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   John the Baptist | Diary
John the Baptist
During the 40 days and 40 nights of the Ark's voyage, our 12 crew members will be recording their thoughts and feelings about their Arkmates, the tasks and crises they'll be facing, and the dreadful prospect of walking the plank before the Ark reaches Mt Ararat. For John's Diary, read on... and click the "comments" links to add your own comments to any of his diary entries.
the 2 things that have kept me going are ...May 30, 0:59
... Love and Survival ...

here's two poems I found in the Ark Study which sum it up for me.

Love holds me captive again
and I tremble with bittersweet longing

As a gale on the mountainside bends the oak tree
I am rocked by my love

(Sappho Translated by Cicely Herbert)

I think about dying.
About disease, starvation,
violence, terrorism, war,
the end of the world.

It helps
keep my mind off things.

(Roger McGough 1937 - )

Martha swimming to AraratMay 29, 21:31
I watched Martha swimming for a while last night; she's got an amazing front crawl, and true to Paul's prophecy, dolphins appeared to join her for the swim. I'm sure angels and animals are ministering to her.
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quiz night on the multi-species voyageMay 29, 17:18
Ark Angel Gabe suggested not a quiz about doves, but a quiz night with the Ark dove as quizmaster! I am glad of a further opportunity for a positive animal encounter. Its been quite a multi-species voyage all told.

Apparently the quiz topic is the last 39 days of the Ark voyage.

Being a prophet of sorts I prefer to think ahead rather than regurgitate the past ... all the same, I'm ready to get my brain working ...

... and perhaps amongst the questions will be further reminders of how the kingdom of the heavens has become established amongst us arkmates ... or perhaps not ... we'll have to wait and see!
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animal riteMay 28, 21:17
hmmm ... I got volunteered to think about T-Rex's funeral and found a liturgy for animal death in the Ark Study. I've taken and adapted bits from 'Animal Rites'(1999) by Andrew Linzey. SCM Press, London.

I saw a new heaven and a new earth:
for the first heaven and
the first earth passed away.

And he shall wipe away
all tears from their eyes;

and there shall be no more death,
neither sorrow or crying

Neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away.

Christ is the first and the last.

Who reconciles and redeems
every form of created life.

Christ is the first and the last.

The source and destiny
of all living things.

Christ is the first and the last.

Who bears the wounds
of all suffering creatures.

Living Christ
Saviour of the Universe

Logos through whom
All things come to be;

whose Cross is the
Suffering of all creatures

Take now and transform
The life of our companion T-Rex

whose death is the common bondage
Of us all

Free this creature
And all your creatures

From the powers of death
To life everlasting.



God of the universe
In whose sight every life is precious;

Send now your Spirit upon us

So that we may perceive
The kinship of all creatures

And work toward that goal
In which all things
Will be united in Christ.

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# if she were the only queen in the worldMay 28, 0:35
# and I were the only miserable prophet

no, no, best not to think on it ... all that go forth and multiply stuff ...

... its a distraction, nothing but a distraction ...

... that was then ... this is now ....

... and 'now' is the kingdom ...

a new order where the petty fripperies of love and romance vanish into insignificance ... (hands in air) ...

... oh ... oh ... oh ...

horror horror horrorMay 28, 0:20
What an awful sight to see WildSaur die.

I'm still feeling guilty all that dancing was the cause of death.

Perhaps it was all my fault, egging on the last dino standing.

It clearly had a weak heart, but as Paul said ... it went out well.

At least we have managed to arrange a service to mark its passing.

That's tomorrow, if the crack in the hull doesn't widen anymore.

#WildSaur ... you made my heart roar ...
#You made everything scary!

#WildSaur ...
#... I wish you could come and sssock it to me one more time
#oh shucks i love ya
#WildSaur, you made my heart sing
#you made a everything, groovy
#yeah Wild Thing
#yeah Wild Thing
#yeah yeah Wild Thing
#yeah yeah yeah Wild Thing
#oh sock it to me

#Wild Thing?


keeping my mind off of loveMay 26, 19:17
I knew that loving our enemies was going to bring the Messiah to us far quicker than by killing them. I also began to realize that whatever my cousin was, it was the closest thing I'd ever seen to the Christ ... the time was right, and nothing else mattered.

When everyone started showing up at the Jordan wanting this repetance baptism, in their thousands, I didn't have a minute to think about anything but the work in front of me.

Keeping my mind off of love on this boat has been ... has been ... made easier by that discipline from the past ... and chucking my energies into dancing the message ... encouraging baptisms ... helping plan plays and services ... getting angry ... contemplating ... sleeping ... spending time with the animals ... that has kept me going ...

As to the flirting that is sometimes wont to go on between Esther and myself ... well even that works as an effective way to distract from the things of love, because of course its a joke, isn't it? After all she is married (however political that may be) and of course its my duty to have my mind on other things.

