Tuesday, February 07, 2017

We Hang Our Heads In Shame

"These numbers are shocking. They are tragic and they are indefensible," chief executive of the Church's Truth Justice and Healing Council Francis Sullivan said in a statement to the Commission.
"This data, along with all we have heard over the past four years, can only be interpreted for what it is: a massive failure on the part of the Catholic Church in Australia to protect children from abusers."
This image of statistices released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse should be hung in every Catholic Church between the photos of the local Archbishop and the Pope.
Celibacy isn't the problem in Catholicism. Mandatory celibacy is a problem but the issue that lies underneath this long and tragic history is the cult of clericalism.
Perhaps those popular photos of local and global leader need to be taken down as an act of repentance and recognition of the failure of the institution to deliver on its core business: being a sign and sacrament of the reign of God.

Friday, February 03, 2017

How To Dress Like A Biblical Scholar

John Dominic Crossan sits alongside other biblical scholars on my shelf of reference texts. Crossan is not usually quoted in your average parish homily and even less quoted in Vatican Documents. The Google search engine will provide links to plenty of background reading and good source material If you are looking for a more entertaining way of cyberchilling try searching John Dominic Crossan heretic.You will find a good selection of his engaging presentations on Youtube: 

A few quotable quotes to whet your appetite: 

"I cannot imagine a more miraculous life than nonviolent resistance to violence," Crossan says. "I cannot imagine a bigger miracle than a man standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square."

"There's good news and bad news from the historical Jesus. The good news: God says Caesar sucks. The bad news: God says Caesar is us."
"Crucifixion meant that imperial power had won," Crossan says. "Resurrection meant that divine justice had won. God is on the side of the crucified one. Rome's' values are a dead issue to me."
"Christianity both admits and subverts the historical Jesus," Crossan says.
"A lot of people in the first century thought Jesus was saying something so important that they were willing to die for it. If people finish with my books and now see why Pilate executed him and why people died for him, then I've done my job."

John Dominic Crossan's 'blasphemous' portrait of Jesus

In the current political climate of a new POTUS  we need theologians like Crossan to remind us of the  counter culture values of Christianity. 

Crossan also challenges  the neglected field of the dress code of Biblical Scholars. Given the recent directive about #dresslikewomen from the office of POTUS, I am impressed that our senior Biblical mentors  is comfortable stepping out from hiust as 
This is the most recent public image of JDC showing a hermeneutic of continuity where biblical scholarship can be comfortable in a doctoral hat as well as a pair of speedos.

The challenge now is to build an album of scholars in their swim wear.!!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The World Interfaith Harmony Week 2017

The World Interfaith Harmony Week

Annual UN Observance Week: Feb. 1-7

The World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed at the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2010 by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan. Just under a month later, on October 20, 2010, it was unanimously adopted by the UN and henceforth the first week of February will be observed as a World Interfaith Harmony Week.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week is based on the pioneering work of The Common Word initiative. This initiative, which started in 2007, called for Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental religious Commandments; Love of God, and Love of the Neighbour, without nevertheless compromising any of their own religious tenets. The Two commandments are at the heart of the three Monotheistic religions and therefore provide the most solid theological ground possible. (Read full text here)

Our Aims & Objectives

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Twelth Day of Christmas: The Journey

The Journey Of The Magi

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Eleventh Day of Christmas: Chalk Up A Blessing

In case you miss the opportunity for another great Christmas custom you have a coiple of days to go out and buy the chalk you left off your Christmas shopping list.

One of the lost customs of the season is the "Chalking of the Door" at Epiphany. The ever reliable Wikipedia tells us:
Either on Twelfth Night (January 5), the twelfth day of Christmastide and eve of the feast of the Epiphany, or on Epiphany Day (January 6) itself, many Christians chalk their doors with a pattern such as this, "20 † C † M † B † 17", with the numbers referring "to the calendar year (20 and 17, for instance, for the year 2017); the crosses stand for Christ; and the letters have a two-fold significance: C, M, and B are the initials for the traditional names of the Magi (CasparMelchior, and Balthasar), but they are also an abbreviation of the Latin blessing Christus mansionem benedicat, which means, May Christ bless this house."[1] In some localities, but not in all, the chalk used to write the Epiphanytide pattern is blessed by a Christian priest or minister on Epiphany Day; Christians then take the chalk home and use it to write the pattern. The reason families chalk their front door is because it represents the hospitality of the Holy Family to the Magi.

Blessing the Chalk
V. Our help is the name of the Lord:
R. The maker of heaven and earth.
V. The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in:
R. From this time forth for evermore.

Let us pray.Loving God, bless this chalk which you have created, that it may be helpful to your people; and grant that through the invocation of your most Holy Name that we who use it in faith to write upon the door of our home the names of your holy ones Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, may receive health of body and protection of soul for all who dwell in or visit our home; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Instructions for Blessing the Home
Using the blessed chalk mark the lintel of your front door (or front porch step) as follows:
20 + C + M + B + 17 while saying:

The three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar followed the star of God’s Son who became human two thousand and seventeen years ago. May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.
Then offer the following prayer: Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of your love; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen
“Chalking the door” is a way to celebrate and literally mark the occasion of the Epiphany and God’s blessing of our lives and home. With time the chalk will fade. As it does we let the meaning of the symbols written sink into the depths of our heart and be manifest in our words and actions the Latin words, Christus mansionem benedictat, “May Christ bless the house.” (Source)
One of my favourite Liturgy sites  from Aotearoa-New Zealand includes more prayer choices for this ritual. And for the more visual there is even a youtube tutorial:

Of course for the more adventurous there is the Greek custom of the dive for the Cross which is much more challenging in the Northern Hemisphere while our locals get to take advatage of a decent summer dive.

2017 Religious Events and Holidays

Religion has a rhythm that respects the human need for rest and ritual. It challenges the capitalist doctrine that denies community values and social identity. To identify as religious means I honour and celebrate diversity as common ground in the human quest for peace and just relationships with each other and the planet.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Tenth Day of Christmas: Light that Shines Through The Cracks

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Five years ago the funeral  for Daniel Morecombe' was a public ritual of grief that spoke of light breaking the darkness in our community and culture. Out of the dark tragic story of Daniel's abduction and death, Bruce and Denise Morcombe have forged a commitment to the care and protection of children. Daniel's light will shine on in the way  he has brought a community together in the Daniel Morecombe Foundation.

Our challenge in  2017 is to find the crack and break the darkness:

  • Manus Island, 
  • Nauru,
  • Deaths in Custody
  • Domestic Violence
  • Homlessness
  • Exploitation of the Environment