Picture of a caravan of camels silhouetted against a desert sky. Title text: The Three Wise Wives. Other text: Matthew on money: the visit of the magi; a short drama, Matthew 2

The Three Wise Wives (a short drama based on Matthew 2)

Happy First Sunday of Advent! 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve really enjoyed writing short sketches about money, but I wasn’t sure about writing scathing satires during the festive season.

We’ll see what inspires me next week, but today, I’ve explored the story of the visit of the magi. There’s actually a lot that can be said about money from this chapter of Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 2). 

Continue reading The Three Wise Wives (a short drama based on Matthew 2)
Picture from above of medical equipment used by people with type 1 diabetes. Title text: "Offering and greed: the apocalypse of price gouging". Side text: Matthew on money: The cleansing of the temple. A satire. Matthew 21:12-13. Faith in Grey Places.

Offering and Greed: The Apocalypse of Price Gouging (a satire based on Matthew 21:12–13)

Today, I wanted to write about price gouging – a practice of exploitation through unnecessarily high prices. I noticed some similarities between the story of insulin (how it was discovered and how it is now priced in the US) and the story of Jesus cleansing the temple. 

The sketch is 1,000 words long, but it’s also light-hearted for a satire and has a refreshing declaration of Jesus’s ministry. 

Continue reading Offering and Greed: The Apocalypse of Price Gouging (a satire based on Matthew 21:12–13)
Picture of pots of seeds sprouting with text on the left: "Wealth managers outraged by 'deceitful' slur". Matthew on money: the parable of the sower. A satire based on Matthew 13:1–23. Faith in Grey Places

Wealth managers outraged by “deceitful” slur (a satire based on the parable of the sower)

As I was finishing the last series for Faith in Grey Places, I began to think the next one would look at Matthew’s gospel in some way. Then as the news-feed scrolled on I thought maybe this was a time to write about money. 

According to The Infographic Bible by Karen Sawrey, money is the fourth most-frequently preached on topic of Jesus’ teaching [p148-151]. The top three being the kingdom of God, the Father, and faith. 

Continue reading Wealth managers outraged by “deceitful” slur (a satire based on the parable of the sower)
Small ceramic goblet filled with wine on a wooden platform. Text over the top: The God who saves (a poem). Faith in Grey Places

The God who saves (a poem)

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m writing 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs.

The verb ישׁע / yasha is indirectly familiar to many Christians because it’s the root of names like Joshua and Jesus, both of which mean ‘the LORD saves.’ (Hence Gabriel’s instruction to Joseph: “you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 NIV)

There are some interesting things I learned here. 

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Heavenly picture of the bright morning sun over the sea with pale blue skies and wispy white clouds, and birds flying overhead. Text over the top: The God who sits (a poem). Faith in Grey Places

The God who sits (a poem)

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m writing 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs.

A few weeks ago, I sat down to map out which Hebrew verbs I would write poems on for the remaining weeks of this 12-part series. They had to be words I’d learned over the last year and, obviously, not the same as the verbs I’d already covered. So far, we’ve had poems on stand, provide, shine, build, give voice, create, cease [rest] and form; the remaining weeks were to be: sit, dwell, appoint, reign. 

There was, however, a slight flaw in this plan. 

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Close up of a person's fingers holding a lump of clay about to shape it. Text over the top: The God who forms (a poem). Faith in Grey Places

The God who forms (a poem)

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m writing 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs.

Yes, it’s Monday. It’s also a bank holiday here in the UK and so I decided not to pressure myself into sending out something yesterday. 

But if I’m honest, the real reason is that this poem was really hard to write. It’s based on the verb יצר / yatsar, which means to “form” or to “shape.” In many ways it’s a concrete version of the verb ברא / bara which means to “create” and which I wrote a poem about a few weeks ago (available here). 

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A black bird perches in a ruined stone window opening as the morning light falls on the stones; in the distance mist covers the hills. Words over the top "The God who ceases (a poem)" Faith in Grey Places

The God who ceases (a poem)

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m writing 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs.

I was feeling particularly groggy this weekend (hence this post is late), so I thought I’d look at the verb to rest. It’s an easy one, being שׁבת / shavat, andsharing the same root as the word ‘Sabbath’.

Continue reading The God who ceases (a poem)
Picture of night sky with purple tint, showing stars and galaxies. Words over the top: The God who creates (a poem). Faith in Grey Places.

The God who creates (a poem)

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m writing 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs.

Today the verb I’m looking at is ברא / bara. It means to create, but unlike other Hebrew words for forming, making or doing, bara is a theological term. The subject is invariably God. 

That is, only God creates. 

Continue reading The God who creates (a poem)
Large criss-crossing wooden beams lit up by sunlight. Text over the top: The God who builds. Faith in Grey Places

The God who builds (a poem)

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m writing 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs.

