Alister's Blog

If you are interested in reading more about Cafehchurch-y stuff, you might find our pastor Alister's blog interesting. Rather unimaginatively, it is at alisterpate.com

He is particularly proud of

Alister in Krakow back in 2011

Cafechurch, Faith, and Mystery

In a segment filmed for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN channel, author Brene Brown reflects on why she left the Roman Catholic faith of her youth, and how she has found herself back in the Episcopal church.

One of the key points she makes is that she originally “fell in love with the faith and the mystery piece.” However, over time her experience of church, “became less about faith and mystery, and more about politics and certainty.”

The Gospel and the Anxiety of Choice

What is the Good News in our context? There's a theory, originating from Paul Tillich, that the basic problem for Christians of the Classical Age was the anxiety of death and fate, to which the answer was Christus Victor, leading captivity captive. For medieval and early modern people it was the anxiety of guilt and judgement, powerfully expressed by Luther in his quest for a gracious God. But what is the specific issue of our time and place? Is it meaninglessness? Or is it anxiety?

The Resurrection and the Meaningless Universe

What is the fundamental problem – the underlying anxiety – facing humanity in contemporary culture? That’s the question the church needs to ask, in order to see how the Resurrection of Jesus speaks deeply to us. Following J D Hall (especially in The Cross in Our Context), in this session argues that the fundamental problem confronting our culture is not the anxiety of guilt and shame so powerfully addressed by salvation theories that revolve around substitution. He argues that the real issue in our world is:

How Can We Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus?

Some nights, Cafechurch gets philosophical. Alister's first degree was in philosophy, and it's hard to break early formation! What follows is a pretty dry summary. the actual evening was much more interesting, and conversational, than you might think. For a slightly more narrative, less explicitly philosophical take on this, you might enjoy a sermon I preached at Easter - Practice Resurrection

Resurrection, Luca Giordano, 1665

Practice Resurrection

On Tuesday morning Australian Time we woke up to shocking news. Notre Dame Cathedral was on fire. For a while it looked as though the whole thing was about to collapse into complete ruins, or that the amazing medieval rose windows and great organ would be destroyed. Thousands watched, cried, and sang as the central spire came crashing down and red fire bloomed into the night sky. Heroism, and great organisation prevented the worst from happening, but the cold, blackened embers of the roof, and the huge amount of damage, serve as a reminder of how fragile things are.

Deconstruct / Reconstruct

In the second half of 2019, we are going to have our second go at our new four week course called deconstruct / reconstruct. Alister is blogging about it here. A lot of our members have come out of big Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches over the years, and our aim is to take what we have learned about that journey as a community and look at some tools which can help you build a generously orthodox faith which works.

Spiritual Growth

Is spiritual growth more like climbing a ladder or like being a plant? A lot of us have come from churches where a linear model of spiritual ascent was more or less explicitly at work. As well as being a human-centric ego project, it is a profoundly un-scriptural way of looking at spiritual growth. Rather than think of the spiritual life as a sort of ladder to heaven, Scripture is full of images of growth and fruitfulness. To grow spiritually, to bear fruit, is to be much more like a tree than a ladder.

Anne's session from 5/3/19 explores this idea more thoroughly

The Baptism of Jesus

Have you ever wondered why Jesus got baptised, given that he was without sin? In this presentation we explore three different levels of meaning in Baptism, which suggests an answer to that question.

The presentation draws on Rowan Williams' excellent little book Being Christian.

Making Good Decisions Part 3

The Ignatian tradition of Christian spirituality is a wonderful resource for making decisions when we want to collaborate with God's redemptive work in the world.

In this presentation from 13/11/2018, Anne talks us through it. It's easy to talk about "discernment", but what does it actually look like in practical terms?

There is also a document -"Prayer Exercises using Reason and Active Imagination" - which will give you some powerful tools to use for prayerful decision making.

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