And come on, dear diary, do you really think I'd be so stupid as to find myself tangled up with a political marriage, and risking my life as a consequence, do you really think I'm that stupid.


asceticism, swords, and ploughsMay 26, 19:15
The only ascetic rule I was officially under out in the desert was the no-booze directive. Oh yes, I hung out with the Essenes here and there, but there rules, they could sometimes drive me as potty as the money changers and vipers up at the Temple.

My poverty, chastity and obedience were all voluntarily and optional and occurred as a result of having my mind on other things as much as me having any devout notions of what a spiritual life ought to be about.

My mind was on reminding the people that there was an available alternative to the terrorism of the Zealots, the extremism of the Essenes and the corruption of the Temple.

I could see there was a different way. I was sure it was time to beat our swords into ploughshares. Yes, yes I knew why others chose violence, it seemed obvious in the face of the threats to us from Rome, Pilate, Herod, tax collectors, occupying forces even the Temple authorities; but I believed, and still do believe in a peaceable kingdom.

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stormy weather and the end of the ageMay 26, 18:56
The weather has been appalling for the last 24 hours, I hope it will improve. I just can't imagine why things have deterioated as the voyage has gone on, and a crack has appeared in the side of the boat ...

... hmmm ... perhaps its a sign that we're in the last days ...

... perhaps the kingdom of the heavens is finally due to arrive ...

... or perhaps we're just gonna feel very very sick!
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Arkmates part 5May 26, 0:35
So its my fifth time writing about the other arkmates ...

After all those untrustworthy royals I knew, Esther really is the business. There's not a whiff of the Herodians about her. Simply the scent of sweet myrtle and a combination of wise honesty, diplomatic genius and a sense of humour to make even the glummest prophet laugh.

He has brought his letters to life, and gifted us all with many words of truth. He also knows how to get into the groove these days ... that's some apostle! He really has learnt how to shake his stuff on this voyage. Paul has shown once again the knack of being able to relate to people by becoming somewhat like them.

If only she could stay awake longer. Dear Marti, even when she's diasapproving she's the kind of solid crew you need on a boat. I don't seem to be quite so well behaved when she isn't around ... a kind of stabilizing influence. Reverential too, and that is a good thing for out of hand messengers.

That was the funniest thing, hearing Jezebel accuse Martha of witchcraft on the animal deck the other night, talk about cheeky (and wrong!). If there'd have been more of us she might have started a riot, but without the crowds we just have her as the permanent riot instead.

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divine(!) serviceMay 25, 17:38
another Sunday, another service!

Here's the order

Theme: Noah's Ark

Begin (John)
Greeting (Paul)
Song (Paul + all)
Prayer (Esther)
Reading (Jezebel)
Refelction 1 (John + All)
Song (All)
Reading (Paul)
Reflection 2 (John + All)
Prayers (All)
Bread Sharing (Esther + All)
Close (Jez)

Slow braised honey and cider locustsMay 23, 15:41
serves 10-12

100 shekels of unsteamed locusts (50 shekels of dried locusts)
2 hin of water

for the
5 skekels of wild honey
1 bekah of cinnamon
1 gerah of hot chilli powder
1 bekah of black pepper
1 bekah of peppercorns
2 logs of soy sauce
1 log of cider
10 garlic cloves
a handbreath of root ginger

Mix the cinnamon, chilli and peppers together.
Place it around the pre-steamed locusts.
Mix the remaining marinade ingredients.
Leave to marinade overnight.
Bake at a low heat for 2-3 hours.

Serve with boiled jerusalem artichokes and steamed spinach

(PS the alcohol will all be removed through the cooking.)


what was that about?May 23, 10:07
I'm not quite sure what that conversation with Esther was about in the bathroom last night. Something about love and passion and romance. I'm not exactly experienced in these areas so I find I can't hear what's being said too easily. I have trained my mind to think of other things, but Esther seemed to have some point about me and her ... it just makes me jumpy.

Then down on the animal deck it was questions from Esther about my anger, and if I'm angry with her? Of course I get angry, I'm a prophet, but with the way things are most of all! And anyhow getting angry is quite a good way of redirecting thoughts when the interpersonal gets too intense. All a little confusing though, especially when talking with someone as intuitive as Esther. Its like she's several steps ahead of me on myself, and that's a little unnerving.

Its like I can hear all of this through a thick soup. I mean a royal person like Esther wanting to ask a Palestinian Peasant like me things about love? I'm sure she's the expert, I'm an expert on prophetic anger, not love. Now what is that about?

for getting right or getting it wrong?May 22, 23:08
I hopeI was nominated ... for being an annoying pompous prophet.

Or because I've been singing and dancing and leaping around like a crazy mad thing.

Those are both parts of me though, and neither of them are right or wrong, just me.

