Monthly Archives: August 2012
This week’s announcement of a new marriage vow to be introduced by the Anglican Diocese of Sydney* has caused quite a stir across a range of circles.
The vow, which is expected to be approved at the synod of the Sydney Diocese in October, and which may not in fact comply with federal laws, would require a minister to ask the bride regarding her groom, “Will you honour and submit to him, as the church submits to Christ?” and for her to pledge ”to love and submit” to her husband.
These words are taken unmistakably from Ephesians 5:22:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Complementarians regularly claim that their understanding of this text is in line with its “plain meaning” or “plain sense”. In other words, women submitting to men in marriage (and often in other areas) is the literal meaning of the text.
But the idea of a “plain meaning” of a text, particularly ancient texts far removed from our own chronological and geographical context, is at best questionable. Read the rest of this entry
On Saturday night here in Sydney TEAR Australia hosted the first of its Art of Resistance events. We had a really fantastic set of works, both visual and performance-based, which provided a wonderful witness to the prophetic power of art. (You can download the catalogue of works here.)
Here is a very rough text version of the short reflection I gave during the night’s proceedings:
In talking about art I don’t want to take long, since too much talking can interfere with the power of art. It’s like the story of a dancer who, having completed a dance piece, was asked what it meant. She replied that if she could explain what it meant, she would not have had to dance!
Why are we doing this? Why would an organisation like TEAR, committed to fighting poverty, bother spending time on art?
Because art is important, because art is powerful.
I think Bono said it well: Read the rest of this entry
Blessed are those who are poor, desperately enduring until a time when everything is turned upside down.
Blessed are those who mourn, and who continue to sustain through suffering.
Blessed are those who cannot exert their every whim on the world.
Blessed are those who thirst and hunger for justice; justice is a long, difficult pilgrimage.
Blessed are those who take the time to fit mercy into their busy schedule.
Blessed are those who commit to the long, failure-filled road of forming a pure heart.
Blessed are those who learn a language incomprehensible to the world, the difficult language of peace and reconciliation.
Blessed are those who are persecuted and pay the penalty for doing justice.
In a world of grab-and-go, of addiction to speed, of undelayed gratification… Blessed are the patient, those who see that the long, dry, rocky road of the cross leads to life.
They say the truth will set you free.
But not before first causing much in the way of pain.
Truth is a mirror. We are faced with a vision of how things really are, and we must respond.
We can choose to turn away: “I don’t want to see.” We can choose apathy: “I don’t care.”
We can also choose to stare deeply into the mirror, accepting how ugly things really are: “This is not how I want to be…”
By facing up to the way things are we will be liberated, but not before experiencing all the pain that comes with this confrontation.
Like an AA participant, I must acknowledge what I really am, and what I really am not, before I can be set free. Read the rest of this entry