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”
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”
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my lifestyle gave to me: twelve days of shopping, eleven Christmas parties, ten children’s concerts, nine knotted stomachs, eight toxic in-laws, seven toddlers’ tantrums, six spousal quarrels, five road trips, four splitting headaches, three sick kids, many bouts of tears, and a present under the tree. Continue reading “To receive the promises of Advent, we need to make room”
How following Jesus tore a household apart – and eventually brought it together again. (Listen.)
I’d like to introduce you to a very shocking man: my father. But to understand why he is so shocking, you first need to know about my mother. My mother grew up in a fundamentalist household which rejected infant baptism, evolution, smoking, divorce, and many other things. Because she was super-smart and good at languages, and because everybody knew that no man would marry a super-smart woman, she had been groomed from an early age to be a Bible-translating missionary spinster. So away she went to university to study anthropology and linguistics; but there she met my father. Continue reading “A rollicking romance and a house divided”
Jesus said, ‘‘But I say to you that listen … Give to everyone who asks from you; and if anyone takes away what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ (Luke 6:30-31)
Nothing left to give.
The toddler’s arms outstretch.
We both surrender. Continue reading “#10: Give: #40ways40days”
All around the world, people are preparing. The fridges are filled; the tables are set; the gifts are wrapped and waiting under the tree. The tinsel shimmers and Sinatra sings, as the world prepares for Christmas. It’s a wonderful time, a joyful time; we should all be so excited. So why, for so many of us, does it feel so hard? Continue reading “For Christmas hope and healing, look to the shadows”
Jesus is surrounded by a huge crowd of hungry people: the disciples don’t know how to feed them. But there’s a boy with five loaves and two fish. Jesus has all the people sit down on the grass. He blesses the food, and shares it: and there’s so much that everyone there has more than enough to eat, with leftovers. How does this story speak into one person’s life? Here’s Lucy’s response. Continue reading “Loneliness, Mess and Abundance”
Tonight we re-tell a story from the gospel of Mark in which Jesus’ family think he’s crazy; the religious experts accuse him of being demon possessed; and Jesus talks in riddles, then questions family ties. The original text is dense, and easily obscured by our deeply held social values and longing for judgement. Therefore, I’ve expanded, adding commentary, in the hope that this re-telling sheds some light on the passage and leaves you with good questions to ponder. The simple refrain is included to give you an opportunity to sing gently and reflect on what the preceding paragraph reveals. Continue reading “Beloved Son: A Meditation”