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One Man's Web

Botanic Park Adelaide, 2015

Maybe it was the Auntie who kept getting healed at the Pentecostal assembly, yet was so clearly not healed; 
maybe it was the observer part of me keeping me honest when I went to church with the Pentecostals in Alice Springs: "You're faking it… and maybe they are too";
maybe it was the recognition that big worship experiences where I am told the "Spirit really flowed" are often as stage managed as a Nuremberg rally;
but something in me is deeply sceptical about our popular traditions surrounding Pentecost and God's Spirit. I keep thinking the emperor is wearing no clothes... Read on >>>>

I tell myself that our nation has been built upon violence and injustice from the beginning. We were a penal colony of the Empire, the invader's gaol. I tell myself that Australia has not suddenly gone bad. We simply have a leadership who seem to be without shame and who use our already present greed as a key political strategy. Despite them there remain "7,000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal." (1 Kings 19:18) Neither are we much different from any other country.

It's not working... Read on >>>>

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is in Jaipur, in India. One of the residents is Muriel Donnelly, a bitter, sick, and appallingly racist English woman who has come to India for cheap hip surgery. She finds herself being wheeled into an unfamiliar part of the city, and learns that she is being taken to the home of Anokhi, a Dalit serving girl at the Hotel... Read on >>>>

Overnight I had been thinking over an excursion well out of my comfort zone into David Jones. It, too, raised strong feelings. The refined environment, so carefully designed to appeal to the 1% of Adelaide failed to attract me. Of course, in my Target jeans and t-shirt I was well out of place... Read on >>>>

How do we not cheapen our convictions, and those things which are a cherished symbol of the Christ and our life together, but also not let them become a barrier to Christ because we have been uncompassionate in our insistence on proper liturgy?... Where is the boundary between church and nation? What do we owe to the country and what do we owe to the kingdom? How do we give to Caesar what is Caesar's while being faithful to the most important call upon us— giving to God what is God's (Mark 12:17)... Read on >>>>

A letter from my father:

We were well aware that there was a group of Japanese who were holed up in what was known as the pocket, but had been told they posed no threat and would probably be starved out. June 21 proved that one can't take anything for granted. We had come off our shift at midnight and had not long settled down, the 6am shift had been called and were settling down to breakfast when all hell broke loose.... Read on >>>>

A reflection upon the 100th Gallipoli weekend, and the Lectionary of the week.

"What this country needs is strong leadership and good fiscal management." It's standard political rhetoric.

In Israel we might have heard a politician say, "What this country needs is a good shepherd. We need a good strong shoot out of the stump of Jesse." (Isa 11) It was saying the same thing.

Shepherds, aka the religious and political leadership— the two were not separate— often had strained relationships with God.... Read on >>>>

I wondered if I should call this post Resurrection in the Anthropocene because in some ways it follows on from last week. But Feeding Jesus is closer to the essence of the reflection.

Was I simply afraid? Or was it that the world in all its complexity and horror was too distressing to look upon— unplumbable and irredeemably unjust—  an existence too absurd to believe that there could be a rational and ethical way in which to live? Read on >>>>

We celebrate Easter in the Anthropocene. If the Resurrection does not speak to the Anthropocene then our faith is worthless. In this First Impressions I am seeking to understand John 20:19-29 in the context of some of my former posts, and our growing awareness that we are entering a new human epoch.... Read on >>>>

Around 30 CE another prophet arose in Galilee. He made it all the way to Jerusalem, and entered the city in a way that confirmed for his followers that he was the long awaited Messiah... But for the Romans and the Jewish elite, the collaborators, this Jesus of Nazareth was just one more rag-tag trouble maker who needed to be disposed of before he stirred up too much trouble...  In the usual course of events Jesus would have been forgotten... What happened?   Read on >>>> 

By afternoon tea the crossing of I's and dotting of t's on even the 'motherhood' proposals had worn me down. Crowds always drain the energy out of me. In the break a friend shared an act of church bastardy done to her. It was the end for me. My distress kept me outside for the next session. When I went home I found I could not walk properly; my right leg would not work for three days. I spent ten days in an exhausted depression, barely able to function... Read on >>>>

You can listen to this here

Steve and I drove up to the big roundabout in the centre of Elizabeth. Steve is a careful driver and slowed to a stop before entering the roundabout. I saw him give way to me and rode on through. He started up again, and ran over me... Read on >>>>

SMIDSY is Australian slang for  Sorry Mate. I Didn't See You

I like the night. Sneaking out to roam the farm and the scrub at night without our parents knowing—midnight walks we called them— were one of childhood's entertainments. Night bushwalking, and long overnight rides have a beauty it is hard to communicate.

So getting up early to walk in the dark to the Ernabella church for prayers was a joy, the best time of the day. Except for one morning... Read on >>>>

In our current rituals there is deep love of God. There is heart rending dedication to God, and to the service of God, and to the love of all God's people on earth. But there is something unbending about them which we cannot see, for all our trying; something to which we are blind. Like the Jerusalem temple which was compromised by Rome, and by rote ritual, and was being abandoned by the Essenes and others, there is something in what we do, or how we do, that means the people around us do not see God among us. We need our tables turned over... Read on >>>>

As a preacher and story teller I constantly talk out loud the dialogue of thoughts and ideas to clarify and develop them; I shall be one of those strange old men who talk incessantly to themselves as they do their shopping. I can tell when I am anxious− my dialogue begins with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Andrew Prior. I am a Uniting Church minister..." I define myself by others.

We are never an island. We always understand ourselves by comparison to others, even if we think we do not define ourselves by them.... Read on >>>>

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