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Swinging the botafumeiro

On my recent overseas trip, I walked the Camino. One of the highlights of this pilgrimage was attending the Pilgrims’ Mass, which is held each day in the Cathedral at Santiago, where the Camino finishes.

At the conclusion of the Mass, an incense burner, the botafumeiro, was swung, reaching considerable speed and rising near to the roof of the cathedral.

It was exhilarating to watch.

Marriage equality?

Recently, I read a story about a young couple in rural Victoria whose wedding was cancelled when their minister learned that they supported marriage equality.

He wrote to them claiming that their support of gay and lesbian marriage, ‘opposes the teaching of Christ Jesus.’

The story is a small sign of how difficult it is in Australia to have a respectful debate on this issue.

It is also indicative of the way many in the church appropriate/ misappropriate the scriptures.

Without Buddha...

Appropriately enough for Interfaith September, I am reading, ‘Without Buddha, I could not be a Christian’ by the Catholic theologian, Paul Knitter.

In his book, Knitter describes some of his struggles in faith to hold onto, and more importantly be nourished by, traditional understandings of God.

He nominates the belief that God is separate from the world, all-powerful, perfect, unchanging and self-sufficient; that God is the ultimate Being, who intervenes in the world at times of his own choosing.

Martin Luther

‘The righteous will live by faith.’

I have chosen Martin Luther as a significant person in the life of the Christian church; I find him compelling and intriguing. I don’t agree with all that he taught; in fact, I find some of it objectionable. Nonetheless, his spiritual struggles and his wrestling with the scriptures have captivated me.

His achievements are significant. He changed the course of history, even though this was not his intention. It came about, unexpectedly, because of his determination to find a form of Christian faith that he could live with integrity.


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