11 | the spirit bird #Lent2022

The Psalmist sings, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me under the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 17:8)

The image of God as a spirit bird enfolding me in her wings is what has come to me over the previous two years as I battled an energy crisis with hypothyroidism. I came to know “the voice of the Lord is over the waters” (Psalm 28:3) like the spirit bird hovering over the waters and over all the chaos in our world. Then this knowing became even closer to me. Continue reading “11 | the spirit bird #Lent2022”

This Lent: Eat chocolate!

It’s been a long Lent. Perhaps it began for you when the pandemic broke out and we entered our first lockdown. Perhaps it began when you first became aware of the lack of leadership in key institutions, or a great silence in the church. Perhaps it began when you first recognized how sexism, racism, classism, or homo- or transphobia have shaped and scarred you. Perhaps your Lent began in the harshness and wilderness of your childhood. Whatever, whenever, for many of us it’s been a long Lent. Continue reading “This Lent: Eat chocolate!”

Slow reading: You will know them by their fruits

Many will say “Lord, Lord”: and as the last week in politics demonstrated, as we head towards an election this clamour will become ever louder. But followers of Jesus shouldn’t be taken in by it. Instead, we are instructed to look at the effects of people’s words and actions and weigh up whether or not they are truly doing the will of the Father in heaven. Jesus tells us what this will is: “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.” By this rule, those whose words and actions marginalize, humiliate, manipulate, diminish, suppress, silence or harm others are not speaking or acting in God’s name, whatever they may claim. Continue reading “Slow reading: You will know them by their fruits”

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”

Lent Book 2022: Fruit of the Spirit

I don’t know about you, but my news feed contains a lot of bad news. Of course, there’s the endless Covid figures. But I also see public figures behaving badly: politicians speaking with arrogance and contempt; shock jocks spewing rubbish; news corporations lying through their teeth; and celebrities showing off. I see nations posturing and chronic injustice and climate denial and death; I see major industries ravaging land, water, sky and politics; I see blatant untruths and manufactured outrage driving the attention economy. And while it’s naive to deny that these things are happening, to focus on them and let them capture all my attention is deeply, deeply wearying. Continue reading “Lent Book 2022: Fruit of the Spirit”

Pentecost | Filled with new wine

Are we open to the intoxicating power of the Holy Spirit, or are we dispiritingly sober? (Listen.)

One of my happy places is Little Creatures brewery in Geelong – or any big barnlike place which serves hot chips, a decent pint, and a place to hang out with family and friends. I also love being around a dinner table with simple food and backyard flowers, hosting people in the process of getting to know each other. I love chatting in a coffee shop, latte in hand and the hiss of an espresso machine in the background. I love sitting at my desk having Zoom drinks with friends; I love making coffees at Anglicare and swapping tall stories with clients and volunteers; I love lazing around the garden with a glass of wine or mineral water, and a cheese board, and guests. Basically, it doesn’t take much to make me happy: good food, good drink, and good conversation.

Continue reading “Pentecost | Filled with new wine”

When God seems absent

When God seems absent, we need each other. (Listen.)

Did you hear it? The disciples have been sent into shutdown. For the Risen Jesus orders them not to leave Jerusalem. Instead, they must wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which will fill them with power. Then he moves into the cloud which signifies God’s presence, and disappears from their sight. And so the disciples—men and women both—go back to the room where they’re staying, and devote themselves to prayer. They don’t know what the future holds; they don’t know how long they must wait. But in faith they bunker down to watch and wait, pray and wonder: in all these things, together.

Continue reading “When God seems absent”

23: Ways of knowing #Lent2021

The sky tells the glory of God; the firmament proclaims God’s work … God’s teaching is whole, restoring to life; God’s pact is steadfast, making the fool wise. (Psalm 19:1, 7)

The Creeks (or Muscogees) already had a spiritual path laid down in the very beginning, given by the same Creator who inspired the Bible. We have our stories, our songs, rituals and ceremonies that celebrate and praise God as well as instill within us an awe of the mystery of life.

Continue reading “23: Ways of knowing #Lent2021”

Group reflection: Listen to him!

A group of people meet in a carpark (thanks, COVID), and hear an ancient story in which Jesus’ followers see their teacher, Jesus, standing with Moses, who represents the law, and Elijah, who represents the prophets, on a mountaintop. And a cloud, aka the presence of God, envelops them, and they hear a voice saying, ‘This is my son, the Beloved; listen to him.” Suddenly when they look around, they see nobody with them anymore, but only Jesus. So, what do the people in a carpark notice? Continue reading “Group reflection: Listen to him!”

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