Galatians | Roe vs Wade vs Loving

You were called to freedom, my siblings; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. (Galatians 5:13)

I was speaking with a woman a few months ago who had been at a large conference. She observed to me that, as a certain bishop spoke against gay marriage, she was struck by the vindictive hatred which distorted his face. Continue reading “Galatians | Roe vs Wade vs Loving”

Galatians | Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards, culture change and the law

A truly child safe culture is the work of the Holy Spirit. (Listen.)

As many of you know, I’ve spent much of the last two weeks grappling with Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards. These eleven standards will come into effect on 1 July, and replace the seven standards which currently apply to every organization which works with or involves children. The new standards are highly detailed and prescriptive; even the Short Guide runs to over 40 pages, with dozens of dot points of required actions and documentation. Now, I’m not a lawyer or a policy wonk, but nor am I an idiot. Yet working through these new standards and drafting the necessary policies and other documents has very nearly crushed me. Continue reading “Galatians | Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards, culture change and the law”

The chronically ill will always be with you

News about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray. (Luke 5:15-16)

LUCY WRITES: I often think about how, as often as Jesus healed the sick, he also didn’t. It seems that a bit of His message was that the sick, like the poor, would always be with us. In not curing everyone, Jesus was teaching the rest of us that we have to learn how to co-exist with the sickness and disability of others. That we all make up part of the Body of Christ together, not despite or ignoring people’s sickness or disability, but including it. Continue reading “The chronically ill will always be with you”

Luke | Back to the city

Our deepest liberation can set a city free.

A few years ago, when my kids were a bit younger, the movie Frozen would often be playing in my house. As kids often do, they liked to enjoy the same story again and again. I must have watched it several times myself. And sitting there watching it with my children I was drawn in. A girl called Elsa has a magical ability: she can magically create ice and snow, sending it streaming from her fingertips. And for this she is judged to be dangerous – a danger to her little sister, a danger to anyone around her. So she is locked away in her room and hidden away from everyone else in the city. Continue reading “Luke | Back to the city”

Proverbs | Wisdom for changing times

Divine wisdom is found in liminal spaces: and is confident, creative and relational. (Listen.)

I have a confession to make. For a pastor, it’s a biggie, and it’s this: I don’t know where the church is headed. When Sanctuary began, we had a pretty clear path: gather up hungry people and establish regular habits of all-age worship and meals so that they could be fed: a program described behind my back as ‘boot camp’. But then the pandemic hit and two years of lockdowns—a third of our life together—blew everything out of the water. Continue reading “Proverbs | Wisdom for changing times”

Pentecost | God’s holy breath

The breath poured into the early disciples fills the earth even now. (Listen.)

Take a deep breath. The thing is this: The atmosphere which blankets our beloved wounded blue-green planet is a closed system. Nothing goes in; nothing goes out. For millions of years, the exhalations of swamp gas and the inhalations of dinosaurs and the exhalations of leafy plants and the inhalations of Neanderthals and the exhalations of soft mosses and the inhalations of swallowtails have been going around and around and around. Continue reading “Pentecost | God’s holy breath”

Isaiah | The heavenly banquet

ELLIOTT WRITES: Dear Alison, Mum says that God said in heaven there won’t be any sadness or crying. But I know lots of people don’t believe in heaven and don’t want to go there. Some of my friends and their families don’t want to believe in God or heaven. I think I will miss them in heaven so I will be sad – I don’t think God will make clones of them. Can you explain this to me? I would like it in an email. From Elliott. Continue reading “Isaiah | The heavenly banquet”

Revelation | God’s final ‘Yes!’

The invitations to enter God’s holy city just keep on coming. (Listen.)

Awhile back, I was talking to someone who has experienced a lot of violence in her life. To add insult to injury, she has been told that unless she gives her life to Jesus, she will suffer further punishment when she dies. ‘I can’t believe in a god who makes me suffer like this,’ she said, ‘and I can’t believe in a god who will send me to hell because I can’t believe in him.’ I looked at her and said, ‘I can’t believe in a god like that, either.’ Continue reading “Revelation | God’s final ‘Yes!’”

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