The tale of Uriah Tweep

You remember the story- I’m sure? You’ll remember King David – the villain of the piece. You’ll remember Bathsheba – a victim of the king. You’ll remember her husband, too – poor loyal Uriah. Do you remember Joab, though? Joab was the commander of King David’s army – and charged with the unpleasant task of clearing up David’s mess. In order to keep his hands clean, he was to send Uriah to the thickest part of the battle, and then withdraw all the support troops from around him – so that he could die by the hands of the enemy. In this way, Uriah was gone, and David’s problem was no more.

At different times during my life I have felt as if I am wearing Joab’s clothing. On those occasions when I have commissioned personnel for mission service overseas and promised to pray for them, I occasionally slip into Joab-mode as the months roll by. In other words, I have willingly sent them into battle, but allowed myself to get distracted by other things – and I leave them to fight on alone without the support of concerted prayer.

Later today I shall meet with a group of energetic, creative, motivated people who are serving the Church of Jesus Christ in digital space. They are visiting places and contacting people across the virtual map who are far from any church. They are intersecting with culture in myriad ways which have not hitherto been possible. This is cause for celebration.

My question, however, is whether they occasionally turn into Uriah and the rest of the church occasionally slips into Joab’s role? Do we dispatch them into these digital spaces and then simply leave them to get on with it? Any missionary who was contacting over 1000 people in a week would probably feature in some sort of church prayer letter – but do these ‘digital disciples’ get that kind of support?

Of course, the people reading this are probably the wrong ones to ask. The chances are that if you are on this page then you also share some degree of conviction about the value of an online Christian presence. Could you spread it further, though? Could you get this article, or a version of it, into some printed medium in your church?

Could we do something to gather the troops around all those Uriah Tweeps out there, I wonder?

Hat tip to Richard Littledale

Where Have You Experienced Awe?

I think, if asked I would be able to sum our our recent trip to Italy nice and easily:

Pizza, wine, and (free to enter) churches.

The Pizza was almost always beautiful. In Italy if you want beautiful pizza, just go anywhere thats half decent… its amazing how little you need to pay for decent red wine… and those churches… I cant think of one Church that we wondered in that didn’t slow down the soul, and made the heart go wow.

There was this one Church near where we were staying in Venice (which didn’t make it into The Lonely Planet), which just seemed to blow me away with it grand architecture. walking

around there, I found myself pondering the love and motivation of the people that built the place. There was a definite feeling  that hit as you walked in. Was I walking onto Holy Ground?

Richard Littledale has started collecting a map of locations around the world showing where people have experienced awe. Give his blog a read to find the story behind the map, or indeed click on the map and add your own “awe location”.