Avril at Romsey

… and Lancefield and Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon

Same-sex marriage and the dangers of polygamy

This is a section of the Cross Purposes article that I cut out before submitting it, because I didn’t think it added anything to my argument. It is an attempt to answer the concern that approving same-sex marriages will lead to the approval of polygamous relationships.

If marriage is based on primarily or only on procreation then, as the stories of Israel’s patriarchs remind us, polygamy is a sensible way of increasing the number of offspring. However, in the debate about same-sex marriage any historical or cultural link between procreation and polygamy is severed, and instead concerns are raised that it is the acceptance of supposedly non-procreative same-sex relationships that will lead to the acceptance of polygamy. Self-described ‘marriage nut’ David Blankenhorn, the founder and director of the Institute for American Values; the British ‘Keep Marriage Special’ campaign; and the Australian Christian Lobby have all made this link. Continue reading


December 28, 2012 Posted by | Life, etc., Ministry | , , , | Leave a comment

Thinking historically about same-sex marriage

A version of this essay was published in Cross Purposes, Issue 29, December 2012.

In common with the rest of Australian society, the Uniting Church does not have a single sexual ethic.[1] Reflecting recently on his experience of the Church’s (homo)sexuality debate Alistair Macrae mused: ‘In my long engagement with this issue, you’ve probably got twenty per cent of our Church on each end who have very strong opinions on this issue, mutually exclusive positions, and sixty per cent in the middle who are saying “complex issue, not sure”’.[2] Continue reading

December 27, 2012 Posted by | Life, etc., Ministry | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sermon: How can we rejoice in a broken world?

The Third Sunday of Advent, 16th of December 2012

Zephaniah 3:14-20

Isaiah 12:2-6

Philippians 4:4-7

I had another sermon for today. Today, the third Sunday of Advent, is “Gaudete” Sunday – Joy Sunday, the only Sunday in the entire liturgical year whose colour is pink or, more accurately, rose. The name comes from part of today’s reading from Paul’s letter to the Philippians; in Latin, “rejoice in the Lord always” is Gaudete in Domino semper. In the midst of Advent, which can be rather a sombre time as we prepare for the Second Coming and are reminded to be ready for the return of the Son of Man, this third Sunday is a time of joy.

But my alarm is a radio set to Radio National, so the very first thing I heard when I woke up yesterday morning, before I was even fully awake, was news of the deaths in Newtown, Connecticut. My heart sank and I felt sick. Continue reading

December 20, 2012 Posted by | Life, etc., Ministry | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sermon: People of Yesterday and Tomorrow

John, the Anglican priest at Charlton, invited me to preach at St Martin’s afternoon eucharist. I met John when I visited Charlton after the 2011 floods with the Victorian Council of Churches’ Emergency Chaplaincy team, when both his house and the church had been flooded. We bonded over Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it was lovely to go back up and see the refurbished church. Plus, John bought me pizza and gave me a copy of What would Buffy Do? The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide!

Sermon for Charlton – 14th of October 2012

Mark 10:17-31

When I asked John what he wanted me to preach on this afternoon, whether on a theme or on any particular one of today’s lectionary readings, he suggested that I preach on the passage from the gospel which he described as: ‘always a tough one to preach on’. And it is! I looked back to see what I’d said on this passage three years ago, the last time the lectionary gave it to us, and discovered that I hadn’t said anything about it – I’d preached on the reading from Job. But, since John asked me, let’s spend some time pondering today’s gospel passage. Continue reading

October 16, 2012 Posted by | Ministry | , , , | Leave a comment