Category Archives: Pastor’s Blog

News and views from our Pastoral Team

Christians and Same-Sex Marriage

The issue of redefining marriage has proved such a thorny and contentious one, and there is much heat around it with people from all sides feeling passionate about different issues. Since the Government has decided to fulfil its election promise to hold a plebiscite on redefining marriage, what follows are my thoughts about how we prayerfully and intentionally live as followers of Jesus as we discuss and debate the issues. If you would like to discuss your thoughts on these issues, please do!

Ten Commandments for Christians regarding the public discussion on redefining marriage in the upcoming Plebiscite (and pretty much discussing everything else)

  1. At every chance, promote peace, compassion, civility and cohesion (remember Jesus: “Blessed are the peacemakers”) 
  2. Listen more than you speak (remember James, the brother of Jesus: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak”) 
  3. In a democracy everyone is free to share their views, but do so with respect and love (remember the Apostle Paul: “Speak the truth in love”)
  4. Do not demonise or inhumanly objectify other Christians who have a different view to your own (remember Jesus: “Love one another”)
  5. Never vilify, hate, belittle, abuse, scorn or condemn other people (remember Jesus: “Do not judge…Do not condemn”)
  6. Speak and act as though EVERY person – regardless of sexuality, politics or ideology – is of infinite worth, is intrinsically precious and made in the image of God (remember Psalm 8: “God has made humans a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour”)
  7. Do not retaliate if you are vilified, hated, belittled, abused, scorned or condemned (remember Jesus: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you”)
  8. God is the ultimate wise and good judge, not you (remember the Apostle Paul: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?”)
  9. Scrutinise the goodness and love of your own life before you try to sort others out (remember Jesus: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”)
  10. Whatever the result of the Plebiscite, we are called to continue God’s work of loving our neighbour, helping the poor, the disabled, the elderly, refugees and the sick, eradicating disease and hunger, caring for our environment, serving others, working for world peace, creating beautiful art, showing gracious hospitality and sharing the life-transforming gospel message of God’s love in Jesus Christ (remember Jesus: “take up your cross and follow me”)

Nicholas Tuohy

(I posted this on my Facebook profile last week and it has currently had around 750 likes and shares, which shows it struck a chord with people.)

Jesus the Horse-Whisperer

Have you ever broken a wild horse into submission? Monty Roberts has; thousands of them. Maybe you know of  him by his other name: “horse whisperer”.

Monty hung out with his horse-breaking father and watched his dad terrorise wild mustangs into submission. Monty wondered if there was another way and so he headed into the countryside to watch the wild horses in their natural habitat. He noticed that as a new horse tried to join the herd, the lead mare would challenge the juvenile horse with flat ears and direct eye contact. The younger horse would adopt a submissive position of pawing the ground and bowing. Then the lead mare would turn to the side, lift her ears and expose her flank—a vulnerable part of the body—inviting him closer. The young horse would then come closer. This would continue back and forth until the two horses touched and the young horse entered the herd.

Are you someone who values relationships, likes to get alongside people, support them, listen and care? You are an invitational kind of person. Or maybe you love helping people see where they could grow, encourage them to try new things, and believe people have so much untapped potential. You are a challenge kind of person. The truth is that we won’t grow or change if there is no challenge in our lives. On the other hand, we will not grow or change if there is no love and support either. We need both invitation and challenge. One author has put it this way:

“Let’s consider what Jesus was able to accomplish. In less than three years, he was able to train a group of men, most of whom no one else would have chosen, and taught them to DO and to BE like him in such a way that, when released, they would change the course of human history forever. HOW DID THE CHALLENGE OF WHAT HE WAS ASKING THEM NOT ABSOLUTELY OVERWHELM THEM? Now how was Jesus able to do that in such a way that he didn’t break them and have them all running for the hills? How did the challenge of what he was asking them not absolutely overwhelm them? Simply put, Jesus was the ultimate horse-whisperer…”

Another way of saying this is that God loves us unconditionally and undeservedly; however, God will not leave us where we are and as we are. God sees so much more capacity, possibility and promise in us than we could ever imagine. The Christian message is that though we are sinful, broken and separated from God, God saves us through Jesus coming to die for us and take away our sins and brokenness. This is love. As we trust Jesus and follow him, we can be assured that no one loves us more than God, but also that God will challenge us and call us to become more than we ever imagined. You want comfort and love? God has an infinite reservoir of it. You want to change and grow? God has a dream for your life that will blow your mind!

Nicholas Tuohy

Reimagining Home

From 3-5 July last week, as part of my Ordination preparation, I attended the Whitley School of Ministry, entitled “Reimagining Home”. This year Whitley partnered with the Australian Association of Mission Studies, and so through the conference, papers were presented by scholars from around Australia on this theme.

