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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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!

Read More
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.  

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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).

Read More
Eastertide: Mary Magdalene

How often do we identify and define each other, (or ourselves) based on our past? What is it about human nature that loves to ‘dig up the dirt’ on someone else? Can we recognise and remember people for the goodness that lies within  as opposed to the sin? And can we allow, even encourage people to become all they were created to be, accepting and embracing all despite our perceived bias and world view. 

Read More
Formation: The Bible - What to do with violent scriptures?

So what if we were to read these kinds of violent stories as a commentary of wisdom on the human psyche, the human condition. An insight into our ongoing struggle with ego, with competition, with fear of otherness and the way people have always integrated all of this into religious beliefs and our claims about what “God has said”. Our sense of belonging in a religious community can be shaped by the belief that we’re in and other people are out. God is on our side but not theirs. So God becomes implicated in our own violence. We use the name of God to give divine support to the causes and battles we align ourselves with.

Read More
So Now What?Clint Gibson
Lent: Holy Week 

Jesus was inviting us to embrace a new way of living that would include many deaths along our path in search of our true selves, where our ego, or our need for control, or to be right, or to know, is slowly put to death. His death showed us that we can die, and his resurrection that we can live.

Read More
Lent: Personal crisis and self-realisation

The early stage of lostness reveals itself in a type of dis-ease with life as we know it. The younger son, according to cultural norms, had no right to demand his inheritance but the fathers willingness to comply suggests something bigger going on behind the scenes. Was all not well in Prodigalville? The claustrophobic nature of these feelings eventually push us toward escapism, the need to abscond from that which seemingly traps and restricts our lives. Our impatience with our maturation is often seen in our youthful rebellion as we push the boundaries and revolt against the powers that be.

Read More
Formation: The Bible - How myths can be true

In the Ancient Near Eastern world, modern historical method was not the way of talking about origin stories, of the big questions of life, meaning and history, of the experiences of a community. So if we bring those modern assumptions to the text, we end up falling into an either/or mentality. And often the way that ancient peoples told their stories, and especially their origin stories, was to use mythological elements to communicate theological ideas. We can call this “mythicised history” or “theological history”. In other words, the question is often not – “did this happen exactly this way?”, but rather, “what do we learn about the way they see God and reality?”

Read More
Lent: Letting go of the chase

The disciples are tempted, as so many of us are, to take whatever system is in front of us, be it religious, political, or economic, and figure out how to use it to our advantage. To feed the drive of the ego. We are so often at the centre of our own story, jostling for position. Maybe it’s not as overt as these two brothers, but a lot of the ways we structure our society is designed to help us feed the ego, to acquire more status and more influence. The challenge of Jesus is that the pathway to life and to the kingdom of God, is found in the giving up of our chasing status, power, influence and success in favour of seeing others liberated. 

Read More
Lent: The life found beyond prejudice

The profound shock In the parable of the Good Samaritan is that the ethnic and religious other is the one who shows compassion. This story is a pointed way of saying: you need to examine the ethnic and religious prejudice and exclusion that you hold. This needs to change!  Jesus challenges the entire notion of trying to decide who is my neighbour and who isn’t my neighbour. Who is in and who is out. Who is one of “your people” and who isn’t. Jesus exposes the fault in the question itself.

Read More
Lent: The virtues of Cruciformity

Compassion does not see people based on some kind of preferential treatment, its lack of bias and partiality reminds us that it is available to all at any one time. Compassion as a metaphor for God cannot be restrained by our religious or social constructs, lest we become deceived into thinking that the divine has a elite group of people that are favoured more than others. The only people that seem to attract divine favour are those who are at their most vulnerable at any given time.

Read More
Lent: Lost and Found

We cling to things that ultimately do not give us the meaning and fulfilment that we crave. We think that ‘having’ or ‘getting’ that thing is what will make us feel happy and satisfied.  But the challenge of Jesus, and our challenge as we enter Lent, is that ‘getting the thing’ is not the ultimate way to this kind of life. It’s the giving up of things for others. For God, and for our neighbour.

Read More