Reflections

Listed on the left and linked below, you will find reflections on life and events, from the perspective of non-traditional Christianity.

We hope you will find it interesting and thought-provoking!


Christmas 2015

It was once widely thought that the Earth was flat, in spite of a few voices to the contrary. People could see to the horizons, and it just looked flat. They could not see or imagine beyond what their eyes could tell them. …

August 2015: God’s love-song for the world

The readings for the last Sunday in August included a passage from the Song of Songs, a book unlike any other in the Bible. It is also called the Song of Solomon; you find it just before Isaiah, in the Old Testament. …

May 2015: Burning hearts

In Luke 24, after Jesus’ crucifixion, two disciples meet a stranger on the road to Emmaus, who explains the Scriptures concerning what has happened to the grieving disciples. He goes on to be recognised as the risen Jesus when he breaks the bread at their meal - and then he disappears. …

March/April 2015: Resurrection Road

During Lent this year, a group of us travelled with Jesus in our imagination as he walked the road to Jerusalem, and then engaged in the last week of his life on Earth. It was an eventful journey, and one that we have read about many times before. …

February 2015: Novelty and Antiquity

In a world that values things that are new, we so easily forget the old. There are many aspects of the past that are good to move on from; but forgetting is dangerous too. It makes us blind, because we try to get by without the wisdom learned from past mistakes.

January 2015 (2): is there hope for the world?

There is a feeling around that the world is not getting better. Human violence and hate, the Ebola epidemic, natural disasters, poor or corrup government, lack of respect for public property, and so on… these all add up to create a sense of loss. …

January 2015 (1): let’s not descend into yet more righteous violence!

As I write, details are emerging of the tragedy in Paris; at least 12 people are dead. In our minds, this follows on from the siege in Sydney in December. Our hearts go out in sadness to those involved, their relatives and compatriots; we wish to comfort them, to make it as if this had never happened. …

October/November 2014: Events, Faith and Community

Bad things happen to good people and bad alike; and so do good things. Why? Surely bad things should happen to bad people, and good things to good people?

This is what the ordinary people thought inthe story of Job inthe Old Testament— a good man who endured tragedy. …

Sept 2014: Being Together

My experience of churches includes a range of different types and sizes. I (Steve) find that I prefer smaller ones, where everyone has a chance to be known by most. I know that fellowship groups can solve the problem of size in larger churches, so that everyone is known by someone; but somehow, it goes better for me if I have a chance of knowing everyone. …

July 2014: Taking the Time

Time is in short supply these days, it seems. Maybe it is because the world is running faster, or maybe it is because I am getting older - and in that sense, at least, there is less time left in my life than there was before. …

June 2014: Pentecost and Change

In Acts chapter 2, Pentecost was the occasion just after the risen Jesus had ascended to heaven, when the Holy Spirit came upon the remaining believers so that they began proclaiming the news of God’s deeds of power in many different languages. …

May 2014: The Bible is not flat

EarthThe Earth is roughly spherical, deformed slightly by spin and gravitational forces. The same force that makes children’s legs fly out as they sit on a spinning roundabout affects the Earth! Most people today would accept this, having seen photographs from space. …

April 2014: Why bother with church? (2)

For centuries, we knew why we went to church, especially at Easter. Our ‘why’ was the insider’s answer - we went because Christ died for us, and rose again, and this makes all the difference for us. …

March 2014: Revival or renewal?

ANational Day of Prayer and Fastingfor revival and renewal was recently held in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra, which we mentioned in our services and newsletter. It has set me thinking about revival, and what that means. …

January 2014: Come and see!

Many churches that follow lectionary readings are reading the beginning of the Gospel of John this January, as we are. Setting the scene for the whole book, the writer links his work to the Genesis story, establishing who Jesus is (the Son of God, or ‘Word' of God embodied) and what he is about (sorting out the world). …

Christmas 2013: But wait, there’s more….

