Tag Archive: truth


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

Photos from the Melbourne Climate strike 20 September 2019 and an excerpt from the Common Grace  2019 Season of Creation series: Rallying for God’s Beautiful Earth

Rallying for God’s Beautiful Earth

Week 4 – Cosmos

Tau’alofa Anga’aelangi is a Uniting Church minister and supply chaplain for Christian Students Uniting at Macquarie University. Tau’alofa challenges us to repent of our sense of separation from the Fonua, and to reconnect with the Earth family. Rally with her on Sept 20

My name is Tau’alofa Anga’aelangi, I come from the island of Holonga Vava’u, Holopeka, Koulo, Ha’apai and Vai-Ko-Puna, Pea, Tongatapu. In Tonga, when a person is introducing themselves to others through formal or everyday interaction there’s often an expectation to include the name of their fonua. This is not only to identify their place of origin. In fact, to include fonua in ones speech on Tonga and many other islands, is to trace family lineages, locate where your umbilical cord was buried, because that is the place where you and the rest of your family are rooted.

Because the fonua is the womb, the place from where you entered into the world and also the fonua is the whole earth community. In this sense it is the fonua who gives birth to the human: in your mother’s fonua you were nurtured, it is a part of you, and you are part of the fonua. The gravesite is also called fonua loto, meaning the centre of the fonua. This means someone entering through the fonua of their mother, and departing into the fonua loto. Therefore, in Tongan tradition, when we introduce ourselves and identify our fonua, it means we do not exist as individuals with the fonua. As a matter of fact we the people are the Fonua and the Fonua is a part of us.

The current protest of the native people of Hawaii to save the most sacred site of mount Mauna Kea from the construction of a thirty-meter telescope is a repercussion of the appalling ignorance of one’s relationship to land and people. Mauna Kea in Hawaiian tradition is the umbilical cord that connects Hawaii to the heavens and connects humans to land.

The Hawaiian educator, and nationalist Prof Haunani-Kay Trask says:

“Our story remains unwritten. It rests within the culture, which is inseparable from the land. To know this is to know our history. To write this is to write of the land and the people who are born from her.” (Trask, 1999).

Like the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders of Australia, the Hawaiian people have a long history of fighting for the sovereignty of their land.

One of the major issues is the profit driven tourism industry whose main objective is to transform land into revenues. Haunani Trask argues that major corporations together with elite political parties “collaborate in the rape of Native land and people (…) the prostitution of Hawaiian culture.” (Trask, 1999)

The views of the people of Hawaii concerning the oneness of human beings and the land is not foreign to the natives of the South Pacific.

Land is more than the soil that we walk on. It is not just ground on which we establish ourselves with a beautiful home, a hotel, mansion or a telescope.

The word to describe land in most parts of the South Pacific correlates our islands with one another. While westerners have tended to view our islands as small, undeveloped and isolated, in fact we in Pasifika are surrounded and connected by the vast ocean as well as our humanity, history, language and so on.

Fonua as mother, womb and nurturer.

In accordance with our connectedness by ocean, we share common values and beliefs towards the land.

We say fonua in Tonga. Samoans say fanua, and Fijians say Vanua. On other islands, land is Whenua (New Zealand), Fenua (Tahiti), Kainga (Kiribas), ‘Āina (Hawaii) and so on. Despite the slight differences in its meaning and pronunciation, our common belief about our relationship to fonua anchors our identity together as the people of Oceania.

There is a feminine aspect on the meaning of fonua, which means not only land, but womb. “Polynesians to this day honour the fonua as a womb from which new life springs.” (Halapua, 2008).

In Tongan tradition, when the umbilical cord (pito in Tongan) of a newborn is detached it is an important rite for it to be buried. The ritual is to symbolise the deep connection and relationship of one to the land of their birth. Hoiore makes the point: “For as the infant was attached and nourished through the pito in his/her mothers womb, so also the child is attached to the land and all life from it.” Native Hawaiians have also been known to bury their umbilical cords on the mountain Mauna Kea as a way of connecting themselves back to the sacred land.

