Making Sense of Sex: Attitudes towards sexuality in Early Jewish and Christian literature, by William Loader

Making Sense of Sex001I was recently sitting in a trendy cafe, reading my review copy of Making Sense of Sex. It was a somewhat embarrassing moment, sat in public view reading a book about sex and early  Jewish and Christian literature. I was convinced that those around me were thinking ‘what a lunatic’ as everyone knows the Christian position on sex; that is: somewhere between  vehemently and slightly opposed. For many of us within the Christian tradition, this opposition sits in direct contrast to our understanding and experience of the God of life.

There is very little reliable information about how the early Jewish and Christian communities understood sexuality. The debates that have raged in our churches have been  ideologically driven; using scripture to prove our point, whichever side of the debate we are on. William embarked on a five-year research project with the aim of listening to the early  Jewish and Christian communities understanding of sexuality.Continue Reading

In Defence of Doubt: An invitation to adventure (2nd edition), by Val Webb

In defense of doubt001“In my heart there is no faith… I want God with all the powers of my soul – and yet there between us – there is terrible separation. I don’t pray any longer – my soul is not one with you.”

Readers might be surprised that the great Mother Teresa wrote these words, addressed to Jesus, in the midst of a long and deep struggle with doubt.

Val’s style is uncomplicated and very accessible. She sets out first to explain the importance of doubt in every discipline. Without doubt and questioning, we would have no new  knowledge or human progress. And yet so many in the church seem to fear it.

After introducing the concept, Val identifies some of those throughout Christian history who struggled to interpret the good news for their time. In this second edition, she has added another chapter of doubters, including many women.Continue Reading

Editorial: A simple act

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

Moderator’s column: God’s desire for peace, freedom and equality

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

It is good to be home after our long overseas trip followed by a brief visit to a very successful Yurora NCYC 2014 in Parramatta. Viv and I hope you had a happy Christmas and wish  you every blessing for 2014.

Our time in the Holy Land was a particular blessing to us both. We spent ten wonderful days as pilgrims travelling with twelve other pilgrims in what must be the place of pilgrimage for Christians. Even the worst snowfall in Jerusalem for 100 years, freezing temperatures at night and the heating breaking down in the college didn’t prevent us from soaking in the  pure wonder of just being there. Continue Reading

Moderator’s column: Living with mindfulness

As I gather my thoughts for this edition of Revive, on Intentional Living, I am reminded of a DVD based course Viv and I bought some time ago. The course was entitled Practicing  Mindfulness. The lecturer, Professor Mark Muesse, asserts that most of us live in a state of mindlessness most of the time. Mindlessness being “A mental state in which the mind  generates a constant swirl of remarks and judgements that create a barrier or words and images that separate people from their lives.” Continue Reading

Messages from the aether: Who is my neighbour?

What people are blogging

To love your neighbour, you must know your neighbour

This is a progressive look at restoring a sense of community and getting to know our neighbours as a deliberate exercise. It is a shocking revelation that once engaged, most are quite  amenable to getting to know the people around them. Continue Reading

Living life at the top: 100 reflections on abundant life, by Paul Clark

Living Life at the Top (Paul Clark)

Abundant life … is it possible in 21st century Australia? Have you ever asked yourself, ‘Is this all there is to living? Could we get more out of life?’ These questions form the basis for this little book that has grown out of 60 second radio spots originally broadcast live on 96.5FM, a Christian radio station in Queensland.

The book retains the 60 second script format so each page contains a different topic. On first glance this is frustrating because you want to go deeper to find what the author thinks of the topics included; topics such as pain, anger, science and religion, self-esteem, family life, criticism, parents and love but none of the topics is unpacked for us. It is designed for deeper unpacking elsewhere, either alone or with a friend, or in a group over a coffee. It is designed for us to reflect on our own context through personal reflection or conversation with others. As such, this little book may seem light-on but the short messages stick with you so that you reflect on them through each day.Continue Reading