Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Spilling the Brew!

When I started this blog, what now seems about a trillion years ago, it was with the idea of exploring something new I was discovering in my faith and in my life.   After decades of earnest (and strict!) religious observance I was finally comfortable to allow myself to ask some "hard questions" and possibly step outside some of the "self-evident truths" held during my upbringing and by subsequent faith communities.

This was not an angry, stricture-tearing impulse.  Rather, it was a joyous discovery of something alive and wonderful, and most of all, real - that my religion often seemed to be at odds with, and yet it made sense of so much that had always puzzled me about the Jesus narrative.  This, in spite of the fact that this same narrative was supposed to be the rock-solid foundation of the faith we shared.  In fact, the name of this blog is a reference to a metaphor Jesus used; likening new truth that is too potent for old structures to contain to "new wine" that will split old wineskins (See my first ever post, here.)

Well, it seems, my "HeadyBrew" wineskin has split.  Along with a lot of my previous understandings of what it means to have faith, and particularly, to "follow Christ".  I'm still learning, and still growing. I still see the example of Christ as the most potent narrative for our world, that I have ever understood. However I have come to see organised Christian (or any) religion as largely irrelevant to me.  Perhaps I will come "full circle" (as some of my friends seem to have done) and find comfort and meaning in liturgy and ritual.  At this point, I do not.  

As a source of reminding, of what is valuable and true and good, and the reasons for love, I do not discount the value of liturgical practice.  However, as a source of rigid "in-group" identification, of "us and them" mentality, of performance anxiety and moral measurement, of control through fear (yes, that's what I just said!) and very definitely as a source of social privilege and influence for a very particular interpretation of life and morality - I most definitely do not support organised religion.

The faith conversation that I became part of, and which inspired the need for this blog, is continuing. I'm certain it is enabling many others to move from fear to love.  And perhaps to redefine "faith". However that conversation is important for folk who are part of organised religion and are seeking to understand how this fits with their modern life experience, and in many cases seeking to reform the"institutions" to which they belong.  This no longer applies to me.  I am not seeking to reform "church".  I've moved on.

So what am I doing now?

Well, I'm writing poetry and short fiction (not as prolifically as I'd like, but working on that...) and I'm proud to announce that a poem and a short story of mine will be appearing in an Australian anthology, due out in September this year.  I think, if you can get a copy to read (it's Called "Seeking Horizons" edited by Mark Tredinnick and Ron Pretty) you will recognise in the story, some of the very same themes that were explored here on HeadyBrew.

I'm also involved in a community initiative called arc-Community.  You can find our (very new) website here.  It's actually one way I am putting my faith into action in the world.  The idea is to share stories of positive community connections and solutions, to encourage dialogue and connections in Australian communities.  Doesn't sound very theological, does it?  Boil it down, though, and it's about love.

Oh, and I have a new personal blog, although I don't post often.  You can find it here  and if you are a Facebook user, you can always find much more of what I'm up to, here.

Thank you, to my blogging friends who have been with me, and been interested enough to share thoughts and ideas with me in this space.  It's been beyond valuable!  Perhaps I'll catch you in some of my new haunts, or vice versa!

With love,