Christ Church Gladesville: Passion and Pain



Christ Church Gladesville

Gladesville bridge opened 2nd October 1964, the great concrete arch was built to a height of 40.8 metres at its centre. The arch consists of four concrete-box arches constructed independently of each other then stressed laterally together on steel arch ribs. Span: 308m.

Bush Prelude - Passion and Pain

Pain is the fuel of passion - it energises us with an intensity to change what we normally possess. 

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Affirming a Sense of Self: Searching for Wholeness



Sense of Self sense of selfSense of self means more than self-worth, though this is also in view.  It is a search for wholeness, a search for personal identity, a search for relationship and a sense of communion with the inner and the outer life.. I take this journey existentially and artistically sharing the hopes and fears of those around me. The goal of my life is a relationship with Being, not some tribal deity but the very Ground of Being that unites our humanity. In that

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Either-Or: Road Blocks on the Sacred Journey



The freedom I bring is limited by my own experience of brokenness and emptiness. I do not mean this as religious chatter: I have sinned and so am unworthy. No, I mean this existentially. I am the sum total of what life has paid out to me. That is, both weakness and strength, emptiness and fullness, being ‘of no reputation’ and being human. This is all I have to offer. Living freedom is about sharing relationship not as superior to suppliant, but as a broken spirit meeting a broken heart. - 9 June 2016 
Either-Or  My first thoughts in this memoir segment

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Sacred Journey: Embracing a Passion for Life



Sacred Journey: Ghosts from the Past  sacred journey Sacred Journey that Shaped my Manhood  sacred journey Searching for the sacred – for new … iterations of holiness in thought, word, deed and materials – was an increasingly challenging prospect and major preoccupation across the long 20th century. - The Architectural Review Sacred journey is the binding theme of this recollection.  'The sacred journey is a human journey, lived with other people in an environment that shapes your

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Faith and Unfaith: Imaginary Letter to a Bishop



Dear Tom This letter is just a conversation with my own inner self, so I feel no need to apologise for any confessions or discretions that would be better kept private. In any case, I wrote this letter quite some time ago. It has simply been resting on my computer waiting some foolhardy moment when I decide to loose it on my website. I can’t anyway imagine your being even slightly interested in an old man’s meandering faith thoughts.faith Those years back I read intensely your book Losing My Religion.

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Religious Being





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Each of us is Living our own Sacred Story



“EACH OF US IS LIVING OUR OWN SACRED STORY ...          ... we are all the hero of our own great adventure.” sacred storyThe Bible sacred story begins with ‘body-mindedness’. In this account, God ‘knows’ what is the end or purpose (telos) of creation. And knowledge translates into spatial and temporal body connections. God images into the body of Adam who in turn ‘knows’ Eve.  With the children born to them, they are called inclusively ‘Man’ (Genesis 5:2). This might

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Life is always Now



Life is always now. Whatever happens, whatever you experience, feel, think, do - it's always now. It's all there is. And if you continuously miss the now – resist it, dislike it, try to get away from it, reduce it to a means to an end, then you miss the essence of your life, and you are stuck in a dream world of images, concepts, labels, interpretations, judgments – the conditioned content of your mind that you take to be "yourself." And so you are disconnected from the fullness of life that is the "suchness" of this moment. -

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Love others in all their Vulnerability



Aware of our own transience, we alternate between an aching despondency and a rebellion against the facts. We cling to our loved ones, or remove ourselves from them, rather than loving them in all their vulnerability. In so doing we distance ourselves from a grief that is an inevitable component of affection.
Love others in all their Vulnerability The essence of Jesus’ teaching is that we their love others in all vulnerability. He explained this through the contradiction ‘to hate one’s father and

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Re-Aligning God – Changing Patterns of Belief in an Age of Genocide



How can a Christian, who is himself a secular man, understand his faith in a secular way? – attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer
re-aligning GodThe urgency for re-aligning God has been a passion of over forty years – at least since Vietnam. Suddenly it seemed impossible to address God in classical terms. Like many of my generation I was enclosed in a Christian culture but found many of the God-images offensive. The culture demanded that we affirm the impassibility of God – without body, parts

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Re-Engaging Beauty and Reality



re-engaging beautyIt is not accidental that religion as a way of re-engaging beauty and reality finds a new place in our world, with Eastern religions and New Age movements making subtle inroads.
Buddhism ” has served as a catalyst in the development of modern Christian meditation. (1)
Not least in this regard is the impact of writers (2) who take buddhist beliefs about ‘attachment’ and moral self-control and relate them to both the personal and the corporate world. It is about ‘knowing what your feelings are and using your

