Category Archives: New Testament

An Advent sermon. Aboriginal land and the Uniting Church’s covenanting process.

An Advent sermon presented to the West End Uniting Church, December 15 2013.

(The original sermon included a commentary on James 5:7:11 in accord with the church lectionary readings for the week but it is of only tangential relevance to the substance of the sermon so I have left it out)

Advent is the time when we prepare to celebrate the festival of the birth of Jesus and a time when we prepare for the incoming of God’s kingdom in all its glory.

Jesus is the liberator who brings good news to the poor, release for the captive and liberation for the oppressed.

Advent is a season of expectantly waiting, let us expect Jesus the liberator and in terms our covenanting process, let us expect liberation and justice for Aboriginal people. Continue reading

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The epistle of John Tracey to the Christian Anarchist congregation of the Brisbane Anarchist Summer School 2013

Christian anarchism and the religion of Caesar: Transcending the Roman religion and rediscovering the tribal indigenous Jesus

read it – here

The historical context of the new testament.

The time of the stories of the new testament lies between two major events in the Middle East, the Maccabees revolt of the second century BC and the Roman-Jewish wars of the first and second centuries AD. Continue reading

Australian folklore, biblical exegesis, Christian non-violence and a man with a big hat and a tricycle.

An open letter to the Australian Christian non-violence movement.

Once a Jolly protester
camped by a helicopter
under the shade of total surveillance

And he spruiked and rode
and smashed his mattock on the Helicopter
Who’l come a tricycling Matilda with me


Continue reading

So this is Christmas?

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, 
   to us a son is given, 
   and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called 
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

What is this Christmas thing that the Christian church holds as so important? There is no Christmas in the bible. There is however Hanukah – the festival of light – that celebrates the rededication of the Jerusalem temple after its defilement by invading Hellenist imperial forces. The festival of light occurs at various times in December, depending on the year as the Hebrew calendar is lunar as opposed to Rome’s solar matrix.

John 10 tells us that Jesus participated in the festival of light, indeed that is where he declared himself as Messiah before the skeptical temple authorities.

The Roman Christmas festival is a re-branding of various Hellenist festivals including the (virgin) birth of deities such as Mithra and Sol Invictus that occurred on December 25 in pre-christian Rome.

The irony of the Christian church’s embrace of Christmas is that its roots lie in the same Hellenic culture and tradition as the invaders of Judea that defiled the Jerusalem temple and whose eviction from Israel is celebrated in the festival of light.

The birth of Jesus is recorded in the bible – the nativity story. Jesus was born in the context of rule under King Herod the Great, a fraudulent and corrupt king of the Jews who operated a puppet regime of Rome and redeveloped the Jerusalem temple with Rome’s loot. The baby Jesus is born a king by way of his authentic descent from King David, a terrible threat to the sovereignty of Herod and for which the massacre of the innocents was ordered.

The nativity story, just like the festival of light, is a story of indigenous sovereignty and its assertion under imperial domination. This has somehow been white-washed from Christendom’s retelling of the story.

How to read the bible.

The first thing to understand about the bible is that it is not a Christian book, it is written by and for the ancient tribal indigenous Hebrew people. Jesus was not a Christian, he was a Jew.

The second thing to understand is that the Christian church since the fourth century has been the state religion of the Roman empire and Holy Roman empire. The church itself was created as an agency of the imperial state and at times has itself been the imperial state.

So the bible we have today is a tribal indigenous story of the land of the covenant of Abraham that has been interpreted through the cultural and religious consciousness of the empire of Rome. It began as an indigenous oral tradition, in the Old Testament as song and poetry and the New Testament as the oral stories of Jesus that were unwritten until decades after his crucifixion. From the oral tradition it has been written in various languages including ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek and then into modern languages of Europe which have then been translated into many languages.

By the time “the word” reaches our ears it has been reconstructed by the culture of European empire into something very different from its original tribal meaning.

The basic challenge for the modern bible reader is to distinguish between the essential meaning of the story and the cultural baggage of empire. Continue reading

A Supernatural God?

It is often said that atheists and christians agree on what “god” is, they just disagree as to whether it exists or not. However, what if “God” was something outside of the understanding of atheist and christian alike, something that does not conform to the cultural assumptions of what “supernatural” actually is? Continue reading