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”
I’m on leave this week, so here’s a piece from the archives on the place of women in resurrection life. The reflection was first given to Sanctuary in November 2019, but I believe it speaks strongly to the current cultural moment.
Every now and then, I get a letter addressed to Mrs Paul Holdway; and I reel. Once I’ve stopped reeling, I wonder who on earth this woman is. She sounds like a shadow, a cipher. She’s probably maternal, almost certainly matronly. I’m sure she’s a great supporter of her husband and good at housework. She probably darns other people’s socks, and I’m sure she makes things for cake stalls and fetes. I have no idea what she herself is like, or what she herself is really interested in, but I do know this: There’s something extraordinarily silencing about having my name obliterated in a letter which is ostensibly addressed to me.
This coming Sunday, we will focus on the first creation story (here). During the service, I plan to reflect on how God acts in the face of chaos; here, I want to comment on translation. What’s interesting is the name of God and the related issue of pronouns, that is, he/him; she/her; they/them. Most English translations just write ‘God’ and assign a male pronoun; not coincidentally, most English translations have been authored by men. (If in doubt, read through the list of contributors in the front of your Bible. It’s an entirely depressing exercise.) Continue reading “Genesis | ‘Male and female they created them’: Pronouns and the community of God”
There’s a depressing phenomenon in the children’s book industry: girls happily read books marketed to both girls and boys, while boys usually only read books marketed to boys. What this means is that boys tend to have their worldview reinforced, whereas girls tend to see the world through the eyes of both girls and boys. It reminds me of the scene in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, when Trillian zaps Zaphod Beeblebrox with the point-of-view gun. Zaphod, a complete narcissist, suddenly sees the world and himself through her eyes. He reels in shock, then grabs the gun to zap her back. She looks at him and shrugs. “It won’t affect me,” she says sadly, “I’m already a woman.” Continue reading “Through women’s eyes”
Pronouns can limit or expand how we think about people; they can limit or expand how we think about God. (Listen.)
Once upon a time, long, long ago, Lady Wisdom called out at the public places—the city gates, the crossroads, the mountaintops—and she said: “The Lord began the work of creation with me. In time before dreaming I was in on the action; right from the word ‘go’ as the earth began. Continue reading “Proverbs | Lady Wisdom and the gender diverse community of God”