Showing posts from September, 2010


today i've had some interesting conversations.
first up we workshopped the writing of curriculum for the BMin at college, a task in which i have been invited to share. the more we explored the possibilities for shaping the introductory biblical studies courses the more excited i got - it all resonates so much with the biblical storytelling i do, the coaching i am beginning to do with preachers, and the work i hope to do with congregations and in a phd in terms of equipping people to effectively communicate the biblical story. aaah. it's so exciting!!!

then lunch with Cam, who is dreaming of creating a monthly space / event that opens up questions of spirituality with a Christ-centredness that honours the different paths we take in our spirituality, the myriad encounters people have with God. and the need we have in this movement of fresh expressions / alternative faith communities to be connected, to support, affirm, encourage each other in a radically different approach to Ch…

2010 biblical storytelling gathering: my memorable moments

In no particular order, some moments that linger in my memory from this weekend of stories, stories, everywhere ...
Carole and Rina telling the parable of the father and his two sons with their drama bags. I've seen them tell this before, and was again struck by Rina's movement in the drama bag as the older son turns his back on the father and his brother, refusing to go inside. Of course, that's where we leave the story, and we don't know whether he will walk away or turn back and join the celebrations for his brother's safe return to the family. Rina's depiction of that moment in the story returns to me every time I tell the story.

David's facial expressions as he told the story of John the baptiser eating locusts and honey. 
Denise's stories from her people in the Flinders' Ranges, and the way she used story to teach us some of her language, story as a path to healing and reconciliation. A gift for which I will always be grateful. 
Steve's creat…


I am home. It has been a most intense weekend of story, community, creativity, discovery, experiences, hard work, and laughter.
I am tired. It has been a while since I have had a day off, and I am aware that in taking a full day off tomorrow, I will be yet another day beyond the deadline I didn't meet last Thursday.
I am grateful. The opportunity to lead a community that means more to me with each passing year was humbling, challenging, and, ultimately, rewarding. The friends I have made through this network are becoming good friends, as much as they are the fellow storytellers with whom I have felt connected in a different way until now.
I am bemused. Not really, but I have been asked to create a blog for the network, which takes the list of blogs to, well let's count: sarah tells stories, the esther project , nbs sa , black wood jazz , and whatever I name the new one - that's five. that's a little ridiculous. or fulfilling the title of this, my first - sarah does ind…

talking about story

sitting outside on the lawns at Nunyara talking about story. we've been talking about the letters of Paul, and remembering that the letters that Paul actually wrote are all about mutuality and calling us all to live lives of love and gentleness and graciousness.
I've had an idea - what would it be like to imagine the letters that might have been written to Paul to evoke the responses to particular situations.

something on which to ruminate ... a story project to inspire some creativity.

stories, stories, everywhere

the highlight of a biblical storyteller's year is the annual national gathering of the network. a weekend of telling biblical stories, other stories, our stories, sharing our experiences, honing our craft, and nurturing our selves and our community.

but it's a different sort of highlight for me this year, as i am on the coordinating team. so there are some last minute stresses, but even more, a whole lot of anticipation and nervous energy. i don't take naturally to administrative things, and I'm kind of over the finer details of the organising stuff ...

on the other hand i know all the creative and inspiring elements that are going to come together, which is exciting. and it's been great to have the opportunity to shape an event that has been so important for me over the past four years. you know, us south aussies have crafted an event that offers a breadth of encounters with the biblical story and the stories of our lives, and ways to tell those stories.
I know th…

How amazing it is, the life-giving power of story

I've just had an email from Steve Taylor, who is having fun preparing to lead the biblical storytelling gathering this weekend. Engaging with story through imagination and creativity, retelling the Sacred Story of God's way of love in the world for our world today - it's exciting, a journey of discovery and delight as God is revealed in each new layer of meaning.
And I have spent yesterday and today attending seminars on Matthew's story of Jesus with Alan Cadwallader. One of the questions that was posed, broader than simply in relation to Matthew's Gospel, was 'what have we lost in the recording of our story in writing?' I led a workshop on storytelling and Matthew yesterday afternoon, in which we came across this question. One of the things we can say about the forming of the Biblical texts we have today is that they originate in an oral tradition, and, at first, particularly in the case of the narrative books, were written in order to aid the oral proclam…

An epic Tale - The Gospel according to Matthew

Hear the story of Jesus told in many voices, from beginning to end. This way of telling is a feature of the national gathering of the Network of Biblical Storytellers. 
Come to the Chapel at Nunyara Conference Centre, 4.30 pm, Saturday 25 September to experience the Gospel according to Matthew like never before. 
Gold coin donation. 
contact me for more info:

parables of the lost and found

i was invited to preach this morning at Belair Uniting. i didn't really preach, but led the congregation in wondering in response to the parables in Luke 15, of things lost and found.
in response to the parable of the lost sheep, we wondered how the ninety nine felt, if we are like the ninety nine, if the pharisees got the point, whether the ninety nine weren't also wandering, together ...
in response to the parable of the lost coin, we wondered if the coin knew it was lost and how the pharisees would have heard this parable, using money as part of the metaphor ...
in response to the parable of the lost son, we wondered if people might be in crowds yearning to be found, how the servants felt being told to do the work of welcoming rather than the father, whether we are like the younger son or the older son or like the father welcoming home the lost, and we wondered about the different disguises God takes on - shepherd, woman, father ...

i led a brief reflection which picked up …

baptised into the body

What difference does it make to be baptised in the Spirit into the Body of Christ? This question occurred to me as I worshipped with the Blackwood Uniting community (with no heaters, lights, sound or data projection because of storms rendering many areas powerless) yesterday morning.

