Sunday, December 25, 2011

With Us

Well I wasn't going to post over Christmas, and honestly, I've been feeling pretty low and uninspired.  However there's been a glimmer of something hopeful and peaceful that I thought I would share.

This has been a bit of a hard Christmas, so far.  (It's Christmas Day here now - I know my US friends still have one sleep to go!)  My extended family gets together on Boxing Day, so this afternoon, as I type, it is quiet and restful.   The kids and I are at my mum's now, having done the "usual" family Christmas morning thing at home, for the first time as a separated couple.  It was a bit rough.  On all of us, I think.  There was a bit of na-na-nastiness re Christmas arrangements yesterday... but it didn't last long.  Mostly it was just a bit awkward and sad.

Like all holidays, really, Christmas can sometimes be very tough.  The fact that we feel it is supposed to be all about love and togetherness just makes the lack of those things, where it exists, an extra raw

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Not a Lot to Say.

OK.   This is "the blog post you write when you're not writing a blog post".

I know this is the time of year when lots of people are reflecting on Christmas, and yes, our family is gearing up to spend time together, and I'm looking forward to it.

But more than anything, I find at the moment I am craving space, peace, and time to think.

Maybe the results of that will appear here on the blog.  Maybe they won't.

I love having this space to share ideas and interact - but at the moment, I'm dry.  I really need some solitude, time for reflection, and ... some reconnection with God.  Life's been complicated ( is that a bad thing?  Perhaps not...) and I need to take some time out and just 'process' stuff.

I really hope the Christmas (or holiday - if Christmas is not your thing) season is a wonderful and blessed time for you all...  and perhaps because it's what I'm hoping for myself, I hope the little break from normal day-to-day activities is just what your soul needs!!!


Image credit:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Judge not..."

I read/watched something incredibly disturbing this morning on ABC online news.

A government "boys home" in Tamworth, NSW, has apparently spawned a generation of heinous killers.  Former inmates have been linked with 35 deaths and an alarming number of Australia's most notorious and depraved criminals, it turns out, spent their teenage years there.

Former inmates (now old men) recount some of the treatment they experienced as a matter of course, during their time at Tamworth.  It's chilling, to the core.  Systematic isolation, rape, torture, starvation...  the effect on those already very troubled kids is incalculable.  Yes, they were already on a criminal trajectory - but even a week of the treatment meted out at Tamworth would be enough to push a healthy individual over the edge.   If you have the stomach to read it, find the article here.

It presents a very different facet to some shocking Australian atrocities.  Here's just one example:  In

Monday, December 12, 2011

Between Worlds

That's me, at the moment.  In just about every important way I can think of.

I'm between jobs.
Between relationships.
Between life stages.
Between churches.
Between beliefs.

It's not a bad thing.
But it's uncomfortable.

In spite of that,
I am happy for it.
When our lives are settled "in" something
And everything seems packaged and certain
We miss the fact that life is change,
and we are, in fact, always "between".

And in times like this
It is easier to look outside those "mini-worlds" that I can be in or between... 
And see the bigger reality
That holds me
And will never let me go.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Places I've been...

On the subject of covenant relationships (such a rich and meaningful phrase, to me!)  Joy, of Joy in this Journey takes up this subject in the context of church relationships.  I love her perspective!  Find it here (guest post on 'Jesus needs new PR')

On the subject of interpreting scripture...  an interesting perspective from Derek Flood, talking about trajectories of thought and growth of ideas throughout the Bible.  (I love that Derek goes places most of us avoid, because they raise uncomfortable questions.  The one about genocides and infanticides in the Old Testament?  Well he tackles that one here!)

And on the subject of why we all tend to grip and tussle so passionately with our perspectives/ideas/experiences of religion and faith...  A thoughtful insight from Richard Beck, over at Experimental Theology - talking about our "ghosts".


Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Beautiful Story

Today I'm just going to share a blog post by a friend.  Ethan has been on a journey of discovery, learning how to be authentically himself, in following Jesus.  I love his insight, and his courage.

He's written the most beautiful allegory about this.  There is just so much in it that resonates with me.  So... enough from me - find it here on Ethan's Blog

& that's all from me!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The "M" Word.

Lots has been coming my way, about the institution of marriage.  I was recently sent an email, with links to pro-marriage information.  This was a response to current legislative changes being debated, regarding the legal definition of marriage.  Another friend had a bit of a vent on facebook this morning, about married men she had heard speaking incredibly disrespectfully of their wives...  and of course, for me, the subject is very personal - as my marriage is ending.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A slight change of pace...

