Tag Archive: interconnectedness


4 – 5 August 2017, the Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies curated a symposium to explore feminist theological perspectives on dialogue, disagreement and conflict, as well as the intersections of theology with ethnicity, race, and cultural “norms”. Welcoming international keynote speakers M. Shawn Copeland (Boston College, Boston), Ruth Duck and Cynthia Wilson (both Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Chicago). 

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Elizabeth Boase

Came up with the topic of this session/panel through an open process of listening… counter-cultural and subversive. How can our medium be our message?

Katherine Massam

“If you persist in your efforts to influence the official church, to become part of its decision-making, you will only break your heart and lose hope. What you must do is go around to the back and CREATE A GARDEN. Some day they will look out and see its beauty and marvel at its life.” – Anne Thurston

See the reality. Patriarchy is real. We can become socialised and complicit. Benefit ourselves from the patriarchal system. It is a personal (individual) and systemic (collective) task to change this. Need to create a new ecosystem that’s collaborative. The top-down systems are easier, faster, feel more efficient… than being collaborative, must choose not to want to replicate or reinforce existing structures.

God comes to us disguised as our lives. #mystics #incarnation.

We must reflect on our experience.  While this can be seen as “pooling our ignorance” or becoming “stuck”. Transformative education should see everyone in the room learning. Teachers and student.

Ref: Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Paulo Freire

Ref: “Aint I a Woman?” speech by Sojourner Truth

4 touchstones:

  • experience, shared
  • reflection, deepended
  • faith, expressed
  • insights, reinforced

Stand and stretch: Open posture = strength and confidence, closed posture = stress.

Tania Wittwer

As a member of committees or commissions work to have more female members.  Not merely top-down leadership but appeal and create opportunities for mediation and consensus decision-making. Create sub/small working groups as an opportunity to develop trust. Coach and support up and sideways. Whiteboard ALL the ideas, then ask: What’s worth fighting over? Headship/submission >> connection to domestic violence.

Deidre Palmer

As a young adult participated in life-giving community and unjust structures.

Ref: In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins – Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza

Ref: The Church and the Power of the Spirit – Jurgen Moltmann

Church as a liberation community. Non-hierarchal. Acknowledge. Affirm. Name power balances. Job titles reflect the role your play, NOT status.

Changes forged out of pain.Movement of the Holy Spirit, moves toward equality. Apart from and despite the church. Need to partner, be active learners and work with God to mend Creation. Justice is integral to the gospel.  The political is personal. We must raise up those whose voices have been silenced or diminished.

In the Uniting Church, the power is shaped by Councils – not individual but collective.  Rotating and reviewed leadership.  There has been a resistance to structures… making decisions as ‘synods’ and ‘assemblies’ instead of small groups, power-concentrated and speaking for others. There is a commitment to keep our foundations broad and have full participation. Individual voices and gifts are affirmed within the collective.

Look around and ask: where are the places and spaces where things are working well now? What makes them different? How do you resist? What does formation look like there?

In-table discussions: We extend the metaphor – first woman makes a garden (outside patriarchal systems), second woman dwells in the house trying to renovate it while it’s inhabited (working within patriarchal systems) third woman describes open-plan design with indoor/outdoor flow (something that combines both elements)… sometimes easier to know what your role is, to resist/advocate/speak-up when working within the patriarchal system.

 

Poem: I put my piece of truth – Talitha Fraser

 

People of Colour @ Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies – Seforosa Carroll

Yesterday there was a separate gathering for Aboriginal and those identifying as People of Colour.  Acknowledge the paradox of this: the need to have a gathering separate from this one (not participating) and being allowed to gather separately (so valued that this is resourced however is needed).

Last year was the inaugural gathering of this group and there were perhaps 3 POK here. This year that is more like 20. Want to acknowledge what has gone into that increase. While there is interest in our theologies and our feminist theologies – this is not the platform where we can discern what that is for us – we want other space.  We want to encourage and mentor POK women to do papers.  We think our creativity and cultural epistemology have something to contribute. We want to do our own work to grow, to develop our confidence and voice… down the track we hope to then be able to share that in this space. To come together and find comfort en masse.

