Bushfires

Bushfires Loving God, our prayers today are where our hearts and minds have been during last week: with the victims of the bushfires. We pray for those who mourn their dead: families, neighbours, school friends, workmates. O God, divine friend, be with them in their desperate sorrow. Comfort their torn hearts and heal them from nightmare memories. Let there be joy, let there be peace, let there be hope, let there be love. We pray for the injured survivors in our hospitals: those who are severely burnt or disfigured and those suffering ones who may never recover. Relieve them from pain and soothe their tortured minds by your Holy Spirit. Let there be joy, let there be peace, let there be hope, let there be love. Gracious Lord, we pray for all who lost their homes: comfort them as they grieve the loss of very special personal possessions, treasured photos or letters, gifts, heirlooms or mementos which held a host of precious memories. Let there be joy, let there be peace, let there be hope, let there be love. We pray for the firefighters who mourn dead comrades. Be with them in their distress. Bless their dedication and courage, and…...

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Downdetector

  I was reflecting recently on the new covenant expressed in Jeremiah 31:31–34: “I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts; and will be their God and they will be my people”. Rather than focusing on a relationship with God only through the law or teachers or a … Continue reading "Downdetector"...

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Book Review: Steven Ogden on Church, Authority, and Foucault (Part 2)

Ogden, Steven, G. 2017. The Church, Authority, and Foucault: Imagining the Church as an Open Space of Freedom. London and New York: Routledge. 180 Pages. These reflections flow on from Part 1. The Church, Authority and Foucault: Imagining the Church as an Open Space of Freedom is a work of academic theology, which draws on … Continue reading "Book Review: Steven Ogden on Church, Authority, and Foucault (Part 2)"...

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Book Review: Steven Ogden on Church, Authority, and Foucault (Part 1)

  Ogden, Steven, G. 2017. The Church, Authority, and Foucault: Imagining the Church as an Open Space of Freedom. London and New York: Routledge. Steven Ogden is the Parish Priest at St Oswald’s Anglican Church, Parkside, Adelaide, SA. The Church, Authority, and Foucault is an impressive book, an original work on the Anglican Church of … Continue reading "Book Review: Steven Ogden on Church, Authority, and Foucault (Part 1)"...

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Finding God Through Google

This blog post will involve a change of tack from my previous, much more analytically driven posts (here, here, here, and here), and will be somewhat more reliant on the anecdotal – though I do think it has an internal logic and should be investigated in an empirical fashion. I’ve made comments before about the … Continue reading "Finding God Through Google"...

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Book Review: John Shea on the Fully Human

John J, Shea, 2018. Adulthood, Morality, and the Fully Human: A Mosaic of Peace. Lanham, USA and London, UK: Lexington Books. 295 Pages. This ambitious work does not disappoint. We are all human beings. But what might it mean to be fully human? Impressively, John Shea, using a developmental perspective, describes and discusses the attributes … Continue reading "Book Review: John Shea on the Fully Human"...

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The Light Through Which to See the World (Part 2)

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” CS Lewis Last week I began reflecting on the significance of this statement in Lewis address Is Theology Poetry? I hadn’t quite gotten to the point of showing the … Continue reading "The Light Through Which to See the World (Part 2)"...

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The Light Through Which to See the World (Part 1)

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  (CS Lewis) The above sentence is one that has been repeated many times. However, in amongst my other reading projects, I’ve found myself progressively reading through Lewis’ The Weight … Continue reading "The Light Through Which to See the World (Part 1)"...

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Rooted and Grounded in Love (Ephesians 3:14-21)

  An excerpt of a sermon preached by Rev’d Wendy Morecroft at St Peter’s Cathedral at Evensong on Sunday 16 June 2019. Wendy recently completed the requirements for her Bachelor of Theology through St Barnabas College.  In tonight’s reading from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, I was instantly drawn to the word “grounded”, cognate … Continue reading "Rooted and Grounded in Love (Ephesians 3:14-21)"...

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Opening the Treasure Trove

Why is it that when we travel abroad, we are drawn to Art Galleries and Museums? Curated collections give us insights into different cultures as well as fresh understandings of our own. The same applies to the treasure troves within our own churches and yet they are often left “unopened”. Last year I went to … Continue reading "Opening the Treasure Trove"...

