1010 10

We could try to raise our children in the light of the Lord

But that would be unkind

We could let them live with the boredom

But that would be unkind


These lines jumped out at me as I gave my first listen to Arborist’s stunning third album An Endless Sequence of Dead Zeros. This was my faith being the butt end of some humour. This was what I live for dissed. 

Arborist doesn’t believe John 10 verse 10. Actually I am not sure that Arborist can have engaged with “the light of the Lord” in anywhere near the same context as the Gospel writer John’s poetry. 

10:10 is my birthday. So, I love the fact that what I think is a core verse about faith and humanity’s connection with God is John 10:10 - The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

I reckon Arborist haven’t considered that possibility. I reckon their contact with religion, church and God was about rules, what you can’t do, dull hours in dank churches, archaic liturgies, hypocritical judgement, and a final damnation to hell for going to the pub at the weekend.

I know too many people who have only known that option, that angle. I empathise. I say sorry. It was almost mine too. I have given my life to the church but it has a lot to answer for..

I believe the opposite. Indeed, I have experienced the opposite. Since sensing that invitation to life in all its fulness as a 17 year old my life has pretty much been boredom free “living in the light of the Lord”. 

Since I reached 60 I have been looking back. I’ve been interrogating my life, the decisions I have made, asking the what ifs? Was my life worthwhile? What did I achieve? Was it boring?

I look back through my mad life and cannot fathom one that has been more crammed, adventurous, exciting and satisfying than the one I have had… and am still having.

John 10 verse 11 is a good one too.

“I am the Good Shepherd and I lay down my life for the sheep”

When Jesus, that shepherd, was laying down his life for the sheep he was not sniggering and thinking I will lay down my life so that many will be fooled into the most boring life possible… now THAT would have been UNKIND. 

No, Jesus kindness in paradigm and was sacrificing his life to set us free. To give us this opportunity to daringly dive into the vastness of the creator and sustainer of the Universe. 

I remember a night - May 19, 1979. I was on a minibus returning from a Youth Club night out to the coast. I was looking out at the stars… 

I had been wrestling with the existence of God for some weeks and my soul continued the wrestling. In my 17 year old life I wanted life beyond the boredom of a small town and weekends in the pub. I wanted more than just going through the motions. 

If God exists I thought I can go reach for those stars. More than that it seemed to me that God had been with everyone one of those stars reaching out to me.

I said yes to living in the light of God, to an adventure into exploring the Cosmic making God to seek to know as much as my finite mind, heart and soul can.

With the very idea that that God could live inside of me I started living the pilgrimage into finding out about myself, meeting others, others I wouldn’t have met, and attempting to put God’s will on earth as heaven. That’s a challenge and a very exciting one. Watching people’s lives changing. Witnessing the circumstances of the world changing.

My friend David Dark writes says in the early pages of Life’s Too Short To Say You’re Not Religious:

Religion is the moral memory of humankind. It is the lexicon of mystery, dressing the wounds of alienation, isolation, oppression, desertion, haste and hierarchy. A form of love and longing. Religion names this beautiful thing. 

It is not at all UNKIND.