Recently, I joined the Southern Highlands branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers.  It's been wonderfully inspiring, I have to say.  Each month, some writing topics are given as a kind of non-compulsory "homework".  This month, I actually tackled one!  The topic for poetry was "New Times".  Here's my effort:

New Times

She sags against the pier her filthy robe
A mockery.
Too blear and dull to clean or wash or dress
Matted hair in lousy, rank disharmony
Her blackened fingers rhythmically harass
The stench fouled air.
She stinks of piss.

Pedestrians avert their eyes and skirt
Discard a glance of pity or disgust
The city gleams with commerce, shines with industry
In this showcase of the prosperous, there’s no place
For such as her.
They’ll move her on.

Along the foreshore lights begin to glimmer,
The leisured and the young to come and play
Lover’s murmured voices drifting promises
To the twilight, not for them the close of day
Their universe
A world of hope.

Between the pylons, wakened to the darkness
Her every sharpened sense alert and bared
She battles them again; again remembering.
With all her strength, defends, she sees them clear
Those torments past
That shroud her still.

                                                   Kerry Miller

Incidentally (or perhaps not so incidentally...) I was searching for an image for this post online, and found an Australian charity that provides sleeping swags for homeless people.  The image above is from their site.  If you are interested, find it at:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why I'm not Left or Right wing

Lately, I have been involved in a number of conversations that have touched on liberal, vs. conservative values.  The home I grew up in was fairly conservative (although my parents were thoughtful people, and didn't always tow the "party line"), but over the years, I have come to embrace ideas and values that would be seen as much more liberal or left wing.  Despite this, I'm not comfortable with the label.  I'm not exactly a fence-sitting moderate, either - but  I remember telling a friend years ago, that I felt "Left" and "Right" divisions in politics were kind of artificial - and not on the matrix I wanted to use.  I couldn't explain it better (& luckily, my friend didn't ask me to).  It keeps coming up, though, so I want to nut it out a bit more clearly.

I think we are all inclined to interpret Jesus according to our own values.  (Heck, we are inclined to interpret EVERYTHING that way!!)  I and plenty of others have often pointed out that Jesus was not exactly a moralistic, conservative fellow, in spite of the way he is often presented.  But was he really a kind of 1st century hippie radical freak??  Did he even fit anywhere on the Right/Left continuum??

Monday, November 14, 2011


But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  
                                                                                            ~ James.

Friday, November 11, 2011

a beautiful striptease!

I took myself off to the movies, last night.  The local cinema is having an Italian film festival, which opened with a film starring Robert De Niro and Monica Bellucci; Manuale d'Amore (Manual of Love).  Watching beautiful Monica (Confession:  I am completely starstruck by her - she is a goddess!) and the one and only Robert De Niro together on screen - and  in Italian!!  Can't get much more romantic than that!  The movie was quite lovely, but one scene in particular took my breath away.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Divine Words

" All Scripture is God-breathed..."
                                                  St. Paul

I've been giving some thought to this, lately.

For most of my life I was taught, and accepted, that the Bible was "divinely inspired".  In my cultural tradition, this meant that every word in it was perfectly, literally accurate.  Six days to create the world.  Infallible history.  And every verse like a magic spell that could bend reality to fit the "correct" way of thinking about things.

I was even told that translation errors could not occur - because God was watching over His Word.  If just ONE verse turned out to be false, well then, you wouldn't be able to trust ANY of it!!  And woe betide anybody who dared twist it, or change even so much as a punctuation mark!

When you think about it - this has to produce a fearful kind of faith.  It implies that there is one

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Family Stuff...

Every time I go to write a post like this, I wonder if I really should.  However, I've waved enough of my dirty laundry at the internet world already; my rants are there for all to see - and so, in my now well established tradition of being far too personal in public, I think it is time for an update on "the Big D".

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Last Post

HA!  You thought I was going to get all military or memorial, didn't you??

Actually, this really IS a continuation of my last post!

Truth is I was just going to add a comment - but the comment grew so I'm posting it separately.

Okay -  I've been mulling over examples of powerful, triumphant love that I've seen.