Every human’s wellbeing springs out of what the land produces, whether we acknowledge that or not. We are part of the land and the land is us,

“it is the Oceanic understanding that we do not own the ocean or the sea, we are owned by them.” (Halapua, 2008, p. 7).

Since, we all lived in the womb of our mothers we were nourished and protected by the fonua. This makes us connected to and inseparable from it, and indeed the whole family of creation. If she is hurt or disrespected it affects every one of her children.

A poem

Fakatapu kihe tolutaha’i ‘Otua ‘oku ‘afio ‘ihotau lotolotonga,

Fakatapu ki he kakai ‘oe Eora nation moe kelekele tapu ‘oku tau fetaulaki ai he ‘ahoni. Kae ‘atā moau ke u fakamalumalu atu ‘i he talamalu ‘o e fonuaˊ keu fai atu ha vahevahe he ‘aho kolo’ia koeni ‘I Saione.

You knew me, before You formed me in my mother’s Fonua,

Through the pito, You, nurtured and nourished me, with all that sprouts from the fonua, it was I,

I who didn’t realise…

You are my mother,

You are the Fonua,

You are the Giver of life,

But it was I, I who did not realise…

Thousands of years ago, You led my ancestors to set sail across the world into the deep blue seas of the South Pacific.

You paddled, with them through the fluidity and its powerful forces it was there,

they first encountered You, the Moana, the Ocean.

I took a sip of my disposable coffee cup, and tossed it into the ocean,

She spits it out, And says:

Do you not remember? It was I who taught your ancestors,

how to read the stars, feel the warmth and coolness of the sea,

I am the moana your mother, I am sacred, My waves are embracing they ripple to bring you all together, you are my family,

Your tears fell into the saltiness of the Moana,

It lamented together with the community with the community’s

Known to us as the canaries of climate change,

But it was I, I who did not realise…

You graced our island and people with the gift of hospitality,

The grace and bonding between humanity and nature.

That bonding is a relationship we call the tauhi Vā or reciprocity.

The space you and I symbolised as a connection that is sacred and it is to be reciprocated,

I look to the narrow interpretations of the Holy book, it said,

Humanity is superior to nature, trees, water and animals shall serve you human creatures.

The Moana, fonua, animals, water and all of creation groaned her pain,

From the sins of anthropocentrism,

They all lamented together with their Creator.

She said, they said: Do you not remember the bonding I made with your ancestors in the fonua and the moana…

I formed you, nurtured you, protected you, taught you how to read, I graced you with hospitality, created a relationship between you and all creation…

It was I, I who did not realise…

Your change of heart for I, is not the change of heart I think about,

As if you’re a God whos wrath needs to turn into love and compassion

But rather love and compassion is already within you alone, for you are the source of all these things.

You bring us into a Settlement of wholeness and restoration.

As I go from here today, I will embrace the land fonua, ocean-moana, my relationship- the tauhi Vā all that you’ve created as a part of me and I am a part of them.

Amen.

Submissions to the Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies call for papers are due tomorrow and the words for the theme play over in my brain, “Power, Authority, Love: Write, Rite, Right”.

I’m not great at drawing but this sketch came to me this morning… my first attempt at icon arrives as an Eve figure with attitude.

She’s not taking any of your crap or blame and she hates it when people say: “I’ve never thought about it like that before” in a condescending tone as if a woman doing theology was as much a marvel, or as clever, as a dog learning to rollover. She is smart, she is strong, she sees right through you and in her deep well of silent appraisal is your sinking self-awareness. Check it – those earring are available from Haus Of Dizzy.

I have healing hands

hands touching colourful crotchet balnket talitha fraser nz poet

I have healing hands
did you know?
They heal when I hold you,
they heal when I reach out for you.
They heal, these hands;
hole, hold, whole
They heal, these hands
when you hold them.

