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!”

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”

Does God Have A “Plan” For Me? No; Because It’s Complicated.

As a Christian minister, I have been asked more than once (and usually in a context of suffering or anxiety) “What’s God’s plan for me?”, or “How do I uncover what God has planned for me?” The question itself is instructive, not least because it suggests the questioner is feeling assailed by a sense of loss, separation, or confusion. Loss of God’s presence in their life; a feeling of separation from God; a sense of confusion about what they ought to do – the all-too-familiar WWJD syndrome. Continue reading “Does God Have A “Plan” For Me? No; Because It’s Complicated.”

By An Image Defined

As the end of the 2015 calendar year approaches, I have been thinking about everything that has gone on in the world over the last twelve months, everything that has happened in my life in that time, and everything in between.  Like all years, 2015 has been a full year: full of heartache and joy, full of tragedy and grace, full of elevated nobility and awful baseness.  And in between all these highs and lows have been a plethora of “ordinary” days, when the simple joy of merely being alive, and the quiet pleasures of reading a book or listening to music, have competed with the busyness of daily life, the demands of ministry, and the tricky complexity of human relationships. Continue reading “By An Image Defined”

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”