Best Resources on Social Change List

I came accross a list on Sojourners website today that is a valuable list to keep a bookmark in. It is a social change resource list with categories such as;

  • Books on Spiritual Formation
  • Books on Christian Living & Discipleship
  • Books on Politics & Social Justice
  • Films About Social Change

Have a look at the full list here.


Books And Movies on Indigenous Aussie Issues

I had a meeting yesterday with some friends about a potential connection between a remote community in the North West and their church in Perth. One of the questions asked was ‘Why?”

I think it needs to be asked.

One of my passions is this very idea of communities connecting with other communities for a reciprocal benefit. A kind of partnership if you like. Most of white Australia’s history with the ‘First Australians’ has been pretty one sided, even recent history – think ‘N.T. intervention’! My passion would be to build relationship between communities for mutual benefit.

What benefit is there for me in having a relationship with some remote community in the Kimberley or a Noongar community right here in Perth? More than there is for them I would suggest! I actually think white man has gone into Aboriginal communities throughout our history with our own agenda of sorts. Mostly a one sided agenda – be it to teach, tell, take or … take over! Very few times do I hear stories of white man going into relationship with an indigenous Aussie or community to listen, learn, and love. I think one of the key reasons I have been rather apathetic in my own relationships and interactions with our first Australians has been largely due to fear of offense (due to my ignorance) rather than any form of racism, although I am not claiming innocence here! Why do people walk across to the other side of the road if they see a dark aboriginal man walking towards them? Racism? Maybe, but my guess is that these days there are many who would not count themselves as racist, they wept when the apology was spoken, they were appalled when the army stormed the N.T. remote communities without due consultation. But these same people when confronted with an aboriginal just don’t quite know what to do. They don’t want to offend culture, they don’t want to embarrass themselves, they are just stuck in ignorance so they walk away.

I know a few aboriginal people, in fact I am related to one. And I would suggest on the whole these great people might want to offer white Australians a gift. A gift of education and relationship. If us white fellas took time and effort to know a bit more about culture, about country about language, history, story and song – if we just knew a bit more we would be less ignorant and therefor less fearful and more willing to engage.

My passion would be to link willing aboriginal people and communities with willing non-indigenous Aussies and communities and humbly ask the indigenous people, “Are you willing to teach us about your people, your culture, your country, your history”, and where appropriate, “your dreaming, your songs?”  I used the word “Mission” in my meeting yesterday and one of the people froze up and became a little agitated. “Let me explain” I said. I suggested that traditionally “mission” has been about proselytism, primarily about “evangelizing the heathen”. I suggested my opinion was that mission was as much about us as it was “them” (whoever the “them” may be). That our mission as believers was primarily about seeing where God was already at work among people and all of creation, then once identified, going and joining Him in His work. This to me is about Kingdom. Seeing opportunities for peace, reconciliation, restoration and relationship – the things of the Kingdom – and working with the Spirit in these things.

I asked my cousin about some of these things and she said for a start I should watch some movies and read some books. Here is a list of some of her recommendations, added to them are some others I have read or had recommended ;

Movies and Documentaries-

10 Canoes

The First Australians SBS Series.

Yolngu Boy

Coolbaroo Club


Bran Nue Day

Why Me? Stories of The Stolen Genneration

Liyarn Ngarn


Two Men Dreaming

An Aboriginal Mother Tells of The Old and The New – Labumore

The Tall Man – Chloe Hooper

Voices of Aboriginal Australia – Moores

The World of The First Australians – Berndt

The lamb enters the dreaming: Nathaniel Pepper and the ruptured world – Kenny

Blood, spirit and bones: Aboriginal Christianity in an East-Kimberley town

I guess aprt from reading books and watching movies, what has helped more than anything else has been sitting with people who are Australian Aboriginal and asking questions and listening… and listening…

The Future…

I saw this link on Mark Sayers blog and jumped over to read the full article in The Austrailian.  I love the stuff futurists say, not because I agree with it all, but I find the whole profession fascinating and many of their predictions are not just guesses but  based on hard research, maybe speculative is a better word than predictive? But the points made below are interesting. Obviously the whole article expands on each point in far greater detail.

Richard Watson, a brave man who has been persuaded to make 10 predictions for 2009. As a futurist, Watson makes a living by advising big companies on future trends. A Brit of 47 with a background in advertising, design, headhunting and publishing, he lives in Sydney but commutes regularly to London.

Here are Watson’s predictions.

ECO-CYNICS: Are you getting hot and bothered about global warming? Does a cup of carbon-neutral cappuccino or a packet of environmentally friendly crisps make you go environmental?

SERIOUSNESS: In times of economic upheaval and anxiety people can resort either to escape (everything from movies to virtual worlds) or find out what’s going on.

UNPLUGGING: Digital technology has reduced the need for face-to-face contact. But as those who boast of having 150 “friends” realise that most of them are merely digital acquaintances[…]

DITCH THE DEBT: The piggy bank is back.

AUTHENTICITY: When life around us is uncertain, we want authenticity to give us a sense of safety and control.

IMBYS: Nimbys are people who object to things happening in their local area (not in my back yard); Imbys (in my back yard) are the opposite. They want things to happen locally because they support local production and consumption, and they will campaign to get their way[…]

WE, NOT ME: To get through this mess, we will have to stick together,

DELAYED GRATIFICATION: We have had 20 years of instant gratification, and as the mood changes, incomes drop and values shift, some aspects of life will become slower.