First to come to mind (and I didn't "see" this one - but it has gone down in history!) Is the example of Martin Luther King Jr, and those incredibly brave souls who stood with him and faced violence and hatred - took it on themselves without retaliating, and defeated it with love.  Their sacrifice is still reverberating throughout history. I think both he and Ghandi spring immediately to mind whenever there's talk of "nonviolent resistance" - but reflecting on the courage and sacrifice of individuals who stood up for love and freedom - and the incredible power of their actions - fills me with awe and reverence still.

A more prosaic example;  When I was growing up, a hyperactive, tearaway wild thing wreaking

Monday, October 31, 2011

Unpacking the Story 1 - Judgement vs. Love

 A while back, I had a go at summarising the narrative of the Bible.  (See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 if you missed it and are interested)  I talked a little bit about my reasons for doing it... partly because I think we have unwittingly twisted it into something else.  But also, (in fact, mainly) because I wanted to look at it again, if possible, with new eyes.  There has been a paradigm shift, a BIG one, going on inside me - & I wanted to check it out against the WHOLE story, and see if it really fit.

As it turned out, I really got a lot out of doing it.  I approached the Jesus bit with fear and trepidation, to be honest - I have NEVER really understood what the cross was all about.  Something about it just never made sense.  Reading Derek Flood's work (Penal Substitution vs. Christus Victor, in particular) was a great help.  It put into words a lot of the questions I'd had.  The picture of a bloodthirsty God requiring a life as payment for the smallest infringement... just didn't read like justice to me. 

So What was the cross all about?

I'd seen the garden, and a lot of the old Testament stuff, as the story of two competing worldviews.  The one most of us have (well, all of us, if we're honest) that judges other people, compares them to

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tasty words... I hope!

Here's a little offering, from 4am wakefulness... Hope you like it!

My Garden

Welcome to my garden of words;
Heart-grown and tender.
Full of youth and sap
and vigour
Or ready to seed
And fly on the wind
who knows where...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cosmic prayer.

I went to Church yesterday (more remarkable than it sounds - I've been absent a lot this year, and have ended up finding, I think, a new Church home - longish story & not what this post is about ... although it's worth saying that my old fellowship merged with another Church - great bunch of people, but it coincided with a whole lot of upheaval in my own family, which kept me away from services and by the time I got back there it just wasn't quite home anymore.  I'm still in regular contact with those I was close to, however, so its all good!)

Anyway, the new mob (which is really just an extension of old mob - sister fellowship to my old church, and lots of folks who already know me or my siblings... just a different branch of the family, really!) are studying Ephesians right now.  Different folks have been sharing their insights into different bits of it.  This morning, Virginia, who is a wonderful "highlands woman" - proper, keenly insightful, with a touch of humour and lots of grace, shared her thoughts about the prayers in Ephesians.  If you're not a Bible-reading type, Ephesians is actually a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the believers in Ephesus - which exists today as an old town somewhere in Turkey.  It was written to them to encourage them in the faith and new life they had embraced.

Virginia made the point that the prayers Paul prayed for his family of faith, way back then, were quite different to the prayers we so often pray today.  NO prayers for prosperity!!  No lists of things that need fixing.  Not even so much as a "bless auntie so-and-so"!  Paul's prayers skip all of that and cut

Friday, October 21, 2011

Places I've been...

For once, I'm NOT short of blogging inspiration, and this is at least partly because of lots of inspirational reading I've been doing, on and off the net  (well, mostly on, if I'm honest!).  Before I wax lyrical on my own, I thought it would be worth sharing a few of the gems I've been inspired by in the past week or so:

Probably the post that touched me the most, was this amazing poem by Joy Wilson.  I've just discovered her blog, and will keep following it.  She's also written a book, called "Uncensored Prayer", which I have ordered from Amazon.  More on that when it arrives!  Her poetry is raw and real and, in the words of one reviewer, "not for the faint hearted" but as I read this one poem it could have been MY story.  It threw my morning off balance in the most incredible of ways - I just wanted to cry, and talk to Jesus.  It brought me closer to God than I've felt in quite a while!  Find it here.

This punchy and insightful guest post by Alise Wright, on Jamie, the very worst Missionary (one of my fave blogs) really hit the mark!  Alise is a Jesus-follower married to an atheist and I think probably straddles the divide between "Christian culture" and the rest of the waking world, in a unique way!  

