All posts tagged: Claire van Ryn

Kids Don’t Choose Their Families, They Just Trust

My 17-month-old son has adventure and courage in spades, yet when he approaches a step, he gingerly grips the doorframe and lowers himself bit by bit until he feels the floor solid beneath his toes. If I have hold of his hand, it’s an entirely different picture. Captain Courageous will launch himself from any height so long as mum’s hand is wrapped around his own. I know it’s just a little thing, but it amazes me how much trust a child has in his or her parents. When I see that level of trust, it’s a real wakeup call; I have been entrusted with this little life. And when I see him sleeping in his cot, his face relaxed into sweet vulnerability, I pray so hard that he will be kept safe from all the monsters – not under his bed but lurking in the street or, God forbid, in the homes of people I know. Last week we celebrated (if that’s the right word) National Child Protection Week. Celebrated probably isn’t the right word …

Voice for the Voiceless

When your faith-full correspondent lost her voice a week back, she had a revelation. As she was forced to be the ears only in group conversations and point hopelessly at her throat when asked a direct question, mouthing “lost my voice” (or attempting a syllable and getting something sounding more like a strangled donkey on four packets a day), she pondered how much she disliked the experience. To have no voice is to disappear a little. When friends are milling and someone hollers over the din, “Who wants a cuppa?” your rasp dissipates into background noise of sniffs and laughter and footfall on floorboards. When you answer the phone, the caller hello-hello-hellos until just before hang-up when they hear your fragile whisper. Don’t feel sorry for me – I’m just saying that this was a silver lining moment; a revelation of what it is to be truly voiceless. Last week, I was an unborn baby, a person living with disability, a child without parents, a woman with dementia. I felt a minuscule speck of what …

Marriage: is it as Sacred as Trees?

THE Greens are fighting fiercely to protect the Tarkine wilderness in Tassie’s North-West. This significant tract of temperate rainforest has been upheld as a sacred place worthy of protection. People feel strongly about it. Over the past few years we’ve seen protests from community groups and heartfelt speeches from Greens pollies against changes mooted including the Tarkine tourist road and forestry and mining operations. The Tarkine is beautiful and effective as it stands, they have cried. The Tarkine is a place with World Heritage values. The Tarkine nurtures life and should not be altered. Proponents for change reply that opening up the Tarkine would give access to all, enhance economic benefit to the region and show off something the rest of Australia doesn’t have. Ironically, these are the very arguments that Tasmania’s Labor-Green government is using to rip apart the sacred place that is marriage. We see our premier Lara Giddings revving up the bulldozer and preparing to clear a way for all homosexual couples to know what it is to be married. This government …

Humility. Where it came from and the significance of stinky feet.

PICTURE for a moment the person you most respect. This person inspires you, they are the epitome of human character and embody your goal in life; to attain likeness in word and deed. You’ve invited them over for a dinner party as the special guest. You sit them at the head of the table so that all your friends, who also admire and respect him, can engage in conversation easily. But things don’t transpire as planned. Your special guest has arrived and is seated just a few moments before he grabs a basin of water and a towel and starts washing everyone’s feet. One at a time, tenderly, meticulously. Not what you expected at all. In fact, it’s mortifying! I’m speaking of Jesus, of course, at the last supper. His was a bold statement of humility – one possibly lost in cultural and historical translation. Feet back then weren’t feet if they didn’t have a thick coating of dust or muck from the road. It was usually the job of the house servant to wash …

Winner: Young Australian Christian Writer Award 2012

I want to share with you a recent and rather exciting achievement. On Thursday evening in Melbourne, my unpublished manuscript with the same title as this blog (a compilation of columns) won me the 2012 Young Australian Christian Writer award. It was a beautifully choreographed evening and prior to announcing each winner, an excerpt of the successful piece of writing was performed or spoken. Rather strange to hear your own words being enunciated from the stage by a stranger! This is what the judges said about Faith Like A Mushroom: This collection of thoughts serves as a companion on the path to Christian maturity. The writing is inquiring and philosophical, but above all practical. The writer’s voice is strong and her impressive breadth of historical and cultural engagement is put to good use. This is a book for young adults who want to make their faith more than just a set of inert beliefs locked safely away in their hearts. It calls us to understand the Christian faith as a worldview seeking action and transformation. …

Olympic Training vs Spiritual Training

Some of us rolled out of bed early last Monday morning and watched Jamaica’s Usain Bolt stride across the finish line to take gold in the men’s 100m sprint. I didn’t. The alarm was set with good intentions, but a few extra minutes of sleepy contentment prevailed. As I slept in those 20 minutes, achieving little more than dribble on the pillow, the aptly surnamed Bolt was achieving fame in a measly 9.63 seconds (Just for the record, I DID muster the wakefulness to watch Sally Pearson’s early morning gold last week, and wasn’t it worth it?!). Ridiculousness! How do they do it? Hubby recounted the feat as I prised my eyelids open (he’s the one with the drive in our household). And I thought, that’s how long it takes me to butter my toast. While I’m buttering my toast, Bolt’s winning gold. We’re clearly from different planets, Bolt and I. The reality is that behind those 9.63 seconds on the track are hours, weeks, years of solid training. The same can be said of …

Where faith, undies and mushrooms meet

Faith is like a reeealy comfy pair of undies. Just the right size, good cheek coverage, made from soft, breathable cotton and with elastic that is firm but not so firm as to indent that fleshy nether region. Faith is like a reeealy comfy pair of undies because, while it remains largely unseen, it keeps everything in its place. My analogy is desperately lacking… Welcome to my blog anyway. Really, I just want to use this space to express how different faith and religion are. If faith is the comfy pair of undies, then religion is the belt strapped tight and rigid at the waist. Religion tends to restrict the freedom found in faith. There’s this general misconception that religion and faith are inexorably linked, like twin sisters, but it’s just not the case. See, I’m of the opinion that religion would do well to loosen a few notches. Go all the way and rip that restricting strap from your belt notches and let live. I’m sorry. This analogy is spewing images that were completely …