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Sermons, essays, ideas.

Hi, I’m Alister. After twenty years in software development in London and Melbourne, and more than a decade leading a church in a pub in Melbourne, Australia, I became a Uniting Church Minister in 2019.

I’m interested in how you can reconstruct your faith if you’ve been bruised by your experience of church by taking the tradition more, not less, seriously. I also think about how do to church in post-modernity, having spent more than a decade leading a church in a pub. What does it mean to be a Christian in a world of suffering, doubt, and complexity?

Mary Said Yes

The story of how Mary became Jesus’ mother is difficult. It’s crammed full of miracles that we find hard to believe in, and angelic figures, who might be even worse, and, to top it all off, it is layered over with hundreds of years of religious art and saccharine Christmas cards and frankly sexist attitudes towards women. The story manages to be both so familiar that we can’t hear it for what it is, and simultaneously even more alien than John the Baptizer in the Judean scrub dressed up like a caveman. And yet, something still resonates. It still matters that Mary said “yes.”

The Witness Statement

John the Baptizer dressed like a caveman, ate wilderness food, and refused to cooperate with the religious authorities. Church people are well behaved, often well dressed, and rarely feast on locusts? What could the former have to do with the latter?

John the Baptizer: Elijah Cosplayer?

Why would anyone pay any attention at all to someone who looked like they were engaged in an overly serious Elijah cosplay? What on earth did John think he was doing, and what does it have to say to our world?

Longing and Complicity

“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down…” A year ago that text might have seemed a bit remote from our world. But devastating bushfires, fresh revelations about the injustice of our society, and, of course, the terrible plague which is devastating our world, make these words from Isaiah feel astonishingly fresh.

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