Moderator's Comments - Posted 20 October 2015

Much of the debate in the media about fundamentalism and radicalisation would be solved if all involved developed a commitment to responsible hermeneutics.

Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation.

When a solicitor reads a legal deed, words are to be understood literally. When I read the newspaper, I adopt different hermeneutical principles in reading the news items, the comment, the editorial and the comic strip.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 6 October 2015

The October long weekend (3 – 5 October) has been hot in Sydney with temperatures reaching 35 degrees.

Saturday saw the spectacle of a full MCG hosting the AFL Grand Final in which the Hawthorn Hawks dominated the West Coast Eagles, winning by a big margin of 46 points.

Sunday morning began with the GEM commentator in Sydney, unable to establish any objectivity as he grinned in telling us that the Wallabies had overwhelmed the Poms, 33 to 13 and had eliminated them from the World Cup Rugby Quarter finals, being played in England. The word he used continually was, “glee”!

Then came the most wonderful spectacle of the weekend, the NRL Grand Final between two Queensland teams, the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys, won by the Cowboys, 17 – 16, ably led by that most impressive of sportsmen, Johnathan Thurston and his co-captain, Matt Scott, the Cowboys’ workhorse prop. It was a breath taking match, rugby league at its very best.

There is so much to admire in Pope Francis, not the least is his humanity.

We appreciate it when our Prime Minister travels by tram in Melbourne or by ferry in Sydney, how much more when a worldwide leader, after addressing the US Congress, steps away from the politician and has lunch with the poor. “Closeness to the poor, the refugee, the immigrant, the sick, the exploited, the elderly living alone, prisoners and all God’s other poor, will teach us a different way of resting, one which is more Christian and generous” the Pope said.

Francis’ kindness and pastoral concerns are refreshing, in the name of the Lord Jesus who became flesh and pitched his tent among us, His pastoral under-shepherds must reach out to, and be with, people of need.

The Lord Jesus mixed like that, the worst his enemies could say against him was that he ate with the wrong kinds of people. He mixed with wealthy tax collectors and sinners, because he recognised their deep spiritual poverty, his concern, as the Spiritual physician, was to reach the sick, those far away from God, and to do all he could to bring them to eternal health. His repeated message was Repent, the Kingdom is near because the King is near.

I trust that Pope Francis takes his opportunities, in the midst of encouraging relief and aid, to speak about the fact that the God who made us, loves us and has sent His Son to rescue us.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 17 September 2015

There are two qualities sadly lacking in Australian public life, qualities which, by contrast, ought to be evident in the life of every believer.

Believers are what they are by the grace of God. We enjoy his favour not as an award for good behaviour or because we deserve it, but because God favours us contrary to our deserving, it’s called grace. The fact that our sin is forgiven does not reflect our superiority in any way to anyone else. We are all fellow beggars, “nothing in my hand I bring”. God has favoured us by opening our eyes to see our own spiritual poverty and directing us to Christ, the certain ground of our forgiveness before God.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 8 September 2015

To guide your holiday reading and listening, here is a selection of resources for a sermon series on marriage in preparation for the possibility of an upcoming plebiscite.