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The Intellectual

The Intellectual

Lionel Windsor 2002

Careless musings on electrons and Byron are scattered
By the late night TV news.
“Right to Lifers march on Parliament”.
Even now, poor souls staunchly defend their cause,
Oblivious to postmodern thinking.
You’ve been there, done that;
Old-fashioned notions haunt your red youth.

As you flick the switch in nonchalant disgust
The latest hit throbs from a distant daughter’s bedroom:
“Tomorrow, will you love me?”
No need to listen, tomorrow it is gone,
A matt plastic cover to yesterday’s melted refuse.
Staring at you blankly from the junk-strewn table
Is the swirling, pastel cover of a half-read copy
Of “Postmodern Spirituality”,
But all you can do is stare blankly back
Until it fills your eyes, and turns them inwards . . .

It’s cold in here.
Bitter winds of calm indifference drift fiercely through your open mind
And leave their pastel grime behind.
Butterfly ideas, dried and pressed
Are preserved in a million sterile specimen cases.
And quietly hiding, ashamed in a breezeless corner, is one glass jar
Adorned with lifelong care, lined with velvet, labelled “truth”.
But it is empty.
Your greatest fear
Is that this jar, once filled, will burst
And the living fury of one it cannot hold
Will smash your specimens, and pierce to your heart.

(slightly adapted from an earlier poem written in 1991)
Published inPoems

Publications by Lionel Windsor:

  • Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians

Recent blog posts

  • Ampelmann, BerlinTurn around and walk the other way (Ephesians 4:17–19)
    Darkness, futility, and desire: this is the way the world walks. Paul doesn’t write these things so that we can gloat or judge. He writes so we can repent, and live.
  • Photo by Kira auf der Heide on UnsplashPlaying your part (Ephesians 4:16)
    Paul’s vision for Christ’s body is unity in diversity. It’s not just flat uniformity, nor is it just diversity for the sake of diversity. It’s diversity for a common purpose.
  • Photo by Ben White on UnsplashThe truth in love: A key principle for church growth (Ephesians 4:14–15)
    Paul’s principle for the growth of Christ’s body isn’t about presentation or organisation. It’s more fundamental: “speaking the truth in love”.
  • Colosseum with cross-shaped cloudsChrist’s body: A brief history (Ephesians 4:11–13)
    Paul didn’t write Ephesians 4:11–13 to give us a detailed blueprint for how to organise our ministries. He wrote these verses to point us to God’s grace in Christ.
  • Cathedral CeilingChrist: Up there and down here (Ephesians 4:8–10)
    In these verses, Paul makes a big deal of Christ going up (to heaven) and down (to be with us by his Spirit). Why? to encourage believers as we face all the ups and downs of living for Christ.
  • Genesis 1:27 modified NIVMale and female: Equality and order in Genesis 1:27
    Genesis 1:27 is important in debates between egalitarians and complementarians. It clearly implies equality, yet also seems to suggest a certain order.
  • Gift among giftsGifted beyond measure (Ephesians 4:7)
    How should Christians think about our own individual ‘giftedness’? We need to see our own gifts in the light of God’s wonderful, superabundant grace.
  • Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, Roman ForumThe one and only God (Ephesians 4:4–6)
    In this part of Ephesians, the apostle Paul makes an unavoidably scandalous claim: The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only God.
  • Finding praise in the right place (Romans 2:28–29)
    There is a very strong temptation to measure your ministry by looking at how much people are praising you. This passage teaches us where to look for praise.
  • This unity (Ephesians 4:2–3)
    In the classic film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the King of Swamp Castle issues an appeal for unity: “This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who!” It’s become a classic line used to poke fun at people who are trying to bring peace and unity without showing any understanding of the reality of the situation or the depth of hurt that’s been caused. While we might never end up being quite as absurd as Monty Python, Christians can sometimes talk about unity a little like this. That is, we can treat unity as some ideal state where everybody just gets on, no matter how deep our differences are and no matter what hurt has been caused. And yet—unity really matters. Christians are called to unity. Christian unity is anchored in the truth of the gospel.

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