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offwego[A short paper presented to the Spiritual Reading Group 21 July 2015 on Michael Leunig]

So… Leunig… one of the questions he is most often asked and is always baffled by, is what does a particular cartoon mean? “People will say, ‘I don’t know what it means but I like it.’ Leunig replies… “I don’t know either but I like it too. I’m not trying to say anything but I hope it awakens something in you.”

Michael Leunig was raised listening to Oscar Wilde stories on the radio. He read Enid Blyton, Biggles and Childrens Encyclopaedias… he went to Sunday  school and always said he found it, “not full of God but full of stories.” It was lyrical and what was lyrical made him happy – Leunig heard Psalms and asked of himself “What can I do like that?”

Though born in East Melbourne in 1945, Leunig grew up in Footscray going to Footscray North Primary School and Maribyrnong High School. Many of Leunigs friends, and many of his teachers when he grew up in the 1950s were war refugees or were the children of people from Germany, Russia, Poland. It was a very industrial area –ammunitions factory with machine guns firing, meat works, cannery… it smelt awful and drained into the river… for Leunig this wasn’t bleak but held lots of peace and space. Not a lot of nature around, but then you appreciate and give more significance to what you have… a duck and the moon.

A duck bought from the market while doing the family shop imprinted on Leunig following him around everywhere, coming home from school he’d turn the corner and the duck would see him and come running. So he always got ducks after that considering them playful and good-humoured and innocent with those rounded beaks.

A formative misadventure at eight years, occurred while playing at the rubbish tip Leunig stepped up to his thighs in hot coals and wires – receiving horrible and incredibly painful burns with fear of gangrene and amputation – for five months he couldn’t walk and had long periods of feeling cut off from others and lost.

From paper boy to making sausages at butchers on Barkley St, Leunig didn’t do well at school, repeating his last year, and came to work in the meatworks himself. This was great thinking time and Leunig advocates manual work that keeps your hands moving and your mind free. He said: “Working in such places either toughens or sensitises you” and it sensitised Leunig… he became a humanist (is now nearly vegan) and finely honed his earthy working class sense of humour. Leunig was conscripted for the Vietnam war in 1965 – he was going to fight it, a conscientious objector, but was rejected regardless when found to be deaf in one ear.

In Curly Stories, Leunig talks about it “Being an advantage to grow up without art consciousness… nothing to aspire to but things to find and create”. Homeschooling his own four children would have allowed him to foster a similar environment for them believing “Natural ideas exist within children… their play should be “utterly free” and they must be allowed to be bored – they feel free to explore and discover and the world is new to them and there’s this sense of wonder” Leunig refers to childrens ability to ‘blank out’ looking at a teapot spout or light through a window being present to what is right in front of them, commenting: “The loss of that beauty is appalling… how do I address that as a communicator? How can I express what everyone is feeling?” The prophet expresses the grief of the people. The artist expresses what is repressed.

maxresdefaultWalking out of his 3rd year at Swinburne Film and Television School, it was 1969 when Leunig first began to work as a political cartoonist at Newsday, while the factories might have taught him to use humour – intellectual, witty, cynical – to deflect serious things, Leunig says “I was sung sentimental songs. Part of my first language. Fluent in that emotional language” His Grandma used to tell him: ‘All the world is bad, except for you and me, but even you’re a little strange.’ …perhaps this is where we meet The Creature… The Holy Fool– scribbled in the margins since school – amusing to his slightly hungover Editor, with a teapot on his head and riding a duck into the sunset, the image was put to print. Subhuman, primal, foetal, without gender. Leunig is somehow able to speak to our soul. To take small things and make them large, domestic things and make them sacred. For his own discipline he talks about the paradox of art theory – rules to follow, teachers to emulate >> how this stifles creativity. It’s about earning money, systematic success, built for efficiency, for velocity but you lose much, Leunig believes: “[You] cannot love or appreciate beauty at speed. How do you talk about it in ways that are unsuppressed and real? Might make a bridge with love, make a sandwich with love – it’s passed on to others. Love is what we go to bed thinking about.”the kiss by leunig

Since his first book in 1974, Leunig has produced 23 more – books of newspaper columns, poetry and prayer in addition to his prints, paintings and drawings. Leunig shares intimacy with us, personal and confessional – e.g. The Kiss. We are invited into the privacy of his love life, his soul searching… Leunig makes the private public. He takes the small dark fearful things and brings them out where we can look at them “crying with the angels for a world that is different – this is not fatalistic but hopeful”. Perhaps it is because he has offered his own soul first that we are willing to listen to him expound on many themes:

>> loneliness >> the 9 to 5 grind >> war >> sex >> consumption >> love >> god >> media >> religion >> politics

It was being asked to contribute a cartoon to a new paper in 1989, The Age, that Leunig started writing prayers to the horror of his friends… Rather than born-again Christian Leunig’s interpretation lay in the realm of John Keats’s “negative capability”, a word for the unsayable and profound in life. He wanted to say the words publicly as another way of addressing the problems of our time, of our society, of our psyche, of people’s personal suffering {1998} His friends reactions sort of egged Leunig on, wanting to see how much he could push believing that “until a man discovers his emotional life and his gentle, vulnerable side, until he gives it expression, he never will find his women or his soul, and until he does find his soul he will be tortured and depressed and miserable underneath a fair bit of bullshit”.

From Archbishops to Presidents, the Opera House, Australian Chamber Orchestra, National Theatre in London to clay figure animations for SBS and remote communities in northern and central Australia – Leunig has Gone Places and Done Things. Declared a national living treasure by the National Trust in 1999 and awarded honorary degrees by 3 universities for his unique contribution to Australian culture.

094The ‘war on terror’ following 9/11 was a watershed moment in Leunig’s cartooning work where, opposing the war and invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, he was at odds with many editors, commentators and members of Australian society – there became less gentle and lyrical themes and he stopped drawing the whimsical characters Mr Curly and Vasco Pyjama as often although the duck and the moon have still faithfully remained. Adding curls arose out of Leunig’s desire to communicate that “What makes you feel so alone and strange is in fact normal. There’s a lot of curliness in life and you can have a homecoming – there is a place for you and for that aloneness, that eccentricity, and there’s a fulfilment of it eventually, it’s no longer the cause of your outcastness. So that’s the curl. It’s the curious, unique self and, if you find that, you find the connection to the whole world because the world is curious and unique and authentic at its best level.” You might say the war, not understanding how people can fight other people this way, has been a breach to Leunigs sense of connection to Australian society and thereby rest of the world.

These days, Michael Leunig has 3 small dogs but no ducks. He enjoys talking to strangers and going to bed at night. He is a devout nature lover and spends his time between the solitude of the bush in Northern Victoria and a home in Melbourne where he enjoys walking in the local park, morning coffee in the café, chamber music in the concert hall, and attending to work in his studio .

When asked: “What is the meaning of life?” Leunig replied: “For humans as for all the plants and creatures: know yourself, grow yourself, feel yourself, heal yourself, be yourself, express yourself”… “I want to be a voice of liberation”. Leunig speaks not only for the wealthy or the poor but both, not only those armed and those without weapons but both, not only the pretty people or only the ugly people but both – he enjoys this inconsistency and variety. As Barry Humphries says “through the vein of his compassion and humanity and his humour – illuminating many a darkling theme”

Like Jesus with his parables and questions – Leunig doesn’t present us with solutions or easy answers but an invitation. He sees his vocation as cracking what is stoic and cold in society – to make us feel anger, grief, joy, sadness… Leunig believes we have something to discover in the wrongness… “Live without ‘knowing’, in mystery. Find things. Unlearn. Get lost. Get primal, getinfantile. When you have lost all hope – start to play. You have nothing to lose. Stay with it and don’t take it too seriously…”

I hope maybe it awakens something in you.”

Creating the Right Space – CBM (Panel)

Considerations for creating spaces that are inclusive of people with different levels of ability:

  • Want belonging and feeling treated the same/normal even though we know we’re not
  • Eye contact but NOT staring
  • Participation not about my disability – wanting to engage like everybody else
  • Fundamental dignity: each of us have something to share/contribute
  • Atmosphere – feel connected
  • Send lyrics/talk text in advance and can direct it into Braille or audio myself (needs to be communicated if this is available and PDFs aren’t readable by the programmes)
  • Everyone should be respected as a beloved son/daughter of God – I want to contribute to Christian community > able to share gifts
  • Talk to me not around me as if I’m not here e.g. “Will she have tea?”
  • Need space to be honest about how we feel – don’t pray away my feelings
  • Have communion where they do (with them) e.g. if someone can’t access the alter – don’t just bring them theirs but have yours with them where they are
  • Push in a little bit – there is fear (of being pushed away, rejected, condescended to…)
  • How do you know you’re “in”? On a roster, invited home for lunch, take the communion cup around in my wheelchair.
  • Regular time, place and routine for L’Arche rhythms (known and familiar)
  • Can’t find love, can’t find friendship. Government can’t do that > spiritual communities are REALLY important
  • Care-fronting sometimes with a conversation
  • Time “efficiency” need to allow room for the spirit… can’t plan things. Let it be what it is. Let [people be themselves in their fullness (where people might talk more slowly or move more slowly… let their pace be OK)
  • LABELS: Don’t freak out about it. Don’t let it be your barrier to talking with me. Have names for us too “sighties” and “Sight-trash” – it is a characteristic of who I am like having brown hair. Unhelpful…. handicapped, sufferer of…, carry a cross, disorder… use person-first language. “wheelies” and “cripps” like “queer” turning this language around to a positive framework named and claimed. If you have a relationship with me, let me use the word for myself and learn from listening. In safe space don’t need a label to feel safe but sometimes in public we do (paradox) – label can be the easiest way to get empathy/understanding when someone is behaving in unexpected ways.
  • We have outsourced care and compassion e.g. Cert IV in disability – what would it mean to engage with me directly.


  • Physical things – steps/access/etc. and atmosphere
  • Bad theology praying for us to be healed/whole > need to confront that. What do you think that says about my lived experience?
  • “Perfect” Jesus still bore scars from the wounds on his body – perfect in imperfection.
Parables of Non-Violence – Transfiguration Community (Bible Study)

‘Making Things Right’: the call to be agents of reconciliation, peacemakers, restorers of broken relationships. How?

  1.  What/who are the obstacles, the enemies, the hindrances to peace and reconciliation? Ego, culture, systems, celebrity, technology…

BIBLICAL: Portrait of the Enemy – Do we even know it? Do we take the existence of evil seriously?

  1. How do we resist these?
  1. Contemplative practice:
    • first disarm your own heart
    • the wrestling is not with flesh and blood but spiritual (the aim in wrestling is not to bring your opponent down but to remain standing yourself)
    • the arena is within us
    • then change from the inside out will happen

BIBLICAL: Jesus’ Temptation in the Desert (in the desert you have to answer some questions)

  1. Danger of outer journey without inner journey
  2. Story of 3 brothers: 2 activist, 1 contemplative

How does the kingdom of God come? How does lasting change happen (repentance)? Not by programs, ideas, ideologies or our mind being in control.

  1. Slow
  2. Hidden, in secret
  3. Non-violent, harmless growth or gestation
  4. Internal
  5. Surprising and inevitable fruit, in the face of formidable obstacles

Like a joke, pint is in the last line – fruit comes at the end.

Non-violence and love are the same. Self-emptying love – no power or manipulation of any kind: mental, emotional, physical…

Using power “for the best” > controlling

  • Ask forgiveness (brothers and sisters don’t walk away from me, walk towards me)
  • Daily discipline
  • Have to listen

Being silent re-sensitises us to what is really happening, awareness, intuition, feeling… Going in to look at God leads you to look at others. Can’t only breathe in, have to breathe out.


Contemplative Space: The Cave/Gregg Morris

A stoic mind and a bleeding heart
You never see my bleeding heart

And your light’s always shining on
And I’ve been traveling oh so long
I’ve been traveling oh so long

A constant reminder of where I can find her
Light that might give up the way
Is all that I’m asking for without her I’m lost
Oh my love don’t fade away

Mumford and Sons (lyrics)

teilhard 2

THE SPIRITUAL PROBLEM (diagnosed for the Western church)

  1. Christian confession has rendered Christ as static figure
  2. Christ’s principal business is judgement
  3. Christ has become a law of life, instead of being a way of life
  4. Christ is portrayed as single, individual existent – static and absolute in space and time/ permanent and fixed
  5. The mystery of God has been locked into an externalised, single individual human person
  6. This individual, Jesus of Nazareth, has been rendered as the single individual superhero
  7. This reduces the rest of humankind as mere spectators to the divine drama
  8. The consequent doctrines of Original Sin and the Fall, have induced the Christian fixation on rescue religion and the need to be saved
  9. Which has created the radical and complete separation between God and creation

4 things:

  • Expansiveness, large heart
  • Decision to be faithful to the church despite harm – repeatedly blocked him from sharing philosophical writing
  • Church is about transformation not legalism
  • Vision is experiential – trusting his own experience

Mystical theology – full acknowledgement of revelation and full acknowledgement of personal experience across all sensory perceiving. Goal to be immersed in God like a drop in an ocean… guiding preoccupation with listening, personal experience of divine love… liberates!