Through the conference, many of the speakers and presenters emphasised the fluid nature of home for many people, especially those on the move, or on the run. Conversely, they emphasised the need for home to be a place of hospitality for the outsider; that when we are comfortable enough to open our arms to others, we are truly at home. The papers considered global migration, indigenous theologies of home, urban challenges of homelessness, rural perceptions of home in a globalising world, the issues of mental health and belonging, and the experience of missionary children in finding home.

So where is “home” for God’s people?

Firstly, “home” remains a destination. Not primarily as a place, but a promise that when Jesus returns, our longing for true peace, rest and satisfaction will be fulfilled. Our true home is with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:1-8), and that will happen when we and all creation are restored, and that promise in Revelation 21:3 comes to pass: “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

Secondly, we are at “home” in the Lord right now. Long ago, Jesus came and “made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). And yet as he prepared to leave his followers, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, which would dwell among them (John 14:15-18). The Spirit is both a deposit of our future home with God (2 Corinthians 5:5), and God’s presence with us right now, day by day.

Thirdly, we experience the joy and sorrow of home-making with all humanity today. Simply because we have a future home experience awaiting us doesn’t make our everyday experience of home any less real or challenging. In this day, we need a place on earth to call home; a building, a group of people, a home-country, a place of rest.

And finally, we are called to be people of gracious welcome and hospitality just as God is to us (James 2:1-7). Are we able to be people who open up our homes to others, demonstrating the love and welcome that God has shown us? Through our response to God’s dwelling among us, may we reflect this love, and point people to our future promise of home with the Lord.

Paul Pallot

International Detention Coalition

Dear Church,

I had a wonderful opportunity to meet with our Federal Member, Josh Frydenberg this last week to discuss policy changes to keeping children in detention. The good news is that after hitting a peak of thousands of children in detention, there are none now in detention in mainland Australia. 

The group that invited me, the International Detention Coalition (IDC), has been doing the hard work of making this a reality for many years. Dr Robyn Sampson (pictured in the middle) is a Senior Advisor and Research Coordinator with IDC, and Robyn’s late mother, Ruth, was Senior Pastor here at KBC in the mid 1990’s. I was so impressed with the long-game IDC is playing here and the meeting was very hopeful. I said in the meeting that although this is a thorny political issue, I was there on behalf of a church community that takes the teaching of Jesus to “look after the least of these” very seriously.

One small thing you can do apart from pray is join the Global Campaign to End Child Immigration detention and sign the petition at: http://endchilddetention.org/petition/ 

Just on a related note, our Morning Tea and Dinner catered by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre saw us as a church give around $980, so thank you to everyone who contributed. 

Amanda and I are having a mid-year break over 10 days and we look forward to continuing to serve our Great God together in the second half of this year. 

In Christ,

Nicholas Tuohy

Paul and the Great Philosophers

Acts 17: “Luke is taking Paul to where he must meet the ancient philosophies head on: Athens. This is a different team. You can’t just say what you say in the synagogue, or even what you said in a hurry in Lystra. This demands a different game plan, a different strategy. Luke is building us up for a big set piece, one of the classic scenes in the whole book. Athens is a major showdown between the new young faith and the old, established, tried and tested philosophies of the Western world, which still, in various modern guises, dominate people’s thinking. Until we’ve thought through this confrontation, we are not ready for the global contest.

But the request for Paul to speak at the Areopagus, the highest court in the city, set on a rock from which one could look down on the famous market-place and across to the still more famous Acropolis with its spectacular temples, was not as friendly and innocuous as it sounds. It wasn’t a matter of, ‘Well, here’s an interesting fellow; let’s see what he has to say.’ It contained a double veiled threat. ‘This man’, they said, ‘seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities.’ Well, yes, in a sense, though that was based on their misunderstanding of the fundamental content of Paul’s message, which was Jesus and the resurrection. Resurrection, which in Greek is anastasis, seems to have sounded to them like another god, or rather, since the word is feminine, a goddess: Jesus and his female consort! Who on earth are they? ‘What is this word-scatterer trying to say?’ (The term ‘word-scatterer’ is full of contempt: this man who scatters words all over the place like a jackdaw picking up interesting things and dropping half of them on the way back to his nest.)

In particular, the charge of ‘preaching foreign divinities’ was the charge, famously and classically, on which Socrates, the greatest philosopher of all time, had been tried and condemned. Athens may have been interested in new ideas, but divinities from elsewhere could easily get you into trouble. Serious trouble. Especially if someone proclaiming them was starting a secret society with mysteries only open to the initiates. ‘Are we permitted to know’, they asked with veiled and sarcastic threat, ‘what this new teaching is all about?’ Are you allowed to tell us these secret doctrines, or are they only for those you will collect into a dangerous little gang? In other words, you’d better get your philosophy sorted out, or we have other questions we may want to ask as well. Are you a danger to our state? Paul is thus given the chance of a lifetime, but also a multi-layered challenge which will stretch his theological and rhetorical skills in quite a new way.”

Tom Wright, Acts for Everyone, Part 2: Chapters 13-28 (London: SPCK, 2008), 84–85.