John 4: 1-42

A couple of weeks ago, I preached a sermon based on Genesis, Chapters 2 and 3.  In that sermon, I suggested that Christian tradition had been unjustly harsh to Eve; that instead of blaming her for the introduction of sin into human life – a blame that had subsequently justified centuries of women being mistreated by men – what should have been recognised is that Adam was at least equally to blame and was probably even more culpable than Eve.  My point was that the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden was an example of Scripture having been misunderstood, and then misused, in order to facilitate and justify certain oppressive social arrangements. Continue reading “John 4: 1-42”

Community of the Transfiguration: The Journey of a New Monastic Community by Paul R. Dekar – A Review

Over the last century, a movement within western Christianity has emerged that has sought to recapture both the spiritual focus and the intentional living of the monastic movement of the Early Church and Medieval periods.  Calling itself the New Monastic (or neo-monastic) movement, this form of “emerging church” has centred around communities of (usually) lay people who seek to live an intention life together as a community of faith bound by a common spiritual discipline.  Such communities also seek to engage wider society through a series of initiatives ranging from social justice to environmental awareness, their work underpinned and sustained by their daily discipline of prayer, meditation, and worship. Continue reading “Community of the Transfiguration: The Journey of a New Monastic Community by Paul R. Dekar – A Review”

Joel 2:13 – An Ash Wednesday Reflection

Rend your hearts and not your clothing.

Repentance is hugely unfashionable these days.  On the one hand, many use the concept of repentance to attack faith, to allege that the concept of repentance means that the God of religious faith is a bully and a thug, a martinet who desires our submission and threatens us with dire punishments if we don’t comply.  On the other hand, many Christians are decidedly coy when it comes to repentance: desirous of putting faith in the best possible light and appearing “relevant” to a sceptical modernity, many Christians actively or implicitly discourage talk of repentance.  Concepts such as repentance – and sin – are a bit too old fashioned; far better – and much easier – to talk about the God who loves, the God who accepts us unconditionally. Continue reading “Joel 2:13 – An Ash Wednesday Reflection”