What (or Who) We Talk About When We Talk About God

When I glibly thought "I know, we'll spend an evening talking about God!" I hadn't really quite reckoned with what a complex topic it is. I blame CPE brain. So it was a bit of a dense evening, but makes some basic theological and philosophical points that could usefully be made before talking much about God at all. And it drew out some good questions, which we will use for future evenigs. So, on the whole, it was a good evening. 

 

The Creation of Adam, by Michelangelo

Baptism and Identity

Right before Jesus heads off to the wilderness, he is baptised and hears God's affirmation: "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." But what does this mean for our identity as baptised persons? This session follows the first chapter of Rowan Williams' excellent book Being Christian

 

Baptism of Christ

Salt and Light - Matthew 5:13-20

Salt that loses its saltiness? Cities on hills? Lamps? What on earth is Jesus talking about - and what could it possibly mean to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees? A Cafechurch session from 7/2/2016

Ancient lamp

Hate and Love

Jesus said, shockingly, "‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26.)

What are we to make of these strange, paradoxical words? One way into it is to take a look at what Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said about the three modes of life - the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious.

While not wanting to domesticate these strange words, we can perhaps get a better insight into what they might mean for us today.

Generosity

In the build up to Spiritus et Locus this year, we thought it might be worth while to spend some time thinking about the topic of generosity. When I (Alister) was toying with the idea, the Scriptural text which struck me was the story of the loaves and fishes. It's all about generosity - God's generosity (enough to go around and to spare.) It defines the sort of place the Kingdom of God is - where the hungry are of course fed.

On Being a Contemplative in Action

So a couple of weeks ago we had a radical break with tradition, and I (Alister) delivered a talk about the story of Jesus, Mary and Martha. It was based on a sermon I preached at Wesley Church in Melbourne on the 17th of July. We don't usually do that, but it made for an interesting change. Here's an excerpt

What Is The Gospel?

A week or so ago at vicar school we were asked to summarize the gospel in a sentence. I thought this was such an interesting exercise that I decided to inflict it on Cafechurch people.

It's hard to explain something as simple as soccer in a few minutes. How much harder to summarize the Gospel! In this presentation we watch a cool dude with a traditional message, and then think about the pros and cons of both his presentation, and the theology underlying it.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

The slides from a Cafechurch study on the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32). We talked about sin, grace, and forgiveness, looking at John Newton (composer of Amazing Grace) and Jung's concept of the shadow - once we can look compassionately on our sin, we are better able to stop projecting it on everyone else.

Uploaded 10/3/2016

Figtrees and Repentance (Luke 13: 1-9)

Luke 13:1-9

At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.’

Humility and the Limitations of Success

Humility - it's a funny old concept in our culture. We juxtapose Jesus' purifying the temple with his suprising claim to be humble. What does that tell us about what humility really is, and what it means for success?

This was Alister's Cafechurch session on 10/3/2015

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