Showing posts from July, 2010

last post for Becoming of G-d

I've finished Ian Mobsby's The Becoming of G-d, and though I still have difficulties with some of the language we inherit for speaking about God as Trinity, with Father sending Son and Spirit (quoting Edgar p. 141) or the Spirit following Jesus and acting as mediator between God and us (Taylor quoted on p. 110) when the Biblical witness is clear about the presence of the Spirit right from creation, and at the beginning of the incarnation of Jesus and all through his life, teaching, healing, resurrection ...
Mobsby hints at language more reflective of the mutuality he speaks of within the Trinity in a quote from Jean Vanier, who speaks of the love of the persons of the Trinity poured out for one another ( The Broken Body quoted on p. 126). If it is love that flows within the Trinity, then we can more readily speak of mutuality - because if Jesus is begotten and then sends the Spirit, it is difficult to complete the circle and have the Father begotten or sent. But love, well, th…

A Shakespearean view of Australian politics - Eureka Street

I enjoyed this article reflecting on the comparisons made between politicians and characters from Shakespeare's plays. Particularly liked the description of Shakespeare as a 'master observer of human behaviour' - so true. Once again, I am so pleased to see the arts offering us a different lens through which to observe humanity and to make meaning.

A Shakespearean view of Australian politics - Eureka Street

gathering around the Sacred Story

This monday The Esther Project gathers for supper and conversation around the Sacred Story.

Our portion for August is Isaiah 5:1-7, in which Isaiah takes a traditional song of the wine harvest and reinterprets it to speak of God's relationship with Israel and Judah.
In the gospel account of Luke (and Mark and Matthew), this interpretation is reinterpreted in a parable about wicked tenants.
How might we interpret these stories to make meaning for our lives today?
What might these stories lead us to discover about God's relationship with us, with our world in our time?

Enter the Story, enter the Song, Monday 2 August 7.30 pm at the Effective Living Centre, 26 King William Road Wayville.

The Esther Project welcomes people from all faith traditions and none to share in the life of this community of faith, of story, of creativity – especially those who may be looking for
new ways of being church.

The Esther Project
community – creativity – sacred story

hospitality vs money

my netball team decided to change to a different centre recently. we had become disgruntled with the new management at our previous centre, and after our first game in the new (to us) centre, i think i can name what the difference might be.
the new centre has one less court, but more room around them for players to gather without falling on top of each other - the old one squeezes as many courts in as possible to make as much money as possible.
the new centre has plenty of chairs on which to sit and wait for your game, watch a friend's game, chat after a game ... the old centre has few chairs and teams are on top of each other at the switch over of games.
the new centre has clean, new, well kept bibs that are comfortable - the old centre has old bibs that need new elastic, and for which you need to hand in a set of keys at the desk because the centre staff don't want to have to gather bibs in or tidy up.
when i rolled my ankle at the new centre last night by the ti…

centre for public christianity

I've just discovered the Centre for Public Christianity (or CPX). Others have obviously known about it for a while, however.

I found this blog post from March on World Poetry Day pertinent in the light of the recent week of retreat, seminar, poetry spaces with Mark Burrows at the Effective Living Centre.

Looking forward to making more discoveries on and through the site.

Campaign of caricatures - Eureka Street

here's an interesting depiction of the politicising of the issue surrounding assylum seekers ...
Campaign of caricatures - Eureka Street

from the State Theatre Company on facebook

Plenty of talk about the election, but no statements yet from either party about an arts policy. To cast your vote for the arts, head to the ABC's online poll about policy areas you'd like to hear more about.

a story of balance

there seems to be a bit of a theme running through the past few days for me - that of balance, of the Mary and Martha sides of our being. what do i mean by that? in our lectionary journey through the biblical story the portion for this sunday was one of the stories of mary and martha, sisters of lazarus whom Jesus raises back to life after four days of being dead. the story this week was from luke's telling of the gospel, and has Jesus arrive unexpectedly for dinner. martha fulfills her duty and busies herself preparing the meal. mary sits herself at the feet of Jesus and listens to his stories. martha complains to Jesus, who appears to scold martha and say that there is only one thing to do, mary is welcome to sit and to listen. i've always been led to understand that when Jesus scolds martha he is saying that the busyness is not worthwhile, and the only thing to do is to contemplate. but reflections this week, in with love to the world (uniting church lectionary based daily …

