Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A Strange Dream about the Two Witnesses of Revelation Chapter Eleven

Feminists make sense of this: 
The week before you crushed me like a bug, 
And killed my hopes deader than the foot descending 
That destroyed an ant, 
I dreamed we two were in a cave.

You were my mouthpiece, singing my words, 
As Aaron sang the words of Moses. 

You were the mouthpiece of Yahweh, 
The lamppost of the Old Covenant, 
The olive tree of the Law and the Writings and the Prophets.

And I was the mouthpiece of Jesus, 
The lamppost of the New Covenant, 
The olive tree of the four Gospels, the Epistles and Revelation. 

You were the bride and I, the bridegroom.
Together one flesh, one body, one mouth, 
Like the Bible, one witness, 
Proclaiming the word of God, 
One witness, 
Together, two people, one married couple,
Just as God is three yet one.

Then the terrorists sent in the missile, 
Burning flames filled the whole space, 
I saw you, alight like a torch, at the other side of the place, 
dancing aflame, burning up, my own flesh. 
The pain was intense but momentary, over in an instant, 
And I knew I had passed through death
Without seeing it, 
And I knew we would both be with Jesus soon. 

(We could control the weather, you know,
Before that. And send plagues.)

(Did the whole world rejoice that we were gone? 
Did the whole world send presents, 
As though it was Christmas day?
Did we have to watch, we two, now insubstantial ghosts, 
While they trampled and defiled our lifeless bodies 
Rejoicing like a man dancing at his wedding day?)

Of course, it was just a dream.
It doesn't say 
That we are they.

(But then again, it just struck me
That in Revelation chapter eleven,
Three and a half days later 
God raised the two witnesses from the dead
And called them up to heaven.)

(Was this then 
A prophetic dream
About you and me?
That God will raise us up once again,

after the death of all my hopes...?) 

Scylla and Charybdis

Between grief that threatens like
Charybdis' whirlpool abyss
in the sea they say is rising
And the Scyllian tentacles of despair
that alternately cling and, whispering,
try to seduce me
I sail my little bark by a star I cannot see,
along this most dangerous of passages,
Even my closest companions
by this hope's tenacity, such audacity,
that will not loose me.
Scylla, the sea monster who threatened Odysseus, from Wikimedia Commons, public domain, photographer Jastrow. Description from Wikipedia: Scylla is here depicted as a maiden with a kētos tail and dog heads sprouting from her body. Detail from a red-figure bell-crater in the Louvre, 450–425 BCE. This form of Scylla was prevalent in ancient depictions, though very different from the description in Homer, where she is land-based and more dragon-like. 
My thought - the dogs look kind of cute and friendly, not at all frightening. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016


Panorama of the Lockridge Bush (click on it to see the whole thing)

I've removed quite a few posts. Rethinking some things again! Going back to writing.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Love is at the heart of the Christian gospel. 

God is love - no one can go past that. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A Message

To my estranged Christian sister,

You and your family are always welcome at my table and in my home. You may think I would hold a grudge against you for what you did to me or tried to do to me, but that is not the case. All you have to do is reach out to me and I would accept you again.

You have to realise my friendship was never conditional on anything you did, anything you were or are, or anything you thought or believed about yourself. You never had to marry me or even love me in that way in the least, I never made any such thing a condition of my friendship. Whatever wishes or dreams or crazy thoughts I had, I submitted them to your needs completely then and would do so again at the drop of a hat.

My hand is held out to you and your family. You can always contact me if you want to. It's up to you.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sunday, 29 May 2016


The TV series based on the Stephen King book, 11-22-63, about the Kennedy Assassination 22nd November 1963, is, strangely enough, a beautifully romantic tale about what love really means, as well as a great adventure/thriller about trying to prevent one of the more horrible events of the 20th century.

The premise of the story is stated in the first five minutes or so. Al Templeton, owner of a local diner, tells history teacher Jake Epping to go into the wardrobe in his diner. Jake resists at first, but Al's friendship is enough to convince him to go in.