Paul's letter to Philemon gives one example of the implications of the baptism of your whole household.
When your slave wrongs you, in the Roman Empire, you can inflict punishment, even sometimes quite violent punishment, even sometimes death.
When your slave leaves your household - specifically, runs away - for that you can have him put to death. In the Roman Empire your slave is your property, and you are free to do with your slave, your property, what you will.

But Paul and the apostles form, nurture, baptise, teach and disciple new communities of followers of Jesus the Christ. And the teaching is Jesus' teaching, about a new thing God is doing in the world, about the enw realm God is opening u…

storytelling workshop for telling Matthew's story of Jesus

'Bringing Matthew's story of Jesus to life' How has the author of the gospel of Matthew crafted the story of Jesus, and how can we enter into the story to find meaning so that we might bring this story to life with our reading / telling, as an invitation into the renewing love of God? Identifying the narrative threads that shape meaning; discovering the narrative clues to help communicate meaning. 

This is the introductory paragraph for a workshop I am offering twice in a couple of weeks. 
As I prepare it, I am wondering what people might expect from such an introduction. 
Your thoughts, responses, would be appreciated as I shape a useful offering for people wanting to communicate the gospel according to Matthew with meaning for their communities in 2010 / 11. 

can God be scared?

one more thought while i'm up late watching the netball instead of sleeping ...

i've been pondering this question - can God be / feel scared?
my first response was, can you fear if you are outside of time and know what will happen?
as i sat with the question and this response, another thought emerged. i watch favourite movies over and over again - star wars for example - and when the tense moments arise in the story - Luke facing his father in the cave - i know what happens next - luke cuts vader's head off and it turns out to have been a dream-like event - but i still get caught up in the moment, and fear for luke and what will happen next.

so perhaps my answer is yes, i think God can feel scared and not merely empathise with us in our fear, but fully enter into our fear, feeling it with us, as God might fully feel compassion or other emotions with more 'positive' connotations for us and our understanding of God.

more reflections on pottery

i commented on facebook last night that i was interested to hear what the experience of worship was like for those at college yesterday when i invited people into the reflection on God as potter and us as clay with the moulding clay throughout. some of the people who were there said things like the moulding clay helped them to focus, they appreciated the creativity of people and the different shapes that emerged from the playing, that the dye from the clay stayed on their hands late into the day, which was like the experience and the worship continuing with them.
i must say, this is one of the reasons i get a bit frustrated with those who dismiss and denigrate social media like facebook and twitter - it's such a wonderful opportunity to continue conversations, to receive feedback, to engage in wondering together ...

and contemplation on pottery continues for me with an image of a pot with cracks in it and light shining through; a warm, comforting and hope-filled image that resonat…

the cat empire - magic moment of grace

Part of me doesn't even want to attempt to put words to last night's experience at The Cat Empire 's Adelaide concert. But there's another part that wants a record of the feeling of the moment. So here goes.

When I heard from my best friend Mel that The Cat Empire were coming back to Adelaide, I immediately wanted to buy Mel's ticket for her, as an early birthday present. We've started buying each other tickets to events (most often Shakespeare plays, our shared love) as gifts for years now, because we'd rather share experiences in celebration of birthdays than continue to accumulate 'stuff' for each other. And since Mel was one of the ones who introduced me to The Cat Empire, and knowing just how much joy she gets from their music, this seemed a fitting gift opportunity.

And what an experience this was. I wasn't sure exactly how I wanted to record the moment, but something I heard from another friend today has given me a clue.
This friend was t…

God as potter - exit service at college

I lead chapel today at college - every candidate takes chapel once in their final semester before moving out of the core phase of training, or that's been the tradition to date. Who knows what will happen with so many students being more in and out of college during the core phase from now on.
I chose to create a meditative / contemplative space (and as I write this I recall Andrew's (principal) feedback afterwards that my use of such a term for the physical and temporal space in which we gather, this particular time, this particular place, won't mean anything for some people ... how easy it is to use language without listening to it with the ears of others).

We began with Dawn Mantra (Edwards) and words from Genesis in English and Hebrew - the opening few words, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and then from 1:27 God created humankind in God's image, each read in two voices, as a call to worship.

Our confession and affirmation were combined in a…