Growing up in the church meant hearing fairly regularly about Esther. The general narrative taught was along the lines of: beautiful young woman, hand picked and placed by God into the palace so that she could bravely advocate for her people. She was away from home and scared and isolated and it was a bit weird she was made to make the most of her looks* but she did it all as God had placed her in this euphemistic beauty pageant ‘for such a time as this.’
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 “In a climate emergency, Jeremiah shows us how to lament”
In lockdown some of us are appreciating the simple things and discovering, with the wisdom writer, that some choices are better than others. (Listen.)
If anything good came out of last year’s extended lockdown, it was this: My husband no longer lived in Melbourne part time; he was home every day of the week. I no longer had to operate as a single parent, ever. My daughters were always home, no shuttling to school or activities; and, being self-directed learners, they needed little supervision. No one came over; we didn’t go out. Free from the scramble of sole parenting, free from the drop-offs and pickups and workdays curtailed, free from commuting to Melbourne for work myself, free from activities and dinners and going away on holiday, with meetings cancelled and housework shared: I had time. Continue reading “Better a dinner of greens …”
Israel is engaging in spiritual practices, but God isn’t responding and Israel wants to know the reason why. We live in an age when spirituality has been privatised and turned into a marketable commodity; where fasting is about slimming and ‘wellness’; where subscription-based meditation apps are best-sellers; where spiritual practitioners push products on goop; where people spend thousands on spiritual retreats; yet anxiety, depression, addiction and autoimmune diseases run rampant. To those wondering, ‘Why isn’t God listening? Why aren’t we being healed?’, God’s answer through the prophet Isaiah is scorching–and there’s not a scented candle in sight. Continue reading “Slow reading: Your healing shall spring up quickly”
This coming Sunday we celebrate Pentecost. On this day long ago, the Holy Spirit came down from heaven ‘like fire’ and touched a motley group of Jesus followers, simultaneously uniting them and empowering them to communicate with all peoples. As such, Pentecost has traditionally been celebrated as the formation and birthday of the church. But what the church looks like, that is, how people gather as communities of faith, must find new shape in every time and place.
Some of us feel conflicted about our mothers, confused about love, and coerced by Mother’s Day. Thankfully, Jesus shows us what love is, and draws us into his family. (Listen.)
Today is Mother’s Day. Some of us have enjoyed breakfast in bed, and hugs, and chocolate, and flowers. Some of us have celebrated with big family luncheons. Some of us have spent time with a mother who has become a good friend: and these are all things to be thankful for and to celebrate. And yet for many of us, this is a day flecked with pain.
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.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5) + You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. (John 15:16)
For three nights and three days I was unable to sleep, because I was thinking so much about what decision I should make. On the third night, I woke Grace up during the night. I said, “Can you pray for me, I would like to receive Jesus Christ, because my heart is torn apart.”
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18-19)
I particularly identify with Luke 4:18-19 and have experienced this as a call on my life. From the age of 15 I wanted to be a lawyer to help people and because I was fascinated by institutions. I started a theology degree part time during the last year of Law School and continued it over the next 8 years while I started work as a lawyer. A couple of years into my career I was asked to help in a case to assist a victim of abuse to seek justice from an institution.
“Remember: I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)
For me it’s been a year beyond words. Bushfires which left me reeling; we had driven to southern NSW the September earlier and had felt so unsettled by the unusually dry spring in Gippsland and up through southern NSW. All things COVID: the news, the lockdowns and the continued havoc of COVID overseas. Family and close friends dealing with significant health issues.