Tag Archive: discipleship


yellow daisies Australia Jon Cornford sustainability

Australian economist and theologian Jon Cornford’s latest book ‘Coming Back to Earth: Essays on Church, Climate Change, Cities, Agriculture and Eating’ is a wonderful resource and invitation for thinking deeply about personal and corporate ways  of responding to critical issues of our time such as:  “climate change; species extinction; resource depletion; pressure on the global food system; widening international tensions and conflicts; economic instability and fragility; persisting poverty and economic exploitation…” (p.9).

God has appointed us to be stewards of this earth, its water and land, its trees and flowers, its animals and birds.  To work it and keep it. To observe and serve it. God created it and saw that it was good – what do you say that it is?

You can read the full blog piece here

Copies of the book and further resources from Manna Gum are available here.

 

Fools for love

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This Lent with Easter Sunday falling on April Fools day Godspace are running a series on For love of the world God did foolish things… it’s bringing out/together all sorts of foolish ideas that are worth checking out. Below are a couple of links to contributions I’ve made to that blog on that theme.

Foolish Love: What words do we ever have to express our love well?

This piece is a story of the time I stuck up bad poetry all of the woods like Orlando from As You Like It…. you can read more here

Come, Be a Holy Fool

This piece is an invitation to follow the example to do foolish things for love too… you can read more here

May you encounter something Holy and foolish this Lent.

Taurikura, Talitha
have peace

 

there's no expiry on you graffiti footscray

Cut, cut, cut, cut…

rusted iron train tracks footscray station

Cut, cut, cut, cut…

I thought death by a thousand cuts
was a good way to live but
it may merely be that’s
a bad way to die.
This is my blood poured out for you.
I want it to count for something.
I’m sorry I can’t be everything you need.
I’m sorry I can’t be everything I want.

Talitha Fraser

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This week The Carmelite Centre has hosted a Symposium called: The Once and Future Reformation: The Way of the Spirit.  The Symposium, 500 years on from Luther event, offers an opportunity to talk about the current need for renewal and reformation today, in the churches and in the world. The Symposium was diverse, ecumenical, and imaginative. Three days of lectures, reflections and discussion on ways of learning from the past, of living in the present and of looking to the future.

Dialogue Today & Tomorrow – Ken Petersen

O that today you would listen to his voice!
Harden not your hearts as at Meribah
Psalm 94

 

Contemplative listening requires the 3 R’s

Resonance – what rings true to your experience/affirms?
Resistance – what am I resisting?
Realignment – as a result has something shifted for you? what?

 

We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.
Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Dialogue is two-way communication speaking/listening, giving/receiving for mutual growth and enrichment.

  • human level reciprocal listening àinterpersonal communion
  • respect and friendship
  • religious plurality “all positive and constructive interreligious relations with individuals and communities of other faiths.

Dialogue is rooted in the nature of the person and their dignity.
Pope Saint John Paul II

Forms of dialogue: sharing life, action – liberation of people, theological exchange, religious experience. Praying is not about “talking” but listening. Why can’t we (people of different faiths) sit together in silence.

In true dialogue both sides are willing to change.
Thich Nhat Hanh

Dialogue is not simply an exchange of ideas.
In some ways it is always an exchange of gifts.
Pope Saint John Paul II

Hie ist gotes grunt mîn grunt und mîn grunt gotes grunt”: “Here, God’s ground is my ground and my ground God’s ground” – Meister Eckhart… then man is no longer simply on the way towards unity (unio). Instead, unity is something that has always already been achieved.

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Pierre Marie Teilhard de Chardin – A modern religious crisis – David Moore

Teilhard spent half his life in exile. Buried in New York an there were only 10 mourners. Teilhard illuminates:

  • new paradigm
  • long view-evolutionary
  • radiant example of a human being

Despite war, revolution, atomic threat, exile… Teilhard maintained constant optimism and held no bitterness… how? Mysticism.

Mysticism

  • unitive (vision for humankind and everything)
  • supreme loving consciousness “Without mysticism there can be no successful religion” love and fire (were the same thing as he writes it).
  • evolutive (sacred heart and evolution/science) Contradictory truths of faith and science. “I am a child of earth before I am a child of God” and “the nature of nature is to change”

What is your crisis? What is your diagnosis?

