Seeking and Sharing the Fullness of Life

Not Letting the Bastards Define You

A Sermon on Matthew 5.38–48 by Fr James Alison
(Our church is departing from the Revised Common Lectionary for one year to hear mostly readings that are not included in it)

We were greatly honoured to be able to welcome the Fr James Alison as our guest preacher in the Cyber Chapel. He is one of this generation’s most important and creative theologians, best known for bringing the work of the great French thinker René Girard to a wider public, and for his firm but patient insistence on truthfulness in matters gay as an ordinary part of basic Christianity, and for his pastoral outreach in the same sphere.

There is no written version of this sermon, but you can watch the video or listen to the audio. It’s certainly worth it!

It is also possible to watch the video on the whole service here, including the sermon.


  1. I don’t think I’ve ever read or heard James Alison without having at least one big a-ha moment when he has pointed out some profound insight into a biblical text which, after he says it, I can’t believe I never saw before. Tonight’s first one was the link between the Jacob & Esau stories and the parable fo the prodigal son, and that was before he even got to the main focus of the sermon! Thanks so much for being with us, James, and for bringing the words of Jesus to life for us in such rich ways.

  2. That you James for taking the time and making the effort to share your knowledge, insights and your commitment to the Culture of Jesus, with us.

    An amazing expose of the gospel of Jesus our Christ.

  3. I’m interested in how we can enact that idea of not being defined by the evil that is done to us. I feel like that’s a bit academic for me who has had so little evil done to me, but must have much bigger implications and challenges for those who really have experienced serious damage from others. It seems to be a call to creativity too, to not just react in the most basic way which is so easy to fall into. I will look out for the various creative and transformative and God-like ways that oppressed folks around me ‘change the script’ of retaliation in the face of evil. Thanks James!

  4. One should always be able to listen again to a sermon. How we need to hear this word – I had never thought of it as an “in between space” – as this is an “in between” time also – we in Melbourne are letting ourselves be defined by this time and by what the rest ofAustralia is saying about us but there is another space we can be and God is calling us to be in that space. Many years ago a new staff member asked me to collect her for work and at the end of the day take her home. I thought it was a one off situation but soon discovered that it was not. I tested the distance from her house to the road i would go to work on – it was a mile there and back – this scripture came to mind then “if you are asked to go a mile go 2” – I travelled that distance twice a day for 4 years till she left our department. I will be listening often I feel Sylvia

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