Monthly Archives: October 2016

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Love Others Radically

Love others so radically they wonder why.

This weekend it was announced by the Prime Minister that he wants to pass a law that says that anyone who has tried to come to Australia, illegally,  by boat since 2013 will NEVER be allowed to enter the country. It is being done as a “sign to the people smugglers of how serious we are” about border protection. That’s great , Mr Turnbull, but it’s not the people smugglers who are being effected by this, its the little people desperate to find a new life away from tyranny and oppression – they won’t find it here apparently. (Yes, I know that some of the boat people are trying to jump the queue and beat the system but the (documented) majority are trying to escape terrible lives. Just think, what would have to happen to you and your family to make you jump into a boat and risk your life? It’s not a decision that most of the people make lightly.)

I was listening to the radio yesterday morning and a politician (I don’t remember her name) confirmed to the interviewer that if someone has tried to come to Australia to seek asylum by boat, even if they are found to have a legitimate claim, they will not be allowed to enter the country EVER! My friend (who works for the United Nations as a lawyer) cannot work out how many U.N. statutes  and Internation Laws this new law (if passed) will contravene. Where is our nation’s compassion? Where is our love for our neighbour? When we will stop singing the National Anthem that says, in the second verse, “For those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share”?

Please don’t think I’m advocating that we do away with our immigration laws – I’m not. I went through the system to be allowed to live here, it was fair to me. I am questioning the fairness and justice of a law that contravenes many International laws and treaties for those legitimate people who have been so oppressed in their own country that they have had to make the difficult decision to flee and will be denied the right I have because of the way they travel; for many the boats are the only way they can get out. (And I’m very aware of the amazing privilege I have to be able to write this blog, granted to me because I do live in a ‘free’ country.)

The sign this week speaks of the Christian value of love – that love that Jesus speaks about and shows to others. To those who, in the eyes of the government of his time, didn’t deserve love; to those that did him all manner of wrong; to those who oppressed him and, eventually, killed him.

This ‘radical’ love is what we, as Christians (I would say decent humans), should strive for; a self giving love that sees others as equals; a love (and a way of life) that doesn’t judge the worth of others by what their job is, or where they come from.

Love one another because love is from God – to quote a book a read from time to time.

A very appropriate meme!


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I will not stay silent so you can stay comfortable

Not long before I left for my holidays someone came up to me and said that the sermon I had preached had made them uncomfortable and I shouldn’t preach like that again.
I wasn’t quick enough at the time to say that that is what the Gospel does – make people uncomfortable. Christianity is not meant to make people feel like everything is ok – following Jesus is meant challenge us into action, revolutionise what we think, say and do.
It has always been like this, form the beginning – as a reminder of what sort of faith we have here are just a few (of many) sayings of Jesus that always make me squirm a little as I think about what they actually mean and how I can make them relevant in my life….


“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11


“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear … “ Matthew 6:25


“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,’ he said, “Why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31


“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.” Matthew 18:8


“Love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 22:39


These are just 6 quotes taken from Matthew’s Gospel. Think about these and if they don’t make you slightly uncomfortable then read them again as you may not have have completely understood them first time. And remember there are a lot more quotes in Matthew as well as another 3 Gospels.

Christianity certainly isn’t for those who want to be comfortable…


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Every book you’ve ever read is just a different combination of 26 letters

WOW!

Think about that – Charles Dickens uses the same letters as Justin Bieber’s song writers! Abraham Lincoln and Donald Trump use the same alphabet.

Your favourite author and mine, as different as they are, use the same number of letters.

I have no amazing religious truth to draw from this – it just made me think…


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When someone told me I live in a fantasy land I nearly fell off my unicorn.

Last month someone said to me that God doesn’t exist and that I’m living in and preaching about a fantasy world. I nearly fell off my unicorn. 

The thing that really annoyed me about that conversation was that the person who accused me was just re-iterating what he had heard from other people and had not thought about the ideas for himself.
A few days ago I was talking to a born again Christian about the idea of marriage equality. We disagreed on the idea (and that’s fine) but the thing that really annoyed me about that conversation was that the person with whom I was taking was just re-iterating what she had heard from other people and had not thought about the ideas for herself.

I have said many times I do not mind what people believe about faith (among other things) as long as they have thought about why they believe what they think. A lot of my friends are not Christians but we have great discussions about faith because they have thought about why they do not believe. It is a conscious choice for them not to believe as it is also a conscious choice for me to believe.
Some may think I do live in a fantasy world where God makes rainbows and bunnies and I ride a unicorn but do not condemn me for that if you haven’t thought why you live in a world where God does not exist. 
I believe what I believe because I have thought about it, studied it and have come to decision that God exists and Jesus is his son. Do you have to agree with me? No, you don’t but if you’re going to challenge me at least think about why you believe what you do. Don’t just tell me I’m living in la-la land or I’ll get my unicorn to stab you! 

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