Cartalk : Tabletalk : Faithtalk at home

One of the things I loved about our physical service was the opportunity to sit on the floor and wonder about the Bible together. I’d tell the story, and wonder aloud, and gradually people of all ages would chip in. And together we’d ponder grace and forgiveness and what loving our enemies really means; we’d wonder about similar stories and, perhaps, how they’re turned upside down by this one; we’d recall times in our own lives when the story had become real; we’d wonder if God was calling us to anything now. Continue reading “Cartalk : Tabletalk : Faithtalk at home”

Cartalk / Tabletalk 3: Cup of Water

Jesus tells his disciples to go on the road to announce the nearness of heaven’s culture and bring healing. They are to travel emtpy handed, carrying nothing but his authority and relying on the hospitality of strangers for food, clothing and shelter. The following words are the culmination of these instructions. We often assume this passage is about offering hospitality to others: but read carefully and in context, we see it’s as much about receiving as giving. Continue reading “Cartalk / Tabletalk 3: Cup of Water”

Life on the margins has its own reward

Jesus expects his disciples not only to offer hospitality, but to receive it: for through this exchange they will be transformed. (Listen.)

Last week, back when it was legal, we had a couple of school families over to mark the winter solstice. We lit a big fire in the fire pit; cooked up a storm; and gathered around our long table for a meal. We chatted and told stories, and gradually the talk turned to politics. At this point, one of my daughters entered the conversation; and she set out her strong and considered opinion on the intersection of power and violence. Continue reading “Life on the margins has its own reward”

Housekeeping: A metaphor for church leadership

It’s time for us to start thinking about who will do the housekeeping for the next twelve months. Many churches call these people ‘deacons.’ The word comes from the Greek diakonos, which means ‘one who serves.’ We sometimes call it ‘church leadership’, but it’s a funny sort of leadership. It’s low status, usually thankless, and only noticed when it’s not being done: like housekeeping; and, like housekeeping, many of the tasks are mundane and require no special expertise beyond a deep willingness to serve. And, like housekeeping, it takes time each week to keep things ticking over. This is what it involves: Continue reading “Housekeeping: A metaphor for church leadership”

Cartalk / Tabletalk 2: Birthing nations

Genesis is a story not just of individuals, but of nations. Abraham and Sarah are the ancestors of Israel; Abraham and Hagar, of the nation now recognised as Islam. Other stories in Genesis relate how Moabites, Amalekites and all the rest came into being … and how they are all related! This is a more challenging cartalk / tabletalk, suitable perhaps for older children and teenagers. Continue reading “Cartalk / Tabletalk 2: Birthing nations”

Dear Hagar: Letter from a white woman

The stories of Sarah and Hagar have been appropriated by white colonial peoples to devastating effect. Here is one white woman’s acknowledgement and response. (Listen.)

Dear Hagar: Today I read the stories about you, and Sarah, and Abraham. All my life, I’ve been taught that Sarah is the matriarch and great-grandmother of my faith; but I pretty much ignored her story. And yours. But today I read them, and this is what I saw: Sarah never once used your name; you’re just ‘the maidservant’ or ‘that slave.’ She forced you to sleep with her husband because she needed a son. But when you got pregnant, she was so threatened that she accused you of being ‘uppity’ and she abused you. Continue reading “Dear Hagar: Letter from a white woman”

Letter to a church facing change

We are in limbo. The old has passed away, and the new has not yet arrived. For those of us foolish enough to remain in the church, these are terribly uncomfortable times. We don’t necessarily want change; and yet we also know that things can’t stay the same. Christendom is long gone, COVID-19 is real, the world keeps moving online, and these realities are powerfully shaping the future church. Continue reading “Letter to a church facing change”

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