We each have a uniqueness in God – that uniqueness celebrates and glorifies God. We don’t meet separately to ‘keep ourselves apart’ but to move from what is common to what we can say about our difference – in this way we can learn from each other and keep our identity – Adele Ventris

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Africana Womanist Theology: A Hermeneutic of Suspicion and Hope – Rev. Cynthia Wilson

The marginalised bring their hermeneutic to their marginalised space.

Born in New Orleans: black, woman, pastors kid, one of six children (only girl). Had to figure it out for myself.  This was in some ways insulated because my brothers and father were protective but I feared for the men’s lives daily in the bayou and cypress trees where black bodies swung.  I sang because I wanted to cry out for life for my brothers.  The dark cloud hanging overhead was overcome through song… Holy Ghost will not descend without a song.  African proverb: When you sing, you pray twice.

  1. Womanist Theology confronts the demons of race, womanhood, and political capital that ravage the lives and spaces of Black women. At the same time, it vigorously affirms their God-likeness.
  2. Womanist Theology acknowledges, affirms and critiques the attributes of their faith community, the church and beyond.
  3. Womanist Theology seeks to call into question forces that suppress Black women’s voices while investigating certain epistemological presuppositions.
  4. Womanist Theology interrogates the theology of Black males, replacing it with more inclusive, liberating reconstruction of knowledge and authority.
  5. Womanist Theology utilizes an anthropological and dialogical method utilizing the following sources: personal narratives, domestic violence, psychological trauma, womanist ethnography, and syncretistic religiosity, real life stories of poor/Africana women, and other women of colour throughout the world.
  6. Womanist Theology turns up the volume of voices that are illiterate, economically deprived, that hold the environment in high regard, and that are typically ignored by this 21st century capitalist world.
  7. Womanist Theology re-kindles AND validates Africana women ancestors through Ritual “Re”-membrance.

UBUNTU “I am because you are.”

SAWABONO “I see you.”

Personal pronouns don’t function he/she, me/you but are grounded in the universal “we”.

Eschatological hope, although sometimes I wish my eyes hadn’t been opened, “my heart says yes and my feet say Go!“…someday we will be the free people we were created to be.

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Veiled Resistance: The Cognitive Dissonance of Vision in Genesis 38 – Carolyn Alsen

Helpful if you read Psalm 38 for context

Wearing a veil is seen as touching on two issues gender domination/headship and ethnicity. Wearing a veil is carrying these dual layers and wearers are doubly ‘colonised’. Who is the ‘ideal reader’ that Genesis 38 is written for? …white, Israelite, male?

Tamar, through choosing her clothes, can identify as “foreign woman” or “Israelite woman” and as widowed or prostitute.  There are social and cultural norms about how she is seen and not seen according to what she is wearing. Reading through the passage: who sees and doesn’t see her? In this story Tamar employs the conforming veil as an act of resistance.

Woman using perceptions of the veil as a weapons is still happening now > suicide bombers in Nigeria.

To wear a veil meant you were upper-class and married. If you wore them when you weren’t these things > punishable offence.

The Bible mistranslates “temple officiates” as “temple prostitutes”

zonar (gendered) social position of women (or subordinated men) when they sell sex.

hatas’if, veil (non-gendered) take off, wrap up, cover, put on.

Is it to be punished for the wrong use? Or is it normative use?
Licit – accepted socially but not morally vs. deviant.

        Remove widows garments :: have meeting in veil :: put on widows garments again.
could get in trouble
(tribe)

what is seen and not seen?
‘gaze’ and ‘identity’

– what is going on between how others see Tamar and how she sees herself?

Law-keeping ?          Law-breaking?
Israelite?                    Canaanite?
Solidarity/priest       Othering “zonah” fetishcised

Unresolvable.  Ambiguity of identity contrasted with public visibility.