Talitha Fraser

Equal voices Conference Melbourne October 2018 banner

There are lots of things I could write about the Equal Voices conference.  The conference covered a lot of topics and held space for a diversity of expression and experience of intersection of gender, sexuality and Christianity. Particularly powerful over the weekend were vignettes shared by ordinary people at the start of main sessions… framing, contextualising and grounding everything else. Five minutes to canvas their story and be heard.   Five vulnerable and incredibly courageous minutes.

Theirs are not my story to tell.

If you have 5 minutes to spare reading on this topic, here’s what I’ll say and pay attention because this is important.

I found myself feeling righteous anger listening to some people’s stories and some people’s sessions. Sometimes family, ministers, friends, society… say incredibly insensitive and wounding things. Sometimes this is by accident but sometimes it’s on purpose.

I realised that I, the ally, was getting angry but that other attendees and participants were not and once I noticed this I found someone to ask about it. Their answer went something like this: “Oh, I used to get angry, I used to try and explain, I used to try and work on change that relationship for that person to accept me but I don’t do that now. I’m tired. There’s just a few people I worry about, like my Mum, and everyone else I just don’t care.”

 I didn’t survey the room. This community of people were already processing a lot this weekend but take a moment to scale that up… it’s not that this person doesn’t care, it’s that they care too much, so it’s a personal cost they bear everytime they have to defend their Being to someone they expected to love them. They are resigned to it.

If you have someone in your life right now who is vulnerably, courageously, sincerely and repeatedly trying to explain something to you about their gender identity or sexuality, TUNE IN. They care about your opinion, they care about their relationship with you and  they are trying to share their life with you. They are trying to share their Self with you.

Do not think that silence is compliance, that silence is agreement, that silence is you winning…

…it’s more likely that in that silence that person is making a very difficult choice about whether they can afford the capacity to be around you anymore, to explain anymore, to give you 5 minutes anymore. Maybe in that 5 minutes, you lost. You lost them.

5 minutes.

A lot can change in 5 minutes.

Someone can cut you out of their life in 5 minutes. Someone can take their life in 5 minutes.
In 5 minutes, someone can share their Self with you. Maybe you hear a story told in someone elses voice at a conference and for the first time hear your own and you know you’re not alone.

Equal voices Conference October 2018 banner

Deep, deep thanks to the Equal Voices Melbourne organisers and all you vulnerable and courageous storytellers… especially the ones whose stories we haven’t heard. Be assured, we want to meet You.

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

Highlights from the Institute for Spiritual Studies Spring Symposium  – 22 September 2018 at St Peter’s, Eastern Hill.

 

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice”

– Martin Luther King Jr, Letter from a Birmingham Jail

 

Rod Bower Institute for Spiritual Studies 2018

The church is seen as in collusion with the state to uphold ‘order’, but order cannot triumph over justice.
– Rod Bower

 

Robin Whittaker Institute for Spiritual Studies 2018

Coptic Christians in Egypt prevented from practicing their faith, being caught with a bible in North Korea and being sent to a work camp… these Christians are being persecuted. In Australia, Christians are not being persecuted. In fact, those identifying as LGBTIQ+ experience more violence and more harm for their beliefs, noting of course that those are not discrete groups. Some of those who spoke up within conservative Christian organisations did lose their jobs during the plebiscite. The persecution for beliefs was occurring within the Church.

– Robin Whittaker

 

We have freedom of belief and manifest those beliefs as actions. Our actions might conflict with someone else’s.  It comes down to our idea of God.  Or that question: “What would Jesus do?” God offers us relational freedom.  We are each of us free to choose God or not. If we choose yes, that belief is relational. Our belief requires a relationship with God but also with and between other people. Whether they believe what you do or not. The same freedom offered to us, freedom from power and sin and death, we should offer to others. It’s freedom for justice and for all humanity.

– Robin Whittaker

 

God is revealed at the point we give up our power and give up our position.  We should care more about that…  align with the powerless.

