Welcoming the stranger: Putting it to the test

A journey in faith is so rarely put out there in public for all to see. But as Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber writes in her new book, “Pastrix: The beautiful cranky faith of a sinner and saint,” the  truth is so much better than just trying to be good all the time.

Raised in the Church of Christ in America, Nadia always felt uncomfortable with the strict rules of her church and the dismissive ways women were treated. While her journey has led  her to becoming a Lutheran Pastor, there was a time in her life when she felt so hurt by Christianity that she wanted nothing to do with it at all. Continue Reading

Religion and spirituality: Finding God within

“I don’t go to church – I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious.”

It’s a phrase often heard and it’s being heard more and more. Research from the National Church Life Survey (NCLS) found that 44.6% of respondents to the 2009 Australian Survey of  Social Attitudes believed that there is something beyond this life that makes sense of it all. Of this, 24% have no religious affiliation.

So what does that mean exactly? As Dr Val Webb, theologian and author, explains, it’s a little hard to define – mostly because the term ‘spiritual’ is so full of baggage. Continue Reading

Challenging the language of fear

When we think about what we are scared of, what comes to mind? Debt? Crime? Death?

Dr Keith Suter, managing director of Global Directions and Uniting Church member, is a leader in global thought and a member of arguably  the most prestigious global think tank in the world, the Club of Rome. While you may not realise it, he believes that many Australians are  fearful of invasion. Continue Reading

Cipto: The love of Christ through peaceful action

 

The Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) Perth, a Uniting Church congregation in Mosmon Park, has much to celebrate at the moment with the commissioning, in December last year, of their new minister, Rev Ciptamartalu Sapangi.

Rev Ciptamartalu Sapangi comes to Perth from Bardung, Indonesia, with many years experience, including building interfaith relationships in Indonesia’s multi-faith society. Continue Reading

Travelling with your eyes open

The Hallelujah Chorus with (l-r) John, Ellen and Bill Lemen.

The Hallelujah Chorus with (l-r) John, Ellen and Bill Lemen.

G K Chesterdon, writer and Christian apologist is quoted as having said “The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.”

Travellers may be regarded as pilgrims – literally those who have come from afar – who are on a journey to a special place. Over the past six weeks I have had the opportunity, while  visiting family and friends in Canada and The Netherlands, to reflect on what I have seen and how this seeing impacts on my sense of, and experience of, church, creator and  creation. Continue Reading

Wall of destruction

As I was about to complete high school, I remember watching footage and seeing photos of jubilant people clambering over what was once the Berlin Wall and taking chunks of cement as souvenirs. At the time I did not understand what this really meant for the people of Germany or what they had been through in the previous four decades. My recollection is only the smiles of joy and the moments of reconciliation. Little did I know that, in my life time, I would see another wall, twice as high and four times longer, constructed for similar reasons in another part of the world. In my travels to Israel and Palestine Territories last August I saw the monstrous wall of separation and heard stories of its impact upon the people.Continue Reading

Less stuff, more life

Have you ever taken stock of how much ‘stuff’ you buy each month?

If you live a comfortable lifestyle in Australia, you’d probably be surprised at the amount you buy without even realising it. And while a lot of the time we might try to be aware of how we are consuming, with Christmas approaching we can easily start making excuses to let it all go by the wayside and just go nuts. Continue Reading