Luke | The level playing field

Jesus invites us to join him on a level playing field, where all may be healed. (Listen.)

So Jesus and his disciples were praying on the mountaintop. Then they came down to the level place smack bang into a crowd, and Jesus was mobbed. People from all over were there, and everyone wanted a piece of him: because they knew that hearing him and being touched by him would heal them of their diseases and unclean spirits. Dis-eases: the things which unsettled them, made them ill-at-ease and anxious. Unclean spirits: the internalized powers which drive people apart. But Jesus’ words and gentle touch healed them all. And when they were healed, Jesus turned to his disciples, and he taught them, and he said: “Blessed are you who are on JobSeeker or NDIS: for yours is the culture of God.” Continue reading “Luke | The level playing field”

Mark | 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 “Mark | The real #FirstWorldProblems”

Exodus | Plagues and other signs and wonders

A story of plague, empire and pyramids is truly a story for our times. A reflection, followed by a congregational conversation. (Listen to the reflection part here.)

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a nation whose gods shaped it into a pyramid of power. At the top was one man: Pharaoh: the semi-divine son of the sun god Ra. And as happens to everyone, Pharaoh was made in his god’s image. Dominating. Enslaving. Murderous. Turning the things of life—midwives, the Nile—into instruments of death.

Continue reading “Exodus | Plagues and other signs and wonders”

Group Reflection: If you are God’s beloved …

In Matthew’s account of the temptation of Christ (Matthew 4:1-11), the tempter suggests that God’s beloved son will be satisfied, protected, and, for a small price, politically powerful. Jesus rejects these suggestions. Throughout his life, he identifies with those who are hungry, suffering, vulnerable, humble, and powerless (see, e.g., Matthew 25:31-46 among many other examples), and he teaches not that the healthy, wealthy, and powerful are favoured by God, but the sick, poor, suffering, and humble. Continue reading “Group Reflection: If you are God’s beloved …”

Blessed are the school children, and other humble people

Jesus turns our assumptions about God’s blessings upside down. (Listen.)

Have you ever noticed how few people at this church drive a Porsche? Or how little time and money most of them spend on fashion? Have you noticed how rarely they go on big fancy trips? Or how often they buy things second hand or fair trade? Do you understand the choices that many of them have made? Continue reading “Blessed are the school children, and other humble people”

Proclamation, parties and praise!

Our Year of Luke is winding down, and I’m more in love with Luke than ever. Maybe it’s because Luke’s account is written for people like us: educated, professional, cosmopolitan, the sort of people who buy coffees out and who can confidently navigate a big city. The joy of Luke – and there’s a LOT of joy – is found when we allow God to confound our expectations and turn the world on its head. Hospitality is a big deal, and Luke teaches that we experience God’s hospitality when we welcome the stranger. Guests become hosts, outsiders know grace, the poor are blessed, and resurrection life can be experienced in this life now. Continue reading “Proclamation, parties and praise!”

Luke | The loneliness of the Australian colonial capitalist

The deep loneliness of colonial capitalism: and some pointers to an alternative economy. (Listen.)

The fear of saying the wrong thing means too often we say nothing at all. The following is a stumbling attempt to articulate some consequences of the colonial capitalist economy, to note resonances between some Indigenous economies and God’s kingdom culture, and to tentatively imagine a renewed economics which fosters connection and community. Time, space, audience and ignorance mean I necessarily make generalisations and minimise the extraordinary diversity of expressions of Indigenous economic systems. Continue reading “Luke | The loneliness of the Australian colonial capitalist”

Knitting in love

I remember being a child, legs swinging off the pew, when my mother gave a sermon on Dorcas. She began by holding up a copy of the newspaper’s weekend magazine. The cover showed her cousin, Col: a gold-chain wearing, chest-hair exposing boastful businessman, and close friend and associate of the now infamous Alan Bond. The accompanying article gushed over Col’s wealth, power and influence. Continue reading “Knitting in love”

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