‘The Cosmic Christ’ – Ecological Christianity by Bob Eyles

“The creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” (Romans 8:19 NRSV)

planting treeIt seems to me that we have come to a crisis in the life of the Church and of the world. For the Roman world, a similar crisis was met by the Christ event as the life, death and resurrection of Jesus released new energy and insights that sent an emerging Christianity around the planet. The parable of “the last judgement” in Matthew 25, for example, has inspired countless people with the realisation that the risen Christ can be seen in the faces of poor and disadvantaged people. Continue reading

Messiahs and Scapegoats: a reflection on discipleship and community – by Bruce Hamill

Those in leadership realise at some point – usually early on (especially if it’s informal leadership) – that the human desire for a messiah is profound and universal. We don’t like to admit this drive to find ourselves a Messiah. We have made an absolute value of our situation as individuals and treat it as a cosmic necessity. Not only do we think we are islands, but we believe we have a duty to preserve this insularity at the core of our being. Continue reading

A Church in and for the South Pacific – by Jordan Redding

Redding

A piece of street art in Pape’ete, based on Paul Gaugain’s famous Woman and Fruit. Gaugain was a French artist famous for going to Tahiti and painting an idealised view of life there. This piece of art challenges the underlying worldview of Gaugain and the West more generally and asks questions of the future identity of South Pacific nations.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity, along with Rev Dr Tokerau Joseph to represent our Church at a Council for World Mission event in Pape’ete, Tahiti. The purpose of the gathering was to participate in a series of “street” bible studies that addressed mission, racism and colonisation in the South Pacific in relation to biblical texts.[1] We were very generously hosted by the Maohi Protestant Church, Etaretia Protetani Maohi (EPM). The studies explored a number of themes including the complicity of the London Missionary Society in the global slave trade; French nuclear testing in the South Pacific; and the reclamation of local indigenous identity and theologies.

Upon my return a friend jokingly remarked that I’m turning into a bit of an ecclesiastical junkie, meaning someone who takes advantage of available funding to go from ecumenical event to ecumenical event in order to see the world. He wasn’t serious, of course. And I’m increasingly aware of the carbon footprint associated with such trips. It raises the question though, why should the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand – our Church – continue to place emphasis on ecumenical relations and interdenominational mission? Can we justify the resource and environmental impact associated with these gatherings? And what do they really achieve anyway? Continue reading

The Enemy Without – The Enemy Within by Geoff New

The other week, I was contacted by a minister. He was preaching a sermon series and wanted to revisit a lecture I had given when he had been an intern. The lecture had been on addiction focusing particularly on online pornography. He contacted me to refresh his memory and to discuss the nature and effect of online pornography.

That was the stated purpose.

However, by the end of the conversation I was struck by what I heard myself saying. It is hard to explain – but it was as if I was listening in as an observer. I was saying the words but the intensity with which I was speaking; the depth of feeling that was expressed; the statistics I heard myself quote; the effects I heard myself articulate – well – I didn’t know I felt that deeply about the issue.

I realised then how deeply concerned I am. Really concerned. Continue reading

funeral poems

I’ve been inspired to write a couple of poems .  Two people in the church died recently, both were elderly.  The first received a sense of his mother ‘visiting’ him on the day he died – he was most surprised.  The second had been a choir singer and the blessing I gave at the end of the service picked up on a way of seeing her free of the pain and experiencing those moments musicians sometimes have when they become at one with the notes.  I picture Beethoven’s Ode to Joy as his reaching into the communion of the Triune God and hearing something that he could then translate.

the collection

this woman
who birthed me
came
at the end

to collect me

as if
there had never been
a separation

as if
death was not the wall
I had always thought
it was

as if
when it comes
time for me
to let
out
my
last
breath
those who have been
are welcoming me

as if
what will be
and what has been
meet
to join hands
in the circle
of my
now

now,
if you
command
the science
of this

if you
demand
the science
of this

if you
insist on
the science
of this

don’t ask me
don’t ask me

for I suspect
or even know
what you
‘discover’
in the asking

will
only
take
this
woman
away
from
me

the song

picture her
positioning herself
against the pain
straightening her back
one last time

observe her
listening for the song
this ode to joy
finding her part
entering on the eighth bar*

lean in close
hear her singing
first as admirer playing catch-up
but in no time at all
becoming alive in the notes
traversing that fleeting space
between last breath and first

* eight/waru – resurrection day

Homegrown resourcing to kick-start 2019 – Jose Reader

analysis blackboard board bubble

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As you contemplate the New Year, you might be on the hunt for fresh inspiration in your ministry, so we’ve compiled some resources that might be just what you’re looking for…

Conversations

This website, developed by Presbyterian minister, Silvia Purdie, provides resources for faith and life. On this easy-to-use website, resources are categorised by use (baptism, funeral etc) and season, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. See what is on offer: http://www.conversations.net.nz/ Continue reading

Encouragement & a prayer – Martin Stewart

I’m very conscious of demands that Christmas brings on ministers and their families in this festive season.  I’m currently preparing for Christmas #29 as a minister.  It should have been #30 but I skived off one time making the most of the opportunity that a shift between parish ministries gave me!
I know we all like to be creative and fresh each Christmas but the simple reality is that we are coming to the year’s end and most of us are catching a sniff of holidays looming close… so we box on, stagger, or limp towards 11am on Christmas Day, and often present ourselves to our families as tired wrecks…  Every now and then I wish Jesus was born in September! Continue reading

Universal anxiety and Psalm 139 – Hyeeun Kim

This is a shortened version of the sermon, Dr Hyeeun Kim, adjunct lecturer, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership and lecturer at Laidlaw College, gave at the recent graduation service of Knox graduates.

belief bible book business

Have you ever woken up 2am in the morning and panicked about something that was not going well, especially, a mistake that you’d made? If yes, you have experienced universal anxiety.

Universal anxiety is based on a common belief: “If they know all of me, they won’t like me”. We all live with it at some stage of our lives. Those people who come from more challenging backgrounds, tend to have it more intensely: “If they know all of me, they will look down on me, laugh at me, hate me, reject me, humiliate me or condemn me”. Because of this anxiety, we often hide some truth about who we are and pretend something we are not, so that we can be accepted. Continue reading

Engaging with charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity today – Kevin Ward

group of people raising hands silhouette photography

In this article by Kevin Ward, senior lecturer at Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, Kevin discusses his realisation that re-engaging with the charismatic movement is critical for our future as a Church. Find out why.

We are all only too aware of the explosive growth of charismatic and Pentecostal churches in New Zealand and elsewhere since the 1960s, and the decline of most other forms of church since the 1960s. The 60s have been called the “expressive revolution” which lead to the significant culture changes that came to be labelled post-modernity in the 1990s. This can be seen as “the recovery of the experiential to complement the cerebral”. Continue reading

Living Library – Steve Taylor

“The Living Library looks to be a wonderful resource. I look forward to strolling through the pages at a leisurely pace. Thank You.”

We tend to imagine a library as a quiet place full of books. Some new, some dusty, a place of solitude and silence. But what if books could talk? What if a library was a place of conversation, where you could ask a gifted practitioner a question, or listen to someone share from their experience? This would be a living library, connecting people with people so that theory met practice and practice met theory. Continue reading