Monthly Archives: September 2010

adam bandt’s maiden speech

From the Greens’ Adam Bandt, Member for Melbourne, in his maiden speech in Federal Parliament today:

Ironically, it is usually those who want the fewest barriers for money to move across borders who want to build the strongest walls to stop people doing the same. But when we lock asylum seekers and refugees up indefinitely, in city and desert prisons, we have more than enough evidence that we destroy their lives and the lives of their families. There is a palpable hypocrisy in saying the threat is so dire that we must send our soldiers to fight in places like Afghanistan, and yet when people flee that threat we close the door on them.

repenting about repenting

Over at Faith and Theology, Ben Myers has posted a sermon by Kim Fabricius entitled “Repenting about repenting.” It is definitely worth the few minutes read.

You can read it on his blog here.

In Matthew’s Greek the word is metanoeite (3:2). The traditional translation is “repent”. The GNB paraphrases: “Turn away from your sins.” Eugene Peterson’s translation in The Message cuts to the chase: “Change your life” (today we might say, “Get a life!”).

But let’s pause for a moment and take a step back. Keep Reading…

k. rudd gets it right

Whether you love him or hate him, I think Kevin Rudd gets it right here in his speech to the UN on Thursday, 23rd September, 2010.

Maybe K. Rudd can do more for the world as Foreign Affairs Minister…

the gagafication of femininity

Ok, so let’s get some things straight before I start:

1) I am not a gender studies student, nor the son of a gender studies student, so excuse the simplicity or inconsistency of any comments I make;
2) I am not commenting on Lady Gaga’s music (in fact I am one of those rare males who finds her songs incredibly catchy and enjoyable);
3) I consider myself to be a feminist in a proper sense of the word (as opposed to the singular proper sense of the word which doesn’t really exist, and opposed to more contemporary misuses of the word).

Lady Gaga is no doubt one of the most influential figures in music today. Back in May Time included her in their list of Top 100 Most Influential People, and in June Forbes listed her 4th in their Top Most Powerful and Influential Celebrities in the World. Moreover in July Forbes again added her to a list, this time in the Top Music Earners of 2010 with Gaga at 7th on US$62 million.

Gaga’s influence is probably not the result of her music itself; such music is not all that dissimilar from a great deal of the RnB beat-laden pop currently filling the charts, and her lyrics are far from what you would consider intellectual, creative or inspirational.

On the contrary, Gaga’s influence probably stems from her self-proclaimed “revolutionary” approach to pop music, which in fact is not about music at all, but about an image, a persona, a fashion and arguably a worldview. This is not dissimilar to the place of Madonna in the 1980’s, whose music was arguably comparable with other acts at the time.

Gaga no doubt attempts to use her influence as best as she knows how (at least in one sense) in that she calls her fans “Little Monsters,” emphasising that they are “freaks” and “outcasts” (like her, apparently) and encourages them that they can find true freedom at her concerts (currently called “The Monster Ball”).

Apart from the (apparently unwitting) ridiculousness of her claim – the vast majority of her audience are pop fans, not drag queens or transgender people – there are a number of reasons to question Gaga’s approach to freedom, and in particular in regards to femininity. Keep Reading…

getting on the marriage carriage

Marriage in Australia is currently a hot topic of debate. With same-sex marriage very much on the agenda, there is a huge amount of discussion around the problem of who should be allowed to marry.

At least for now I am not interested in debating the ins and outs or same-sex marriage in this arena (I need to do more preparation for the proverbial crucifixion that may ensue as I inevitably offend someone…), though I am interesting in asking a related question – What is marriage in Australia? Keep Reading…

a christian does ramadan

So a friend and I decided to do Ramadan this year.

Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting (the ninth month in the Islamic calendar) whereby Muslims cease eating, drinking and sexing it up between dawn and sunset. It is both an act of devotion and good exercise in patience and humility.

Our aim in doing Ramadan was primarily that we would be able to use it as a means of having contact with local Muslims that we might become friends and also that we might engage in some form of inter-religious dialogue. Such dialogue is, in my view, extremely important, given the perception of Islam in much of the Western world over the past decade, and particularly its perception in my neck of the woods (Cronulla… remember the riots, anyone?).

But having crossed the halfway mark late last week, I realised that Ramadan is teaching me more than I bargained for. Maybe it’s best if I just list some of the things I am learning and experiencing: Keep Reading…

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