I find I have fragments jotted down any of which might have developed into a post on this blog.
Re-reading Judges 3
My periodic noticing of which passages of scripture get jumped over even in the otherwise apparent continuous reading through the Bible day by day at Matins and Evensong brought me (between celebrations of Joshua and Caleb and those of Deborah and Gideon) to wonder why the story of Ehud is one we do not read and which I hardly know– Judges 3 has him deceive the excessively fat King of Moab into a private conversation, his single left-handed plunging of a hidden weapon so deep that the King’s flesh closed in over it, and his calm locking of the chamber leaving the Moabite royal servants unaware of the assassination until Ehud was safely away and it dawned on the servants that the King couldn’t have been on the loo so long and so the door hadn’t been locked for his privacy. I’m glad not to have to try to preach about it, although the advantage of being left-handed is an intriguing feature of the story.
Re-reading our historical context
It was suggested that 1871-1990 (the period between German unification and German reunification) might be viewed as a single western European ‘Hundred Year War’; the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 marking a shift from conflicts in which the place of what had been Napoleonic France had been the key dynamic to conflicts in which the emerging strong single German state was.
One could step back and suggest also that the new century-long focus on the dynamic of having a strong single German state might have temporarily masked the importance of the dynamic of having a single strong Russian state – the one Hundred Year War in fact being bracketed by Russian loss of its Crimea ports (1856) and its annexation of the Crimea (2014), with what was in effect a Russian truce-line across western Europe between 1945 and 1990 holding the tension for one quarter of this time, and with what is emerging as the Russian undermining of the new Franco-German partnership (as we might understand the EU) as only the latest stage.
Re-reading our historical process
The whole point of history is that it is re-written. The craft of the historian is precisely to re-assess, re-evaluate, re-search and then, yes, re-write. In fact media reports of any historical discovery almost always tediously return to the cliché that ‘history is having to be rewritten’. This is so basic, how could anyone think this is not the case? Or think things like the history of African-European relations has been that the Africa has treated Europe as a free cashpoint rather than the other way around?
Re-reading Luke 6
Which leaves a tiny piece of theological speculation which I have shared with some different clergy groups. Perhaps the concept of ‘white privilege’ pulls into focus Luke’s quite different take on the Beatitudes (Luke 6.24-26 is not jumped over in our daily reading of scripture, but it is certainly read much less often than Matthew 5.1-11 in public worship): woe to you if you are rich, well-fed, happily un-bereaved and spoken about highly; if I live in a context in which I can assume my good fortune to be the norm or even the result of my own qualities, I’m likely to fail to see what a dangerously self deluded place it is and what vulnerably different experiences imprison others.