A musing, midweek, after news that a courageous, generous, and faithful decision on marriage might be cast aside.
In July, the national council of my church, the Uniting Church in Australia, made a decision to include in our understanding of marriage that it is both between a man and a woman, and between two people regardless of gender, and to allow our members to hold either view according to their conscience (for details, see here, and here; for former President Rev Prof Andrew Dutney's reflection on this as a courageous and faithful decision, see here).
This decision did not cast aside one view or another, did not declare or even imply that the old, familiar, cherished-by-many view was wrong. It did allow us to give dignity to faithful people who want to commit to lifelong partnership with the vows and covenant of marriage under law and within the church before God.
There are some who hold that old familiar view of marriage who wa…
Have you heard church leaders, preachers, theologians bemoan the lack of ability of congregations today to listen to a sermon?
Listening audiences are accused of having short attention spans, requiring multi-media delivery of a message, not valuing oratory. But is this true, or fair?
Should the 'blame' be shouldered, at least in part, by the preacher?
I suggest that we have lost the ability to communicate orally, not just to listen attentively and to hear.
Can we regain the skills of oratory, utilise tools of performance, and once more hold an audience for longer than 13 minutes (a time suggested in a book called The Prodigal Project as the ideal length for a sermon)?
Can we help listeners learn again to be attentive for longer, to hear a message and hold onto it after the blessing and the handshake at the door?
And should we even strive to achieve these goals? Should we even bother? Or do we abandon the oral communication of our sacred texts for the more culturally popula…
It's Thursday. This time last week I came home for lunch after spending the morning at the church as usual, and I slept. For three hours.
I had been having a great week: nice drive to Yass (an hour away) on a lovely sunny Monday; productive day Tuesday planning worship, finishing off a translation of a portion of Acts, pastoral visit and a walk to the post office in the afternoon; a long walk and a hearty breakfast with church folk Wednesday morning, lunch with more church folk, and more work on the translation in the afternoon.
Thursday was an early start for the midweek prayer service, but I can usually perk up after coffee. I yawned my way through the whole morning, feeling myself skidding towards a crash.
I have written of the chronic exhaustion that plagued me throughout the PhD years. Debilitating financial stress a major culprit, and for many years before those three alone. No doubt 20 years of living with depression didn't help, either.
Muscles, inflamed, ached through…