What pirates do, as a rule, is emerge from the underbelly of a ‘stuck’ orthodoxy and, by way of actions that are initially perceived as heretical, reinvigorate that practice. The heresy of Napster becomes the orthodoxy of Spotify. The pirate DJs of Radio Caroline join Aunty at the BBC and create Radio 1.
And this is what Jesus did. He saw a religion blocked – a temple which had access restricted by merchants and priests. And he set about plundering the booty in the temple, and setting it free for all to enjoy. This was the heresy of Jesus Christ. And this is the orthodoxy that we should be preaching.
But, so many years later, the empire has taken the reins of faith again, and the authorities have pooled their wealth in guarded palaces. Where are the pirates now? Who will opt for this short but merry life, and raise a skull and crossed-bones against the greedy princes and enslaving merchants who reap huge rewards for unjust and unfair practice? Who will dare sail for freedom, out of the shadows of the church, and taste the exotic on the high seas?
So here’s my plea: our faith is always under threat from blockage, from those who would control access to forgiveness, to grace, to truth. We need good Christian pirates to plunder and raid these places, to demand that these goods are released for all.
And this, for all its failings, is what may be seen as the last effect of the emerging church: a series of heretical, piratical actions that sought, through the short but merry life of various groups, to show that this faith of ours is ‘more than a grimace.’ We have seen this blocked orthodoxy, and through our heresies want to see it revitalised, if we don’t hang for it first.
These leaves just two questions to answer:
1) what should we make of modern day piracy such as that we see in Somalia and in the European Parliament with the Swedish Pirate Party.
2) why is it that children are so fascinated with pirates?
And with a look at Peter Pan, I hope we can answer that in the final post. Hope you’ve enjoyed the series so far.