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

Editorial: alternatives to single use plastics

One of the best things about my job as a writer is that I learn so much about all sorts of topics just by doing research for an article. The beginning of this process is often quite daunting, as sometimes I know literally nothing about a topic before diving in.

But, often I learn things that I know will stay with me. This edition is one of those times.

This month, I learnt a lot about the harms of single use plastic on our world. I mean, I knew it was bad, but did you know that plastic is being found in even the most remote, untouched parts of our beautiful planet? Microbeads and microfibres are something I had never even considered as an issue before. Our ecosystems are full of plastic, so much so that it can be detected in our own bodies! Continue Reading

Review: 100 nasty women of history, by Hannah Jewell

Hatchette Australia, 2017

As many of us know all too well, regular history books are often filled to the brim with the discoveries, achievements and triumphs of men – and all too often those made by women are, well, glossed over. 100 Nasty Women of History is a refreshing look at history with a feminine – and comedically sassy – point of view.

I had heard of less than five of the women covered in the book, which is both an indictment of my own knowledge of women of history, and even more so of the way in which women are overlooked in our storytelling. Jewell ensures that in her coverage of these often forgotten members of our collective history, a sense of diversity and intersectionality is maintained. The stories of women of colour, women from the LGBTQIA+ community and women of different faiths and backgrounds are all metaphorically gathered alongside each other. As Jewell writes in the conclusion, should  they all have been literally in the same place at the same time, it would have made for quite the event! Continue Reading

Moderator’s column: Seeking wisdom

It is nearly fifty years since my wife, Jill, and I moved to Western Australia. The plan had been for us to stay four years, but Perth made such an impression upon us that we never left.

We have so many vivid memories from those early days in Perth and one of those for me is of the beautiful Reflection Pond in front of Winthrop Hall at the University of Western Australia (UWA). The Memorial Seat that looks down the length of the pond from the eastern end bears the inscription: ‘Verily by beauty it is that we come at wisdom’. The motto of UWA itself is: ‘Seek Wisdom.’

In the season of Lent that will be just concluded by the time this edition of Revive is published, I’ve been prompted by a few things to reflect upon the nature of wisdom, within the context of a Benedictine concept of renunciation.

What is truly important in the journey of following Christ, and what should be renounced in order to pursue it more fully? Continue Reading