Derek Flood has been an ongoing source of insight and encouragement.  I've already recommended his four part article (kind of like a mini-book, but REALLY worth the time it takes to read it) Penal Substitution vs. Christus Victor.  This week, though, I delved into his (much shorter) article on relational theology.  He has a way of taking the ideas I've been groping at, and laying them out clearly!
(Derek is also a professional animator, and the image on the right is his artwork.  You can buy prints via his webpage)

And finally, a bit of a thought-provoking discussion with Michael Camp, of Deep Thought Pub, on homosexuality in the Bible.  Something I've been wrestling with for a while, as I have dear friends and family members with same-sex partners.  I don't believe God's love excludes anyone because of lifestyle or sin, but it's sometimes hard to reconcile this with some passages in the Bible.  Michael and I both agree that the law is NOT part of following Jesus, but the discussion was eye-opening, nonetheless!

(nb. I think one of the reasons I'm enjoying engaging with Michael, is that we both have boozy sounding blog names!!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


This beautiful image sourced from:

As a writer, I find that my words are most powerful when they are most "from the heart".  When I'm no longer just telling a story, or talking "about" something, but expressing who I truly am on the inside.  I love it when meaning glows, and the craft of writing fades invisibly behind it!

Words, ideas, concepts, philosophies; all fascinate me.  I studied a bit of linguistics at uni, and loved it! Examining the way sound waves, phoneme concepts, language conventions are all somehow used to convey meaning from one person to another was endlessly intriguing.  Communication is incredibly complex!!   No matter what the message or how it is conveyed, the concepts and ideas in the mind of the sender are NEVER quite the same as those in the mind of the receiver.  Sometimes


This is Nundu.  
He's the newest addition to the Whalen family.  We think he's about 10 weeks old (though his size is more like 6).  He was rescued from the local dump, and ended up coming to live with us.  Specifically, he was adopted by my 12 year old daughter, Hannah.  "Nundu" is a Harry Potter name (Hannah is a mad-keen Harry Potter nut!! Apparently a Nundu is some kind of scary, leopard-like magical creature with very bad breath!).  The name is a kind of Hannah irony.  She doesn't see him that way at all!

When we first met Nundu, he was pitifully thin, had runny eyes, worms, and fleas.  Oh, and there was poo stuck in his fur.  We took him for a vet check (a bit worried that the eyes might be infectious as we have another older kitten at home) and the vet thought he was suffering from the tail-end of

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Retelling the Story 4

If you're just jumping into this, I've been slowly retelling the story of the Bible.  Why?  Well, because I think we have twisted it, and used it to say (in many ways) the absolute opposite of what it actually shows.  You may not agree...  but see how it strikes you!

See the beginning of the story here.
Some more thoughts on the message of the Old Testament story and the law here in Part 2
The beginning of the Jesus bit, here in Part 3

And we take up our story, now that Jesus has made the religious authorities angry enough to murder him, Here:

In a move that exposed the motives of the religious elite for what they truly were, the Jewish religious leaders conspired with the oppressive Roman rulers, to have God executed.  Money changed hands. Jesus was handed over, and the public was manipulated so that a notorious murderer was freed and Jesus, who had stood in every way for life and freedom, was condemned to die a murderer's death.

Jesus lived his death in exactly the same way he had lived his life.  No force.  No retaliation.  To

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Retelling the Story... Part 3

This is part three of a series I've been working on for some time.  Use the links if you want to track back to Part 1, and Part 2

Well, it has been a while coming, but time to continue the story of us and God...  Where were we??
Oh yes - the law, then the prophets...  God crying for justice and relationship and then...


For something like 400 years God was pretty much silent - at least, officially.  The Jewish nation hung onto the things that had been said;  that they were God's chosen, that He would bring a great King from the descendents of David, who would set things right.  And of course, they continued to follow the law.  In fact, they'd made quite an art form out of it.  Because Moses had said to keep God's laws in your hand and head, devout Jews literally wore Scriptures sewn into their clothing andheadgear.  Because there was a limit on how far you could walk from your front gate on the

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Law and Divorce... a different perspective.

Thanks to Craig Bennet, who responded to my previous post about divorce, by sending me the following link, to a VERY interesting theological article, by David Instone-Brewer, in Christianity Today, about the Biblical teaching on divorce.  Like so many things, it's not the teaching I grew up with!!  It confirms the gut feeling I and many others have had, that a God of justice and compassion could not possibly require people to stay in entrenched, hopeless, lifeless situations of any kind!

Anyway, for those who are interested:  What God has Joined Together

I could say more... but right now I'm just ready to go and weep a few tears of relief!

