Messages from the aether: Time to act!

What are people blogging?

Being in motion vs taking action

It’s a trap we all fall into. The rush of excitement we get when we make the decision that we’re going to take action. We map our course, write lists and think of ways to put our plans  into action. James Clear writes a practical article on the difference between us being in motion to reach our goal vs taking action to actually achieve it.Continue Reading

Lanterns at Dusk: Preaching after Modernity, by Bruce Barber

Lanterns at DuskBruce Barber is a Uniting Church minister and selfconfessed preacher. The title of this book is a reference to Nietzsche’s Parable of the Madman from The Gay Science of 1887 in which  a madman lit a lantern at noon and ran to the marketplace crying that he was looking for God. The parable announces the death of God under the auspices of the Modern age.

Bruce’s  analysis is genealogical in that he traces the changes that have occurred in Christian theology from the early church to the Medieval  to the Modern and, for the lack of a better term, the post-Modern. This does not mean that there are no people who now understand theology in the mode of the preceding eras, but it does point to a succession in which theologies outlast their usefulness. This genealogy of ideas goes some way towards explaining why, in our day of the Modern-post- Modern cusp, preaching has become largely unintelligible and  alienated from general discourse. Continue Reading

An Informed Faith: The Uniting Church at the beginning of the 21st Century, edited by William W Emilsen

An informed Faith010William Emilsen is deeply committed to collecting observations about, and recording the history of, the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA). He was a founder of Uniting Church Studies, and earlier edited the collections Marking Twenty Years (1997) and The Uniting Church in Australia: The first 25 years (2003).

An Informed Faith has chapters on spirituality, ministry,  scholarship, The Basis of Union, management, politics, Uniting Church schools, ecology, the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, living cross-culturally, other faiths and  evangelical and progressive Christianity. Authors include Ian Breward, Chris Budden, Tony Floyd, Katharine Massam, Marion Maddox, Michael Owen, Geoff Thompson and Val Webb. Continue Reading

Editorial: Playing with honesty

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

Moderator’s column: I imagine with Christ, therefore I am a Christian

The Induction of Rev Nich Cole and the Commissioning of Richard Telfer at Trinity North Uniting Church.

The Induction of Rev Nich Cole and the Commissioning of Richard Telfer at Trinity North Uniting Church.

There is an old joke that goes: Rene Descartes went into his local for a drink. When he had finished his first drink the bartender said, “Mr Descartes would you like another?” To which Rene replied “I don’t think…” and disappeared!

To understand the joke you need to know that Rene Descartes, the 17th century French philosopher and mathematician, often regarded as the father of modern philosophy, coined the phrase ‘I think, therefore I am’ (Cogito ergo sum). You are probably familiar with Descartes’ other great contribution in the field of geometry, even if you are unaware, because  every time you see a graph with an x-y axis you are seeing Descartes work, as he invented the Cartesian representation that you see. Continue Reading

Messages from the aether: I think, therefore I am

What are people blogging?

I am…

I’d take a gamble that almost everyone has asked themselves the question “Who am I?” at some point in their life. Unfortunately we don’t have the liberty to answer that question with  “I am, that I am.” Pastor Mark Driscoll explores this topic with a recap on the movie Memento, and how sometimes our lack of knowledge on who we are can have disastrous  effects. Continue Reading

The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver and other Apologetic Rabbit Tales, by Randal Rauser

The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver and other Apologetic Rabbit Trails, by Randal RauserReaders are invited to join this author in an imaginary conversation over coffee with an atheist named Sheridan. In real life the author is a professor of theology teaching in the area of  apologetics. Apologetics is a branch of theology that defends Christian beliefs and critiques opposing belief systems. It tends to cast those who do not agree as opponents.

Randal wants to move away from scoring points or winning arguments over opponents, to talking about ideas in a non-threatening way. He develops an understanding of apologetics as  “the rigorous pursuit of truth in conversation.” His desire to model pursuit of truth, that is not inhibited by an “I am right and you are wrong” attitude, led to the writing of this book. Continue Reading