Michael Morwood

Michael Morwood has over 30 years experience in retreat, education, parish and youth ministries in Australia. Since 1990 he has worked in Christian adult faith formation. He is interested in helping Christians examine what they believe and why they believe it, what they imagine and why they imagine the way they do. He is interested is helping Christians articulate faith in Jesus in ways that resonate with contemporary understanding of our place in the universe.

Michael was a member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart for 38 years, 29 years in priestly ministry. He has an MA in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College.

Following the banning of his book, "Tomorrow’s Catholic" and his silencing by the Archbishop of Melbourne in 1998, Michael resigned from religious life and priestly ministry. He married Maria Kelly in March 2000 and they live in Melbourne, Australia.

Michael is the author of:

Tomorrow’s Catholic. Understanding God and Jesus in a New Millennium.

Is Jesus God? Finding Our Faith.

God Is Near. Trusting Our Faith (US edition published by Crossroad Publications in September 2002)

His next publication treats ritual prayer for small group use: ritual prayer for a New Story.

Re-Shaping Christian Imagination

Christians of all denominations are facing a massive challenge to the traditional ways of imaging and understanding God and how we interpret Jesus as "Saviour".

We find ourselves caught between two "stories".

The traditional "story" is that of a "fall", exile from "heaven", and Jesus being understood as someone who "saves" us by regaining what was lost in the "fall" – access to God in death. Many Christians have had their religious imagination nurtured by this story.

The "New Story" is contemporary understanding of our universe and the development of life on our planet and the belief that God’s Spirit has always being creatively active in the ups and downs of the past 15 billion or so years.

Some key issues for Christians in reshaping their religious imagination are:

  1. A shift from the dualistic worldview in which Christian Scriptures and theology were shaped. eg heaven is a place somewhere else where God really lives;
  2. A shift from Scriptural literalism –
  1. Examination of and reflection on our inherited notions of "God"
  2. Examination of and reflection on what it means to live "in" God.
  3. Jesus as "Mediator" between God and us. Why? On what understandings and notions does this need for Jesus to be mediator rely?
  4. What does it mean to assert Jesus "saves" us if we shift from an understanding that God/heaven are "somewhere else"?
  5. A willingness to shift from doctrinal belief shaped in response to questions that are no longer our questions.
  6. How do we now pray if we make radical shifts in our understanding of our relationship with God.
  7. What really got Jesus out of bed every morning Vs later theological schemas to explain what Jesus was about (much of which would have been totally foreign to Jesus’ thinking and preaching, eg original sin and a lock-out from heaven)
  8. What does "Pentecost" mean for us today.
  9. Eucharist and sacraments. The shift from dependence on middle management to bring the sacred to us.
  10. Our responsibility to shape the "church" we want to experience.

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