Book Review- Mere Humanity by Donald T Williams.

mere humanityBook Review by Dr Stuart Devenish Donald T Williams. Mere Humanity: G.K .Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien on the human condition. Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2006.

Available formats: paperback and e-book/kindle

Size: ca. 200 pages

Cost: around AUD $20 plus postage Read More

7 sayings, 7 prayers

candlesIn this Lenten journey towards the cross and empty tomb, I continue to be reminded that, whatever else the Gospel is, it is God’s story. That’s important to remember; it is difficult to remain detached from story, since by its very nature story beckons involvement. Eugene Peterson says that theology as story becomes a “verbal [act] of hospitality”,[1] leading us not “to see God in our stories but our stories in God’s.  God is the larger context and plot in which our stories find themselves”.[2]

So in my Lenten meditation I have sought to see my story in God’s through contemplating Jesus’ seven sayings from the cross, and attending to some possible prayers that arise. Perhaps, amidst the pre-Easter flurry, you might also like to come aside and ponder with me.

  1. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do (Luke 23:34)
    How am I oblivious, Lord, to the ways in which I hurt, betray, dismiss, scoff, judge, malign, belittle, stymie, or show indifference to you? To others? What incarnations of ignorance does your forgiveness need to touch?
  2. Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)
    What is your promise of deep fellowship for me? What is the shape of our communion into which you are calling me?
  3. Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother (John 19:26–27)
    Who are you giving me to care for, Lord, to become as family? Who have you given as carers for me?
  4. My God, My God, have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34)
    In what ways am I experiencing your absence? Where do I wish you would just show up, God? What am I to do with this sense of abandonment?
  5. I thirst (John 19:28)
    What does your raw humanity, Jesus, mean for me? For my physicality? Whose thirst are you calling me to quench? What am I deeply thirsty for?
  6. It is finished (John 19:29-30)
    What has your cross, Jesus, ‘finished’, moved on, dealt with in my life? What remains ‘unfinished’?
  7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46)
    How is your consecration to the Father becoming my own? In what dimensions of my life is your love further wooing my unfettered devotion?

[1] Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2005), 5.

[2] Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2006), 44.

 

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John Goldingay Reflection

Goldingay offers the following reflection based on Genesis 2 and, in particular, his understanding of the nature of “cleaving” which this describes (v. 24).

Jesus inferred from this story that we need to encourage people to keep that commitment rather than encourage them to sit fast and loose to it. Human beings should not tear apart what God put together (e.g., Mk 10:9). This is an exhortation rather than a law, like his other declarations on the imperiling of marriage (see Mt 5:27-32). Merely banning divorce would not fulfill it, and recognizing when marriages have fallen apart and rejoicing for people to start a new marriage would not necessarily resist it. In our own context, people might also want to ask Jesus questions about homosexual practice, polygamy or masturbation, and in response, Jesus might again refer back to Genesis. All these may fit ill with Genesis 1— 2, which implicitly sets sexual expression within the context of a lifelong heterosexual marriage designed to image God in the world. But Jesus might note that, for instance, Western churches tend to be softer on divorce and masturbation than on same-sex partnerships and polygamy, and wonder why that is.

Goldingay, John. Old Testament Theology Series, Volume 1 : Israel’s Gospel. Downers Grove, IL, USA: InterVarsity Press, 2010. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 9 March 2015.

Copyright © 2010. InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.

 

Don’t Stop Them

“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” 50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:49-50, NIV)

Recently, part of my role at Tabor has changed. As well as being a lecturer here, I’ve also began working to find ways that Tabor can better support and empower Adelaide’s churches and parachurch organisations.

What I’ve discovered in this role is that Adelaide is blessed with an abundance of great Christian churches and parachurch organisations. We have a host of exciting, innovative, courageous, gospel-driven groups, powerfully and effectively revealing Christ and His Kingdom. I’ve also seen that these organisations are more than “organisations” – they are people, working incredibly hard (with the empowering of God’s Spirit), and with tremendous passion and focus. Read More

How I think Research is like the Spiritual Life.

By Dr Stuart Devenish, Postgraduate Coordinator (MTC)- Tabor Adelaide

In this article I want to explore some of the ways in which I think research and spirituality intersect with and overlap each other. As I do so, I invite the reader to look for ways in which your own spiritual lives can connect with and grow your understanding of research. I appeal to the work of Richard Rohr – the well-known Franciscan priest and specialist in the spiritual life – to identify congruencies between the inner task of spiritual growth, and the outer task of research in whatever capacity this is undertaken. Read More

Videos of the Books of the Bible

bibledex.com has a series of short videos (usually 5-10 minutes) which focus on the books of the Bible and some of its most well-known verses. These are produced by the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham and could function as a small-group conversation starter, visual illustration, or as the basis for a devotion / reflection. The quality is a bit variable and they are by no means comprehensive, but you may find something here which is of interest and use.

Dr Aaron Chalmers

Is the Bible a Book?

BibleBy Rev Melinda Cousins, Biblical Studies Lecturer, Tabor Adelaide

That might seem like a question with a very obvious answer. I’m holding a copy of the Bible in my hands right now. It sure looks like a book. It has pages and everything. But I wonder what unspoken assumptions viewing the Bible as a book might have on how we engage with it. In my experience of reading books, they generally work something like this: Read More

The Upside of Seeing Upside-Down

423px-Cirque_Napoléon_-_l'homme_renverséBy Matthew James Gray, Lecturer in Theology and Church History

I’m thinking of starting to stand on my head.I recently read GK Chesterton’s biography of Francis of Assisi, and in it Chesterton likened Francis to the medieval jester, “the court fool of the King of Paradise”. More than that, he suggested that Francis’ entire career was like a comic acrobat, standing upside-down. Chesterton seemed to see many upsides to being upside-down, especially for those of us who are Christians in this topsy-turvy world.

Primarily, it revealed the world’s fragility. Thinking of the impregnable walls surrounding Assisi, Chesterton wrote: Whereas to the normal eye the large masonry of its walls would make it seem safer and more permanent, the moment it was turned over the very same weight would make it seem more helpless and more in peril. He would be thankful to God for not dropping the whole cosmos like a vast crystal to be shattered into falling stars. Read More

Hidden Treasure in Plain Sight

billy 2 Here is another of Phil Daughtry’s Lenten reflections:

Its 3p.m. on a Saturday afternoon and I’m on my personal jogging circuit within my suburb. I pass houses, gardens, trees, cars, bicycles and birds, and two small reserves (parks). In both of these I notice a dad, with his kids (toddler to middle-primary school age) and a football. I’m struck by the coincidence of the duplicate scenario in the two similar but separated spaces and it gets me thinking (a good idea when you’re 30 minutes into your run and need some distraction). Read More