Ministry: A Personal Reflection

PRESCRIPT: Yesterday, my wife and I made presentations to our local Presbytery that set out our respective visions of ministry.  This is part of our formation for ordination, and the Presbytery was meeting to discern our readiness for ministry.  Detailed below is my statement to Presbytery.


A number of years ago, I was reading a book about the Second World War, a book which contained scholarly articles by noted military historians, retired generals, and former politicians.  But it also contained sections of photo-journalism, and in one of these sections when I saw a picture whose image has remained with me ever since.  It’s a photo I’m not able to share with you today, as I have never seen it again, and the book has long since passed into the Twilight Zone of past possessions.  I even tried looking for it on Google – but the “eye in the sky” let me down!  Continue reading “Ministry: A Personal Reflection”

Jeremiah 2: 4-13; Luke 14: 1, 7-14

The writer Thomas Russell Ybarra once cynically asserted that a Christian was someone who on Sunday begged forgiveness for the things they did on Saturday, and were going to do again on Monday.  As epithets go, it’s one I admit to being fond of; not only is it witty, it also describes the kind of attitude that takes forgiveness for granted, that assumes reconciliation is merely a matter of saying sorry, even if the apology is insincere.  In other words, it’s an attack on hypocrisy, the mindset that says that all that is necessary is to go through the motions, to observe the outward forms, but in reality to remain unchanged. Continue reading “Jeremiah 2: 4-13; Luke 14: 1, 7-14”

Isaiah 5: 1-7; Luke 12: 49-56

Someone once said that a diplomat is someone who thinks twice before saying nothing.  And if there was ever a person who embodied this maxim, it was the former Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko.  Gromyko was a famously taciturn man, someone who spoke little and always chose his words with care.  On one occasion, during an international conference in Switzerland, Gromyko drove the assembled media mad by refusing to give anything but the briefest and sketchiest of answers to their questions.  Finally, one journalist was driven by frustration to enquire whether or not Gromyko had enjoyed his breakfast that morning.  Gromyko considered the question briefly, then shrugged his shoulders and said: “Possibly”. Continue reading “Isaiah 5: 1-7; Luke 12: 49-56”

Isaiah 1:1-20

When my wife and I applied to become candidates to the ordained ministry in the Uniting Church, we had, as it were, to overcome a number of hurdles before we were accepted.  The last of these was an event known as the Selection Conference: a weekend over which all the applicants were interviewed, observed, and analysed by a panel representing the Theological College, the Synod, and the Presbyteries. Continue reading “Isaiah 1:1-20”