Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Gettin' down and dirty with Jesus



I’ve been browsing the app store lately, and it is simply marvellous how many apps there are to help me with my spirituality. There are apps for meditation and prayer. There are apps for devouring the whole Bible in a year, or for memorising passages, or for reading one verse very slowly.

Read here, or listen here.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

A bracing antidote to Christmas chaos



It’s the second week of Advent, a time of preparation, and many of us are indeed preparing. We’re negotiating with families over who gets Christmas lunch, and who gets only Boxing Day. We’re arguing over whether to buy presents for everyone, or just the kids, or no one. We’re wondering if we can do handmade or recycled gifts, knowing we’ve left it too late, and that an avalanche of plastic is heading our way. We’re ordering hams and Christmas puddings; we’re decorating the house; we’re making lists and checking them twice. We’re juggling end-of-year events, and wading through Santa songs and pre-Christmas sales ...

Read here, or listen here.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sheepish goats and the scandal of grace



As is the way of things, whenever I meet middle class people, they ask me what I do for a living. When I say I’m a pastor, they almost invariably reply, “Oh, I don’t go to church—but I’m a good person!” And I think to myself, “Good on ya!” Because the older I get, the more certain I become that every single one of us has an incredible capacity for good—and an incredible capacity for evil ...

Read here, or listen here.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Peace and plenty for everyone



Twenty years ago, Cudgee was a depleted paddock. Now, it’s an oasis. Families have built sustainable homes, and are raising their children there. People have planted countless Indigenous trees, grasses, and shrubs. The creek is overhung by eucalypts; blocks are lined with wildlife corridors; koalas grunt and roam. There are organic gardens and orchards; happy chooks; contented ducks; an Indigenous plant nursery; and the best garlic in Victoria ...

Read here, or listen here.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

This resurrection life



Every now and then, I get a letter addressed to Mrs Paul Holdway; and I reel. Once I’ve stopped reeling, I wonder who on earth this woman is. She sounds like a shadow, a cipher. She’s probably maternal, almost certainly matronly. I’m sure she’s a great supporter of her husband and good at housework. She probably darns other people’s socks, and I’m sure she makes things for cake stalls and fetes. I have no idea what she herself is like, or what she’s really interested in, but I do know this: There’s something extraordinarily silencing about having my name obliterated in a letter which is ostensibly addressed to me.

Read here, or listen here.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Recognizing our Limits



The gospel tells us that Zacchaeus is a man of short stature. He is also limited by Roman rule, by social expectations, and by other people’s judgements. Like Zacchaeus, we too are creatures with limits. We all experience social pressures and expectations; we all have finite time, energy, money, and capacity for relationship. Everything we do conforms to or upsets social expectations; everything we do uses time, energy, money, and capacity for relationship. Wisdom means recognising this, and weighing up our commitments accordingly. At this time of year, then, when many of us are deciding what we will commit to in the year to come, let us reflect on our context, our limits, our commitments, and our relationship with Jesus Christ ...

Read here.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Prayer, Pride and Prejudice



As Jane Austen didn’t quite say, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a good fortune … needs absolutely nothing from God.” ...

Read here, or listen here.
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