Jake discovers that there is a time portal inside the wardrobe that goes back in time to 1960. He returns and Al tells him that he has been trying to prevent the Kennedy Assassination, but that he's out of time and he needs Jake to take over.

Armed with a book full of sporting stats that in 1960 haven't happened yet, a fake identity, and a few other objects that are going to prove useful as well as a list of facts about the Kennedy Assassination, Jake goes back in time to prevent it from happening.

In order not to spoil the story for you I won't tell you what happened after that! But it is a brilliant, logical story in so many ways.

But the 1960s are realised really wonderfully, the scenery I presume with the aid of computer graphics and some live sets, but it is all very seamless. And the acting and the dialogue combine to give what seemed to me to be a very realistic portrait of that era in America.

As you may already know, the 22nd of November 1963 was not only the day Kennedy was assassinated, but the day CS Lewis and Aldous Huxley died as well, strangely enough. And so I thought it was interesting that Stephen King had his character go backwards in time through what was essentially a wardrobe, although perhaps it's identified as a broom cupboard in the story. Is this a small homage to CS Lewis? Who knows; it really doesn't matter anyhow. Just thought it was interesting, that's all.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Jesus shall save his people from their sins

This great sermon by the African American preacher D J Ward, mentioned in John Yates' article (link at the bottom): 

The description of the video: "The death of Christ was an accomplishment, and our works cannot add to Christ's death. In this video, Elder D.J. Ward, the late pastor of Main Street Baptist Church in Lexington, K.Y., powerfully reminds us of the sufficiency of Christ's death for all who turn to him in repentance and faith."

And John Yates' recent reflections on it: 

I read somewhere that there is little difference between the pagan clutching at idols and people who rely on religion or conscience or good deeds to save them - Jesus' salvation is on a different order, it is not something we have to do, it is complete, He has done everything for us, we can rest in what He has accomplished. 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Your own Bible verse, the name God gave you

I listened to a talk yesterday by a Christian man who works in Mongolia, helping people who are getting out of prison. There is no social security there, so when people get out of prison they have nowhere to go, no job, no accomodation. His organisation helps them with these things.

He happened to mention something interesting - that we should pay attention to how we became Christians.

For me, it was largely via reading. I read a vast number of books when I was at University, read my way through the library, in fact. Authors that helped me accept God in Christ - Corrie Ten Boom, C S Lewis, Plato (in some ways, though puzzling in others), St Augustine, Charles Dickens (even though he was a unitarian), G K Chesterton, William Barclay, Carl Sandburg's biography of Lincoln also was truly inspiring, Betty Pulkingham (Mustard seeds) and many other authors also. These are just the ones that come to mind immediately.

In his talk the man said we should pay attention to how we became Christians because it might tell us what our mission is, what the job is that God has for us to do. So for me it's books, partially - maybe for you it's the internet? Or friends? Or something else entirely. He found Chinese people were instrumental in bringing him to Christ, and realised God had something for him to do in China.

He also said, each of us has a bible verse that tells us something about ourselves. For me that would be the first few verses of Psalm 108. Anyone who knows me apart from this blog will understand what this bible verse tells about my life.

I would add to those two things: our names. Sometimes people are given their Christian names by their parents for a particular reason, and every name has a meaning. My real name is not Robert as you know - Robert Denethon is actually a name I dreamed was the author of books I was writing - so when I wished to avoid mixing up my writing and my teaching I used Robert Denethon. But my real name, not this pseudonym, tells me a lot about myself - it tells me that I am a real man (despite never particularly being into sports or fighting or any of the other trappings of masculinity).

What does your name mean? What is your Bible verse? How did you become a Christian - does that indicate your ministry?

I would add one more note. It is only with God's strength and grace that we can live out the destiny God has in store for us. Human effort alone, without Christ's salvation and help, will not be able to do it. It is only when we lay our lives down for Jesus, that we receive them back the way they are meant to be.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Born that way. Or not?

A thought - if gay people were 'born that way', how come transgender people weren't?

C.S.Lewis once said, 'just because someone sincerely thinks of themselves and deeply believes they are a poached egg, doesn’t make them a poached egg.'