Most of all I'm relieved I dealt with my fears of execution before I got nominated, so I don't have to go through more traumatic stress!


doing the dervishMay 22, 13:51
To be able to both sing and dance to declare the coming of a new empire and a different rule has made this journey all the more fun for me. I will never be able to fully join in the partying until I am sure that all have an equal share in the heavenly banquet ... but until then I am more than satisfied with the allotted place I have found for myself on this boat.

It was Simon Peter who said a good 20 days ago that he didn't know I was a wedding singer. He was so close to being right, I do think my job, as the friend of the bridegroom, is to herald the appearing, and then disappear, before the real partying begins.

rock offMay 21, 12:44
Simon Peter's departure didn't rock me half as much as his on-board behaviour which seemed intent on giving men a bad name. If he wasn't a man, I'd think he was actually intent on discrediting roughly half of the human race.

Now why would men deserve that kind of treatment? Mmm, perhaps best not to ask.
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cross-gender Romeo and JulietMay 21, 12:37
Sam, Jez and myself got chatting with Gabe after the show, and we chickened out of wanting to play each other in an ArkSoap just yet (maybe later) ... so we ended up with Romeo and Juliet. Just wonder if everyone will be happy to take a part? Gabe said, choose cast in advance for the sake of time, so that job fell to Samson and myself ... will the others forgive us I wonder? Gabe hinted that a 'stage set' might be organized for inside the living room, so perhaps we'll be doing some of the drama in there?

Here's the Cast List

Martha: Romeo
Paul: Juliet
Esther: Benvolio (Romeo's friend)
Jezebel: Tybalt (Juliet's cousin)
Samson: Juliet's Nurse
John t B: Juliet's Mum
Gabriel: Chorus and Priest
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happiness and apologizingMay 20, 17:04
I think I'm finally happy being onboard this frail craft. More than happy, relieved and glad to be here, and tasting the kingdom in odd and wonderful ways.

I managed last night to give the apologies I owed to Esther, Samson and Paul about the debris from Sunday's service. Paul's advice about patience will hopefully help if I'm around for the next one.

So there's one main apology left to do tonight, and that's to go and talk in the Crows Nest with the Wisdom beyond all worlds and explain that I will give more acceptable reasons for nominations in future.
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a sweeter song than the birds in the treesMay 20, 0:17
I know God was displeased with my 'peaceable' nominations ... I DEFINITELY won't be trying that again.


"I've got so much honey the bees envy me.
I've got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees."

and why? because the Esther, Jez, Sam and Paul sang it to me, wow!
They made me grin and laugh and cry; I'm glad I was in the pool!

The dear arkmates serenading, that was the best bit of sunshine on a cloudy day I've felt all trip. Can't stop smiling and there's still a few tears as I write ... some of the healing I've been hoping for ...


Thank you Paul and Sam, Jez and Esther for finding me a piece of it so I could taste it again. Thank you. The kingdom is within us, and its breaking out ...
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nominations and worshipMay 18, 23:28
OK I am sticking to the hope that everyone will decide to nominate the two people who come after themselves alphabetically. A crazy dream, and maybe a stupid dream ... but worth a try.

As to worship, as usual I feel frustrated, there were some very good moments ... but tonight I was doubly frustrated about the the puerile behaviour over mammarian issues, and the way things were running on. However, before I get self-righteous about it I then ended up being equally unhelpful by not staying quiet; which only prolonged things and riled Esther.

I can see why Esther went to bed so early she must have been furious with all of us ... and if those who are trying to back her up create chaos ... it must be very isolating and frustrating ... I think I have some serious repenting to do tomorrow.
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Arkmates (part 4)May 18, 19:59
So here I am writing a my fourth set of collected thoughts on the arkmates and travelling companions

Oh we both seem to be capable of offering a clear and firm guide to one another and the rest of the crew. Sometimes I know my words have been too blunt or bossy to be palatable towards her, and sometimes her hopes to help me have met with real resistance in return. Her sense of order and shape to life doesn't fit so neatly with my wild and wacky ways. As we both laughed the other day, she couldn't imagine doing absolutely nothing for days on end, whilst I was shocked that others think a retreat from the world could be something achieved in less than 48 hours!

His patience and kindness are great. His love is good in theory, but he sure hasn't got the measure of Jezebel. I know he isn't a woman hater, but he certainly has a bit of a way to go on knowing how to make sense of the fairer sex! His wise thoughts I guess will all be going into those epistles he's forever slaving away on. I think that will leave something of substance from the voyage. I'm intrigued to see whether Paul can really make it as a shaker and mover when it comes to rock and roll though.

