One Man's Web

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Yesterday the High Court ruled that the government can now choose to forcibly deport asylum-seeker families, including 37 babies and 54 children to offshore detention.

The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce of which the Uniting Church is a member, asked its members to take symbolic action by offering asylum-seeker families sanctuary within churches....

How do we experience God in a world which is so disenchanted that we even doubt that God may be experienced— or that God is? And how do we find hope when institutional evil has so heavily veiled the eye of the national conscience that it feels we have lost our humanity? ... Read on >>>>

This post sketches out ways of approaching the numinous. It seeks a way to engage with that reality of God for which we long, but of which we are afraid.

Our face shines
Our face shines when we have been in the presence of God. This is an old wisdom which we still see when people fall in love and dance close to the realm of spirit. We also see it when people experience the numinous in more obviously "religious" ways.

In Exodus 34, Moses has been in the presence of God on Mount Sinai, and his face shines... Read on >>>>

When we look at the story on its own terms, beyond Luke's immediate agenda, we see the universal themes of rage and scapegoating. This is a story where people are confronted with the loss of their world. They expect a God who will favour them and take revenge on their enemies and, instead, are confronted by a God who does not do favours based on race and religion, and sometimes even seems to favour their enemies... Read on >>>>

In my own little Nazareth, both church and city, we seem to be coming to the brow of the hill more often. It worries me. What's happening to us?

With unmistakeable imagery, Jesus tells his own home town that it has missed out on the blessings of God: Luke aligns Jesus with the great prophets Elijah and Elisha, and tells a story of each bringing God's favour and healing to people who were not from Israel, but were from an enemy nation.

In Luke's time, as my colleague Greg Crawford points out in a lectionary discussion group, this fits in with some of Luke's major themes. It answers questions such as why so few Jewish people had followed Jesus  He says, "The question one is then faced with is how this can mean something for us today." Read on >>>>

Jesus is almost lynched after his first sermon... What causes a congregation to go from being “amazed at the gracious words which came from his mouth,” to being filled with rage and seeking to throw him off a cliff? We don’t get to the cliff in this week’s reading, because the scholars who devised the lectionary thought the story so important that they split it into two parts. This week we see the foundations of the scandal....  Read on >>>>

Working through the favourite bedtime story for the nth time plus one, my weary colleague saw that the eyes were shut and the breathing had slowed. So without the slightest change of tone, and with the same even cadence, he turned three pages at once, and continued to read aloud. The eyes opened wide, and with an indignant gasp, the child said, "That's not right. You've missed some out. You changed it!"

In this story about Jesus, the congregation knew he had missed some out. They knew he had put some other bits in. No wonder "the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him..." Read on >>>>

How do we touch the intangible? How do we live with that insistence which floats at the edges of our seeing, and sometimes invades our lives? Can we? Does it have any substance? The religion of Jesus’ people was insistent that God is, that God does touch us, that God creates order without which there would be a formless void. The religion persisted despite the repeated conquest of the nation. It struggled toward a universalism which saw that God loved all people, not just Israel. And like all religion before and since, it experienced that the insistent intangible did not conform to its expectations. Like us, Israel was often disappointed with God... Read on >>>>

The implement shed on our farm was high enough to accommodate the header, and wide enough for the grain truck and the tractor and the combine, along with the family car and the farm ute. These 1950s sheds were basic, open along the long northeast side for light, and with a gap under the walls at the back so you could work with some breeze during the summer. Most of them had dirt floors.

And it was in here, sitting on the ground next to a crate of ploughshares, a small spillage of superphosphate, and two rolls of high tensile wire, that I found 4 cases of champagne... Read on >>>> 


Why are you here?

Are you here to get saved? It's too late…. you already are saved. It's out of your hands. God has done it. Even Professor Dawkins is saved, as much as that may irritate him. We've gone down lots of side alleys about Hell in the history of the church, but we are beginning to understand: in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them… it's all been done. ( 2 Cor 5:19) We're saved.

So why are we here?

When I try to answer that question for myself, I think I started out at church because I was looking for ecstasy. I didn't call it that, but it's what I was looking for...  Read on >>>>

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The Latest Comments...

Re: We all need a shed   (Andrew)
Hi Allan. Nice to hear from you. You were always good at conversations... and a source of great inspiration to me. Thanks. Andrew    Read more ...

We all need a shed
   (Allan Nield)
I don't drink (much) wine (my Methodist upbringing getting in the way of having a good time). So perhaps I can't grasp the extent of...    Read more ...

Re: Servants   (Andrew)
Thank you Kathy. I'm obliged to Janet Hunt for showing me the servants.    Read more ...

Servants   (Kathy Donley)
I'mm seeing several details in this story for the first time. I really appreciate your point that it is only the servants (overworked and underpaid)...    Read more ...

Wet Feet   (Kathy Donley)
I've been thinking about the wind and fire with which John says that Jesus will baptize. I appreciate your emphasis on the tangibility of baptism...    Read more ...

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