Euthanasia: A Metaphysical Gamble with Eternity

The inside of il Duomo in Florence is painted in a beautiful, yet sobering fresco. If you’ve ever been close enough to bear the glorious force of it, you know that neither the majesty of Christ in all heavenly splendour, nor the bitter envy and hatred of the souls trapped in Hell, allow for complacency. I visited Florence as an atheist, but the impact of this vision stayed with me. It’s life or death, and Euthanasia is just another gamble…

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Spiritual Outliers

Give up the game. Know that you are playing and quarreling while war rages around you. Allow yourself to be affected by the presence of spiritual outliers and ask for the desire to be drawn towards the purity and peace God has given them, for these are the weapons you need to truly find freedom.

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Replenishing Discipline

Self-discipline need not be harsh to be powerful and replenishing.

Your habits can flow and mix, intermingle and recombine, to suit you, just as you are.

Only a few rules of life are all that are needed to generate the most robust complexity.

So rechart your course, adjust your sails, feel the wind swell as the week begins, and your bow cuts a story through glassy waters.

Enjoy the journey!

Diary of Discoveries – Vladimir Kush

The anti-Gospel of Death

Christians cannot support assisted suicide or abortion.

They are fundamentally contrary to the Gospel. While Gospel is Life, and they… are Death.

If you are told otherwise, you are being led astray, no matter how well-intentioned the speaker or preacher is. If you already believe otherwise, you already have been led astray, and I urge you to reconsider and turn back to Him through whom life came into the world.

Suffering and death can never be the solution to themselves.

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Whispering through Eons

The scriptures appeal to us out of the depths of history. They are the eternal voice of God whispering through eons.

The church whose appeal rests on modern ideas, marketed to a modern culture, finds itself shouting neon ravings above the tumult of a secular world, drowning out the soft, rich, and everlasting graces of Our Saviour. The Church is increasingly at risk of assimilation into the maddening crowd. That is, unless we shut the door to the clamour, make space for Christ, and sit in that resonant silence, listening for the whisper of God, reverberating through the ages, coming and going, nurturing and drawing out the desire for eternal rest in Him, which He planted in us.

Christ is most ancient, most true, but a church whose appeal rests on modern ideas is mere straw.

Silverstream Priory Benedictine Monks

It takes a village

It takes a village
to raise a child
to discard the unborn and
smother the suffering.

It takes a village
to raise a child
to restore the maternal and
esteem the unborn.

The Fight

Intensity rages, confused chaos looms,
Are we mad enough?
Are we sad enough?
Silence slams the door as she leaves
To fend off our pain, through the tears, through the screams.

Violence surges on into the night,
Lightning flashes and gas burns our eyes!
Afront God’s own house, take your picture before us!
You’ve fallen and still,
We run from the Lawless.

Acid, turbulence.
War, never-ending.
Pray, turn to Christ
Let the Devil not rise,
With his mask and baton,
See through him and find
The man down there trapped
Just like us, in his pride.

Warlord by nature
The fault of the Fall
Though not by Design,
lest conspiracy call.
Burst forth, Lord, from darkness,
Awake from the night!
Light up the world
With Love; your true might.

Why we need a theology of climate change in the 21st century

I co-authored this article with Katrina Baldacchino. It will be published in the February/March 2019 edition of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle’s magazine, Encounter, issues of which are hosted at Issuu.

Alex Grey GAIA 1989, 144 x 96 in. oil on linen.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps 19:1)

At God’s Word, the universe exploded into being and all that exists was lovingly formed and illumined. Life was drawn forth to fill everypatch of land, every breath of air, every drop of ocean. Earth is intrinsically valuable to God. “God saw everything he had made, and indeed it was very good”(Gen 1:31). Take a moment to look heavenward, and stand in awe at the vast and intricate ways in which the natural universe works. God is constantly creating, fine-tuning Earth’s ecosystems, and endowing each living thing with dignity and purpose; drawing all into communion with Himself.

God has entrusted the sacred work of caring for His garden to us. We in the 21st century are struggling to fulfil our inherited responsibility. We have become starkly aware of our unintended power to change the Earth’s climate. We could easily push our world off-track. Perhaps we already have. So we might ask ourselves how we intend to respond to this power, in light of our ever-present responsibility to God.

