CELEBRATE WHAT WE HAVE IN COMMON NOT WHERE WE DIFFER

 Loitering and ‘being’ opens the horizons of the mind and heart, it also challenges prejudice.
Meeting people from around our world. people with who we have much in common, others who see the world quite differently from us, all make a rich and interesting tapestry.

At a Vigil held in the city of Melbourne where I work, after a tragic incident to place, I observed a diversity not always appreciated. Mostly this is often as a result of ignorance, fear and mistrust of other.

Sitting after the vigil with a man, a complete stranger to me, we held hands we chatted about what we have in common.

He a Hindu and me a white anglo-saxon commonly known as ‘a Christian”.

Both affected by what had happened, both deeply moved by the service and both saying how at times like this we need each other.

While we do love ‘our’ country, and want it to ‘be safe’ and for some just like ‘the good ol’ days’, we are called to love.

For those of us who claim to ‘love God with all our heart, strength and mind’ sometimes forget to love neighbour as self.

I don’t expect its always easy, its not for me, so together lets strive to get it, who knows we may even look back one day and claim these were the ‘good ol’ day’!!


we are what we believe we are (C.S.Lewis)

Last week was the anniversary of the death of a mate.

Leigh was a young man I got to know through working with adolescents in ‘out of home care’.He was 13 when I first met him, always  likeable as a teenager.


I reconnected with Leigh after his release from prison.

Together with the support of his Nan, Aunty and many others Leigh began a new journey.

His courage and effort to make change was amazing.

Leigh had reason to be ‘angry at the world’. 

He had reason to be angry at some of the people in his life.

From time to time this anger did surface, but he always came through it.

As I sat with his Nan, who he adored and who stuck with him through thick and thin, but never let his sometimes ‘bad behaviour’ go unchecked, we spoke about how much he was missed, and how he believed stuff about himself that was not true.
At the table was one of Leigh’s aunties who along with her family adored him too.

We chatted and shared memories of Leigh.

As I was leaving I was handed copies of three letter Leigh had written but never posted.

One to his mother, one to his brother and one to Nan. 

As I read these the Leigh we knew and loved, his true self shone through, thoughtful, reflective, caring, loving and honest. 

Leigh was part of a very broken ‘system’, one which has been in the spotlight again in recent days. (There were those in that system who encouraged and supported Leigh too).

We miss Leigh, and will remember him for who he was, not for the person he sometimes thought he was, because much of who he thought he was reinforced by a system where compassion and love often give way to harshness and punishment.

It’s been a year since you departed Leigh and those who loved you best, miss you most.







listen hear do



There is often discussion about speaking-preaching and being and doing.

IS one more vital than the other?

How many bible verses can we quote to each other to ‘prove’ our point??!!

One such writer suggest than often what we hear may soon be forgotten, which in no way throws doubt on the spoken word.

Perhaps its the human thing to do to justify our own position or calling?

I recently caught up with a mate who is a story teller and artists, as he draws and tells stories.
He creates images which stay with you, and so reinforce what is being said.

He has been in recent days working with a large corporation as they transition into a new phase.
At one of the venues he was going out to get his morning coffee As he walked past the reception area, where the person who had put all the arrangements in place for the day, was sitting he simply asked if they would like a coffee too.

In 20 years working in that position this person had never been asked if they would like a coffee.
This became the talking point among the 100’s attending his seminars.
Why? maybe because his actions reflected his words?

Over recent weeks my partner The Ruth and I have taken numerous wedding and funeral services.
After one funeral recently someone approached Ruth and commented that when we lead people through this times and as we sit and eat with them it brings calm and offers hope for the future.

So if you’re not someone who gets to speak in public or you’re  the silent’ type, don’t be embarrassed , you’re actions are important.

Maybe, just maybe, actions do speak louder than word??

God help me to know when to speak up AND when shut up!!!!

Category : Calm , Comfort , Compassion , Despair , Doubt , Hope , Peace


on earth as in heaven

It happened again today as I was was on my way to meet with someone over coffee (again!!).

