A rollicking romance and a house divided

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”

The loneliness of the Australian colonial capitalist

The deep loneliness of colonial capitalism: and some pointers to an alternative economy. (Listen.)

The fear of saying the wrong thing means too often we say nothing at all. The following is a stumbling attempt to articulate some consequences of the colonial capitalist economy, to note resonances between some Indigenous economies and God’s kingdom culture, and to tentatively imagine a renewed economics which fosters connection and community. Time, space, audience and ignorance mean I necessarily make generalisations and minimise the extraordinary diversity of expressions of Indigenous economic systems. Continue reading “The loneliness of the Australian colonial capitalist”

#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”

#38: Take this cup: #40ways40days

Then Jesus took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’ (Luke 22:17-20)

‘You know,’ Swami Jeff told me once, ‘God couldn’t care less about the church. We don’t understand the Eucharist, or that bread and wine live within us, so we ritualize the things that hold the mystery. We focus on the container and formalize the mystery. But you don’t have to do that.’ Continue reading “#38: Take this cup: #40ways40days”

#32: Forgive: #40ways40days

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, “I repent”, you must forgive.’ (Luke 17:3-4)

Australia wasn’t really a place I’d always been dying to see. But the real problem was that, without knowing it, I had booked my Down Under speaking tour for the weekend when two of my parishioners were having their wedding—a wedding I had already agreed to officiate. Oops. Continue reading “#32: Forgive: #40ways40days”

#24: Reconcile: #40ways40days

Jesus asked his disciples: ‘And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.’ (Luke 12:57-59)

Whether we are talking of warring couples or warring nations, it is an extraordinary challenge to move from blaming people, toward understanding patterns and our own part in them. It is a similarly huge challenge that our wish to understand the other party be as great as our wish to be understood. Because I watch some individuals and families meet this challenge in the most difficult of circumstances … I continue to maintain hope. Continue reading “#24: Reconcile: #40ways40days”

#9: Love your enemy: #40ways40days

Jesus said, ‘‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.’ (Luke 6:27-28)

When I lived in Cambridge, I decided to try out this business of ‘loving your enemy’, and the enemy in question happened to be my neighbour. We lived in the centre of town, and parking was at a premium. In our street, which was a private lane owned by one of the colleges, we were the only house without a garage, and we used to park in front of three disused garages belonging to a neighbour who didn’t own a car. Then one day a man moved in next door and asked this neighbour to lend him all three garages, and then told us, bad luck, we could no longer park where we’d been parking for the last ten years because he needed access to all three of ‘his’ garages at all times. Continue reading “#9: Love your enemy: #40ways40days”

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