Category: influential reading material


My faith community are looking at the Aaronic Blessing and suggested we have a go re-writing it, see The Aaronic Blessing from a Hebrew Perspective by Jeff A. Benner for insight and inspiration…

354 - Copy

 

May the Creator that drew, knew and grew you

Enfold her in her arms that feel like home

May her peace abide in you and bring you to

stillness in the knowledge of being wholly loved and loved wholly

Reflect: Expressions of Her, expressions of you, expressions of Her…

wonderfully Made.


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The Bright One, Maker of the made and all the made ever made

invites you to regard Them and be seen. To know yourself in Them.

Under Their gaze, there is no loss, disappointment, separation, brokenness.

The communion loaf holds many-in-one. Whole.

See. Be Seen. Be.


women'sliturgy

Wisdom, may her light guide and guard you, pouring love, supersize, not subside. Do you hear Her Voice down inside you? Live it out loud, be proud, never subdue. The wholeness is calling for you, speaking for what’s true, naming the whole you into being. Seeing, freeing, we are undone and one at the same time. Truth is hard-won but I can see in the dark. Spaces, places, all of her faces – shine. And I can see in the dark. Spark. I can see in the dark. Wisdom’s calling me home, I’m known and whole. Under the cone, in my heart, it’s safe to make a start. Enfolded in the keep, I can sleep. Smart enough to know I need more, to restore, to adore her more. Her love is at the core. Hit the floor, raise my gaze, begin another day. It pays to know she’s on her knees at the door on the floor too. She knows the score on being poor. Destitute. Restitute. Resolution. Do it better than before. Not alone any more. This is what she made you for: Be. Love her more and love you. Be loved. Spark. I can see in the dark.

invictus william ernest
Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

BY WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY

Living Water

Over the past few months I’ve been privileged to host Annique Goldenberg at the Cathedral working in the Living Water project. This project explores our connection as a community to our local water source the Birrarung (River of Mists) aka the Yarra.

Incorporated into the paper are water from the Birrarung, linen from tablecloths that have offered a lot of hospitality, calico from retired altar cloths, pulped paper from service sheets, hymnals and prayer books – it’s beautiful to see those elements honoured together in this new form.

Also as part of the project we were invited to whisper a memory of a river to ours as part of expressing connection and I shared mine from sitting on a rock amongst the stepping stones across the Maribyrnong with the water moving all around me. It was good to remember the stillness and rapids, the hush and the rush, and the feeling that this river lives here, even as I do.

I invite anyone coming through the city to pop in and have a look. There is also a great little photo exhibition in for International Women’s Day celebrating significant Anglican women in the history of Melbourne.

Shameless

a picture of the cover of shameless by nadia bolz-weber. A black white image of the garden of Eden but the humans and the snake are in colour.

“This is the body of Christ, every lump and scar and curve of it. We are present to God and to each other and God is present in these human bodies. All of them.

God is made known: in the miracle of our infant bodies, so recently come from God that you can smell God on their heads; in the freedom of our childs bodies as they were before shame and self-consciousness entered into them; in the confusion of our pubescent bodies and the excitement of our teenage bodies as they become familiar with desire; in the fire and ice of our young adult bodies as they connect with each other; in the goddamn mind-blowing magic of our baby-making bodies; in the wisdom in our aging bodies, and in the so-close-to-God-you-can-smell-God beauty of our dying bodies.

Incarnation, Carne, Flesh

Nadia Bolz-Weber, Shameless 2019

Nadia Bolz-Weber’s writing reminds me of Anne Lamott’s – raw honest stories. You can’t deny that kind of witness to ‘holy resistance’ that says: I will testify to the experience of my body and the experience of my God to what the truth is.

We get so many messages about what are bodies are, what they aren’t, what they’re supposed to be. What we should eat, not eat, go on a diet, eat a pie, you should be thin but men like a woman with some meat on her bones.

Indeed, we all feel gnawed on by the relentless message to be something other than what we are. Let this book be the sip of living water that affirms you. Affirms your body. Affirms your sexuality. Affirms your identity, made in the image of God.

Why do shameless and shameful mean basically the same thing? Shameless: brazen, barefaced, brash, impudent, unblushing. These adjectives apply to that which defies social or moral proprieties [Free Dictionary].