Loveable Samson and yet sometimes it has been irksome, with that repeating refrain about unrequited love, work-outs and watching over the women. However, frustrations I have at his behaviour are to some degree balanced out by the decent foot-massage he gave the other night. All that crazed grinning though … a bit weird! Dear old Sam, eh! Perhaps the vows he took have become forces that have restricted his identity rather than set him free for higher things. Sometimes I think if I could sneak a peek at his diaires, that I'd find the answer there … but who knows.

Simon Peter
I do hope Simon will be feeling better soon. He started going down hill just after Moses jumped ship. It's a loss not having his enthusiasm and brash thoughtlessness to keep the rest of us entertained. I miss the folk ballad singing we were doing together. He was also good at reminding me about the good old-days hanging out with Big J … the happier times before the imprisonment. Perhaps he'll manage to get back on his feet and find his sea-legs again sooner rather than later. There must still be life in the old dog yet, surely?

A bit of a brick our Jezebel. The marriage between her and Ahab could have destroyed the Jewish nation and its faith and that has not helped her case. In terms of what she's like as a person though, her outlook reminds me of many of the polytheistic people who I'd bump into out in the wilderness. She doesn't have the smell or look of Roman Empire though; her rule wasn't a kind one but it certainly wasn't the imperialism of either Rome or Babylon. I'm sure she has become a token of a style of leadership which is anathema to me, but her as an arkmate, no she makes for a more interesting voyage and shows up the shortcomings of the rest of us.

So often beset by dangers … including two nominations for planking, and yet always courageous despite everything. That is Esther. The simplest and clearest thing that shows me her courage is the way she befriended the tentacled creature down below, in entertaining contrast to my fearful reaction. A true knight of the heavenly realm I think, but set with a lonely task. Her bravery in the face of danger perhaps is born from success in the face of disaster. I envy that in her, the massacre of the innocents by Herod left me and many of my generation with a very different perspective on fear and violence. Some of us renounced it and some, like the Zealots could see no alternative; in all of us though was a brooding fear of violence from Rome and from our own rulers.
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The Pit of DespairMay 18, 16:54
I think it must have been Esther who had left the book lying open on the table... Edgar Allen Poe "The Pit and the Pendulum". I know nothing of this writer, but I know he understands the terror I saw, and expresses it like I never could. That terror of the sentence of death ... mercy me!

His character says "but the agony of my soul found vent in one loud, long, and final scream of despair" and the drama of that, followed by the sudden rescue left me shaking, and perspiring like I was back there again.

After what might have been 5 minutes or 50, the sweat on my body began turning me cold and I felt like I would just go colder and colder, unto death if I stayed there holding that book ... I rushed outside into the sun, and swam up and down the pool like my life depended on it ... and lay in the sun wishing to be free of despair for ever.
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hope hurtsMay 18, 16:37
What was it Martha said to me, "ask God to take your despair away" which made me feel like she was saying it was easy, but like Esther said, it's a hard thing to let go of. I think, looking back though that Martha was suggesting a point of departure, not a quick fix.

Martha also said another thing, which is hard for me to hear, "sometimes what keeps things alive for us is that we don't want to stop being angry". I was too cross to agree, but she persisted "You don't think that wanting something is the beginning of getting it?"

It must hurt Martha to see me hurting. She must know what its like too. She sounded angry and despairing when the seriously delayed Big J finally arrived in time for Lazarus's funeral. So I guess she knows what she’s talking about. And yes to shake off the despair which made me doubly imprisoned, and keeps me feeling that way ... now to break free of that ... that would be … would be a taste of the heavenly banquet.

Esther said something that's stuck with me too ... about the kingdom and the present moment, like maybe its worth believing, despite everything, still believing that it is in us, here and now, that it has arrived for us. Whatever the signs, how ever strong the feeling of abandonment, the sense of being ‘cut dead’ that I might happen to feel, perhaps the kingdom continues to break in, regardless of feelings.

Hope can hurt too much though. Sometimes letting the despair go and daring to hope, the thought of it hurts like hell, and I want to draw back.
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Repentance WashingsMay 17, 11:00
Sabbath, good time to take stock, been considering if I've served my calling ...

well if it was measured on washing rituals ...

There's been about 6 or 7 of us who did the hair wash of repentance.
Simon Peter and I did a repentance swim, and so did Paul and I.
Esther and I chatted about washing sins away last night too.
As well as that there have been varoius 'repentance' chats in the pool.

So back to declaring the presence of the kingdom in people's hearts ...
and a transformation of society ... maybe that includes this Ark.

Yes ... I think I feel a parable coming on ...


there's nominations Jim, but not as we know itMay 16, 23:25
Right that's it ... from here on I'm going to only nominate the two in the alphabet after me ... and I just hope and pray everyone else does the same ... nominate the two in the alphabet after them ...

then the decision is right out of the arkmates hands ... because everyone will get exactly the same number of nominations ... then at least it would be out of our hands ...

