Tag Archive: choice


Get out. Get it out.

Newell's Paddock wetlands reserve footscray Melbourne stormy sky

 

Get out. Get it out. Toxic darkness enveloping/tendrils tying me down/tie me down/tie me up/what choice do I have?/I choose you. I chose you/look how well that turned out/turn up/turn it up so I don’t have to hear my own thoughts/Loving isn’t enough. Why does it keep coming back to that?/ I have to follow the road that’s in front of me to walk/Choice. Choose. Chosen/ Chosen? Who says? How can you ever know?/Is it happening to us or do we make it happen?/Hallowed and hollow. Hallowed and hollow/Gravid and grave/Beginning and end bound together in the same ritual, the same act/What will you choose?/I’m sorry. I’m already on my knees… I don’t know which way to fall now the fall feels inevitable/ The King quote says ‘you only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love’ but I gave all of mine away.

 

the meaning of life

pink flower treasury gardens melbourne sacred ordinary poem Talitha Fraser

The meaning of life
is shrouded in sacred
and ordinary things
like sunshine, coffee, candlelight…
Introduce ritual.
Layer purpose in all your choices.
Life is worth living.
Life is worth giving.
Life is worth having.

Talitha Fraser

tree winter treasury gardens melbourne life dealer death dealer poem Talitha Fraser

Are you a life dealer or a death dealer?
Opening or closing?
Possibility or doom?
I can’t fix you.
I can’t fix myself.
I ask for help and help comes.
Ask and it shall be given unto you.

Stay back
death dealer.
You will know
your end in me.
Because I am
all that’s new,
all that’s possible,
all that you dream is possible to do
– if only you knew…
If only you believed.
Come here.

Talitha Fraser

made or Made?

reflection a poem about self-determination Talitha Fraser identity Bar Josephine

made or Made?
how much autonomy
for self-determination
do we ever really have?
My working and undoing
are in You.
I look outside,
I look inside.
I cannot reconcile
why I’m here.
I would fear except that
I find the true in You.

Talitha Fraser

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We are running a fortnightly bible study following our community dinner looking at the exegesis (interpretation) of the bible passages that underpin each of our community values. You can read the list of Values here so you know what’s coming up next.

These values can be relevant whatever context you live and work in just make the Word you own.


 

Value 8: Travelling light

We value the difference that can be made when we sacrifice personal gain, pouring out our rich resources in an act of worship.  Through simplicity, good stewardship and a common commitment to sharing our lives with others, we seek to lessen the power imbalance in Footscray.

Biblical basis: Luke 9:23-24


 

Let’s read the value together. What stands out?

Basically the whole thing! Timing of this value feels significant when we are losing what has been our community home base and are working out what we can bring with us and what we can’t.

Giving out itself is worship

Don’t have a lot. Doesn’t matter whether it’s big or small, pouring out of what we have is the act of worship.

“Power imbalance” good to name, not only our power but our desire to share it.


 

Luke 9:23-24

Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

 NRSV


 

Read the bible. What words/ideas stand out? What can we learn from the bible about living the Value of “Doing the hard yards”?

 

“deny themselves” is another way of saying “living simply”

“will not taste death” we experience the privilege of glimpsing the kingdom (heaven) right here, before dying –  we see it at our community dinners, John reading grace, all the different people who come together around that meal, seeing the kids grow up in this environment that includes so much diversity.

No division between people – lovely watching Balal and Alex together…

We all of us have a desire for appreciation. But what comes from your heart, the value of that is more e.g. Kim could buy a cake but instead takes the time to make one and personalise it thoughtfully.  She uses her own money to buy wool – makes things that take time and money to create… we choose to value/appreciate that more.

If you’re not giving something from you heart then you’re not giving for the right reasons.

I think it’s worth contextualising this passage and reading it again – the birth of John is foretold, the birth of Jesus is foretold, John is born, Jesus is born… Jesus speaks out in the temple at 12 years old, he gets baptised by John, he gets tested in the desert, then his ministry kicks off  – healing lepers, paralytics and possessed – he calls his disciples. He teaches and preaches, we’re given parable and beatitudes. The 12 are given their mission and Jesus feeds 5000 when it seems like there is not resource enough to do it… who do you say that I am?  The disciples want to lift him up, want to exalt him, put him on a pedestal and give him titles and Jesus says nah… that’s not what I’m about.

