Confused about Morals and Politics?

  • Taking drugs? Selling them?
  • Had an abortion?
  • Are you desiring someone of the same sex? Want to marry them?
  • Had an affair?
  • Stolen money from your work place maybe?
  • Shot someone? Went to war and shot someone?
  • Rejected someone needing a home? Rejected a refugee (even in your mind) needing a country?

Which of the above are ‘moral issues’? All? Some? None?
It would seem that we pop abortion, prostitution, gay issues etc into a kind of special ‘moral category’ and the rest just kind of fall into some other box.

I have been challenged to think recently by a friend who emailed me regarding the Greens party and some of the ‘immoral’ issues they stand for. I appreciated his concern and the effort that had gone into his email.
On the surface it would appear he was right, that a party like the Greens stand for some things that ‘good Christians’ would stand against. (Not sure we are voting for parties to enforce Christian values though. Nice when they do.)
But beneath the surface the Howard Government has some extremely immoral actions to answer for;

  • It turns out that Australia invests only 5.8% of its GDP in education, which puts us 18th – close to the bottom – among countries in the OECD. We are below the average (OECD) on early childhood education spending and we have the lowest secondary school retention rates in the entire OECD!

So is a complete lack of commitment to our next generations education not an moral issue?

  • In a 2007 UNICEF report on the welfare of Children in 20 economically advanced countries it showed that nearly 10% of Australian children live in households where no one is employed – and that’s the highest rate of all the countries on the list except Hungary. (Figures show that kids in the above situation have a 27% greater chance of chronic sickness than other kids.)

A moral issue?

  • In a 2004 report in the Economist magazine it was reported that Australia is the worst country in the world for serious assault. One in two Australians will be assaulted in their life time.

Stats from Hugh Makay’s book Advance Australia Where?

How are we doing Australia?

Sorry to be a negative nelly, but I just feel like we measure the success of our nation by dollars and cents, and I would suggest that we are fools to do so. Money is one of the most deceiving ‘tellers’ of success. Just read Affluenza, Hamilton’s classic 2006 (5?) read to see evidence for that!

So will I vote Green, Labor? Not saying yet.
But what I am saying is that I think there are bigger ‘moral’ issues at stake than the two blokes next door wanting to get married. (Not that I don’t think that is still a moral issue)

To finish I will quote extensively from an email I got from a friend recently on this last topic, it no doubt raises more questions than it answers, but that’s ok…

In the case of homosexual union, what may be stopped [if the Greens came to power] is the unjust treatment of those who are different – gay couples might be legally recognised as capable of engaging in a loving, committed relationship with the compassion and perserverance to raise a family – heck, they might even be allowed to be recognised as a legal family unit and finally receive family payments just like every other heterosexual or single parent family. This doesn’t need to be endorsed by a legal marriage, but do Christians jump up and down at the unequally yoked marriages or the non-christians getting married or the christians getting married cause they got pregnant unintentionally. What about all those who get divorced – christian and non-christian – should they be allowed to get married in the first place, or should divorce become illegal to protect marriage? Is legalising marriage able to contain the essence of marriage anyway – what about the couples living together – in every way a married couple except for the paper and legal ceremony? Are they married? not under law, but do they get access to family rights under defacto laws? yes – because heterosexual union is the only union legally validated under the definition of “family” under any sort of conservative government.

Computer Issues and Forge Weekend

I wanted to put heaps on here about the brilliant Forge intensive this past weekend. But my computer, or home internet connection has gone soooo slow that it is puttingme off using the computer at all!
So have a look here at Hamo’s thoughts, with a link or two to speakers blogs etc.
It really was one of the best intensives I have been to.

Now all I have to do is read all the recommended books, articles, web sites and videos;
Salvation means creation healed: creation, cross, kingdom and mission – Howard Snyder
Christianity and the survival of creation – Wendel Berry
True Green – ABC Shop
Serve God Save the Planet – J Matthew Sleeth
Communality – Geoff and Sherry
The Long Emergency – Kunstler
The End of Suburbia – Video (Seen it, great!)
relationaltithe.org
A Crude Awakening – DVD
The Secret Message of Jesus – McLarren

I could go on!!

Beyond Black & White: Dr. Lee Camp in Perth

Laura & Lee Camp with their boysJune 26th- to July 1st EPYC is hosting respected Biblical Ethicist and author, Dr. Lee Camp.

