Monthly Archives: February 2016

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National Anthems ARE NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED

I often wondered why we don’t sing the other verses to out NA.I am happy to be a citizen in Australia, sadly our history is littered with hurt and mistakes.One would have thought we might have learnt from them, but it appears not.



A verse from our ‘anthem’ with additions in brackets by me….Beneath our radiant Southern CrossWe’ll toil with hearts and hands;To make this Commonwealth of oursRenowned of all the lands;( for being a pack of bastards)For those who’ve come across the seas ( to stop the boats and send them back)We’ve boundless plains to share;(not really but it sounds good)With courage let us all combine(courage to do the right thing is lacking)To Advance Australia Fair.(actually Dutton cannot read so me missed this point)In joyful strains then let us sing,Advance Australia Fair. ( then stick our heads back up our bottoms)










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Australia: What are we doing???

Australia: Where the Government will try and put a sick baby on a plane but won’t do the same for a sick Cardinal.

This blog is inspired by a twitter post I read over the week end.

I’d like to continue the re-working of Bible verse this week with a look at Matthew 25 40 & 45

40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these… you did it to me.’
and
45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

What would Jesus say to the idea of the government (working for the people of this country) sending a sick baby, who was born here by the way, to a detention camp? I think he would say something like, “Just as you did it to baby Asha, you did it to me.”

I don’t care what your politics are, which side of the line you sit, if you can tell me it’s right to send a sick baby to a detention camp I don’t think we’re going to agree on our views of Jesus (among other things).

For once this isn’t about Cardinal Pell or the Roman Catholic church.* This is about doing what is right – is it right for the government to try and deport a sick baby and yet not ask a sick Cardinal to come back and answer questions that he has to answer? Is it right that, in our name, the government are denying human rights to one group of people and yet defending (or at least not infringing them) in others? Are we seeing a double standard here? Foreigners are less important than Australians living overseas? Somehow Cardinals are worth more than Refugees?

Jesus never made that distinction. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these… you did it to me.” 

I, for one, do not wish to stand before God with the deportation of baby Asha (or any of the asylum seekers) on the list of things I have done wrong – that list is long enough without adding to it. 

Australia – we are better than this! Far better. We live in the lucky country not the cruel country. Let’s tell those who have the power to make decisions that some things are just plain wrong and shouldn’t be done – not in our name.

just as you did it to one of the least of these… you did it to me!

* I have been accused of being anti-catholic and that is not true. Let me make it very clear here that I am not anti-catholic. I am anti-cover up; I don’t agree (and that’s putting it mildly) with the way some of the leaders of the Roman Catholic church seem to have covered up the systematic abuse of children in their care. If that is the case then they should have to answer for any crimes (and covering it up is every bit as bad as actually doing it in my book). I think that Cardinal Pell has a duty to answer, in person, the questions from the Royal Commission. I am not making any statement about his guilt or innocence, I don’t know anything about that – under law he is innocent until proven guilty but I think he should front up and not have the relative safety of a video link to hide behind.

If it would encourage him I point him again to Matthew 25 v. 40 and, in light of him not testifying yet, verse 45.

But like I say – this isn’t about him. He will face the Royal Commission and also a far higher judge soon enough.


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death is not the end

One of the ‘stuff’ of life issues  which I’m honoured to be part of is  that of taking part in funeral services..
There is a sense of beginning and ending, as one of my mates i met on the streets of melbourne put it, after saying goodbye to a mate, ‘I’ve come to the conclusion death is a mystery’.
This week I along with a club brother, we  support a family with six daughters age 18>4 as they farewell their dad, their mothers partner.
As we sat with them the second to youngest daughters handed us a letter she wrote, which she would like read out at the funeral
This is the stuff of life where the mysterious ways of God are often the only way to make ‘sense’ of tragedy and loss.
When you’re sad and when you’re lonely
And you haven’t got a friend
Just remember that death is not the end
And all that you held sacred
Falls down and does not mend
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end
When you’re standin’ on their crossroads
That you cannot comprehend
Just remember that death is not the end
And all your dreams have vanished
And you don’t know what’s up the bend
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end
When the storm clouds gather round you
And heavy rains descend
Just remember that death is not the end
And there’s no one there to comfort you
With a helpin’ hand to lend
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end
Oh, the tree of life is growing
Where the spirit never dies
And the bright light of salvation shines
In dark and empty skies
When the cities are on fire
With the burnin’ flesh of men
Just remember that death is not the end
And you search in vain to find
Just one law abiding citizen
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end
Songwriters
BOB DYLAN



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Whatever you do give 100% unless it’s giving blood


Today we continue the re-vamped Bible verses – how about Matthew 5:41?

