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I have loved following the U.S. election. It has been great entertainment. It has had a great villain (or two, if that’s how you feel), and it has be fun to watch and hold on to the sure fact that sanity will prevail. The good guys will win in the end.

Today as I watched the election results it all seemed surreal. How could this happen? Everyone said it wouldn’t. The polls, the experts, the internet, everyone was sure the racist, sexist, lying, boastful abuser wouldn’t get in. But he did.

I’ve spend most of the night trying not to focus on what has happened. And simultaneously wanting to scroll Facebook and commiserate with most of my newsfeed.

Being in Australia, I feel perplexed and bewildered. This new presidency will happen to us, and we didn’t get a say. It will happen to many countries, many worse off than ours, and they didn’t choose it. Being a white, middle-class man, it is perhaps a rare feeling of insecurity and powerlessness that I am feeling right now. I suspect many people feel this most of the time.

Perhaps this won’t be as bad as we think. Perhaps the collective depression that is being felt by all the like-minded people on my newsfeed will just turn out to be for nothing. Perhaps he’ll turn out to be as inert in office as he was explosive in campaigning. Who knows?

I said to Em tonight “I know I don’t normally go in for there being good years and bad years, but I think I can say 2016 has been an exceptionally bad year.” Not just in the world, or in politics, but in almost everything, 2016 has not been the year I would have predicted or wanted.

Whatever shining hopes there were in 2008, or 2010, or 2015, almost everything seems tarnished and dull now. I have had hope in politics, and economics, and jobs, and leadership, and general human goodness to make my world a good place, but they have all let me down. This failure reminds me what, on brighter days, I sometimes forget: that everything is broken. We’re all broken. I’m broken.

Someone posted a quote purportedly from “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis on Facebook tonight. The quote is not actually from “The Screwtape Letters”, it’s just written to look like it is. It’s good anyway. As a senior devil writing to a junior devil, It said:

My Dear Wormwood,

Be sure that the patient remains completely fixated on politics. Arguments, political gossip, and obsessing on the faults of people they have never met serves as an excellent distraction from advancing in personal virtue, character, and the things the patient can control. Make sure to keep the patient in a constant state of angst, frustration and general disdain towards the rest of the human race in order to avoid any kind of charity or inner peace from further developing. Ensure that the patient continues to believe that the problem is “out there” in the “broken system” rather than recognizing there is a problem with himself.

Keep up the good work,

Uncle Screwtape

It reminded me how much I am distracted by what is broken in them, in that, in the world – that I forget that I am broken too. As long as I am in the world, the world will be broken. Everyone, everything, even we ourselves, will let us down, because we’re all made of the same material, crying out for something better, “subjected to frustration”, waiting with all creation to be freed from “bondage to decay and brought into… freedom and glory”.

When Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in an attempt to make themselves like God, the rot set in. They were sent out of the Garden, never allowed to return lest they eat from the Tree of Life. Being banned from that tree was not just a punishment but also a gift. God was saving them from having to live forever in a world of interminable evil – the consequences of their treacherous audacity.

We live in a world of our own making. We will not find our Garden of Eden, we will not remake it ourselves, we cannot go back, everything is broken and we can’t fix it. This year is a great reminder that you’re broken and I’m broken, you broke it and I broke it – and none of us can fix it.

But the story is not all bad news. In fact the brokenness causes us to look for the solution. If we cannot save ourselves we must look beyond ourselves. If every system, every structure, every leader, every plan, every new leaf, every new resolution, every commitment to do better, eventually comes to naught, then we must look elsewhere. There must be hope beyond.

It turns out we see the Tree of Life again in the story of Scripture. It turns up right at the end. When all the evil of the world has been dealt with, when the Hope of the World has come again, when the old order of things has passed away and God has made all things new. The Tree isn’t in a garden anymore, but a city. It is planted by a river and its leaves are for the healing of the nations. These nations we hope in, these nations who let us down, these nations of ours will be healed.

Our hope lies not within us, nor among us, but beyond us. Our hope is with us, and our hope is for us. He was broken for the world we broke, he died for the people who put him to death, he beat death so that we might join him in life. One day he’s coming back – if we trust him, he’s coming back for us.

This year may not have been a good year, but it will make us look forward to the year that will be good, the year that will be the first year of all the good years to come. The year of healing, the year of restoration, the year of brokenness made new, and hope realised. The year of true life forever.

This post has had some minor edits since I first posted it because my excellent wife fixes my broken grammar.

