Tag Archives: Christian spirituality

Review of Wherever You are, You are on a Journey

The following review by Paul Inglis has just been posted on the Book Reviews section of Australian progressive Christian website: Open Discussion on Progressive Christianity https://ucforum.unitingchurch.org.au/

Wherever You are, You are on a Journey: Conversations in a Coffee Shop.

Book 1 of a trilogy by Susan Jones. Philip Garside Publishing Ltd.

“It is easy to lose sight of our inner convictions as we stumble, fall, pick ourselves up and deal with critical fellow-travellers. It is not easy to seek directions through mists of disillusionment and disenchantment.(Susan Jones)

This is a novel with a powerful use of simple understatement and a generous discourse that touches on what it means to be fully human. It is about Hope (her friend’s) journey and her own journey of discovery and evolving relationship with other seekers. Susan Jones has imaginatively located the events in a coffee shop where she meets regularly with Hope to unpack ideas and help Hope, as her minister, through the struggle we all have with finding meaning in life and faith.

She examines Hope’s journey as a typical pathway through faith which, for her, ultimately led to wrestling with questions openly. This includes the shock of unpacking the shibboleths of fundamentalism and literalism, clearly the responses of many people to this awakening of values – from trying to stay within the old ‘acceptable’ outlook to comfortably challenging it.

The story demonstrates what happens when one is allowed to think critically and share doubts.

Using the vehicles of the novel and the coffee shop conversations, Susan interrogates the issues many of us are living through – truth, facts, faith, church history, historical criticism, post enlightenment thinking and even Schleimacker’s work on the ‘scientific discipline of religion’.

Drawing on many contemporary progressive theologians, Susan takes the reader on a journey of continuous unfolding of understandings and practices that have so often been thought of literally rather than as metaphor, making more sense when seen as the latter.

Reflections on the decline of Christianity and the rise of openness to discussing the alternatives raises the question as to what ideology fills the vacuum in an age of omnipotent (acting) world leaders?

But the impossible quest for answers bedded in old beliefs is a block to our journey if we don’t take a new direction. This is an invitation to ask ourselves if the old assumptions, beliefs and habits are the limit of our understanding. The author asserts that it is not, and our journey is about finding oneself – becoming fully human in a world where the church has failed to deliver this for us.

This subtle unpacking of myth makes good reading for anyone re-thinking their life and what has shaped their thinking. It is an imaginary set of conversations and not a heavy theological treatise, that draws on psychology and philosophy to aid the process of thinking about the big topics of sin, evil, baptism, communion and scripture.

Recommended reading for personal reflection on one’s own journey.”

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Trap predators

Awhi Mai Awhi Atu – Action Point 52

Work towards the goal of being predator free.
Less mammal pests means more bird life and healthy forest, which absorbs more carbon dioxide and makes a very significant contribution to achieving our greenhouse gas reductions.

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From the chapter It Matters to Me by Kristel van Houte
in Awhi Mai Awhi Atu, edited by Silvia Purdie. 

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Engage with your preacher’s messages

My Sermon Response Journal – 2

  • Would you like to engage more with your preacher’s messages?
  • Are you looking for a simple and effective way to record your responses as you listen to the sermon / reflection / homily / address, or soon afterwards?
  • Do you want an aid to help you reflect and act on their message during the following week?

My Sermon Response Journal is the perfect tool.

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Capture the Good News

My Sermon Response Journal – 1

” …write your responses to the sermon in your journal – during the service or when you get home – to capture the good news the preacher shared with you while it is fresh in your memory and heart.”

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Breaking through to Love

Thought for the day

“…I’m pleased to be part of a church that welcomes all people to the communion table without demanding to know whether they have been baptised or confirmed. This reflects the radical inclusiveness that Jesus showed.

He would even ask for a drink from a Samaritan woman.
The Samaritans and Jews were neighbours and didn’t get along. Their enmity was deep seated and long standing.

Jesus didn’t ask anything difficult of her at first, just to provide him with a drink of water from the well. A simple act of sharing. Communion is a simple act of sharing, which we did when we poured a cup of water for each other.

The good news of the gospels is that God loves us and is always with us. The life and actions of Jesus are constant reminders of this transforming love.

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Did you try dropping a stone in the water?

Did picking up the stone remind you of something that you would like to change or let go of in your life?

The Samaritan woman was freed by Jesus to make a change in her life.

When we are ready to ask, God’s free, transforming love can also enable us to make changes in our lives. Amen.”

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From the sermon – Breaking through to Love – 27 March 2011, in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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