I have recently heard about a new movement called the 'Geneva Push' - a consortium of christian leaders seeking to shape a church planting culture through endorsing and resourcing leaders with a particular emphasis on complementarianism and exclusive male leadership. If you're interested, the extensive list of what they affirm, and the even longer list of what they don't believe can be found at http://thegenevapush.com/about/what_we_believe…
28 Feb 2013 Leave a Comment
02 Nov 2011 2 Comments
(Vermilion; London, 2011)
Sex Life by Pamela Stephenson-Connolly was my ‘light reading’ of choice after the last liturgy essay! The reason I was drawn to it is because it is an attempt to ‘map’ human sexuality from birth till death, hence covering the controversial areas of sexuality in childhood and old age. As Pamela points out, it’s pretty difficult to gather empirical date on sexual experience and she has opted for a mass of testimonials from clients and research interviews. So it’s fun to read – though the book desperately needs a good editor!
I have two reflections to share in a public forum. (Poor me a glass of red wine and I’d be happy to talk into the night!)
The first is that I agree 100% with Pamela that we must think about human sexuality as a whole of life phenomena. Her book helps us to do that and is useful therefore for both academic and personal study. (If you need to do some ‘repair work’ on your own formation as sexual beings this is not a bad place to start – it’ll help identify the messages you’ve picked up in younger years which are influencing your adult sexuality.) Sexuality ebbs and flows with growth and regression, maturity and immaturity as do ALL aspects of the human person. If we cease to acknowledge and affirm appropriate childhood and adolescent sexuality we fail to equip our children with the foundation for healthy adult sexuality. If we fail to acknowledge sexuality in ageing adults, we add to the devaluing of the elderly which our society already engages in too readily.
The second reflection I would offer is the absolute impossibility of writing and talking about sex without moral judgements. Pamela writes ‘for sexologists and campaigners who fight for sexual rights.’ Well, there are diverse opinions of what ‘sexual rights’ might mean! There are times in the book where she sounds more accepting of those who engage in ‘unusual’ forms of sexual expression than she is of those who choose a healthy abstinence. I find this very frustrating as a theologian interested in sexuality and spirituality – not from a moral point of view, but because she fails to acknowledge anything much of the spiritual experience of human beings. Her understanding of sex reads to be very materialist – of physical matter – which I found very limiting and would argue is a moral judgement in and of itself. Subjectivity is inevitable in all subjects, but with one in which we as subjects are so inherently vulnerable, we have to be absolutely up front that an a-moral sexual ethic is impossible. Our current Australian debates on same-sex marriage and Anglican debates on human sexuality would do well to use that as a starting point!
How do our sexual experiences define who we are? Our sexual experiences define our sexuality and our sexuality is just one element in the complex web of relations that makes up a human being.
26 Aug 2011 Leave a Comment
Hi all – this is a post to introduce the next month of posts.
I’m in the UK on a kind of study tour (for want of a better description) and kicking it off with the Greenbelt Festival, a huge arts, justice & christian spirituality festival in Cheltenham, UK. If, by the way, you’re reading this and you’re in the UK drop me a line – I might be in your neck of the woods! My beautiful THL518 lecturer has approved me blogging about worship at Greenbelt for an assessment piece, so I’ll be writing about different worship experiences over the coming few days and hoping to make some links with different theological themes about contextualized, contemporary worship.
I’m then spending a week with a group from Melbourne led by Cheryl Lawrie from hold:this:space looking at transformative art and public space on the Oxygen Tour so I’ll do some posts on exhibitions and community art projects that we visit.
I’m travelling with an amazingly interesting and engaging group of people and feeling incredibly privaleged to have this opportunity! The questions or themes that I am aware of as I commence this adventure are:
- making observations about the dependency of Australian culture birthed from Brittish culture and wondering about our Australian uniqueness
- understanding the culture of the Church of England and it’s impact on the Anglican Church in Melbourne within which I serve
- How can the Church better use the power of art and beauty for transforming ourselves and our world into a better place?
- What is ‘community’ in a fluid, globalised world? What are the elements we really want when we say community is what we want or need?
- How does any individual get from being isolated to integrated into something they would call ‘community’?
- How do Brits connect to the land when there is next to no indigenous landscape left? What does that mean for our relationship with the earth and what does that teach me about connecting with the land where I live?
So, I am definitely on a BIG journey over the next month. I’d love for it to be one that can be shared through reddress and would love to get comments and questions, ideas and inspirations from your life and context as they come to mind. I really have no idea who reads this blog beyond a small group of friends and colleagues so it’d be great to ‘meet’ you if you’ve been reading in the dark of anonymity!
Blessings to one and all – known and unknown to me!
11 May 2011 Leave a Comment
Having just received great feedback on my first Masters essay, I’m a little emboldened and have added a page of writing to reddress. At this stage it includes my essay (for those who want the academic version of Rowan William’s theological methodology) and a couple of papers that were written for different contexts. It’ll evolve, like everything else on this emergent journey.
17 Jan 2011 Leave a Comment
As I sorted out my bookshelves yesterday, it was a pleasure to remember those books which have impacted my life over the years. I never quite relate to the term ‘classics’ when it comes to literature, because it seems any list of classics is incredibly personal and reflective of one’s own unique life journey. So, just because I can, here is my trip down memory lane. These are some of the soulful books that have loved over the years and that I carry in my heart as I embark on new reading in 2011.
Dave Tomlinson, The post-evangelical (1995) – the beginning of the end of my relationship with Enlightenment Rationalism.
Cornelius Plantinga Jr, Not the way it’s supposed to be: a breviary of sin (1995) – This book enabled me to start thinking theologically in my own unique way. Grand and Grace-full.
L.A. Daloz, C.H. Keen, J.P. Keen & S.D. Parks, Common Fire: leading lives of commitment in a complex world (1996) – A case study of individuals who are actually making a difference by their lives. It looks at what went into their formation as people, in order to bring out such results.
Robert E. Webber, Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking evangelicalism for a Postmodern world (1999) – When I read this I thought, ‘Yep, the church does not have to sit around until it is relegated to the museum of modernism.’
Pete Ward (ed), Mass culture: eucharist and mission in a post-modern world (1999) – Really got me thinking about the who, what, why, how, where of worship. I am still challenged by it.
Hugh Macay, Turning Point: Australians Choosing their future (1999) - of course, as a sociologist, I love all Hugh Mackay (except his novel, that was a wrong turn I’m afraid Hugh). This title has special memories of being consumed on a beach somewhere in NSW.
Noreena Hertz, The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy (2001) - The power of the personal. One life (one consumer) CAN make a difference.
Caroline Miley, The Suicidal Church: Can the Anglican Church be saved? (2002) – I read this on my Deacon Ordination Retreat!
Michael Schluter & David John Lee, The R Option: Building relationships as a better way of life (2003) – so inspiring! How do we make all our life and society relational, connected, life-giving?
Alan J. Roxburgh & Fred Romanuk, The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to reach a Changing World (2006) – This book gave me a framework to draw down postmodern thinking into the practice of church leadership.
Steven Croft, Ministry in Three Dimensions: Ordination and Leadership in the Local Church (revised ed. 2008) - Where is my copy!?! I read the first edition around 2002. Gave me the theological confidence to embrace ordination.