Luke | All the loneliness money can buy

Wealth buys us distance from other people: but it comes at a cost. (Listen.)

What can money buy? There are the obvious things, of course. The big house, the nice car, the Rolex. The overseas holiday. The designer dog. But what money really buys these days is distance from other people: large swathes of uninterrupted life. Large house blocks, where you cannot hear or see the neighbours. Private cars, for quiet, independent transport. Restaurants with plenty of space between the tables. Gated apartment buildings, entry by swipe key only. Noise-cancelling headphones, for when you can’t avoid the masses. A device per person, so every member of a household can stare into their own screen, alone. Continue reading “Luke | All the loneliness money can buy”

9 | one day … #Lent2022

Give for charity [alms] that which is within you; and see, everything will be made clean for you. But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practiced, without neglecting the others. (Luke 11:41-42)

This is where I fall short on my obligations to the rest of the world in a big way. But what are those obligations? What is charity? When charity is thought of as ‘love’ I’m good at that. My favourite part of a church service is called ‘The Peace’ when you embrace your neighbour on the pew, which, it’s true, is a bit more social than godly if you already know them, but if you don’t you feel a wonderful sense of kinship with all humanity. You feel, ‘We’re all in this strange world together, mate, and we’ll make the best of it, you and I.’ … Continue reading “9 | one day … #Lent2022”

Luke | The level playing field

Jesus invites us to join him on a level playing field, where all may be healed. (Listen.)

So Jesus and his disciples were praying on the mountaintop. Then they came down to the level place smack bang into a crowd, and Jesus was mobbed. People from all over were there, and everyone wanted a piece of him: because they knew that hearing him and being touched by him would heal them of their diseases and unclean spirits. Dis-eases: the things which unsettled them, made them ill-at-ease and anxious. Unclean spirits: the internalized powers which drive people apart. But Jesus’ words and gentle touch healed them all. And when they were healed, Jesus turned to his disciples, and he taught them, and he said: “Blessed are you who are on JobSeeker or NDIS: for yours is the culture of God.” Continue reading “Luke | The level playing field”

Psalms | God gives sleep to the beloved

As the year draws to a close, many of us are engaging in the great December tradition of running harder than ever. Work is crazy-busy, and our calendars are filled with end-of-year deadlines, functions and events – so much so that some of us have already said we won’t be at church until February. As one person said a few years ago, “I barely have time to breathe in Advent, let alone reflect.” Continue reading “Psalms | God gives sleep to the beloved”

Mark | The real #FirstWorldProblems

Most of us assume that wealth is a blessing and a privilege, but Jesus says otherwise. A reflection on one of his most ignored teachings (which, if taken seriously, would pretty much resolve the climate crisis and heal the world). (Listen.)

So I ordered a latte, and I don’t know whether the barista was having a bad day or whether the coffee shop is going downhill, but I was given a flat white — and the milk was too hot. And if I’m going to spend four bucks on a coffee, the least they can do is get it right. But, you know, #FirstWorldProblem. Continue reading “Mark | The real #FirstWorldProblems”

Jeremiah | Lament in a time of climate emergency

According to Jeremiah 12, injustice leads to land degradation and species loss. In an era of anthropogenic climate change, these words have new resonance and show us how to lament. (Listen.)

How long, O Lord, will the land mourn? How long will degraded topsoil blow away and riverbeds crack for lack of water? How many millions of frogs must die? How many fish? How many bees? How long will the evangelical industrial complex wield your name like a weapon, while passing laws and investing in industries which destroy ecosystems? How many bushfires, how many floods? How many environmental defenders must be murdered? Where is your justice, O Lord? How long must we wait? Continue reading “Jeremiah | Lament in a time of climate emergency”

Anyone for a weekly tech Sabbath in November?

During a recent service, Anita told us how her family was experimenting with a technology Sabbath. Each Friday evening, they turn off their iPads, computers, phones and tv; and they stay off until Saturday evening. ‘How is it?’ I asked her kids. ‘Oh, not great,’ admitted one, ‘but we played chess.’ ‘And did a heap of other stuff!’ said someone else.

Continue reading “Anyone for a weekly tech Sabbath in November?”

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