The Path to Christian Unity

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”

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#GroundedinTruth: Reconciliation Week 2019

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”

#37: Expect apocalypse: #40ways40days

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’ (Luke 21:25-28)

When I started in Year 7 it was a bit of a shock to go from Primary School where we all did all our work together as one class in the same classroom to High School where each subject was in a different room with a different teacher and I did not know many other kids at the school. I found it extremely daunting to look at the year 12’s and I thought that I would never be able to pass Year 12 as the work was so hard. This was what terrified me and gave me anguish. Continue reading “#37: Expect apocalypse: #40ways40days”

#25: Beware hypocrisy: #40ways40days

Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are set free from your ailment.’ When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, ‘There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.’ But the Lord answered him and said, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?’ When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. (Luke 13:10-17)

Stolen. One dollar. By one small skinny black boy
with sugar smeared on his face,
white sugar speckling the tough curls on top of his head,
and eyebrows like exaggerated question marks –
Who me? Continue reading “#25: Beware hypocrisy: #40ways40days”

Satisfying the Hunger Within

Listen here.

What are you hungry for? What are you craving? Food? Friendship? The dulling of the pain? An end to loneliness? The lighting up of the darkness? The warm embrace of love? To be hungry is to be human. To feed ourselves is to be human. And we live in a ravenous age. We are all barraged daily with advertising for things which promise to sate our hunger, to quench our thirst, to satisfy our desires, to heal the pain, to end the craving, to fill the emptiness within. Continue reading “Satisfying the Hunger Within”

#12: Judge not: #40ways40days

Jesus said, ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’ (Luke 6:36-38)

 I was sitting in Mansfield Court one day, in support of a friend who, rightly, thought he may not be able to drive home after his day in court.  And day in court it was.  There seemed to be no schedule of when the various cases were to be heard.  It was a matter of turning up at the beginning of the day and being ready when called upon.  This meant that we got to hear all the cases that were heard before our particular case was dealt with.  It was a sad procession of minor driving and drug offences. Continue reading “#12: Judge not: #40ways40days”

#11: Do unto others: #40ways40days

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ (Luke 6:31)

If you cannot do unto others what you would that they should do to you, at least do not do unto them what you would not that they should do unto you. If you would not be made to work ten hours at a stretch in factories or in mines, if you would not have your children hungry, cold and ignorant, if you would not be robbed of the land that feeds you, if you would not be shut up in prisons and sent to the gallows or hanged for committing an unlawful deed through passion or ignorance, if you would not suffer wounds nor be killed in war— do not do this unto others. Continue reading “#11: Do unto others: #40ways40days”

#8: Dance in the face of poverty & pain: #40ways40days

Jesus said, ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Human One. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.’ (Luke 6:20-22)

I stood before my faith community holding my baby boy in my arms. Beside me was a Chin Burmese man and his son. We had gathered to give thanks for life and express our hopes, I for my child, and he for his. He had fled his country and made his way to Australia seeking asylum. Recognised as a refugee, he made a new life in Australia. Now he stood with his Australian-born child, expressing his love and his hopes for his son, as I did for mine. What stays with me is how our words echoed each other, and the sense of connection I felt with another father and another child. Continue reading “#8: Dance in the face of poverty & pain: #40ways40days”

The Way of Jesus Christ

Listen here.

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”

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