Be shameless then. Be defiant. Be shamefreely and defiantly you. Made in the image and sexuality of God.

#fitzroy #pasteup #melbournelaneways

to those in the struggle, the sun shines for you

James Baldwin – Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems

It’s me that visits. Words that are both brand new and utterly familiar at the same time somehow. I think that’s what truth sounds like.  #visit #toro #adventwords2019

mujerista theology

I am currently reading “Mujerista Theology: A Challenge to Traditional Theology” by Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz and am struck by the way Isasi-Diaz uses Latina words and concepts to describe the theology and methodology of Latina women; the role this plays in identity and belonging of the group and in grounding the words and praxis of Latina theologians in a cultural context.

Here’s an excerpt:

…Lo cotidiano for us is also a way of understanding theology, our attempt to explain how we understand the divine, what we know about the divine. I contrast this to the academic and churchly attempts to see theology as being about God instead of about what we humans know about God. Lo cotidiano makes it possible for us to see our theological knowledge as well as all our knowledge as fragmentary, partisan, conjectural, and provisional.  It is fragmentary because we know that what we will know tomorrow is not the same as what we know today but will stand in relation to what we know today.  What we know is what we have found through our experiences, through the experiences of our communities of struggle. What we know is always partisan, it is always influenced by our own values, prejudices, loyalties, emotions, traditions, dreams, and future projects.  Our knowing is conjectural because to know is not to copy or reflect reality but rather to interpret in a creative way those relations, structures, and processes that are elements of what is called reality. And, finally, lo cotidiano, makes it clear that, for mujerista theology, knowledge is provisional for it indicates in and of itself how transitory our world and we ourselves are.

Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, Doing Mujerista Theology pp71-72.

 

As a Pakeha/Ngai Tahu woman living as a visitor on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations – how do my cultural identity and location within place inform my writing, thinking and theology? And the language that I use to communicate my ideas?

In my experience, most books of theology loaned or recommended to me have come from a predominantly North American or northern hemisphere context. There is a disconnection and displacement in that which feels rarely spoken of or acknowledged, for instance when the symbolism, art and exegesis are located in a different hemisphere but used in ours – an easy example is noting such times like Easter (darkness) and Christmas (cold).

Acknowledging of course, all those women of colour and woke women who are and do use language and cultural context in their theological exegesis, for those who aren’t using ‘local’ language in our theological discernment and writing, what are we offering that is specific to our personal and geographic context?  Is this language lack linked to the disconnection from our cultural tale?

We cannot tell a story we do not know.

How do the ideas of Kaupapa Maori or Mana Wahine, or unresolved Australian identity politics and influences of policies such as Terra Nullius, already influence and inform my thinking, theology and writing in conscious and unconscious ways?

I think there might be an idea that our writing is more professional, academic or more universally relevant if these “personal” elements are left out, but are we still looking to our euro-centric, patriarchal forebears to tell us what to do and how to do it rather than finding God here, on this country, and speaking to that? What are words and ideas we could be drawing on that shape and inform our feminist praxis and writing based out of the Pacific?

Tell me, and show me, what can the South Pacific theology offer to the North?

That is the book I want to read.

Dr Alana Harris Kings college gender equity in academia

The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 “to encourage and recognise the commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research” In 2015 the scheme was extended to arts, humanities, social science, business and law (AHSSBL) subjects. Dr Alana Harris and Professor Abigail Woods participated in the bronze accreditation being rolled out at King’s College, London but also headed the project to analyse and assess across an audit of the framework which institutional contexts, working practices and interventions are most conducive to advancing gender equality…  for more information read the report or play a round of Gender Equity Snakes and Ladders.

  • When we looked at lecturing staff the gender ratio of men to women was 60:40 but when you look at professorial level that ratio shifts to 80:20. At the age you might be offered that seniority, women are often caring either for children and/or aging parents.
  • Doing a staff survey in real time gave everyone a voice and ensured they felt heard. Respondents replied more honestly. When you are sitting in a room with your colleagues and x indicate they “don’t feel they are consulted or able to contribute to decision making”, you feel that in the room and its powerful.
  • In an assessment of staff shared working space…  70% of women were sharing and only 7% of men.
  • If you are to apply for the Athena SWAN Bronze Award that work needs to be resourced. Attainment of the first level takes 5 years. It’s a commitment to a process.
  • A cultural shift is not just about women joining in more to existing structures. Change happens with longevity and legacy.  In staff meetings we use a collaborative process of decision making.  This has been habituated into virtue and staff would revolt now if someone tried to take it away.

