Monthly Archives: October 2014

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The Trouble with ‘normal’ is it always gets worse!!

Bruce Cockburn, a Canadian musician a favourite of mine has a song called ‘
The Trouble with Normal, from an album of the same name.

One of the lines goes, “It’ll all go back to normal if we put our nation first”
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse.
AnotherPerson in the street shrugs — “Security comes first”
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse.


Being ‘self obsessed’ whether personally or as a Nation is unhealthy. 

National Security in this country is surrounded in fear. 
Fear, that leads to lack of trust in those around us and of those in other places who we don’t know.

Community needs to be built on trust of ‘the other’.
‘The other’ may look different, dress different, eat different food and believe different things, however ‘the other’ is a fellow citizen and fellow traveller. 

As we travel together let’s look for what we have in common, try and understand the differences and build a strong community.

The only thing to fear is fear itself.







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When all is said and done – there is more said than done!

We are all very good at talking. Especially us religious types. In churches we do like to sit around and talk about things….a lot. 
We discuss…
How terrible the state of the world is. 
How awful it is that there are homeless people sleeping on our streets.
How can we get more people into church?
Are we relevant to the problems of the world? 
Etcetera etcetera…

But when all is said and done, there is more said than done.

presence minister, Bubba, said that to me a few weeks ago. It would make a good sign of the week he said.
He walks the streets of Melbourne, sees the needs on our streets, meets the homeless and outcasts, talks to anyone and everyone and spreads as much of the love and grace of God as he can.
I’m sure it frustrates him as much as it does me to see all that need and to see people taking that need to another committee to discuss what can be done about it. 
The city council discusses them, the state parliament discusses them, the federal government discuss them, the religious types of church and mosque and synagogue and temple discuss them and a few forego the talking and go out and get their hands dirty, helping those around.
Those few will not change the world, will not solve all the problems but they will change the lives of one or two – who will change the lives of one or tow who will…..
Surely that is what the gospel is all about!


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Stangers and Friends

Getting to know your neighbours (strangers) is full of surprises I am discovering.

Each day i am out  ‘loitering with intent’ on the Melbourne Streets I have contact with people encountering ordinary  “stuff’ of life, just being.

This is different to the ‘work’ I have done in the past. 
No programs that have KPI’s, no ‘problems’ to ‘fix’, rather to BE with and journey with in the ‘ordinary stuff’ of life.

It is good to do, however ‘being’ is amazing!!






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kids SHOULD run in church

I’m sure many of you will remember when you were a child being made to sit in church in silence – sshhh’d and told to keep quiet until the end of the service. AHHH the good old days of quiet children and boring sermons.
The sermons may not have changed but the quiet children have. 
Every Sunday one of the highlights of the day for me is when the kids arrive – they don’t just walk in and sit quietly – they charge in, laughing and smiling, so pleased to be there. They run down the front, wanting to be there, eager to join in worship and learn more about Jesus.
So what happens between childhood and adulthood that changes our view of church?
When did church change from being exciting, somewhere we wanted to go to somewhere we feel we should go? A place were we drag ourselves out of bed to go to on a Sunday morning not because we want to but because we feel we ought to.
Why don’t we rush into church eager to be there and wanting to join in worship an learn more?
Why can’t we be, like Jesus says, more like the children? Eager to be in the house of God.
So today all I want to say is a big thank you to God for the children who make Sunday so special and for the same spirit of excitement in all of us.

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From the Melbourne Welsh Church : For people who love Jesus so much that they hate Y…

From the Melbourne Welsh Church : For people who love Jesus so much that they hate Y…: “Okay, watch that step as you climb onto my bandwagon….again” I was reading the Bible the other day, yes I do read it occa…

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Love God, Love The World.

Love of God and love of the world are not mutually exclusive.

Love of God and the ‘world systems maybe, but that another blog for another time!!

If we say we love God we have no choice but to love the world, warts and all!!
We don’t get to be selective.

I was wandering the streets of Alice Springs some years ago when a group of Aboriginal kids approached me asking if I was Father Christmas!! After chatting with them and a others of their mob, I was approached by a anglo saxon man, just like me and reprimanded for socialising with ‘those people’.

On further discussion with this man I discovered he would prefer ‘those people’ would dissapear.

We agreed to disagree and move on.

Love of God and ‘Those People’ are not mutually exclusive.

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For people who love Jesus so much that they hate YOU, we pray a lot!