It is often said that the future of the church, of our society, and of our world, rests on the shoulders of children. It is true thatchildren will inherit the world we leave them, yet they also participate inthat responsibility here and now. If a child asked you today what it means tofollow Jesus, what might you say? What could we say, knowing that we are calledin this era to follow Jesus through potential climatic upheaval, brought aboutby the hands of humankind? What example might we set our children to guide themin an ecologically uncertain future while honouring the great work of God?

To honour God is to ensure the ongoing flourishing of the earth and all that live on it. In his renowned encyclical Laudato Si, PopeFrancis reminds us that “The earth was here before us and it has been given to us. … Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations.” Our ability to carry out our duty requires that we experience our interdependence with and reliance on nature. We cannot separate ourselves from the world created for us. Indeed, God becomingincarnate as a biological and sensate being emphasises the significance of thenatural. God, as a man, was reliant on the very world whose existence issimultaneously sustained by God!

The fruits of following Christ extend outwards from the continual renewing of the individual soul, to participation in the cultural, political and environmental context in which we live. As Mick Pope, an Australian ecotheologian, has written; “personal righteousness and public justice are on the same continuum…” The fulfilment of justice requires a spiritof ecological conversion; a turning away from the technologically saturated,consumer driven, chaotic and traumatised world, and towards a renewedexperience of the simplicity of God, seen through Creation.

Jesus, who is God, and is a revelation of God’s love for theworld, asked us to love one another. “By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). In the 21stcentury, to love our neighbour means that we love the planet that sustains us,taking only what we need for life and worship. Followers of Jesus ought to be recognised for their love of the natural world, while they joyfully await the perfection of the world through Christ.

Our desires have had unintended consequences for the climate and the world’s ecosystems. What might we say to our children as they ask about climate change and Christian faith? Changing the course of human desire is difficult, but only if we rely on ourselves. Jesus continually offers us the means. As we share in communion regularly, we develop humility and experience God with us. We are reminded that God is present in the living world and in us.We need reminding. We need a theology that can heal the world. As Pope Francissays “Everything is interconnected, and this invites us to develop aspirituality of that global solidarity which flows from the mystery of theTrinity”. We need then to stop, close the books, and allow our children to leadus in looking heavenward, with all of their hope, enthusiasm, and life.

An Unfamiliar Love

It can be hard to love our family. Our family hold insight into our lives that is often hidden from our friends and enemies. When familial ties are damaged or under strain, we instinctively feel vulnerable. Christmas gatherings can be a time of submerged confrontation. For the sake of our children and ageing parents, we play nicely so as to avoid the hurt and embarrassment of arguments around the table.

This may not be descriptive of your Christmas, and I hope it is not, but for some, it will be. Like any other time of year, this can be one of suffering. It can be difficult to remember the joy of Christmas.

In forming His human body, God the Son glorified Himself and began the process of clarifying and perfecting Creation. The whole of humanity, and indeed all life on Earth, is one family. All life shares the same basic molecular structures that allow our cells to replicate and function. As a human being grows in its mother’s womb, the cells that comprise the webbing of its paddling hands and feet are programmed to die, so that fingers and toes capable of dexterity and control can form.

At least at this level, death seems inherent and necessary for the formation of life. We can only assume that in the fullness of His humanity, it was in this way that Jesus Christ, like us, came into the world. It is through death that new life arises. The Divine Invasion at Christmas was, and is, the explosion of hope and life into a muddied and dying world.

This Christmas, as you sit at the other end of the table from whomever it is in your life that has done you wrong, consider their suffering and their need for kindness. Consider the difficulty we all have in bearing the weight of our own lives. Consider His words about those that crucified Him: “Father, Forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Without the love of Christ, the experience of cruelty can drive us to view the world as fundamentally meaningless and deeply scornful. A desire to subjugate the world to the will of the individual is both a cause and symptom of suffering. Loving those who have hurt us means choosing to peer through the veil of cruelty to see the suffering hiding there.

Through the kind eyes of the newborn Christ, we can see afresh those who inflict harm. It is they who are most desperately in need of the tenderness and unfamiliar love of God.

May you bear His gentleness in your actions,

May He bless your family through you, and

May you live in the joy of Christmas.