How life-giving is the Uniting Church? It’s a pretty big question. I mean, what is a church if it isn’t life-giving?
In a declining church it might be hard for those on the outer to see the life. But for those within it, it can be the source of their joy. As Rev Karyl Davison writes on page 8 of the hard copy of Revive, the church is at its best when it’s living and serving amongst the community. Rev Bronwyn Elvery writes on page 17 that we are perhaps the most life-giving when we are amongst those “on the discarded edges of community.”
When are we not life-giving? Often we hang onto things by a bare thread because we don’t want to lose the joy in something we once had. But when that something becomes a drain on the church or a congregation, it could be best to let it go. At that time and place, it is no longer life-giving. The joy of letting something go is, it’s likely something amazing will jump up in its place.Continue Reading
Last month I participated in Pace e Bene’s week-long interfaith nonviolence course in Melbourne. It was such a huge week for me and helped with the inspiration for the theme for this Revive. Despite non-violence sounding pretty laid back, action is a huge part of this movement. Non-violence is not about non-confrontation, but about the way we confront. It’s about taking action in ways that promote peace, both within us and for our wider communities.
A big part of the course was focused on the way we treat ourselves; how can we show love for others if we don’t love ourselves? Continue Reading
I’ve just finished putting together our profile story on Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber after getting up to interview her at 3.00am, Perth time. It struck me that this edition, ‘I think, therefore I am’, has really forced me to think a lot about my own faith. I’m usually pretty private about that sort of stuff, but after reading Nadia’s book and hearing her speak with such honesty, she inspired me to try to do the same.
I’m pretty new to this ‘thinking about faith’ thing, so I have lots of doubts, lots of questions and lots of hope that I can be accepted for all that I am. I imagine that many of you have also been through this in entirely your own way. And you will have loads of experience and wisdom to share. This church is so diverse that there are many understandings of being Christian. From small differences in interpreting a narrative, to major differences on controversial issues; we don’t have to all agree, but we still all come under the banner of the Uniting Church in Australia. Continue Reading
As we go to print with this edition of Revive, my family and I are right in the middle of moving house. We’re currently responsible for two houses – the old one and the new one – and they are both in complete chaos.
I don’t know much about my new neighbourhood yet, I haven’t really had time to explore. But I know it must be a nice place to live, as on our first day of moving boxes over, we were greeted with a delicious plate of brownies by one of my partner’s colleagues, Rev Narelle Collas. The plate was adorned with a gorgeous card, which read ‘welcome to the neighbourhood’. You can actually see some of her handiwork, as this card was used in a picture of a chocolate slice recipe, which we’ve included here. Continue Reading
In researching for this edition’s feature article, I recently took a quiz to find out my ecological footprint (find out more at www.wwf.org.au). It turns out that if everyone on earth consumed as much as I do, we would need three planet Earths to sustain us. THREE! That must be about the average, because the same is said for Australia as a whole.
Interestingly though, I took the test for a second time, this time ticking all the right boxes while still living in Australia. I pretended I was a vegan, didn’t drive, lived in a ‘green’ house and hardly ever bought new gadgets or fashion. With all this, it would still take 1.5 planets to sustain that lifestyle if everyone on the planet lived in the same way. We would still kill the planet. Continue Reading
Putting this issue of Revive together has forced us to think about what ‘Courage’ really means – and who are we to say whether someone has shown courage or not?
While trying to find the right cover for the edition, we came across a heap of pictures of courageous beings: knights in shining armour, army tanks, you get the picture. We could have chosen an image of a lion – king of the jungle – but as you can see we went with a courageous little penguin. Standing up to a bigger breed of penguins, we thought this little guy epitomised Christian courage. Continue Reading
So often in life we float through and take things as they come. In fact, I think most of my life is spent in this way – I’m messy, disorganised and probably a bit too ‘cruisy’. While that might have its place, I’ve heard it’s also important to have in mind some sort of direction or purpose… Maybe one day I’ll get there, but in the meantime I can say I’m honestly inspired by some of the stories I’ve heard and people I’ve met for this edition of Revive. Continue Reading