Category Archives: musings

What would it take for you to change your mind on abortion?

At the moment, abortion is on the nation’s agenda. It’s about time I think; it’s amazing that such an extraordinarily significant issue is essentially a “do not discuss” zone in Australia. I’m going to strike while the iron is hot and do some blogging on it, but…

There’s one serious problem with the discussion on abortion I’ve heard so far – pigheaded certainty. If you are committed to never, ever changing your mind, real discussion can never, ever happen.

Whatever your stance, if you can never be changed by the other’s argument, you can never really discuss it. You will only assert, assert, assert you own view and deny, deny, deny the other’s. Doubt is such an important part of public discourse, it’s the admission that I could be wrong. A bit of doubt means you’ll really listen to the other’s argument, because, well, they just might be right. When you make that admission, the other’s defences lower, your arrogance lowers, and people can really share ideas, and listen, and change.

I don’t think abortion will ever be an easy topic. But I do want it to be a public one. And I do want it to be a thoughtful one. What sort of argument could change your mind? Is anyone making it?


Holiday Goals

I just finished semester one, and it’s break time. I’ve got 29 days to make these things happen, arranged in ascending sentence length by pixels:

  • Write a song.
  • Draft a book for Ben.
  • Roast and drink coffee.
  • Speak well at this thing.
  • Put down a batch of home brew.
  • Sell extraneous baby gear on ebay.
  • Only watch TV if it’s The West Wing.
  • Read “The Revelation of God” by Peter Jensen.
  • Help my mother-in-law sell some stuff on ebay.
  • Book a babysitter and go out for dinner with Meg.
  • Go to a comedy club and laugh at some funny jokes.
  • Check my email infrequently. Have it zeroed weekly.
  • Learn my Greek and Hebrew vocab for semester two.
  • Read “Disturbing Devine Behavior” by Eric A. Seibert.
  • Send a sympathy card to the parents of a friend who died.
  • Librarything-ify my latest batch of books, and shelve them.
  • Sort out my semester one college notes: Either file it or chuck it.
  • See the Proudies. They are cool people who sometimes live in Indonesia.
  • Go on a Bunnings Adventure: return a heater, buy a doormat, look at tools.
  • Be so helpful around the house that Meg is all like, “Whoa! My husband is seriously helpful around the house!”

If you’ve got a break, what are you doing?

I iz in ur twitterz and ur facebukz, cloggin up ur feedz.

I’ve toned down my social media involvement lately. Very little facebook interaction, very few tweets.

Basically, I needed a break from 1) the noise, 2) contributing to the noise and 3) knowing that there were things I wasn’t doing because I was listening to and making noise.

The noise

Now, sometimes it’s a fun, useful and interactive noise. Sometimes it’s noise that really does create and improve relationships. Twitter has put me in contact with people around the world I wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Facebook has kept me in (some form of) contact with people I would have fallen out of touch with. But in the end, it’s still noise. It’s hundreds and hundreds of people putting whatever they want in my feed, and I felt like I needed a break.

Contributing to the noise

On the other hand, do people really need to know that my son was crook this week? Do they need to know I’m hungry because I forgot my lunch? Do they need to know my progress on assignments? Do they need to know that I’m in a lecture? I decided that, for a couple of weeks at least, they don’t.

And what exactly is it within me that gains some satisfaction from telling people these things? Complicated. Too long, did not answer.

Point is, I decided not to contribute to the noise.

You too?

I was feeling unproductive because of the noise. I’m snowed under, and this was easy noise to cut out. It’s been helpful.

Are there things you need to get done that aren’t getting done? Are you going to bed wishing you had more time in the day? Are there real-life relationships that could do with some real-life fostering? Maybe you could cut out the noise for a little while too and see if it helps. Let me know?


PS. Also, I walked past a facebook friend in the street the other day but she didn’t recognise me. That ain’t a friend, right? That’s a contact, and a close-to-dead one.

PPS. I realise that there is a bit of irony in telling you I blogged this by posting it to fb and twitter. Funny old world, innit?

Sydney’s Quirky Christianity: The Only Time We Don’t Worship is On Sundays.

(Note: I actually drafted this post seven months ago. But I have just now finished typing a giant email to a mate on this topic, and decided it’s time to go on the record with this. Here’s hoping all my friendships with Sydney Anglicans don’t collapse.)

Good theology can lead to some real hassles.

We know that we should worship God with our whole life, right? Yep. That’s the good theology part.

So, should we call what we do together on Sundays ‘worship’? Many in Sydney say no. That’s the hassle good theology can cause.

