Palm Sunday marches – what do they achieve?
Hear Perth’s Fr Chris and come and join us in Perth (1pm at St George’s Cathedral) or at one near where you live.
Over the last twenty years, I have delved into deeper, more ancient understandings of the Christian journey, wandering in and out of an eclectic mainstream of traditions while steering firmly from my own tribal barque. The cross-cultural backwaters of orthodoxy, medieval contemplative mystics, holistic Celtic fervour, spiritual direction, the beauty of some sacred textual translations from Aramaic, and the stimulation of the progressive intellectual stream – all have fed and nurtured my rather ordinary suburban ministry in a small but vibrantly engaged congregation.
The last five days seem to have brought it all together, not as a conclusion, but a further launching pad. Time spent with visiting author, Alexander Shaia, in seminars, worship and retreat, have drawn these dabblings forth and fitted them to a reframing of a familiar journey. He calls it Quadratos: the Four Gospel Journey for Radical Transformation. Mining deeply from his ancient Lebanese Christian heritage, Alexander Shaia employs the disciplines of theology, anthropology and psychology to uncover an inherent wisdom in the choice and placement of the four gospels that the ancient church used in a universal way of addressing the human journey. While the journey is universal across the stories of many cultures, the Christian journey has five particular keys that unlock its mysteries and engage the human quest for transformation. This ancient understanding, once lost, is now in the slow process of being recovered.
Lent is indeed a journey of joyous discovery as one treads the hard road.
Over the recent two decades, management boards of not-for-profit community organisations have been adopting the Carver model of governance and administration.
The core principle of this model of management is to set boundaries within which the organisation and its personnel may operate. Rather than prescribing in detail what must be done to achieve set goals and objectives, the system adopts a “negative” discourse of directives that nevertheless opens the way for creative imagination and fluidity.
For example; “thou shalt not” spend more than $x on this project without recourse to the board, but you have complete freedom to use that budget line as you see fit towards its intended purpose.
Or “thou shalt not” hire more people than what our budget line allows, but within that ratio you have complete liberty to hire as you see fit for the organisation’s purpose.
This saved boards from hours of tedious micro-management and feed them for more creative work. Boundaries are necessary for freedom to find fuller expression.
The Decalogue or the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) are in the same category. They are couched in “thou shalt not” terms and set boundaries that allow freedom to find fuller expression. They are often misrepresented as a scowling schoolmarm scrutinising one’s untamed soul for misdemeanours deserving punishment.
Rather they define the scope within community life together wherein freedom, and ultimately, love, can freely express itself.