– Robin Whittaker

 

PANEL Q&A: Christianity in the Public Sphere

Q&A panel Institute for Spiritual Studies 2018

We carry the Christian message in how we think. It doesn’t need to be explicitly “Christian” eg. instead of using the term ‘good stewardship’ you might say ‘responsible use of resources’… same thing, different language.

– Stephen Duckett

 

Any metric needs the context of the values you are trying to promote. Christians in the public domain need to argue ALWAYS that economics is not the only metric that should be used as measure.

– Stephen Duckett

 

All theology is political e.g. gender… Our theology will inform down the line… ethics, values, school curriculum.  Our theology has to be right and we have to be able to critique and correct what it means.

– Robin Whittaker

 

Question: I assume the panel share values. But what about Christianity’s values on asylum seekers, LGBTIQ+… Christians are finding ourselves on opposite sides. Yet asking for privilege on the basis of Christian faith… but don’t we hold fundamental Christian truths in common?

What are the first order theological claims?
Perhaps the Trinity, Jesus… second-order… transfiguration.
Christians have always been on opposite sides.
Conservative voices speak loudest.
Things not first-order have been made first order…
a test case for whether you’re a Christian…
goes back to Paul on circumcision,
a battle for the heart of Christianity.

– Robin Whittaker

There are some issues where those of us on the panel probably believe differently. Identity politics and virtue signalling happen on both sides of every debate. we need to be able to handle difference and have conversations about them, not make a shibboleth out of them, make them tribal distinctions.  Tone and posture are critical for engagement to be possible.

– Gordon Preece

 

Question: The church seem to speak when they should shut up and are silent when they should speak up… why is the institutional church self-marginalising in society and against the will of God?

It’s that dance between order and justice and how these things dance with one another.  I’d like to be where the UCA got. To live and stay together as loving and gracious human beings. I hope Anglicans could get to that point. It models to the world hope that we can live together as people who can disagree.

– Rod Bower

 

 

Reaching for Mercy Greenbelt 2018 Proost Talitha Fraser

“Here is poetry arising from the beautiful souls of poets you have passed on the street, never knowing they carried words that must be spoken… the poems are at times angry howls of protest or cries of lament, at other times they are saturated with hope.”

What makes a poem spiritual/Christian and therefore worthy of inclusion in this anthology? This is not an easy question to answer, at least in part because poetic spirituality is not a familiar part of our dominant religious culture. I have found it helpful to read the poetry written by the Sufi poets- Attar, Rumi, Sanai etc. They write poems that are not about instruction or impartation of theological truth (although they might achieve both) neither are they always about ‘God’ at all- rather they are written by people seeking truth, beauty and honesty. Sometimes they tip over into mysticism, as if what they are writing has gone beyond even their own understanding. Poetry like this creates open spaces for our spirituality to adventure; we feel it as much as we understand it…we just ‘know’ it when we read it. The poem soars inside us.

…So here we are. The starting page of a new book. A book full of people reaching for mercy.

Chris Goan

It has been a privilege over the past year to work with Chris Goan the curator of Proosts’ Poetry Collection Vol. 2 “Reaching for Mercy” and to travel to the UK for it’s launch at the Greenbelt Festival. Chris has a way of seeing people and holding space for how they see the world that’s captured and collated in this lovely collection by 8 editors and over a 100 contributors from all over the world… it’s not just “pretty” poetry, it’s protest too. Across all the themes: truth, wild, resisting, lament, hope, post truth, everyone is welcome, whole… there is a poignant paradox of sure hope and disbelieving grief in responding to the way the world is.  I think this collection speaks to our times. I hope it speaks to you.

 

Our model at events is to read one of our own poems and one by another contributor as a way of bringing that broader community of beautiful ordinary souls together. These are the pieces I read at Greenbelt…

God, did you see the news today?

God, did you see the news today?
We’re killing one another.
We’re killing in places killing has gone on so long we don’t know how to stop…
We’re killing next door.
We’re killing one another.