Hera and Judah have different opinions of Tamar – who’s right or who’s wrong? Is Tamar both?

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“Because of the Angels”: The Unveiling of Women and the Body Politic – Sally Douglas

Helpful if you read 1 Cor 11:1-10 for context

Paul gives three reasons why women should have their heads covered:

  • inferiority
  • cultural norms
  • “because of the angels”

“The angels” refers here to those evil angels fallen from the Heavenly Court who rape and wreak havoc. (Gal 1:8) Enochian angels fell from heaven for women “going to them”. The consequences of this rape ruined men, women and the earth… > gave birth to giants >responsible for evil in the world. Killed in the Flood but spirits stay on the earth. Rise up against women and children because they come from them >>climate change.

Veiling is a source of conflict.

Try saying it’s down to individual choice but that seems insufficient. Still perceived that it stops a woman’s flourishing and personhood. The “malevolent constructed male gaze” exists to the detriment of women AND men. As objects of male desire we can reduce the risk from male gaze by altering our dress/wearing veil.

Irony – genital mutilation – advocate in the east but it’s happening in the west.

Commodity either way.  A woman might well feel liberated by wearing a veil or genital mutilation, not arguing that, but dehumanising malevolent constructed male gaze needs to be named and called out. What might safe-guard women now?

If the gaze of Christ is given precedence. Not the white skin, blue eyed, blond, pretty Jesus but the One, Cosmic, Sophia… that nourishes. 2 Cor 3: Veiling and unveiling of Moses. Collective language, shared experience and ongoing.

13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Cor 3)

2 Cor 4: Mystical gaze of Jesus, we are gazed upon, encounter Divine, are changed.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ…. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

The same lens through which we see God, each other and ourselves can give us freedom. In this gaze we can be liberated from the power of all other gazes. There is an invitation and provocation in that.
We are given a choice – not controlled or influenced by nor in resistance to. We are all beloved subjects of the Divine.

Exorcism is for victims.  Not much about evil spirits in the Old Testament but then in the New Testament – boom!

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Hillary, Shame and Psalm 71 – Michelle Eastwood

Hillary Rodham Clinton 1975 m. Bill Clinton, 1980 had daughter Chelsea, 1993 First Lady.
BA and Yale Law.  Awarded “Most Admired Woman” 20 times altogether and 14 years in a row.

Moses vs. Aaron and Miriam – cloud makes, only, Miriam leprous. Only woman is affected. Author trying to minimise her leadership.

Abortion reduces both maternal and infant mortality. Hillary grilled for her position. Evangelical Christian Right’s perception is that bible gender roles are under attack (by feminists for their own power and glory), values compromised, slippery slope to decline of the world as we know it.

Bill’s infidelity held against Hillary… didn’t handle it well, misogyny, sexism…

Helpful if you read Psalm 71 for context

Psalm 71 is a song of lament and a cry for justice.  Women are shamed a lot in the Bible.  In this passage shame is shifted to dealers. v7 I have been a portent (faithfulness) v18 grey hairs (Hillary still stands, a testament to those who have tried to shame her). The shame is not destroyed but displaced. Evangelical Christian Right their own undoing > Trump. In the gospels Jesus is shamed – a sense we become more godly through experiencing shame.

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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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Panel: Kath Duncan, Hannah Murphy-Walsh, Pauline Ventuna
and Jax Jacki Brown

 

The assumption that people with “disability” need help doesn’t allow for mutuality. Just like everyone else there are all kinds of relationships and power exchanges – ours just might be more obvious.

Jax Jacki Brown

I became a wheelchair user at 14.
Learned at the Rehabilitation Hospital about independence,
being able to direct your own care) is tied to adulthood.
Losing physical ability means becoming infantilised.
Affects our ability to be able give to society
and whether society values that.

Pauline Vetuna

It’s bullshit. Not an idea we need to address.
Need other human beings, need agency… everyone does.

