Slow reading: The prophet Amos and 26 January

Today is 26 January. It’s a day of formal ceremonies and concerts; festivities and fireworks; citizenship oaths and wattle seedlings; parades and parties; lamb on the barbie—and even WA is invited! Workplaces will be closed, pubs will be full, and our favourite swimming hole will be a sea of flags printed on towels, bikinis and stubbie holders, as people celebrate the construct we call Australia. Continue reading “Slow reading: The prophet Amos and 26 January”

Group reflection: Aboriginal Sunday 2022

In 1940, Aboriginal Christian Leader William Cooper asked all churches to set aside the Sunday before January 26th as Aboriginal Sunday, a day of Christian solidarity calling for full citizenship rights to be granted to Aboriginal peoples. More recently, Common Grace has reclaimed this day and asked churches around Australia to mark it each year. We worshipped on the lands of the Eastern Maar nation using prayers by Aboriginal Christian leaders, and  together reflected on one of many Biblical passages which link following God’s way with the health of the land. Continue reading “Group reflection: Aboriginal Sunday 2022”

37: Seek justice #Lent2021

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; justice and peace will kiss. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and justice will look down from the sky. God will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Justice will go before him, and make a path for his steps. (Psalm 85:10-13)

Like most Aboriginal people, I find myself in between two worlds. Belonging to the world’s oldest living culture, and a western culture termed “Australian” … The two worlds can make you sick, but most often it makes you tired.

Continue reading “37: Seek justice #Lent2021”

23: Ways of knowing #Lent2021

The sky tells the glory of God; the firmament proclaims God’s work … God’s teaching is whole, restoring to life; God’s pact is steadfast, making the fool wise. (Psalm 19:1, 7)

The Creeks (or Muscogees) already had a spiritual path laid down in the very beginning, given by the same Creator who inspired the Bible. We have our stories, our songs, rituals and ceremonies that celebrate and praise God as well as instill within us an awe of the mystery of life.

Continue reading “23: Ways of knowing #Lent2021”

Aunty Sandra Onus, Lidia Thorpe, and a pharaoh with no name

We are all called to be actors in God’s great story of salvation, reconciling people, land, culture, and even trees. (Listen.)

On the other side of Gariwerd, along the Western Highway, you’ll find a camp. It’s the Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy. Elder Aunty Sandra Onus, Zellanach Djab Mara and others are there. They are protecting an 800-year-old birthing tree. They are protecting a 350-year-old directions tree. They are protecting 3,000 other trees: and by protecting these trees, they are protecting their dreaming. Continue reading “Aunty Sandra Onus, Lidia Thorpe, and a pharaoh with no name”

Cartalk / Tabletalk 2: Birthing nations

Genesis is a story not just of individuals, but of nations. Abraham and Sarah are the ancestors of Israel; Abraham and Hagar, of the nation now recognised as Islam. Other stories in Genesis relate how Moabites, Amalekites and all the rest came into being … and how they are all related! This is a more challenging cartalk / tabletalk, suitable perhaps for older children and teenagers. Continue reading “Cartalk / Tabletalk 2: Birthing nations”

Dear Hagar: Letter from a white woman

The stories of Sarah and Hagar have been appropriated by white colonial peoples to devastating effect. Here is one white woman’s acknowledgement and response. (Listen.)

Dear Hagar: Today I read the stories about you, and Sarah, and Abraham. All my life, I’ve been taught that Sarah is the matriarch and great-grandmother of my faith; but I pretty much ignored her story. And yours. But today I read them, and this is what I saw: Sarah never once used your name; you’re just ‘the maidservant’ or ‘that slave.’ She forced you to sleep with her husband because she needed a son. But when you got pregnant, she was so threatened that she accused you of being ‘uppity’ and she abused you. Continue reading “Dear Hagar: Letter from a white woman”

In the face of chaos, a new story

As the Black Lives Matter protests unfold, let us remember an ancient life-giving story, given to a people who were also invaded, removed from their land, forced into slavery and subject to state sanctioned violence. (Listen.)

Explanatory note: Many scholars agree that the sea is an ancient symbol of chaos, and that Genesis was written during the Babylonian exile.

Imagine: Your country is invaded. An army rampages through the landscape, killing men, women, children, even babies: Their heads are dashed against the rocks. Barns are burned; homes flattened; towns looted; cities destroyed. Continue reading “In the face of chaos, a new story”

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