Monthly Archives: April 2011

are human rights only for those born “here”?

The asylum seeker incidents currently occurring around the country have no doubt caused a great deal of angst for many Australians. This has been made clear to me in a number of personal exchanges over the last couple of days.

“They should be more grateful!” some have said, while others have stated, on an apparent whim, that we should deport many detained asylum seekers for their “criminal activity”. This is, sadly, the apparent position of the political spokespeople for immigration in both major political Parties (see Chris Bowen’s comments¬†and Scott Morrison’s comments).

But there is a deep irony with this kind of position Read the rest of this entry

lest we forget, best we regret

As we remember the sacrifice of fallen soldiers past, let us also remember that their deaths should not have been.

This year Anzac Day falls almost exactly on Easter. Both celebrations, in their own way, have attained an iconic status. However the buying of chocolate eggs, going on a long weekend holiday, playing two-up, buying a badge and getting drunk seem to be inadequate ways of remembering and reflecting on both events… Read the rest of this entry

the crucified (nonviolent) God

As Easter comes upon us for another year, and we think about the death and resurrection of Jesus, we must ask, what does this event mean for us here, today?

Atemporal “answers” aside, 2011 has been a year, among other things, of great political turbulence across the globe.

War, uprisings, rebellion, and violence have been a hallmark of human history, but seem to be especially concentrated at this stage of the historical drama (at least as far as we know).

Without naming specific conflicts, what does the death and resurrection of Jesus mean for a world seemingly overflowing with violence? Read the rest of this entry

refu-geez…

On Saturday I went along to a protest looking to the end of mandatory detention for asylum seekers coming to Australia. While I am completely committed to the cause, I thought the protest was not well executed.

My friend Josh, who also came along, wrote about the issues with the protest over at his blog, Incoherent Ramblings (…of a Mad Man?) under the title “Idiots with Megaphones“.

I think he really nailed it with his article, and thus I won’t worry about doing something similar (do yourself a favour and read his post).

What I will leave you with though is the genius of Clarke and Dawe on the subject of immigration.

MCA

what is a “fisher of men”?

Mark 1:17 and Matthew 4:19, in which Jesus calls Andrew and Peter to be “fishers of men”, is a well-trodden piece of biblical narrative, at least as heard from the pulpit.

Many a preacher has exhorted their church or audience to be “fishers of men”. This normally refers to their evangelistic efforts, whereby fishing for men means something like bringing them in¬†to the faith, in the same way you might land a swordfish on a 30-footer (fisherman may correct my ignorance at this point…)

But let me cut to the chase – is that what Jesus meant? Read the rest of this entry

things on heaven, and things on earth…

Christians are often puzzled or bored or indifferent when confronted by the Torah’s obsessive concern with regulating every aspect of Israelite life. Does the holy book really need to tell us what to do when one ox gores another (Exodus 21:35-6)? Why are bald eagles detestable to eat (Leviticus 11:13), but bald locusts are just fine (Leviticus 11:22)?

The details of such passages might need some sorting out, but the overall point should not be missed: the Old Testament writers had an abiding concern with the materiality of life. There simply was no distinction to be made between spiritual concerns and material concerns.

The realm of the material is not just an inert and indifferent means to spiritual aspirations. The salvation of the whole community is worked out not in some interior dialogue with God, but in the everyday interactions with the material world. All of creation is to be brought into conformity with God’s will.

William Cavanaugh in his article on the ABC Religion & Ethics website, Only Christianity Can Save Economics.

MCA

even the bible is a vulnerable text

After watching an online video posted on my Facebook feed of a well-known pastor preaching about Heaven and Hell, I thought it appropriate to post a thought or two.

This particular pastor preached from Luke 16:19-31. During the sermon they made numerous references to the fact that they are “telling the truth” and that they are simply repeating the words of Jesus (which are apparently not in need of any form of interpretation, but rather are self-evidently¬†comprehendible, even over the temporal distance of 2000 years).

The issue here of course is that no text, regardless of where or whom they are from (even God) can simply be considered self-evidently comprehendible.

I look to Paul Ricoeur for wisdom at this point. Read the rest of this entry

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