Matthew | Like, are you serious?

Christ’s incarnation is often underwhelming. It is up to us to look at the evidence, and decide if it’s the real deal. (Listen.)

We’re nearing the end of a long and somewhat disheartening year. After two years of lockdowns and all the ramifications, many of us kicked off this year with not much in the tank. Then we had sickness aplenty, and too many funerals, and relentless pivoting and change; many of us are fatigued, burned out, or just plain exhausted. Meanwhile, here at Sanctuary, some households have moved away, and church participation has dwindled. We still have a strong, solid core: but there are weeks when those of us who turn up might look around and wonder, Is this all there is? Continue reading “Matthew | Like, are you serious?”

Luke | Promises, paradise, and the vastness of love

Jesus rescues and redeems all people, and draws them into the presence of love. (Listen.)

Last week, the Baptist Union of NSW/ACT voted to effectively disaffiliate LGBTIQA+ affirming churches and disaccredit such pastors. It will also disaffiliate churches and disaccredit pastors who are committed to traditional Baptist values of freedom of conscience and congregational governance, and who on these grounds refuse to affirm a statement of marriage as the basis for affiliation. Continue reading “Luke | Promises, paradise, and the vastness of love”

Walking together in love: How LGBTIQA+ folk and allies make a church

Last weekend, the Baptist Union of NSW/ACT passed a motion that churches, faith communities and pastors who refuse for any reason to affirm a heteronormative statement of marriage will be disaffiliated or disaccredited. It’s beyond appalling, and it’s tempting for me to dissect all the ways this decision is destructive for people, churches and society. But for us here at Sanctuary,  who are not in NSW/ACT, this is the wrong focus just now. Instead, given the fear and concern it evokes in our own context, it will be more fruitful to remember who we are and what our work must be here. Continue reading “Walking together in love: How LGBTIQA+ folk and allies make a church”

Luke | Want to encounter God? Get lost!

It is precisely when we are lost that God seeks us out. (Listen.)

When I first preached on this text at Sanctuary, I began with a story. It went like this: So Joshua was at the pub, eating and drinking and talking with whoever turned up. There were gay folk and trans folk and very complicated families. There were women who loved work more than children, and who liked nothing more after work than a drink with their friends. There were sex workers and drug addicts; blokes fresh out of prison; evangelical atheists; and people who had been burned by the church. All these and more were crowding around and listening to what Joshua had to say. Continue reading “Luke | Want to encounter God? Get lost!”

Luke | Slow reading | Stilling the storm

 

A few weeks ago, the worshipping congregation described Sanctuary as a little boat riding the storm (here). So this week, let’s reflect on one of the Jesus-stills-the-storm texts. In Luke’s account, the story is surrounded by conflict. Immediately before Jesus and the disciples get in the boat, Jesus claims as his family those who do the word of God, even as his biological family stand at the door. Then he suggests that he and the disciples cross the lake to the other side i.e. the Gentile side. Continue reading “Luke | Slow reading | Stilling the storm”

Luke | Disabled and poor people are primary at God’s table

Disabled and poor people aren’t optional extras to God’s table, but primary participants. (Listen.)

It’s been more than twenty years since my mother died. As most of you know, she had multiple sclerosis. First it disrupted her balance, so she had to walk with a cane. Then it caused paraplegia, so she rolled around in a wheelchair. Gradually, the paralysis crept up her spine; she became quadriplegic. So she graduated into an electric wheelchair which someone else steered for her. Then she began losing hearing and vision; then finally the strength and mobility to inflate her lungs and breathe. She died quite literally crippled, lame and blind. Continue reading “Luke | Disabled and poor people are primary at God’s table”

Sanctuary | A little boat, riding the waves

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:32-34).

While Alison was on retreat, Greg led a congregational reflection on this text. From Greg and Elvira’s notes on the conversation:
The overwhelming image of Treasure was of Sanctuary, as a small boat in the midst of an unsettled and uncertain world. We are being tossed and turned, riding the waves in a safe and resilient place. It’s a place where the truth of the world and ourselves is named and confronted, but with honesty, humility and without ego – an honest little crew. Continue reading “Sanctuary | A little boat, riding the waves”

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”

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”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