Monthly Archives: May 2011

bringing them home: saying sorry to the aboriginal people

Today (May 26th) is National Sorry Day, and it will be followed by National Reconciliation Week from May 27-June 3.

National Sorry Day was first observed in 1998, one year after a report was tabled concerning the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. The report, entitled as Bringing Them Home, acknowledged that these children were forcibly removed from their families and communities beginning in the early days of British occupation of the land, and that the government and missionaries were most directly responsible.

Reconciliation Week begins on May 27 with the anniversary of a Referendum in 1967 which removed clauses from the Australian Constitution that were discriminatory to Aboriginal Australians.

The week ends on June 3, the anniversary of the infamous Mabo case of 1992 in which the High Court of Australia recognised Native Title rights and overturned ‘terra nullius’ (the myth that prior to European settlement the land was empty of people and was unowned.)

Clearly this is a significant time for the Aboriginal people and for all Australians. Read the rest of this entry

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Q&R – bin laden and just war

A reader of life.remixed writes:

Hey Matt,

I was talking to a Christian guy yesterday about the killing of Bin Laden. He was saying that he believes governments are put into power by God, and so are given authority to protect/defend their nation in such a way as America did with Osama. His main argument came down to this – it is ok for soldiers to kill other soldiers in a war, as they are both willing participants and are therefore not innocent victims. What are your thoughts on that point? Is there ever a ‘just war’? He cited the war in Lebanon as support, saying that had the Christians not fought against the Muslim groups, Lebanon would now be under Sharia Law. From reading your blog [referring to this post – MCA] I think that I take a similar stance to you, but I am interested how you would respond to that argument.

Great question! I have dealt with this question somewhat in my post and review of Brian Walsh’s work – Remixing Romans 13.

To expand on that post I would want to challenge the idea that a government is ordained by God and therefore can kill; this conclusion somewhat defies logic: Read the rest of this entry

ruptured rapture: christian gnosticism alive and well

If you are reading this you have awoken on the 22nd of May to find you have not floated into the sky, or been “left behind”…

The recent flurry of attention given to belief in the rapture, owing primarily to American fundamentalist Harold Camper’s predictions of its occurrence, offers some interesting points of reflection for Christians today. (It didn’t happen, in case you were worried you had been left behind.)

I don’t just mean this in terms of the apparent foolishness of attempting to predict the “rapture”, or more broadly “the end of the world”, in light of Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:36:*

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

Nor do I mean this in terms of reflecting on the fact that the concept of the rapture is based on a misinterpretation of one verse in 1 Thessalonians 4, or that no Christian before the 18th century had even heard of it!

Instead I think that Christians would do well to reflect on the unbiblical thinking that forms the foundation of ideas like the rapture. Read the rest of this entry

remixing romans 13: overcoming imperial zombification

1Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that
exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.


Following the assassination of Osama bin Laden, and my subsequent reflections, I was confronted with numerous comments and questions regarding the above passage from Romans 13. One friend commented that, in light of this passage, he thought armed intervention was completely within the scope of government as taught the New Testament.

What I offer here is not a criticism of my friends, but a challenge to the way we read passages like Romans 13. Read the rest of this entry

maher: if you rejoice in revenge, torture and war… you’re not a christian

Sometimes Christians need to pay attention to the prophetic voices outside the Church…

Bill Maher: If You Celebrated Bin Laden’s Death, You’re Not Really a Christian

Make sure to watch the clip at the end of the post, which should confront the Western Church’s collusion with empire.

MCA

found the sting: some reflections about death & mourning

The death of a good man, who leaves behind four children, at what seems too early a time, is never going to be an easily digested reality. So when I was asked to express some thoughts on the Christian perspective(s) about death on my blog I only barely agreed

What do I say, particularly in the short space of a blog post? Indeed, at my age, in my wealth demographic, I have yet to personally experience death to a harrowing degree. I don’t really have any concrete answers about death, and theologising does not seem to be particularly helpful at this point.

This kind of theologising, though, is precisely the reason I was asked to put some thoughts down. Some unhelpful comments made to a good friend of mine about the death of this now-deceased brother led him to ask me the question:

Why do Christians have such strange views about death? Read the rest of this entry

the parable of the neighbours and the fruit trees

Warning: this is a foray into the strange world of creative writing; this could be good, or really bad…

A rich man observed his garden and said to himself, “I must secure more fruit, for my fruit trees are old and can no longer produce enough to sell at the market.”

So the rich man quietly crossed his fence and entered the very small garden of his poor neighbour. Read the rest of this entry

refu-jesus

It seems that in the last couple of days the Australian position on asylum seekers has moved backwards by about 10 years.

What has been most depressing to me (and there is much to be depressed about) is the attitude of those who claim to follow Jesus in regard to these, some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Read the rest of this entry

nonviolence wins

India’s government ordered up strong anti-corruption legislation on Saturday after a 73-year-old activist went on a four-day hunger strike and inspired a nationwide protest movement against graft.

I know this is a month old, but since nonviolence has been a major theme on this blog in recent weeks, I thought I would post it since most people would not have had a chance to hear about it.

In India, 73-year-old Anna Hazare began a hunger strike aimed at seeing government anti-corruption legislation passed. more details can be found below:

Hunger Strike Focuses Anger on Indian Corruption
Activist Ends Fast as India Pledges to Fight Graft

Hazare’s campaign has garnered support from all over India and the world:


Beautiful.

Powerful.

MCA

hating your enemy: the bin laden episode

In the hours following the announcement of the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden, it takes but a few mouse clicks to peruse countless comments on Twitter and Facebook by Christians who unashamedly celebrate his death.

I will do you a favour and not publish some of the awful comments I have read, some from well-known Christian pastors and authors.

The pictures are enough. In the news we have seen images of celebrations pouring into American streets, assumedly including Christians. These are a sad reflection of how far many Christians have moved from the teachings of Jesus, having replaced them with nationalistic zeal.

This is in now way intended to defend the past action of bin Laden. It is however to say that Christians need to rethink what Jesus might have to say about our enemies. Read the rest of this entry

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