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 “The parable universe”

Resurrection: Echoes #Lent2021

Jesus said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’ (John 21:17; Simon is also known as Peter (‘Rock’))

I once was in desperate need of making a decision and, almost without control, found myself marching to a small chapel. Inside, possessed with an agency I still marvel at, I asked myself what story of the Gospels most sounded like what I needed to hear. It was a question of pure intuition. One the whim of some kind of autopilot, I turned to the last chapter in John, the chapter where Peter has decided that he is returning to fishing and he goes, together with six others who follow him even if he may have wished they weren’t.

Continue reading “Resurrection: Echoes #Lent2021”

24: Hope made flesh #Lent2021

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being … And the Word became flesh and lived among us. (John 1:1-3a, 14a)

What does it mean to both me and my reader not only that I was born into a Christian missionary family, but also that I’ve consciously and deliberately chosen to live out my life as a person of faith? How does that shape what I write?

Continue reading “24: Hope made flesh #Lent2021”

4: How gentle the snow #Lent2021

“I will not hide my face from them any longer, for I will have poured out my Spirit on the house of Israel,” says the Lord God. (Ezekiel 39:29)

 The way I see it, a mystic takes a peek at God and then does her best to show the rest of us what she saw. She’ll use image-language, not discourse. Giving an image is the giving of gold, the biggest thing she’s got. Mysticism suggests direct union, divine revelation, taking a stab at the Unknown with images, cryptic or plain, sensible or sensory. A mystic casts out for an image in whatever is at her disposal and within reach, like a practiced cook who can concoct a stew from the remaining carrots and a bruised potato, or like a musician improvising with buckets and wooden spoons. She does not circumvent; she hammers a line drive. A mystic is a kid finding a kingdom in ash heap…

Continue reading “4: How gentle the snow #Lent2021”

The best gift is your vulnerability ~ Theme for Lent Book 2021

Are you wondering what to offer the church next year? Of course, time and money are always welcome; they keep this boat afloat! But one thing we could really use more of is vulnerability. Because, as I said last week, whenever somebody makes themselves vulnerable, we grow in leaps and bounds. And one powerful way of sharing vulnerability is sharing our true stories. Continue reading “The best gift is your vulnerability ~ Theme for Lent Book 2021”

Every church needs a saint like Lindsay

Lindsay was a pillar of the church. He had been there for over fifty years, and was the longest-serving member. And he was a good and faithful servant. Every week, hours before anyone else arrived, he unlocked the building. He set out the chairs higgledy-piggledy, drew the curtains, and otherwise prepared for worship. Then someone else turned up and rearranged things just so.

Continue reading “Every church needs a saint like Lindsay”

What is your next step in God’s story of liberation?

Moses lives; Moses dies; but God’s story continues – and we are all invited to participate. (Listen.)

It’s the end of the road: Moses is dead. So let us remember him. He was born into slavery, slated for genocide, yet saved by brave midwives, his sister, and Pharaoh’s own daughter. He grew up to be nothing much, a shepherd and a fugitive, when God called him into service. And despite his reluctance, his anxiety, and his stutter, God used Moses to set the people free. Continue reading “What is your next step in God’s story of liberation?”

Aunty Sandra Onus, Lidia Thorpe, and a pharaoh with no name

We are all called to be actors in God’s great story of salvation, reconciling people, land, culture, and even trees. (Listen.)

On the other side of Gariwerd, along the Western Highway, you’ll find a camp. It’s the Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy. Elder Aunty Sandra Onus, Zellanach Djab Mara and others are there. They are protecting an 800-year-old birthing tree. They are protecting a 350-year-old directions tree. They are protecting 3,000 other trees: and by protecting these trees, they are protecting their dreaming. Continue reading “Aunty Sandra Onus, Lidia Thorpe, and a pharaoh with no name”

Becoming prisoners of hope

In this current moment, despair feels natural: but we are only partway through a story, and the ending has not yet been written. (Listen.)

Young Joseph had it all. He was his father’s favourite, a spoiled brat. He was given a beautiful coat with long sleeves: because no one expected him to do any real work, anything which required him to roll his sleeves up. He had vivid dreams which showed he would one day be top of the heap, and he had God-given interpretive gifts. He was on the wide road to success, power, affirmation, acclaim. Continue reading “Becoming prisoners of hope”

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