Monthly Archives: June 2012
Many of them are part of a local church community and relish that experience.
Many are part of a local church community but feel far less of an attachment.
Many have simply given up on church altogether.
The number of young people in this third group always surprises me. Wherever I go, all across Australia, I meet them. These are young people who love Jesus and are very often passionate about the kingdom of God, but who have decided for whatever reason to cut their ties with the church, at least in its most prominent form.
Many authors have written about this phenomenon. Many pastors have mourned over it. Many church communities have aged because of it.
There is no simple answer as to why this phenomenon is ongoing, and I am not arrogant enough to think I can give such an answer in 300 words. Nonetheless this issue is worth reflecting on. Read the rest of this entry
It is tempting to believe we can make the kingdom. Work a little harder, longer, better.
Our symbols are not a shovel, a hammer and a wheel.
Our symbols are far more extravagant: rainbow, parting sea, empty tomb.
We may shoulder a cross but we walk in resurrection. Recreation out of nothing much – that, my friends, we cannot make.
Grass and gophers, sparrows and spiders. The gift received with gratefulness: it can’t be bought and sold.
Bring us out from exile, bring us to our home. As we work for your kingdom, set our hands aflame.
Yesterday Christian leaders from a range of denominations in Sydney, including Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Baptist, joined together in a show of unity.
So what has the power to unite the largest branches of Christianity in Australia?
Is it global poverty and the recent deferral of Australia’s foreign aid commitments? No.
Youth homelessness? No.
Problem gambling? No.
Youth suicide? Australia’s failure to sign the ban against cluster bombs? The danger posed to the Great Barrier Reef and other natural beauty by mining companies? Australia’s role in unjust wars in Central and South-West Asia? Closing the gap on Aboriginal life expectancy?
Australia’s treatment of refugees? Wealth disparity? Racism? Climate Change?
No, no, no and no.
Is it too much to ask for people to state clearly and honestly the agendas that they push?
This was the question that entered my mind yesterday when I read the news and saw that the Queensland government had come close to repealing the same-sex civil union laws put in place by the previous Labor government.
To be clear, this post is not about what one thinks about gay civil unions, let alone gay marriage…
What happened in Queensland was that civil unions for same-sex couples were nearly repealed and state-sanctioned ceremonies for such unions have been removed. Such same about largely because of the long-time lobbying efforts of the Queensland branch of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).
Here’s the problem: the ACL campaign to-date has focused on retaining the so-called “traditional” definition of marriage. Take, for example, the ACL case made in this debate from the Sunrise program on Thursday the 7th June: Read the rest of this entry
Many of you would have been aware that 27 May-3 June was National Reconciliation Week in Australia.
Many would also be aware that coming up from 17-23 June is Refugee Week.
As we find ourselves positioned in the middle of these two weeks it seems as good a time as any for a point of reflection.
Within our collective consciousness, deep in the spirit of this nation, lies a fear of the refugee “threat”. This is no doubt energised by
At the recommendation of a number of people I recently took up reading the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Not that it was hard to convince me, I found the Hollywood film version of the first instalment enthralling.
Now that I have finished the series I am suffering from some form of undiagnosed psychological trauma (those who have read the books will understand). Besides that, I greatly enjoyed them (though I must admit, somewhat blasphemously, that I basically never read fiction, so what would I know?).
Many opinions that I read about the books and the film criticised its depiction, and even glorification, of violence. Indeed, the books depict an annual event called the Hunger Games in which children are set against each other in a literal arena of death, forced to gorily fight for their lives until the survivors are crowned victors; terrifying mutant creatures sting and maul and torture and decapitate people; crowds of children and whole villages are firebombed by the Capitol, that is, the ruling regime and its metropolitan capital city.
But to claim that such things glorify violence is, in my view, to miss the point. Read the rest of this entry