Tag Archive: living


On the weekend of 24-25 September Whitley College hosted a conference called Constitutions and Treaties: Law, Justice, Spirituality – these are notes from session 9 of 9. We acknowledge that this gathering, listening and learning occurred of the land of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nations and offer our respects to their elders past and present, and all visiting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island visitors present.



Line through Papua New Guinea, literally nations were “dividing the world between them”.



Roger Williams, Baptist theologian, a dissenting voice to the Doctrine of Discovery model – wanted to respect Native Americans, house church on Rhode Island for 6 years. Had to go to England at one point – needed a patent or would be annexed.

The Treaty of Westphalia was the end of the 30 Year war. No right to divide the world in two.  Move from Empires to a rise of nation states.

If we think of the Treaty of Waitangi as an interfaith covenant, what are the implications of that? The phrasing of the words “you will acknowledge no other gods above me” implies an acknowledgement of other gods existing. There is a danger when uniformity is a presumption.  What kinds of covenants can we imagine between polities (e.g. could a treaty have some reference to God or Creator Spirit with Bundjil and representatives of Bundjil’s land)? Any covenants (treaties) would need to be local. Can Christian churches model this?
Made under sovereignty of God (not state/federal Government)?


Entering a treaty under State/Federal terms legitimises them and their system, it’s not being legitimised ourselves.


Being hard isn’t the same as being not worth doing.


What does “local” mean/look like to people who know who they are/where they’re from.

Lutherans practiced a vernacular theology – learned the language of those they lived with whereas as other denominations refused to learn the language (and used theological grounds for that) you have to learn/imposing my theology…



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 3: Being amongst the people

We value sharing life with our neighbours, as a real expression of the kingdom amongst the marginalised. Our everyday involvement and identification means our mission is not so much what we do, but who we are.

Biblical basis: John 1:14, Philippians 2:1-11


Let’s read the value together… what words/phrases stand out?

  • no so much what we do but who we are – we can put a lot of expectation on what  we do, it is good to be reminded it’s the intention we bring to everything that makes it significant – not the projects themselves
  • everyday things (like cleaning, making a cup of tea, listening…) but also every day (not just on Sundays or during a planned activity slot – we are sharing with neighbours all our life
  • In the mall, everyone goes there for a reason – we didn’t go to get anything done but to be who we are in that space, bringing intentionality to our presence to listen, share hospitality, respond to whoever comes and whatever comes up.


Read the bible. What words/ideas stand out?
What can we learn from the bible about living the Value: Being amongst the people?



John 1:14

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.

We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,

like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.


Philippians 2: 1-13

If you have indeed experienced the encouragement of being united to Christ, and the support that genuine love offers, and the deep bonds of a shared life formed in the Spirit; if indeed you have any compassion and concern for me, then make my dreams come true: get your heads tuned to the one wavelength so that you will share a common love, a common dedication to the one cause, and a common mindset. Don’t let yourself be driven by self-centred ambitions or empty egotism, but keep your feet firmly on the ground and promote others ahead of yourself. To each one of you, I would say, don’t focus on doing what is in your own best interests, but on what is in the best interests of others. Model your attitude on the attitude of the Messiah, Jesus.

Although Jesus was the same as God in every way, he did not think of his God-like privileges as something to milked for all they were worth.

Instead, he laid it all aside and, with no more privileges than a slave, was born as a human being.

Having become a human being, he was the model of humility. He didn’t demand his own way but let God set the agenda; even when it included his own death, and a gruesome public death at that.

Because of all this, God has raised him to the status of number one and honoured him more highly than anyone else in the universe.

So now, just the mention of the name ‘Jesus’

should bring everyone to their knees; everyone who has ever lived or ever will. Everyone, everywhere will honour God by openly acknowledging that Jesus the Messiah is Lord of all!

Therefore, my dear friends, there is work to do. You have always stuck to the agenda that was set for you, so keep it up, not only when I am around but even more when I am gone. Continue to work at living the life for which you are being saved, and do so with such an awareness of how high the stakes are, that it fills you with awe and makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. For this is awesome stuff: it is God who is at work within you, making it possible for you to set your mind on what God wants and to work for those things which are ultimately pleasing to God.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


Reflection time… followed by sharing time.

Where do you see the kingdom of God at work in everyday and every day ways? …what are some things we do for the best interests of others?

Let’s write one story/word on one footprint – (turn some over to make pairs) – let’s lay them out and read each other’s… know these are the bonds our shared life are grounded in.



