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Sunday, February 22, 2009

National Day of Mourning

Today, Sunday Feb 22nd 2009, is a National Day of Mourning for the many people who died and lost homes in the tragic fires earlier this month.

Wherever you are in Australia or the world please take time to remember those whose lives have been forever changed by the brutality of the fires.

The main event is being held at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne but there are also people gathering in the main towns ravaged by the fires.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Trials Continued

This past 2 or 3 weeks has been a tumultuous ride which is partly why I haven't been blogging. I keep trying to find time to do book reviews and theological thoughts but life just seems to come right in and try and stamp on my head. Before I get into the nuts and bolts I want to accentuate the positives.

I have been through an incredible trial and yet God has loved, supported, sustained and encouraged me. Each time I have felt like I cannot go any further God has drawn so close to me. It is not the way that I would choose to encounter God's love and grace but I am so grateful for His very real presence.

In the middle of 2008 I wrote about a particularly distressing and painful time in my life where I was accused of a very serious offense that involved a short police investigation. That investigation consequently proved my innocence of all charges but the process was, nevertheless, very traumatic.

Last week I felt like I had navigated a lot of stress in my life and I was very pleased because I have been feeling a strong desire to drop the Saturday night taxi shift so we can go to church as a family once more. I was thinking of how I was going to tell the owner of the taxi about my desire to drop the Saturday shift and that very day he phoned me to tell me had found a Fri/Sat night driver and would I mind not driving this Saturday! How good is God.

The next day as I was processing a strong call to become more involved in pastoral ministry I received a phone call from the Baptist Union. Evidently although the allegations against me had been dismissed by the police the family in question had made the same allegations to the Baptist Union of NSW who are obliged to investigate them and so the frustrations of defending myself against blatant lies continues. This time I have all of the documents that I was able to access from the Freedom of Information stipulations and also the leaders at my old church are more convinced than ever of my innocence.

The investigation shouldn't take too long but I am SO frustrated. Please pray for my wife and I as we deal with this again. I am also, in the midst of this, feeling a very strong call to ministry but I am not sure what that entails. God is very much in control and I feel that this latest episode smacks strongly of spiritual attack and so we keep going to God for His grace and provision.

This time has drawn Tanya and myself much closer together so I am thankful for that.

Thank you for your love, prayers and support.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Transforming Theology

As part of my journeys through the blogosphere I came across a few references to Tripp Fuller and the "Transforming Theology" project. It is an exciting initiative to provide pdf files of significant theological works and access to free books to stimulate theological discussion across the blogging world.

As a passionate lay theologian it was right up my alley and a chance to interact more purposefully with other theologians.

The first pdf sent out is "Reclaiming Christianity" by John Cobb. Having dipped my toe into Process Theology I am very interested in Cobb's work and have been most encouraged by the first half of the book. I will blog more in coming days.

It is a wonderful project and I commend anyone with an interesting in Theological Dialogue to sign up.

By the way, I found the image on a google images search and really liked it. It is a painting by Wojciech Macherzynski and details can be found here.

Australian Disaster

The scale of the fires raging in Victoria have been absolutely staggering and, tragically, the death toll has surpassed anything Australia has ever experienced. Yesterday I was driving the taxi and had the radio tuned in to the bushfire updates and stories. Even though we are in another state and about 10 hours away from the fires their is a collective sense of loss and grief across Australian society.

The following link is to the ABC photo gallery in the aftermath of the devastation. This is a link to an audio file where a survivor describes the wall of flame that he faced.

The death toll is currently 93 and is almost certainly going to rise as the emergency crews move through the disaster zone. More than 700 homes have been lost and the scope of the tragedy and the time it will take to rebuild lives and communities is hard to imagine.

I am going to resume blogging on theology and my faith journey but I wanted to raise awareness of a national tragedy and ask for your prayers for the people of Victoria at this time.