Last week, our brother Joel Rothman had an article published in ABC Religion & Ethics. He shows how the Bible’s descriptions of homosexuality do not match lived experience; reminds us that the church has changed its position on several significant issues of morality and Christian faithfulness; and calls us to remedy the great suffering caused by the church’s historic condemnation of LGBTQI+ people. You can read his article here. Continue reading “LGBTI+? You are welcome here”
Oh, do not pray for easy lives.
Pray to be stronger.
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers.
Pray for powers equal to your tasks.
Then the doing of your work will be no miracle
but you shall be a miracle.
Each day you shall wonder at yourself,
at the richness of life which has come to you
by the grace of God. Continue reading “Do not pray for easy lives”
Just as Elisha’s glimpse of God’s reality enables him to take on the prophet’s mantle, our glimpses of God’s kingdom empower us to become disciples. (Listen.)
I’m going to let you in on a secret: There are times when I hate being a grown up. Sure, I get to drive and spend money; but if I make a mess, I have to clean it up. When I drop something on the floor, I have to pick it up. If I do something wrong, I have to put it right. If I’m hungry, I have to cook; if I’m bored, I have to find something to do; if I’m lonely, I have to arrange a playdate; if I’m tired, I have to put myself to bed. When I see a job that needs to be done, it’s usually me that needs to do it. I know I look reasonably competent, but half the time I’m just bumbling around, trying to work out how to serve the church or write a sermon or love my enemy or do any of the other things I’m supposed to do. There are days when I wish a great big mother would drop down out of the sky and clean up my messes, bake me a plum cake, and tell me what to do. Continue reading “Taking on the mantle”
How do you pursue peace? The Shalom group has begun meeting, and has already been struck by the active verbs associated with peace in the Bible. It’s clearly not a passive state, nor something that simply happens, but something that involves a lot of doing. As the Psalmist writes, “seek peace and pursue it” (Ps. 34) — but how? Continue reading “Seek peace and pursue it: Five steps”
Most spiritual teachings assume solitude and silence, but the story of Elijah suggests that a healthy God-centred spirituality is grounded in the hustle and bustle of community. (Listen.)
Once upon a time, long long ago, when my kids were young, I felt for a while that my faith and spirituality had to go on hold. Life was so busy, and the kids were so demanding, and everywhere I went there were people. People needing a nappy change; people needing a story; people needing a cuddle; people needing a cuppa; people needing a neighbour; people needing a friend; people needing a volunteer; people needing a worker. Everything I had ever read about spirituality was about spending quiet time alone with God: yet quiet time alone was exactly what I never had. Continue reading “Spirituality for the chaos of life”
Do you know the child who spends every service lolling on the floor, or chatting quietly to herself at the dolls house, or snipping paper into a thousand little triangles? The child who rarely speaks, never sings and shakes her head violently when invited to participate? The child whose back is to the congregation and who seems oblivious to everything that goes on around her? Continue reading “Brahminy’s prayer, and tips for welcoming children”
Pronouns can limit or expand how we think about people; they can limit or expand how we think about God. (Listen.)
Once upon a time, long, long ago, Lady Wisdom called out at the public places—the city gates, the crossroads, the mountaintops—and she said: “The Lord began the work of creation with me. In time before dreaming I was in on the action; right from the word ‘go’ as the earth began. Continue reading “Lady Wisdom and the gender diverse community of God”
Did you know that, in both Greek and Hebrew, the word we translate as ‘spirit’ means ‘air-in-movement’? In Hebrew, it’s the feminine ruah, or breath, which hovers over the waters of chaos in Genesis. In Greek, it’s the gender neutral pneuma which descends from heaven and fills Jesus’ disciples. You get a sense of the Greek word from the English words ‘pneumatic’ (containing air), and my ten-year-old’s favourite word: ‘pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis’, a condition seriously restricting air flow caused by the inhalation of silicate, possibly from a volcano. Phew! Continue reading “Blow through me, Breath of God”
When I first think of Christian unity, what comes to mind are those powerful commentators who are agitated by bedroom behaviours, who deal in moral absolutes, and who claim to speak on behalf of all Christians—and do so loudly, and often. Unfortunately, their attitudes and actions have led many in the wider community to perceive such people, and Christians in general, as puritanical, hypocritical, judgemental, reactionary, homophobic, sexist and fundamentally irrelevant. Yet when I look around at the people gathered here—faithful representatives of the combined churches of Warrnambool—I see something quite different. Continue reading “The Path to Christian Unity”