I was stopped by two strangers who were on for a chat.

The subject heaven and a woman who posts on youtube about her many and varied experiences in heaven.

According to this person there are Hotrods, Harley’s  (among other things) and even a flying school, which Christopher Reeves is the CEO of?

The drift is that what ever your passion in this life, your wildest dreams will be realised in ‘heaven’ and your passions continue, only on steroids!!

Having spent sometime thinking about it it occurred to me that we have some ‘out there’ ideas on stuff like heaven, Angeles Demons and the like based on little knowledge or true understanding.

I grew up in an era where ‘end -times’ books, speakers and people with graphs and models ruled the world, at least in ‘Christian’ circles.

What always intrigued me was no one ever mentioned things that won’t be ‘in Heaven’ like poverty,  abuse, exploitation, sexism and so on.

I could be wrong…perhaps we need to put what Jesus said in perspective and not take ‘literally’  or personally what  said when it comes to the poor, marginalised, prisoners, children,the other, outcast,exploited and abused?

Moreover these are the things we ought to strive for now, no waiting for Heaven!!
‘your will on earth as in heaven;!!

Perhaps it’s all hotrods and Harley’s in heaven,,,,,,,but I think not,  its much more, so lets make a bit of heaven here and now and wait to be pleasantly surprised by ‘heaven”!!  I hope there is cheese in heaven!!!!!!


What the?????!!!!

 It’s been a while since I last wrote anything here.  In that time there has been much of the ‘stuff of life’ going on. So much in fact I’m not sure where to start, what to say and what to leave unsaid.

Journeying with people as they begin married life, others who are laying loved ones to rest and hearing stories of injustices endured by indigenous peoples, and those who have endured loss due to decisions made to become the person they believe they are.

I often feel inadequate in many of the situations I find myself in, sometimes its a stranger who engages in conversation.

 One of those took place today.

As I was parking the bike a person approached as blurted out How can there be a God when the world is so shit??   (a reasonable question)

What followed was a comprehensive list of what is wrong with the world, conspiracy theories and the like.
The conversation, which was one sided, concluded with ‘well I have enough of this shitty world, so everyday i throw myself in front of trucks and buses because I’ve had enough’.

Where is a person supposed to go after a conversation like that? (to the pub????)

So whether we ourselves are experiencing darker moments or we are journeying with others through dark times, may brighter days await us.

Sometimes the words of others best help us understand the darker times.
These words from an Elder at Parihaka (NZ)

After the shades os darkness comes the dusk of dawn, 
whilst  before lies the shimmering glory of a fair day.
(he maru ahiahi kei muri te
maru awatea he pakiarohhi kei Mia)

…then this line from a song called..we’re all in this together

we’re all in this together walking the line between faith and fear…..
(not sure of its origins but heard it on a cd by old Crow Medicine Show)


This from the good book in Psalms, read at a funeral recently.

He shall cover you with his feathers, under his wings shall you trust:his truth shall be your shield and *buckler.

(*a smaller shield fitted to the wrist for added protection?)




Love Others Radically

Love others so radically they wonder why.

This weekend it was announced by the Prime Minister that he wants to pass a law that says that anyone who has tried to come to Australia, illegally,  by boat since 2013 will NEVER be allowed to enter the country. It is being done as a “sign to the people smugglers of how serious we are” about border protection. That’s great , Mr Turnbull, but it’s not the people smugglers who are being effected by this, its the little people desperate to find a new life away from tyranny and oppression – they won’t find it here apparently. (Yes, I know that some of the boat people are trying to jump the queue and beat the system but the (documented) majority are trying to escape terrible lives. Just think, what would have to happen to you and your family to make you jump into a boat and risk your life? It’s not a decision that most of the people make lightly.)

