Proverbs | Wisdom for changing times

Divine wisdom is found in liminal spaces: and is confident, creative and relational. (Listen.)

I have a confession to make. For a pastor, it’s a biggie, and it’s this: I don’t know where the church is headed. When Sanctuary began, we had a pretty clear path: gather up hungry people and establish regular habits of all-age worship and meals so that they could be fed: a program described behind my back as ‘boot camp’. But then the pandemic hit and two years of lockdowns—a third of our life together—blew everything out of the water. Continue reading “Proverbs | Wisdom for changing times”

Pentecost | God’s holy breath

The breath poured into the early disciples fills the earth even now. (Listen.)

Take a deep breath. The thing is this: The atmosphere which blankets our beloved wounded blue-green planet is a closed system. Nothing goes in; nothing goes out. For millions of years, the exhalations of swamp gas and the inhalations of dinosaurs and the exhalations of leafy plants and the inhalations of Neanderthals and the exhalations of soft mosses and the inhalations of swallowtails have been going around and around and around. Continue reading “Pentecost | God’s holy breath”

Revelation | God’s final ‘Yes!’

The invitations to enter God’s holy city just keep on coming. (Listen.)

Awhile back, I was talking to someone who has experienced a lot of violence in her life. To add insult to injury, she has been told that unless she gives her life to Jesus, she will suffer further punishment when she dies. ‘I can’t believe in a god who makes me suffer like this,’ she said, ‘and I can’t believe in a god who will send me to hell because I can’t believe in him.’ I looked at her and said, ‘I can’t believe in a god like that, either.’ Continue reading “Revelation | God’s final ‘Yes!’”

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”

Luke | Christ, our mother hen

The power of Christ is seen in a mother hen: warm, vulnerable, disarming. (Listen.)

Where is God? We see Russian troops invading Ukraine and desperate people trapped; we hear of Rohingya Muslims being persecuted and Burmese protestors mown down in the streets; we watch Israeli settlers seizing more and more Palestinian land by force; we read of military atrocities and police brutality and institutional violence; we know the reality of domestic abuse; and through it all we wonder: Where is God? Why isn’t God protecting the innocent? When will God punish the violent and keep vulnerable people safe? Continue reading “Luke | Christ, our mother hen”

Mark | The parable universe

Finding new metaphors for the kingdom for God. (Listen.)

What shall we say the kingdom of God is like? With what shall we compare it? Perhaps this: The kingdom of God is like a Facebook post with zero ‘likes.’ But somebody reads it and it takes root, nobody knows how. Gradually it grows, producing in them prayers and images and conversations and hope: and these seeds are shared abundantly. Some take root in other people, and so the post lives on. Continue reading “Mark | The parable universe”

30: My rock #Lent2021

God is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. (Psalm 18:2)

“Prayers are tools not for doing or getting but for being and becoming.” (Eugene Peterson)

P:            We moved across town when I was about maybe 10 years old. And I had no friends, and I had a Bible that I’d purchased with my own money. And I started reading it because I had no friends. Continue reading “30: My rock #Lent2021”

Exodus | Walking between the waves

When a nation is founded on violence, and uses violence to ensure people’s ongoing submission and obedience, the forces of chaos will one day overwhelm and destroy it. (Listen.)

As we saw last week, our world is besieged by plagues and other signs and wonders. These are desperate times in which sin is a deep, ever-present, and continuing reality, which affects every person, and all life, on earth. Only a fool would claim that life is good right now.

Continue reading “Exodus | Walking between the waves”

Blow through me, Breath of God

Did you know that, in both Greek and Hebrew, the word we translate as ‘spirit’ means ‘air-in-movement’? In Hebrew, it’s the feminine ruah, or breath, which hovers over the waters of chaos in Genesis. In Greek, it’s the gender neutral pneuma which descends from heaven and fills Jesus’ disciples. You get a sense of the Greek word from the English words ‘pneumatic’ (containing air), and my ten-year-old’s favourite word: ‘pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis’, a condition seriously restricting air flow caused by the inhalation of silicate, possibly from a volcano. Phew! Continue reading “Blow through me, Breath of God”

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