Indigeneity II

This week in Aotearoa we are commemorating the arrival of Captain James Cook to our shores 250 years ago. His journey of course was commissioned in the name of discovery, yet there are also stories that are being uncovered that tell of the dark side of his arrival, including the deaths of some local indigenous people, as well as the road that was now being paved to colonise this land. Some are commemorating his arrival, while others mourn and lament the loss.

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The Three I'sClint Gibson
Indigeneity

Sameness is not the story of the early church, but it became the story of Christian colonisation. We have not been immune from this in New Zealand. The efforts of missionaries and churches have been focused on conversion, but this has often come with a desire for sameness. Civilisation in the name of whiteness, and a demonisation of Māori culture and identity is threaded throughout the history of the New Zealand church. 

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The Three I'sClint Gibson
No one is left out

An inclusive way of living is challenging as it threatens to shred our biases, which even though often unconscious, control the way we relate to others and the world around us. We need to be open and aware of our own darkness, our shadows that hold our fears and anxieties, irrational and unhelpful in the process of learning what it means to be inclusive people.

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The Three I'sClint Gibson
Inclusivity

This story reminds us that the whole idea of healthy Christian faith is not about closing us down, but opening us up. Opening up to God, opening up to others, opening up to creation that we are a part of and immersed in. We are challenged here to recognise that the Spirit is at work outside of our defined categories and in/out groups. Can our faith be something that opens us up to the world, to those around us, to truth wherever we find it? 

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The Three I'sClint Gibson
Incarnate

This kind of God, who knows me intimately, shares in my life, my joys and sufferings is one who I am now safe with. My evolving understanding of God  has enabled me to recognise the divine ‘in-ness’ in me and in all things created. Trusting in the loving kindness of God, I can be kinder to myself and others, even extending this care to the Earth. 

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The Three I'sClint Gibson
What are you doing here?

While in the cave he hears a voice which says, ‘What are you doing here’? This is not so much a geographical enquiry but a multi-layered question that goes to the heart of what has led him to this place and what needs to change in order to move him into the next chapter of his narrative. 'What are you doing here?' is the kind of invasive question that we need to be continually confronted with, especially if we are going to reinvent ourselves in some new way. 

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SolidarityClint Gibson
What you love, you care for

If we love what we care for, we will extend that to future generations. We will love our earth because she nourishes and cares for us, and because she is the home of those to come. In this way may we be the best ancestors we can be, and may our descendants speak well of us. 

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SolidarityClint Gibson
Friendship

If God is present in Jesus, then God is the source and origin of friendship. We could say, that God is friend-ness itself, or friendship itself. However you want to say it. But it means that friendship isn’t something we have to create, as much as it is something to enter into and participate in. Which can all sound a bit mystical and magical, but I like that. I don’t have to create friendship out of thin air, I just have to foster an openness to it.

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SolidarityClint Gibson
Wonder

If wonder is around us, if the sacred is hiding in our ordinary lives, how can we train ourselves to see it? In an extraordinary partnership between science and religion, scientists have discovered that the act of meditation not only strengthens the parts of our brain responsible for imagination, but deeply affects our sense of self, reducing our self-centredness and helping us reframe ourselves as part of a larger universe.

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SolidarityClint Gibson
Oneness

The call into connectedness, into breaking down status and division, this becomes a call into the ways of justice in the world. It challenges me with the question, how do I relate to and treat those around me? Do I see some people as less than me because of my status, or relative wealth, or privilege? Or can I recognise that we belong to each other, and that we all, together, are found ‘in Christ’, the one in whom all things hold together and in whom all of creation finds a sense of common belonging?

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SolidarityClint Gibson
Belonging

When space explorers this past century sent back the first photographic image of our planet earth robed in her beautiful cloaks of green and blue there was a sense that She had a central place in the Universe (as we humans also view ourselves). But then as research and technology evolved new images appeared letting us see that we as a planet are just a dot in the larger scheme of the Cosmos. This has allowed for the realisation that we are just a small part of the whole, and that we in some strange way belong to something much greater than the sum of our own parts.

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SolidarityClint Gibson
Relationship

We often move from one surface thrill to the next trying to capture the essence of closeness and love like a one night stand rather take the plunge into the deep well of oneness and transformation, realising the transcendent nature of relationship is primarily understood through the lens of human interplay, reciprocity and commitment.

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Kotahitanga

Our moments together may be few, but they can be rich, and maybe as we tap into some of the goodness of God we will become the best versions of ourselves, image bearers. Not only will we be anchored at peace and happy to be alive, those around us who are watching might be interested in becoming (not Christians by name), but image bearers of Christ also.

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SolidarityClint Gibson
Solidarity

Solidarity, as a theological virtue, is about seeing ourselves as connected, as belonging to each other, to the earth, and to God. And because we belong to each other, there are implications for how we live in the world, and the pursuit of justice and peace. When we think about the story of Jesus, the claim of the Christian tradition is that this is Immanuel: God with us. The ultimate expression of solidarity. This is the divine solidarity of God. God demonstrates solidarity with us. God becomes one of us. God is one of us. And so the grounds of any Christian sense of solidarity with the world beyond ourselves, begins with a sense of divine solidarity with us, here and now.

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SolidarityClint Gibson
Eastertide: Ascension

Jesus as the new face of God brought the God-up-there down to ground level, eventually reconstituting an ancient mystical understanding of the God who is everywhere. The ascension narrative of St Luke (Ch 24) does not ignore or avoid the vertical thinking that dominated peoples’ view of the divine but uses it as a starting point for an enlarged discussion around how we see and understand God.

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Eastertide: ‘Doubting Thomas’ gets a bad rap

We all have doubts, whether we acknowledge them or not. The journey of faith does not build on a foundation of certainty. There is an invitation to trust and to believe, but to trust and believe goes hand in hand with moments of doubt and uncertainty. The idea of trust actually requires doubt and uncertainty, otherwise you don’t need to trust, because you know!

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Eastertide: The Emmaus Road

The Emmaus Road, as an in-between space, is the road that most of us are on, most of the time. We set out on our paths with plans and intentions, hopes and dreams, (shattered and fulfilled), and what happens along the road determines our destination. We might end up in the same ‘physical’ location that we set out to reach, but how we get there will change everything about the way we engage with the destination.  

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Formation: The Bible - How Jesus changes the way we read

When we see Jesus engage in scripture, he does so in creative and provocative ways. He is not stuck in a fundamentalist universe, but instead offers reimaging and reinterpretation. His common refrain in the sermon on the mount is “You have heard it said, but I say unto you…”.  He starts with an ancient Old Testament text and then in the tradition of wisdom, engages with it, interprets it, argues with it, and pushes it forward.

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Mother Earth

What we believe about God has a direct bearing on how we practice life. If God is good and calls our planet good, then we have responsibility to care. If God is a judge who will eventually set fire to this planet (and start a new one), then we can easily trash her, give God a hand and speed up the process.

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Eastertide: Peter

The Apostle Peter was a curious character. If Mary Magdalene was the faithful, loving and devoted one, then Peter was the reactive hothead who raced around in a whirlwind of his own enthusiasm and then flamed out, spiralling into a pit of shame (before becoming one of the great leaders of the early church of course).

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