faith


Another great word from David Timms

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
~ Matthew 5:9

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Peacemakers

Violence confuses us. We fear it and we embrace it. It horrifies us and it entertains us.  On the one hand, the thought of a violent home invasion scares the daylights out of us. On the other hand, we spend lots of money on entertainment systems and video games that turn violence into fun. We hate the idea of a physical beating but we’ll watch as others kick, punch, and beat each other in a ring—strangely thinking that the ring somehow justifies or sanitizes the brutality.

The bloodlust of our culture has never been higher. Listen to the violent language. Watch the violent images. Experience the aggression on the roads and the fierceness in the stadiums.

And in such an environment, peacemakers—or even peacetalkers—are persona non grata. Nobody likes them. They’re soft. They’re weak. They’re out of touch. Theodore Roosevelt’s old foreign policy of “speak softly but carry a big stick” has become a common personal mantra. We’re willing to talk for a while (perhaps) but always ready to fight when provoked.

Everyone knows that peacemaking is for fools and idealists.

Everyone except Jesus.

When Jesus honors peacemakers (for they shall be called sons of God) He calls all of His followers to turn peacemaking into a life pursuit.

The challenge, of course, is simply this: Can we be peacemakers while we share the passion for violence that pervades our culture? This advent season calls us to grapple seriously with this question.

The Son of God came into a violent world, without violence. He confronted the established order not with swords and weapons but with words. He came not with bloodlust but a willingness for limited bloodshed—just His own.

Contrary to some distorted views, the “cleansing of the Temple” does not justify everything from berating abortionists to shooting Islamists.

The ancient prophet Isaiah described the promised Christ as “Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Perhaps as we celebrate His coming we’ll consider our Christmas gifts (and our values) with a fresh thoughtfulness … something befitting sons of God.

In HOPE –

David

You can find back issues of “In HOPE” (2005-2009) at http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/ .

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. “In HOPE”, however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. “In HOPE” has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

With his arm elbow deep in muddy water Eddie looks up and winks and mentions that if this mud crab gets a hold of his fingers we had better watch out as we will all know about it! We were out on the Mangrove flats that the people of Ngamagkoon belong to. Eddie is part of the Sampi family, made well known by the Eagles player Ashley Sampi, a Bardi from the mob at Ngamagkoon.

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The 5 of us  began our journey in Broome 4 days previous. We were on what we called a “listening journey”, as part of a programme I run called OnEARTH for Global Mission Partners. We were there to listen to country, to story, to legend, to the people of the Dampier Peninsula -

  • Jawi
  • Bardi
  • Nyulnyul
  • Jabirrjabirr
  • Nimanburru
  • Ngumbarl

Before the arrival of Europeans, the natural environment on the Dampier Peninsula provided plenty of bush tucker for the indigenous people.  Creeks, tidal areas and the ocean are full of fish, dugong, mud crab and oysters and the vine thickets provide fruits and berries to make a varied and nourishing local diet.

Dampier Peninsula people still have a strong affinity with the sea and bushland, as we discovered along our journey.

After driving from Broome we arrived in Looma (120km S/E of Derby) with a population of around 400. We stayed with Natasha and Jamie Short, a wonderful couple who pastor the People’s Church as well as look after the community youth centre. They are fantastic people. Jamie is a White fella from Perth and Natasha, an Aboriginal from the Halls Creek area. They have been serving at Looma for about 7 years now and have 2 great kids.

2009 07 28_1108After lunch and a swim down on the stunning Fitzroy River we drove up to Derby to visit the Whites. Paul and Laurel White pastor the Derby Baptist Church among other activities.  They have bought the Aboriginal Training Centre just out of town and have big plans for growth and extension. Whilst there we did some manual labor… we raked up truck loads of dry leaves (fire hazard) and were asked to remove the stumps of 2 recently cut down Boab trees- hmmm??!!

Laurel White looked after us while we were there. She is a great lady, she has a wonderful gift of hospitality and generosity! Paul, her husband and pastor at the church is a pilot and was away in Perth during our stay.  Outside the life and ministry of the predominantly white church Paul and Laurel have some amazing relationships and ministries in Aboriginal communities.

Kimberly Aid - This business has began as a result of RFDS having bigger planes and not being able to access smaller community airstrips around the Kimberley. Paul and Laurel have got a bunch of medical people and pilots to donate their time to assist in evac when RFDS can’t make it in.

