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Author Archives: Ashley Thompson

Theologians raise the bar

Sammy Daly and Jeremy Dean at The Crown Hotel, Brisbane. Photo by Theology on Tap Brisbane.

Theology on Tap is a public lecture series held at your local pub. Ashley Thompson explores how an ecumenical group of Brisbane Christians is bringing theology into the public sphere. Co-founded by two American Catholic priests in 1981, Theology on Tap’s (TOT) original purpose revolved around remaining relevant to university-aged young adults who had lost touch with the church. So ...

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Five things first-time guests hate doing at church

Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney. Photo by Sardaka.

Are you unknowingly driving newcomers away? American pastor and author, Dale Hudson has named and shamed five things first-time guests hate doing at church on Christian news site, ChurchLeaders.com. The perceptive list includes: not making people wait in line, poor signage, being ignored, being singled out and bad parking. Personally I think bad coffee should be added to that list! ...

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Stop obsessing over young people

Regina George from Mean Girls asks "Why are you so obsessed with me?". Photo: SNL Studios

This article from popular spirituality network Patheos shows strong insight from American pastor Rev Erin Wathen into the church’s “obsession” with Millennials. Entitled “Dear Millennials: Sorry we’re so obsessed with you” her letter apologies to my peers for years of on and off-line badgering (stalking?); for being guilty of holding on too tightly and seeming too desperate to keep us ...

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Five minutes with the moderator

Rev David Baker wears a sombrero to promote Trinity College Queensland's new OLE learning system at the 31st Synod in Session.

Ashley Thompson asks newly inducted Moderator Rev David Baker some light and personal questions. Ashley: What is your passion? David: My passion? Well I really love trifle. You know, because you’re eating fruit which is healthy. So yeah one of my passions is trifle. Probably another one is curries. I love making curries. A: Spicy ones? D: Yeah, yeah, yeah ...

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Mental health on canvas

Jo Munday (left) and Adriana Leonardi (right) pictured with a piece of art made out of recycled newspapers by Cooinda mental health participants—to be displayed at the upcoming exhibition. Photo by UnitingCare Health.

Art is at the heart of Cooinda Mental Health Service’s vision to normalise mental health experiences within the Sunshine Coast community. Ashley Thompson writes. The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital’s Cooinda Mental Health Service is inviting members of the public to participate in its second annual Mental Health Week art exhibition in October. “Mental health is often misunderstood, or ‘if it ...

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Screw pretending: Be yourself

Rev Nadia Bolz-Weber speaking at UnitingWomen conference in Sydney. Photo by Holly Jewell.

You are who you are. Ashley Thompson speaks with New York Times bestselling author Rev Nadia Bolz-Weber about why Christians should be authentic and vulnerable. You’d be forgiven thinking Rev Nadia Bolz- Weber is anti-authoritarian: the short spiky hair, striking tattoos and cynical wit—if it wasn’t for her clerical collar you’d never guess this foul-mouthed, weightlifting, mother of two is ...

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The Bachelor exposes self

The Bachelor Australia 2014, Blake Garvey and contestants. Photo: Network Ten

The Bachelor Australia continues to thrive and it’s all my fault. Ashley Thompson writes. Whether you like it or not, The Bachelor Australia makes Network Ten piles of money—thanks to well-educated middle-class Australians like me. Raking in 1.4 million viewers per episode, other well-educated middle-class females (who are not me) compete in glitterfied Gladiator-style arena for the “genuine” and definitely-not-fake, ...

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Chaps help kids giddy-up

A young participant experiences horses up close at MacKay Riding for the Disabled. The photo was supplied.

The Iona West Men’s Shed in Mackay is helping a local charity saddle up to overcome disadvantage. Ashley Thompson reports. Iona West Men’s Shed Coordinator Chris McAdam recently handed over one of six horse-shaped saddle racks to the Mackay Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA). The association works to develop ability and enrich the lives of disabled people though relationships ...

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Friendship builds future

Girls singing at St James' Church of North India, Kangra. Photo taken by Frances Guard.

Relationship, not finance, is king in church partnership. Ashley Thompson talks to UnitingWorld and Maleny Uniting Church about their unique relationship with the church behind the Kangra Girls’ Hostel ministry in northern India. “[He said,] ‘We don’t want your money. Please don’t just go back home to Australia after your time here and send money to us’,” Paul Moore of ...

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Were you ever banned from The Simpsons? I was.

Ned Flanders from The Simpsons holding a Bible and looking up at the night sky.

The representation of religion in popular culture has long been viewed as unfair in the eyes of Christian parents, but do the cultural critiques of Matt Groening [co-creator] deserve a second look? As the Fox network celebrates 25 years of The Simpsons, Religion News Service argues it does. Over the weekend the FXX Channel in the United States ran an epic marathon of all 552 episodes ...

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