 “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

We’re not in this for the titles, appreciation or recognition; or using power for our own gain, to gain a position of authority, or to act out of our own power instead of trusting God’s. Jesus says I’m not going to value those things the world values and invites us to make that choice too.

Taking this idea of “travelling light” – we are very directly in a place of needing to let go of some material things that have meant a lot to us: this house, its garden, the soccer pitch… a band called Invisible Boy out of Tasmania have a song “I’m going to hang your picture high” it’s about who and what you value  and hanging them high like photos of our family that are special or posters and pictures of what we like. If you look around the walls of this house you can see everywhere what and who we value in the pictures – who our family are and what we like. Let’s capture some of those ideas of what we want to “hang high”, of what we value that sometimes others don’t and capture it on bunting we make together – something light we can take with us!

 

 

Closing prayer

Dear God, we’re waiting

Let us wait with hope

We’re waiting for things to seem clearer

Let us wait with peace

We’re waiting for the world to feel safer

Let us wait with joy

We’re waiting for the love our hearts cry out for

Let us wait with love

May we be kind to one another.

May we strive to be the answers to some of our own questions.

Amen

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Port Arthur memorial garden, by Michael Rawle / Flickr.com

This article was published on the Sojourners blog 15/12/2015 .

“Death has taken its toll. / Some pain knows no release / but the knowledge / of brave compassion / shines like a pool of peace.”

 

These words are engraved on the memorial pond at the Port Arthur mass shooting site in Australia. Nearby, a wooden cross is inscribed with the names of the 35 men, women, and children who died here. In contrast, a brochure at hand provides a simple explanation of what occurred in this place; it notably does not name the gunman. 1996: Australia’s last mass gun death.

 

After any traumatic event we ask ourselves, “What saves the next person from what has happened to me? How can I make sure no one sees what I have seen? Goes through what I have gone through?”… as bereaved, survivor, emergency responder, community member, minister.

 

Glenn Cumbers became an ordained minister of the local Church of Christ a mere six weeks before the Port Arthur massacre. The morning service was over and he was enjoying lunch at a home nearby when the sounds of shooting were heard. He and his companions were among the first responders. In the days that followed, the church was open 24 hours for anybody to come for prayer or to feel a bit of peace and quiet. There was ministering to the community and leading memorial services, private and public, as well as advocacy urging gun owners to act in the national interest: “We ask that the minority be willing to forgo their short-term wants for the long-term good of Australia.”

 

It is not insignificant to have all the Federal, States and Territories Parliaments of Australia pass one universal law. There was lobbying by many parties after the 1987 Queen Street massacre and the 1991 Strathfield massacre.

 

As Australians, we are not so many generations removed from penal colony settlement or “subduing the natives” (those were massacres, too, it warrants mentioning) that saw an “every man for himself” attitude become culturally embedded. But the 1996 massacre in Port Arthur saw a tipping point where the law was far behind popular opinion.

When changes to gun laws were first proposed, the member churches of the National Council of Churches welcomed the initiative and urged government to agree on and pass the legislation. 

right:  Minutes of The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA), Friday 12 July 1996

 

The New South Wales Farmers Association, with its high rate of gun owners, also gave its support for a total ban on semiautomatics firearms. And proving that you can have our guns but not our sense of humour, NSW Farmers pointed out that with reforming gun laws Australians will still be able to bear arms, such as: bolt-action, centre-fire military rifles; lever-action, centre-fire sporting rifles; pump-action, centre-fire sporting rifles; rim-fire rifles with bolt, lever or pump actions, and double-barrelled shotguns. Further, a farmer commented, “If a shooter cannot knock down a fox with one of the weapons I have mentioned, the solution is not a semiautomatic firearm but an ophthalmologist with a centre-fire laser or, alternatively, a return to basic training.”

 

No one was taking our guns — we were giving them up. The gun control question should not be prefaced by what you have to lose, but by what you have to gain.