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Storytelling as Enchantment



Stories are the only enchantment possible, for when we begin to see our suffering as a story, we are saved.  Anaïs Nin (1) 
” Great storytelling can awaken enchantment. (2) It can stretch the imagination with the possibility of experiencing people and events outside one’s normal experience. Stories are about people not abstractions.
Stories are all around us.  They are what move us, make us feel alive, and inspire us. Our appetite for stories is a reflection of the basic human need to understand patterns of life — not merely as an intellectual exercise

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Divine Image in the Human Form



The Divine Image

For Mercy has a human heart,

Pity a human face,

And Love, the human form divine,

And Peace, the human dress …

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Imagining Love’s Connections



I have spent most of today re- Imagining Love’s Connections. St John's 351In the last twenty and more years, a subject-object engagement with the vulnerable ‘other’ has vitalized my understanding of self. My awareness and affirmation of what I mean by ‘God’ has also changed radically. Here is a slice of that world of discovery, as it has enlivened my imagining love’s connections. Till our recent move south, Margaret and I lived in a twelve-storey apartment block on William Street, a major thoroughfare that links Sydney’s CBD

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Captivated by Desire



We are all Captivated by Desire. Desire keys our brain responses. Brain and the body memories create images and through metaphor awaken our yearning. ‘You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions’ are correlates of the brain that shapes each emotion. (1)  

"To free desire from the tendency to cling, we have to be willing to stumble over ourselves."

- Mark Epstein

captivated by desireMy amateurish interest in neuroscience is mostly gathered from the Internet. But reading studies

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Longing and Desire in an Empty Room



LONGING AND DESIRE longing and desire  Longing and desire are the waking emotions of each day. And longing and desire mark its close. There is longing to touch and to speak but the room is empty. There is desire for presence, awakening and transformation. But the day carries heaviness and unfulfillment. One more week and it would have been Margaret’s birthday.  Instead it will be two months since her all-too-sudden death. The room remains empty. Perhaps the grieving will pass soon. There have been hundreds of

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Being and Becoming: The tangible face of God



The tangible face of God is about an engagement with ‘the other’. This is the person or context that meets us in the every-day (1). It is our world of the obvious. So, why invoke God? To simply speak of the tangible face of ‘the other’ makes perfect sense. images-2I suppose the simple answer is that I am a cultural humanist. I have absorbed a Christian ethic and so, in some respects, am also a cultural Christian. Please don’t take this as a definition of who I am and what I

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Yearning to Become



YEARNING TO BECOME motivates my life. I am a man in transition, living always with the possibility of what I am already becoming.   Let me be clear, ‘yearning to become’ is not about shaping life around ultimate goals. It is about facing each demand, each encounter, each change of direction, with steady focus on the present. This conversation touches my destiny with you. yearning to become                     That same yearning to become lies at the heart of traditional Christianity. Its doctrines and values emerged from its commitment to human encounter.

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Meeting My True Self in ‘the other’



We meet our true selves in relationship with ‘the other’ ... ... and through each act of love and generosity shared. Our relationship with everyone who enters our life and space is ethical. In each encounter we can sense our own yearning for fulfillment. With ‘the other’ we can search for an unimagined beauty that may renew our imagination. Each encounter is a stage in discovering a greater presence and identity.  the other Shared life celebrates the links that bridge across individual difference. We become companions in hope and adversity. Our

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Look Level-Eyed into the Face of God



look level-eyed into the face of God

Look level-eyed into the face of God. God is a radical existence for others. And so, I would seek always to look level-eyed into the face of God.

One evening near enough to Christmas our very mixed inner-city congregation gathered in the Parish Hall. It was a time for celebration that some of our number had stayed drug free, or near enough. One man had found work and our female street worker had managed to relocate an under-aged

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Face-to-Face – Awakening to a Sense of Living Presence



FACE-TO-FACE: THE ESSENCE OF HUMAN CONNECTION ” The sense of being face-to-face with another lies at the heart of every genuine human connection.  You look someone in the face and catch their ‘presence’.

Only through a face-to-face encounter with the Other, the individual who sees us and is seen by us, can we recognize our own humanity and determine how we ought to behave. Ethics is the visceral and intuitive sense of obligation to other individuals. It commands us to recognize the person before us and it obligates them to the same. – Corinne Berzon, ‘Discourse and Demagogues’, The Times of Israel, 18

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The dense feel of city living



A key need for successful aging is to feel that you have contributed to leaving the world better than you found it. - Linda P. Fried DeLamar Professor at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, ‘Making Aging Positive’.

For a lifetime we shared intensely the dense feel of city living. Then, less than year ago we moved house. This was a sudden decision borne of the physical and emotional limitations of ageing. We see the sun rise and set, the breeze blows in from the sea and we almost never see the neighbours. The streets are tidy and

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Communitas – “the pattern of all patience”



Communitas

Communitas is where … love always proves more powerful … ”).

