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”

Luke | Not even #humble

Competitive faithfulness has no place in God’s kingdom; instead, it’s all about love. (Listen.)

So the minister and the deacon are standing at the front of the church, praying. In a big, resonant voice the minister says, ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ In a clear, ringing voice the deacon says, ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ Then they hear a muffled sound coming from the back of the building. They turn to see the cleaner, head bowed, kneeling, beating his breast and saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ The minister turns to the deacon and says, ‘Look who’s calling himself a sinner!’ Continue reading “Luke | Not even #humble”

Luke | Want to encounter God? Get lost!

It is precisely when we are lost that God seeks us out. (Listen.)

When I first preached on this text at Sanctuary, I began with a story. It went like this: So Joshua was at the pub, eating and drinking and talking with whoever turned up. There were gay folk and trans folk and very complicated families. There were women who loved work more than children, and who liked nothing more after work than a drink with their friends. There were sex workers and drug addicts; blokes fresh out of prison; evangelical atheists; and people who had been burned by the church. All these and more were crowding around and listening to what Joshua had to say. Continue reading “Luke | Want to encounter God? Get lost!”

Faith | Orthodoxy, and the case for curiosity, wonder and love

As the sole pastor in a small congregation, I’m a GP. That is, I’m not a children’s pastor, a women’s pastor, a preaching pastor, or any other specialist. Instead, I’m a general practitioner. So when I think about church, of course I think about adults, but I also think about children. I think about autistic people, and people with disabilities, and people who are non-readers. Continue reading “Faith | Orthodoxy, and the case for curiosity, wonder and love”

Hosea | Gomer, the face of God

God is not seen in a violent man, but in a woman known for her love. (Listen.)

Like so many women, I know what it is to receive unwanted attention and even assault. The comments about my breasts in primary school and, later, the wolf whistles; the propositions. The unsought gawkings and strokings and gropings. The encounters where consent was murky at best. And given what so many of my sisters have experienced, I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Continue reading “Hosea | Gomer, the face of God”

Luke | The Good Samaritan: A guided meditation

Using sacred imagination to inhabit multiple viewpoints, and to experience healing at the hands of an enemy. (Listen.)

Today, we are going to use our sacred imaginations in a guided meditation. To make the most of this, set aside some time, and allow plenty of space between the questions to wonder and to notice what emerges in you. When you are ready, relax your body; uncross your legs; uncomplicate your heart. Ask God to help you surrender to whatever it is that God wants to do in you or say to you today. Breathe slowly and deeply in, then out. When you are ready, with sacred breath, push open the door. Continue reading “Luke | The Good Samaritan: A guided meditation”

2 Kings | The god of the land

A provocative retelling of 2 Kings 17 for NAIDOC Week. (Listen.)

Once upon a time, there was a cruel empire, formed in the image of its gods. Its navy patrolled the seven seas; its armies marched through foreign lands; its merchants controlled entire regions through trade monopolies and taxes. The empire grabbed and sold slaves and spices, sapphires and silks; it grew rich on stolen people, stolen wealth, stolen land. Gradually, it spread across the globe. One day it reached a strange new land, where mammals hop and giant birds run and bright birds screech and even the stones hum. Continue reading “2 Kings | The god of the land”

Galatians | Roe vs Wade vs Loving

You were called to freedom, my siblings; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. (Galatians 5:13)

I was speaking with a woman a few months ago who had been at a large conference. She observed to me that, as a certain bishop spoke against gay marriage, she was struck by the vindictive hatred which distorted his face. Continue reading “Galatians | Roe vs Wade vs Loving”

Guided meditation: Jesus washes his disciples’ feet

A guided meditation. (Listen.)

Tonight, we are not physically gathered in a room. We cannot pass the peace with hug or handshake; we cannot wash each other’s feet. But our imaginations are not confined. So tonight, allow me to lead you in a guided meditation, and just as our Lord reaches out to us, let us meet one another in the communion of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading “Guided meditation: Jesus washes his disciples’ feet”

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