The Cathedrals

The Cathedrals

Recently my local shopping centre, Eastland, has been making improvements. When we first moved into the area it was in the process of getting demolished. It used to feel like a sad, 90s shopping centre, just ripe for a few factory outlets, closing down sales and small time drug deals. Now it has been rejuvenated. Like a butterfly, it has been destroyed only to be reborn as a magnificent, architectural wonder.

It really is a beautiful shopping centre. When it opened I was all ready to think of it as just another shiny, ho-hum shopping centre, but it isn’t. In a newly built town square the centre has a small, ufo-like entrance, where you enter and ride the escalators down into the earth. But instead of finding yourself in some rabbit warren of shops, you are welcomed into a catacomb-cathedral. Bright shining spaces, high ceilings that beckon you to look up in wonder. You are descending into the earth to purchase your daily needs, and rising into the heavens on Jacob’s escalators to purchase your high-end fashion and goods.

I’ve long held the entirely unoriginal view that shopping malls have replaced churches as the centres of our communities. They are temples to the god of materialism. While they have long been functional places, more and more they are also becoming beautiful places. Only when I entered our newly resurrected, local shopping centre have I felt like the shopping centre has stopped merely functioning as a temple, but has chosen to own it’s place at the centre of our community worship.

This afternoon I took a photo and posted it on Instagram with the accompanying quote by R.C. Sproul: “The use of high ceilings, vaulted space, towers, and spires all served to communicate that in this building, people met with the holy.” Finding the quote and seeing it next to the image drove home for me the audacity of this new building.

In Eastland it’s as if the architects have blatantly appropriated the designs of ancient cathedrals for this new building, it is like they have stopped pretending that they are merely a meeting space, a place of entertainment, a place of commerce, but have almost explicitly stated that this is house of worship. Our eyes are drawn up, so that we might be impressed by the transcendent power of our god, that we might sacrifice our wealth, covet the wonders in the windows, and purchase by purchase inch a little closer to our sanctification.

The shopping centre is even designed with beautifully instagrammable spaces so that others too might see the glory of our god and they too might be drawn to worship.

What challenges me in this is that while we Christians are off worrying about the influence of Islam and homosexuality on our society, a new temple to an old god has been built on every major road and no-one has protested, we just want bigger and better temples. Perhaps the food that is sacrificed to idols is not halal meat that we might feel the need to boycott, but the free samples handed out in the food court. We get concerned about our young people who spend too much time in nightclubs, but perhaps we should be more concerned about all of us who spend too much time at the shops. And even when we’re not physically at the shops, we’re lusting over the products that flood our Instagram and Facebook feeds, and receiving emails in our pockets about the latest sale at JB Hifi or the Iconic.

So do we boycott the shopping centres? Probably not. But we should at least be aware that they are not spiritually neutral places. Our hearts yearn to worship, and materialism is as good a god as any. Some of us can shop at the shopping centre and all it is a place to buy food for the week and clothes to wear – a place where we gratefully receive our daily bread. For some of us they are places to meet friends, enjoy our community, have a drink and hear each other’s stories. But sometimes our shopping centres are darker places, tempting us into dissatisfaction with our lives, offering us a better, false reality. They invite us to hand our money over with the promise that with just the right box-set, outfit, appliance or experience we will be happy. Perhaps for me and for you, we find ourselves sacrificing to a false god before we even asked the question, “which god’s house are we in?” In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul challenges his readers that they can not expect to sacrifice to an idol and then expect to also be welcomed by God to his table. All gods require sacrifice, only one God has made that payment on our behalf. We would do well to remember that the battle for our hearts is less likely to happen in the temple of some foreign god, and much more likely to take place between the carpark, Coles, and H&M.

Psychopath Test

Psychopath Test

No Country for Old Men

So a long time ago I put out a call for people to give me suggestions for things to blog about. I said I’d blog about each and every one of them. I intend to complete the entire list before I die. I’m almost 33 and my life expectancy at birth was 72 years, so I guess by 1983 standards I should aim to have this completed in the next 39 years. That should be enough time.

Anyway, Lesley suggested that I do the psychopath test and blog about the results.

I did the test here. I’m a bit upset that it didn’t ask me if I like to hurt small animals. I don’t but they could have at least asked.

The test was pretty boring. I was hoping for questions like “Have you ever gone on a killing spree while classical music played in the background?”, “Do you like to dress up as your dead mother?” or “Have you ever dated Dexter’s sister?”. But the questions were things like “Do you lie often?”, “Do you feel guilt?”, “Are you a bully?”. It was all pretty run of the mill, if boring questions about if you function as a normal human being are how mills are run.