Christmas is upon us, even though it was June when I last looked. Well, not quite, but you know what I mean! The Silly Season is full of things to excess - food and drink, giving and receiving presents, family gatherings both happy and difficult. …

December 2013: Faith needs Action

The other day, an incident took place in Parkdale not far from the Church. News helicopters hovered over us for most of the afternoon. The noise made by the helicopters was considerable, and I wondered what impact it might have on the effectiveness of the emergency services personnel at the scene. …

November 2013 - Zacchaeus and the Crowd

The story of Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus, the wealthy tax collector, is all too familiar (see Luke 19). Zac is short, and he can’t see over the crowd to see who all the fuss is about (imagine the crowd around a celebrity today, pushing and shoving) so he climbs a tree, to see better.

September/October 2013: Talking about Stuff and Nonsense

I was reading an article about death the other day. Death is a topic we avoid wherever possible, and sanitise when it must be faced. We talk about people 'passing away' rather than dying. In Star Trek, the guys in red shirts are marked for death, and somehow it never matters - which just proves it's fiction, I suppose. …

July/August 2013: On the Edge of Time

Many years ago I had a record (yes, made out of vinyl, and actually, I still have it, but the player isn't hooked up) called 'Warrior on the Edge of Time' by Hawkwind. I really liked the idea of being 'on the edge of time,' and I still do. …

June 2013: What difference does religion make?

The Western countries are collectively in a cultural period we call 'post-modern'. As a gross simplification we might say that this is characterised by relativism, the idea that we each have our own idea about what is true, and that this may vary depending on our circumstances. …

May 2013: Making waves at Pentecost

Our church building is just a few minutes' walk from the beach. Being almost landlocked, Port Philip Bay is quite shallow and usually calm, but when the wind gets up it quickly gets choppy. The wind makes waves.

Easter 2013: Remembrance and Celebration

Easter is very early this year, and in Victoria still in Summer Time, which makes the dawn service a little easier to manage!

The name "Easter" is evidence of a process that we so often ignore - the way language changes. …

February 2013: The Rhythm of Change

I am writing this in Vienna, Austria, where we are spending a couple of weeks visiting members of our family. The city is so much older than any Australian city - it has a way of being 'in the land' rather than 'on the land', somehow deeply connected with its history and location. …

January 2013: New Year: Time to think…

Christmas is over, and once again so much that we hear and see in the news is negative. Bad news is corrosive: if all we hear is bad news, our hope and generosity are eaten away, and we become defensive of what is ours. …

December 2012: Christmas Approaches: will it be peaceful?

We are in the season of Advent, beloved of children in countries where Christianity has had a strong influence, and when many older Christians reflect on the coming of the Christ. We look back to Jesus' birth, his first coming, and remember how longed-for it was at the time; and we look forward to his sudden return, at a date and time unknown even to him. …

November 2012: Changing Ourselves

Last month I wrote about changing the world. It can be done, bit by bit, if we are willing to change ourselves first, with God's help. So often we are unhappy with ourselves - yet we seem to be unable to change, even if we are willing. …

October 2012: Changing the world

We know our world is not as good as it could or should be. Strife and violence tell us that. Each of us bears scars, some physical, others more psychological or spiritual, to remind us of past hurts. …

September 2012 - The news is good!

We all live our lives out of a story (or many stories). We don't think it is a story - it is our view of reality. It is a story nevertheless - about how they are out to get us, or we are going to be rich and famous, or we would have done well if only they hadn't let us down, or we are just useless, or we are the centre of the world, or working hard is the way to success, or life owes it to us… we all do it, me included. …

August 2012: When the world turns away

Why are so many churches empty today? Not being relevant, using old music, or meeting in old buildings rather than in cafes are not the real answer. Perhaps there is a deeper process of change going on.…

July 2012: The Kingdom is among you

In Luke 17:20-21, we read:Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ …

June 2012: Powerful Christianity

Pentecost: we celebrate the empowering coming of the Holy Spirit, without whom the earliest Christians would be long forgotten. We do well today to remember that the opposition faced by this small band of men and women was much greater than that faced by the churches today. …

May 2012: Life after the Resurrection...