contemplating prayer

this prose poem emerged in response to The Esther Project contemplative gathering last night. when you ponder prayer that names God you wonder what name shall we use? you consider the “Father” problem and wonder if “Mother” fixes anything after all. you explore the nature of naming and the gift it is to give your name – the handle it offers to another to understanding, knowing some part of who you arewhen you ponder prayer that honours this name, whatever name you choose to utter, you see that part of the honouring is the acknowledging of the inadequacy of any name we could ever ascribe to . you realise that when we think in all our cleverness that we understand God as Father Son and Spirit, or even Creator Redeemer Sustainer, we in fact know very little at all. and you begin to wonder could we return to a way of existing within the mystery depicted in the stories of the ancient followers of God.when you ponder prayer that asks and seeks and knocks you recall times when we have ta…

an evening of prayer

do you wonder about prayer, pray often or not at all, are not certain anyone is listening when you pray, are sure you've had a prayer answered? - you are welcome to an evening of prayer with The Esther Project - tonight 26 King William Road Wayville, 7.30 pm, supper provided

Christian sect's gay snub - Eureka Street

Found this article today, critiquing the way some Christian groups and organisations treat gay and lesbian people. I have many friends who are gay or lesbian and even if I didn't, I'd still be incensed at the un-Christlike way others bearing his name behave towards people. Our call is to be witnesses to a God who is profoundly committed to the fulness of our humanity, and I don't agree with people who think that homosexuality diminishes anyone's humanity. Eureka Street is a great site with fabulously thoughtful and thought provoking articles on all manner of things. check it out.
Christian sect's gay snub - Eureka Street

still searching

continuing my reflections from this morning as I read The Becoming of God - the problem with our language for Trinity is that it is linear. So one thing must follow another. This is my issue. We say we understand the relationship of the Trinity to be one of mutuality, but we always speak of the flow from Father to Son to Holy Spirit. Which is what I was wondering about in my previous post - what if we started somewhere else sometimes - would that help us to see the flow as circular, as depicted in Rublev's icon, rather than linear from Creator to Wisdom/Jesus to Spirit to creation. Which leads me to the later part of Chapter 6 of Mobsby's book, where we have the language of the Gospels themselves which describes the Holy Spirit as the companion that Jesus will send after him, the friend that will follow Jesus. Well that doesn't sit with me either. The Spirit broods over the deep before creation. The Spirit is present in the encounters between the people of Israel and God a…

State Theatre Company presents romeo&juliet

dancing more circles around Trinity

So I am back to my Trinity problem. Here's the thing. The language in which we speak of God / Trinity always begins with Creator / Father, and often equates God with this 'first' person. Which is immediately to privilege one element of the Divine as happening first. But how can we even speak of one person of the Divine as 'first', when God exists outside of time? The implications for our language about Jesus - well here I'll probably get shot down for heresy, but I'll say it anyway. By speaking of Jesus as Son of God, here's where we equate (it seems to me) God with Father/Creator/first person. But what if Jesus, as the human incarnation of the Divine, a unique being, is Son of the Divine, Son of the Holy Three? That would make the Triune God, all three persons, Parent. In my mind it seems that Jesus is the incarnation of Word/Wisdom in particular, given life and sustained by the energy of the relationship between Creator and Spirit and Wisdom. And Jesu…

the restorative power of the arts

Ah, there is something mystical and magical about the power of the arts to heal. Friday night I was angry, I mean really pissed off, because of another delay with the repairs to my car - it's now been two weeks at the garage because of mistakes from the suppliers of the parts. Anyway, I had been invited to bring my clarinet along to the lecture on poetry at The Effective Living Centre that night, one of the events in the Minding the Spirit week with Mark Burrows I've already blogged about. I would have enjoyed, in a masochistic kind of a way, wallowing in that anger and frustration, but I am glad I had that invitation. Even as I got the clarinet out of its case, I could feel healing washing over me. And then we played, Glenyce on piano and Jenni on flute, and as I entered the music and opened myself to the Spirit the anger melted away. Melted away. What a week of healing. Thank God for the restorative power of the arts.