Anyway the results told me that I got a score of 9. I needed a score of 30 or above to be considered a psychopath, so I think I’m a pretty long way off psychopathy. Doing a bad estimate from a distribution graph on my results page, only about 10% of people a less psychopathic than me, so you should all feel very safe around me. I would make an ideal pet sitter.

Now that that’s done I’ll go back to my calm life of none-psychopathy. Perhaps I’ll do another internet test to find out from which Disney character I was separated at birth. I’ll probably get Sebastian.

This is post is part of the Blogging by Request series. To make your suggestion of what I should blog about, go here.

Those Who Leave

Those Who Leave

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about those who leave the church.

Having been in ministry for almost fifteen years now I’ve had the chance to lead many excellent young people in youth group. I still get to keep up with most of my former young people, many of them on Facebook, and some of them in real life. As far as I can tell they’ve grown up to be excellent adults. So many of them are doing impressive things and being kind, loving people to boot – it’s excellent! In addition to this, through my time in church I’ve made many wonderful friends. People I love and care for, whom I still love and care for, though I may not see them very often.

What saddens me however is that a lot of those who were in the youth ministries I led, people who I was friends with, and people I served alongside have left the church, and many of them appear to have no faith in Jesus. I do not know the state of anyone’s heart, I don’t know what anyone but me really believes, I just know what I am able to see and hear, and the reality of that is that people leave. As much as I’d love everyone who joins the church to stay in the church, as much as I’d like everyone who calls themselves a Christian to keep being a Christian, it just doesn’t turn out that way. Many people don’t stay.

To begin with, some were never going to stay, I knew this while I was with them even if some of them didn’t. With some people it’s obvious, they hang out at church because it’s where they have friends and there’s fun stuff going on. They were never captured by a love for Jesus, they never “got Christianity”, they were just going with the crowd. This isn’t the worst thing in the world. If the church can provide a safe space for young people, even those who aren’t “true believers”, that’s great! The church isn’t just a club for the faithful, so I’m glad to give people a place to be, if only for a time.

Others however were seriously seeking answers and some were, as far as I or they could tell, totally onboard, committed believers in Jesus. Some made a decision to follow Jesus with me right there praying with them. When these people leave, it saddens me the most. Not that they are any more valuable than those who were never going to stick around, but I saw them differently. I saw them as fellow followers, sisters and brothers, friends who beheld the beauty of God’s love and cherished it just as I did. When they go, it hurts. It may not end my relationship with them, but the thing I thought we both held as precious and beautiful, I realise they no longer love. It feels a little more lonely on the narrow path.

People leaving is not surprising. The Bible teaches it will happen, experience says it will happen, but that doesn’t stop it from hurting when it does.

The question for me is why did they leave? I don’t mean the Christians’ theological explanations, but what was going on for the people who left. Some people’s stories I can guess at, some people’s I hear second hand, some people have told me for themselves why they left, and the reasons are diverse.

For some it seems merely to have been an admitting of what they always knew was true. Their family brought them up as Christians, but they never really believed it. They went through the motions, they sang the songs, said the prayers, knew the answers, but it never felt true, they never felt convinced, and so the only honest and logical thing do was to leave. They were never Christians, they were just in the Christian community. Better to live a life that better suits who you are, than live a life that isn’t true.

Others seem to have really wanted to believe. They seriously sought out God, they seriously sought to believe and love what Christianity teaches. Yet no matter how much they sought God, he just never seemed to be there. Sometimes they would feel like they had an encounter with God, but the memory would fade, and the encounter could have very easily been the result of emotions, atmosphere, or a creation of their desires. Some people felt let down by God: he didn’t answer their prayers, he didn’t show himself to them, he didn’t stop the pain they felt, so he was either there and he didn’t care, or he never existed in the first place. And so in the end they face up to the fact that wanting something to be true doesn’t make it true and so they leave.

Others I suspect never made a conscious decision to leave, life just got in the way. Life is busy, church is one more thing in a busy life. Some are probably planning to go back sometime soon, but have yet to get around to it.

Other people leave not so much because of any particular problem with Christianity, but with Christians. They look at the way the Christians have treated them or people they love, their friends or their family and they decide they don’t want a part of it. Perhaps they have been doing something that their Christian friends didn’t approve of: maybe they were dating the wrong person, or getting drunk on the weekends, and instead of getting grace, they got judgement. So they left. If Christians can’t be accepting, if Christians are hypocrites, why be part of Christianity?

