By Clare Boyd-Macrae
20 August 2022
“I love to write and I love to think about God. Although I am not theologically trained, I firmly believe that all people of faith are called upon to do theology: to examine their lives in the light of their faith and to examine what they believe in the light of their everyday lives. Professional, academic theologians are really important; ordinary, everyday theologians are too.”
So starts the introduction to my most recent book, and forgive the indulgence of quoting myself in the pages of this September paper!
I still love to write and love to think about God. And The Melbourne Anglican has allowed me to do this publicly for many years – the occasional article since forever, and a monthly column since May 2014. That’s a lot of words. I am profoundly grateful to several different editors over the years, who encouraged me to write and gave me a platform to put my ideas and experiences of God and life out there into the big wide world, or at least a small portion thereof.
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This is my last column, and I want to thank anyone who has ever read something I’ve written here. I want to encourage anyone who is still reading, to stretch yourself a little to do your own theology – reflection on faith in the light of experience and vice versa.
I want to encourage you, too, in your walk as a Christian, or as someone who is exploring what it might mean to follow Jesus. It’s not an easy road, particularly these days, profoundly counter-cultural as the Christian way can be. But you are not alone. God – the big, love at the heart of the universe – is with us. That’s huge, but that’s not all.
If you’re reading this, you are probably a reader, and there are no end of books and online materials on Christian discipleship. Some are better than others, so be discerning and take the advice of those you trust. Join a church community if you are not already in one. Find one that doesn’t make you wince or seethe, one that is radically inclusive, accepting you and everyone else as they are and goes from there, in the challenge and consolation of a community shot through with the Holy Spirit. Drink in the Bible readings, the preaching, the sacraments, the prayers, the music, the fellowship.
Read more: God remains in the most unexpected of places
The spiritual discipline I have found most sustaining, challenging, comforting and influential over many decades has been the daily practice of contemplative prayer, or Christian meditation. I have practiced this kind of wordless prayer each day and I don’t think I would still be in the Jesus crew without it. I don’t know if meditation is for everyone; I know it has been a powerful tool for connecting with Divine for countless people through history and across the world, and that it has been vital for me. There are rich written resources and small groups doing this ancient and contemporary Christian thing. Tap into them.
Thank you to all the readers, thank you TMA. It’s been an absolute privilege.