Kingdom Aviation – Paul and Laurel run a 3 plane ministry that flies all over the Kimberley sharing their faith, serving the poor and running programs in schools, parent support group, and other training.

Dentistry – Laurel is a dentist nurse and in her work in Derby has made many an indigenous persons dentistry journey easier as a result of special favours and ‘working the system’ that does not always serve people from remote communities very well at all. Her willingness to make all sorts of tough things just ‘happen’ for people who otherwise couldn’t get there was wonderful! She tells a great story too!

After 2 nights in Derby we drove ‘the back way’ on some very out of the way tracks to get to Cape Leveque up on the top of the Dampier Peninsula. Upon check in at Kooljaman we drove over the hill toward our beach campsite, as we rounded the hill the most amazing view was taken in to gasps from all on board – this place was paradise! Kooljaman is jointly owned by Djarindjin and One Arm Point Aboriginal Communities and sits 220km north of Broome. We visited one of these communities on the road on the drive up the Peninsula -

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Some 200 km from Broome, there are two communities very close together with about 60 Aboriginal (Bardi) people in Lombadina (first settled in the late 1890’s by Thomas Puertiollano who sold the land to the Catholic Church) and over 200 in the more traditional Djarindjin. We called in to Djarindjin specifically to catch up with Barry Ennis, the Principal from the Lombidina/Djarindjin School. We had heard through Sabrina 2009 07 30_0986Haan/ABC radio National that the EON Foundation from Perth had been helping the school set up a organic community Kitchen Garden. Barry showed us around the garden but was also good enough to spend time sharing with us the history of the the area. This community is not without some of the usual issues we read about in the media in remote Aboriginal regions, but there was something about the place that we all loved. We sensed a slowness and peace about it, a friendliness that  drew us in.

P6060072 copyOn our first night at Cape Leveque (and every subsequent one!) we made our way down to the Western Beach and watched the sunset – undoubtably some of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen!

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On Friday we went to One Arm Point community (Ardiyooloon). This community is the home of the Bardi and Jawi people who were the traditional inhabitants of the area. These people are still active in hunting around the local area and in most cases still using traditional hunting methods as they hunt for sea turtle or goorlil (we saw the evidence of a fresh catch along the beach!), dugong (odorr), and many many of the amazing fish (aarli) up there. They also collect the trochus shells and make jewellery, oysters, mud crabs and more. These people are proud of their hatchery on the point where they nurture all sorts of creatures in giant tanks.

Here at One Arm Point we stopped and and chatted with a wonderful couple called Brian and Violet Carter. Their son is the Chairman of One Arm Point Aboriginal Community. This lovely old couple can tell some stories! Brian moved to Derby as a pilot in 1956, later married Violet and have lived in One Arm Point community for many many years, to look at Brian you know he is not Aboriginal but to listen to him speak and hear his heart beat, you know he is on the inside! They both sat with us and shared some great insights into the local culture, politics, and … well fishing and tides :)  Brian and Violet are both followers of Christ

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and asked us excitedly if we had seen their ‘church’. It was a roof and some poles with a piece of shade cloth they were quite happy with – we fell in love with these guys and their beautiful faith and love for life and one another.

P6070117 copySaturday morning saw us pulling into Eddie’s place at Ngamagkoon, just south of Kooljaman. We had asked if Eddie could spend a few hours with us telling us about his people and their culture. He was willing and would even show us the basics of living in a coastal Bardi community. We drove out into the Mangrove Flats and went on foot (with spears) into the thick mud searching (and finding!) some VERY large crabs hiding under trees. After crabbing we headed back to the Melaleuca scrub (not venturing too far in as there were sacred ceremony sites in behind) looking for bush honey and pollen. With our ears against the trunks listening for bees we wandered through the scrub until Eddie found the right spot, cut it open and allowed us to sample the most

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beautiful tasting honey and pollen (tastes like sherbet). Interesting, one white person we met, not knowing or respecting much of Aboriginal culture told us with some disdain that “Aboriginal people set fire to everything!