Some people I suspect leave for similar reasons, but not because of anything anyone says or does, just because of what they imagine people will say or do. As they started living a life that didn’t fit with Christian standards; dating someone who’s not a Christian, sleeping with their partner, getting drunk, doing drugs, or they found themselves attracted to people of the same-sex; they left the church before the church could kick them out. They pre-empted the rejection and they don’t want to go back because they suspect that all that waits for them is judgement.

Others I suspect were not afraid of what other people thought, they just knew that their choices didn’t fit with Christianity, so they left so as not to be one more hypocrite in the church.

Still others leave for intellectual reasons. Whatever they believed when they were young, as they have gotten older and encountered a wider range of beliefs and opinions, Christianity just doesn’t hold up. How can Christianity be the only true religion? How can we believe in all these miracles? How can God exist when there doesn’t seem to be any supporting evidence? How can God condemn everyone who doesn’t believe in him to hell? Related to these are the questions that come from personal relationships: How can Christianity be right if it means my gay, atheist, Buddhist, kind, loving, agnostic friends and family are going to hell? Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t feel like a valid option when it means concluding that some of the people you love may not be recipients of God’s mercy.

Similar to the above, some people will start dating a person who isn’t a Christian, and while they are committed to it not affecting their faith, often times it does. Not generally because their partner is actively against their faith (though sometimes that happens), but because they realise when they are in this intimate relationship that people who aren’t Christians aren’t boogiemen (or boogiewomen). They’ve been told in the church not to date someone who isn’t a Christian, so when they do it they realise it’s not the disaster everyone made it out to be. They discover their non-Christian partner isn’t out to destroy their faith, they are just a good person doing their best to be a good person. So they ask “If I love this person, how can God reject them? I don’t want to believe in a God like that.” Sometimes it’s not as clear as that, sometimes it’s just that the life they are becoming part of with their partner makes holding on to their faith harder. They aren’t actively supported in their church life, their partner isn’t actively supporting their sexual choices, their partner isn’t actively encouraging their faith, and the path of least resistance is to slowly leave their faith behind, till however they view their religious identity, the life they are living looks nothing like the life they once led when they actively pursued their faith.

I could go on I guess. The reasons that people leave the faith are more varied than I could fit into a blog post and than I could even begin to guess at. People leave, I don’t always know why they go.

Sometimes I think about those people who have left, and I wonder what I would say to them if I could really tell them what I think. When I meet them often we talk in passing, or we’re catching up, we’re being polite. I wish we could talk about it, but it rarely seems right, and it seems like it could get real awkward. But if I could say anything, what would I say? I guess I would say something like this:

I love you. I miss you. I liked being your brother. I still want to be your friend. Or perhaps if we were never really friends, could we still be friendly acquaintances?

I don’t feel betrayed by you or angry at you, nor do I judge you.

If you left because of conscience or belief, I appreciate your bravery. Leaving the safety of a community where you fit in, where you knew the norms, where your friends and family were, because you wanted to live a life of integrity must have been frightening and hard. I hope that in my own convictions I might be able have the bravery you have.

If you left because you didn’t like what Christians do, you were appalled by the way the church treats people, or you were opposed to the positions Christians have taken on important things, please don’t reject Jesus because of something less than what is central to Christianity, the saving death and resurrection of Jesus. There are many things, big and significant things, that are up for discussion, don’t let them force you away from Jesus.

If you never intended to leave but you have found yourself a long way off, seemingly too far to come back, know that you’re never too far gone. Don’t let unintentional drift define your faith.

For whatever reason you left, I haven’t given up on you. You’re just as important and valuable now as you were when you identified as a Christian. I don’t know how to show you this without it seeming weird, but I would do the same for you now as I would have when you were following Jesus. There’s always room at my table for you.

I’m sad that you left because what’s most valuable to me, is not valuable to you anymore. You are not responsible for my feelings, and I may not even be right in my beliefs, but my feelings are what they are, and I liked having you on the team.

Much more important than any of my feelings is that God hasn’t given up on you. If he’s real, and I’m sure he is, he’s not fuming that you left. I’m guessing you remember the story: he’s watching the road in the hopes you’ll come home again. He will run to meet you, he will welcome you back as his precious child. He will have a great party at your return.