I was listening to the radio yesterday morning and a politician (I don’t remember her name) confirmed to the interviewer that if someone has tried to come to Australia to seek asylum by boat, even if they are found to have a legitimate claim, they will not be allowed to enter the country EVER! My friend (who works for the United Nations as a lawyer) cannot work out how many U.N. statutes  and Internation Laws this new law (if passed) will contravene. Where is our nation’s compassion? Where is our love for our neighbour? When we will stop singing the National Anthem that says, in the second verse, “For those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share”?

Please don’t think I’m advocating that we do away with our immigration laws – I’m not. I went through the system to be allowed to live here, it was fair to me. I am questioning the fairness and justice of a law that contravenes many International laws and treaties for those legitimate people who have been so oppressed in their own country that they have had to make the difficult decision to flee and will be denied the right I have because of the way they travel; for many the boats are the only way they can get out. (And I’m very aware of the amazing privilege I have to be able to write this blog, granted to me because I do live in a ‘free’ country.)

The sign this week speaks of the Christian value of love – that love that Jesus speaks about and shows to others. To those who, in the eyes of the government of his time, didn’t deserve love; to those that did him all manner of wrong; to those who oppressed him and, eventually, killed him.

This ‘radical’ love is what we, as Christians (I would say decent humans), should strive for; a self giving love that sees others as equals; a love (and a way of life) that doesn’t judge the worth of others by what their job is, or where they come from.

Love one another because love is from God – to quote a book a read from time to time.

A very appropriate meme!


Irony

Christian
Non-Christian
Oh, the irony
Before I go on I must say that the person mentioned in this blog does not express the views of all Christians or, for that matter, all non-Christians.
I had the dubious pleasure this morning of listening to a prominent church leader (an archbishop, I think) chime in with his ideas on the marriage equality debate. It was an entertaining few minutes, I actually laughed once or twice. Then it sunk in that this man was representing to the radio audience the views of the whole Christian Church and that horrified me because what he said is certainly not my view nor the view of most of my Christian friends (and non-Christian friends as well.) 
The two things that will stick in my mind from his, most illuminating, speech were these – 

  • that anyone who supports the proposed marriage equality laws is not ‘a whole person.’ 

and

  • there shouldn’t be a vote in parliament on the marriage equality debate because it is too important an issue to be decided by politicians. 

I have to admit that this is not an ridiculous idea, or so I thought until the speaker followed up, answering a question, with the idea that yes, politicians have been given the mandate to start wars but not change the marriage laws, they shouldn’t be allowed to change the marriage laws as they are not qualified to do so.
If these weren’t such stupid statements I’d laugh. 

How can someone say that anyone who supports the proposed marriage equality laws is not ‘a whole person’? Does that mean that the 73 years old grandmother of 5 I was speaking to yesterday, who supports the idea of marriage equality, is not a ‘whole person’. According to a recent poll 72% of all Australians are not ‘whole people’ because they support marriage equality. 

I’ve heard the view about who is a whole person before from (primarily) Roman Catholic clergy and I’ve read the same view in (primarily) Roman Catholic publications, but it has always been aimed towards gay people. The Roman Catholic Church seems to view all LBGTQi people as not whole but never before have I heard it expressed that ANYONE who supports marriage equality is not a whole person. 

It seemed to me that I have to agree with the speaker on everything to be considered a whole person. I don’t and yet I feel quite whole but then again am I qualified to speak about that? Which brings me on to the second point.

Politicians are not qualified to make a decision on marriage equality.

What qualifications do they need? Is there a test that politicians should take to work out which laws they can change? 

They have the power to send our military away to die but they are not qualified to decide if legislation needs changing. From the way it was worded by the archbishop this morning it seems that it’s not just the marriage equality legislation they can’t change, it’s all legislation. They are unqualified. 

