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the church as alternative politic and way of life

The following is a sermon I preached in my community on Sunday 28 July, 2013. I have been asked by quite a few people to post it, so here it is.

The first two paragraphs of this written version of the sermon have replaced a much longer section in which I told my story of being hurt by the Church in greater detail. I shared this story with my community, and I feel that it should remain there. I hope the remainder of the sermon makes sense, even without this background story, and that it is helpful and challenging for people.


In some ways it is a strange thing for me to speak about the Church, particularly for those who know my story well. In recent years I have experienced a fair amount of pain at the hands of churches, not least because of my theology, but also due to personal relationships.

I do not say this to evoke sympathy. I do not want it. My story is merely a description of a part of my life, the seemingly inevitable experience of the ugly side of the Church. Indeed, my story is by no means the worst experience of the Church and many others, including some in my own community, have lived through far more terrible injustices. Such people have too often been left hurt, with deep scars and a lingering distrust of “the Church”.

So why would I want to talk about the Church? Read the rest of this entry

politics and nihilism: reflections on australia’s political disillusionment

Following the decimation of the Labor Party in the weekend’s Queensland state election there are a number of seemingly insurmountable issues to be reckoned with.

Not least is the reality that in contemporary Australia we have a problem in national politics – the population is fed up with it!

The blame is often pointed at leadership and there is no doubt that this plays a part in the problem. The latest leadership challenge between Gillard and Rudd was not fought on policy but on personality. The other side of the political spectrum is equally reproachable, mindlessly opposing almost everything that proceeds from the government and failing to provide a policy position on basically anything.

Our national leadership is unimaginative and uninspiring, a sentiment constantly repeated throughout media outlets. There seems to be a shortage of principled thinkers willing to take risks on their convictions. As Malcolm Fraser noted on Monday, the Federal Parliament is “a place … littered with apparatchiks.”

With such uninspiring leadership the population, particularly the young, become disillusioned with the political process. This is perhaps best indicated by the sharp decline in political party membership.

But to argue that all political disillusionment proceeds from uninspiring leadership is shallow, a clawing at what are ultimately symptoms in order to find a cause.

What might then be the cause? There is of course no simple answer, though I have my suspicions. Read the rest of this entry

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