I don’t know, but my guess is there are times you miss him, you may speak to him sometimes, you may somewhere be holding onto a belief in his existence, hoping against hope that he’s real and he loves you. If I know nothing else, I know this. He’s real and he loves you. He will always have you back. With all your doubts, all your questions, all your baggage, all your sin and all your pain, he will always have you back. You have unlimited forgiveness, unlimited acceptance, unlimited grace available for you. God likes you. God loves you. There’s always room at his table for you.

Finally, seek the truth. If Jesus didn’t die and rise again, this whole Christianity thing is a waste of time, and this love I’ve been writing about is a lie. Don’t believe in anything because it sounds good, or feels comfortable. Always seek the truth. If you left because because you were pursuing truth, always be willing to come back for the same reason. It’s all I can ask.

Let’s keep being friends. Or if we were never that, maybe at least we can be friendly acquaintances.

There’s a chance, if you read this, you are someone I know who was once a Christian. Or maybe I’ve never met you, but you too are someone who left. I’d love to hear from you. Email me, or Facebook me, or SMS me, you can even write me a letter. If you don’t have a way of contacting me, comment below. Tell me your story, tell me why you left, tell me how you’re going now, I’m still interested in you. I mean what I said. Let’s be friends, or friendly acquaintances at the least.

The Force Awakens a New Hope

The Force Awakens a New Hope

The Force Awakens

Warning spoilers below. I mean it. I tell you the whole plot of two Star Wars films.

I saw The Force Awakens at the midnight screening on Thursday morning with some friends from church. I went dressed as Princess Leia, Em went as Han Solo. It was one of the most enjoyable movie watching experiences of my life.

I remember watching the prequels, so excited to see Star Wars at the movies, and finding them so unsatisfying. I went to the midnight screenings for two out of the three, the lining up, the people cosplaying, that was a whole lot more fun than the movies. (This is my blog post from the opening night of Episode III. Judging by my review, I liked the film, which I guess is a result of my disappointment with the first two prequels.) This time though, the movie was the best bit of night, and not because I didn’t enjoy the night, but the film, it was glorious.

It looked beautiful. The characters were interesting and fun. The action was exciting. The plot was easy to follow (I still don’t quite know what happened in the prequels). I have seen quite a few people saying The Force Awakens is the greatest sci-fi movie of all time. They could be right, it is definitely the best Star Wars film of the franchise. It’s a shame that the further you get George Lucas from Star Wars, the better it gets.

Here’s the thing though, I couldn’t help feeling like The Force Awakens was paying for George Lucas’ mistakes. The plot was far from ambitious. In fact, of all the films it is the least ambitious film in the series. Watching the film it seemed to be Disney and JJ Abrams sending a message to fans saying “You can trust us.”

I was excited in The Force Awakens to see a new Star Wars story, the continuing of the saga, but the film is basically a remake/reboot of A New Hope.

Consider the plot:

A droid with secret information necessary for the rebels to the defeat the evil Empire is discovered on a sandy planet by a force sensitive teenager. The teenager is the mentored, and helped to discover their true potential, by an older man who has seen things in the past that are just myths and legends to the young, force sensitive teenager. Together they work to get the droid back to the rebel base going via a bar full of aliens some of which play groovy music, while avoiding capture by a black masked villain, powerful in the dark side. This villain is in control of a giant weapon with the ability to blow up whole planets. The force sensitive teenager sees their mentor killed by the black masked villain, but goes on to use the force to defeat the villain. The rebels blow up the giant space weapon. The force sensitive teenager is ready to be trained in the ways of the force by a powerful jedi in the next film.

That is the plot of both A New Hope and The Force Awakens.

I loved The Force Awakens. I think they make A New Hope better than A New Hope. It was a great film. But if there is anything I was disappointed about is that didn’t really see a new Star Wars story, I saw an old one, retold. In the prequels Lucas was clearly telling the first third of a giant 9-part story. Whatever they were, they certainly were nothing like the original trilogy. I suspect that Disney and JJ Abrams basically remade A New Hope because they needed all the Star Wars fans to feel safe. I think they made entirely the right choice. Had they tried anything else, any story which strayed too far from familiar, original trilogy territory, even if they did it really well, would have resulted in millions of angry, let down fans. No-one wanted to see another prequels disaster, The Force Awakens is the very opposite of that.

It’s sad that George’s mistakes forced Disney to deliberately avoid breaking new ground.

