Rev Gary Heard Reflections on Spirituality
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Reflections on Spirituality Rev Gary Heard Reflections Australia Baptist The Eighth Day

Rev Gary Heard

Last Updated
25 October 2012

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Baptist, Victoria, Australia, Christian, Ideas, Spirituality,  Inner City, Ministry, Faith,  Gary Heard, play, West Melbourne, Eighth Day, Sermons, Reflections, Politics, Seeker Sensitive; Purpose-Driven, Public Dialogue, Rediscovering Life, Ebbs and Flows,unconditional love
These writings reflect on life and spirituality in the context of the 21st century, taking a fresh look at all aspects of life and faith. They are published weekly in the West Melbourne "City's Edge". Early articles were written as a weekly thought-provoker while pastoring at Rosanna Baptist Church and Mitcham Baptist Church. In presenting them here, some are edited because of their new context. Date of original publication is included. Articles published elsewhere have publication details included. Your responses and feedback are welcome.

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Most recent reflection... (published in The Age, 21 October 2012)

One day in the coming week I will set foot out the front door to walk or run across the SA/WA border. Not literally, but a mobile phone app has enabled me to track my daily exercise this year, providing a cumulative distance covered, which has taken me (theoretically) from home to the Nullarbor.

More important than the distance covered has been the time to reflect, pray, grieve, think, converse (when with a friend), or simply absorb the surroundings. Exercise has been a deeply spiritual experience.

We too easily confine faith to strictly religious or moral/ethical activities: prayer, meditation, bible reading. Yet reading the Bible one encounters a holistic approach to spirituality and life, embracing what is eaten, what we wear, how we relate, how we are governed, how we care for animals and the earth, and more. Faith is formed in the fullness of life experiences.

What I miss most when I can’t exercise is the time out for perspective – away from the “noise” of the everyday, alone with my thoughts, with time to process what has been going on. While I value my physical fitness, there is a deeper fitness of spirit and soul that emerges from this time. Like the mobile phone app, it places the exercise I do in a broader, cumulative context, helping me to see the sum of my actions and not just individual pieces.

Residents of a Geelong dementia unit have found the value of this perspective. Taking a “walk around Australia” by accumulating their laps around the corridors, their whole lives have been transformed. The have gained new interests and energy and expanded their social worlds.

The teachings of Jesus are grounded in the ordinary yet rich experiences of human life: drawing water at a well, sparrows and lilies, weddings and feasts, agriculture and animal care, use of power and influence. They exhibit a stubborn resistance to narrowing faith and spirituality to esoteric or contemplative endeavours, and a vigorous determination to underline the spiritual nature of all activities.

I would never have contemplated travelling to Eucla on foot, yet the accumulation of steps has offered a perspective not only on the immediate relationship between faith and life, but also between individual acts built up over time. Every faith journey can only be made one step at a time yet needs the broader context to understand its full meaning.

October 21, 2012

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(new articles added 10/04/12)
On Prayer
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On the Church
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Special Occasions
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Living Life on Purpose
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True Stories
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On Being Human
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World Events
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2003 Archives
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On Discipleship

(new articles added 10/04/12)


Longer Articles:

Running into Faith (added 25/10/12)

The 'Other' Perspective (added 25/07/12)

An Artificial Distinction? (added 8/04/12)

Back from Holidays... (added 1/05/11)

Bat in the Dining Room (added 17/04/11)

On The Beach (added 27/03/11)

Of The Earth (added 6/04/10)

Encountering the Stranger (added 17/07/09)

Finding Direction (added 10/07/09)

Faith of the Land (added 18/10/07)

The Potter Story (added 3/09/07)

Fingerprints of the Divine (added 15/08/07)

Losing Faith in order to find it (added 30/07/01)

Towards an Australian Spirituality (added 30/07/01)

Christmas with Samuel (added 28/07/01)

It was only a stable door... (added 30/01/02)

Easter in the Antipodes (added 30/03/02)

The Winter Solstice in Australia (added 28/06/02)

Reformation Day: Faith takes an unexpected turn (added 31/10/02)

Finding Intimacy (added 04/02/03)

The Land (added 27/02/03)

Prayers for Peace (added 24/04/03)

A Prayer for Beslan (added 08/09/04)

    More to Come...

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