Sign Posts and Twisted Paths



SIGN POSTS Sign PostsSign posts in confusion and paths twisted mark life’s journey. The sign posts once seemed clear markings about directions, beliefs, values and certainties. But increasingly the connections and overgrown twisted paths have made the journey ambiguous and fraught. Looking back, too many of the sign posts and twisted paths led in contrary directions. Some time in my thirties, during our weekly excursion to Sunday curacies, Donald Cameron, a Moore College work colleague, offered me these words of G K Chesterton:

… in my soul one

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Manhood: Experiences of Ethical Presence



MANHOOD IN A MUDDLE manhoodManhood, growing into manhood, was genitally assumed.  An understated, softly-spoken, cryptic language shaped the tensions of my childhood home. Just occasionally, a late caller would announce that Alf, in a drunken rage, had once again thrown Rogue to the floor.  The family men would gather muttering revenge.  My father was never wilfully violent.  I watched him unwillingly join them for the in-law beating that would follow.  No-one referred to it again.  Why should they?  They were no better than Alf.  Other family members repeated the same man to woman violence.  The

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Losing my Religion



Losing my religion LOSING MY RELIGION: A LETTER TO MYSELF  
  • Losing my religion as Michael Stipe’s R.E.M. aphorism for ‘obsession pop song … where anybody can … say, 'Yeah, that's me'; ‘someone who pines for someone else’; ‘unrequited love’; ‘playing … good chords’;  ‘cross” the boundaries’.
  • Losing my religion as an aphorism for losing one's temper, flying off the handle, being at my wit's end, (Urban Dictionary) losing faith in God or another person.
  • Losing my religion as ‘the fruit of the (non-believer's)

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Risk-Taking: Letting go of Moral Certainty



RISK-TAKING, DEATH AND DYING ” It is strange to be thinking about risk-taking, when my mind is still full of death and dying. But, six months after Margaret’s death my mind and body begin to respond to questions and comments made. With generous intention, cards and messages told me that ‘she is just away’, ‘just around the corner’, ‘out of sight’, ‘passed on’. After almost sixty years of funeral taking I know the phrases well and their long-trodden sources. They were meant to comfort and those who offered them intended well but they hold me to a sentimental image

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More Open, More Inclusive, More Spiritually Vital



The better story of contemporary Christianity is that of an awakening of a more open, more inclusive, more spiritually vital faith. - Diana Butler Bass
spiritually vitalIt is hard to draw that conclusion from the available Australian statistics. I feel quite sure that the national Census planned for August 2016 will show an increase in those affirming ‘no religion’. So far as numbers are concerned, for the first time the ‘no religion’ category will have precedence over the Christian denominations and other religions. Interest groups, including churches

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Storytelling as Redemptive Encounter



storytellingStorytelling grasped my imagination in the final days of high school.  The two stories that captivated me at 17 were the Gospel account of Jesus' life and the powerful Anglo-Saxon saga, Beowulf.  Two storytellers, one a religion teacher and the other an English master, held me spell-bound.  With no background in church or religion or for that matter in mythical history I began to blend the two accounts.  I recall the excitement of internalising these two stories.  A lifetime would pass before I could articulate the potential depth of this

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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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Provide me with questions not answers



” Provide me with questions not answers. Much of every day is bound by timetables and other people’s expectations. But in moments of self-awareness, I need to be in the present, not locked into some past anxiety. Let the rhythm of my breath focus me. Pause, take stock, and for that moment ‘let the heart speak’. This is the destiny I want to ‘reclaim’. PROVIDE ME WITH QUESTIONS NOT ANSWERS: LISTEN FOR THE NUANCES Listen for the nuances. How should I respond to popular commentaries on refugees and boat people? What fresh questions should I be asking about climate change and

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Taming the Heart: as Living Vulnerably



This reflection on 'Taming the Heart' is a personal response to a much larger contemporary Buddhist-Christian-Jewish dialogue. This has occupied academic conversation at least since Nostra Aetate, 'The Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions', promulgated 28 October, 1965.  It is written with the conviction that Christians and Buddhists can reinterpret their respective Scriptures in the light of each other's primary and distinctive teaching.   As Buddhists remind Christians of their primitive mystic traditions, and add to these their own centuries of inner exploration, so classic Christianity might offer fresh spiritual insight to this Read More >>



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The Deepest Truths of our Human Nature



” We lived with our broad community discovering the deepest truths of our human nature and finding God there.  We remember all who have worked hard in evangelism and outreach, those whose prayers have mattered when nothing tangible seemed possible, those who have served others’ needs before their own, those who showed us that Christ was incarnated in his poor, those who unsettled our spirits with music, word, art and drama, those whose friendship awakened new energies and showed us that the Spirit’s gifts are limitless.
WE HAVE MET EACH OTHER IN THE DEPTHS OF SHARED HUMANITY Our nine years with you have fired by discovering the

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Prayer is Paying Attention to the Rhythms of Life



  ” Prayer is paying attention, holding the person or circumstance to your heart. Prayer is paying attention to the rhythms of the world around us. paying attentionI have listened carefully to the street prophets.  More than 20 years ago, David Marsh’s gift of street poems celebrated ‘the dance of God ” has sanctified the ceremonies of the streets’.  We need to stop, watch and listen. Prayer is paying attention to the rhythms of the world around us. Prayer is the still place between being and

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Failure – Option or Obstacle: Turning Failure into Discovery



failure -option or obstacleThe question about failure - option or obstacle was put to me this way: ‘How do you deal with other’s people’s sense of failure and how do you turn your own failure into discovery?’ Terry Robson, co-editor of WellBeing magazine and presenter with the ABC Talking Health program, had contacted a number of Australians who worked with people in crisis.  His question, Failure - Option or Obstacle, touched many a forgotten wound deep within each of us.  After a long, painful silence, here is part of my reply: Success

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