Matter becoming spirit – “spirit-matter” – the process that restores this dualism.

Materialism suggests “there is no mind because you can’t prove it” – we’ve got down to atoms and we know that there’s still more beyond that >> soul >>”spirit-matter”.

Scientific and religion crises are rooted in the same problem. Prognosis – need both. They are animated by the same life. Noosphere = interconnectedness of mind/consciousness e.g. precursor of internet. Humans need to fulfil our obligation. “We are the axis and the arrow of evolution” >> reciprocity.

God is the centre of the cosmos but evolution depends on both the human and divine energies.

DIAGNOSIS PROGNOSIS
GOD Externalised, concretised As: dynamic, Omega Point > towards completion
SPIRIT/MIND/

CONSCIOUSNESS

Severed from matter Unified: brain/mind/spirit
CREATION Static/fixed – separated from the Creator Dynamic, evolutive, unfolding process converging towards completion. “Complexity Consciousness”
CHRIST Single, individual superhero – law/judgement Archetype of consciousness, anthropogenesis, cosmogenesis àgenesis is still happening
HUMANKIND Mere spectators Creation becoming conscious
SALVATION Rescue, doctrines, fall/original sin Noogenesis >cost of labour and suffering

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Seeking the Way of the Spirit living Jesus’ commands to love: for Christians, our church in our world, learning from our past, for our future hope through Love in our present – Carol McDonough

Old ways as well as new ways.

  • roots, learn from tradition and current best practice
  • ways of learning from the past
  • ways of living in the present
  • ways of looking to the future

Popes of Coptics and Franciscans – blind child chooses from 3 envelopes > spirit-led

Sunni Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb and Pope Francis > inter-religious dialogue. There’s more that unites than divides us.

A reformation of hope requires a reformation of faith
Prof Jurgen Moltmann

“We will keep the earth alive
by our love and by our choices”
Fay White, Universe’s Daughter

The theological implications of the contemporary
move from a culture of dispute to a culture of dialogue.
Prof Jurgen Moltmann

This is precisely the time when artists go to work.
There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity,
no need for silence, no room for fear.
Toni Morrison

In such times of civilizational trauma, when the book of life itself seems to have come unbound, where are the artists?
Maria Popova

Nothing new would ever be built if nothing was ever broken.

Christ has no body now but yours – St Teresa of Avila

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Ancient Roots, New Expressions: How the Spirituality and Praxis of Christian Contemplatives are being reshaped by the demands of living in an Evolving Universe and a Planet in ecological crisis – Ruth Harrison

Call to live contemplatively in the everyday. Raimon Panikkar had 3 PhDs in philosophy, chemistry and theology… lived out of a space of intrareligious dialogue. Left home a Christian, became Hindu, left Buddhist but would say he never stopped being Christian.  “not alone with the Alone but a harmonious complexity

“Panikkar proposes that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity reveals a structure of reality that is comprehensively universal. ‘The Trinitarian intuition is neither exclusively Christian doctrine, no a monopoly of ‘God’. It reveals the most fundamental character of Reality. Being is trinitarian.’ [Program for the Gifford Lectures, 1988/89, 1, 5.]”
– Ewert Cousins, “Panikkar’s Advaitic Trinity”, pp. 119-120 in The Intercultural Challenge of Raimon Panikkar, ed. Joseph Prabhu. Orbis Books, Maryknoll, 1996.

Panikkar’s “Radical Trinity”

Comparing 3 ways humans approach the Divine with the 3 classical paths of the Bhagavad Gita…

HINDUISM

THE TRINITY

THE  TRINITY AND
WORLD RELIGIONS

Karma = action – of worship
The spirituality of the worship of God, through a divine name e.g. Yahweh, Allah
FATHER
Silence, transcendence
BUDDHISM
The religion on the silence of the Father
The Silence of the Buddha
Bhakti = devotion – personalism
The way of devotion and love, the gift of oneself to the Lord this way demands a meeting of persons
SON
Christ, logos
JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY, ISLAM
Revelations of the mystery of the Son
Jnana = advaita = not two – intimately related (not one) knowledge, pure contemplation
Spirit – of Absolute “being”
SPIRIT
Immanence
HINDUISM
As in the Upanishads
The religion of the unity of the Spirit

This intuition ultimately results from a mystical experience and as such is ineffable.  …It is the fruit of a simple and immediate insight which dawns upon Man’s awareness once he has glimpsed the core where knower, known and knowledge meet.