“Lee Camp is a voice of sanity and insight in a world torn by competing extremism. He is someone I listen to and learn from regularly.”

Brian McLaren (Hauerwas, McLaren, Boyd and Gardiner’s thoughts on Lee below)

I personally feel that Lee Camp’s work is one of the most accessible articulations of the prophetic alternatives to the damaging black and whiteness of fundamentalism and the boring greyness of liberalism. I sometimes joke that it’s Lee’s fault I was awarded the Donald Groom Peace Fellowship for founding EPYC and seek the kingdom while living in one of poorest areas of my city in Christian community. In contacting some friends and leaders I respect many are in agreement about the importance of Lee’s voice in today’s world:

Gregory A. Boyd“Lee Camp understands the humble nature of the Jesus-looking Kingdom and how it contrasts with post-Constantinian Christianity as profoundly as anyone I know. His book Mere Discipleship ranks as one of the best, if not the best, books on Kingdom discipleship I’ve ever read.”

– Dr. Gregory Boyd (Evangleical theologian, Senior Pastor and author of “Myth of a Christian Nation”)

Lee Camp fan, Stanley Hauerwas“We can laugh because Camp helps us see that the gospel, the good news, gives us good work that is a check against taking ourselves to seriously… Camp provides an account of discipleship that counters the widespread assumption that what it means to be a Christian is believing twenty absurd propositions before breakfast.”

-Stanley Hauerwas (Ethicst named “Amercia’s Best Theologian” by Time magazine)

Lee Camp fan, Brian McLaren“Lee Camp is a voice of sanity and insight in a world torn by competing extremism. He is someone I listen to and learn from regularly.”

– Brian McLaren (Christian Activist, Author, and Innovative thinker and leader)

Lee Camp fan, Darryl Gardiner“Lee Camp’s ‘Mere Discipleship’ was one of the most formative books I have read in the last few years. He gives a brilliant Biblical apologetic for “the way of Jesus” with amazing insights into history and the current situations we face. Lee Camp should be read and listened to.”

– Darryl Gardiner (Regular on New Zealand TV, former head of Youth For Christ and internationally sought after communicator)

Lee Camp’s talks for EPYC in Perth will include (June 26th– to July 1st):

Mere Discipleship New Norcia Retreat with Lee Camp

to confirm a place email:

wendi @ parts@wa.su.org.au

Mere Discipleship: An interview with Lee Camp at Riverview Church

These are another “empowering peacemakers” initiative of The Peace Tree Community and EPYC

Ignition Study Begins

Our group tonight started discussions on a study series introduced a couple of weeks ago called Ignition, by Mark Sayers. Mark was in town last weekend for Herding Cats young adult ministries seminar. If you want to hear any of that click here.
Some of our crew were a little restless entering back into a more formal bible study style thing. Meaning that most of our activities of the past couple of years have tended to be more ‘come as you are’ and lets see what conversations erupt on the night.
The other tension for some has been the obvious “missional flavour” (read evangelistic) the study comes with.
Questions arise – “am I going to seek out relationships in order to target them with the gospel?” and the like.
The study in fact is nothing like that at all. Some may read that into it from their own ‘dark past’, as in – interpret the authors intent through the lens of the readers experience, but He insists that the purpose of his missional exploration is for us to explore new thinking in mission, engage in new learning and experiences get a bit uncomfortable, be challenged and so on.
Only one out of Marks 6 or 7 examples for missional exploration is about ‘sharing your faith with a non-believer’, others include social justice, engaging with the community, doing research and so on.
My major issue with the study is that it might be read as though no one is actively engaged in mission already, that we have to go out and invent some new ministry.
A couple of our folks shared about their work situation and just how missional that is, they don’t need to be out looking for more, it’s right there in their face every day, this is awesome for them!

We split up into two groups.
It’s hard to remember this is not about studying the bible (It’s a study in Acts) but rather it is allowing the Spirit to use the bible to study us. I saw in our group tonight the first 2 chapters of Acts become a spring board for discussion. Not discussion about the words, the language, the yadda yadda yadda, but rather, the culture of then and how it’s different today, what difficulties we might have in being a people of faith in a genuine way that are different and similar to the people of faith in the days of the first church and so on.