How does it work then? If they are able to drive a car can they debate the traffic laws (which relate to cars but not trucks obviously, unless they can drive a truck)? What about the laws on adoption and fostering – if they haven’t adopted a child should they abstain from the debate? Do they have to surf the internet to take part in a debate on the N.B.N.? They are elected to do this stuff. It’s what they do and, despite what I say sometimes, they do it quite well on the whole.
But this isn’t a blog about politicians, this is about Christians and how some of them don’t seem understand irony especially the irony about preaching one thing and yet doing another. I could go on and on about this but I’ll end with a short story and a Bible verse to demonstrate what I mean.
I have a friend in the U.S. (who happens to be gay). She works in a bar/restaurant and is given Sunday mornings off by the atheist owners to go to church because she is a Christian. One Sunday she went to one of the big churches they have over there. After the service the pastor came up to her and asked her not to come back to his church as he doesn’t want “her kind” in his church. The passage he had just finished preaching on was the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:40 – “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” 
She feels more welcome in the atheist’s bar – 
Oh the irony.


This too shall pass

“This too shall pass” is a phrase with a long history. Abraham Lincoln sums that history up well in a speech he gave in 1859 – Lincoln said;

It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!

For some people this has been a great week. A new grandchild; a new job; a long deserved holiday; it could be a thousand different reasons.

For some people this has been an awful week. A relationship breakdown; bad news at work; an unwanted sickness; again a thousand different reasons.

Our sign this week can be read and understood by both of the above groups, it should teach us to enjoy the good times for the do not last forever and also have hope in the bad times because they, too, do not go on indefinitely.

There is a verse in Paul’s letter to the Romans which reminds me of “this too shall pass” – Paul writes “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” To me it reminds me to be in the moment with people, if they allow you to share in their lives then sit with them, be with them, show up and live the moment with them. Reading my Gospels I find that this is what Jesus did. He shared with people where they were, in what ever circumstances he found them, with a grieving centurion or a joyful healed woman. 

Over the past few weeks we have been opening the church hall on a Sunday evening to serve food and offer shelter to anyone who wants it. Those who have helped out have had the privilege to sit and eat with many people – the happy ones (like the chap who learned he had just been granted housing), the unhappy ones, the addicted ones, the lonely ones, the ones who just want to listen. We have also been heard and helped by those who have joined us, this community stuff is not just a one way street – we (the volunteers) get as much out of it as those who join us week by week.

Last night I arrived at church to find the place buzzing – people everywhere, eating, talking, joking, one even crying. There was rejoicing and weeping going on and Jesus was there sharing in all of it. I cannot thank the Melbourne Welsh Church, and the elders in particular, for allowing us the opportunity to minister like this every Sunday evening.

So wherever you are in life; with whatever is happening remember that this too shall pass – enjoy the good moments, have hope in the bad for, as in all things, this too shall pass.


Cliffhangers are so…



Cliffhangers are so…

Sunday at 11am in church.


THEY CALL IT DEMOCRACY……..

Back loitering tonight, its cold and wet. I sense despair on the streets tonight………..mean while many of our senior politicians make excuses about their own fate after the election. Leaders spew out hateful words about ‘others’ who are different…. one multi millionaire business man even suggested we needed a ‘dictator’ to sort things out!! I wonder if there are many who give a ‘*flying f*#k’ about those who live in misery.
This poem, while written in a different time,  still reflects,I reckon on our society today. Obsessed with home ownership, status, creating personal wealth and the accumulation of more stuff we don’t need, sadly this includes some of us ‘churchies’ too!!! 
They lie, the men who tell us in a loud decisive tone
That want is here a stranger, and that misery’s unknown;
For where the nearest suburb and the city proper meet
My window-sill is level with the faces in the street —
Drifting past, drifting past,
To the beat of weary feet —
While I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.

And cause I have to sorrow, in a land so young and fair,
To see upon those faces stamped the marks of Want and Care;
I look in vain for traces of the fresh and fair and sweet
In sallow, sunken faces that are drifting through the street —
Drifting on, drifting on,
To the scrape of restless feet;
I can sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.

In hours before the dawning dims the starlight in the sky
The wan and weary faces first begin to trickle by,
Increasing as the moments hurry on with morning feet,
Till like a pallid river flow the faces in the street —
Flowing in, flowing in,
To the beat of hurried feet —
Ah! I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.