Hannah Murphy-Walsh

I’m comfortable with the word ‘disability’ and identifying with it but it took time.  Acquired injury stigma was an internalised stigma.
Disabled people are marginalised externally
being disabled is not the problem but all the shit that comes with it.

Pauline Vetuna

Societal space see us as tragic or inspirational – we don’t get to be full human beings.

Jax Jacki Brown

When dependence is seen as bad then
independence is seen as good – we need interdependence.

Kath Duncan

With my cultural background I just ‘get it’.  Independence is also a myth, not just dependence. Independence is valorised e.g. paid work, not seen as contributing.

Pauline Ventuna

People assume we can’t/don’t contribute in meaningful ways.  We’re seen as less than other people.  People assume my partner must do all these things for me but we work it out… negotiate like any other relationship.

Jax Jacki Brown

Agency gives us the right t withdraw as well as the right to contribute.  I’m very dependent, rely on my friends for everything.  I have something to give, so do they.  We don’t get lost in the bottom line.  Slow down. Recognise. Make a human connection.

Hannah Murphy-Walsh

A user-based system is best for the strongest advocates, everyone else falls through the cracks… as much faith in the NDIS as any other government scheme.

Hannah Murphy-Walsh

If the choices are infiltrate or dismantle I’m a ‘dismantler’. I don’t see this as an individual problem but a human rights issue.

Jax Jacki Brown

We need to shift the way people see disability.
I still have to point out blind spots to my own community.
We need to manage ableism the same way we manage racism.

Pauline Ventuna

The standard needs to be universal access –
a change for one is a change for the group –
makes it better for everybody.

Jax Jacki Brown

The conflict across abilities is unnecessary –
adaptations can be ignored or used.
We all move through and take up space differently.

Kath Duncan

The idea of ‘needing to be fixed’ (influences of society and culture) – body or mind is a bad starting point.  Meeting their perspective of normal and being as close to normal as you can.

Jax Jacki Brown

Trigger warning: there’s a lot that’s demeaning and dehumanising in this – whatever your gender and sexual orientation

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Just in case you missed it – the Sovereignty exhibition at ACCA was stunning.

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We need to keep leaning into the truth that colonisation isn’t a “once upon a time…” story of something that happened long ago and far away but is still happening here and now. On land that was never ceded – what does being “Australian” look like or mean? You see in the piece by Clinton Nain Water Bottle Bags something beautiful made of found objects: plastic bottles, emu eggs, emu feathers, electrical cable, wire, string… a mix of  what is natural and man-made, a mix of traditional and contemporary.  What does it mean that the contemporary is waste, or is it in the hands of the custodians? What does traditionally acquired knowledge – a different understanding of the world and how to engage it have to teach us? This exhibition provoked this reflection and many more. See more photos and read the (highly recommended!) Sovereignty publication on the ACCA website:

 

To be sovereign is in fact to act with love and
resistance simultaneously. Uncle Banjo Clarke, the
late Gunditjmara statesman, said we must ‘fight
hate with love.’2 If there is a thread that connects
all the artists across the wide diversity of practices
represented in Sovereignty it is this deep love for
family, for truth telling and for beauty.

– Paola Balla –


Sovereignty

ACCA is proud to present Sovereignty, an exhibition focusing upon contemporary art of First Nations peoples of South East Australia, alongside keynote historical works, to explore culturally and linguistically diverse narratives of self-determination, identity, sovereignty and resistance.

Taking the example of Ngurungaeta (Elder) and Wurundjeri leader William Barak (c.1824–1903) as a model – in particular Barak’s role as an artist, activist, leader, diplomat and translator – the exhibition presents the vibrant and diverse visual art and culture of the continuous and distinct nations, language groups and communities of Victoria’s sovereign, Indigenous peoples.

Bringing together new commissions, recent and historical works by over thirty artists, Sovereignty is structured around a set of practices and relationships in which art and society, community and family, history and politics are inextricably connected. A diverse range of discursive and thematic contexts are elaborated: the celebration and assertion of cultural identity and resistance; the significance and inter-connectedness of Country, people and place; the renewal and re-inscription of cultural languages and practices; the importance of matriarchal culture and wisdom; the dynamic relations between activism and aesthetics; and a playfulness with language and signs in contemporary society.

