Is dispossession biblically sanctioned?

The conqueror will always say “Yes!” and, for support, misappropriate passages like the one set for today (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). There is a big difference, however, between the cultural and historical context of nation-forging from a horde of liberated Hebrew slaves preserving their fragile identity and colonial expansionism. It is ironic that such a text emergesContinue reading “Is dispossession biblically sanctioned?”

Prayers & Smoking Ceremonies

St Photine, as the ancient church has named her, continues to guide this part of our Lenten journey. Yesterday I was invited to conduct a house blessing on a women’s and children’s shelter. It was a multicultural context and included a smoking ceremony conducted by a Noongar elder (a smoking ceremony involves using the smokeContinue reading “Prayers & Smoking Ceremonies”

The messiness of faith and sibling rivalry

Lenten reflections take us a little further into Abram’s epic but troubled journey. Genesis 12:4b-20 –  the patriarch eventually finds himself in Egypt and, for cargo and self-preservation, makes his presumably comely wife (Sarai) available to the Pharaoh. Hardly a salubrious beginning for the father of the world’s three major monotheistic faiths! Stories of faith areContinue reading “The messiness of faith and sibling rivalry”

The Sapphires – a response

Cummeragunja Mission has an esteemed place in Australian Churches of Christ history. It was the place of birth and nurture of Sir Pastor Doug Nicholls, an eminent Aboriginal reformer and church leader and, eventually, State Governor of South Australia. Cummeragunja was also a byword for the dire conditions which led to the walkout and strike that wasContinue reading “The Sapphires – a response”

Why keep saying sorry?

Sorry Day commemorations in Wellington Square, Perth, were significant but low key this morning. The usual annual crowd of 3000, comprising school children and business folk, is not as accessible on a chilly Saturday morning. Even so, about 100 folk gathered at the Sorry Pole listened to speeches from Sorry Day leaders, Noongar Elder BenContinue reading “Why keep saying sorry?”

Blessed are the cheesemakers…

Sorry – can never hear the “peacemakers” beatitude quite the same again after Monty Python. Unless I hear it in a translation from the Aramaic text. Here it is: Healed are those who bear the fruit of sympathy and safety for all, they shall hasten the coming of God’s new creation.  (Blessed are the peacemakersContinue reading “Blessed are the cheesemakers…”

An Open Letter to the People of Australia

Sometimes, when one is greeted by a plethora of email messages in the morning, a particular message stands out and one feels that a kairos moment has just brushed by. This morning was such an occasion and I share it with you: Good morning, Please find attached a joint statement to the people of AustraliaContinue reading “An Open Letter to the People of Australia”

The Lobby & The Tent Embassy

I visited the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1982 – its presence was about ten years old then, and it was generating considerable angst in the orderly scene that is public service Canberra. My errand was to return an address/appointment book I had picked up in the street. It  belonged to one of theContinue reading “The Lobby & The Tent Embassy”

Fireworks, eskies and reconciliation…

Our national day celebrations often generate discussion within our small congregation. Yesterday’s take on Jonah the Bogan was one attempt to address the tensions between celebrating national pride and accountability to something wider, bigger and deeper. One of our Elders, Steve Mellor, has granted permission to reprint his article from this week’s church newsletter: OnContinue reading “Fireworks, eskies and reconciliation…”

Stories from the Canning Stock Route

So runs the sub-title of a stunning Aboriginal Art exhibition that is now on tour from the National Museum of Australia. Of course, the Canning Stock Route has had its dominant “whitefella” story told many times. We claim it as the toughest, remotest and (at 1850km) longest historic stock route in the world. Around theContinue reading “Stories from the Canning Stock Route”