Camping for Easter in the Brisbane Ranges and I have brought along Cheryl Lawrie’s beautiful Pocket Liturgies for reflection…


We have decided not to die.

We have decided not to believe the voices of cynicism
the prophets of doom
the harbingers of despair
the proclaimers of fear
who speak loudly and only of death that’s inevitable.

we have decided not to die.

we have chosen to believe in life.

and now we must learn to live.



We have decided not to die.
and now we must learn to live.

to really live
to stretch and wonder and test and dare
to imagine the unthinkable
to defy the gravity of fear and despair
to find the faith that believes there is another story
of life, grace and redemption
and to live as though it is the only story.

we will listen for where God’s heartbeat is giving life to the world
and we will search,
wildly, unceasingly
until we find where our own heartbeat echoes in it.

and though it may mean letting go of all we know,
we will.

for we have decided not to die.

we have decided now to live.


[p.80, Hold This Space Pocket Liturgies by Cheryl Lawrie]



God, let me life a life called into living.
To see, to hear, to be awake
Let me believe in life and believe in You.
“to stretch and wonder and test and dare
to imagine the unthinkable
to defy the gravity of fear and despair
to find the faith that believes there is another story
of life, grace and redemption
and to live as though it is the only story.”

Show me how to live God
how to live the life You
call me into
live a life by another story
as though it is the only story
when I lean and learn
into the story and the story
is still unfolding
that story is Yours
I am Yours
let me live


Take off that cloak of fear,
the divine strength you seek is here,
and you know you are dying to live.
You know you are dying to live.

We seek to live a more contemplative life so that we will not have to wait until we are dying to learn to live.

Teach us the grace of listening.
Reveal to us the art of dying.
Show us the face of God.


p.25, Seven Sacred Pauses – Macrina Wiederkehr


The following are some of the values which outline the purpose and core ideology of the community and are used to guide and inform our decision-making. It is always good to start off a new year checking in – are these still relevant? how are we doing? what might these look like in the year ahead?

Partnering with God

We value the opportunity of participating in the Missio Dei (mission of God). Through persistence in prayer, we seek to recognise where God is at work in Footscray, and become co-workers with Christ.
Biblical basis: Psalm 127:1, Luke 18:7, 1 Cor 3:9

In it for the long haul

We value being a constant in an inconsistent world, expecting and persevering through hard times.  Our long-term commitment allows us to build trust and respect with those in our community, as we try to reflect God’s unconditional love and grace.
Biblical basis: Hebrews 10:36

Being amongst the people

We value sharing life with our neighbours, as a real expression of the kingdom amongst the marginalised. Our everyday involvement and identification means our mission is not so much what we do, but who we are.
Biblical basis: John 1:14, Philippians 2:1-11

Seeking justice for the poor

We value God’s priority for the poor and seek to prioritise the marginalised of Footscray.  We do not want to just show mercy, but instead offer in our lives, in voice and activity, with those who we seek to serve.
Biblical basis: Jeremiah 22:16, James 2: 1-5

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

Being honest about who we are

We value the humility and forgiveness required to live transparent lives in community.  We want to submit to each other in accountability and honesty, allowing Christ to use our weaknesses and failings.
Biblical basis: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, 2 Corinthians 3:18

Doing the hard yards

We value servanthood in the big and the small – choosing to do the “crappy” stuff.  We want to be people of personal and spiritual maturity (enduring personal cost) in order that the vision is accomplished.
Biblical basis: James 5:7-11

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



On living



listen to me

trying to explain myself

to You who knows me

through and through

I speak aloud,

can You hear me?

Yes, and I need to

hear myself

in the echoing silence

gun-gunh, a beat

gun-gunh, a hearts beat

gun-gunh, gun-gunh

you have to live into the answers





there are my ideas

then my reality

there are my intentions

then my reality

there are my ideals

then my reality

I live my life falling short


I live my life

my short life


I live.


Talitha Fraser


A Poetry Handbook – Mary Oliver


“Among the things I learned in those years were two of special interest to poets.  First, that one can rise early in the morning and have time to write (or, even, to take a walk and then write) before the world’s work schedule begins.  Also, that one can live simply and honorably on just about enough to keep a chicken alive. And do so cheerfully.

This I have always known – that if I did not live my life immersed in the one activity which suits me, and which also, to tell the truth, keeps me utterly happy and intrigued, I would come someday to bitter and mortal regret.”



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.”