The world was changed for ever when Jesus rose again. Even if you don’t believe it really happened, you can’t deny that the world was changed anyway - too much of present-day Western civilisation is based on Christian principles.

Easter 2012: Friday’s sacrifice is not complete without Sunday’s power...

Good Friday is the day we remember the death of Jesus on a Roman cross. The story of Israel had led up to this point, the moment of fulfilment. Individuals carried it all out, each acting as they saw fit, and yet the epic story was completed as it was supposed to be.

Palm Sunday 2012...

Jesus entered Jerusalem as if a king coming home in peace,
riding a donkey.Within a week he was dead. What went wrong?

Politics?

Religion?

Lack of foresight?


No, none of the above.

Nothing went wrong.

Nothing at all.


March 2012: Why go without?

As we approach Easter, when Christians commemorate Jesus’ death and resurrection, it is good to reflect on our own lives. In some traditions, Christians deliberately go without something good for this period of the year (called Lent). …

February 2012: Where does the good way lie?


Stand at the crossroads, and look,

and ask for the ancient paths,

where the good way lies; and walk in it,

and find rest for your souls.

Jeremiah 6:16 (NRSV)*


Just like any text from ancient times, the Old Testament contains much that makes no sense today, unless you know some relevant ancient history. …

January 2012: Hindsight and foresight

It’s always easy to tell people what they should have done, after the event. We all know better than politicians, our bosses, our parents, and so on. Hindsight gives us a perspective that allows this - we can see more of what was going on, and why, than was possible at the time.

New Year 2012: will this one be like the last?

At the beginning of each year many of us talk about New Year resolutions. Fewer of us actually do any thing about them, and even fewer make them stick. The year whizzes by, and is soon over; and for most of us, nothing has changed.

December 2011: Advent - a time of preparation

In the weeks before Christmas, we have special tasks to do. Have we found presents for everyone? Have we sent our cards in time? Will we go to a carol service, and if so one in a church, or a ‘secular’ one run by the local council? …

November 2011: Stories of a different time, and maybe tomorrow

The Bible is full of ancient stories, some of which make sense today, and others leave us wondering what is was all about. The meaning behind the stories is timeless, but sometimes the details are not.

October 2011: Why bother with church?

At school, I focussed on maths, physics and chemistry. I went on to gain a degree in electrical engineering, and then worked in the computer industry for 27 years, most of it doing the technical part of selling - presentations, demonstrations, education, special interest groups, and so on. …

September 2011: All adrift in a world of change?

The modern world can be a confusing place, with change occurring so fast. And sometimes we make it intentionally more confusing! According to Wikipedia, “In shopping mall design, the Gruen transfer is the moment when a consumer enters a shopping mall and, surrounded by an intentionally confusing layout, loses track of their original intentions. …

July 2011: Inspiration: it’s a dangerous thing!

Earlier on I was looking at the story of Naaman, a foreign army commander who comes to the prophet Elisha in 1 Kings 5. Naaman was looking for healing, and found new faith with it; he then takes what he has found back to his native land, including some of the soil so that he can practice his new faith even there. …

June 2011: Is it time?

Time is a weird and wonderful concept. We live on the edge of time, always stuck at the boundary between past and future. Both are mostly hidden from us, though we can understand what has happened in the past more accurately than we can predict what will happen in the future. …

April 2011: A long time ago, two people went for a walk...

In many ways our lives resemble journeys. Some of us now live far from where we were born, and all of us change as we grow older. Often the journey is lonely and beset by difficulties, such as tension between friends and relations, or problems with motivation and purpose - just why do we do what we do, week in and week out? …


Parkdale Church of Christ 2012-17 —A community of faith, hope and compassion.