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Studying the Apostle Paul

  Although studying the apostle Paul can be daunting and, at times, quite perplexing, the more that I study him, the more I am amazed by him. For many people, Paul is a divisive figure; a moralistic, homophobic and misogynistic figure. It is easy to see how Paul can be seen in this light, if … Continue reading "Studying the Apostle Paul"...

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From Adulation to Condemnation

Palm Sunday to Good Friday, a frenzy of adulation turned suddenly to condemnation. How should we explain this sudden change? Did the crowd realise that Jesus wasn’t the messiah they expected so thought it best to crucify him? Hardly. Perhaps each crowd – Palm Sunday and Good Friday – was made up of different individuals? … Continue reading "From Adulation to Condemnation"...

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Mary Anoints Jesus

  In John 12 we are confronted by the intimate scene of Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume and wiping them with her hair.  Her brother Lazarus who has just been raised from the dead (in John 11) is now seated at the table with Jesus. Their sister Martha had warned Jesus … Continue reading "Mary Anoints Jesus"...

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Our Inestimable Value

One of the benefits of translating the New Testament from the original language is that the pace of one’s reading of the text is slowed down significantly. I was translating Matt 6:25-34 recently and I was struck by the radical nature of what Jesus said to his audience. I have heard this passage many times … Continue reading "Our Inestimable Value"...

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Life: Pilgrim or Tourist?

  I want to pick up Ann Nadge’s most interesting discussion, “How does a pilgrim differ from a tourist?” [Here]  Ann’s discussion was inspired by her recent pilgrimage to “The Holy Land.” I very much appreciate Ann’s notion of the pilgrim who is ‘ready to enter the mystery’. I am pondering these ideas myself in … Continue reading "Life: Pilgrim or Tourist?"...

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St Paul, Romans and the Rhetoric of Eschatological Hope (Part 2)

  Now, after having read part 1, you might be thinking that my findings were an extended activity in stating the obvious. By way of reminder, my argument was that Romans 15:7 – 13 is explicitly connected with a method of reading the Scriptures which understands the purpose thereof as engendering hope (particularly in how … Continue reading "St Paul, Romans and the Rhetoric of Eschatological Hope (Part 2)"...

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St Paul, Romans and the Rhetoric of Eschatological Hope (Part 1)

  It is late 2017, I am about to begin the process of researching and formulating my honours thesis, and I am overwhelmed by the potentially endless possibilities for exploration. I knew I had the desire to spend my investigative efforts in the letters of St Paul, though I had no idea what topics, ideas, … Continue reading "St Paul, Romans and the Rhetoric of Eschatological Hope (Part 1)"...

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The Twelfth Man & The Eighteenth Camel

  St Matthias 24 February There was a time when ordinations in the Diocese of Adelaide were held on St Matthias Day (24th February). Our congratulations to those who celebrate their anniversary of ordination on this feast day and we give thanks for ministries which span decades. St Matthias was selected as one of two … Continue reading "The Twelfth Man & The Eighteenth Camel"...

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Tourist or Pilgrim?

In January, with Brexit rallies stirring outside, I participated in the lunchtime Holy Communion Service in the nave of Westminster Abbey. During the sharing of the Peace, I turned around and realised that our small gathering was being watched by tourists from behind the red ropes. It was disconcerting for a moment. I had come … Continue reading "Tourist or Pilgrim?"...

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Flourishing in Faith – A Book Review

Flourishing in Faith: Theology Encountering Positive Psychology, edited by Gillies Ambler, Matthew P. Anstey, Theo D. McCall and Mathew A. White, is a compilation of essays from various authors which came about as a result of its namesake conference in 2014. This conference, and the subsequent book, had one purpose: “to explore the relationship between the Christian tradition and the emerging field of positive psychology, a branch of psychology that conducts scientific inquiry into factors that help individuals, communities and organizations to thrive.”...

