Action: What else are we called to?

Paul Tillich once said, “Here and there in the world and now and then in ourselves, is a new creation”. One could not have a better summary of our life in faith. Every ounce of who we  are as God’s people has to be reflected in action. Who we are, how we live and who we belong to are all tied up in the life we lead, both as individuals and as a church community. We  do not exist as human beings with little boxes for this or that, but as a complete integrated package. Heart, mind, soul, hands and feet.

Jesus, for so many people an object of worship,  but not a political or social activist, focuses our attention. We do not belong to Jesus because he saves us for a life elsewhere. We belong to Jesus because he shows us how to live here and now with God as our centre, how to live with love, and how to live in community with others. You only have to read the Sermon on the Mount to understand his vision for a new social order. As Lorraine Parkinson suggests, it is a blueprint for the best possible world. Continue Reading

Editorial: Taking action, promoting peace

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

Moderator’s column: Prayerful action

The focus for this edition of Revive concerns Action! The Uniting Church in Australia has a strong reputation in the community for action, especially in areas of social justice and  rightly so, although I have the feeling that for many of us a lot of that action is by proxy. On the whole I think we are pleased to see election resources published, wellinformed critique  made of public policy by the President and the occasional public demonstration such as that in which the 13th National Assembly engaged on the steps of Parliament House  in Adelaide nearly two years ago. I think more widespread in the Uniting Church, as far as the practical engagement of members is concerned, is quiet, behind-the-scenes service to  those in need through our many and varied community services.

So why does the church engage in such action? Is it coincidence that those who are committed to church membership are also concerned about the struggles of those who are doing it  tough? Or is there a fundamental connection? I think it is the latter.Continue Reading

Messages from the aether: Time to act!

What are people blogging?

Being in motion vs taking action
http://jamesclear.com/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

Blowing in the wind

Can you see the wind? Maybe not. But can you see the effects of the wind? Can you feel the wind? In your hair or on your arms and face? During Pentecost, Christian’s celebrate the  Holy Spirit in their lives.

The Holy Spirit keeps us connected with Jesus and God. Living within us, the Holy Spirit inspires us to do things in the name of God. Many people find that the Holy Spirit comforts and helps them. In the Bible, the Holy Spirit can be compared to wind. In fact, in the Greek language, the same word, ‘pneuma’, is used for both wind and spirit. In John 3:8 it says, “The  wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”Continue Reading

Seeking refuge in music

The simple idea of starting a music class in the Villawood Detention Centre, Sydney, has created a vast network of instrument donors for asylum seekers in detention. Sydney-based  volunteer music teacher Philip Feinstein established classes inside the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre around two years ago. He has now expanded the Music for Refugees project to include almost all Australian immigration detention centres, including Christmas Island and Nauru. Continue Reading

Encouraging swift and peaceful action

The abduction of more than 250 young women by the Boko Haram fighters in Nigeria has prompted “profound concern” from the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. In his letter to Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, Olav, encouraged “swift and peaceful” action to restore these students back to their homes.

The letter from the WCC general secretary was issued on Monday, 5 May. “This tragic situation is devastating not only to the immediate community, but also to all Nigerians praying and working for peace. It touches the World Council of Churches directly, as many who have lost their daughters are members of our church families in Nigeria,” said Olav.

Assuring the WCC’s support to the Nigerian government, Rev Dr Tveit said that the WCC is ready to assist in “mobilising the inter-religious and international communities to seek effective and peaceful means towards safely restoring these students to their homes, loved ones and communities.”

Sport, faith and friendship

This winter sees a new camp arrive in Perth. Sports Plus is a six-day specialist sports coaching camp for school students in years 7–12 who love competitive sport. The camp will offer  high quality coaching while getting young people to consider the Christian faith and what it looks like to be a Christian in the sporting world.

Organised by the Churches of Christ Sport and Recreation Association, Sports Plus will also promote mateship – standing shoulder to shoulder through the joy and challenges of sport.  God created us to be in relationships. Sport has always done just that: drawn people together. Continue Reading

Hope and hardship: the gift of clean water

Two weeks ago I was in Papua New Guinea visiting a UnitingWorld water and sanitation project in a picturesque village at the eastern-most point of the mainland. Whenever I travel, I  always find it quite jarring to see such beauty and such struggle co-existing together. The people of Papua New Guinea are strong and resilient, their country one of the most beautiful  and resource-rich in the world. Yet, we’ve heard much in the Australian media recently of their many challenges. While the tension between hope and hardship may be an ongoing  reality for humanity, the lives of many of our Papua New Guinean neighbours could easily be improved. Continue Reading