I must admit, I had the time of my life. This was fun! I feel like when we come together as a people who follow Christ if we can’t open the book we profess to draw belief and understanding from once and a while, if we can’t spur one another on in the very mission we are called to – to be Jesus’ body collectively, if we can’t challenge one another in love and grace…then what the flip are we? The Lions club? The YMCA?

Looking foward to next week!

A Great New Blog to Read

Imagine a gay man living with aids who does not call himself a Christian yet is captivated with much of the teaching in the bible and the wonder of God. He has started a blog to reflect on his journey of discovery as he reads through the bible.
He says in one post –

I’m not a practicing “Christian”. As I recently told the RLP, I consider myself a “christianist”, meaning I believe in the ideals of what this person Jesus Christ taught but not necessarily all the kooky-spooky stuff. My re-examination of the Bible and what it contains will be an often unorthodox, broader minded view of what has been written.

Come along for the ride. Let’s see what we can discover.

His blog is here.

The tip off on this new blog came from here, on another post that has some great history about the wonderful relationship between these guys. Actually I owe the whole discovery to otherendup – Thanks matey!

So Inspiring

This is quite amazing. I saw it posted on one of Australia’s most visited Christian blogs, our own West Aussie Hamo at Backyard Missionaries. – WARNING, have tissues near you when watching!

Click here for video clip.

Full story of the clip here.

BTW – What actually IS a ‘Christian Blog’? Is there a point of salvation for a blog or do most blogs just get saved over a long period of time…or are they just born saved?

Christi-Anarchy – Good Read


Christi-Anarchy /kristiaeneki/ n. a Christlike life; lifetsyle characterized by the radical, non-violent, sacrificial compassion of Jesus Christ; a way of life distinguished by commitment to love and to justice; working from the bottom up to empower people, particularly the marginalized and disadvantaged, so as to enable them to realize their potential as men and women made in the image of God, through self-directed and other-oriented intentional community groups and organizations; from Christi – ‘Christ’ – and anarche – ‘against the powers’, as in ‘the principalities and powers’.

Book by Dave Andrews

One Big Post, or Lots of Little Ones? (Swearing)

When I lay in bed at 5 in the morning wondering about all the things spinning in my head that I would like to post I get confused as to whether I should creat a seperate blog entry for each one or just a biggy. Seperate ones can get confusing and elongated for the reader, but it’s better for seperating thoughts and referencing in the future.
Well I will list them, maybe I waffle too much anyway –

  • What’s with swearing? Some say people who swear lots simply lack adequate language skills to explain what they mean without employing the use of slang or gutter language. Others might say, the use of swear words are an add on to their already exhaustive and impressive vocablary, it adds colour and expression. What is a ‘swear word’? Does this depend upon cuture and context? In Singapore a good conservative pastor I know is regularly heard using ‘shit’ in sermons and in his daily language. A farmer friend of mine regularly refers to his soil as ‘shit’, and he wants a new farm…he is a leader in his church. Should I have written ‘shit’ or should I have written ‘sh**’? In Sydney this issue is less of an issue than here in Perth, we seem to be more conservative. Is that good? Does that make us better Christians, nicer folk? People joke about this issue within the emergent church movement. I heard someone joke once, “all you have to do to become emergent is say ‘shit’ from the pulpit 3 times and you have an emerging church”. How far is too far? I said ‘wank’ on the blogoshphere. (Admittedly it was a kind of a quote!). Will this cause someone to stumble? Could my kids read my blog? Well there is the question of appropriate conversations for kids to hear anyway, aside from swearing there are lots of things they are not privy to. I am not a regular swearer, I may occassionaly use it for effect or ‘drop the occassional crap’ (so to speak). But I do wonder how far we take being ‘all things to all people’. If I went to reach out to Chinese I would learn their language and use it where needed, if I was to reach out to my Aussie neighbour with a bad mouth, does me swearing make me relevant or a comprimiser any more than a youth ministry wanting to reach out to an MTV culture purchasing the latest sound gear, lights and band equippment make them relevant…or comprimsed? Just be yourself you say. No I guess that is not good enough for me. My SELF sometimes would not represent Christ in most appropriate ways. I guess I am wanting to try to be Christ, not me, but that still does not answer my question…what is inapropriate? Crap, Shit, wank…how far should this typing go…I guess you get it by now.
  • I have decided to do seperate posts! I like the waffle, I can’t help myself!