God, did you see the news today?
We’re laying waste to the world
to consume, consume, consume
an appetite “stuff” cannot sate.
Our elders know. Our elders tell us.
We ignore their wisdom.

God, did you see the news today?
People are saying hateful, hurtful things
what is right, what is wrong
what is holy, what is profane
…as if we know. As if we could know.

God, did you see the news today?
Were you there when we turned the boats away?
We are denying people food, electricity, sanitation, shelter, medical care…
We are denying people their basic human rights.

People are grieved and weary.
Longing for a world that is different
but not knowing where to start.
Not knowing how to start.
All victims, variously blind.

I’m not pointing fingers, I’m raising my hand.
I need Your help. We need Your help.

Amen.

 

And I was also very proud to read this piece written by my sister Abby. It felt significant to feel like I was representing some voice of Australia and New Zealand all the way around the world. It includes language and it includes my family. It speaks to home, belonging and identity… thanks for your work and words Mana Wahine… x

 

My Truth belongs to me
Abby Wendy

My Truth belongs to me. I will hold it tight, hold it close.
I will bury it deep.
My truth is a tūrangawaewae for the roots of my heart.
I will water it.
My truth is a nesting place for my wairua.

My truth is reflected in ten thousand random moments.
I am shining like the sun in the secret power of my own unique truth.

My truth requires no scientific proof – I believe it.
My truth requires no majority support – I believe it.

If I whisper my truth in your ear, will you stand with me? Would you trample the roots of my heart, buried deep, in my sacred place of belonging? Where will my spirit rest, if my truth becomes ash?

I will hold it tight, hold it close.
I will bury it deep.
My Truth belongs to me.

 



Copies of this book are available from Proost, if you know me it might be worth waiting as I’ll likely do a bulk order to Australia and you can get one from me directly if that’s easier… If you haven’t heard of it, Proost is a small publishing outlet aimed at gathering together resources from the creative edges of Church. Proost have lots of interesting stuff on their site – animations, songs, Easter and Advent resources, books… so have a look around while you’re there!

war memorial footscray lest we forget avenue of honour ANZAC Day 2018

This ANZAC day as we remember those who lost their lives in WW1 and WW2 we also acknowledge all of those who lost their lives in the Frontier Wars.

We acknowledge people of the Kulin Nation stalked game, collected food and fished along the river junctions, estuaries, oceans, swamps and lagoons of this place since time immemorial. They met, raised families, shared songs and stories.  We acknowledge this way of life was interrupted during white settlement and that this country was the scene of conflicts between the Kulin Nation people and the European colonisers.

You won’t see any war memorials depicting the Frontier Wars. When Aboriginal people mourn the loss of a family member they follow Aboriginal death ceremonies, or ‘sorry business’. It is believed that when a person dies, their spirit goes back to the Dreaming Ancestors in the land if the correct ceremonies rituals are conducted.  The tradition not to depict dead people or voice their (first) names is very old  – traditional law across Australia said that a dead person’s name could not be said because you would recall and disturb their spirit. After the invasion this law was adapted to images as well.

Aunty Margaret Parker from the Punjima people in north-west Western Australia describes what happens in an Aboriginal community when someone dies.

“…when we have someone passed away in our families and not even our own close families, the family belongs to us all, you know. The whole community gets together and shares that sorrow within the whole communityWe have to cry, in sorrow, share our grief by crying and that’s how we break that [grief], by sharing together as a community.

If you are interested in thinking further on this subject more you might visit NGV’s “Colony: Frontier Wars” exhibition on until 15 July 2018 or  read Richard Flanagan’s recent Press Club speech online. As we remember the grief of those lives lost in wars today the following poem by indigenous artist Zelda Quakaroot, from Mackay, Queensland might be a way to share our grief as a community. This poem was inspired by AFL player Adam Goodes, on the subject of war it may not be that “our voices have been heard” yet but we can be grateful for the space to hold grief as a community today for the fallen in war – named and unnamed.

