Biblical wisdom, cultural knowledge, language and healing

Biblical wisdom leads to understanding the particularities of place and the interconnectedness of all things, and is a source of hope for the healing of the earth. (Listen.)

Note: This reflection is by a white Second Nations person speaking with a white Second Nations congregation, with all the limitations this entails. Yet it seems to us better to fumble our way towards greater understanding than to give up altogether.

Acorn. Dandelion. Fern. Heron. Ivy. Kingfisher. Nectar. Willow. These are but some of the words which were cut from a revised edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary a few years ago. A dictionary has only so much space, and the editors decided these words were irrelevant to the modern child. In their place, they added other words: attachment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee. Continue reading “Biblical wisdom, cultural knowledge, language and healing”

The bitch slaps back

Yes, Jesus calls a woman a dog. It’s not his finest moment. But the bitch slaps back: and he listens, and learns, and grows. (Listen.)

‘Bitch.’ It’s a vicious taunt. Every time I hear it, I’m left enraged, gutted, and gasping, which is exactly what the taunter wants. It’s meant to silence: and mostly, it works. It tells me that the speaker doesn’t see me as fully human. There seems no point in continuing the relationship: so I shut my mouth, and move away. Continue reading “The bitch slaps back”

For the life of the world

An enfleshed God unites us with the community of all creation and points us to urgent climate action. (Listen.)

There are two kinds of eating, says Jesus; two kinds of food. One, we eat of the created goodness, plants and animals which we rip into with our teeth, and chew and swallow; they are absorbed into us so that we might live. This is the food which perishes. The other, we eat of Christ, ripping in with our teeth, chewing and swallowing. Christ is absorbed into us that we might live beyond simply being alive: this is the food which endures. The first food provides vitamins, minerals, calories, fats; the second, transformation, wholeness, wisdom, healing. The first grants fullness of stomach, here and now; the second, fullness of life in time beyond time. These ways of eating are intimately related: and they point to the care of the whole earth. Continue reading “For the life of the world”

How Psalm 86 changed a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day

Are we in lockdown? Are we not? Can we have visitors to our home? Are we in the classroom, or are we teaching and learning remotely? Are we worshipping in person or on Zoom? How many people from my house can go to the grocery store today? When the news says ‘Melbourne’, does it include regional Victoria? Can my daughter come home for her sister’s birthday? Can my husband go to his office? If we’re allowed to gather in a group, can we sing?
Continue reading “How Psalm 86 changed a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day”

First the pain, then the waiting, then the rising

The pain is the terror which wakes you in the small hours. It’s the sweat rolling down your brow; it’s desperate prayer beyond words; it’s abandonment by friends who cannot bear to watch. It’s the gut-wrench of betrayal; the hollowness of a false kiss. It’s the scourge of the whip; the agony of thorns; the spear thrust in the side. It’s God-forsakenness, for God is nowhere to be found. This is the unbearable pain of crucifixion; in the suffering, something must die. Continue reading “First the pain, then the waiting, then the rising”

Chronic pain changes everything. So does chronic love

After a recent service, members of the congregation had a long conversation about chronic pain, sharing resources, techniques and encouragement. In response, I invited people to reflect on the intersection of faith and pain in their lives. Here is Ollie’s story. Thanks, Ollie!

I only had a short time of suffering chronic pain. A few years ago, when I went part time at work and became primary carer part time, I would get these episodes where my ankle would become extremely painful for a few hours at a time. At the start it would just go away after a while or with mild medication. Continue reading “Chronic pain changes everything. So does chronic love”

Friends beyond any binary

Christ breaks down the walls between all peoples, then unites them together in love. (Listen.)

Male + Female. Gay + Straight. Trans + Cis. Black + White. Neurodiverse + Neurotypical. Progressive + Conservative. Catholic + Protestant. Believer + Unbeliever. And I could go on with the binaries. We live in a world which loves to label people. Sometimes, labels can be incredibly helpful; they can provide a lens to understand ourselves and other people. But all too often, labels are used to make insiders and outsiders; they are used to exclude and condemn. Continue reading “Friends beyond any binary”

Menstruation, miscarriage, and the multitude robed in white

Bleeding bodies and suffering selves are all gathered up in Christ. (Listen.)

Like me, my mother was an ordained Baptist minister; but unlike me, she had endometriosis. Among other things, this meant that her menstrual periods were excruciatingly painful, and came upon her without warning, in great floods. And so my childhood is studded with high stress memories of her period suddenly starting while we were out. There’d be an intake of breath, then a quick hissed exchange between my parents, then a frantic search for a public toilet before disaster struck. Continue reading “Menstruation, miscarriage, and the multitude robed in white”

The strongest one

Jesus exorcises voices of family, church and society. A metaphorical mix up of demons, dwellings, and healing. Note: Beelzebul is the demon king, and also the demon of the dwelling place. (Listen.)

When I first introduced the man who was to become my husband to my extended family, not one but two different people said to me, “Wow! We never thought you’d meet anyone, let alone a Collins Street lawyer.” Never mind that my husband’s office was on Queen Street; the message was clear. All my life I’d been told by family, church and society that no man wanted an outspoken wife. I was insightful, articulate, prophetic, forceful: great qualities in a man or, perhaps, a celibate single professional woman. But if I wanted to ‘catch’ a good husband, I would need to dumb down and shut up, because the person God had made me to be was unattractive and unlovable, and would make a dreadful wife and mother. Continue reading “The strongest one”

Slow reading: May God integrate y’all

In Acts 17:1-10, we learn that Paul and Silas went to Thessalonica and, in three days, convicted ‘some of the Jews’, as well as ‘a large number of God-fearing Gentiles and not a few prominent women’ to the way of Jesus Christ. However, others – both Jew and Gentile – saw the message as a threat, so they stirred up mobs, riots and legal accusations against them. Paul and Silas were hustled out of the city, leaving the brand new yet already persecuted church to fend for itself. The following is a word of encouragement written by Paul to the church—and to us now, especially those of us surprised by the new COVID restrictions. As you read, be aware that every occurrence of the word ‘you’ is plural here. In everything, Paul is addressing the Thessalonians not as individuals, but as a group. How does this affect your understanding of salvation-healing-wholeness? Continue reading “Slow reading: May God integrate y’all”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