Mary: Her Many Faces



Mary model of every woman who nurtures the divine presence Mary’s classic image is all tears and suffering: she is woman vulnerable and passive. The Book of Acts compresses her in a passing reference as ‘continually devoting herself to prayer’ (Acts 1:13-14). The cults that grew around this, parade her as mother and model of virginity. Popular piety has placed her on a pedestal of sanctity. I pass her by without a second glance. A moment’s reflection on the Gospel Resurrection text tells a different story. There, we do not meet Mary in isolation. She is immersed in community. She

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The Pursuit of Freedom through Justice



Freedom Recollected - The ‘I’ in the Storm
To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains,  but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.                                     Nelson Mandela
  I have spent a good part of my life encouraging people to seek freedom. In a way this has been the focus of my religious profession. Freedom is a fundamental word in Christian vocabulary – ‘with freedom Christ has made us free’

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Personal Values Count



PERSONAL VALUES COUNT...                      ... that was one of the most strategic insights in our workplace. personal values   The condition of our hearts, the openness of our attitudes, the quality of our competence, the fidelity of our experience – these give vitality to the work experience and meaning of life. – Max DePree, CEO Herman Miller, Leadership is an Art, Bantam Doubleday: New York, 1989.   One of my many roles was to work

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When our Moral Outrage Switch is Tripped



When our moral outrage switch is tripped, perhaps we need to be aware that our “ruthlessness” switch may also be switched on at the same time, and guard against taking out our anger against anyone who is or may be associated with the group who is said to be morally outrageous. It is difficult to look into the heart of human darkness.
moral outrageThe moral outrage of various media is highlighting the tenth anniversary of the Cronulla riots. The current hype I find appalling. I want to close

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The rapture of being alive: seeking meaning for life



The rapture of being alive.  People say that what all we’re seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.  – Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, e-Book, Anchor, 2011.

THE RAPTURE OF BEING ALIVE: TAKING THE HERO’S JOURNEY The rapture of being alive motivates how I hope

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We wish to see Jesus: Consecration of John Charles McIntyre



WE WISH TO SEE JESUS: SERMON AT THE CONSECRATION OF JOHN CHARLES McINTYRE AS ELEVENTH BISHOP OF GIPPSLAND Since John's life and ministry remain living issues for many friends, community members and church people I have included on my updated website this address given at his consecration.  An address given at his funeral can also be found on this website. ” ‘Greeks come’ with a request: ‘we wish to see Jesus’; the Bible comment is almost casual.  They engage the reader for the fraction of a moment and then slip out of the story altogether.  They are the

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Where words translate into actions



” The energy of all genuine religious experience is where words translate into actions.  This is the life challenge that crosses religious and cultural barriers.  At heart THIS is what defines us as Christian.  It is the rock-hard centre of Jesus’ teaching:

Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock … Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.’  Matthew 7:24-29 (NIV)

WHERE WORDS TRANSLATE INTO

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Make your words count: be lights to our generation



Make your words countMake your words count: stand firm as lights to your generation. Current debates about marriage equality and the latest of many outbursts about climate change, refugee status and political double-dealing stirred my morning reflection. And then there was this tired comment from a senior ecclesiastic who really should shape his thoughts more clearly: ‘The church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters … We believe in the autonomy of science’.  Yes, of course, but please say more than the obvious. Indeed,

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Peace is an action word: the heart of the story of Easter



” Peace is an action word. It stands at the heart of the Christian story of Easter. Peace is an action word shaped by an inner vision of what it means to follow in the steps of a man who lived from the energies of God. Peace is an action word that gathers us to the same pathway and goal. Peace is an action word that coloured the way ancient Christian writers told their resurrection stories. Mary Magdalene, long time household friend and associate of Jesus came to an empty tomb. She met Jesus but did not recognise him. Indeed she thought

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The Conversational Undertones of a Liberation Theology



LIBERATION THEOLOGY AS IDENTIFICATION WITH THE POOR ” Liberation theology galvanised my thinking in the latter days of seminary teaching. It awakened passion for a religion that not only addressed the poor but grew out of identification with the poor. 1987 was a key year for me. I was captivated by Leonardo and Clodovis Boff’s challenge that ‘we can be followers of Jesus and true Christians only by making common cause with the poor and working out the gospel of liberation’. The social and political, as well as the religious implications of this, motivated the next stages of my life. It shook

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Celebrating Difference as the Essence of our Humanity



In this Palm Sunday combined service we learn to look each other in the eye and celebrate the differences that are the essence of our humanity. This adds quality and depth to the faith journey we share. Each of us acknowledges that what we hold in common is more precious than either our fractured histories or past prejudices. ” Today’s Gospel reading ”, with each reading through Holy Week, explores the pathos and tragedy of one man’s journey. This remains the centrepiece of our Christian affirmation. It is Jesus’ unique story from Palm Procession to Upper Room to Calvary. Each of us

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A Bond Between Two People



A BOND BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE We need to hold as our urgent truth that there is a bond between two people as the sign of a bond between all people.  In that intimacy we will discover that racism and sexism have no place among us.  Here we learn to bless each other with protection. What matters is our integrity and the dream of what it means to be truly human. And that will be living love from the strong-house of the inner being, ever-learning fresh ways of bordering and protecting each other. Untitled

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Grasping our Humanity



Grasping our humanity is the key to releasing our inner healing. We sense ‘the sacred’ as ‘present in the living earth’. We move beyond the morality that dominates so much of common religious discourse to sense sacred presence in others and in the earth as well as in us. We learn to love and respect the other for their difference and so to bind difference into our understanding and experience of the whole. ‘Health comes from learning to live in vibrant harmony with ourselves, with the natural world, and with one another.’ Always, wherever, whatever, however, When I am able to resist

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The Meaning of Christmas – An Editorial Comment



THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS - SYDNEY MORNING HERALD 2003 EDITORIAL COMchristmas-ball-1436085-mMENT The Herald editorial group back in December 2003 asked me to write a brief article on the meaning of Christmas.  Then as now, I saw the meaning of Christmas linked with the justice centre of the Gospel accounts.  It is an affirmation of what we share in our humanity, and reveals much of what can stunt our human growth.  Like all great stories, the meaning of Christmas is concealed in mythology.  It demands attention to those hidden, often obscure motivations

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