Blog

Because You are Called…

Posted by on Feb 11, 2024 in Blog | 0 comments

Through some slightly unusual circumstances I’ve been asked to preach on the same topic (at different churches) for a few weeks in a row. The topic? “Called”. Or “Because you are called”. Perhaps you could say I’ve been called to preach on being called – but perhaps that’s trying to be too smart. I love the idea behind “called”. It presupposes two really important things. One – that there is a caller, and two, that this caller notices us – notices us enough to call us. Both make a radical difference to the way we are...

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Cloud or ground thinking…

Posted by on Feb 4, 2024 in Blog | 1 comment

I’m a big picture person. Perhaps it goes back to my days in the chess team at school, but as any chess player will tell you, you’ve got to play the game forward. You are always asking, “If I do this and they do that, then what. But what if they don’t, and do that instead…” and so it goes on. Before every move you brainstorm in dozens of different directions before you commit and move your queen three spaces to the right. You are constantly looking for new possibilities – both opportunities and threats. And there is nothing worse than the sinking...

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Thinking about posture: Punchers, Blockers, Embracers and Pioneers

Posted by on Jan 28, 2024 in Blog | 2 comments

We all know how shrill public discourse has been these last few years. I’m old enough to remember a time when if you disagreed with someone you thought: “That’s so interesting. It will be good to chat this through with them to see what we both can learn.” That doesn’t happen much today. There is very little nuance in the public space, and suggesting it is required is often seen as a sign of weakness or lack of conviction. The model is adversarial, and we often exaggerate and catastrophize to score cheap but dishonest points off opponents. It is sad when we see...

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Because courage is a necessary virtue…

Posted by on Jan 21, 2024 in Blog | 0 comments

American poet and social activist Maya Angelou famously noted, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” If you think about it, she is probably right. After all, what good is it to be passionate about justice if you don’t have the courage to stand up and do something about it. It doesn’t help to feel awful about what is happening to someone else while knowing that you don’t have the courage to say something in their defence for fear of what might happen to you. To make a...

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With a stake in the heart – learning from the past

Posted by on Jan 14, 2024 in Blog | 8 comments

I’m taking today’s blog in a somewhat different direction, and a bit of a warning is appropriate. I will be looking at some historic Christian responses to suicide, and what we can learn from them. While it is not meant to be, it could be triggering for some, and if that’s you, give this post a skip – we’ll be back next week with very different fare. And don’t forget, help is at hand if you need it.. In spite of the warning, I think this is a really important topic. I can’t think of anything more tragic than when a person ends their own life. The...

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Why not try framing…

Posted by on Jan 7, 2024 in Blog | 0 comments

In his insightful book The Remarkable Ordinary, Frederick Buechner observes that artists get us to see things by putting a frame around them, effectively saying, “stop and notice me”. Often it is with very ordinary things, a flower, a bowl of fruit, a human face. The artist puts a frame around it and our attention is drawn, and we notice beauty and mystery in new ways. Buechner goes on to suggest that we should put frames around little moments of our life, and then stop, look, and listen to what they are saying to us. I’m trying to put his suggestion into practice, pausing...

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Burnout or bore out: Reflections for the New Year

Posted by on Dec 31, 2023 in Blog | 6 comments

There’s no doubt about it, burnout is a real problem, and large numbers of people have pulled back from aspirational careers, putting new boundaries in place, and taking clear and tangible steps to make sure they never land up in the same place of over stretch and exhaustion again. And fair enough. But even as we self protect, I wonder if we are not running the risk of over compensation. It could be that we enter a new year not at risk of burning out, but running a serious chance of boring ourselves out – with only the safest of challenges accepted and only the teeniest of goals...

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Fa, la, la, la, la – It’s Christmas

Posted by on Dec 24, 2023 in Blog | 0 comments

With temperatures rising by the day, Christmas must be near. While some dream of a snow filled white Christmas, Australian images are of sunshine, BBQ’s and beaches. Though I have lived in three countries, they have all been in the Southern Hemisphere, so this meets with my approval. I’ve never heard ‘sleigh bells ringing’, but if I did, I wouldn’t link it to Christ’s advent. So where do my thoughts go this Christmas season? I remain intrigued by the characters of Christmas. Have you ever wondered what the wise men reported back after their Bethlehem journey? Perhaps it was, “That’s correct....

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Little victories…

Posted by on Dec 17, 2023 in Blog | 1 comment

We sometimes think everything would change if we managed to get a major breakthrough in some troubling area of our life. We long for a slam dunk moment after which success is assured and all will be well. Perhaps its an investment that turns out to be a goldmine, or a new breathing technique that assures us we will be able to say goodbye to anxiety, or a magical combination of foods that mean calories no longer count. We long for that single step which will solve all. And the simple truth is that we are unlikely to find it. Progress in life is most often found through little victories....

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Story or Plot: On Christmas and Purpose…

Posted by on Dec 10, 2023 in Blog | 2 comments

EM Foster wisely noted the difference between a story and a plot. “The king died and then the queen died” is a story. It’s a chronological sequence of events. However, it becomes a plot if you add two words, “The king died and then the queen died of grief.” Plot suggests cause and effect. A plot introduces a purpose, a because. It makes a story interesting and draws us in. “So what?” you ask – and fair enough. Too many of us are living stories without plots – lives that have no essential “because” or purpose. They are just a...

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