Of course this is not about the very talented Gareth; but it is about me, and about my own willingness to accept my own vocation, and ultimately the wisdom and kindness of God.
There are three big battles the disciples face in the gospels: persecution, distraction and competition. It is these three that consume us, and the energy of the Spirit in us must be directed at their extinction.
They are such poison. I appreciate the story of the old devils tempting an old saint in some Eastern desert; he is immune to all their allurements and deceptions; until one of them whispers to him “your brother has just become Archbishop of Alexandria”. Gore Vidal writes that whenever one of our friends becomes successful, a part of us dies. Bonhoeffer said that whenever disciples gather there arises a reckoning amongst them.
Gareth, I hope you had good Greenbelt. Your elevation to 14th exciting thing was actually for my own edification a much as for yours.
Good piece here in the Guardian about the limits of science (this site is becoming chronically blinkered in its choice of journalism). Newton said that his job was picking up a shells on the edge of an infinite ocean. An equivalent would be Francis Collins’ cirtique of the New Atheists: “It is like searching the ocean with a fishing net whose gaps are 3cm wide, and after much searching concluding that the sea contains no species shorter than 3cm”.
I think I heard Stephen Fry recently say that Science Fiction was simply Greek myth, but set in the future. There is this odd paradox of myth: it is in a fantastical world of Daleks and Jedi, or of Minotaurs and Argonauts that one can bear witness to what is most authentic.
Which brings us to Genesis.
It is the mythic quality of the early chapters enable them to do their job. No actual life can bear the totality of human meaning, but a mythic one can just about get there. That’s why the story of tower, the angel tribe, the ark and the garden have to be myth, they have to say more than what happened once, they have to say what happens always.