... what a sorry business ....

don't blame it on the moonlightMay 16, 18:57
A few minutes before dawn the moon filled out completely; the light overwhelmed the landing, and its incandescence filled the bedroom too.

It woke me, I wondered if I was back in prison, but heard the gentle breathing of the others, and the sound of water on the hull.

That same soft, comforting light caressed me, back when I was banged up in my cell at the Black Fortress in that remote gorge in Callirhoe.

So my thoughts wandered back to that awful time of waiting: caged, anticipating the summons for a chat, an opinion, an argument, or worse.

Its not just the moon that brings memories flooding back, I can't blame it on that alone. There are many mental scars still to be mended.

When I was showering yesterday, it felt like the sludge and grime of Macherus was beginning to fall off of me and drain away; healing at last.

Then, tentacles down below began to haunt me; they lurk, ready to envelop me, like the stench of death filling the nostrils of a young child.
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killing me!May 15, 23:58
I think all us arkmates were killing ourselves, laughing, at our party-piece night.

Maggie's invisible ferret dance was theatre-of-the-absurd at its best.

And Jez and Esther arguing about their husbands, Jerry Springer style ... there was nothing peaceable about that tete a tete!!

There's a few Jerry Springer videos in the Ark lounge I've looked at on that big screen. I must admit, although I find the behaviour repulsive, there is something of a prophetic quality about the show.

All the same, it reminds me of the various Roman sports they started introducing up in Jerusalem, all that real-life suffering on display, for entertainment ... hmmm ... some things never change ... next they'll be serving someone's head up on a plate for laughs.
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a brief angst free chat with God ... what's happening!May 15, 23:50
I guess it was coz we had to get ready for the show, I felt in hurry.

God had told me to 'chill out', so I went to enquire how exactly a prophet was meant to be chilled, when he had a world apocalypse on his mind (and a scary monster down below).

Odd really, God was, ummm, pretty convincing ... basically, I'd done the work, I'd told the message, there was never any instruction for me to worry ... so ... I could just go get a life ...

can't say fairer than that!

Is it really that easy though!
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Bad King NebMay 15, 0:30
What a bad boy!

If only he'd gone mad before he'd left, he might have reached that state of repentance which proves that God can be merciful even to the cruelest tyrants the world has ever seen.

What an amazing episode from the Jewish exile though ... one of the most horrible despots, going mad and finding some kind of solace in the invisible empire of the heavens.
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kettle of fishMay 15, 0:24
I guess Esther is famed for handling
- money
- sex
- power
with quite some skill.

I guess I'm famed for handling
- poverty
- chastity
- obedience
with a similar knack.

So if we both stick to what we're good at, we should be safe, and still serve each other well. After all, this pair of triads are simply flip-sides of the same coin, its like I've met my alter-ego in Esther. Unnerving, but hopefully safe.

Fear though, fear grips me sometimes, fear of death and imprisonment. Herod A's court was so dangerous for me. But why should now be anything like then?

Oh, I'm still haunted by that memory of Herodias's marriage to the Tetrarch. That allliance debased money, sex and power in a way that despoiled the line of David and fixed my own fate.

But put Esther next to Herodias; completely different kettles of fish!

Time to get a grip, chill out and stop being paranoid. Is there ever any chance of me lightening up, hey? hey?
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friends, philistines, country-persons ... lend me your ferretsMay 14, 17:12
The 8 most random and impossible to predict things all in 1 night!

Maggie wants me to look after her ferret if she walks the plank!
Jezebel wants to talk about friendship and then clams up!
Paul suggests a direct action campaign motivated by fleshly wants!
Samson decides blood is better than water for christenings!
Martha thinks a dinner date with a dictator is good for a laugh!
Simon Peter goes one fish and loaf short of a picnic by talking to a radio!
Neb encourages Paul and myself to plot against him out of his ear shot!
Esther misses a banquet, of all things, and stays in bed instead!
John gives Paul coaching lessons in telling parables.

Have we all lost the plot?
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a whining shite in tight armour?May 13, 14:16
I've been killing(!) myself, laughing at some of the pop-psychology books on the Ark Study bookshelves! Mars and Venus! I'm gonna write one when I get off this boat called Women are Honey, Men are Locusts and make a mint for the first, local, anti-imperialist campaign group I can find. What a hoot!

I'm also thinking about writing one about royalty. I mean look at the broad and vast experience I have (irony), imprisoned by Herod A (his court an absurd caricature of the royal line of David). Yes, the King liked talking to me, and at times I thought he genuinely did, but perhaps it was all for sport.

Here, though are my pop-psych conclusions about royals: Kings and Queens need three sorts of people to help them know who they are. Fools, Enemies and Allies. You have to choose to be any of these three to engage with a ruler. Lets try my amazing new, and life changing hypothesis against the experiences of this trip.

