Blog

Friday: Love so amazing…

Posted by on Apr 7, 2023 in Blog | 1 comment

This Easter reflection is from my book, Could this be God? It is the first of the three posts for this Easter weekend: Friday; Saturday; Sunday. Don’t know if you have ever been face to face with a little child who insists on asking ‘Why?’ No matter what answer you give, it’s immediately followed by yet another ‘Why?’ I feel a little like that when it comes to Easter. You can’t but scratch your head and ask in amazed bewilderment, ‘So why did Jesus love me so much that he would die for me?’ No matter how good a theologian you are, it’s a question that can’t really be answered. Another ‘Why?’...

Read More

Judging or Discerning?

Posted by on Apr 2, 2023 in Blog | 0 comments

In Matthew 7:1 Jesus challengingly instructs: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” It is an oft quoted sentiment from the Sermon on the Mount, and is sometimes used as a get out of jail free card by those who know they have erred badly, “If you listen to Jesus you won’t judge me.” Even if you challenge back, “That sounds pretty manipulative” the retort is going to be, “Manipulative! There you go, judging me again!” Realistically, Jesus didn’t seem to expect us to obey this command. A few verses along he says, “Do not...

Read More

From Statements of Faith to Theological Architecture…

Posted by on Mar 26, 2023 in Blog | 12 comments

If you are a Christian, tell me what kind of a Christian you are? In a divisive age where faith is expressed in varied and sometimes incompatible ways, this has become a relevant question. While most of us feel a little uncomfortable asking it, it is a little naive to assume we all love Jesus, so everything is OK. Ever since the 1054 Great Schism between the church in the East and West we have lived with the idea of a divided church. This was accelerated by the 1517 Protestant Reformation which went on to birth a plethora of new denominations. 500 years later, there is no sign of this...

Read More

Flourishing in Winter…

Posted by on Mar 19, 2023 in Blog | 0 comments

I’ve been talking about flourishing a fair bit lately, and recently someone asked, “Is it possible to flourish in winter?” It’s a good question, and a lot depends on what is meant by flourishing. If it means being highly productive and in a state where everything goes well, presumably not. That’s not what happens in winter, for winter is the season of slowing down, staying indoors and sober reflection. It isn’t a “go and glow” time, and if you confuse winter for summer, frost bite is a short step away. But perhaps the question could have been...

Read More

The Case for Mercy…

Posted by on Mar 12, 2023 in Blog | 3 comments

I have been working my way through the Beatitudes and surprised myself by pausing for longer than usual at the 5th: “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy” (Matt 5:7). Why surprised? Well I’ve always assumed this one was not a struggle for me. I’m not a vindictive person and I deeply understand that life is often not easy and that it’s not uncommon for people to make decisions they later deeply regret. I’m more than sympathetic in such situations and am willing to give people a second or even third chance. So there you go. I am merciful, and I could conclude that this...

Read More

Recovering Awe…

Posted by on Mar 5, 2023 in Blog | 8 comments

In an age where fairly ordinary experiences are described as “awesome” (“awesome movie”, “awesome meal”) there is a risk that we trivialise awe away. To confuse the mildly pleasing with awe is an issue, especially when it leaves us unobservant of that which should truly leave us in silent, speechless wonder. I’ve had a few awe struck moments in the last week, largely because I was able to get down south to the beachside resort of Dunsborough. There were times when I was on the beach alone, a vast ocean ahead of me. I had the strangest sensation of...

Read More

Remembering and Hope…

Posted by on Feb 26, 2023 in Blog | 2 comments

We live in an era of chronological snobbery, where only the most current is seen to be worthy of attention. Often we judge the past too severely, assuming every tool at our disposal was available to earlier generations and forgetting how much they did with so much less than we have. While I am convinced that we should look more to the future than to the past, it is possible to push that too far. After all, one of the most frequent cries in scripture is “remember”, and to forget to remember is too risk misunderstanding the part we are called to shape and play in the ongoing story...

Read More

Because Place Matters…

Posted by on Feb 19, 2023 in Blog | 2 comments

I still remember the lines from Paul Tournier’s book, A Place for You, “Basically I have always been looking for a place. A place to call home.” Tournier writes at the interface between faith and psychology and insightfully explores the importance of belonging and knowing that there is a place for you. Place might be a psychological zone, but often it is a physical one – the tangible contours of a garden or a familiar chair that is left open for you. In my last post I explored Wolterstorff’s idea that Shalom (or Flourishing) is made up of 4 large blocks –...

Read More

What does it mean to flourish?

Posted by on Feb 12, 2023 in Blog | 7 comments

It’s become a bit of a catch word – one you find in vision and mission statements which commit to building flourishing communities of hope or whatever. It’s a noble and inspiring sentiment, but what does it mean to flourish? We could immediately dash to definitions. Depending on your source, you will be told that to flourish is to prosper, to thrive, to be in a state of activity or production. If you go to the Greek philosophers you might well come out at Aristotle and his idea of eudaimonia (roughly translated as flourishing) by which he was pointing to the life well...

Read More

Church-Lite

Posted by on Feb 5, 2023 in Blog | 18 comments

Let’s face it. If you say the word “church” a less than enthusiastic response is likely to follow. True, there are some glorious exceptions, but by and large those who have never been part of a church tend to express views that have been shaped by the press coverage the church has been receiving (almost uniformly bad), while those who have often launch into a story of feeling let down, disappointed or even betrayed. Many will tell you that they now embrace a churchless faith, one which is real but which effectively says “Jesus yes, church, no!” Others will tell...

Read More