Imprisoned spirit(s), an embarrassing leak, and unpredictable readers

Imprisoned spirits: As we remember Jesus’ body in the tomb, let’s pause to think also of sisters and brothers of the persecuted church, some literally imprisoned, others bound by acts of persecution. Morning Star News reported as Easter began that “Local officials sealed shut a church building in West Java Province, Indonesia on Saturday (April 1), two weeks after Muslims intruded into a worship service and demanded its closure, church leaders said.

“The congregation of the Simalungun Christian Protestant Church (Gereja Kristen Protestan Simalungun, or GKPS) in Cigelam, Babakancikao, Purwakerta, about 60 miles southeast of Jakarta, had refused to bow to demands to stop worship during the March 19 confrontation.

“Purwakerta Regent Anne Ratna Mustika sealed the church building along with the local leader of the Indonesia Ulema Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia, or MUI), the heads of the local police and the military, the local religion department chief and the chairman of the area National and Political Unity, according to video footage.”

It is just ONE close-to-home example of what happens in far too many nations. So today is a good day to remember to pray for God’s little ones.


Journo’s dream: the sort of scoop that comes when a photo accidentally reveals secrets – usually when a politician is photographed at their desk – has built many a byline’s reputation. And like most journos, Obadiah can read upside down and back to front.

A new version of that journalistic cliché surfaced when a bishop in the church of England tweeted a happy snap during one of their meetings. In the front is a picture of Eeva John, who has been working on the “Living in Live and Faith” process, which has led to proposed prayers to bless same-sex marriages. Behind her is a series of notes about what the bishops have been discussing at a secret meeting.

Those notes that can be read (according to journalist George Conger who took the time to read them) state that the issues facing the church are

“Loss of vocations, missional energy, and unity.

“Schism, confusion.

“Not just the fracture of the CofE but its complete disintegration.

“Strained and broken relationships in families, churches, dioceses, and the global Church.

“In Sheffield, splitting the diocese.

“Division within (if we proceed), ridicule without (if we step back).

“Unintended consequences of (xxx) decisions.

“That ‘cancel culture’ will prove more dominant than grace-filled love and acceptance.

“Forgetting its breadth.


Embarrassing. Journalism 1, Bishops 0.


Oh, so wrong: Here is a meme from a big FB group of Episcopalians – the liberal-ish official Anglican Church in the US. And Obadiah notes the meme reflects a lack of belief that is really sad.


But Obadiah got a pleasant surprise. He was expecting approval of the meme from the Episcopalian’s Facebook group, But no! There were a LOT of protestors who insisted that Jesus DID rise from the dead bodily and that going to heaven is something we should all want. That surprised and pleased Obadiah. True faith lives on in the pews of churches whose leaders may have shifted from orthodox faith.

The second bit of the meme is back to front. Jesus does not live on because of what we do. We live because he lives in us.

As for whether we can “be the resurrection”, there was confusion. What they needed to hear ( but probably had not at church) was that Jesus’ resurrection means that we are justified and we have new lives through the Spirit. So not “we are the resurrection”, but our resurrection is sure because of Jesus’ resurrection unless we meet him in the air.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor 15:21–22).


Quote of the week: An observation that the cultural emperors of our age have no clothes.

“In retrospect, much of the grand theory of the last three decades now looks like the last gasp of an Enlightenment tradition of rois philosophes persuaded that the realm of speculative thought would absolve them of the shameful ordinariness of a messy, mundane, err-prone existence. Contemporary critics pride themselves on their power to disenchant.”  Rita Felski, author of “The Uses of Literature”, quoted in a New Yorker piece. “The end of the English major” by Nathan Heller in the March 6, 2023, issue. 

Rois philosophes is a French term for eminent thinkers derived from Plato’s concept of a philosopher king.


Unexpected but correct reaction: When Obadiah contacted a few Christian conferences in the wake of the Wilkie revelations of some excessive honoraria by the Hillsong conference, he thought the other conferences would be seen as doing the right thing. But around the net, there was another interesting reaction. Some conferences which pay a speaker a few hundred dollars were perceived as pitching their fee very low. $200 for a speaker? What hourly rate is that, taking into account preparation? Fair point, Obadiah thinks on reflection. Readers’ reactions are never predictable, and that’s kinda great.