopper of a cold so that she can lead our music.

And while Bethany will be baking the bread, we don’t really know who is bringing muffins since no one signed up (hint, hint).

Start Time: 7:22am
Date: 2010-10-19

An Evening with Ched Meyers

Description: “Subversive Meals from Greensboro to Community Agriculture:
Biblical Foundations and Trajectories”
Wednesday, October 13, 7.00pm

On Feb 1st, 1960 four African American college students sat down in a Woolworth’s Department store and ordered lunch in the “whites only” section–and a floundering national Civil Rights movement was resurrected. Today people around the world are abandoning the mass produced food of corporate agribusiness and going to farmers markets, joining food coops and community gardens and growing their own food. Is there a connection between that lunch counter fifty years ago and the local, organic and urban agriculture movement of today? And has Jesus got anything to do with all of this?

Ched Myers is a peacemaker, gardener, biblical scholar, activist, singer, educator, and a whole lot of other things. His teachings on radical discipleship, jubilee economics, the ministry of reconciliation and food sustainability have been transformative in people’s lives for thirty years.

Suggested donation: $5.00

Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2010-10-13
End Time: 21:30

Wine Before Breakfast

In her wonderful book, Radical Gratitude, Mary Jo Leddy says that we live in a culture of ingratitude in which we are held captive by a consumer induced longing that can never be fulfilled. Our lives become enslaved to dissatisfaction and incessant craving. We always need more. “Enough” just isn’t in our vocabulary.

Radical gratitude, Mary Jo argues, is what can liberate us from such a captivity.

Radical gratitude engenders a spirituality of gift in the face of self-made accomplishment.

Gratitude is born of an economy of enough in the face of the hyperactivity of “more.”

Gratitude is rooted in grace, while a spirituality of entitlement is decidedly a spirituality of self-salvation.

Gratitude abandons the sullen adolescence of our culture and embraces a humility and gregarious openness born of a mature spirituality.

So there is something ironic about Thanksgiving. Let there be no doubt that this is a consumer festival, an occasion for gluttony, where the word “enough” is only uttered much too late.

And yet … there is the possibility in the midst of this secular holiday to rekindle a Kingdom ethic. There is the possibility that we can enter into an intentional feast of thankfulness that will radically undermine such consumptive greed through radical gratitude.

Will gratitude dismantle  the political, military and economic imperial realities of our day?

Perhaps not. Or at least not immediately.

But without gratitude, without a sense of the profound gift-character of all of life, without a deep sense of grace and the thankfulness that such grace engenders, then all of our struggles for Christian authenticity won’t matter.

You see, the empire will have so captivated our hearts that all of our expressions of Christian faith will be little more than posturing.

Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday @ 7.22am
Wycliffe College Chapel
Judith presiding.
Brian preaching.

Wine Before Breakfast

“You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets;
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”

“Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven.”

This is how our passage from the Sermon on the Mount begins and ends this week at Wine Before Breakfast. And we’re going to limit a Baptist preacher named Joe Abbey-Colborne to a maximum of twelve minutes to unpack this for us. Twelve minutes for a Baptist. I know, it is cruel and unusual punishment, but Joe is definitely up to the challenge.

Now I don’t want to scoop Joe here, but you gotta ask, why would Jesus have thought that the folks listening to him might have thought that he wanted to abolish the law and the prophets? I mean, when you get to thinking about what other people are thinking then things are likely going to get messy.

But Jesus is pretty sure of himself here. “I know what you are all thinking. You think that I’m offering something that is so out of line with biblical orthodoxy that I’m simply throwing the whole thing out the window!”
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