Courage in the deluge
After a chance meeting of mutual friends, I was introduced to Tim and Sonia in a restaurant in central Toowoomba, Queensland, eight days before their home was washed away.
As a believer—for present purposes, defined simply as one who believes—I have often wondered what and how I would believe differently had I been born into a family and culture with different beliefs. Obviously, I believe what I believe because I believe it to include truth, but would I have believed in this same truth if I had not been raised and taught...
Called to attention
We live in a world in which the news is far more pervasive than the events it reports. An event happens in one place but is almost instantly repeated and echoed in millions more. And while the event might be shocking, tragic or horrifying, a wider and sometimes greater toll is exacted by its reportage, by the slow-motion replays, by the breathless punditry...
The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is the oldest continuously-used church building in the world. It dates from the fourth century, when Roman Emperor Constantine’s mother visited the Holy Lands to identify locations from the life of Jesus for pilgrimage destinations and church sites. From a distance, the point of entry to the church is not obvious, particularly when the area is...
When I was at high school, I played basketball a lot—most days at school, then team training sessions and often two or three games each week. At university, I played on the best team I have been part of. We trained and competed regularly over two years, and twice won our league championship.
The unlikely story behind a blockbuster
In one sense, it was hardly an unusual story: a big-budget Hollywood war movie with a big-name director and famous actors, featuring long and ultra-violent action sequences, with heroes and enemies.
The hope of God’s judgement
To be able to see our world and life through the experiences of someone of a different culture and background is rare. It is a gift—but it can also be a jolt to our sensibilities and assumptions. The world we thought we knew can look very different through someone else’s eyes. This is one reason storytelling can be such a powerful form of...
On a number of occasions during his writing life, Nobel Prize winner and author Elie Wiesel tried to re-tell the story of a profound experience he’d had as a young boy in the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. He wrote a play, a novel, and even a cantata to try to re-create his memory of this event, each of which remained unpublished. Finally,...
Living a resurrection life
In February 2008, English theologian NT Wright made headlines—at least on the website of Time magazine, among others—with comments associated with the launch of his book, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church.
An ordinary wooden chair is a metaphor that’s often used to talk about the key dynamics of faith. But it’s worth exploring further. Perhaps we could describe this as a process of developing the theory of a chair.
I generally don’t like going to funerals, but they come in many different forms and feels. Some seem sadder than others; some feel more hopeful. But often there’s an unexpected bittersweetness. We are all there because of something good—the life, love and relationship that we are there to remember and honour—that has come to a tragic end, always too soon.
The end of death
It was nearing the twentieth anniversary of my friend’s death and it had been quite a few years since I’d visited his grave. I parked my car and as I ducked through a gap in the hedge, I noticed preparations being made for a burial later in the day. But the grave I was looking for was near the fence that fronted the...
Does prayer work?
As a book editor who works in a Christian publishing house, I know prayer works from a sales perspective. Books on the topic of prayer are consistently among our best sellers. It seems that many of our customers and readers—mostly people of faith, but including people who are interested but uncertain about faith—are keen to be reassured that prayer works and to find...
One of the most overused metaphors for our human experience of life is that of the journey.