I mean, I literally stumbled on the steps as I made my way up to the podium. At least I know how to make an entrance. (And they wanted me to try dancing on the dance floor last night.) How ironic that this very letter says God is able to keep us on our feet and that I lost mine getting up to recite it. Guess it does actually just say he is able to, not that he will.
Anyway, I stumbled, got up, re-entered, and then had a fun little dance with Jude for the first time in over three decades of teaching.
The only trouble was, I didn’t get to any of my points.
I guess I really only had one point, which I got to, but that point has layers. And I really only got to hint at some of the layers and half my PowerPoint went unused.
Click on the link if you would like to experience my forty-five minute or so verbal dance (that’s putting it gracefully — stumbling remains the most apt description of what happens whenever I speak, which is one of the reasons this blog is called “wordhavering”; just look up the UK definition of “haver”). For those of you who only read my musings on this blog, this will give you the opportunity to experience my musings audibly and visually. Like Mike in 3D. Almost. Which isn’t to say that this will necessarily be a good thing for you. Otherwise, just read on.
You see, I told my audience that perhaps I would delve into the unexplored layers of the one point of this sermon/teaching/lesson/musing/thing on my blog. So I suppose I should.
I was asked after the “Jude talk” by a more linearly minded person if I could do such a recap first whenever I get up to speak so linear people at least have a clue where I’m going. But where would the fun be in that. Besides, to quote Prometheus, one of my movie favs from 2012, “God does not create in straight lines.”
Where was I?
Oh yes, the recap.
Jude, early Christ follower and leader of some note writes a missive to an early messianic Jewish community encouraging them to keep a firm grasp on God’s love, live lives of mercy (which is how we fight for the faith), and not to be thrown off track by the distraction of those who think they have a better idea. Thus the question: how do we stay on the road and avoid the ditch?
Refusing to quantify a formulaic answer consisting of three steps, five actions, or seven principles, I tried to break it down to one simple, foundational word. Or maybe three. Something rooted in the text of Jude itself. I thought about the question: how do we stay out of the ditch? By staying focused on the road (and slowing down – especially on mountain roads during Idaho winters). How do we stay focused on the Road (which is Jesus) and avoid the ditches of legalism on the one side and libertinism on the other? (Read Frank Viola’s excellent summary of these two “ditches.”) Three words: Know the Story. My initial thought, Biblephile that I am, was “Read the Bible.” But “reading the Bible,” to be honest, for most conjures up images like this:
Something more than reading and study is called for here. A deeper absorption, a more sublime imbibing.
Story. Imagination. Soul. Heart, as well as mind.
And so the question, how do we read the Bible (or read, period) so as not to miss the Story – so as to engage, heart, soul, mind, and imagination?
That’s about as far as I got in the verbal musing of my Jude talk. This is where the missing layers enter in the form of five guidelines for reading so as not to miss the Story (yes, they really are more like guidelines).
We’ll start in on my next post.
In the meantime with all this talk about Jude you know you want to. Go ahead. Listen to the song and sing along as you do. And happy new year!