Peace is often thought of as something passive, something that happens around us rather than something we do. Jesus, however, saw peace as something that needed to be made, to be formed, and would require the utmost creativity.
It has been said that the cleverest trick our minds play on us is not giving us blind spots, but convincing us that we don’t have any. Our world of difficult discourse and toxic debate shows that us humans are often really bad at seeing things from someone else’s point of view. And we’re terrible at imagining that we might be wrong. As Noam Chomsky points out, the modern approach to disagreement is often to shriek, rant, and slander.
The Holy Spirit is always there in the Bible. Always. But often just ‘off stage’, creatively working in, through, and with the characters in view. The way of Jesus will always require more creativity than we have alone, so this series, coinciding as it does with Pentecost Sunday, is an invitation for us to turn to the Bible and know the Holy Spirit a little bit better.
"A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
Community is more art than science, but when we get it right there is nothing like it. In this series we talk about our vision for what it means for us to be a community in Christ, to share the joy of belonging to God and each other, but also to share in the burden and responsibility of caring for the precious gift we have been given.
If we are honest, we have to admit there is a basic strangeness to the cross. The pastor and writer Fleming Rutledge said that the cross is the most surprising and irreligious idea ever to make its way into the heart of faith. Before Jesus, no one could have ever projected their hopes and needs onto the death of a crucified man.
Is it possible though, that the cross is actually the only thing that makes sense in an otherwise muddled up world? Or, perhaps more properly, what we want to explore in this series is how the cross is the one thing that makes sense of everything else. Of course, by everything, what we really mean is...
A new entry on the Westside menu last year, this series gave us pause to talk about the various ways we experience a troubled mind. The things that haunt our realities yet remain uncomfortable to talk about. This January we are focusing on the state of exhaustion that can come our way, the kinds of depletion that can easily become “burnout”. We want to talk in transparent ways, admitting our common struggle, finding hope, and support together.
On October 31, 1517 - 500 years ago this month - the priest and scholar, Martin Luther nailed a 95-point thesis to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Its aim? To call the Church to be more biblical and gospel-centred. This act began a Christ-centred reformation of the Church that was so widespread its impact is still felt today in churches, theology, philosophy, and even politics.
We begin to lay out the foundations for our year in Paul’s words about the gospel at the opening of Romans. Words we want to take seriously. Words like salvation, righteousness, and faith, are all important to our vocabulary so are worth our time and effort. As we explore we hope to find out how these words unpack and explain what Christ has done for us and move us towards a deeper understanding of what it is that he is trying to do with us.
As we reached the end of our 2016-2017 teaching year we decided to pause and look back over our teaching from the previous 12 months. In this podcast Bob Osborne and David Harvey discuss five of our key series from the year. Perhaps, as you listen to this teaching, you'll have a chance to think about the key moments of your year.
In celebrity culture, there’s a very loose connection between fame and honour. Fame doesn’t seem to need worth to justify it. As historian and social observer Daniel Boorstin put it, celebrities are simply “known for [their] well-knownness”.
In this series, we want to talk about the unsung heroes of faith. We take our cue from Hebrews 11, where most of the big names of Biblical history, like Abraham and Moses, get a lot of attention. But what strikes us is how the chapter concludes; as the spotlight is just about to fade, the writer mentions a few more obscure names and simply says, “the world was not worthy of them” (Heb. 11:38).
We want to redirect the spotlight towards some of the lesser known Biblical heroes. And maybe this will help all of us celebrate the unsung heroes in our own lives. You know the difference between a celebrity and a true hero, don’t you?
Who of us doesn’t love the movies? It’s an almost universal love affair.
For this month of summer, we want to consider how the movies we watch and love actually play in our imaginations. We want to be more thoughtful about our entertainments, more aware of the world-views we encounter, more in sync with how the movies shape us and our children.
As surely the most powerful art-form of our times, the movies deserve a place in our reflections. This will be fun, but also thoughtful.
This series is about the relationship between the apostle Paul and a rather unruly community who thought they had it all together. Paul’s letters to Corinth were often corrective, teaching us that truth-in-love, and love-with-truth, are essential keys to healthy community. The fact that a community like Corinth could draw so much help from a person like Paul speaks more of God’s goodness and kindness then their deserving. The Corinthians would have pushed Paul away if they could have; but they couldn’t, and weren’t they blessed because of it?
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked. (Luke 24)
We think we know our stories. But do we? We tell of all that has happened to us, but we can leave out the one big critical piece.