Genesis 18: 1-15

The comedian Mel Brooks once famously – or, depending on your point of view, infamously – said: “Tragedy is when I get a cut my finger; comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.” Granted that comedy is highly subjective – afterall, one person’s comedy is another person’s insult – and I experienced this subjectivity as a child: my parents, siblings, and I loved the Irish comedian Dave Allen; but my mother’s father thought he was an apostate who should be excommunicated, or worse. Continue reading “Genesis 18: 1-15”

The 40th Anniversary of the Uniting Church in Australia: An Alternate Perspective

Recently, I was accorded the privilege of receiving a copy of a sermon preached by my friend and colleague, Rev. John Bottomley, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the inauguration of the Uniting Church in Australia, a union of the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist traditions in Australia. With John’s kind permission, I reproduce that sermon below. Continue reading “The 40th Anniversary of the Uniting Church in Australia: An Alternate Perspective”

A New Venture – Podcasting!

As many of you are aware, prior to my ordination as a Minister in the Uniting Church in Australia, I was involved in the trade union movement for about 20 years – as a workplace delegate, as an elected honorary official, and finally as a paid official.  I worked for both blue collar and white collar unions, negotiating on behalf of union members, undertaking research into industrial issues, and even representing the unions I worked for at industrial tribunals. Continue reading “A New Venture – Podcasting!”

Matthew 28: 16-20

I have, on previous occasions, spoken to you about the art-form known as a triptych: a painting that consists of three panels, each of which depict different scenes, but which, when they come together, form a unified narrative whole. And an example which I have given you in the past is the so-called Sforza Triptych, which was painted around the year 1460 for the Sforza family, who were the rulers of Milan at that time. Continue reading “Matthew 28: 16-20”

Ezekiel 37: 1-14

I’m pretty sure that every person here today has heard some version or another of the song My Way. It is, afterall, Frank Sinatra’s signature tune, the one song he sang at every concert. Moreover, I suspect its popularity derives from the fact that it’s not just a good tune, or that in the hands of an artist of Sinatra’s calibre it takes on extraordinary new dimensions, but because it also speaks to the foundational myth of modernity. This is the myth of the fully autonomous individual who, through the sheer exercise of will, is able to shape the world around them to suit themselves. In other words, the myth of the person who can go through the whole of life doing things “my way”. Continue reading “Ezekiel 37: 1-14”

Genesis 2: 15-17, 3:1-8; Matthew 1-11

I don’t know about anyone else here today, but one of the staples of my childhood was watching Warner Bros. cartoons.  Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat – foghornand my absolute favourite: Foghorn Leghorn, the bombastic, loudmouthed, prank-playing rooster (and I would caution you against making any connections between the nature of his character and the fact that he was my favourite!). Watching these cartoons was a daily event; and for myself and my siblings it was one of the highlights of the day. Continue reading “Genesis 2: 15-17, 3:1-8; Matthew 1-11”

Poems Based on Japanese Models

In recent times I have been experimenting with poems based on two particular Japanese models: the haiku (3 lines) and tanka (5 lines). Both are ancient forms of traditional poetry in Japanese culture; and although, when rendered in English, do possess certain differences from the Japanese originals, are nonetheless popular and compelling poetic forms.  I can’t speak for the results – but I do hope they are nonetheless of some merit. Enjoy! Continue reading “Poems Based on Japanese Models”