Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.
‘Life and how to live it ’
We have the icon of the transfiguration before us because it shows Moses and Elijah "alive" with Jesus -
Physical and spiritual vitality. We might ponder these things in terms of the Sadducees, the priestly class, the establishment.
Jesus is teaching in the temple precinct -
There is order. There is hierarchy. There is also a great deal of fear -
In the first century, as in subsequent times, this kind of patriarchal code/control could claim to have the woman's best interest at heart -
We might well read the Gospel alive to issues of class and gender -
In a recent address to a Victorian Women's Trust event in Melbourne, former prime minister Julia Gillard highlighted the historically high numbers of women in major roles in her government and said some sections of the community may have felt challenged, even threatened, by so much change. She was saddened the new government didn't have the same level of women's representation. "I despair that we have gone so far backwards in women's participation," she said.
"I despair even more when I read the false debate about equality versus merit, which is adding insult to injury. The simple reality is, equality and merit go hand in hand. If you believe as I do that merit is equally distributed between the sexes, then in any institution, a cabinet, a court, a corporate board, (that) does not comprise around 50 per cent women and 50 per cent men, women of merit have been excluded." (http://www.smh.com.au/national/-
You might have heard this week that Sweden has adopted a rating system for films that promote gender equality. In applauding films for the absence of gender bias, Sweden is taking as its gauge the well-
You would be surprised how many films fail. In fact, as one of the directors of a participating Swedish cinema told reporters: "The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test."
Films that don't fail the test will be given an “A” rating. At the time of writing, the initiative has four participating cinemas, and the state-
Have we overcome the subjugation and objectification of women? What do our mainstream political structures and processes reflect? Education and employment opportunities for women -
The Sadducees' attempt to ridicule Jesus is echoed in contemporary ridicule of "hysterical feminists", "outdated class warriors", "strange gender-
The establishment is ever threatened by alternatives to mainstream values. It will seek to ridicule and destroy. I've experienced this, as I'm sure you have too, watching commercial television, listening to mainstream music, in the street, at the beach ... I've experienced it within family contexts and within the church. I've known the fear it engenders -
I don't want to live in fear. I want to be free to ask questions. I want the enjoyment of respectful relationships, equality. I want the peace of abundance -
The Sadducees, like most religious conservatives, limit revelation to just a few texts. In their case it was the Torah, the five books ascribed to Moses. Not for them the various written and oral commentaries on Torah. Not for them the psalms or the prophets, the Song of Songs, or the stories of Ruth, Tobit or Job.
Something happens when we shut down tradition like this. We shut down. There's a lot of fear and denial. For a start, we deny our own part in the tradition -
What's exciting is the sheer multi-
Sometimes our religious language gets very tired -
I think it's about religious imagination ("How my heart yearns within me!") and the passion of faith for a world to come -
Grasped by this kind of other-
Whatever else it might mean is beyond our control and imagining. And that's Good News!
Let's complete the homily together. How does the refrain "All are alive to God" revive or relieve your imagination? ... Amen.