Teilhard was a French palaeontologist and a Jesuit priest > stretcher-bearer “writings in time of war” Gave his spiritual works to a lay woman who published them! Teilhard was deeply distressed by the one sidedness of both science and religion, and by the unnecessary and tragic consequences of their bifurcation. .. devoted equal commitment to internal and external facts. His writing has had a profound effect on 20th century thinking across many disciplines: science, history, international development. Critiques: didn’t engage with other faiths, didn’t go ‘far enough’ into consciousness.

Genesis is an ongoing state of becoming > what is Christs role then? Christ is the driving loving energy of cosmogenesis. Teilhard: looking for Christ the evolver. Not King and Master outsider/adjudicator but Christ who fills and moves all things.

“By means of all created things, without exception,
the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us.
We imagine it as distant and inaccessible,
when in fact we live stepped in its burning layers.”

Evolution is the process if suffering > creation is groaning > has casualties. At cosmos and individual level (stars explode and new ones are born).

“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves,
the tides and gravity,
we shall harness for God the energies of love,
and then, for a second time in the history of the world,
man will have discovered fire.”

‘to bear the sins of the guilty world’ means precisely, translated and transposed into terms of cosmogenesis, ‘to bear the weight of a world in a state of evolution. (Christianity and Evolution, p218-219)

The recognition that ‘God cannot create except evolutively’ provides a radical solution… to the problem of evil (which is a direct ‘effect’ of evolution), and at the same time explains the manifest and mysterious association of matter and spirit. (Christianity and Evolution, p179)

Christ must no longer be constitutionally restricted in his operation to a mere ‘redemption’ of our planet. (Christianity and Evolution, p241)

If a Christ is to be completely acceptable as an object of worship, he must be presented as the saviour of the idea and reality of evolution. (Christianity and Evolution, p78)

I can only be saved by becoming one with the universe. (The Heart of Matter, p78)

Development of consciousness – choice and decision-making > ethics

Something is wiped out and something else comes? Way we are broken open that are impelling is to grow. Earthquake – want to hold onto everything, for it to stay the same (building), cosmos says “No”, need to re-build, change, evolve. Progression vs. regression – want to lock it down to earlier ‘known’ state. Christianity wants to find a culprit, aggression and blame with preaching love that does not make sense to people outside the church. Not merely – sin will be made clean but an invitation to participate in the ascent of creation.

Have to experience something that will actually change us.
We are star dust.


Hubble Heritage Team/NASA/ES

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

 We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability –
and that it may take a very long time.

 And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually – let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own goodwill)
will make of you tomorrow.

 Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.”



  • Puts recommended reading lists in the back of his books – framed withn broader context.  Uses quotes and stories
  • Writes out of an experiential way of living
    • find God in place and memory
    • apprehend not truth about God but truth of God.

Six ideas about John O’Donahue’s writing:

  1. Circular ideas/prose.  Has one main theme with smaller ones around it like a celtic knot “eye of imagination follows a circle” not logical/rational/linear > miss the gift.  Risk/openness of circular way subverts this.  Won’t bear the scrutiny of reason.
  2. Not interested in reason but contemplation.  Always a movement away from itself.  Series of non-sequiturs. Read a little then pause and reflect.  Not along >>> but down. Quarter mile long, fathoms deep. “the eternal is at home within you”
  3. Contemplative world waits on the edge of things/imagination (light/dark, edge/centre). Realm of invisible. “Hidden 7th chapter” is silent and hidden within ourselves > a longing never stilled. “invests every action with possibility and pathos…” Prayer is an invisible world and contemplative.

Listen in the abyss of nothingness
for the whisper of the beautiful

4. Made up of these elements: body/landscape/transcience/memory. Body (trust/belonging); landscape (location, know and approach things and people); transcience (always passing away); memory (body, place and passing held together where our vanished lives remain alive – selective transfiguration)

5. Encourages us to break open and unpack internal and external landscapes e.g. root words. Break open familiar and see afresh. When we’re locked/blocked > impoverished. Remove the wall you have put between yourself and the light.