In this vision, the world is not a habitat or an external part of the whole or even of myself. The World is simply that greater body which I only imperfectly notice because I am generally too concerned with my own particular business. My relationship with the World is ultimately no different from my relationship with myself: the World and I differ, but there are not two separate realities, for we share each other’s life, existence, being, history and destiny in a unique way.

Panikkar

Man…is ultimately more than an individual.
Man is a person, a knot in the net of relationships…
reaching out to the very antipodes of the real… Man is only Man
with the sky above, the Earth below, and his fellow beings all around. But just as “individualizing” the human being is tantamount to
cutting the umbilical cord which gives him life, so isolating
Man from God and the World equally strangulates him.

Panikkar

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Holy Disruption: A Quaker Experience of Reformation Then and Now – David Buller

{have a time of meditation}
how was that? did you have your eyes open or closed? …I ask is my heart open or closed?

Quaker silence holds an anticipation that God will speak to us.

  • something of the divine is in every person
  • seekers and also finders
  • vision of the truth again and again, will grow and change.

This provides an inward teaching and there is no need for sermons/preaching.

Experience New Testament church without the cumber of previous generations.  He has come and is with us, we don’t need to wait.  He is not a Jew that is won outward but inward. Quakers believed you told the truth ALL the time. Often played a role as mediators.

Faith getting in the way of comfort. Quakers taken to court for possessions lost cases because they wouldn’t take the oath.

You can’t negate (kill) someone in whom God dwells.

No war tax/profit from violence/slave trade or asylums. The Retreat was a therapeutic model providing a humane space for those experiencing mental illness.

“The likeness we bear to Jesus is more important
than our notions of Him”
Lucretia
(hiding slaves and boycotting products)

Quakers work on education for peace, skills to handle violence, build peace, non-violent activism, engage with broader movements > Greenpeace, Oxfam, UN.

A Quaker who owned a factory might provide social housing for the workers employed and run a school providing education for women and children.

Sit in silence. Talking with God.
You’ll get a job to do.

“turning on a tap impacts others….
let me live as lightly and delicately as possible”.

 

Respond to the presence of Spirit, light and truth.
Recognise other wisdom – written and lived.

 

“This I know experimentally, ” Elizabeth Watson,
“we augment one another and we need one another”

The inner light is not frozen it is dynamic…

Ref: Quakers in Aotearoa booklet

A Holy Remnant – whatever other chaos is going on. Meet in North Melbourne in the Kathleen Symes Library. New building 484 Williams St. “Hold this in the light”

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Reform: Spirituality and the Person of Jesus: Christian Holiness as Deification (Theiosis) – Francis (Frank) Moloney

500 years on from Luther, I’m going to talk about reform, spirituality and the personification of Jesus.

Blessed Isaac of Stella, French monk 1100-1169, concept of theiosis “The faithful and spiritual members of Christ can say they are what he is” What is his nature, they are sharing; what he births, they adopt.

Pope & Emperor – the power of the two keys – corruption in Princes and church leaders.
11th century saw a shift from a Church whose foundation was law to Church preserved from secular authority.

1082-1084 Henry besieged Rome, forced Gregory VII into Castille > both died in exile. Isaac of Stella living in the midst f this.  Recaptured theiosis. Exiled for harbouring Thomas Beckett (1164) Isaac died (1169). Popes in Avignon. Schism resolved by Catherine of Sienna. Rome needed to be restored to its former glory – theological and spiritual dissatisfaction increased.

Martin Luther Oct 1517 affixed thesis – he didn’t come from nowhere, broke ranks.

  • lost touch with its roots
  • liturgical rhythms and practices
  • Word of God, Work of Jesus

“only Word, only faith, only Christ”.  Principle rejected everything that couldn’t be found in the Old Testament.  Purity of Christian thought and practice didn’t last – series of wars… Protestant town but then the next town Catholic… whatever the religion of the Priest, the region must take it.