But where to now? I hope that Episodes 8 and 9 are brand new films. I don’t want to see The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi again. I’m super excited to see Rey become the greatest Jedi who ever lived, able to defeat Snoke. I’m excited to see Poe Dameron continue being the greatest X-Wing pilot in the universe. I can’t wait to see Finn, become a kick-ass rebel soldier. I want to see General Leia commanding armies and fighter squadrons, not just blowing up another Death Star. I want to see Captain Phasma escape the garbage compactor and beat up Finn for his insolence. I don’t really know where I want the story to go, I just want it to go to new and marvellous places. Now that we trust Disney, I hope they do something as ambitious as the prequels, but with the success of The Force Awakens. If they can do that then Star Wars will have come as close to perfection as cinema can.

Was Jesus a Rubbish Carpenter?

Was Jesus a Rubbish Carpenter?

Jesus Carpenter

So here’s a question that’s been floating around my head for a while, “What kind of a carpenter was Jesus? Could he have been terrible?”

I know we often think of Jesus as being excellent, and he is. He was sinless, he was a great teacher, he did awesome miracles, he died for the sins of the world, he rose to eternal life, he is God! He’s pretty amazing! But none of these things mean that he is necessarily going to be an excellent carpenter. It’s not sinful to be terrible at carpentry, at least I hope it’s not. Considering my woodwork in high school, I would have a lot of repenting to do if being able to cut wood in a straight line is a matter of morality.

It’s also not sinful to be bad at your job. It is wrong to be lazy, it’s wrong to not do your best, but what if Jesus’ best carpentry wasn’t very good? Jesus’ dad was a carpenter, so Jesus followed him into the family trade, but just because your Dad can do something well doesn’t mean you can. I’m pretty sure my Dad was a quality engineer before he retired to take up pushing grandchildren around his yard in a wheelbarrow full time. And while I fancy myself as pretty handy with a wheelbarrow containing a small child, I suspect, even with a university degree or two, I couldn’t engineer a bridge to save my life, or the lives of anyone who happened to use that bridge, for that matter.

What if Joseph taught Jesus how to do carpentry but Jesus just didn’t get it? What if all his tables were wobbly? What if God’s way of letting him know that he may infact be the messiah was partly through his total inability to put up a level shelf? I don’t know quite how you figure out it’s your job to die for the sins the world, but if Jesus was a winner carpenter he may have missed God’s call. He may have looked at his amazing outdoor furniture set that he built for the Levi the Milkman to put on his rooftop patio and think “This is my calling! The world needs my carpentry!” and then we all would have missed out on his imputed righteousness! So God gave Jesus the hammer and chisel skills of a drunk in a snowstorm (I’m guessing drunks in snowstorms are not very good with a hammer and chisel) so that Jesus might be encouraged to pursue other lines of work. Perhaps when Jesus gave Mary one more ugly piece of furniture for her birthday, like he did every year, Mary said “Have you ever thought about something other than carpentry Jesus? Maybe you might consider fulfilling a few prophecies for my birthday next year?” Perhaps when Jesus started preaching all the people in Nazareth breathed a sigh of relief that Jesus wouldn’t be the one building their constantly breaking dining sets anymore.

Now all this is obviously speculation. Jesus may have been an excellent carpenter. After all he was God, if Thor has taught us anything it’s that gods know how to use a hammer. But here’s my question, if Jesus’ divine nature was expressed in his carpentry skills, where is the stuff he built? Surely it would have been built to last. And surely when he reached fame in his early-30s some of the people who he built stuff for would have put that divinely made chest of drawers aside and said “Jesus Christ built this, it might be worth something one day.” And then it would be passed down from generation to generation and everyone would marvel that it is the best tall boy in the history of the world. But there is none of Jesus’ furniture, at least not that I know of, and I have done zero research into this, so I would know. No, what I think happened, is Jesus became a big shot travelling preacher and all his customers thought “Great, he’s found something else to do with himself, I can get all this terrible stuff replaced and Jesus won’t notice.” I suspect that’s where the well know phrase came from – “Looks like it was built by a preacher.” They all threw out their rubbish carpentry and got someone who had skills to build them new stuff, while Jesus went on to save the world. Everyone won.

Jesus may have been an excellent carpenter, or he may not have. But that isn’t the point is it? He was a tradesman, good or not, God did a trade for most of his earthly life. And then he was preacher, and then he was a saviour. And he’s an excellent saviour, the best saviour, the only true saviour, so it’s not a big deal if his woodwork fell apart. He keeps the world together.

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