I mean I was sure I could simply be,
- Neb's Fool
- Jez's enemy
- Esther's ally
but its never so clear cut, is it?

How can you safely be the ally of the most elegant Queen on the boat without rumours starting, and how can you be her ally without becoming distracted by her beauty? Well, I think I can, as long as defending the Queen's honour doesn't turn me into a whining shite in tight armour. The age of chivalry, and all its attendant risks, can vanish as soon as men like me recognize that 'sisters are doin it for themselves' anyhow, and they just need good friends; not knights with flashing swords (ahem).

How can you be the outright enemy of Jezebel, a fairly typical ruler from the ancient near east, who is principally despised for being typically polytheistic, corrupt and powerful. If Jezebel was a male ruler these 'shortcomings' would be overlooked rather than treated as exceptionally wicked. Its gotta be a gender issue, surely; don't patriarchs just love classifying women as maidens and harlots!

And, how can you be fool for a King like Neb, who will not accept that not only has he left his kingdom, but the kingdom has left him? Surely it doesn't need another divine message to fall from the heavens to spell that out, yet again. Neb would be helping himself if he accepted the internal devastation that results from being a tyrannical oppressor. Doesn't the King now need a fool to lead him towards the way of full madness; won't that be his only path towards wholeness and healing?

My final question though is this ... why does dreaming up some pop-psychology b****cks about other people never work the way you want it too? (Oh but who cares, somebody's gonna make a fortune from it: pah!).

falling quietMay 12, 23:56
This place is starting to feel awful empty.

What's the solution? FUN apparently! Seems awful strange to me, I'm as out of it when it comes to chat up lines as I am when it comes to having a wild party ... I was always waiting for the heavenly banquet before I'd sit and celebrate.

Even when I sing songs, I'm always thinking about the meanings behind the words. I'm better at doing that, than thinking about the fun of it. The point, what's the point I always ask. Always so conscious of every word, every moment, I guess its the weakness of a contemplative approach; you can begin to obsess on the details.

I've even worried about having too much fun with other arkmates in case they thought I wasn't being a good prophet, or was becoming distracted by unnecessary matters. Yes, I've worried about that far too much. I find myself so earnest and serious against the cheerful abandon of Jez and Esther, and then get muddled up trying to join in, and feel like I'm being so reckless I must be committing a crime!

Fun ... hmmm ... an odd word .... Fun ... Fffff .. uuu .... nnnn

well, maybe, yes, maybe.
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Staying AliveMay 12, 21:49
Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk,
I'm Messiah’s man: I’m not just talk.
Honey wild and locusts warm, been kickin around
before I was born.
And now it's all right. It's OK.
And you may walk a straighter way.
We can try to understand
the Dead Sea Scrolls effect on man.

Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother,
you're stayin' alive, stayin' alive.
Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin',
and we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive.
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive.
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive.

Well now, I get low and I get high,
and if I can't get either, I really try.
Got the wings of heaven on my shoes.
I'm a dancin' man and I just can't lose.
You know it's all right. It's OK.
I'll live to see another day.
We can try to understand
the Dead Sea Scrolls effect on man.

Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother,
you're stayin' alive, stayin' alive.
Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin',
and we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive.
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive.
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive.

better to have loved and lost than ...May 12, 1:19
Ok ok, I'll come clean (that's my job!).

Its not simply prophetic grumpiness that means I don't take to the dating frivolities too keenly. Its the personal loss I've experienced too. Its not all solitude out in the wilderness you know, the affinity group stuff we did to resist imperialism was very, how can I put it, 'social'. I don't want to break any confidences from my past, but suffice to say that I have not always been so fixed on to the dreams of a new kingdom as to ignore love and romance. 'Romance' and all the implications of my society's style of betrothal fell off me ultimately, and I guess, set me free for this prophetic work. All the same, letting go of love, now that really hurt (hurt like a falling axe does) and it cost.

Big J taught me a whole load about how love, and for that matter, marriage, can be used as a way to treat others like chattels rather than people. That's why I lost my head in the end, speaking out against the immoral and political marriage Herod A had set up for himself. Pah! So, these days I cannot bear to attend to all this 'dating' stuff (like we saw tonight), maybe I'm a bore, but for me, it seems to cheapen both friendship and love. And that's what I miss most of all on this boat, that sense I used to get down at the Jordan, of being with friends where there was trust, safety and a comfortableness won over many moons.

That being said though, here, on board, trust seems to grow fast, in these very close quarters. And what I've learnt from Big J about friendship has set me free not to feel so incomplete if I don't hanker after a 'mate', and that is very liberating. What I do hanker after though, these days, are people who think friendships are worth it for their own sake, rather than for the sake of possession or passion.

