Read your Bible!

“More than anything, this truly is the living word.”

How many of you believe everything that you see on TV? What about everything that you read in the newspaper? What about everything that you read online? Because if it’s on the internet, that makes it true doesn’t it? How many of you believe what is written in the Bible?

What do you spend more time on – reading the Bible, or reading Facebook? Continue reading “Read your Bible!”

Being a Light to the Community

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Being a Light to the Community, was given at our Installation service at Devonport Salvation Army on Sunday 12 January, 2014. The Bible reading was Matthew 5:13-16.

I don’t know what you’re thinking about me right at the moment, but one thing that I can tell you is that I’m a bit of an odd person, and I like odd things. My wife won’t disagree here. I like Star Trek and Lord of the Rings, and I play musical instruments with strings, not brass. Before I went to the Training College, I spent 18 months in the Media and Communications department at the Uniting Church Synod office, where I did, amongst other things, a lot of looking at and editing photos. One thing that I learned to appreciate was the different types of light. Continue reading “Being a Light to the Community”

A commission to a new generation

In his inaugural speech, Nelson Mandela, the first president of a free South Africa, told his people and the world:

We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.
We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.
We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.
Let there be justice for all.
Let the be peace for all.
Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.
Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves.
Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.
Let freedom reign.

The world is waiting to see what this generation is going to do. The children whose lives are in the balance are waiting for you to act on their behalf. Your own future children are already waiting to see what kind of world you will give them. The Church is waiting for you to change our direction. Most of all, Jesus is waiting for you, waiting where he lives amid the sufferings of humanity, waiting for you to join him there. Are you ready? We need you now. This is your time and your moment. Don’t let it pass you by.
So my advice is to take care of your faith, take care of each other, take care of your hope, and stay with your vision.
And my commission to a new generation is this:

No longer accept the unacceptable.
Change what is believed to be possible.
And always make the choice for hope.

— Jim Wallis, Seven Ways to Change the World, p. 242-243

Racism does not just disappear

Scott Garber, the pastor of our Washington Community Fellowship, says:

Racism does not just disappear just because of the passage of time. Racism does not disappear just because we are sorry. Racism does not disappear just because we’re “workin’ hard”. Racism doesn’t disappear just because we denounce it. Racism doesn’t disappear just because we change our laws. Racism doesn’t disappear just because we compensate for its consequences. Racism doesn’t disappear just because we build a memorial to Martin Luther King. Racism, like any other sinful condition that God does to transform, will disappear when, and only when, it is replaced by its opposite.
What is the opposite of racism? Well, racism involves attitudes of superiority and inferiority. So,  transformation means replacing those attitudes with equality and love and meekness and affirmation. And racism involves social systems characterized by stigmatisation and oppression of those we perceive as different. So, instead, a just society must create a community defined by mutual submission and solidarity, protection and opportunity… At this juncture in the history of our nation God is looking for a model home for his transforming kingdom values – a staging ground for the opposite of racism. To prove that such a transformation is possible and to show what it looks like.

To do that, the church will have to commit itself to both truth-telling and a direct engagement that goes far beyond just denouncing racism. Pastor Garber says we have to first be honest about what the role of the church has been and yet insist upon what that role now should be. He confesses, “Historically, despite some noble exceptions, the church has Allentown prostituted is theology to the institution of slavery, looked the other way during decades of discrimination, stashed is feet through the civil rights movement, ignored the problem one the external stimulus was removed, and finally settled for something resembling ‘separate but equal’ in church life. It’s hard to be part of the problem and part of the solution to the problem at the same time. And, yet, God still desires to display his transforming power through the church.” For that to happen, Garber says that the church must “turn the bright lights of righteousness on the sin of racism.”

— Jim Wallis, Seven Ways to Change the World, p. 152-153