Editorial: 15th Triennial Assembly

With the 15th Triennial Assembly Meeting of the Uniting Church recently held in Melbourne, this edition is jam-packed with news from the event. I didn’t attend myself, but as I watched along from home here in Perth I could see there was plenty of passion for the church in that meeting room.

Big news coming from the meeting which has gained a lot of attention is that Uniting Church ministers will be able to marry couples of the same gender if they wish to. Whatever your opinion on the issue, I think we can all agree that the Uniting Church has made history in Australia. Continue Reading

Unity of the Spirit

Most of us have probably had the experience of going through the security checks before boarding an aircraft. The routine goes something like, keys and coins out of pockets, belts off, laptop out of bag and all items placed in trays before they are x-rayed for any security risks.

I was recently at an airport going through this routine when out of the blue a security man looked at me and said, “What is the Uniting Church’s view on homosexuality and what is your personal view?”

He caught me completely off guard. Not wanting to hold up the queue or totally avoid the question, I said something like, “We are engaged in respectful conversations about this sensitive issue, and at this moment, I am not prepared to share with you my personal view.” Continue Reading

Review: Joy Interrupted: A memoir of depression and prayer

by Geoffrey Lilburne, Garratt Publishing, 2018

Statistics say about one in eight men and one in six women in Australia experience depression at any one time, and this number rises in older people. Yet, many sufferers feel shame, even in the church.

The stigma about depression in the wider community is also present in the Christian community. This ought not to be. Depression exists and people live with it, still having full and accomplished lives.

In his book, Geoffrey Lilburne shares his story of depression and how he has managed as a Christian. Geoffrey frames his discussion in the context of faith and shapes his reflections using Psalms. Many Psalms allow a person suffering from depression to find, in Scripture, familiar feelings and thoughts. Continue Reading

Review: The Good Place

The Good Place, season one (2016) and two (2018) streaming now on Netflix

I started to watch The Good Place while wanting something light and fluffy to watch in the evenings which I didn’t have to think about too much. From its bright and happy promo pictures I honestly thought it would be just another over-the-top American sitcom.

Oh how I was wrong.

The Good Place, starring Kristin Bell and Ted Danson is not only hilarious, its twists and turns are completely unexpected. The show centres around main character, Eleanor Shellstrop who finds herself in ‘The Good Place’ after her unexpected death on Earth. However, she fairly quickly realises there’s been a case of mistaken identity and that she should actually be in ‘The Bad Place.’ Of course she makes a number of friends along the way, all with their own back stories, and hilarity ensues. Continue Reading

Moderator’s Column: Christ the controversialist

Some people love a good controversy. They write letters to the newspaper, attend rallies, join movements and engage in vigorous debates.

I am not such a person. I have, however, attended a number protest marches. My first was at the age of nineteen when I joined a couple of hundred other Christians, carrying crosses near a nuclear shipyard that planned to name a new nuclear submarine ‘Corpus Christi’, Latin for ‘the body of Christ’. We could not reconcile giving such a sacred name to a weapon of mass destruction.

More recently, I spoke at a rally on behalf of the suffering Rohingya people, and at Palm Sunday peace rallies I have felt compelled to join many other people giving support and solidarity to  poorly treated refugees.  I have reluctantly at times engaged in controversial issues, sometimes forgetting that Christ, who I claim to serve, was controversial. It seems that on some of the issues of the day, Jesus entered the controversy. Continue Reading