U2 Live at Croke Park July 24, 2009




Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock has always resonated with me theologically. “We’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden” was her hippy dream at a time when she admitted having a born again Christian experience and believed songwriters were the new prophets from God. Yes. We do need to get back to where it was once good, before it all got tainted by Adam and Eve’s fall.

I spoke about this during a lecture last year and afterwards Desi Alexander (curator of the said lecture) spoke to me of the idea that we shouldn’t be going back to the Garden but heading forward to the New Jerusalem. The theory is that the project God set up in the first chapters of Genesis are fulfilled in spite of the fall in the last chapters of Revelation. The New Jerusalem is what God intended all along, what he set humans in Eden to cultivate as he asks them to do.  Interesting I thought, and then Desi gave me his book From Eden To The New Jerusalem (under the name T Desmond Alexander for Amazon searching) and I got to look closer at his thoughts.

I found the book an excellent read. As someone who always needs to know more about The Old Testament there were insights a plenty. Indeed, when brings Christ into the meta-story he even shows his New Testament prowess which might be just a little bit of showing off. I always wish experts would confine themselves to one thing! Desi brings his academia down to a very easy read, well laid out arguments and no unnecessary theological jargon to look good at the Conferences! He delivers a lot of knowledge in very little reading time. Particularly interesting is the dwelling places of God from Eden to The Tabernacle, to the Temple to The Church to ultimately the great hoped for Garden City. Humans redeemed and restored to royal priesthood in that process is fascinating and inspirational.

My only fault would be in some ways a positive. Too rarely does Desi go for modern application. When he does as in his critique of consumerism late in the book, the downsides of capitalism are exposed with plain-speak and challenge. More of the preaching Desi; it cut through!

Christians, for too long, have been caught up in the minutiae and failed to grasp the panoramic perspective of God’s big picture. My students as they graduate wrestle with which job, which Church and which spouse. If they could see the project that as believers they are invited, no commanded to be involved in, the Eden-New Jerusalem blue print would give them the framework to make all those decisions not for momentary selfish Babylonian reasons but for the good of the eternal Kingdom. Guess which book will be found influencing my teaching in the first term of the next academic year.



I'll add this one to my list of books that I need to read. Perhaps I'll get to it by the end of summer.

Andy Scott

Thanks Stocki! You've put me onto a good sounding book and I hope to read it in due course. Also enjoyed your reflections on the U2 concert though I was in two minds whether to read it or not because I'm due to see them in Sheffield in three weeks' time!
Incidentally, I read your 'Walk On' book a few years back which, amongst other things, really fuelled my interest in U2's spiritual lyrics.

Del Richard

Thats the big thing that so few people, even regular church goers seem to ever grasp. The fact that the old testament & the new testament are ONE BOOK about Jesus Christ. The people who fail to see Jesus Christ in the OT will never be able grasp what is going on in the New Testament.

We need teachers like Desi Alexander to help us understand these things. That's what the wjhole story in Acts Chapter 8, where the ethiopian guy was riding in a chariot and Philip came along and explained what he was reading to him , which just happened to be Isaiah 53, a chapter in the old testament that speaks clearly about Jesus Christ in the future (at the time Isaiah was written). The ethiopian never could have realized it was speaking about Jesus had Philip not come along and helped him. and that is speaking to us today - we need good honest mentors like Desi to help us comprehend the enormity of the all scriptures in the OT, which all point to Jesus Christ.

Even Jesus Himself said this many times in his speeches all througfjhout the gospels, yet rarely does anyone, even today, grasp this. Look at Luke 24:13 where Jesus comes along side those two guys and explains the Old Testament to them and how it all spoke of Him.
I also think the theologians need to take a course in changing their big words into everyday language so people can learn from them better.

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