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”

Theology of Work: A Reflection

PRESCRIPT: This year, I was generously invited to give the Keynote Address to the Uniting Church Vic/Tas Synod Justice and International Mission (JIM) Unit’s Annual Conference. The Conference theme was: “Making Working Lives Better: A Christian Perspective on the Future of Work”. What follows is an extended version of the text of my Address: “extended” in the sense that it contains additional material which I deleted from my delivered speech for timing reasons, but which I nonetheless think is relevant.

May the grace and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you all.

A reading from the Gospel According to Luke:

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the Sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. Continue reading “Theology of Work: A Reflection”

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”

Faith and Politics: A Reflection

As a result of a number of recent posts on various social media platforms (or perhaps as a consequence of the cumulative effects of my posting), some people have recently asked me to “describe” my “politics”.  Given that I seem to excoriate both the Liberal and Labor Parties (for non-Australian readers, they represent, respectively, the “conservative” and “progressive” wings of Australian politics, although both terms are now rather meaningless), where do I sit on the political spectrum? Or am I apolitical – or do I just write off all political parties and politicians as useless and snipe from the sidelines? Continue reading “Faith and Politics: A Reflection”