Reflecting on the Reformation

October 31st 2017 marks the 500 year anniversary of the day in which Martin Luther is famously said to have nailed to the doors of his Wittenburg Church '95 Theses', calling for discussion and change in how the Church understood repentance and the sale of indulgences. While that specific issue may seem unrelatable and far away from the things we face as a Christians in Sydney, it is significant to us because it is the major starting point in understanding the Protestant Reformation.

This would be the movement that generated "Protestant" Churches, drawing a clear line of difference, and in some cases opposition, with the Roman Catholic. The historical impact of the Reformation cannot be underestimated. Whole nations found themselves at odds with one another as they adopted opposing views. Violent conflict was not unheard of.

Continue reading...

Politics in Perspective

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:1-4)

The 2016 Federal Election is on in just under a week. Have you decided who to vote for?

Continue reading...

A 'Reactions' Reaction

The long wait is over. On Facebook, we are no longer limited to 'likes', but can now 'love', 'haha', 'wow', 'sad' and 'angry', whatever comes our way. Oh, what liberty! The success of the feature is debateable. As far as I can tell, 'likes' are still far and above the preferred reaction. But perhaps that is just a matter of time and getting used to a larger variety of options. Whatever the case, it is perhaps timely for us to consider again the place that social media platforms have in our lives, particularly when it comes to the building of relationships.

 "All we wanted was a dislike button", some have said. I for one am glad that that's exactly what we didn't get. The online world is negative enough already. Facebook's approach with reactions, I think, is relatively helpful. It's not about casting judgment on something. And there's too much vagueness for a 'dislike' to be misunderstood anyway. Rather it's seeking to share how we feel a little more clearly. And all without breaking the mould of what make 'likes' interesting to begin with.

Continue reading...

Speaking My Language

Many times over the last few months, I've found myself looked down at a screaming and crying baby, and thought to myself, "What on earth do you want?" It is in fact an almost daily occurrence… It's a moment in which I find myself wishing that I could converse with them, even at this young age, and simply ask what is going on, what is wrong, what can I do to help...

And then, when I try to put myself in their shoes, and try to look at things from their perspective with their rationality and development, I think, how terribly frustrating it must be to constantly be misunderstood, constantly unable to communicate your feelings and wishes. How alienating is it to be surrounded by friends and family, and yet still be incapable of understanding and engaging?

Continue reading...

The Wisdom and Folly of Christmas

What would you do if, during September or October, you were at your local supermarket and you came across Christmas advertising and Christmas products being prominently displayed? If you're anything like me, you'd probably do a bit of a double take, and then a silent frustration would slowly rise inside. It's too early isn't it? We're more than 2 months out from Christmas, how can shops be asking for people's Christmas spending already!

Now we can rage at the commercialisation of a Christian holiday and all that, but what if it wasn't a sale or some sort? What if we saw a proper nativity scene or a Christmas display or what if we heard carollers singing of the baby Jesus in the middle of June?

Continue reading...