A while ago, I joked online about feeling a failure because I don’t ( and won’t) go cold water swimming, and I don’t have a Podcast. I rather consigned these – along with the trends of ‘radical self-care and the ‘digital detox’ – to the ‘things I don’t do – let’s leave that to the influencers’ corner. Meanwhile, I focused on being consistent in at least one thing – my utter lack of self- promotion.
I should note, this is despite having a book published in April. I can rather rise to the challenge of creating the odd Instagram story ( still not entirely sure why or what they are for) as long as the creative process of doing so interests me enough to bother. If I can divorce me enough from the process, then I might not die from the exposure.
Which is why a moment’s inspiration last week took me very much by surprise. I woke up one morning knowing that I was going to record a podcast, knowing what it was going to be about, and knowing what it was going to be called.
I swear, it just appeared, fully formed, in my awareness. And God, how I wish that the creative process was always like that! There’s more to it though. My podcast is called FKD UP BY FAITH. In it, I have conversations with people about how they’ve been fucked up by their faith, and (more importantly) how they have found hope, healing, reconciliation and forgiveness.
Within a week of having the idea, I had recorded and published the first episode – with my dear friend Roger Wolsey. At the end of our conversation, he said ‘ you might not see it this way, but this is ministry’. And he put his finger on something that I had sort of realised, but not quite. That this isn’t just about fulfilling my creative urge, it’s about fulfilling my ministry.
It is my ministry.
That thing arriving fully formed, fully created. A gift from the one who inspires us all, if we are inclined to listen. Like all my God-given gifts, I have a feeling that some people are not going to like it. Whilst the spelling FKD is an important adjustment for algorithms and delicate sensibilities, using the F word in the same sentence as the other F word (faith) might bother some folks.
In many ways though, this is probably a good indicator that this is exactly what I should be doing. If I didn’t swear, I wouldn’t be me. I would be denying myself, and my background. This is the thing about inclusivity. Do we accept people as they are… or do we want them to shave the edges off their class and their culture, as well as all the other identities that religion has told (and continues to tell) people they can’t be?
And do you know what else? Jesus hung around with sailors! Have you ever hung around with sailors? I think we can pretty much guarantee that Jesus heard more than the odd F-bomb ( or first-century Palestinian version thereof) and he never mentioned it.