A Homily offered on the occasion of a Funeral Service conducted at St Saviour’s Church, Redfern, NSW to celebrate the life of the Right Reverend John Charles McIntyre, 11th Bishop of Gippsland – 17 June 2014, the Feast of St Alban, Martyr (Book of Common Prayer). The text reproduced here is as originally given. The fresh title of this address derives from Victor Turner, ‘Liminality and Communitas, chapter 3, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, Chicago: Aldine Publishing, 1969. The address commenced with a reading from Matthew’s

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Live with all that is unresolved in your heart – Part 3



Live with all that is unresolved in your heartLive with all that is unresolved in your heart. Learn to see beyond the obvious and trivial. Own your heart’s yearning. Encounter where love beckons, teaching acceptance, forgiveness and reconciliation. Something Christ-like is incarnated in this moment. Here is sacred space where you look into the eyes of another, then look again within yourself. LIVE WITH ALL THAT IS UNRESOLVED IN YOUR HEART – A REBIRTHING Mircea Eliade’s insight about ‘founding’ and ‘rebirthing’ sacred space had opened a fresh vista

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Journey of the spirit



A journey оf the spirit, at first taken with some difficulty, at last becomes as natural as breathing. Each very ordinary moment can awaken the imagination. The fragile beauty of the world around us can also be seen in each other. JOURNEY OF THE SPIRIT: LET THE INNER VOICE SPEAK ” The Christian tradition has built a profound spirituality on this insight. It teaches us to take our eyes off ourselves and see beauty in people and things around us. In doing this we love the ‘other’ in some measure as God is loved. This is more than simply seeking their

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Live with all that is unresolved in your heart – Part 2



Live with all that is unresolved in your heart  LIVE WITH ALL THAT IS UNRESOLVED IN YOUR HEART Live with all that is unresolved in your heart. All this brings me back to Mircea Eliade whose train of thought prompted these comments: ‘If the world is to be lived in, it must be founded – and no world can come to birth in the chaos of the homogeneity and relativity of profane space’. There is a power in this that I know to be true – true because

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Live with all that is unresolved in your heart – Part 1



IMGP4617 LIVE WITH ALL THAT IS UNRESOLVED IN YOUR HEART Live with all that is unresolved in your heart. I guess that is the reflex of age speaking. The longer I live the less seems resolved. There are always unanswered questions. And despite a lifetime in Christian ministry the God question remains the hardest of all to engage. My concern is something more profound than proofs for the existence or non-existence of God. That seems such a pointless exercise. My question runs in a quite different direction. Where

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Turning away from the shadow to face the light



” The image of turning away from the shadow to face the light first intrigued then triggered my imagination:

The sun radiates all things and awakens beauty and hope. I stand full-faced in its presence, watch its change of moods and sense its softening shadows at the edges of life. An inner light also inspires me. It awakens me to reflection and creativity: the shadows cast are incense in the temple of the spirit. I am creator, child of light, shaped by my source, drawing from the world around me and the depth of my being. Light is the warmth

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See each other differently and face our world with fresh hope



Take a journey inward and across barriers and defences till we come to see each other differently and face our world with fresh hope. This is how I understand that much overused and poorly defined word ‘empowerment’. Empowerment is energy for action. We begin to see each other differently. We face our world with fresh hope is. Despite damage, suffering or loss, we allow others to explore choices and to acknowledge the consequences that flow from choices.

There is no absolute ‘Jesus … ethic’ to guide our future – just courteous, other-person centred,

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Utopian Attitudes to Society



  Utopian Attitudes to SocietyThis study investigated one aspect of evangelical self-awareness. When Sydney Anglicans debated marriage, Sunday and temperance, they were struggling with a literalist hermeneutic. Few of the clergy had the skills or the training to grapple with the challenge of the new sciences and technologies to supernaturalist religion. Unable to counter the opposition, they concerned themselves with the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification and with futurist utopianism.  They turned the mood of hopeful enterprise into one of disillusioned pessimism withdrawing into adventist speculation, cultural isolation

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Anglicanism in Australia



Anglicanism in Australia: LetterSCAN0012-198x300 to the Reverend Dr Bruce Kaye on the proposed chapter 'Theology of Anglicanism'. 

The 1941 Moorhouse Lectures shape church extension and evangelism around a theology of social justice. Newer  pressures from Evangelicalism may well have a transforming impact on the shape of future Anglicanism. When we settle our personal prejudices, these too may appear as the great inspiration behind a theology of scripture, church and sacrament; and if it does not seem too presumptuous behind new certainties about atonement and Christology.

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Education, Spirituality and Justice



ms2fq2_2 This is an address to the larger SCEGGS school community on the theme ‘Education, Spirituality and Justice’. We are pilgrims through post-modern uncertainty, each needing a resolve to restore ‘our shattered histories’. In the face of so much uncertainty, church and school have a responsibility to offer participants the capacity to explore their own potential for growth and change. This origin of this paper was an invitation to speak at a public meeting held to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. It was

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