 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.

Or in modern speak – 

Whatever you do give 100% unless it’s giving blood.

The original verse is about the practise of impressment, when a Roman Soldier could command a civilian to carry their pack a mile for them. Jesus was saying that you should even help those with whom you don’t agree. Not just help them but do more than you’re expected to. 
Society doesn’t do this anymore, at least it’s not common practise anymore. Here, in Australia, on the whole, we seem to have a “that’ll do” attitude.
The job isn’t quite finished but that’ll do
I went to church three weeks ago, that’ll do
I helped a little bit, that’ll do
I saw someone else give that homeless woman 50c, that’ll do
Climate change? I turn some lights off sometimes, that’ll do
Insert need here – Other people help, that’ll do
People – it isn’t good enough. I don’t care if you share my faith, have a different one or don’t have one at all – in a world with so much suffering as ours “that’ll do” is never good enough. Basic humanity demands that everyone has just that, basic humanity. When did it become normal for someone to work over 40 hours a week and still not be able to care for their family? When did we so shut our eyes to the needs of others that it became okay for some children to go to school hungry because their parents can’t afford food for them?
I met a guy the other day at a food van who has a choice – either he or his two kids eat. He can’t afford both. And before you shout that “he should get a job” he has TWO and still can’t afford to pay rent, bills, etc and get food. 
And this is becoming more and more common. Western ‘civilisation’ globally is now finding it has a new emerging class – the working poor. People who do work hard and who still can’t afford to live. People who struggle everyday to try and make ends meet only to find the gap between the ends is getting bigger and bigger. 
If ‘that’ll do’ then I pity you. If you can read and understand that concept, if you agree it’s happening and your heart doesn’t say that you should do something about it then your faith and mine are very different. Our views of social justice will not agree and our understanding of who Jesus is and what he wants us to do is markedly at odds.
The faith I follow demands I walk with those in need – not to make me feel better but to make their lives easier. Jesus told his followers to do that for the invading army. Carry the burdens of the Roman soldiers – not just carry them but to carry them twice as far as you need to. Go the extra mile.
It’s not just Christians that have this idea; most (if not all) of the faiths of the world do; Muslims do, Jews do, Buddhists do – we do not have a monopoly on compassion and caring, but we are commanded to do it. 

When life is fair for all, when everyone, regardless of their faith, or colour, or background can feed their family and have basic human rights then that’ll do – until then go the extra mile; until then give 100% in everything, well, unless it’s giving blood.
(And yes, that is a Joel Osteen quote – I don’t agree with all he says, I’m sure he doesn’t agree with all I say but we agree on the following Jesus bit and that’s a start.)

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BE KIND

In a world where you can be anything; be kind.

Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+10%3A25-37) to answer the question – who is my neighbour? 
2000 years later things haven’t changed that much. There are still people who ‘fall into the hands of robbers’. The robbers have different names now they are ‘dealers’ or ‘pimps’ or ‘bikers’ or ‘fundamentalists’ or any other group that takes advantage of people – some would put ‘politicians’ and ‘media barons’ on that list too.
People are still left by the roadside, bruised and beaten, by so many different experiences in life and there they lie as the world passes them by. It’s not just priests and Levites that walk past on the other side, almost the whole of humanity does. We see the needs of others and we turn the page or change the channel; we lift our phone to our ears and pretend to be on a call instead of talking to them or we put our head down and walk faster so they don’t talk to us; we don’t offer a smile, a kind word or a bit of change where it’s needed. 
We all do it at one time or another. We are all guilty of ignoring the needs of others. We wrap ourselves in in cosy excuses to make ourselves feel better – I’m too busy; someone else will do it; I gave last week/year/millennium; it’s their own fault; they shouldn’t be here and so on (insert your favourite excuse here…….).
The spirit of the Priest and Levite is alive today and is stronger than ever; in fact it is becoming ingrained in our society – it’s being drilled into us from childhood, spoon fed to us by some of our politicians, drip fed to us through some of the media, incessantly we are told to look after number one, that ‘we’ are important, that we have no responsibility for ‘them’; that as long as we’re okay then all is right with the world. Our leaders tell us “Let ‘us’ deal with the problems ‘you’ should just go on with your little lives” and we hear some variation of this in almost every news bulletin or news paper story.
But still the bodies pile up at the locked doors of our nation’s compassionate heart; still we ignore them as we walk past or over them to carry on with our ‘comfortable’ lives. We Priest and Levite our way through the week, hoping someone else will deal with all the shit around us. The trouble is no one does and the piles keep getting higher and higher.
Our society needs some Samaritans, our society needs a Samaritan. That someone who does the little bit to help the need around them. They do not change the world, their aim is not to fix everything, they have no intention of instilling chaos into the order of society. They are not communists or troublemakers or fundamentalists – they are humanitarians that see the need and do the little they can. It won’t cost them everything they have, it won’t even make them miss their important meeting or coffee date but it will make them more human and (if they have one) closer to their God. This Samaritan can be anyone – they might wear biker colours or a suit, they might have tattoos and facial piercings, they may wear a hijab or a turban, they may have a cross around their neck, they may not even be able to afford shoes, they may look like someone else or they may look just like you. There are hidden samaritans around, if only we could see more of them, be more of them.
We are told from infancy that we live in a lucky country and that we can be anything we want. Yes you can be prime minister or an astronaut or a doctor or a vet or a zoo keeper or a gardner or a chef or an author or whatever we want. So THIS is what Jesus was saying in that parable…. 

   In a world where you can be anything, be kind. 


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there is more to people than ‘looks’.

It is said that beauty is “skin deep”.
It is said ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.
It is said ‘Man looks on the outward appearance, God looks at the heart?.

A lot is said about ‘image’.

Image it has been said is ‘everything’.

Not sure about you but I reckon ‘reflection’ is more important.

Whose or what ‘image’ do you and i reflect???

Category : #Jesus , Bubba , Clone , Fear , Hope , Mercy


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An arm around my shoulder and a hand over my mouth

We all do it and some of us are far better at it than others. Some do it completely by accident, others are master’s of it and enjoy the feeling it gives; and we have all been on the receiving end of it and it’s rarely pleasant.

It’s that time when you sit and look at the speaker or you think in your head as the words come out, “Keep your mouth shut.”

It’s a real gift to be able to keep your mouth shut when you want to say something and its a gift that very few people seem to have anymore – and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have it in the kind of amounts I want or need.

Politicians certainly don’t seem to possess it – a quick google search comes up with some corkers –

I give you Australia’s Minister for Women’s Issues at the time he said this (oh and prime minister too) Mr. Tony Abbott –

“What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up,”

Now for those who are worried about the impending war with the underwater animals, worry no more – President George W. Bush has reassured us that he

“ know(s) that the human beings and fish can coexist peacefully…”

PHEW!!

Then of course there is the (now ex-) governor of California Mr Schwarzenegger who set us all straight, no matter what we think of the subject – 

“I think gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” 

But of course it’s not just politicians – Princes have a good track record, one in particular, ladies and gentlemen may I present to you a few pearls from Prince Phillip – 

During a recession he mused: “Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.”

“You look like you’re ready for bed!”
To the President of Nigeria, dressed in traditional robes.

To the Aircraft Research Association: “If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort – provided you don’t travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.”

To the General Dental Council: “Dontopedalogy is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it, which I’ve practised for many years.”


I’m sure there are many others from many different people – me included!


Over the next few blogs (unless something else comes up) I’m going to try and give some old Bible quotes an update. Take Psalm 141v 3 “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord…” I believe what David is saying here is Lord I pray the you keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth. Amen.

So the point is, and I’m writing this for me and letting you all read it (aren’t I nice?), remember the old Chinese internet meme that goes – “You have two ears and one mouth so you can listen twice as much as you talk.”

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