It’s been another Sunday with a few, but not many, kids; since COVID, most Sundays have been like that. Like so many churches around the world, over the last fifteen months the number of children and families attending services has collapsed. We’ve struggled to hold kids through a long year of Zoom; and now that we are meeting in person each fortnight, families are out of the habit of piling into the car and coming to church. And there are other obstacles. Once, a kid with a sniffle would still come; now, a kid with a sniffle means a family stays home. Continue reading “Will our kids have faith?”
I love the graphic imagery from 1 Peter, in which our adversary the devil is imagined as a roaring lion which prowls around, searching for someone to devour; and I love the confidence with which Peter assumes that, despite the hot stink of lion triggering our most primal fears, we can nevertheless remain grounded in God and steadfast in faith. In this latest outbreak of COVID-19, I am alert to my fear: fear of infection, fear of a long shutdown, fear for the social and emotional development of young people, fear for people struggling with mental health, fear for those whose homes are not safe, fear for what’s happening for people overseas. But I don’t want to be devoured by this fear; I don’t want it to shape and guide me. So Peter’s confidence is bracing, and spurs me to keep engaging in the practices which ground me in God. Continue reading “Slow reading: Like a roaring lion …”
A quiet bend in the river has been chosen, complete with resident platypus, a Bible has been ordered, a wetsuit has been arranged: all because a young person in our midst has responded to God’s call on her life and is ready to be baptised. And so, in a few weeks, we will do one of the most exciting things a church can do: hear her vows, and baptise her into the body of Christ.
In Christ we discover no judgement, only paradise: so why is condemnation such a feature of Christianity? A potted history. (Listen.)
It is a mystery to me why so many Christians spend their lives condemning people. It is a mystery to me why so many Christians spend their lives feeling guilty and condemned. And it is a mystery to me why I spend so much time condemning myself.
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; God is the one who will keep you on track.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
My faith, for better or worse, has always been a simple one, not deeply theological, but quite deeply spiritual. It has also waxed and waned from the very likely intolerable to those around me zeal of a freshly born again Christian in my mid 20s through to the less connected/taking for granted place I found myself in early 2020. God of course has quietly been sitting waiting for me to return with some subtle and not so subtle calls back to be close over the years.
To those reeling from another week in the patriarchy, the cross offers only foolishness: but in that foolishness we find healing and companionship. (Listen.)
Like so many people, I feel overwhelmed by the events of the last few weeks. Parliament House is revealed to be a hotbed of sexual violence; and our Prime Minister cannot imagine it matters until, we are told, his wife prompts him to think of his own daughters. Then the attorney general is named in allegations of historic rape. Meanwhile, the head of the defence force instructs young cadets that they should not make themselves ‘prey’ to predators, and that they can do this by, among other things, avoiding being ‘attractive.’ All this while our training grounds for power, that is, Sydney’s private schools, are publicly revealed as manifestly unsafe places for young women.
We like to make things complicated, but the faith which heals is simple. A word for our graduates moving away to university. (Listen.)
Naaman was hoping for a miracle. ‘Easy peasy lemon squeezy,’ said the prophet’s errand boy. ‘Go wash in the Jordan seven times, and you’ll be made clean.’ Then he ran back inside, narrowly avoiding a boot in the behind.
God’s provision requires living within creation’s limits. As Western consumers, how can we build a relationship with such a God?
In the passage from Exodus there is a playoff between the idea of what people think is comfortable and what God is trying to show them is comfortable. Nothing like a good flesh pot. Yum yum. Nothing like Maccas, Coles, or a tin of baked beans.
One of the things I loved about our physical service was the opportunity to sit on the floor and wonder about the Bible together. I’d tell the story, and wonder aloud, and gradually people of all ages would chip in. And together we’d ponder grace and forgiveness and what loving our enemies really means; we’d wonder about similar stories and, perhaps, how they’re turned upside down by this one; we’d recall times in our own lives when the story had become real; we’d wonder if God was calling us to anything now. Continue reading “Cartalk : Tabletalk : Faithtalk at home”
The gospel begins with the call to change our hearts. Here, a member of our congregation writes powerfully on the changes happening in her own heart, as her ideas about God are turned upside down and she discovers that there is good news for her, after all.
Up until a year ago I had gone to church almost every Sunday since I was 11 years old. In that time, I had grown to love God and I had also grown to really doubt Him and in being honest there have been many times where I have been really angry at Him too. In the 21 years I had been going to church I was constantly at war within myself. I loved God, I loved the church I attended, and I loved the family created within that church. Continue reading “A gay person cannot possibly share their story in church … can they?”