In fact, it’s got to the stage where ‘worship’ is being called “the ‘w’ word”. Worship is not a dirty word.

I’ll be blunt:

  • Not calling church ‘worship’ is mainly a Sydney Anglican thing.
  • As best I can tell, it began as a reactionary position; it’s a critique of High Anglicanism.

Who is Being Heard?

Recently, one big proponent of calling church a ‘meeting’ or a ‘gathering’, is Tony Payne from Matthias Media. From all accounts a great guy, and seriously smart. I have read his Briefing articles on shifting from ‘worship’ to ‘meeting/gathering’. They are persuasive in their context, but they do have a specific context – ‘worship’ as doing Anglican liturgy.

Only one article from his series is available at the Matthias website. This article’s big finish is all the great ways churches can ‘be together’ once the shackles of ‘worship’ are dispensed with. He suggests a number of great ways of arranging church services that don’t fit into conventional Anglican liturgy. And they really are great ways of arranging church.

But for Christians who aren’t having an argument about liturgy, who aren’t arguing about the role of a book (besides the Bible!) in shaping corporate worship, who don’t think ‘prayer book’ when they hear the word ‘worship’, his suggestions probably already fit into an idea of creative corporate worship. It’s really a discussion on Anglican liturgy.

Gathered and Scattered Worship

Sydney is pretty quirky in this matter. For most Christians, now and in history, worshipping God is considered something done alone, in groups, and in church. Lately, the catchy titles of ‘gathered’ and ‘scattered’ worship have been used. I like them.

  • Yes, all my life should be lived to God, for God, in His presence, by His Spirit, in and through His Son. All my life should be worship, even when I’m away from other Christians – that’s scattered worship.
  • Yes, when I gather with God’s people, in Christ, by the Spirit, sharing in fellowship with the Father, to do the things that God’s people do when they gather, I am worshipping – that’s gathered worship. And it’s special. It’s different to scattered worship, because it’s gathered, and God’s people have always gathered in, and for, worship.

I Get It, I Just Disagree

Finally, it’s worth saying that not calling Sunday services ‘services’, and not calling gathered worship ‘worship’ has become a bit of a badge that shows your genuine Sydney theological nous. I want to say that I understand the argument, I just respectfully disagree.


What are you doing this Easter?

Here’s a late-night “Waiting for Time-Machine to Finish So I Can Shut Down” post.

So, I’m preaching this Sunday at KirkPlace. Easter Sunday.

It’s always an honour to preach Jesus. And it’s especially an honour to be asked to preach on Resurrection Sunday. Here’s hopin’ I don’t mess it up.

If you aren’t churchy, Easter is a great time to come and check it out. It’s the biggest deal in the year for Christians. It’s about:

  • God’s plan for us (union with Him, to our benefit)
  • Our big problem (we reject God and his rightful claim on us, to our destruction)
  • God’s solution (Jesus’ death and resurrection, restoring us to God).

Tomorrow morning, Good Friday, my goodbuddy* Steve Chong will be preaching about the actual-not-faked, really-Him-not-His-twin, till-he-died-not-swooned-or-was-swapped, death of Jesus.

I get to bring the good news of His real-not-hallucinated, physical-not-ghostly, resurrected-not-revived-or-reincarnated, resurrection.

Sound crazy? Come and check it out.


* It’s possible I’ve listened to too much Driscoll in my time. I didn’t used to call people my goodbuddy.

Out Of My Niche: Politics.

Well, this is blogging well out of my usual topic, but here goes.

First, watch this. It’s short. And funny. And a bit scary.

Now seriously, why does Australia have compulsory voting? Why is it that whether or not you’re interested enough to make an informed vote, you must vote?

Anyway, for bonus marks, here’s in an informative piece on compulsory voting.

Things I’m Scared Of: Funerals

Let me get this out there: I did not decide to me a minister because I was looking forward to taking funerals.

I’m now in my thirtieth year, and I can only remember being at one funeral. It was, without a doubt, the saddest I have ever seen my dad. The deceased was his grandma.

It has never been easier to live so long and avoid death. Plenty of people, like me, just don’t know how to behave around death, through lack of experience if nothing else. We stumble through funerals and grief as best we can. It is great, then, that The Art of Manliness have recently published this really helpful primer on funeral etiquette.

Now, this isn’t the minister’s guide to taking a funeral, but most would agree that the West is very awkward around death, and this primer has given me the confidence that I can at least be polite.

It’s also made me sad that I did not make the effort to get to the funeral of a favourite teacher who died a short time ago.

Live and learn.