 

STAND STRONG

Our ancestors spirits
Are here…
Respect never retires
Stand up
We’ve marched
Our voices have been heard;
Stand here
Where we belong
Stand altogether
With our passionate hearts
For respect
We all stand strong.

Sources: Wikipedia and Creative Spirits


 

I know nothing about anything.  I just need to get that out there. I make some presumptive connections above about why there might not be indigenous war memorials and sort of appropriate the “unnamed soldier” for my own poetic ends… The most I have heard about the Frontier Wars was on Monday at the Indigenous Hospitality House‘s Learning Circle.  I’m a you-have-to-start-somewhere kind of person and the second step in acknowledging you know nothing about something is to say: Why don’t I know about this? How can I find out more?  The above is a very hastily cobbled together poster I made very late last night… it didn’t arise out of any wisdom or stakeholder consultation (I’m sorry for that), it didn’t even get spell checked (crap!) it arose out of a deep sense of conviction that I should know more about what I know nothing about and wanting to give hands and feet to that commitment urgently.  Richard Flanagan’s Press Club speech is so pertinent to our times I wish everyone in Australia would read it.

In the meantime… I did a little morning vigil of my own putting these up in Footscray’s Memorial Park and on the Avenue of Honour plinth because I want to see Frontier Wars become part of the conversation… I want to have the conversation… and I can’t get to Canberra for the Frontier Wars March.

 

Squatter Henry Meyrick wrote in a letter home to his relatives in England in 1846:
The blacks are very quiet here now, poor wretches. No wild beast of the forest was ever hunted down with such unsparing perseverance as they are. Men, women and children are shot whenever they can be met with … I have protested against it at every station I have been in Gippsland, in the strongest language, but these things are kept very secret as the penalty would certainly be hanging … For myself, if I caught a black actually killing my sheep, I would shoot him with as little remorse as I would a wild dog, but no consideration on earth would induce me to ride into a camp and fire on them indiscriminately, as is the custom whenever the smoke is seen. They [the Aborigines] will very shortly be extinct. It is impossible to say how many have been shot, but I am convinced that not less than 450 have been murdered altogether.[2]     Source

Please see also Lyndall Ryan‘s interactive (partially completed) massacre map for violence near you…

 

What are war memorials for by the way… Remembering? Honouring? Celebrating? Prayer? Prevention? Cure? Should they be educational so that understanding the horror of war we might be dissuaded from ever participating in them by being transparent about the cost of war and violence – personal and political? Should they advocate for alternate and non-violent approaches? Make connections to waves of migration and refugees?

Ironically, the only one at Footscray’s war memorials this morning was me.  There are no flowers or wreaths, no events, no mourners although I saw a few folks in uniform heading for the local RSL.  The memorial has had a revamp recently, the Australian Government is commiting a lot to doing them up in upcoming years on top of the $100 million spent on a new museum in France, apparently there are a total 5-6 Frontier War memorials in all of Australia, maybe we could get a new museum here on country?

I confess I don’t feel as much as I think I should, I have ringing in my head the chorus “Lest We Forget” but we cannot remember what we do not know, how selective are the stories we’re being taught? And I wonder… have I forgotten what I’m supposed to remember?

What are we forgetting?
What are we remembering?

war memorial footscray lest we forget avenue of honour ANZAC Day 2018war memorial footscray lest we forget avenue of honour ANZAC Day 2018

I read some of the plaques at the memorial garden overlooking the Maribyrnong river and the racecourse.  The catch-cry of the funding appeal for planting the Avenue of Honour back in the day was that the memorial would be “…dedicated to citizens who fell in ANY war in which Australia has been engaged.” Could this language create space for remembering lives lost in the Frontier Wars?  One plaque quotes the widow of Private GF Blake of Footscray from an In Memoriam message in The Age ‘Each day I miss his footsteps/As I walk through life alone‘.  Walking is evocative language in this country, what learned wisdom about following in our elders first footprints and following songlines have to teach us about grief? What symbolism might we share of trails that end unexpectedly, or songs that are lost before they can be passed on, can we learn from?