 

Glenn Cumbers left the church in 2004. He could no longer work as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder that had not been supported. Pouring himself out to the community and addressing their healing was his job, but who was healing the healer? In 2008, Stephen Robinson published a practical guidebook called Ministry in Disaster Settings: Lessons from the Edge that investigates the experiences of ministers, like Cumbers, who have been on the ground for some of the worst disasters of Australian history. Cumbers says, “I found that book was really the first step on the long journey of healing for me.”

 

We always ask: What saves the next person from what happened to me? What does brave compassion look like where you are? I don’t know. But I do know that if I had a gun, I would say to any family touched by gun violence: “I cannot do much, but if the world is a better place with just one less gun, have mine.”

 

In the words of former Australia Premier Barrie Unsworth, who lost re-election in 1991 advocating for stronger gun law, “It is not too late to do something positive.”

 

by Talitha Fraser

It’s here

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put yourself in the way
and turn out fear
scent anticipation instead
and the advent of things
long awaited for
it’s coming, it’s coming
it’s here

Talitha Fraser

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This story has become a strong (repeating) narrative, or metamessage, in my life – coming to mind at particular crossroads between easy, straight paths and narrow windy ones. Seemingly simple points of decision making around how I spend my money and how I spend my time that can feel weighted with symbolic meaning.  These are the resources I have, where do I invest them?  Every day that we live is an opportunity to invest in where our hope lies, to build – with whatever we have – the world we wish we lived in. At times the pull to do what is easy, to do what is accepted and expected can be so strong…

“I have seen too many stars to let the darkness overwhelm me”
– Macrina Wiederkehr

“What in me is dark, illumine” – John Milton

(7 Sacred Pauses)

TYPE 2

p.156 Everything that happens is our expression of Holy Will, from the birth of a star in a distant corner of the milky Way to your hand turning a page of this book. In theistic terms, everything that occurs is God’s Will. God’s Will is not mysterious or removed from us – it is expressed in what is occurring right now and what will occur in the next moment, in every corner of the universe. Even though human actions may be out of synch with Being, from a nondualistic perspective even those events are part of God’s Will. Everything that happens, then, is what God wants to have happen.

p.158 The solution to human destructiveness does not lie in trying to regulate or eradicate it but rather with connecting to a dimension within ourselves in which such behaviour does not make any sense.

Just as it is an immense presumption to assume that what is happening externally should not be happening, so it is also an immense presumption to assume that what we are experiencing is not what we are supposed to be experiencing: that we should not be angry at our partner or unsympathetic toward our best friend, for instance, or that we should be more open and enlightened and not caught in some emotional state or other. Out of this kind of evaluation of our own experience we then set about trying to manipulate ourselves so that our experience is otherwise. This propensity to be constantly tinkering with what’s going on with us s one of the characteristics of the personality.

p.159 When we perceive reality from this perspective, we know ourselves to be participants in the Holy Will of the universe. We know that each of our lives is an expression of God’s Will. When we are in alignment with this reality, we know that we are being moved rather than being the mover. Moving with the current of what is happening both inside ourselves and outside of ourselves is what the other name for this Holy Idea, Holy Freedom, means. Holy Freedom is the understanding that we’re only free when we do not resist the flow of what is – when we do not resist God’s Will. What we call free will is choosing to align with what is or to resist it, and in time we see that only by surrendering to what is are we truly free.

Holy Freedom, then, is Holy Will perceived from within our human experience. Holy Freedom means seeing that your personal will and the will of the universe are inseparable. Rather than needing to assert what you want or manipulating reality to conform to how you think it ought to be, which is the will of the personality and a central characteristic of the Ennea-type 2, when you perceive through the lens of Holy Freedom you understand that real freedom is being able to surrender to the flow of what is happening, both inwardly and outwardly. Ultimately the more you perceive reality objectively, the more clearly you see that even the notion of having your own personal will is a delusion of the personality.

p.160 …you find that having your own way is really a matter of surrendering to your inner truth. Your way is following the thread of your own experience. It is not a matter of choosing or not choosing it, your way is something that is given to you. It is the road you are walking on, the landscape you are travelling through. You discover that it is a huge relief not to feel that the territory you are crossing should be different than exactly how it is for you.

Communities of Necessity

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