What kind of society do Aussies want?

Bill Shorten proposed some significant changes, but Aussie voters didn’t buy it:

  • They didn’t want change, if change involved a cost (“grandiose policies”).
  • They didn’t want to lose on investments (franking credits, negative gearing).
  • They didn’t want the environment prioritized over jobs (Adani).

The biggest loser was Tony Abbott, and Christians must consider why. Four years ago, he was Prime Minister. Now he’s knocked out, with a massive 19% swing — greater than in any other seat, and when the national swing was towards his party. Why? Continue reading “What kind of society do Aussies want?”

Don’t expect our politicians to be gods

What makes The Avengers so popular? We love stories of superhuman figures defeating oppressors and restoring justice to the earth.

Stories of mythology have always fascinated us. In Germanic mythology, Thor was the storm god, and thunder was the sound of Thor’s hammer. He was worshipped each week: Thursday is Thor’s Day.

In our movies, Thor is not a god but a superhuman figure. We’ve turned away from gods; we prefer humans with superpowers to save us.

Continue reading “Don’t expect our politicians to be gods”

This six-year-old gets identity

“I don’t know who my parents were. I’m told I was abandoned as a baby. Now I’m six years old, and my identity is in Jesus.”

Moving words from this Ugandan girl, part of the Watoto Children’s Choir. Sure, somebody scripted her lines, but she seemed to understand something about identity that many of us struggle to understand. Continue reading “This six-year-old gets identity”

Finding your identity

Different cultures have different ways of understanding identity. Who’s right?

Who are you? We all have multiple identities, so which one is the real you?

Are you that smiling person on social media in that photo from years ago? Are you the grumpy one, climbing out of bed without enough sleep? Are you the life of the party, caught up in the moment? Are you the one pulling out the earbuds, wishing the crowd would go away?

Continue reading “Finding your identity”

How a new mind transforms the world

Romans 12 (NIV) 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.

A wide-eyed country lad sat transfigured at the big camp meetings, while holiness preachers thundered against the wickedness of this world. The way I heard it, this planet was doomed, so I should set my mind on things above in the hope that God would take me to heaven.

Paul would be horrified to think we’ve used his words to threaten each other and damn the planet. He was giving a message of hope and human flourishing.

What is “this world”?

Continue reading “How a new mind transforms the world”

What worship pleases God?

Hint: we’re offering more than a song.

For hundreds years now, many of us have read the New Testament letters for personal spiritual formation, to help us learn how do better as individuals. What if that was never the goal?

What if the NT letters were written primarily to teach us how to be better communities, how to live together as human beings on God’s earth? How would we see them differently if that was our goal?

Okay, let’s try this with a familiar favourite:

Continue reading “What worship pleases God?”

The counter-intuitive wisdom of the cross

An Easter meditation

The trouble with the cross is that it’s a counter-intuitive solution for the sin of the world.

The evil in God’s earthly realm is the rejection of his divine authority, people grasping power for themselves and using that power to deceive and dominate each other. It offends our sense of justice, so we want revenge. We can’t sit by and do nothing, but taking matters into our own hands and fighting back only perpetrates the cycle of violence.

We want God to act against evil, to put down his foot and crush it so it can’t continue. God doesn’t. God doesn’t act violently to overcome violence. God doesn’t use force against force. God does not control evil by doing evil against evil-doers.

So what does God do to deal with the injustice in his realm? He enters his unjust realm as one of us. He meets face-to-face with the rebellion against his reign, the people who will do anything to take divine power into their own hands. God confronts evil, from a position of powerlessness. Continue reading “The counter-intuitive wisdom of the cross”