2009 08 01_0804But Eddie taught us that his people light the bush to thin it, also to make it better for collecting their fire wood, as well as for hunting the stuff in the long grass, such a different window we were now looking through! From there we went out onto one of the most stunning coastal scenes I have seen. The Ngamagkoon people’s land has a creek running out into the ocean where they do much of their spearing and fishing from.

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This site was one of untouched bush and mangrove reaching to long white beaches and crystal clear aqua coloured lagoons. After extracting our car from the soft sand we headed back to Eddie’s place to bid him farewell and be told that we were welcome back to his country and community any time.

This time with Eddie was more than we could have hoped for and all voted it as the highlight of our trip that was drawing to a close faster than we wanted. We headed back to camp for one more afternoon sleep (a tradition we embraced…or did we start that one?), a fire with some reflections of our time away, and a dinner of local Barramundi, Kangaroo and … cow! Eddie mentioned that morning that there were a few ‘stray’ cattle around :)

Sunday morning, time to make our way back to Broome for a 1pm flight to Perth. On our return down the challenging stretch of unsealed road we took time to visit Beagle Bay Community. It was looking very nice and manicured after a week of political meetings discussing a report written by an old school mate Steve Kinnane. I read Steve’s book Shadow Lines while we travelled this week. The book follows the lives of his Grandmother (a Mirrawong woman stolen from Argyle Station in the early 1900’s) and his grandfather (an Englishman) through to today. What a brilliant read! (See below)

The Beagle Bay community is located 120 kilometres from Broome. In the centre of the community there’s a beautiful church, built of stone from 1914-1918 by German Pallottine monks, who settled here around 1901.

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On entering the Sacred Heart Church you can see a stunning pearl shell altar. Coloured windows create a special mood in the building. But, we forgot it was Sunday and church had already started and we had a plane to catch, so we missed the insides :(

The community’s name was derived from the vessel “Beagle”, which moored at the bay when the priests were looking for a suitable mission place in 1889, ironic really as this was the ship Charles Darwin sailed on. It was much of his work that was used to base most of the atrocities done to our Aboriginal people!

Shadowlines

If you are wanting to connect and learn more with the rich lives of the first Aussies, grab a copy of The First Australians (SBS), or Read Steve’s book Shadow Lines (2003, Fremantle Arts Press). One review says that … “Shadow Lines revolves around two people born a world apart, a half caste Aboriginal woman by the name of Jessie Argyle, and an Englishman named Edward Smith. Edward was born in 1891 and emigrated to Australia in 1909 as an eighteen year-old. Jessie was born in the Argyle region in the far north of Western Australia in 1900, and was taken from her family in 1906 under the newly created Aborigines Act of 1905. This book makes the often dry history of Western Australia since white colonisation come alive, and is probably a far better way to learn about the sordid history of this state than by way of the official history textbooks.

What Kinnane has done here is weave together a rich tapestry of historical tales”…read the rest here.

Not everything we saw ‘impressed’ us. Not every road taken in order to work among the people of the Kimberley would be a road I would have taken. This makes neither my road right or the road we observed wrong, just different tracks people take and our reactions to them. We went to look listen and learn from all we encountered, I trust this is what has happened.

Well I have to say that sometimes I love my job – last week was one of those times :)

Thanks to The Wembley Downs Church of Christ (where I hung out for the first 18 years of my life! As our new friend Eddie might say “they grew me up”) for making this trip a reality and for those who travelled the journey Dennis R, Steve M, Matt B and Ken V – What a great a bunch of guys to hang out with for a week, Thanks!

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Good article here profiling U2’s new album and some of its overt spiritula content.

by the Rev. Julie Golding Page

Die-hard U2 fans finally have their wish, after waiting five long years since the release of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. U2’s new album, No Line on the Horizon, is a carefully crafted series of songs about being lost, finding the self in God, becoming disoriented and lost again, and becoming re-oriented to God and the world. Musically, the album continues the U2 tradition of vigorous rock tunes, complete with the classic guitar riffs, but with the addition of Middle Eastern overtones in several songs, giving homage to the band’s time recording in the unusual location of Fez, Morocco….

