doubt Tag

Did you know 2016 was pre-named 'The Year of Mercy'?  I'm not sure who bestowed this title or what it inspired or even how we indeed review it.   But a cursory glance at the news - local, nation or international you could easily conclude that nothing much has changed.   The world is still tired and frayed at the edges.  Good news still travels much slower than a sensational news headline.  And peace for so much of the earth is still...

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  Over the past five weeks I have been writing somewhat of an extended book review of Henri Nouwen's 'The Return of the Prodigal Son - A Story of Homecoming'.  Through it I have explored the story Jesus told in Luke 15 and Rembrandt van Rijn's depiction of the story's human landscape. At the risk of spoiling Nouwen's conclusion, or worse, not being able to do it justice, I offer my own reflection on what I've...

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  This week I continue dwelling on the story of the prodigal son. This parable of Jesus is the third part of a trilogy found in Luke chapter 15. I have had two companions on my journey: artist Rembrandt van Rijn and priest/writer, Henri Nouwen.  Both have meditated long on this story and both share considerable spiritual insight on what they have found. So it is with more than a little hesitation that I follow them...

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  I have started reading Henri Nouwen's 'The Return of the Prodigal Son- A Story of Homecoming' (1992). I have not moved past the prologue.  It documents the beginning of Nouwen's fascination with Rembrandt van Rijn's painting 'The Return of the Prodigal Son' and how the painting became so spiritually significant to him. I was intrigued that although Nouwen describes the embrace of the Father as central to the painting, he is quick to point out the...

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  Sometimes the right word will carry a whole lot of weight. It will cut right to the heart of the matter. For me, one such word is surely.  It is a word for light in dark times; a word that forms a hinge in prayer, turning the pray-er toward God. Two of the Lectionary texts this week involve dark and uncertain places for real people. Jesus prays for his disciples around the table before he is...

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A couple of weekends ago, I led the music at a weekend long conference led by Jackie Pullinger in Tauranga. If you haven't heard of Jackie, like I hadn't, she has spent the last 47 years working with the drug addicts and prostitutes in Hong Kong, helping them to live the life of a beloved child of God. It's a powerful story. She wrote a book called, 'Chasing the Dragon' if you want to learn...

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Why did Jesus have to die? Why couldn't God just forgive? Part three Jesus had to die to show us the truth of where our version of life was heading, and what it was doing to ourselves, to one another and to God. God couldn't 'just forgive' us because forgiveness requires an acknowledgement of the wrong and the damage that has been done to the victim. And here we see that God is the victim (Ps 51:4). Jesus...

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Why did Jesus have to die? Why couldn't God just forgive? Part One I must confess, this is a question I have struggled with for most of the last ten years. Its actually a little awkward to admit, but if you look at my albums (which you can here and here) you won’t find a single song about the cross there. I mean it crops up in songs like 'One Voice', 'May we grow' and 'Break the...

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Last Sunday the lectionary gospel reading was Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4. I was reading a book by Mark Chapman, a minister up the road in Clevedon - writing on Jesus' call to the disciples, 'Come and I will make you fishers of men.' Mark reinterpreted that to speak about 'fishing in deep waters' for those 'out of their depths.' He wrote about our eagerness to stay in the shallows, and Jesus' eagerness to take...

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