Jumping on theological roundabouts with Dr Paula Gooder

The Diocese of Bendigo was privileged to host renowned theologian Paula Gooder in Bendigo on 6 August at St Paul’s Cathedral.

As well as being the Chancellor Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral London, Paula is the author of many popular theological books, including her most recent ‘Phoebe’. She is currently writing a new book on the parables of Jesus and the people who gathered to hear her speak were able to get a sneak preview of the main points of her new work.

Paula led the group in three sessions relating to the parables and how they shape the way that Jesus taught his disciples, and how they continue to be valuable for us two thousand years later.

The complex nature of parables; their style, their various interpretations, and the way in which Paula approached them, kept the crowd very engaged and interested.

A particular focus on “The Kingdom of God is like…” parables in particular encouraged us to think about the ways that we approach parables when we preach, pray, or listen to them. Paula reminded us that there is no one right answer because Jesus tells us that, “the kingdom is a bit like this, a bit like that, and a bit like something else”. Paula was keen for us to hold all those ideas equally as she led us through the parables of the mustard seed, the yeast, and the treasure.

The enduring idea from the day was that parables are dynamic and we should not be afraid to enter the “theological roundabouts” that they offer us. We should be willing to get out of our comfort zones and open ourselves up to new ways of reading the psalms. Paula definitely helped us to do that.

Melissa Clark