FEAR AND LOATHING: We are living in nervous times and the result is a new age of insecurity. Things are out of our control, and someone, somewhere, is to blame.

ANGER: We are entering a nasty period, possibly as much as a decade, in which economic uncertainty will become a catalyst for some unpleasant attitudinal and behavioural shifts.

Full Article Here

Hack On ABC 2

If you ever listen to the excellent Hack programme hosted by Steve Cannane on Tripple J, you will be happy to know that he is on for a half hour programme on ABC 2 at 8.30pm starting tonight.

The Hack Half Hour is a studio-based chat program, which encourages feisty, passionate views, stories and debate. It’s confronting, irreverent, thought-provoking and a little bit naughty. It’s time to hear from a younger audience.

Each week we’ll be covering a different topic, looking at it through the eyes of young Australians. In the first episode of The Hack Half Hour: Myface, we ask the question, “will we end up regretting what we reveal about ourselves online?” We’ll explore the reasons why people want to post so much personal information online, and look at what the repercussions might be for user’s life, relationships, and career. We talk to bloggers, vloggers and social networking junkies, and even a hacker. All of them have strong opinions.

At the centre of the discussion, we meet a very popular 16-year-old. Sophie Calland has the second highest number of friends on My Space in Australia. With over 208,000, she welcomes just about anyone into her space. She spends several hours a day maintaining her profile, posting photo-shopped pictures of herself, and writes a blog about her battles with illness, depression, and the things that piss her off. Sophie is happy with the level of control she has over her profile and isn’t worried about the possible consequences of making personal information widely available.


Mark Sayers makes a point

I am looking at a young man’s car parked close to mine. On the dashboard of the car is a plastic figurine, it is Bart Simpson, he is pulling down his pants, and ‘mooning’ the world. Normally I would not stop and think about this, but this time I am shocked. I am not shocked out of a sense of oversensitive Christian piety, I have grown up with the Simpsons, and when it comes to butts I am the owner of one myself which has provided me with great support during my life. I am shocked however because I think of all the passionate, stubborn, activist, wildly revolutionary young people of history, who have fought to change the world, to bring down corrupt governments, overturn oppressive laws and regimes, who have given their lives on battlefields to improve the world. Sometimes they were right, sometimes they were misguided, but they believed in something. Of all the slogans, of all the messages that this young man could have sent the world, he chose this one. Bart’s nihilistic, plastic moon, exposes more than just are bare butt, it exposes our total lack of cultural depth, and reveals to us just how superflat our culture has become…Read full article at Mark Sayers brilliant blog

Love Rules

Folks, you need to see this example of the love of Christ at work in our city.
Seriously, if you are wanting someone to come and share with your family, your church, your small group, your youth ministry, your elderly congregation, your play group mums, your craft group, you left wing anti-nuclear group, your right wing people for high morals group, your men’s wood working group, ladies bible study group…your whatever group – Jarrod McKenna will bless you and challenge you to think more deeply about living out the message of Christ in ‘real life’ tangible ways.
email me [Scott] for Jarrod’s contact details.

Click here for the full story.

Happy New Year

Hi there and welcome to this year.
Hope your Christmas went great.
Not much to report here in Joondlaup WA, good tine with family and friends over the break.

The big news in literary circles is that Clive Hamilton (author of my #1 read for 2005 – Affluenza) is brining out 2 books in 2007, so if you are into a good read of a political, social comment nature with an environmental edge you should grab both his books this year.
The Politics of Climate Change, coming in June damns the Australian response to global warming. But before that book he and Sarah Maddison assess government tactics used to stifle independent experts, communicators, and organisations critical of government policies in Silencing Dissent (February). He is not a conspiracy type guy, his research and reporting are spot on!

Off to Fire it Up camp for a few days.

Affluenza, Politics and One of My Heroes

Moral decline, the need of “The Left” in politics, Affluenza, our happiness, our obsession with consumption, social justice, fulfillment, and more. All these issues are Clive Hammilton’s favorite topics. He is the author of my favorite book of 2005 “Affluenza”, when he speaks, I always sit up and listen. He speaks into our culture in a way that makes more and more sense to me. He is gutsy, he refuses to speak ‘popular’ messages, he does good research…yes, he is one of my Aussie heroes!
This is a great interview with him on ABC RN. It comes in about half way through, after some talk with Jensen (Sydney Anglicans first)

Click here.
Thanks for the tip off Jarvo

Australians trail in happiness rankings

A study has found Australians are far from the happiest people in the world, with the country ranked 139th on a worldwide index.

Citizens of the tiny south Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu have been ranked as the happiest in the Happy Planet Index, which has been compiled by the British think-tank, New Economics Foundation (NEF).

The study measured life satisfaction, life expectancy and environmental footprint, which is the amount of land required to sustain the population and absorb its energy consumption.

Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica and Panama complete the top five.

Zimbabwe came bottom of the 178 countries ranked, below second-worst performer Swaziland, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ukraine.

The Group of Eight industrial powers meet in Russia this weekend but do not have much to smile about, according to the index.

Italy came out best in 66th place, ahead of Germany (81), Japan (95), Britain (108), Canada (111), France (129), the United States (150) and Russia, in 172nd place.

NEF policy director Andrew Simms says the index “addresses the relative success or failure of countries in giving their citizens a good life, while respecting the environmental resource limits on which all our lives depend”.

Article here