Full article here at the excellent Empire Remixed

God’s Politics Jesus and Justice Always Kiss: A Plea to Youth Pastors Making Out with Empire

by Jarrod McKenna 02-11-2009

That U.S. megaphone of amazing grace, Shane Claiborne, was recently moved to tears after witnessing a youth gathering in Australia. As he wrote: Can you imagine if our North American Christian conferences had a witness on the streets like that [inspiring peaceful public direct action drawing attention to militarism and world poverty]? In the middle of it all, I had one person come up to me and say – “if this is what Christianity is, then sign me up.” In this notoriously non-Christian country, I was proud to be part of a witness that showed folks a Christianity worth believing in, good news they could see and touch and feel. I wonder if it’s because of our context of witness in a (as brother Shane put it), “notoriously non-Christian country,” that Australian Christians might be better positioned to see the necessity of ‘Jesus and justice kissing.’ This necessity is not simply for the ends of ‘effective evangelism.’ The necessity lies in biblical imperative that evangelism must never be divorced from discipleship. That we share Jesus by inviting others to join a community learning the practicalities of walking in God’s new world. Or as the early Anabaptists put it, “walking in the resurrection.” In this “non-Christian [or post Christendom] country” many of us have become very aware that the means of outreach directly correspond to how young people understand the content of our faith. Many find themselves asking if ‘Jesus and justice’ aren’t kissing in our ministry, is it the Jesus of the gospels we are preaching? If Jesus and justice aren’t kissing in our ministry, are we (and a generation of young people) missing out on the fullness of the good news of the kingdom breaking in through Jesus? [Read the full article and comments here]

pulling-off-upside-down-mission

You may remember a post I made a few weeks ago, it went something like this -

My Grandpa Harold Vawser (95) is in his final stages of life, could be hours, maybe days, weeks if his body holds out that long.
He has recently been moved from his nursing home to Royal Perth Hospital with septicemia, pneumonia and urinary tract infection, that, added to his chronic diabetes, is making life a little uncomfortable for him to say the least.
He has been up and down for a few weeks in there at RPH, but when I visited before Halls Creek he was on an ‘up’ and it was good to be there and chat and pray with him with Mum and Dad for a while… read the rest

Well, it took him a while, he hung on with all he could! But finally today he passed away, just a few minutes ago! It was what we all wanted, he was keen to be out of pain and with his maker! – VERY keen!

I loved him a lot, he was a great man, a man who loved Jesus and loved people, enough said I reckon – that would be enough for me I think.

Goodbye Harold Vawser, you were an inspiration, thanks for loving me!

My Grandpa Harold Vawser (95) is in his final stages of life, could be hours, maybe days, weeks if his body holds out that long.
He has recently been moved from his nursing home to Royal Perth Hospital with septicemia, pneumonia and urinary tract infection, that, added to his chronic diabetes, is making life a little uncomfortable for him to say the least.
He has been up and down for a few weeks in there at RPH, but when I visited before Halls Creek he was on an ‘up’ and it was good to be there and chat and pray with him with Mum and Dad for a while.
Yesterday I got the low down from Mum and Dad (Grandpa’s son) on how he is. Before I tell you this, you need to know my Pop has a deep faith in God and is strongly evangelistic, nothing moves around Pop without hearing something of the good news of the Kingdom of God.
He is very sick, almost delierious with his body fighting all these infections and doing its best to stay alive, in this state it seems like he is making his final stand for his God.
He is endlessly preaching evangelistic sermons and quoting scriptures and calling out the Lord’s Prayer … “OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN HALLOWED BE THY NAME…”
The lady opposite asked my Mum, “Was he a preacher, coz he is sure doing a lot of it!”

I guess with his diminishing health and the loss of Grandma some years ago Grandpa was keen to go a long time ago, he has said as much – often.
But now it would seem (from his body at least) that his time has come, and he knows it!

I guessGranpa, like you and I was not perfect. But what I could say was that he loved Jesus with a passion that I have never seen in anyone, he would have given his life for his family, his whole family, son, daughters, their partners and their kids and now their kids too. He has prayed for us, been interested in everything we are doing, helped us in financial ways and with words of encouragement and words of scripture (in EVERY birthday and Christmas card he has ever given!!).

I think when I look at Pop, I see very real life, a very rich life. Not one that has ended with a big bank account (Nope no big cheques heading my way!) but one that seems to be ending with a family that loves him around his bedside, and the words of his deeply beloved God resounding in his mouth (and the ears of everyone on that floor of the hospital!)

On Ya Grandpa – Well done good and faithful servant – enter into your rest now.

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