Sovereignty provides an opportunity to engage with critical historical and contemporary issues in Australian society. The exhibition takes place against a backdrop of cultural, political and historical debates related to questions of colonialism and de-colonisation, constitutional recognition, sovereignty and treaty.

Curators
Paola Balla and Max Delany

 

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Brook Andrew
William Barak
Lisa Bellear
Jim Berg
Briggs
Trevor Turbo Brown
Amiel Courtin-Wilson / Uncle Jack Charles
Maree Clark
Vicky Couzens
Destiny Deacon & Virginia Fraser
Marlene Gilson
Korin Gamadji Institute
Brian Martin
Kent MorrisIMG_4420
Clinton Nain
Glenda Nicholls
Bill Onus
Steaphan Paton
Bronwyn Razem
Reko Rennie
Steven Rhall
Yhonnie Scarce
Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR)
Peter Waples-Crowe
Lucy Williams-Connelly

 

He picked up some food from the table they were sitting at and said: You know what? Everybody eats. He raised a glass of what they were drinking and said: You know what? Everybody drinks. We all have these bodies.  These human bodies.  Different but elementally the same. Same blood and water runs in your veins that runs in mine.  Eat this food and drink this drink just like everyone always has and always will.  These lives are for  living and loving.

Some people might think that’s a ritual about remembering God but it’s not. It’s about remembering the Human One.  Let’s remember everyone is human – the other and yourself.  You are uniquely and specially yourself and just like everyone else at the same time. There’s a space and grace about that if you marinate in it for a while.

 

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I want to dream
I want to dream together
I want to dream together and for your vision plus my vision
to surpass anything either could imagine on our own
I want to use my gifts to serve your vision, and
for you to do the same for me
I want the dream to be organic and to change
as you and I change
I want the dream to look different in different kinds of light
– sunlight, moonlight…
and seasons
– spring, autumn…

and places… Moe, Sunshine, Wallan, …here in Footscray

I want to talk about the dream as we walk along, pick fruit, share a meal together
I want to know the intimacy of shared thoughts with you
common and sacred at the same time
I want a dream that in its dreaming makes me smile in my sleep and
hold hope for a whole world through the day
I want a dream that needs a roll of butchers paper, five colours of post it notes and
four coloured marker pens to explain and still doesn’t really capture its soul
I want to dream together with you
I want to dream together
I want to dream

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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 5: Becoming family

We value the intimacy of relationship we can have with Christ, and the belonging found in growing closer to God and therefore to each other.  Our goal is to be family for those facing loneliness and social isolation.

Biblical basis: 1 John 3:16-18, John 13: 34-35



 

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

There’s a saying ‘You can’t choose your family’… yes we can.

We have family near and far, our actual relations and the people we choose to share our life with.

Family means the entire human race – regardless of colour, race status…

Family see us at our best and at our worst, we can come as we are and still be loved. We seek to be and provide that sort of space for one another.

Read the bible. What words/ideas stand out?

What can we learn from the bible about living the Value: Becoming family?


 

1 John 3: 16-18

……..It was the example that Jesus set in laying down his life for us that put us in the know about real love. If we would love, then we need to do likewise, and lay our lives on the line for one another. How on earth can people claim that the love of God is at home in their hearts if they turn their backs on their needy brothers and sisters, even though it is quite within their means to help?

……..My dear friends, let us love; really love. Let us make sure we’re not just talking the talk, but walking the walk: being fair dinkum about our love and expressing it in action. This kind of integrity between what we say and what we do is a sure sign that our lives are genuinely grounded in God’s truth. It enables us to hold our heads high when we approach God, even though self-doubts may be trying to make us feel guilty and fearful. Our record of integrity can reassure us at such times, because God knows everything and can overrule our self-accusations. So when we are doing what God tells us to do, and thus living lives that please God, we can rest assured that when we approach God with our requests, we will get a positive response, whether we feel we deserve it or not.