Thanks, Craig - God sent your words at just the right time!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Love and... Divorce

 I'm still planning to continue the "retelling the story" series...  wrestling with part 3.  However in the meantime, I jumped into a discussion on The Pangea Blog about divorce.  I've had some thoughts re divorce (funny that!!) & was mulling whether to share them here.  I ended up articulating them in response to a comment on Pangea, so am sharing my "comment" as a post here too.

Samuel Warren made the comment "Christianity is about love...divorce is not love, and quite frankly the bible does say that God hates it."  I gotta say, that's pretty much the comment I would have made myself, up to a year or so ago.  Here's my response: 

I'm a Christian, and have made the decision to divorce after 18 years of marriage.  ... my husband suffers with Aspergers syndrome - a kind of high functioning Autism.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Retelling the Story 2 - thoughts and mullings on the "law years"

Before we move on to the end of the years of "Law", I want to "zoom in" on some aspects. Those of you who are scholars and thinkers might like to correct or add to my thoughts, and I would love your input!!  Here are some things that stand out to me.

After relationships are broken, and paradise is lost, God continues to walk amongst humanity and relate to individuals. He chooses a man, Abraham, who is willing to trust and relate to him. Abraham's family is crazy and dysfunctional - but God gives them the opportunity to walk with and

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Retelling the Story... Part 1

This is actually something I began months... and MONTHS... ago!
I'm still exploring these ideas. I'm not quite sure where it's all going. I'm putting this up, raw and unfinished as it is, because I think the answers to the questions I'm asking are crucial. And if I stick it up here - I will be obligated to finish the study!! Love to hear the thoughts of others on this stuff...

Just found another blog post that tells a little part of the blog story I've been trying to form in my mind for... ages!  Maybe it will help me actually get it into words. Al Lindskoog's post titled Amazing Grace, over at Communitas Collective points right at the spot I've been trying to direct my words towards.  Actually, quite a lot of Al's writings do (his blog is here, if you would like to wander through them) The bottom line is that the rules don't matter.  It's all about Grace. 

Don't misunderstand me - there is definitely such a thing as right and wrong.  Sin is real.  But living on that dividing line will kill you! It is the way of Grace that gives life.

Let me try and re-tell a familiar story...albeit very much simplified (after all, it is quite a challenge to fit 66 books into a few short paragraphs) but I wonder if you will see in it what I see!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Just because...

I haven't been doing much writing of any kind for a while, but today the muse struck... kind of a random blog entry, but since I enjoyed the place, and the writing of the poem, I thought I'd share :)


Dark and ragged,
Skeletons of drowned trees
Implore manmade banks
Rimmed with highway
And bitumen bike track.

The municipal pumping station
Juts practically
Beside serviceway and infrastructure.

Unappraised of civil engineering
Swans dive
And grebes cluster.
An exultant skim of birds
Mirrors perfectly
In a bowl of liquid sky.

Kerry Miller

Friday, April 29, 2011

Getting it off my chest!

I have a feeling this post is going to be less of a theological /cultural comment, than it is just personal rant.  Sorry in advance for this - but there's some stuff I just need to get off my chest.

I'm going through a divorce (yes, it's definite).  It's necessary.  It's a relief.  But the process sucks.  Big time.  There are times when it feels like surviving a death.  What makes it worse, is that I am a CHRISTIAN going through divorce.   OH. MY.

Can you tell that I'm feeling angry?  I've long been an outspoken critic of "Christian culture".  We have created religious shackles for ourselves and others that Jesus never intended.  In fact, I firmly believe that if he were walking around in sandals today, he'd be doing a lot more table-tipping than

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Family stuff...

Well, the blog has been very inactive for a very long time, and to be honest, I'm not sure how much I will be updating it in the future - although I do have some thoughts brewing that I think ought to be shared... more on that later!

For those of you who pray, we are facing some very significant challenges at the moment, as a family.  Basically, after long and protracted difficulties (& those who know us personally would be aware of these) Ian and I are now living under the same roof, but separated.  The decision has been made prayerfully, and the separation is not necessarily final.  We have to work out how best to move forward as a family, and that may be together as husband and wife - or not.

So far, this new chapter has been a testament to God being in control, and the perfectness of His timing.  We are finding that our home is peaceful, and we able to communicate honestly with one other.  I think we are both growing as people as a result.  Whatever the outcome, I believe with all my heart (and there has certainly been plenty of evidence to back it up) that we are moving forward into something much better.

Thank you for your prayers.