Is there anything feminist about the framing of this model?

It looks different on the ground everywhere its been applied.  Sometimes women are empowered to lead it and sometimes men encouraged to so it’s not seen as just “a women’s thing”.  When you start looking at systems and structures for parity you very quickly see beyond gender and that informs the process. Eg  in auditing assigned reading lists, how many readings are by women? You can’t help but also ask, how many by people of colour? Creating assessment tools for LGBTIQ inclusion and religious diversity will be next.

 

Anything you would suggest for consideration by the Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies at the University of Divinity?

You are named in the Strategic Plan “To be a centre of excellence in feminist theological scholarship and in mentoring academics so as to challenge and transform patriarchal structures and assumptions in the academy, church, and wider world.”  You need to have impact beyond being UD strategic aim 3.  What impact into other areas of work, institution and structure can be implemented?

Hold events during the day, not evenings. Our event are not held in a pub, moving away from the ‘old boy club’ feel. We host an academics book party once a year at 3pm in the afternoon and cross-read our texts eg. modern history lecturer trades their book with the medieval history teacher.

It seems senior male academics support younger counterparts but senior women don’t? External support scaffolding, if it’s not available within the institution, can be really useful. Ref. Facebook group: ‘Women in Academia Support Network’ or Australian Collaborators page.

What are the vision and mission statements of the UD?  These set the culture of the institution and its frameworks – if these have inclusive language then then culture will be inclusive and staff attracted to that culture be drawn to work for that organisation.  If your work sits outside the scope of these statements you may not be fighting only students to accept new ideas and thinking but other staff.

What do you do with the resistant remnant?

Isolate them. Move them to one side where they can do the least harm. If they’re not able to support or participate in change their means to prevent it needs to be minimised.

You’ll always get people who will say: “There aren’t women to cite. They aren’t there”, if you were taught to a reading list that was all male, the conference speakers you here are male, the professors you look up to are male… we need to be able to interrogate our own networks of influence.

Activist fatigue is real.  You need allianceships. Rather than being  one strident voice… ask someone else to raise it in a meeting and lend your voice to theirs. Need mix gender mentoring and people who will back you up in meetings… and at conferences introduce you to the right people.

If you are looking for increased balance in curriculum and representation… crowd source knowledge from within the network. Aim for 25% female.

Questions to ponder:

  • Would the UD undertake an audit of its course set reading lists? Or undertake the Athena SWAN Bronze accreditation?
  • What does ‘external support scaffolding’ look like? Can/should we provide it?
  • What are the precedents? eg. getting a researcher when you come back from mat leave. Case study for part time work…If something’s offered at another like University/College/ department, you might be able to use that as leverage at yours.
  • In what ways can the Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies stimulate and promote momentum in the areas of feminist and minority voices at the UD?
  • What are the vision and mission statements of the UD?

Our Vision

Together we empower our learning community to address the issues of the contemporary world through critical engagement with Christian theological traditions.

Our Mission

We fulfil our vision through:

  • excellence in learning, teaching, and research;
  • growth of our resources and capacity; and
  • engagement with the churches and community in Australia and internationally.

Vision, Mission, Strategy

Thoughts on crucifixion by a doctor – it’s not the nails that kill you but exposure.
Thoughts on crucifixion by a woman whose husband has a brain tumour.
Thoughts on crucifixion by a poet. “A king who dies on the cross must be the king of a rather strange kingdom. Only those who understand the profound paradox of the cross can also understand the whole meaning of Jesus’ assertion: my kingdom is not of this world”.  (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
Thoughts on crucifixion by a friend…

A gorgeous mix of piano, story and spoken word poetry at the Maundy Thursday service at Fairfield Uniting Church making an old story new. They had me at Mary Oliver.

The lights are extinguished one by one until all light is gone, but hope is not. We carry it with us.

lit white candle maundy thursday itellyouarise