6. Seeks to find blessing. Invocation- calling forth… Calls for change and transformation.


Summer 12-13 058On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss gets into you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

when the canvas frays
in the curach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the the protection of the anscestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.


A philosopy of Ducas

“The longing of a people is caught in the web of their language. Dreams and memories are stored there. A language in the inner landscape where a people can belong. When you destroy a people’s language through colonisation or through the more subtle, toxic colonisation of consumerism, you fracture their belonging and leave them in limbo.  It is fascinating how a language fashions so naturally the experience of a people into a philosophy of life. Sometimes one word holds centuries of experience; like a prism you can turn it to different angles and it breaks and gathers the light of longing in different ways… the phrase ‘ag fillead ar do ducas‘ means returning to your native place and also the resdicovery of who you are.  The return home is also the retrieval and reawakening of a hidden and forgotten treasury of identity and soul.  To come home to where you belong is to come into your own, to become what you are, to awaken and develop your latent spiritual heritage… Ducas also refers to a person’s deepest nature. It probes beneath the surface images and impressions of a life and reaches into that which flows naturally from the deepest well in the clay of the soul. It refers in this sense to the whole intuitive and quickness of longing in us that tells us immediately how to think and act; we call this instinct… You belong to your ducas; your ducas is your belonging. In each individual there is a roster of longing that nothing can suppress.”

Summer 12-13 052


The Stranger (Eternal Echoes)

“It is impossible to be on the earth and avoid awakening.  Everything that happens within and around you calls your heart to awaken.  As the density of night gives way to the bright song of the dawn, so your soul continually coaxes you to give way to the light and awaken.  Longing is the voice of your soul; it constantly calls you to be fully present in your life: to live to the full the one life given to you.  Rilke said to the young poet: ‘Live everything’. You are here on earth now, yet you forget so easily. You have travelled a great distance to get here.  The dream of your life has been dreamed from eternity. You belong within a great embrace which urges you to have the courage to honour the immensity that sleeps in your heart.  When you learn to listen to and trust the wisdom of your soul’s longing, you will awaken to the invitation of graced belonging that inhabits the generous depths of your destiny.”

Summer 12-13 133



Somewhere, out at the edges, the night
Is turning and the waves of darkness
Begin to brighten the shore of dawn.
The heavy dark falls back to earth
And the freed air goes wild with light,
The heart fills with fresh, bright breath
And thoughts stir to give birth to colour.
I arise today
In the name of Silence
Womb of the Word,
In the name of Stillness
Home of Belonging,
In the name of the Solitude
Of the Soul and the Earth.

I arise today

Summer 12-13 160
Blessed by all things,
Wings of breath,
Delight of eyes,
Wonder of whisper,
Intimacy of touch,
Eternity of soul,
Urgency of thought,
Miracle of health,
Embrace of God.
May I live this day
Compassionate of heart,
Gentle in word,
Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love.




Talitha Fraser

D         A          Bm                  G

We are dying – yet resurrected

Em       A                                  D         A

We are lost but have been found

D         A          Bm      G

This local – and this is global

Em       A7                   D         A

This is rooted in the ground.

Bm                                   D

Let us meet down by the river


G                                              F#

Where you are you and I am me


D         A                           Bm            G

We can talk and we can listen


Em       A7                D

In the river we are free

We do too much – and not enough

We are still and we’re dancing free

Take it serious – but not too much

Speak out, speak up, sit silently.

We are broken, but we are whole

We know wealth in scarcity

We are different, yet we are one

Richness in diversity

Written by: Talitha Fraser & Andrena Reale

Help yourself


Someone asks for help   …someone replies


Are they saying: “Don’t ask me for help, help yourself”
or “Help yourself, there is an abundance – share in what I have”
and extending hospitality?

What would you say, as you walk along the way, to someone asking for help?

Visiting the River


eucalypt tree branches overhead


Head is clamped in a vice.

Immobilising pain, immobilising

tongue and hand

I am unreconciled between who I wish I was

and who I am.

Longing for something (else) sacred

when I can run my hand through soft grass,

listen to the water going places and

be embraced by the over arching branches.

I feel like I have carried troubled violence

into a peacful place – the unrest within

I want to curl up here on the bank

a rest awhile – wake to the world being different

or myself.

What does it mean to be made in the

image of God?

Talitha Fraser

Non violence is a weapon for the strong – Mahatma Ghandi

Non violent communication (NVC) is base don the principles of nonviolence – the natural state of compassion when no violence is in the heart.

NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassioante by nature and that violent strategies –  whether verbal or physical – are learned behaviours taught and supprted by the prevailing culture.  NVC assumes that we all share the same basic human needs, and that each of our actions are a strategy to meet one of more of those needs.

People who practice NVC have found greater authenticity in the communication, increased understanding , deepening connection and conflict resolution.

(Further reading: Non-violent Communication by Marshall B Rosenberg)

We are made in the image of God > compare Christian creations story with others.  We are created in the image of a Creator. This has been co-opted by empire – trying to sell clothes, make up, some ideal image – they are trying to sell something I already have.  The world and earth are alive and creating always. There is a scientific link between art/creativity and healing… when you are writing a story, cooking, drawing, gardening… we are not functioning out of the survival part of our brain.  Importance isn’t what is made but the process of creating.



The Mandala (Sanskrit for circle or completion has a long history of being recognised for a deep spiritual meaning and representation of wholeness.

The very nature of creating a mandala is therapeutic and symbolic.  The shapes and colours you create in your mandala will reflect your inner self at the time of creation.  Your instinct and feeling should inspire and guide you through the process of creation.  Ultimately, you will be creating a portrait of yourself as you are when creating the mandala.  So whatever you are feeling at the time, whatever emotions are coming through, will be represented in your mandala.027

So then, how shall we live?

Practices and principles for compassionate, non-violent communication

Proposition: We are made in the image of God, therefore if I am careful and I am creative, exploring who you are and revealing who I am can be an act of worship (our communication)

First issue is realising our reaction to what we perceive as agression or conflict… this is not right or wrong this is just how we are made:

  • fight or flight
  • non-verbal agression
  • tone and inflection

Colossians 1:18-20

He was supreme in the beginning and – leading the resurrection parade – he is spreme in the end. From beginning t end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone.  So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding.  Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe – people and things, animals and atoms – get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

Basic technique:

  1. Observe (without judgement)
  2. Share our feelings
  3. Sharing what needs, values or desires have created our feelings
  4. Requesting (a concrete action we are requesting to enrich our humanity)

Stumbling blocks: judgements, comparisons, denial of responsibility, demanding.


007012011Eltham War Memorial Tower & Park at Kangaroo Ground in Melbourne

What does it mean to look out?
How does/can it change your perspective to feel above things? to understand their size in the order of things?
Do you feel a sense of space and freedom when in the wilderness?

Try physically placing yourself where you need to be to get what you want in terms of headspace.


Western culture is at a turning point. Christendom forms of church (churches organised according to the machinery and mindset of empire) are dying, but spirituality increases.  What can Celtic models of spirituality offer?

Roots, rhythms and relationships
deep enough to provide common ground.

Jesus came to confirm what is true and purify what isn’t – Jesus does that, not you.
Are you spiritual or are you religious?
Church preaches kingdom but doesn’t model.  Homes model but don’t preach.  Need: little villages. CHurch that knows Sunday is not enough.


Tribal leaders gave lands by the strategic highways of sea and river to church planters who established communities of daily prayer, education, hospitality and land care.  Peoples monastery churches served as daily prayer base, school, library, scriptorium/arts centre, drop-in, health centre.  They had farms with livestock and crops, workshops such as wood, spinning and milling. They were open to the world.  They offered soul friends, training and even entertainment.  Children, housewive, farm workers and visitors would wander in and out.  Visitors bought news from overseas.  They were villages of God.  Each had its wn flavour in worship and values (Rule) yet each was connected with the univvrsal church through common prctices, prayers, and priests ordained in the apostolic sucession.

today’s changing trends

Although our society is vastly different, changing trends again require churches that are more than single-building Sunday-only congregations.

  • A twenty four hour society calls for seven day a week churches
  • A cafe society calls for churches that are eating places
  • A travelling society calls for churchesthat provide accommodation and reconnect with the hostel movement
  • A stressed society calls for churches that provide spaces for retreat and meditation
  • A multi-choice society calls for churches that have a choice of styles and facilities
  • A fragmented socitey calls for holistic models and whole life discipling
  • An eco-threatened society calls for more locally sustainable communities.

“Can’t have deep ecology without deep spirituality” – John Phillip Newel.

The glory of God is seen
through the human life fully lived.

Need self-sustaining spiritual disciplines.
“Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you Lord” – Augustine


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