Showing posts from March, 2017

What lies behind the story?

This week's musing is another guest contribution: the reflection offered at Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, this past Sunday, by Rev Lezley Stewart. We heard these passages from the Sacred Story:  1 Sam 16:1-13, Ps 23, John 9:1-12

I wonder when you are reading a newspaper or catching up online – when you read reports from at home and abroad, reports about politics, about issues in health care or security, stories of local interest and stories of random celebrities – do you sometimes want to know and understand more of what lies behind the often brief reports that come in bitesized chunks? I want to more of what lies behind things so I can more accurately understanding things as they impact in the here and now. If I’m honest I chose during the week to access news in this bitesized format – I don’t find the time to linger long over a newspaper with indepth articles and analysis – that gets reserved for the weekend – and then that doesn’t always happen either! Another thing to place on…

New Releases for Easter

Imagining the story of God's love? Telling the story of good news? Here are two ways I've done that in the past with some alternative, creative, storytelling communities in Adelaide – and now you can too!

Click on the images or click here to go to Wild Goose Publications and download for use in your communities this Easter.

Midweek Musing: treasure the moments of mystery

This past Sunday, I was back presiding at gathered worship with my friends at Augustine United Church, Edinburgh. What a joy. I haven't been saying yes to many 'gigs' this year, as I concentrate on the thesis, but with the Lenten liturgy from Fiona, and the words I've already crafted for Pray the Story, the energy for preparation was well within manageable limits – and donning the alb and leading a community in worship is that delightful complex of energy-giving, and exhausting (in a good way).

The reflection was shaped by the prayer-poem for the week, posted the previous Sunday on Pray the Story. That will be our midweek musing. Fiona has included a time for meditation: I spoke the prayer-poem for the epistle portion, which I wrote last year: Gift of Faith. And in our communion liturgy, we spoke the words of the Jesus Prayer (or Lord's Prayer) that I had crafted, also last year.

The Gospel story for the day was Jesus' encounter with a woman by a well in Samari…

Embraced: my PhD at Biblical Studies Seminar

This reflection on my recent experience of presenting my PhD work at the New College School of Divinity Biblical Studies Seminar first appeared in my monthly newsletter. Read more behind the scenes stories from the PhD experience, and from the further adventures of storytelling and poetry for free! Sign up over there on the right. 

'Your translation of aspazomai was excellent.' So said Prof Tim Lim, and the expressions on the faces of friends and my supervisor indicated the value of that affirmation from a well respected scholar. It's one of the pieces of work I've done in the performance interpretation of Romans with which I, too, am most pleased.

The word appears many times in Rom 16, and is translated in the NRSV as 'greet', but as I embodied and performed the letter, 'greet' in current English usage felt inadequate for expressing the meaning I and my audiences found in these imperatives to reach out towards members perhaps less readily welcomed in th…

of peace and joy and the oneness of us all

I was reading 1 Corinthians for a tutorial I was preparing to teach and unexpectedly found myself reflecting on a deepening of understanding of myself and my solitude. I haven't written about it for a while. I haven't really thought about it too much, either, recently. And that is what I noticed: I have at last settled into 'solitary' as my way of being.

Paul spends a bit of time in this letter to the church in Corinth on sexual immorality. Chapters 5, 6 and 7 are mostly given over to the topic. Remembering that Paul wrote specific letters to specific communities with their particular challenges, questions, and concerns is helpful to counter any inclination to take his words as a rulebook for living for all people in all times and all places.

For a start, we can find several indications that the concerns over sexual practices are bound up in broader concerns for living authentically according to the gospel of Christ: 'do not eat with one who is sexually immoral or …

Saying no to violence, and yes to human dignity

Ghandi observed (and I paraphrase): there is one word in the English language worth saying more often - 'no'. One Sunday morning recently, these words were offered in the context of a reflection on Jesus' teaching to 'turn the other cheek', and the notion of creative response to violence and persecution.

I was worshipping with my Edinburgh faith community, and our ecumenical partners, and the preacher was Rev Ali Newell, of the University Chaplaincy. Ali asked, does 'turn the other cheek' mean passive acceptance of violence? Is Jesus telling his followers to become door mats to those who would wield power over us? Or might he – here and in the breadth of his lived and spoken teaching – be saying something else?

Drawing on the insights of Walter Wink, Ali invited us to consider the turning of the other cheek as a demand on the part of the one being struck to be seen as a fellow human of the one who would strike the back of their hand across the right cheek o…