So, it isn't that I've never loved at all, far from it. What I'm hoping for from this voyage though, is certainly not the kind of date Neb and Esther are set to go on. No I'm longing that I might find some people here, who I'll be able to laugh and celebrate with long into the future (beyond the end of the plank). The beauty of friendships, however unusual and oddly contrived, is what makes this whole business worth it:- the love of God, in community, indwelling our unity and our diversity.

I think that sums up, at this moment in time, both sides of the coin, as well as I have ever managed.

groovy!May 11, 18:15
Oh, I can barely believe that we're gonna be with the animals for worship tonight, the handiwork of the creator in the created overwhelms me sometimes ... so here's the song I hope will turn us all into Wild Things! I hope nobody is gonna complain at celebrating the creation, coz when we do so, we bring glory to its creator.

***Wild Things***

Come on man sing it with me

Wild bear, you make my eyes stare,
Oh, you make everything, huggy!

Wild trunk, you make my legs funk,
Oh, you make everything, flappy!

Wildsaur, you make my heart roar,
Oh, you make everything, scary!

Wild neck, you make my feet check,
Oh, you make everything, stretchy!

Wild croc, you make my knees knock,
Oh, you make everything, crunchy!

Wild stripe, you make my guts hype,
Oh, you make everything, zebby!

Wild mule, you make my thoughts cool,
Oh, you make everything, kicky!

Wild 'corn, you make my clothes torn,
Oh, you make everything, horny!

Wild mare, you make my soul care,
Oh, you make everything, jumpy!

wild things i think you move me
but i want a know for sure
come on and sssock it to me one more time
oh shucks i love ya
wild things, you make my heart sing
you make a everything, groovy
yeah wild things
yeah wild things
yeah yeah wild things
yeah yeah yeah wild things
oh sock it to me
wild things!!
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sunday worship - animal appreciation dance!May 11, 11:16
Following the nudge from Jezebel, I've been planning a 2 minute liturgical act, to show appreciation for the animals (without worshipping them, of course)! I have come up with a free dance which offers respect to each species in turn, to the tune of

*** WILD THING ***

inlcluding the lyric

Wild Croc ... you make my knees lock ... you make everything ... crunchy!


It can get congested with up to 9 of us in the same place, but the emphasis will be on suitably wild gyrations and waving / pointing at the relevant animals, rather than a perambulatory visit to a zoo (hate zoos).
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arkmates (part 3)May 10, 17:23
All the arkmates have become good friends. I miss some of them even when I’m just down the other end of the boat! I do need to keep some space for myself though … so here I sit, at the kitchen table, smiling as I think of them all.

a man who has served the people of Israel so faithfully, and has done more of the same for us arkmates. I think we had all imagined a far more intimidating and imposing man than a guy in a green cardigan who doesn’t want to stand on ceremony. Moses has treated us as equals. Moses is a likeable laid back kind of guy who you could sit around drinking tea with. Boy will I miss him if he goes tonight.

it’s hard to imagine a man who has suffered and experienced more than he. He is a passionate and wild soul who succeeds in being righteous and excessive all at once. Out in the wilderness, I used to fear that I would become too wild, too much like him. Now though I can see there is no risk of that. I mean, look at me; I’m weak and puny in comparison, and more taken up with the gloom of the signs of the age, than the deep passions that course through his veins. I envy his insatiable appetite for new sexual adventures, and for that matter for any sexual adventures. My life in comparison looks decidedly dull.

so, I have had a few lessons to learn about Paul. I couldn’t trust him to start with, reading how he had persecuted followers of my cousin and of me. I also recall his tutor, Gamaliel, and that spooked me very badly. However, having had a full scale moan to God about this, I know can see that Paul is not all bad. In fact he is more persuasive than he is bossy. I had feared that a man with that kind of charisma may have taken the whole Jesus project over. They only thing to fear from Paul is his way with words.

well I laid out my position to the King, that I cannot cavort in front of a ruler who thinks they are a god. ‘The Madness of King Neb’ is a tale which continues to unfold. Now he has became so troubled by me he goes to YHWH for protection, I don’t imagine it will be too long before the things that truly trouble him will begin to affect his sleep and his dream life. I will continue to be there, the fool who deconstructs the tyranny of empire.

whatever happened to the likely lass? I did think Mary Mags was gonna kick us all into shape, particularly after that cracking sermon from last Sunday. I had promised to stop jigging about and try to pay attention to her … I’m not sure whether it’s me or not, I’m missing her wisdom and strength though.