The human river dwindles when ’tis past the hour of eight,
Its waves go flowing faster in the fear of being late;
But slowly drag the moments, whilst beneath the dust and heat
The city grinds the owners of the faces in the street —
Grinding body, grinding soul,
Yielding scarce enough to eat —
Oh! I sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.

And then the only faces till the sun is sinking down
Are those of outside toilers and the idlers of the town,
Save here and there a face that seems a stranger in the street,
Tells of the city’s unemployed upon his weary beat —
Drifting round, drifting round,
To the tread of listless feet —
Ah! My heart aches for the owner of that sad face in the street.

And when the hours on lagging feet have slowly dragged away,
And sickly yellow gaslights rise to mock the going day,
Then flowing past my window like a tide in its retreat,
Again I see the pallid stream of faces in the street —
Ebbing out, ebbing out,
To the drag of tired feet,
While my heart is aching dumbly for the faces in the street.

And now all blurred and smirched with vice the day’s sad pages end,
For while the short `large hours’ toward the longer `small hours’ trend,
With smiles that mock the wearer, and with words that half entreat,
Delilah pleads for custom at the corner of the street —
Sinking down, sinking down,
Battered wreck by tempests beat —
A dreadful, thankless trade is hers, that Woman of the Street.

A ‘mens club’ on one  of  our city streets.
DREAMS is the name, I wonder if dreams are made or shattered here???

But, ah! to dreader things than these our fair young city comes,
For in its heart are growing thick the filthy dens and slums,
Where human forms shall rot away in sties for swine unmeet,
And ghostly faces shall be seen unfit for any street —
Rotting out, rotting out,
For the lack of air and meat —
In dens of vice and horror that are hidden from the street.

I wonder would the apathy of wealthy men endure
Were all their windows level with the faces of the Poor?
Ah! Mammon’s slaves, your knees shall knock, your hearts in terror beat,
When God demands a reason for the sorrows of the street,
The wrong things and the bad things
And the sad things that we meet
In the filthy lane and alley, and the cruel, heartless street. 

Another Winters night out on the city streets 
I left the dreadful corner where the steps are never still,
And sought another window overlooking gorge and hill;
But when the night came dreary with the driving rain and sleet,
They haunted me — the shadows of those faces in the street,
Flitting by, flitting by,
Flitting by with noiseless feet,
And with cheeks but little paler than the real ones in the street.

Once I cried: `Oh, God Almighty! if Thy might doth still endure,
Now show me in a vision for the wrongs of Earth a cure.’
And, lo! with shops all shuttered I beheld a city’s street,
And in the warning distance heard the tramp of many feet,
Coming near, coming near,
To a drum’s dull distant beat,
And soon I saw the army that was marching down the street. 

Then, like a swollen river that has broken bank and wall,
The human flood came pouring with the red flags over all,
And kindled eyes all blazing bright with revolution’s heat,
And flashing swords reflecting rigid faces in the street.
Pouring on, pouring on,
To a drum’s loud threatening beat,
And the war-hymns and the cheering of the people in the street. 
Life is a blur for many in the ‘most liveable city’
Local Council make it hard for people, often moving them on.

And so it must be while the world goes rolling round its course,
The warning pen shall write in vain, the warning voice grow hoarse,
But not until a city feels Red Revolution’s feet
Shall its sad people miss awhile the terrors of the street —
The dreadful everlasting strife
For scarcely clothes and meat
In that pent track of living death — the city’s cruel street. 

??

Upcoming Events

Sep
23
Wed
10:00 am Bible Fellowship
Bible Fellowship
Sep 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
The event occurs on Zoom until further notice.  Contact the office or one of the ministers for the Meeting ID and password for the information!
Sep
27
Sun
2:30 pm Welsh Worship service
Welsh Worship service
Sep 27 @ 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Available on Facebook @melbwelshchurch  and on the media page of our website: www.melbournewelshchurch.com.au
3:30 pm Te Bach
Te Bach
Sep 27 @ 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Welsh Te Bach after the Welsh worship service. Please contact an Elder, Minister or the church office for the Zoom information to attend!