Showing posts from June, 2013

of gathering for worship and not singing

At a recent gathering of the state-wide council of our church, we were invited to sing a song during the opening worship sessions that I found I could not sing. I've been pondering why.

The song was a song about the 'victor's crown'. So first up, I was resistant: I find the imagery and language depicting Jesus as a warrior king, victorious soldier, difficult. It feels to me discordant with the story that shows Jesus resisting violence peacefully - i.e. deliberately not fighting. I don't recall in the stories of the disciples encountering Jesus resurrected any hint that they experienced him as a victorious solider returning from battle, wielding sword and shield. He seems to have been as he always was, a peaceful presence, healing influence, personification of love.

In the chorus of this song is the line, 'he has overcome, he has overcome the world.' Here I was bemused, confused, and, frankly, disappointed. Why would Jesus need to overcome the world? Overcom…

Don't pass on this opportunity - pass it on!

In the beginning was  the word ... pass it on! 

The 2013 National Gathering of the Network of Biblical Storytellers will be held in Brisbane, from 5 – 7 July. Keynote speaker: Megan McKenna. This is the front page of the flier - click on the link to download the full pdf flier and registration form.

Please share the brochure through your networks, and encourage people to attend to discover and nurture the gift of inhabiting, embodying, and telling the Biblical stories.

Please come: this will be a wonderful event, whether you are seeking nurture and retreat, professional development, networking opportunities ... there is something for everyone in the Sacred Story of our tradition, and in gathering together to share the story. See you there!

Click over to the NBS Australia website for Megan's thoughts on what she'll be exploring with us over the weekend.

of hope that we might be well

Your local blogger was considering writing a post expressing gratitude for a gift she had given herself. She had been feeling the stress and strain of a full and busy life with little chance for rest and time out. There were things to do, but the hero of our story decided to withdraw from the world for a day, take the time out she needed, and rest, rather than pushing hard and continuing to do everything. The day was just what was required, and at the close of the day the stress and strain had eased a little at last.  At the opening of the new day, our blogger found she could face the tasks, embrace her role, with energy and enthusiasm, which was much more helpful for her community than a tired and grumpy minister would be.  And so, as she was considering sharing her discovery, once again, that rest is necessary for our health, and that health of individual is vital for health of community, she wondered if, indeed, it needed to be said again: or am I becoming a bore, always reminding…

in gratitude for some sublime story singers

When I discovered the choral concert in the cathedral in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago, I thought, what better way to experience a church than with music resounding through its spaces. It seems others also appreciate the combining of music and church space, for a series of music events have been created in Australia with the title Heavenly Sounds - and I am so grateful to my dear friend Mel for inviting me to go along to Kate Miller-Heidke's concert in the current Heavenly sounds tour.

In the Flinders Street Baptist Church last night, then, we were first delighted and moved by Brendan McLean in support, whose quirky and eccentric persona matched his quirky lyrics. The music was clever without being pretentious or showy - demonstrating obvious depth of understanding of musicality, and using the music in innovative and surprising ways in support of the lyrics. I felt as though, for brief moments, McLean allowed the persona to peel back a little to reveal something more raw and vul…

story travels: the UK, old friends and new

A couple of my good friends now live in London, and as I was going to be in their part of the world, I decided to detour on my way to Scotland to call in and spend time with them. One of them and his wife were not going to be around when I was there, unfortunately, but I still got to spend a delightfully sunny day with Anna, her daughter, and later her husband. It truly is one of the more superb bits of being human, the friends with whom we travel, the special ones who we don't see so often, but when we do, it's as if no time has passed at all.

From London I took the train (actually, four trains and a bus) to St Andrews, where I was exploring my hunch that the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts in the School of Divinity would be a good place for my PhD project when it comes time to do it. I was right.
From the medieval buildings, to its place in reformation history (not such a lovely place, as the site of the execution of a Catholic priest or bishop by Protestant…

story travels 2013: Prague, and a different kind of conference

In February, I wrote about how 2013 seems to be the year for sarah tells stories, with acceptance to present at an international, inter-disciplinary conference on narrative, to publish my poetry collection and to finish the day at TEDxAdelaide. At times, it has been overwhelming, all these opportunities, and the work that goes with them, not to mention the emotional highs and coming back down to earth. But it is so worth it.

Last month, after months of planning and waiting, I finally set off on a two week trip to the Czeck republic and UK. Prague was the setting for the conference on narrative, and in the UK I was exploring some further opportunities for sarah tells stories.
I was intrigued to have not blogged as I went this time - on other trips I seem to reasonably regularly share the story here as it unfolds. This time, I seemed to not have the words so readily for publicly recording the experiences (I kept a journal for myself, writing just about every day). Perhaps it is because …

in response to the new Jesus Christ Superstar production

Finishing the story with the crucifixion, for one thing, allows the story of Jesus to be told on a secular stage, for an audience of any faith or none, it seems to me. Jesus Christ Superstar is the story of a man people believed to be a particular revelation of God. The story doesn't tell us that he is God, as the Gospel accounts of the life, death (and resurrection) of Jesus do. JCS is also the story of a man - Judas - disillusioned with the leader he follows, who turns out not to be the leader Judas expected. This story is a story of expectations, of hope, betrayal, and of power.
In its telling this time around, the backdrop is the 21st Century West, with the global financial crisis and anti G8 Occupy-type riots and protests, Guantanamo Bay looking prison walls, and concrete city steps. It is fast-paced: too fast at times, with a seeming fear of silence - silence which might actually have allowed the audience and actors the space to feel the emotions, transition from one mood to…