catching dreams, finding hope

Today was a wonderful day of poetry and song, stillness and silence, food for the soul as John put it. The Effective Living Centre has Prof Mark Burrows as its guest this week, and he lead, with Trish Watts, a retreat day today. We were reflecting on what poetry gives us as leaders. I found this so refreshing in a climate in our church that prefers a more coporatised model of leadership, even though we are giving much support to fresh expressions of church, which, to my mind at least, demand a different style of leadership. We were reminded of the need for space to ponder, wonder; space for dreaming, for reverie (the picture is a collaborative 'dreaming' in paint). Communities of faith, said Mark, are places for dreaming and for pondering, believing as we do in something beyond the narrow confines of the self. And I took heart, because this is what The Esther Project strives to be, to do - to invite people into a space of wonder, of imagination, of dreaming. The implications o…

Year of Matthew

September is shaping up to be a very busy storytelling month for me. 
I have already begun the shameless promotion of the National Biblical Storytelling gathering happening from 24 - 26 Sept in Adelaide (all you storytellers should come if you can!). 
Earlier in that week, I will be leading a workshop at a two day conference on the Gospel of Matthew. The keynote speaker for that one is Alan Cadwallader, who is well worth spending time with, and if you're more interested in spirituality or pastoral care and the Gospel of Matthew, there are workshops on those elements also. Download the flier here
Why not come to Adelaide for the week and attend both, setting yourself up with some rich resources for 2010-11, the Year of Matthew. 

why poetry in trying times?

I've just been at an evening of poetry. One of my favourite ways to spend an evening, that. We began our time together pondering: why poetry in trying times?  Our guide through the poetry, Prof Mark Burrows suggested that one response might be: what else should we do? (this is part of a week long program, Minding the Spirit, at The Effective Living Centre). 
Poetry took us out to the Hills Hoist and back to childhood games, from the wisdom of two year olds to songs of prayer on the wind - and so much more.  When Mark said that we are all poets, whether we write poetry or not, because we all practice language, we are all attentive to language, I wondered - are we? I wonder if we are, in fact, all attentive to language. I remember being astonished at the limited vocabulary of fellow university students whose every noun, verb, adjective, adverb, imperative and expletive began with f and rhymed with luck. I wonder if we are all attentive to language - my suspicion is that we are not, and…

art & space

Found my way to this article on art museums and space from Craig Mitchell's blog. Is an interesting conversation - and interesting times in which to live. To what extent does the platform matter for the artwork? It changes the way we experience a film, painting, sculpture, concert - but does it diminish the experience? As part of the transitional generation, I am still inclined to think the experience of a movie designed to be viewed in a cinema is diminished when the movie is watched on an iPhone. But, perhaps it is, after all, merely a different experience. 

Trinity reflections: interpersonal community and implicit sacramentality

Continuing through Ian Mobsby's The Becoming of God, I come to his suggestion that 'the Holy Trinity is beckoning the emerging church to model a way of being a spiritual community that reflects the very nature of the Trinitarian Godhead' (p. 68). He bases his reflections on this idea around the ikon by Rublev, which he has observed taking a central place in the lives of various emerging churches / fresh expressions in the UK in particular. Mobsby goes on to explore some models of church that flow out of this way of being a spiritual community, including a mystical model of church and a sacramental model. I like the way that neither is painted as the be-all and end-all, fail safe model of being church - we're human, no one model will ever be perfect. But there are life-giving elements to ways of being spiritual communities that reflect the trinitarian nature of God, and I really like this: that 'church is more of an interpersonal community than an institution' (…

The Becoming of G-d part II

I continue to enjoy reading Ian Mobsby's The Becoming of God. I am in chapters two and three. Some thoughts I have noted without going too deep in reflection:  'Trinitarianism preserves the ineffability and mystery of God, asserting that God cannot ever be fully known ... the implication is ... that God can change, and we see this in the differences between the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.' (pp. 49-50) My question is how can God change if change requires time and God exists outside of time ... is it God who changes in response to changing creation and humanity, or as humanity changes, so does our understanding of God change? 
The creeds are a point of contention for some who struggle with the language of the time and people of their shaping, which for me feels overly patriarchal, limited and limiting in its expression of our understanding of God. Another point of contention I had not considered before is that the creeds jump from the birth to the death of Jesus without i…