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Without Love, No Sovereignty

A fundamental truth of Christianity is that we are loved by God not because we deserve this love, or have earned it, or have a quality inherent within us that in some way requires God to love us. We are just loved. Irrespective of who we are, what we are, what we have (or haven't done), or what we think of ourselves, or for that matter, what others think of us. God loves us and in this love is true to the very character of the God who is love. (1John 4:7-21) This means that no threshold exists below which God's love is absent. (Cf. Matt 27:46) We are never alone, bereft of God's presence and love. If this were not so what we call God's love would not be love, more like wages paid for due service. (Matt 20:1-16)...

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First Refuge

Country of first asylum, or first refuge, is usually a neighbouring country to which a refugee flees. In the face of great challenge, even reported challenge, writing often becomes the place of first refuge for novelists and poets as they seek to make sense of the challenging experience. Rilke expresses it this way: Everything conspires to silence us, Partly with shame Partly with unspeakable hope....

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The Past is a Gift

The Protestant sensibility can ask this question of those who find tradition of immense importance: "How can you trust something that changes?" The contrast here is between tradition and scripture. Prescinding from the question of the role of tradition in producing the texts of scripture, and the way in which tradition determined which books would be included, and the way that not all Christian traditions agree on the composition of scripture, let's give the point. Tradition changes in a way that say, the scriptures these days do not. The problem that must be addressed, however, is that it is tradition (amongst other things) that allows me to read and understand scripture itself. What sense would Scripture make if I had not previously been taught to read and understand the scriptures in the/a tradition of the church? The faith is always handed on through the scriptures with teaching. Now, I don't treat the tradition I have become familiar with in the same way as I do Scripture, (this is presumably the 'trust' issue mentioned above) but the two are very clearly related....

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Captains of the Soul

In his book “Captains of the Soul: A History of Australian Army Chaplains”, Michael Gladwin tells the story of Padre Hugh Cunningham who was imprisoned by the Japanese on the Burma Thailand railway. Cunningham wore no badge of rank, as was the Army custom for Chaplains until 1942. The Japanese were puzzled by the great respect and particular “authority” that Cunningham had over the prisoners. The uncertainty around this influence led to his restricted access to prisoners, isolation, and confinement, often in a very low, narrow cage....

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Jesus Teaches And Is Taught About Purity

As always, it is important to look at the context of this story. In Matthew’s gospel, the story follows discussions between Jesus and the Pharisees about the Jewish purity laws, and what makes a person clean or unclean. In the preceding passages, we have the Pharisees challenging Jesus about not keeping the law, (Your disciples don’t wash their hands before they eat!) but Jesus responds by challenging the Pharisees to think more carefully about what makes a person clean or unclean. He argues that it is not so much washing hands that makes a person clean and what goes into a person’s mouth, but rather what are the words that flow from one’s mouth and what are the thoughts that are in our hearts. This is what true purity is, he argues. ...

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Friends, Not Servants

Why do we include art, music and poetry in our worship? It can be argued that Christian artists, musicians and poets show us how to abide with Christ as friends, not servants, because they explore personal insights into faith through their creativity. “I do not call you servants any longer because the servant does not know what the master is doing: but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father” (John 15:15)....

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The Love Ethic of Jesus

Jesus said, ‘You have heard it said to those of ancient times, “You shall not kill”; and “whoever kills shall be liable to judgement.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift....

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Why I Am Slightly Uneasy About Social Media

Although I don’t particularly like the term, I can be characterised as a millennial. As a millennial, I am a part of a generation of individuals who have intrinsically grown up with and around digital technology. The normative usage of personal computers, mobile phones and video game systems are implicit cultural and generational expectations. Particularly of note, however, is the cultural phenomenon that is the Internet. It has been interesting to me to see it develop concurrently as I have developed, from being an obscure blue button that I was never allowed to click on, to a resource that I was sometimes allowed to use for homework, (at the expense of preventing everyone else from making phone calls in the house) to having perpetual, instantaneous, high-speed access even when I’m not at home....

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Clouds of Myth Condensing

Repeating themes of creation, struggle, death and rebirth run through the greatest literature across all cultures. It seems ironic then, that many of our cleverest minds, having “got the picture”, turn to a condensed version or even, in the case of The Fellowship of the Ring, half a short poem to summarise the plot. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king. (From “All that is gold does not glitter” by J.R.R. Tolkien)...

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