Erasmus, Catholic priest. Back to beginnings. Church not perfect but self-sufficient. “Enlightenment” rejected as false, something that could not be proved.  US/Germany/ Russia revolution against Catholic church.

1870 Infallibility of Pope – Vatican I, took further than Council intended.

1491-1660 Frances de Sales, Vincent de Paul, Teresa of Avila… these figures living out the reform – cared for sick, dying…

Vatican II honoured what these people did and lived for.  What was considered dangerously close to Protestant thought now endorsed by the highest authority.  COuncil of Trent “return to the sources”. Fierce opposition to Pope Francis > he speaks to gospel and concern for humankind.  Time of rebirth. Divinisation of the individual at the heart of God.

Instead of a top-down reflection on who we are, return to sources in bottom up.  Whatever is honorable, pleasing… worthy of praise, dwell on these things (Paul) Christian humanism – benign relationship between nature and grace.

1965 Jesuit le mystere (the mystery of the supernatural)
Natural > supernatural > showed that to be a false idea. The development of human excellence depends on an understanding of what it means to be human.  Based on ‘do’ sport/IT/social… >sense of self-worth, used by Government, funding depends on it. Danger > lose sight of who we are, lose sight of that when we focus on what we can “do”.

Need to recognise every human as mystery at the core of their being.
Love and be loved.

Share faith and commitment with others…sexual desire, pain, crying… why is it so important to feel love then, from death or distance, loss? Gives great capacity.  These are things that matter for the human spirit.  You are the only you to have ever existed. We each have a unique history. We allow others to shape our human history and we shape theirs.

What matters is loving and being loved. Only free action we will perform – saying yes to God in moment of death.  What we do is not the final measure of who we are.

This is what is deepest in us but what forms us is beyond our control… it transcends us. Why did I cry? Why did I love that man/woman? It’s beyond us but forms us and the choices we make about our lives. I need to find the keys to my own heart (self) before finding keys for others.  Recognise the mystery of yourself as beyond your control. we have all experiences signs of the divine within us. Be open to and transformed by the transcendent. All human beings share in the divine.

Called to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ – what does that mean? Lifestyle is directed by gospel values > exciting pathway to be authentically Christian. Yearn for divine home. “You have made us for Yourself, we are restless, until we rest in You”. Only human –  that’s not your weakness but your strong-point. Jesus blessed with the human and the divine.

To be Christian = to be like Christ.

Jesus was unconditionally human in all things but sin.  Loved, hoped, sang, danced, prayed, suffered… We sin when we do not respond out of our best humanity (selfish, jealous, arrogant…) Sin is rejecting the experience of divine within me that yearns for wholeness/fulfillment. John – “whoever says they are like Him must walk like Him”. Impact of our choices on how we live (gospel) > no one is talking about that.

A mystery of faith. In Jesus – the Divine Sphere invaded the Human. Good/bad, sacred/sinful… Jesus never reneged on the divine.  There was no ambiguity about His “yes” to all that was human within Him. “Abba” – unswerving commitment to living the presence of God as king.  Conflicted but trusting, not without fear or anguish but trusting God would have the last word.

The Human realised its potential and lived into the Divine in Jesus.

Christology and discipleship intersect.
Jesus’ life consisted of saying “yes” to God.
Jesus’ death consisted of God’s “yes” to Jesus.
Costs Jesus no less than everything.

Jesus could do this because He was Son, only one… can we do it?

We are all capable of repeating the lifestyle of Jesus and realising the fullness of God. Graced by baptism to have grace of discipleship. Paul: Blessed to cry out Abba Father to Romans/Galatians.

Betray our true selves, to be like unto God as Jesus was.  Called to recognise our dignity.  Revealed God to us and raised us to God.  The glory of God is the human fully realised.

There should be no separation between our secular life and Christian practice.  loving, laughter, mission, dancing, praying and eating… all form part of the journey to be as Christ was. Ref: Ignatius Loyola, Thomas of Aquinas, Karl Rainer…

I find myself in the world and on my way to God.
I find myself being both at once.
I cannot be one without the other.

John’s invitation: “Come and see…” (see joyful, loving, caring people > witness not word).

We are given chance after chance, after chance to respond in Christ-like ways… to say “yes” or “no”

Not “want you to be saved” but rather “sharing the invitation I know”.