This week I’ve chosen to write on the Hebrew verb בּנה / banah (the ‘a’ vowels are both long). I became curious about this verb because it reminds me of the Hebrew word for son: בֵּן / bein. It was almost as if there was an association between building up one’s house and having sons. 

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Low sunlight in the background lighting up a flower in the foreground. Text over the top: The God who shines (a poem)

The God who shines (a poem)

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m writing 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs.

Today the verb I’m looking at is אוֹר / or (it’s pronounced just like the English words “or” and “awe”). Depending on the stem, it can mean to be/become light/bright, to be illumined, or to give light.

I first came across this word when I heard a song in Hebrew based on Isaiah 60: arise, shine, your light has come. I learned the words, “Kumi, ori” and I couldn’t help but think of the word ‘orient’ and the sun rising in the East. Ironically, the Latin root of the English word, oriri, isn’t to do with shining but rather rising. (And if you’re joining the dots: yes, kumi is the same word Jesus uses when he raises Jairus’ daughter).

Continue reading The God who shines (a poem)
Close up of lots of grain spilling into a basket. Words: the God who provides. Faith in Grey Places

The God who provides (a poem)

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m writing 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs.

One of the texts my class looked at as part of our Hebrew module last month was 1 Kings 17. It’s the story of Elijah pronouncing a time of drought over Israel and then fleeing from King Ahab (and his wife Jezebel). In short, it’s a time of political turmoil; Ahab has been thoroughly corrupt, encouraged the worship of Baal and persecuted the prophets of God. And after delivering the bad news about the drought, Elijah flees.

When I was translating this passage, I came across this word: לְכַלְכֶּלְךָ / l’chalkelcha. Or LKLKLK. In Hebrew, the letters L and K can denote two very common prepositions – and indeed the first L is a preposition. I also knew that the last K was a second person singular suffix – in other words, “you” was the object of the verb. But I could not for the life of me figure out what this word was.

Continue reading The God who provides (a poem)
A woman's bare feet standing on bronze coloured sand with words over the top: "The God who stands (a poem)" Faith in Grey Places

The God who stands (a poem)

I’m back from my break and starting a new series!

Partly inspired by my Hebrew studies, I’m going to write 12 poems inspired by 12 Hebrew verbs. 

The first one I’m looking at is עמד a.mad (all the ‘a’ vowels are long). It means ‘to stand’ but can also mean ‘to endure’ and has strong connotations with service and ministry. Essentially, ‘to stand before’ or ‘to stand in the presence of’ was an idiom meaning ‘to serve.’

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Scene 6: Samuel talks with Jesus. Living with conflict theatre series. Faith in Grey Places.

Living with conflict: A duologue between Samuel and Jesus

For lent and Easter 2022, I’m writing six duologues between Samuel and other people in the Bible, all on the theme of living with conflict. The prophet Samuel, now deceased, converses with a series of guests in paradise, reflecting on their past experiences and what it was to live with conflict. All posts in the series are listed here.

In this, the sixth and final scene, he finds himself standing with Jesus outside the Philistine city of Beth-Shan, after Saul and his sons were defeated in battle. They talk about Saul’s life, the silence of death and the dead. 

Continue reading Living with conflict: A duologue between Samuel and Jesus

Living with conflict: A duologue between Samuel and Jonathan

For lent and Easter 2022, I’m writing six duologues between Samuel and other people in the Bible, all on the theme of living with conflict. The prophet Samuel, now deceased, converses with a series of guests in paradise, reflecting on their past experiences and what it was to live with conflict. All posts in the series are listed here.

In this, the fifth scene, he meets Jonathan amongst a colonnade of marble pillars. Jonathan shares how Michelangelo’s David prompted him explore stories from other traditions and see echoes of his life in them.

Continue reading Living with conflict: A duologue between Samuel and Jonathan
Text on dark blue background: Scene 4: Samuel talks with Peter's wife. Living with conflict theatre series. Faith in Grey Places.

Living with conflict: A duologue between Samuel and Peter’s wife

For lent and Easter 2022, I’m writing six duologues between Samuel and other people in the Bible, all on the theme of living with conflict. The prophet Samuel, now deceased, converses with a series of guests in paradise, reflecting on their past experiences and what it was to live with conflict. All posts in the series are listed here.

In this, the fourth scene, he meets Peter’s wife, Abigail, inside a heavenly version of St Peter’s Basilica. They discuss the hazards of fame and the role of art in helping people approach God.

I thought this duologue would be with Paul. Last week I realised Peter was a better candidate. Then this week, I saw a chance to introduce another female voice by bringing Samuel to meet with Peter’s wife instead. 

Continue reading Living with conflict: A duologue between Samuel and Peter’s wife