 ©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

 

 John 13: 31-35

……..When Judas left, Jesus said to his disciples, “Now the moment of glory has arrived for the New Human, and it is God’s glory too. If God’s glory is made known in him, then God will pour out his own glory on him. It’s all happening right now.

……..“You are my children, but you’re about to be on your own because our time together is almost up. You’ll keep looking for me, but as I said to the people before, where I am going, there is no way you can come.

……..“I’ve got one new instruction for you — in fact take it as an order — love one another. I want you to love one another in the same way that I have loved you. If you do that — if you really have love for one another — then it will be apparent to everyone that you are following in my footsteps.”

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


 

Reflection time… followed by sharing time.

Our record of integrity can reassure us… God can overcome our self-accusations – where we are small God is BIG.

Simple and powerful message: LOVE ONE ANOTHER

Love someone and they will love someone, and they will love someone, and they will love someone… the ripples go on and on.

Let’s get into groups of 2-3 and catch up with each other about life through the week…

…highlights, lowlights, needs, dreams

We do things we don’t like sometimes because it’s family. Belonging & interconnectedness. 

What’s your role in your family?  What are things you need from family?  What are things you have to give?

 

* trying to keep everyone together * practical support * there in ups and downs * advice * generosity * steadfast * conflict resolution * friend * peacemaker * LOVE * welcome * imperfect * support * conflict * time * making cakes * acts of service * taking care of each other * being friendly to everyone (even if they hate you) *

 

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I am on the 5.08pm train to the city – dusk sees the city lights hang suspended against a purple-grey backdrop of condolence. I go into this space with high hopes and low expectations I think, but I hope I see love. I hope I see love poured out.  It can be so hard to find safe spaces where you feel accepted, welcome, safe to express all of who you are. I hope there is a sense of welcome for everyone who comes tonight… including me!

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Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby

Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can’t I?

…I have that moment we all have. Should I come here? Am I intruding on a private grief I have no right to?

I find a friend I know on the edge of the crowd.

“Thanks for coming.” she says.

“It’s important. I’m sorry it took something like this to bring us together”. I answer

It only needs to matter to one person. It’s not really about how it matters to me. For all those times you felt alone, you felt sad, you felt despair – can my standing with you now make up for those times? No… but it doesn’t follow that it’s insignificant now.

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“May we be inspired to live differently because of our tears”
– Simon Holt

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Forty-nine people have died and fifty-three others have been injured in the latest mass shooting in the US… plenty of Muslims and Christians are praying and acting in solidarity and support – these issues are engaged globally more and more.  Born, raised, educated, armed in the US… can you call it an Islamist attack? SOme of my grief is with the perpetrator who must have been desperate indeed to feel belonging somewhere. But it’s the stupid idiot pastor that’s quoted as saying: “I woke up to a world with 50 less homosexuals in it and I was glad” that will be what goes viral, spreading hate and fear and violence in its wake.  It’s not the the good news that is shared so often as the bad.We have a conscious choice about what we’re spreading but it seems something used more for evil than for good… what of courage and encouraging? hope and joy?  We pray for those weighed down by grief  – today and “all the days before”

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On salvation

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I am sitting in the local supermarket collecting for Red Shield Appeal. A pensioner has just given generously and thanks me for my generosity taking the time to sit there.

“I don’t like people… I love people.
We need to support each other… I believe this… be there for each other.
Salvation?? I give for this Salvation…”

I come home and look up the word “salvation”.

From the latin salvatio – being saved or protected from harm or being saved or delivered from some dire situation.

Imagine for a moment an army, a large number of people, committed to saving and protecting people from harm, an army of people committed to saving and protecting those who find themselves in some dire situation… religion aside – that still might be something to believe in.

I might sometimes worry that collecting takes me away from my core work – it is good to have this reminder that it provides an opportunity for others to participate in it.