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Michael's blog

Signing off

Friends, this is my last blog. My final service at Gordon takes place this Sunday.

I’m in a time of transition, and I find myself thinking back over the last six years.

I remember high moments, forming connections with so many, new friendships, powerful and poignant experiences in pastoral situations, special times in worship, Current Affairs, Bible study and the Good News Group, and the evolving partnership with SCUC.

I am grateful for the weekly discipline of grappling with the Scriptures, being sustained by new insights, and weaving them into worship.

Churchill and Orwell

I am currently reading Churchill and Orwell by Thomas Ricks, a book that explores the substantial contributions these two made to the defence of freedom and individual liberty in the twentieth century.

I had not seen Churchill and Orwell placed in a similiar category before. However, Ricks details curious resonances between them, not least their willingness to step outside the party line (right and left wing) in pursuit of truth.

Both suffered for their courage and recklessness.

Who can you be?

I have recently re-read a compelling book on interfaith relations, ‘Without Buddha I could not be a Christian.’ It’s a fascinating and provocative read, not least because it offers valuable insights into our own faith tradition.

In one chapter, the author Paul Knitter reflects on the way Siddhartha achieved enlightenment (thus becoming the Buddha.) In summary, he suggests that Siddhartha did so by asking questions.

He contrasts this path with the orthodox view of Jesus, which asserts that Jesus arrived on earth with all the answers.

Spread hummus not hate

Last night, I met Lina Jebeile at an Iftar meal co-hosted by the Uniting Church and the Affinity Intercultural Foundation.

Lina is a Lebanese Australian, born and raised here. Growing up, she was often told by strangers to ‘go back to where you came from.’ (She wears a hijab.)

After she finished school, and feeling alienated from her Australian identity, she did just that; she went back to where she came from, at least, where her parents came from, Lebanon.

But there, she was told that she was a ‘foreigner.’

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