I struggled to find any common ground between us to start with, and found it easier to try and score points off her, like Elijah. Now though I can see that our connection lies in the figure of Woman Wisdom … a sign to me of Jesus as Messiah and Son of God, it is Wisdom who calls out in the streets and who gives the prophets to help the people. For Jezebel, she sees it differently, her Woman Wisdom, she names as her favourite god, Asherah. I can see some more talking to be done.

like in times of old, she will need a nudge if she’s to wake up to the injustices that surround her and take a risk for the sake of the kingdom. That being said, I like the fact that she wants to have plenty of fun and frivolity, it can be painful though for me, when it reminds me of all I’ve missed out on. The other night, I was sat by the swimming pool, and suddenly there she was, sat right next to me, our arms interlinked. Yes we had sat that close for the group photo, but to be like that, when there was no need, well, ahem, that’s what I’d call ever so slightly unnerving.

well good old Marti has been rather distracted of late what with her dizzy spells, and the ongoing impact of a whole week’s worth of swooning in front of Samson. It has been good that she has found the space for quiet reflection. I can only imagine that she is experiencing a little regret about the ‘might have beens’ with Samson. Undoubtedly she will find the opening of two new areas on the Ark fills her with new opportunities for creating good order. However, I wonder whether we can work together on taking action for the kingdom?

Simon Peter:
here is the man who knows how to ride the roller-coaster of faith without ever quite falling off it! Even being with him is enough to give you the adrenalin rush of feeling like you’re about to swoop wildly out into the abyss, and then suddenly you’re lurched back into sensibility and depth just when you thought it was all over. Good old Simon Peter! It was great watching him jiving to the Bee Gees last night, I wondered whether songs written by men with funny voices would be gritty enough for him, but he took to it like a duck to water.
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tricky planMay 10, 17:21
What a crazy journey this is ... but surely its design is the work of the creator, even perhaps a sign of the kingdom?? ...

No way construction of this tricky plan
was built by other than a greater hand
with a love that passes all our understanding
watching closely over the journey

(Wood Song ... found in the Ark Study piano stool)

one more nightMay 10, 0:33
one more night, until we see all God's creatures ...

I was delighted that Big J sent such a loud clear message about the end of sacrifice in so many ways (e.g. Temple cleansing and ultimately his own death) ... and me sticking off all animal products except locusts and honey is all the proof anyone needs that I'm a founding member of the unpronouncable AAS-GAP (Anti-Animal-Sacrifice Group Affinity Protest) ...

So I'll be making sure that nobody, but nobody gets any funny ideas about bumping off any of the precious lambs down below for sport, food or religious worship.
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pompous foolMay 10, 0:00
a dankish fat-kidneyed cod-piece ...

I guess that's a fair summary of what the message was from God tonight ... which is quite fair ... and I WILL apologize

... but I'm not going to be tricked into apologizing for not cavorting behind Nebuchadnezzar ... God's tests are clever but I can see a test when I see it ... any King who thinks rustling up a little dance routine to trick us into a bit of false god worship has another thing coming ... as God knows, and as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew too !! ...

however ... I will repent for being pompous and I will apologize for hassling the King ... considering the King's madness, perhaps saying nothing would be better ... for the time being ...
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nominating friendsMay 10, 0:00
horror, horror, horror!

I've resolved to write down what I have done, and not try to wash my hands of my culpability ... I hate even recalling though ... having to nominate ... to call down the axe on my friends ... or they on me is a terrible undertaking ...

this is how I've gone so far ...

1st nominations, Job and Moses

2nd nominations, Eve and Neb

3rd nominations, Moses and Samson

the first time round it wasn't so hard, now though its awful, and I know I'm partly responsible for who now has the sword of Damocles dangling above them. I also know it could be me, anytime soon.

These are friends. It isn't the peaceable kingdom on board this boat that I'd love it to be. It keeps us on our toes though!!

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where would Jesus go?... down belowMay 9, 21:25
At the start of Big J's ministry, for reasons I still cannot understand he popped down to the Jordan for a bit of baptism, 'let it be so for the present' he explained in his usual style!

Then ... though ... where did he go ... ? ... to be with the angels and the animals in the desert. The start of a public ministry began, like mine, not with people but with creatures.

... reminds me of my dear colleague Jonah who had as much success in getting the animals of Ninevah into sackcloth as he did with the humans.

Its the whole creation which aches and groans, as in labour pains, for liberation, not just the humans (thanks Paul) ... its the whole 'world' God so loved, not just the people.

My guess is if Jesus had been with us on the Ark, he'd have been down below more often than the rest of us put together. With the animals.
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with the wild animalsMay 9, 10:36
... I've felt very caged up on this ark

... and deeply frustrated that I cannot be with the animals

... for so many years the wild creatures were my most reliable companions, these last 19 days its been odd having no access to them, nearly as bad as being imprisoned by Herod A in that respect ...

... its been good to know they're hear with us though, I've smelt them, heard them ... each of them using their breath to offer glory to God. Now though, I will no longer 'see through a glass darkly' (to quote another travelling companion), but will see them face to face ...

... I wonder how the lions and the sheep are getting on? Is it a peaceable kingdom down below ... hmmm ...

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