It’s National Reconciliation Week and, in keeping with this year’s theme, I am trying to ground myself in truth. What this means for me is finally reading Convincing Ground by Bruce Pascoe, who has Bunurong and Cornish heritage. His book invites us to learn and acknowledge the truth of the frontier wars and genocide on which the modern nation of Australia is founded, much of which took place in our region. It’s hard but essential reading for those who want to face up to the truth of who we are, and for those who wonder why reconciliation is so important, or proves so elusive. Continue reading “#GroundedinTruth: Reconciliation Week 2019”
On Sunday we reflected as a group on Luke’s account of the temptation of Jesus (Luke 4:1-13). We noted that the devil / enemy quotes Scripture at Jesus, and so we focused on on two questions:
- Can you think of a time Scripture has been used to misdirect, oppress or trap you or somebody else? Or of a time you yourself have felt dishonest in your use of Scripture?
- How then do you test whether Scripture is being truthfully (lovingly, appropriately) applied?
I have just finished an absolutely rollicking novel: Hag-Seed, by Margaret Atwood. Felix is a theatre director, who has been deposed by his deputy and the Minister for the Arts from his role as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Festival. He putters off in his rusted out car/leaky boat, and effectively falls off the theatre map. In exile and mourning, his beloved daughter at his side, Felix/Prospero slowly plots his revenge: a revenge which eventually involves a staging of The Tempest in a medium-security prison with his enemies in attendance. Continue reading “Reading our lives”
One night in my late teens I found myself having a long, deep, 3am conversation with a friend of a friend I hadn’t met before. This young woman was in her mid-twenties and initially couldn’t get over the fact that I went to church (‘you’re religious?! re-huh-eeeallly?!’). For me, I had recently heard someone making the neat distinction between being ‘religious’ (bad, apparently) and ‘a follower of Jesus’ (good). So the poor other girl got more and more confused when, throughout our conversation, I kept repeating ‘oh no I’m not religious though … I just go to church and read the Bible and try to live how Jesus taught us to.’ You won’t be surprised to hear she and I never hung out again. Continue reading “Dodging the non-religion dogma”
Over the last few months, some half a dozen people have asked me how to read the Bible. Some have been in churches for decades, others have barely been in churches at all, but they are united by one thing: They want to read the Bible for themselves – but they have experienced the Bible as an instrument of control in the past, and so they are afraid. Continue reading “Lectio Divina: Divine reading”
The Australian politician walked onto the stage, glanced at his iPad, and said: “The spirit of the mob is upon me, because the mob has appointed me to bring good news to the rich. It has sent me to place boat arrivals into indefinite detention, to close the eyes of the clear-sighted, to extend mandatory sentencing, and to proclaim the day of violent judgement of our God … And this prophetic work is for the benefit of straight white middle class Australians who call themselves Christian—and no one else.” Continue reading “The Way of Jesus Christ”
The Prayer of Examen, also known as the Daily, or Ignatian, Examen, is a classic tool for self-examination. It was formalised by St Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556). The word ‘Examen’ has its roots in a Latin word meaning ‘to weigh accurately’; and so the Examen is about reviewing each day, and weighing it up through prayerful eyes. You can do it at any time, but in the evening is usual. It usually takes ten to fifteen minutes. Many people find it helpful to journal their experience of the Examen, so they can trace patterns and movement over long periods of time. Many also find it helpful to allocate a quiet corner to the practice, perhaps with a comfortable chair, a candle, the Bible, and their journal at the ready. Continue reading “The prayer of Examen: A daily practice”