Don’t forget to remember.   Let’s keep talking about what that means.

 

poster australian collaborators in feminist theologies the state of feminist biblical scholarship

The title of the upcoming Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies network event poses this exact question and I wonder… less postgrads, less promotion, less published – where are the female-centric stories and who is telling them?

I want to get to hear about the Nuns (Adorers of the Blood of Christ, environmental protectors and activists) blocking the Standing Rock gas pipeline development. I want to hear more about Teresa Lee, Emily Wood, Leonnie Wickenden, and Abigail Benham-Bannon – Christian women getting arrested for Love Makes a Way for their belief in, and support of, the rights of asylum seekers arriving by sea. I want to hear more about Aunty Sharyn, an Indigenous Christian leader from Brisbane, called to a vocation rising out of her personal experience who has started up B’ira Women’s Ministry – a significant community ministry addressing domestic violence and sexual abuse in Indigenous communities. I want to hear more because I do not doubt that there is a strong biblical theology that underpins the choices of these women to put themselves in the way and turn out fear for their faith.

Bir’a is Wakka Wakka Language for ‘High Spirit’ and is all about when ‘Women meet Jesus’. Bir’a run yarning circles – providing a safe space to talk through grief, trauma, healing and relationships and do art therapy for when women can’t find, or just don’t have, the words to describe what has happened to them.

Hearing about this ministry I was put in mind of the women in Mark (5:21-43).  Jesus is walking along with his disciples and a leader of the Synagogue comes along asking for healing for his daughter who is unwell. Jesus agrees to come, yet along the way a bleeding woman who, against all purity codes, reaches out to touch a Jewish man in the desperation and hope of being healed. This woman reaches out for and takes what will heal her.  v.29 “Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.” but v.33-34 goes on to say  “the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth”.  He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”  She had already been healed of the physical symptoms (v.29), this second healing aims to address the mental stress of what the disease had cost: exclusion from temple which was a central part of life; if she had a husband perhaps he left – not being able to touch what she had touched or share intimacy; perhaps people worried they might catch the disease; or perhaps the priests tried various means and methods of cleansing or praying out demons… what isolation and exclusion had this woman known over these 12 years?  How long does it take to pour out this tale of grief, fear and loneliness?  Long enough for the Synagogue leaders daughter to die – does one persons healing come at the cost of another’s? No.  Jesus goes on to ‘wake’ her.

What part do women’s truth and storytelling have to play in our healing – personal, family, community, political…? We need times and spaces to hear truth, we need to be willing to tell our whole truth, we need to be willing to listen to others’.

Lydia Wylie-Kellerman reminds us “Telling stories is an act of resistance. It is part of discipleship. It is movement work. Stories are provocative and powerful while at the same time nourishing. They hold us. They remind us who we are. They help us know who we want to become.”

We need learn from the wisdom of women’s ways of knowing. We need to learn from the wisdom of women’s encounters with Spirit, Christ, God and what calls them to move. The powerful experiences, perspectives and stories of women have much to teach us and we need to pay attention. Thirty years on from Phyllis Trible’s pioneering Christian feminist perspective to biblical scholarship (Texts of terror, 1984), the upcoming conference pauses to reflect on the current state of feminist scholarship, mythological issues and texts that continue to terrorise.  Issues worth thinking about for all those students, researchers, ministers, faithful, knowing women contributing now, and emerging, to remind us who we are and who we want to become.

You are invited.


The State of Feminist Biblical Scholarship – Where are we now?

Friday 11 May, 2018
9.30am–5.00pm

Location:
Centre for Theology and Ministry
29 College Crescent, Parkville VIC 3052

Cost:
$40.00 waged / $20.00 unwaged
includes a catered lunch and snacks

Bookings:
www.trybooking.com/366028

you know more than you think you do