Lessons from the TubeDude
When Krish Kandiah tweeted the question yesterday morning “What is lacking in the church’s teaching on holiness?” my initial response was the one word answer “example”. I still believe that is the most fundamental thing. However, on further reflection my thoughts have turned to the TubeDudes.
The first time I ever encountered one of these people-shaped tubes it was at Twickenham Rugby Stadium. Most of the time it just sat on the floor in a crumpled heap of brightly coloured fabric. Every time the home team scored a try, though, it was a different story. The air would rush in, the figure would soar up to its full height and wave its arms about in celebration at their success. The workmanship, the seams, the jolly design and the colours were all there – but until the air came rushing in it was as nothing.
To say that all preachers should be pneumatic is neither to refer to their physique, nor to trot out any of those old cliches about hot air. Unless preachers are enlivened by God’s pneuma, or Spirit, they are as much use as the TubeDude lying crumpled on the stadium floor. Not only this, but God’s is a truly Holy Spirit – and if we want to have anything useful to say about holiness it will be because he informs both private preparation and public speech.
When it comes to questions about how we do that, of course we venture into far more uncomfortable territory where words like ‘discipline’ are lurking. Let each find their own way into the holy place – but it is surely important that what we say on our feet is shaped by what we hear on on our knees? That way holiness lies.