“Okay, watch that step as you climb onto my bandwagon….again”

I was reading the Bible the other day, yes I do read it occasionally despite what some people think, and I found a bit I’d never seen before…

There’s this bit in the Bible called the Gospel of St. Matthew, it’s full of great things, stories and sayings and stuff. It’s split into chapters and the chapters are split into verses. In one of those ‘chapters’, 22 actually, at verse 37 and 39 there is this great bit that seems to have been edited in many Bibles. The first part seems to be there but some Bibles don’t seem to have the second bit.  The whole thing says…

Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

 
I meet lots of nice Christian people who seem to have Bibles with only the first part. Lots of loving God and Jesus and stuff and that where it ends – they miss out on the next bit, it looks like it’s been cut out of their Gospels and that’s very sad because it’s a commandment. This commandment that is ‘like’ the first one and the first one is ‘the greatest commandment’. So that second, missing one is also an important commandment – ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’ We can’t ignore that it, yet so many seem to or at least choose who they think their neighbour is.

I get emails from people and it surprises me how many are from ‘Christians’ who tell me I’m wrong for, and I’ll quote one for you, “caring for the rag heads and fags bcoz Gods sending them to hell.” So that second part doesn’t count then – those ‘people’ aren’t your neighbours, is that’s it?

I get so frustrated – why can’t people see this? – It’s not rocket science – WE CANNOT PICK WHO JESUS TELLS US TO LOVE, we don’t get to make that decision.

And yet so many Christians think we can. I’ve seen lists that ‘Christians’ have written of people that God hates – everything from authors who write about children who go to magic school to people who watch films about kids who go to magic school to people that listen to rock music to people who read C.S. Lewis (yeah that one made me laugh too). If you put enough of these lists together you can see that God hates everyone and, therefore, so should we!

Yet I see that little verse in that Matthew Gospel thingy that says, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

Let’s narrow the whole thing down to the street on which I live  – I don’t get to choose who my next door neighbour is – I’d like to but I don’t get to. I’d like Hallé Berry but, like I said, I don’t get to make that choice. So my next door neighbour is whoever ends up living in the house next to me – it could be a horrible, rich, white Christian family or it could be a nice, poor Muslim family or, well my point is it could be anyone – even you.

And here’s the steps for that bandwagon – climb up and join me as we look BIG PICTURE again  –

Guess what – Jesus says that we should ‘love our neighbour as ourselves’ – WHOEVER that  neighbour is! The ‘rag head’ or the ‘fag’, or any other of 10,000 derogatory terms you can use, do not let you escape the fact that Jesus has told you that they are your neighbour and you are commanded, COMMANDED, to love them like you do yourself.

Tough isn’t it! No one said it would be easy.


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For God’s sake, smile!!

For God’s sake, just smile!!
I am reminded of a line in a song sung, by the Monty Python Teams Life of Brian; it goes ‘life’s a piece of shit when you look at it’.

This may be true for many, and we would never know because we pass them in the street everyday, as depicted in Henry Lawson’s face in the street. I make a point of smiling at people as I loiter the streets in Melbourne.

God knows people need a smile, so for God’s sake smile randomly; you never know what a difference it  may make.


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Be Excellent to Each Other

25 years ago – imagine the scene – Jesus, in jeans, hoodie and baseball cap, sitting on the steps outside parliament house (or whatever legislative body you care to mention, they all have steps) with a large crowd of homeless people, drug addicts, a few prostitutes, tattooed lay a-bouts, the unemployed, various young people and the rest of the dregs of society looking for something to do. The crowd quietens as Jesus looks at them, opens his mouth and begins to speak. In loud, ringing tones, heard over the rush of traffic and the busy life of the city he says….

BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER

How cool would that have been?

“Be excellent to each other” was the catchphrase of Bill & Ted as they went on their excellent adventure. Do you know it’s been 25 years since the first Bill and Ted movie? If you are under 25 or have never seen the movie go and watch it right now then come back and read the rest of this blog!!!

Wyld Stallyns got it – they simplified a lot of the work of the church into 5 words – be excellent to each other.

So how hard can it be to be? What is it about “do to others as you would have them do to you” that is so difficult to understand? Why is “love your neighbour” not our everyday mantra? Why aren’t we being excellent to each other?

In a city (and a world) where profit seems to be more important than people the simple act of being excellent to each other can go a long way to making the city (and world) a better place. Yesterday, at church, Bubba reminded us that we need to actually ‘see’ people, acknowledge them and remind them that they are important and meaningful.

Across South East Asia there is a ritual greeting that started in Hinduism – it is “Namaste” and it literally means, so I’m told by Profs. Google and Wikipedia, “I see the divine in you” or to put that in a way churchy folk won’t freak about, “You are a child of God”.

How beautiful is that?

What a difference it would make if we all could see other people as children of God and not just strangers on different paths to us.

That guy who stands next to you on the tram – think Namaste – you are a child of God.;The nosy neighbour down the street who wants to know everything – she is a child of God; that annoying person who stares back at you in the mirror – guess what? Yep a child of God. I’m sure you get the picture, so

Be excellent to each other and namaste on dudes!


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2019 St. David’s Day Gymanfa Ganu
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