Sunday, December 9, 2018

Rethinking Forgiveness

A year or two ago, someone outside the church contacted me. They had come across one of my sermons, and they wanted to talk. We met, and I asked what was bothering them. “We-ell,” they said, “It’s as if you’re saying that God loves us even before we have repented.” “That’s exactly what I’m saying,” I said. “I can’t accept that,” they replied, “That’s definitely not right.” Read here, or listen here.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Terrified by global warming? Follow the children!

This week, thousands of children around Australia participated in the School Strike 4 Climate Action, and it was magnificent! Like too many adults, whenever I think about climate change, I feel overwhelmed. We are facing the catastrophic collapse of vast ecosystems on which our lives depend; countless other species are hurtling towards extinction. Out-of-control wildfires dot the globe; terrifying hurricanes and storm surges wreak havoc; formerly arable land has been turned into desert. All around us, governments and disaster capitalists and environmental hoodlums keep chopping down trees and mining the land and opting for coal and pumping carbon into the atmosphere. They will not change, and there seems to be nothing I can do ...

Read here.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Revelation at Armageddon

To get to Armageddon, known in Hebrew as ‘Megiddo’, we drive past an airfield. Our Israeli guide tells us about the Syrian fighter pilot who defected there in 1989. He was flying a Soviet-made MIG-23, which provided Israel with valuable military intelligence—and it feels like nothing ever changes. For in the Hebrew Bible, Megiddo is the site of many clashes where victory is attributed to God; in the book of Revelation, it’s the site where the kings of the world are assembled for a final battle. And so for many people Megiddo, or Armageddon, has long been associated with the destructive violence we expect from military rulers, whether human or divine: and the military is still active here. Read here, or listen here.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Visions of an Angry Prophet

I recently came across the idea of a life verse: that is, the idea that there is a Bible verse for each of us which encapsulates who we are, and guides our journey of faith. I rolled my eyes. Straightaway, two verses hit me. From Jonah: “It is indeed right for me to be angry, even unto death.” And from Psalm 139: “You knit me in my mother’s womb; I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” 

A reflection given to the BUV, 20 October 2018, and expanded for Sanctuary, 28 October 2018. Read here, or listen here.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Suffering: Who's to blame?

There is a story in the gospel according to John which begins like this: Jesus was walking along when he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Teacher, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” These days, we’re not quite so quick to blame people for being differently abled or ill. And yet when my mother, Ruth, had multiple sclerosis, I lost count of the number of people who became frustrated, even angry, with her. “But she’s such a good person!” they said, “How can she be so sick?” “But we’re praying!” they said, “Why isn’t she getting better? Is she praying, too?”

Read more here, or listen here.

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Tale of Three Donkeys

The story of Balaam and his donkey shows what big asses we can be.

Read here, or listen here.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Holy Gossip

Is all gossip bad? Or could there be a gift in gossip? Read here, or listen here.

A response to James 3:1-12 given to Sanctuary, 16 September 2018 (BP19)

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