So what does make a poached egg? A cook, usually. But that has absolutely nothing to do with our present digestion.

Intersex people, whose physical/genetic identity is neither gender exclusively, need to choose which gender to identify with. But for the rest of us, how can gender be optional, when it's written into our genes and our physical bodies? (This is a rhetorical question?) To me it is kind of a comforting thought, to think that God wants the inner and the outer person to line up - anything else is an act.

Mind you, here I am writing this under a pseudonym...! So that makes a complete mockery of everything I'm saying about the inner and the outer lining up, because this whole identity is an act. Hmmm. Thought provoked. Stop thinking now before one becomes honest.

(Actually I'm in good company. C.S.Lewis once wrote a book too, under a pseudonym)

(Oh. And Kierkegaarde did much of his writing under pseudonyms. A lot of them.)

LIST OF KIERKEGAARDE'S PSEUDONYMS, at least, the most important, from Wikipedia: 
Victor Eremita, editor of Either/Or
A, writer of many articles in Either/Or
Judge William, author of rebuttals to A in Either/Or
Johannes de silentio, author of Fear and Trembling
Constantine Constantius, author of the first half of Repetition
Young Man, author of the second half of Repetition
Vigilius Haufniensis, author of The Concept of Anxiety
Nicolaus Notabene, author of Prefaces
Hilarius Bookbinder, editor of Stages on Life's Way
Johannes Climacus, author of Philosophical Fragments and Concluding Unscientific Postscript
Inter et Inter, author of The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress
H.H., author of Two Minor Ethical-Religious Essays
Anti-Climacus, author of The Sickness Unto Death and Practice in Christianity

Kierkegaarde called this, 'indirect communication.'

These discussions about gender and identity remind me strangely of something quoted in the Wikipedia article that I just read that Kierkegaarde said:

A useless and perhaps futile conflict goes on often enough in the world, when the poor person says to the wealthy person, "Sure, it’s easy for you-you are free from worry about making a living." Would to God that the poor person would really understand how the Gospel is much more kindly disposed to him, is treating him equally and more lovingly. Truly, the Gospel does not let itself be deceived into taking sides with anyone against someone else, with someone who is wealthy against someone who is poor, or with someone who is poor against someone who is wealthy. Among individuals in the world, the conflict of disconnected comparison is frequently carried on about dependence and independence, about the happiness of being independent and the difficulty of being dependent. And yet, yet human language has not ever, and thought has not ever, invented a more beautiful symbol of independence than the poor bird of the air. And yet, yet no speech can be more curious than to say that it must be very bad and very heavy to be-light as the bird! To be dependent on one’s treasure-that is dependence and hard and heavy slavery; to be dependent on God, completely dependent-that is independence. Søren Kierkegaard, 1847 Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, Hong p. 180-181

Thankyou Søren you are wise beyond your years. One might as well have a woman saying to a man, "Sure, it’s easy for you-you are free from worry, being one of the androcentric supremacist persecutors of innocent disadvantaged female perdaughters." She continues, "Well why worry about being in an inferiorist position - I think I'll just become a man, in fact I choose to be one now." And from that moment on he is happy and superior as all of us males are (not).

But life is not easy for any of us, for no one is quite truly independent, unless of course life becomes so difficult we have to start depending on God. As per quoth that Danish Kierkegaarde in that quote I just quoted, considering one's treasure is the gender one identifies with, or happens to be perchance:
To be dependent on one’s treasure-that is dependence and hard and heavy slavery; to be dependent on God, completely dependent-that is independence. 

By the way, an interesting discussion by Ben Witherington, whose post reminded me of that CS Lewis quote which I pilfered because it was in it:

Postscript: Someone once said to me, "you shouldn't be dependent on medication. Be totally dependent on God." Well, I think sometimes dependence on God requires dependence on medication the Doctor provides, too. But to a much larger degree one should not really depend on one's identity - only one's identity in Christ. For we are who we are in Him, and we find who we are by being found by God, in Jesus.