Saturday, April 21, 2012

Marking a pile of biblical studies essays

At the beginning it feels like this:
You might read something that makes you do this:
By the 15th script you start daydreaming about things like this:
And this:
And when it is all over, you do this:

This one makes me laugh every single time I watch it!

Sunday, April 08, 2012


Sitting on a balcony at the mo overlooking the Swabian Alps, having enjoyed delicious Schnitzel last night, and too much gorgeous German cake this afternoon. I sure needed this break, especially as the last few weeks have been pretty busy. I miss Tübingen! But I do get to do what I love in London, so you won't hear much complaining from me!

On Good Friday I co-lead the HTB meditations with two of my St Mellitus colleagues. I spoke on Romans 5:1-11 and Matthew 27:27-50.

On the basis of the Irenaean principle ("No one can know God unless God himself is the teacher"), we see that in the Romans 5 texts:
God makes himself known in Christ and by the Spirit as one utterly and unconditionally committed to us in love. And because this is so we can have confidence, through trials, that God is entirely for us.
The "existential" point of my sermon on Matthew 27, was that the cry of dereliction sanctifies the parts of our human existence that seem absent of the presence and blessing of God, it hallows and respects our hardest and most painful questions, doubts and struggles. As we are called up into Christ and his death, our laments are not superseded, or judged unholy, they are rather sanctified and included as part of an authentic spiritual life. As much as our praise, our ‘Why God?’ questions are holy.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

The awkward moment when you realise

…that signed copies of books by the likes of Tom Wright, or John Webster, or Bruce McCormack, or John Barclay, etc. will probably sell for more.
But if I signed my book, the value would be reduced for being defaced! (“Slightly used”, “Some markings”)

Publishing my PhD

My work on Paul will be published soon: Paul’s Divine Christology (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012). Can’t wait to hold it in my hand. Not sure how others felt about their first book, but proofreading the whole thing the last few days led to some mixed feelings. I still completely stand behind my argument, and for some of it I thought “Yea, I darn like this stuff! Downright interesting, actually!” But for other parts, I did question: “Oops, can I really say it like that?”, “Yikes, what will the critics say about this section?!” etc. I am sure we are all our own worst critics (especially when one, like me, has a slightly unhealthy perfectionist streak). I stand in awe of those who seem to pump out enduring gold from word go, e.g. Richard Hays (The Faith of Jesus Christ), Bruce McCromack (Karl Barth's Critically. Realistic Dialectical Theology) etc.

Something my dad sent through

Apparently, this is a real reply from the UK Inland Revenue. The Guardian newspaper had to ask for special permission to print it.  The funniest part of this is imagining the content of the letter sent to the Tax Office which prompted this reply!

Dear Mr Addison,

I am writing to you to express our thanks for your more than prompt reply to our latest communication, and also to answer some of the points you raise.   I will address them, as ever, in order.

Firstly, I must take issue with your description of our last as a "begging letter".    It might perhaps more properly be referred to as a "tax demand".    This is how we at the Inland Revenue have always,  for reasons of accuracy,  traditionally referred to such documents.

Secondly, your frustration at our adding to the "endless stream of crapulent whining and panhandling vomited daily through the letterbox on to the doormat" has been noted.    However, whilst I have naturally not seen the other letters to which you refer I would cautiously suggest that their being from "pauper councils, Lombardy pirate banking houses and pissant gas-mongerers"  might indicate that your decision to  "file them next to the toilet in case of emergencies"  is at best a little ill-advised.    In common with my own organisation,  it is unlikely that the senders of these letters do see you as a "lackwit bumpkin" or, come to that, a "sodding charity".    More likely they see you as a citizen of Great Britain , with a responsibility to contribute to the upkeep of the nation as a whole.

Which brings me to my next point.   Whilst there may be some spirit of truth in your assertion that the taxes you pay  "go to shore up the canker-blighted, toppling folly that is the Public Services",  a moment's rudimentary calculation ought to disabuse you of the notion that the government in any way expects you to "stump up for the whole damned party"  yourself.    The estimates you provide for the Chancellor's disbursement of the funds levied by taxation,  whilst colourful,  are,  in fairness,  a little off the mark.     Less than you seem to imagine is spent on "junkets for Bunterish lickspittles"  and  "dancing whores"  whilst far more than you have accounted for is allocated to,  for example,  "that box-ticking facade of a university system."

A couple of technical points arising from direct queries:

1. The reason we don't simply write  "Muggins" on the envelope has to do with the vagaries of the postal system;

2. You can rest assured that  "sucking the very marrow of those with nothing else to give"  has never been considered as a practice because even if the Personal Allowance didn't render it irrelevant,  the sheer medical logistics involved would make it financially unviable.

I trust this has helped.   In the meantime,  whilst I would not in any way wish to influence your decision one way or the other,  I ought to point out that even if you did choose to  "give the whole foul jamboree up and go and live in India "  you would still owe us the money.

Please send it to us by Friday.

Yours sincerely,

H J Lee

Customer Relations

Inland Revenue