Jesus: “Abba, I want this chalice to pass from me but Your will not mine”
John: “I will do the will of the One who sent me and brings it to perfection”

Obedience is an unconditional “yes” to God.

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Per my previous post, I delayed longer than I usually might to write this up because I’ve struggled to digest and know how to respond to all I heard… I still don’t really know how to respond I think I need to trust to that unfolding, and in the meantime, for whatever it’s worth, this is some of what was in my head and heart as I left the forum…

 

I walk away cognisant of all the ways I get to walk away… the river waters’ shimmer seems more beautiful, the air more sweet, the clouds and sky more open – I see and see again the freedom that I have like a fish coming to awareness of water and knowing it for what sustains me.  If freedom is like oxygen then we are suffocating these people.

We know. Australians know. The nurses know. The guards know. The psychiatrists know. The teachers know. The politicians know. The High Court knows. The UN knows… and the asylum seekers ask: how can they know but nothing has changed? 

 

risky journey in the deep water
carried lots of dream seeds with me
but now, dream seeds I have none

replaced my name with a number
please, please, call my name

risky journey in the deep water
save their life in the deep water
but killing them on arid land

replaced my name with a number
please, please, call my name

risky journey in the deep water

call us we are your neighbours
call us we are your friends
please, call us by our names

don’t want to leave our country
if we can but live free
please, call us by our names


 

“What can I do?” asks the nurse
“What can I do?” asks the doctor
“What can I do?” asks the teacher
First do no harm.

“What can I do second?” asks the nurse
“What can I do second?” asks the doctor
“What can I do second?” asks the teacher
Take a second.
What agency, what power, what strength do you have?
Use it.

Talitha Fraser

 

What can I do?

petition ~ direct contact ~ Refugee Action Collective ~ advocacy ~ financial support ~ actions – personal/political/liturgical ~ letter(s) to politicians ~ song ~
existing campaigns e.g. GetUp or LMAW ~ use your forums and voice e.g. blog

 

 

 

There is a disconnection within me between who I am and who I feel called to be but it doesn’t feel like a change I can effect in any way on my own although I recognise all the ways I seek to control such things and be the change I want to see. Does it count if you go through the motions of being something in the hopes that you become it?

Come down from the tree Zacchaeus. It does no good to ask the experts anymore.  Get your feet dusty and your hands dirty, keep asking the same questions… The disciples were always asking questions. Being a disciple isn’t “knowing”. It’s being committed to going and picking up what you can along the Way from whomsoever you meet – your family, your friends, your neighbours, your teachers, your priests, your politicians, your encounters with random strangers… all hold a line of the story.  What story do you want to hear? You must seek those people out.

Jesus meets all these different people, perhaps only once. What story can you tell? What can you communicate in one conversation with a person that might change the course of their life? Jesus was something of an epiphany-dealer: what is right? what is clean? what is sin? You can’t yield the principle of the argument. It’s not enough to heal your body if I do not address the system that harms you.  It’s not enough to mend your madness if I do not address the systems that drive you insane. It’s not enough to touch you if I don’t address the systems that label you untouchable.  It’s not enough to include you if I do not also address the systems that have no place for you.

He touches them and they are healed, he hears their whole truth and they are healed again. It’s not only Jesus who hears, not only the healed, but disciples and crowds gathered round… what power is there in a story to effect change? Whose stories are we telling? Whose stories are we listening to?

I am telling my own story. That is the story that I know.

Who am I to try and tell anyone elses story?

Let me tell the story of the time You healed my body, let me tell the story of the time You healed my mind, let me tell the story of the time You took me in and I found belonging.

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All that isn’t
All that is
All out of my hands
but I hold it
just the same

All that is mess
All that is mystery
All that is ‘out there’
and within me
just the same

 

Talitha Fraser

 

God, what does Your Great Economy have to say to this who knows its worth? Let me trust to Your providing for what is pleasing to You. Drop what should be dropped, yield what should be yielded, share what should be shared, confess what should be confessed. Let some fall, let some break, let some call, let some run late. If it is not of You – let it lie, let it die, that I might know life anew in You.

You have to start

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You have to start
knowing you might not finish
You have to start
knowing you might not get very far
You have to start
knowing it might not make any difference
You have to start
You have to start

Talitha Fraser