The real #FirstWorldProblems

Most of us assume that wealth is a blessing and a privilege, but Jesus says otherwise. A reflection on one of his most ignored teachings (which, if taken seriously, would pretty much resolve the climate crisis and heal the world). (Listen.)

So I ordered a latte, and I don’t know whether the barista was having a bad day or whether the coffee shop is going downhill, but I was given a flat white — and the milk was too hot. And if I’m going to spend four bucks on a coffee, the least they can do is get it right. But, you know, #FirstWorldProblem. Continue reading “The real #FirstWorldProblems”

Five loaves, two fishes and a pocketful of prayers make a church

God provides abundance where people see scarcity, delights in gathering people to feed them, and comes up with endlessly surprising ways to do so—even during lockdown. (Listen.)

Here we are in lockdown again, and life is feeling small. We don’t see enough people; we don’t share enough meals; we don’t get enough exercise; the walls are beginning to close in. Even when lockdown eases, we know from previous experience that it will take time and energy to reengage with the world. We’ll have new restrictions to navigate and new fears to manage. And after all these months of infrequent socialising, some of us will decide that it’s all too hard; we’ll choose to stay home. Continue reading “Five loaves, two fishes and a pocketful of prayers make a church”

19: Trust God #Lent2021

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; God is the one who will keep you on track.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

My faith, for better or worse, has always been a simple one, not deeply theological, but quite deeply spiritual. It has also waxed and waned from the very likely intolerable to those around me zeal of a freshly born again Christian in my mid 20s through to the less connected/taking for granted place I found myself in early 2020. God of course has quietly been sitting waiting for me to return with some subtle and not so subtle calls back to be close over the years.

Continue reading “19: Trust God #Lent2021”

2: The hills #Lent2021

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

I’m 15, and asking for my Dad to get well, and help doesn’t come. I really thought it would, up until the last second. Some people give my Dad some tapes to listen to in his Walkman. They go to a church that believes sickness is a manifestation of sin. The tapes break the Walkman and can’t be listened to. Mum buys him a Discman which means he can listen to the Beatles with a nice palliative care nurse named Shane.

Continue reading “2: The hills #Lent2021”

Cartalk / Tabletalk 17: God’s economy: Enough for all

Our economic system assumes scarcity: that is, that there is never enough to go round. The anxiety generated by this idea leads us to hoard what we have, and to always seek more. But God’s abundance, seen here as manna, shows that there is enough for everyone. What do your household’s habits of working, shopping, saving, investing and giving reveal about your faith? Do you hoard money, clothes, whatever? Or do you trust God to provide what you need when you need it? How does this story challenge your economic behaviour? Continue reading “Cartalk / Tabletalk 17: God’s economy: Enough for all”

Born again into self-giving love

Jesus is not asking us to intellectually agree with a set of propositions, but to entrust our hearts to him in love. (Listen.)

Many years ago, I left home and went away to university. I came from a background where people talk about faith and science and politics and everything else, and perpetually wonder and ask questions. At university, I expected the same. I hooked up with the first Christian group which presented itself, but soon felt totally bewildered. I found myself in conversations I never wanted to have, in which the acceptability of women in leadership, the theory of evolution, questions of sexuality and gender, and many other issues were put under the microscope, and my position was always shown to be wrong. Continue reading “Born again into self-giving love”

Leading out of weakness and not-knowing

Some days I feel utterly overwhelmed by what I don’t know. I don’t know how to plant a church. I don’t know how to run a Bible study. I don’t know how to include children in worship, and I don’t know how to disciple teenagers. I don’t know how to grow a congregation, or increase attendance, or begin a service while people are chatting or slowly drifting in the door. I don’t know how to free us all from cultural captivity. I don’t know how to truly serve the LGBTIQA+ community or other marginalised groups, or how to galvanize other Christians around climate change. I don’t know how to develop a five-year-plan nor write a sermon, and every week I walk the cliff edge of terror as I try to work the latter out. And as for truly loving and forgiving people: well, the older I get, the less sure I am of this as I become more aware of my frailty, sinfulness and hardness of heart. Continue reading “Leading out of weakness and not-knowing”

Living the questions

Rainer Maria Rilke writes: “… try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” Continue reading “Living the questions”

#20: Find your voice: #40ways40days

Jesus said to the crowd: ‘When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.’ (Luke 12:11-12)

It was one of those sombre drizzly grey days of winter. The large car entered the cemetery. A young couple got out of the back seat and walked over to the grave site. I quickly put on my alb and priestly stole and joined them, prayer book in hand. The funeral director opened the boot of the car and lifted out a white box, scarcely bigger than a shoe box. It was the coffin of the couple’s first child. Continue reading “#20: Find your voice: #40ways40days”

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