Mark | The strongest one

Jesus exorcises voices of family, church and society. A metaphorical mix up of demons, dwellings, and healing. Note: Beelzebul is the demon king, and also the demon of the dwelling place. (Listen.)

When I first introduced the man who was to become my husband to my extended family, not one but two different people said to me, “Wow! We never thought you’d meet anyone, let alone a Collins Street lawyer.” Never mind that my husband’s office was on Queen Street; the message was clear. All my life I’d been told by family, church and society that no man wanted an outspoken wife. I was insightful, articulate, prophetic, forceful: great qualities in a man or, perhaps, a celibate single professional woman. But if I wanted to ‘catch’ a good husband, I would need to dumb down and shut up, because the person God had made me to be was unattractive and unlovable, and would make a dreadful wife and mother. Continue reading “Mark | The strongest one”

36: Be still #Lent2021

“Be still and know that I am God; I will rise up among the nations, I will rise up from the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

The thing that I have been learning this year is to ‘Be still and know that I am God’. It has been a year of learning to slow down, listen, muse and write. For example, I got thinking about the story of the healing of the demon possessed man in Mark 5, and wondered if it could say anything to us today. So I reset the story in our culture and our time to see how it looked. Here it is:

Continue reading “36: Be still #Lent2021”

Mark | Out of my mind with fear

Our four-week-series of reflecting on church together has been postponed while we give ourselves time to adapt to the next phase of COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, here’s an opportunity for slow reading.

Some days are better than others: but this was not one of them. I woke up with my heart pounding, intensely aware of my anxiety. I felt it, named it, and prayed about it, then swung my legs out of bed and began my morning routine. Anxiously, I drank some water; anxiously, I did a workout; anxiously, I had a long hot shower … and still my heart pounded with fear. Muttering to myself that it would be a stupid waste of time while I was in this state, nevertheless I sat down to my daily practice: slow reading Scripture then sitting in silence, imagining myself in the Scripture and looking always towards God. Continue reading “Mark | Out of my mind with fear”

John | Holy Spirit: Defence lawyer, healer, friend

A testimony to the work of the Holy Spirit in my own life, and a promise to all who have been judged and found wanting. (Listen.)

I grew up in a hypercritical atmosphere. I know my mother loved me deeply; nevertheless, I was told every day that nothing I did was good enough. I’d wipe the kitchen bench, and be screamed at for holding the sponge carelessly or for knocking a few crumbs on the floor. I’d sweep, and she’d shout that I was doing it all wrong; when I changed how I held the broom, things only got worse. Once, I dropped a drinking glass; amid sobs and shrieks I was accused of destroying something precious and irreplaceable. Of course, I became a timid, anxious, furtive kind of child; and a cripplingly self-conscious adolescent who was so defensive and so filled with rage that there were times when I could barely breathe. Continue reading “John | Holy Spirit: Defence lawyer, healer, friend”

Lent 2020: Introduction

It is impossible to read the gospel accounts without being struck by the number of healing stories. Everywhere he goes, Jesus heals; and healing is central to his self-professed ministry. “Tell John,” he says, “that the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” (Matthew 1:4-5). Later, Jesus commissions his disciples to engage in this same ministry—but what is it? Continue reading “Lent 2020: Introduction”

Healing: Bringing together things torn apart

Over the next few months, we’ll be looking at healing. Of course, healing takes many forms, but underlying them all is the experience of being made whole. The Greek word for ‘demonic’ means ‘tearing apart’; and so something which is demonic tears apart bodies, minds and spirits, people and communities. Physical or mental illness, damaging and abusive relationships, racism, sexism, war, shame: these are just a few of the demons which tear people apart. Continue reading “Healing: Bringing together things torn apart”

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!

Listen here.

Once upon a time, my fiancé and I were living in North Fitzroy; and we were married by Paul Turton at the North Carlton Baptist Church. We stood before the congregation, and made our promises, and were declared a wedded couple. Straightaway, I met a surprising number of interesting, intelligent, and attractive men. I began wondering if my own interesting, intelligent, and attractive man was really the best option, or whether I had made a colossal mistake; and I found myself wrestling with demons of pride, and doubt, and desire.  Continue reading “Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!”

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