I don't know about you, but the last month has left me feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
On the international stage we've been watching violence rage throughout Kenya while fighters and civlians alike have been massacred in Gaza.
On a more local level, our Prime Minister has apologised to the indigenous people of this land and some of us in the church have apologised to the gay community for our history of mistreatment and contempt towards them.
On a personal level, I have struggled. I farewelled an old friend this month, have had more pastoral difficulties than I was ready for, and we had a fatality at our beloved Binacrombi bush camp - one of the guests!
Of course many wonderful things have happened here too:
We were privileged to receive a visit from the Bishop of Jerusalem.
I had the joy of watching our brother, Solomon Haumono, score his 14th consecutive knockout.
Our own boys and girls put on a terrific pugilitic performance at the Bulldog gym.
I turned 46, and spent a lovely afternoon with my family and friends.
Even the death at Binacrombi hasn't ended too badly. Indeed, I'm beginning this ezine to you from Binacrombi and things down here are very peaceful.
It appears that the guest who died was an older man, spending time with his boys dirt-bike riding. He seems to have had a heart attack - whether before or after he fell off his bike isn't clear, but the accident itself was only very minor, and the staff here and the man's boys did everything they could.
Of course it is very sad, and my heart goes out to the family, but in truth I couldn't really think of a better way to go either - doing something you love in the company of those you love the most. May God grant the family rest and peace.
Well, I'm yearning for a quieter time over the coming month, but it's not likely, is it? After all, it's Easter - that time of the year when we celebrate resurrection, new life, the sufferings of God and the forgiveness of all that we get wrong. And how can anything remain unsettled in the face of that?
So let's not bother hoping for too much peace and quiet this month, but instead gird up our loins for the miracles and surprises that lie ahead, believing that He who raised Jesus from the dead will bring us through whatever adventures and trials He has in store for us.
Your brother in the Good Fight,
P.S. Don't strain your eyes trying to make out the details in the thumbnail pics in the above right-hand column. Click the pic and you'll get the full-size version.
Researchers estimate roughly 20% of the population will suffer from depression at one time or another, and if it hits you or someone you love, it can be very hard to know what's going on. 'Coping with Depression' will help you to understand:
The biochemical processes that leads to depression and how to treat them to establish recovery.
The physical and emotional experiences that can alter brain chemistry and feelings, resulting in depression, and tools one can use to overcome these feelings.
How to distinguish between true depression, sadness, and grief, so one can address each condition specifically.
How to recognize depression in a timely fashion, so that early treatment can start and facilitate a faster and longer-lasting recovery.
'Coping with Depression' comes in both eBook and audio formats (with a choice of male or female voices reading the text). You can read it on your laptop, print it out and read it during a lunch-break, or burn it to CD and listen to it in the car on the way to work. The choice is yours.
Friday March 21 (Good Friday) at 9am The Liturgy of the Seven Words - generally our most popular service of the year, where we reflect on the last seven words of Jesus from the cross. Seven preachers give seven (5-minute) sermons on the seven texts.
Friday March 21 at 7.30pm Excerpts from St John's Passion by JS Bach, presented by our local choir and a small orchestra, and led by the imcomparable Susan Reppion-Brooke. This is an event for the whole family.
Sunday March 23 (Easter Day) at 9am Easter Eucharist
All events held in the Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill church building. If you need a map on how to find us, click here.
As [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." (John 9)
Every now and then you pick up a familiar old text and get struck by something you'd never seen in it before. This was certainly the case for me with regards to the story of the healing of the man-born-blind in John chapter 9.
It seems to me that whole dilemma facing the modern church is played out in this story, as we watch this growing divide between people obsessed with religious doctrine and theological correctness, on the one hand, and Jesus on the other, who just wants to help a handicapped guy.
Personally I feel that this is the best sermon I've come out with since my 'facts on the ground' homily on Matthew 11 last year, in that, for me, it represents a moment of insight, but you can be the judge of that.
You can read this sermon here or use the buttons to listen now.
Would you like a downloadable podcast of each of my sermons? Join my Partners program
You'll find a template letter in the latest entry, and if you look at some of the 'comments', you'll see letters that others have written.
C'mon Fighting Fathers! Gird up your loins and take action for a mate who is being denied justice by the Australian legal system, and make sure you leave a copy of your letter in the comments section too, to inspire others!
Here's a new one from me this month. In fact it's the only new site from me this month.
Childcustodyinfohelp.com is a video library built around the theme of ... you guessed it, 'Child Custody Help'. If this site isn't immediately relevant to you, you might know someone who'll find help here.
And finally this month, the blog behind the team behind the '100 Revs' Mardi Gras march, where we said 'sorry' to the Gay and Lesbian community.
Check out the blog to see if we've yet reached our goal of 100 ordained clergy who are willing to say 'sorry' (88 at time of writing). Check out the blog too to read the 'sorry' statement. It's probably a lot more conservative that you think.
If you've enjoyed this month's recommend sites, do their creators a favour and head out to stumbledupon and give them a 'thumbs up'. And if you've got something to say about these sites, say it on the forum.
100 Revs say 'sorry' to the Gay and Lesbian Community
I must confess that I'm still a little shocked at the fuss that's been created by this action.
It seemed to me to be a very obvious thing to do as Christians - to apologise for our history of abuse towards members of the gay and lesbian community.
Maybe it's because I'm an Anglican, and we're used to beginning every worship service by confessing that 'we haven't done what we ought to have done but have done what we ought not to have done'. Maybe I'm just too used to admitting that I get things wrong all the time?
At any rate, it appears that many in the church went out of their way to distance themselves from this formal apology, made at this year's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and some have already left my mailing list on account of my involvement!
Personally, my only concern was that the gay and lesbian community would see our gesture as tokenistic and respond with hostility. This was certainly not the case, and we were received very warmly indeed.
I took the opportunity, during the 3 hours or so that we had to stand around, waiting for the march to start, to interview a few of my fellow marchers. Two of the three were from the Baptist community in Wolloomooloo - the guys who came up with the idea. The other brother is Clive, one of only two other Anglican priests who made it to the event (and the only other one from Sydney).
Rev. Colin Scott Director, Hope Street Mission (Woolloomooloo)
Rev. Heather McClelland
Project Manager, Hope Street Mission (Woolloomooloo)