In this chapter Nadia writes about recognizing the kingdom heaven.

"The week Amy Winehouse died, I was trying to come up with a sermon for that Sunday when my ex-boyfriend sent me a Facebook friend request." (Page 152)

The gospel text is a string of parables in Matthew comparing the kingdom of heaven to things like a mustard seed and yeast and searching for fine pearls.

"Every commentary and article I read about the parables offered me the same combination of obvious and useless." (Page 159)

In this context of her ex-boyfriend contacting her and preparing her sermon, she learns that Amy Winehouse is dead.

"Yet Jesus says that heaven's kingdom is like shrubs and nets and yeast. ... I remembered that yeast was considered impure. ... So then I began to consider that maybe the kingdom of heaven is found in the unclean and surprising and even the profane." (Page 161)

"I mistakenly had been thinking that the kingdom of heaven was something I should be able to find an illustration for on this side of my life." (Page 162)

"Jesus brings a kingdom ruled by the crucified one and populated by the unclean and always found in the unexpected. I'd expected to look at the past and see only mistakes that I'd moved on from, to see only damage and addiction and tragic self-delusion. But by thinking that way, I'd assumed that God was nowhere to be found back then. But that's kind of an insult to God. It's like saying, 'You only exist when I recognize you.'" (Page 162)

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By Frank McPherson, Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:59 PM. It's even worse than it appears.