26 | love goes on #Lent2022

The lover sings, “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.” (Song of Solomon 8:6)

When Paul told me, immediately after his diagnosis, to remarry after he died, it exemplified the way he would, throughout his illness, work hard to secure my future. He was fiercely committed to ensuring the best for me, in our finances, my career, what motherhood would mean. At the same time, I worked hard to secure his present, to make his remaining time the best it could be, tracking and managing every symptom and aspect of his medical care—the most important doctoring role of my life—while supporting his ambitions, listening to his whispered fears as we embraced in the safety of our darkened bedroom, witnessing, acknowledging, accepting, comforting. Continue reading “26 | love goes on #Lent2022”

Cartalk / Tabletalk 7: Sisters, wives, handmaids

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at sibling rivalry through the story of brothers, Jacob and Esau; here, Laban’s decision and Jacob’s passion trigger an intense rivalry between sisters and, for all we know, handmaids. (You can read about the rivalry in the next chapter of Genesis.) This is a real rollercoaster of a story, in which men’s actions have devastating effects on four silent women. I wonder how these women experienced the events of this story. For example, what if Leah longed for Jacob? Could she and Rachel have negotiated the switch with their father? And where do you see God’s action in these lives? (For a reflection on this, click here.) Continue reading “Cartalk / Tabletalk 7: Sisters, wives, handmaids”

Relationships 101

As a pastor, most of my conversations revolve around relationships: having them, not having them, or having them break down. What is becoming clear to me is that most of us have internalised a whole lot of assumptions and expectations around relationships which we think are Biblical. Yet making a claim for a ‘Biblical marriage’ is pretty fraught, for if the Biblical witness teaches us anything about relationships, it is that they are, in fact, culturally bound. Continue reading “Relationships 101”

Luke | A rollicking romance and a house divided

How following Jesus tore a household apart – and eventually brought it together again. (Listen.)

I’d like to introduce you to a very shocking man: my father. But to understand why he is so shocking, you first need to know about my mother. My mother grew up in a fundamentalist household which rejected infant baptism, evolution, smoking, divorce, and many other things. Because she was super-smart and good at languages, and because everybody knew that no man would marry a super-smart woman, she had been groomed from an early age to be a Bible-translating missionary spinster. So away she went to university to study anthropology and linguistics; but there she met my father. Continue reading “Luke | A rollicking romance and a house divided”

Christian Family Values?

I was pottering around a local op shop last week; and while I was there, I overheard some pretty strong affirmations of Christian family values. It was clear to those chatting that, if we all lived like Christians, things would be a whole lot better than they are now. Families would stay together; kids would be properly disciplined; and no one would be on the dole. I’m not entirely sure what they meant by ‘Christian’, but I do know that, at this time of year, the Holy Family—Mary, Joseph, and Jesus—is often held up as a model for the Western nuclear family. Continue reading “Christian Family Values?”

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