Matthew | Like an arsonist

John the Baptizer has strong words for religious leaders; but, in the kingdom of heaven, even the most vulnerable person need not be afraid. (Listen.)

Sin. For many of us it’s a dirty word. Because many of us are recovering Christians. We are recovering from churches which preached judgement and condemnation, triggering fear and shame. We are recovering from feeling manipulated; we are recovering from the threat of hell; we are recovering from bad theology. We are recovering from mincing moralism which taught us to be afraid of our own desires. We are recovering from abusive shepherds and church leaders who stole our innocence away. We are recovering from all the ways the word ‘sin’ has been wielded like a weapon, to make us compliant and afraid. And yet, we are here. Continue reading “Matthew | Like an arsonist”

Luke | Promises, paradise, and the vastness of love

Jesus rescues and redeems all people, and draws them into the presence of love. (Listen.)

Last week, the Baptist Union of NSW/ACT voted to effectively disaffiliate LGBTIQA+ affirming churches and disaccredit such pastors. It will also disaffiliate churches and disaccredit pastors who are committed to traditional Baptist values of freedom of conscience and congregational governance, and who on these grounds refuse to affirm a statement of marriage as the basis for affiliation. Continue reading “Luke | Promises, paradise, and the vastness of love”

Walking together in love: How LGBTIQA+ folk and allies make a church

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”

Isaiah | The city of joy

Good health, good work, and good relationships come together to form a city of joy, and a people of delight. (Listen.)

A city of joy, its people a delight: this is what God promises through the prophet Isaiah. Sounds wonderful! So, what are the elements of this joyful city? First, says Isaiah, health and wellbeing. No child will die young; no senior die prematurely (Isa. 65:20). And we can imagine it. There are no coal-fired power stations; no rampaging wildfires; no unprecedented floods. There are no smouldering rainforests; no record-breaking heatwaves. No children or elders are struggling for breath through air thick with particulate matter; no one is sick from herbicides or forever chemicals because these are strictly banned; nobody is collapsing from extreme heat. Continue reading “Isaiah | The city of joy”

Revelation | A vision for the church

Imagine a church like the holy city: full of light, open to all peoples, rooted in the gospel, and overflowing with love. (Listen.)

A few years ago, I went to the Southwest Roadshow. There, LGBTIQA+ folk, allies and agencies listened to and learned from one another about the needs, resources and gaps in the region. I was there as an observer, at the invitation of friends. But to my surprise, one of those friends then introduced me to the gathering and told everyone about Sanctuary. Continue reading “Revelation | A vision for the church”

IDAHOBIT | Wenn’s story: The truth shall set you free

In Acts 11, Peter doesn’t argue with the Jerusalem Council about whether or not Gentiles are acceptable to God. Instead, he simply tells the story of his meeting with Cornelius and friends, and how he observed the Holy Spirit at work in their lives. In similar vein this IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia), I’d like to introduce you to one of our beloved Sanctuary folk, Wenn, whose faithfulness shines through in the following testimony. Wenn writes: Continue reading “IDAHOBIT | Wenn’s story: The truth shall set you free”

19 | totally loved #Lent2022

Isaiah proclaims, “God called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb God named me.” (Isaiah 49:1b)

[W]hen I asked Taj if he could remember a time in his life when he felt totally loved and affirmed as his authentic self, he told me about an experience he’d had in his UCCC congregation: The first Sunday I went back to my church after I came out at trans, I just remember standing in front of the table full of name tags, and staring at my name tag and thinking, “I can’t put that on.” Continue reading “19 | totally loved #Lent2022”

Galatians | It’s not about genitals, but love

There’s been a flurry in the news lately about what it means to be Christian; apparently, it has a lot to do with our genitals. Under the Religious Discrimination Bill currently before Federal Parliament, in order to be legally protected while discriminating against some sexualities and genders, faith-based schools and other organisations need to have a public statement of belief which explicitly rejects those sexualities and genders. Therefore, some “Christian” schools and other organisations have recently circulated statements which claim that what we do with our genitals, and whether they are seen to correlate with our gender assigned at birth, are litmus tests of faith. Continue reading “Galatians | It’s not about genitals, but love”

Ruth | Extending the protections of the law to everyone

The story of Ruth undermines the push for religious purity by extending the protections of the law, and the lineage of King David, to a person who was traditionally despised. (Listen.)

What a charming love story! After the loss of her husband, an attractive young widow is protected from starvation and assault, and taken under the wing of a kindly kinsman. Her barrenness is quickly remedied, and they all live happily ever after; indeed, the village women pray that she will be like Leah and Rachel, the foremothers of Israel, and lo! she becomes the great-grandmother of Israel’s most famous king. And it is indeed charming. Continue reading “Ruth | Extending the protections of the law to everyone”

Bartimaeus | Rejected by the worshipping community, commended for his faith

Rejected by the worshipping community, blind Bartimaeus has true insight into Christ and is commended for his faith. (Listen.)

He was slumped outside the city gates: because he wasn’t allowed inside anymore. He used to be there. But for his blindness or diffability or autism or trauma or gayness or questions or outspokenness or doubt or some other issue, he was criticized, then judged, then driven away, then erased. He was ordered not to mingle with the inside folk: and they were warned. Hanging out with him would taint them, might even lead to them being thrown out, too: so they carefully avoided him; they never returned his calls. Continue reading “Bartimaeus | Rejected by the worshipping community, commended for his faith”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