Three Reasons Why I Became a Christian

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is hands-5216585_1920.jpgI became a Christian at the age of sixteen despite growing up in a traditional church. The difference was in encountering God beyond – not even within – all the rituals. It wasn’t about induction into a community of belonging or acceptance of a particular religious tradition. It also wasn’t about running from the real world or finding identity as a cultural contrarian or wowser. Far from relinquishing reason, too, the journey to finding faith involved three steps of inquiry that changed my life and could perhaps change yours. Continue reading

How a Fulfilment Lens Helps to Understand the Bible

The often-mysterious symbols and rituals of the world of the Old Testament make more sense when we look at them through a ‘fulfilment’ lens. Rather than straining to find life illustrations, or perhaps puzzling over how a ‘then and there’ world could illustrate or direct our own, relevance becomes evident on every page when we understand the intent of the writers and the overarching theme encoded by God. Continue reading

An All-Australian Australia Day

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is uluru.jpgThe national holiday of January 26th is again being called into question. As much as we might want to identify it as a day to celebrate the unity and pride of all Australians in this nation, many will still see it as a distressing reminder of the evils associated with British expansionism. Therefore we should surely own up to our past, just as we eventually apologised for creating the pre-1970s Stolen Generation through the forced removal of Indigenous children in the misguided interests of ‘helping’ them and their families. Any advance of Christianity today will, for some, remain a similarly unwanted ideal while it continues to be associated with the invasion of 1788. Continue reading

Making the Most of Christmas in 2020

This Christmas has provided some heightened activity for Melburnians only recently released from a prolonged COVID lockdown. Record pre-Christmas travel, booming Summer house sales after Winter deferrals, and the unleashing of stockpiled savings have all accentuated the usual December commercialism. By contrast, unplannable carols events have not all been substituted, and churches have only gathered again in recent weeks. To avoid Christ being squeezed out of Christmas, here are some last-minute tips that might make the most of what is left of the season with a significant focus on its major message. Continue reading

Combatting Coronavirus Conspiracies

Fortunately, there are few people who deny the existence of COVID-19 which has claimed many lives and made others desperately ill. Although conspiracy theorists usually accept that coronavirus is contagious, some have perpetuated real fear around its management. But is the common enemy the virus or the government? Here’s a fresh look at eight key claims or questions that are often raised. Continue reading

‘All Lives Matter’?

A popular response to the recent anti-racism slogan, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ is that ‘All Lives Matter.’ Well, of course they do. But that misses the point entirely and it causes further harm. ‘Black Lives Matter’ because all lives matter. And when people of different backgrounds to myself feel that they aren’t treated equitably, my response needs to be one of compassion, one that listens, one that is quick to empathise. Continue reading

‘Black Lives Matter’ in Australia too.

The recent ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests would surely seem to represent a watershed moment in history. Isn’t it unfathomable, though, that societal equity remains in any way elusive half a century after the Civil Rights protests of the 1960s and a further century beyond the Civil War’s Emancipation Proclamation? The egregious injustice of George Floyd’s death scarcely diminishes the long shadow still cast by our racist past. And this past is Australia’s, too. Continue reading

Toward a Post-COVID-19 Church

Is the global church simply responding to a passing season or evolving into something entirely new? Barna research revealed (on a May 20 U.S. broadcast) that, despite the initial rush to online services, one third of practising Christians had not engaged with an online service at all in the past four weeks. (Just over half were streaming their own church, one third were visiting others, and one quarter were viewing multiple services, whereas one third were watching at alternative times to Sundays). What can we say about the prognosis for churches with any confidence in the face of such an alarming finding? Continue reading

Ten Tips for ‘Leading Up’

When we serve on a team that we do not personally lead, we can experience frustration building up within. Rather than bite our tongue, suffer in silence, or run to greener pastures, there is an alternative. ‘Lead Up.’ There are some effective and simple strategies that allow anyone to proactively bring change but in a spirit of humility and helpfulness. Continue reading