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”

Like the child who bursts into a Zoom call

So kids are back at school and yet at home; and parents are at work and yet at home. Parents are now expected to supervise and support their children as they learn online, even while doing their own work – which in itself has become more challenging due to all the changes. Any plans we might have had for juggling work and kids through the school holidays are now being extended indefinitely by the COVID-19 shutdown; while for others, work has suddenly dried up. And so, one way or another, stress levels are heading through the roof. Continue reading “Like the child who bursts into a Zoom call”

#14: Loving kindness

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

It had been a typical antsy, loud and frenetic morning. I had yelled yet again, in a futile effort to get the three kids up, dressed, basic hygiene tasks completed and into the car. The usual biffing and jostling as they worked out which seats they would settle for, and who got to choose the radio channel or cd. The verbal and physical battering was as expected. Continue reading “#14: Loving kindness”

#13: Follow the children

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them (Mark 10:13-16). Continue reading “#13: Follow the children”

It’s about family violence, but not as you might think

To suggest victims of family violence should ‘turn the other cheek’ is a toxic distortion of Jesus’ teaching. A look at the context of these words, and how they are an invitation to challenge all forms of violence and control, including within the family. (Listen.)

It has been a terrible week. Those of us who keep an eye on the news know that, yet again, a family has been destroyed by violence. Hannah Clarke and her children are only the most recent victims of a culture which infects our nation. For while this event is at the extreme end, family violence is very common. Some of us have been personally scarred by family violence; many of us work with victim-survivors of family violence; and most of us have friends and loved ones for whom family violence is a lived experience. Continue reading “It’s about family violence, but not as you might think”

We need to talk about hell

Hell is the location of human violence, not God’s; “indeed, it did not even enter my mind.” (Jeremiah 7:31) (Listen.)

Some of us grew up with threats of hell, that burning lake of fire and brimstone into which the sinful will be cast at death to their everlasting fiery torment. Given how regularly hell comes up in many a church’s preaching and in popular culture, and given how graphically it is described, you might wonder why I never mention it. Am I avoiding all the nasty bits of the Bible? Well, no—but I think it’s time we had that little chat: we need to talk about hell. Continue reading “We need to talk about hell”

Christ in the classroom (and everywhere else)

On Sunday we blessed the children as they started a new year at school. A whole year since we did this last, and now we all stop to breathe and consider a whole school year ahead. For many of us, that thought can be quite daunting. A school day can be full enough of struggles, and a whole year of them? Yeesh. Thankfully we have a God who understands the whole breadth of human existence and struggles, including in fact the 21st century school year. Continue reading “Christ in the classroom (and everywhere else)”

Group Reflection: Sanctuary’s Treasure

Tonight we reflected as a group upon Jesus’ teachings not to be anxious; to strive for God’s kingdom; to know that it is God’s good pleasure to give youse the kingdom; to share what youse have with those in need; and to make for yourselves treasure in heaven, for where your treasure is, so is your heart (see Luke 12:29-34; and yes, Jesus is speaking to his disciples as a group: every occurrence of ‘you’, ‘your’ etc. is plural). So together we wondered what our common treasure is, where our common heart is, and how we might have already received the kingdom … and given it away. Questions and responses follow. Continue reading “Group Reflection: Sanctuary’s Treasure”

Brahminy’s prayer, and tips for welcoming children

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”

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