Luke 2: 22-40

One of my favourite motion pictures is the film Shadowlands, starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it tells the story of C S Lewis, and of his relationship with the American poet Joy Gresham, whom Lewis eventually married. And the story which is conveyed through their relationship is a story of change: a story of moving out from a situation of safety and security into a context of risk, uncertainty, and loss. Continue reading “Luke 2: 22-40”

Christmas Is Absurd: Christmas Sermon 2014

I don’t know if any of you saw it or not, but a couple of weeks ago, the Australian comedian Kitty Flanagan got into hot water by declaring on prime time television that Santa doesn’t exist. Indeed, such was the outrage generated by this remark that the following day, the program on which Flanagan had appeared was forced to air an interview with “Santa”, in which the Man in Red explained that Ms Flanagan had been “fibbing” and that she was a “naughty girl”.[1] Continue reading “Christmas Is Absurd: Christmas Sermon 2014”

Luke 1: 39-56

I don’t know if you saw it or not, but yesterday there appeared in the Fairfax Media a story entitled “Christian Lobby Boycotts Gay Student Program”.   The article described how the organisation calling itself the Australian Christian Lobby has launched a campaign to shut down the Federally funded Safe Schools program, which aims to protect gay, transgendered and intersex students from bullying, harassment, and intimidation. According to the article, the ACL’s rationale for doing so is that, in its view, the Safe Schools program is actually a disguised campaign by “activists” to “normalise” homosexuality and transgenderism in schools, and to “impose a sexual agenda” on children. The article cited a letter written by the ACL to the Prime Minister, in which it was claimed that the program also ignored the “vast majority of children” who were bullied for reasons other than their sexuality.[1] Continue reading “Luke 1: 39-56”

Social Media, Trolls, and the Church: What I Learned from Having an Online Presence

Introduction

The internet – and, in particular, social media – is often touted as “the way to go” for churches and congregations eager to increase their social outreach and interactivity. And, indeed, there can be profound benefits from doing so – even if the internet is not the “magic bullet” solution to a church’s problems that many people think it is. However, there are also down sides which any faith community exploring this option need to be aware of; and of these, perhaps the most confronting is the phenomenon of the “internet troll”. Continue reading “Social Media, Trolls, and the Church: What I Learned from Having an Online Presence”

Mark 1: 1-8

The former North Vietnamese general and statesman Vo Nguyen Giap once declared that peace was “the continuation of war by other means”[1]. The celebrated English philosopher and writer George Bernard Shaw observed that peace was “better than war but more arduous”[2]. In other words, peace on the one hand contains an element of struggle and resistance; and, on the other hand, is harder to maintain than outright conflict. Peace is hard work. Continue reading “Mark 1: 1-8”