Thursday, July 14, 2011


I am not going to write much about the carbon tax. I think of the tax as a beginning step, like a baby's - not fully co-ordinated, not ready to really call walking yet, but still, a significant thing. Australia has to do something, and this is a mostly positive something that will hopefully encourage and influence bigger and better somethings.

There are already scare campaigns in play, and there will be more. For more information that isn't designed to make you believe your entire life is about to be destroyed, these are some resources I found helpful and informative:
  • Get Up!

  • Phil Ireland's post on the Micah Challenge Blog - "Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this whole debate is the self centred nature of it. It makes sense that people are concerned for how this will affect them, but if that means they lose sight of the reality that climate change is a far greater problem for the world's poor, then we have missed the boat - particularly as Christians." (Click link to read all of it).
  • This is not about the carbon tax, but the Robin Hood Tax. If you've never heard of it, I encourage you to head to the website and read up. Sign the petition, share it with people, write letters to your MPs about it, pray for change. And here's a little video that helps too.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Love and Justice

Just following up with a bit of writing. This is something I wrote for church in the week following Osama Bin Laden's death. Whilst that event has passed, the human instinct to respond to violence with violence has not. I know this because, as you may have noticed in my previous post, I am often tempted to respond that way. Around me, recent conversations and responses to issues of asylum seekers and refugees, the new state of South Sudan, and climate change, amongst many others, have often shown glimpses of the same ugly attitude. I continue to pray the same prayer that ends this article.

“ROT IN HELL” and “Vengeance at last! US nails the bastard”. These were the headlines plastered across newsstands in the USA this week, messages of violence and hateful triumph that are sadly expected from some members of the media sector. They revealed very clear attitudes as to how ‘justice’ is achieved, how things are ‘made right’, how ‘good’ prevails – and they all revolved around violence and revenge, giving the ‘bad guys’ what they ‘deserve’.

As I talked to people and watched the waves of responses on the internet, it was interesting to see how our brothers and sisters that confess to follow Jesus reacted to the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death. And it filled me with sadness to be reminded that, even if we do not spout messages as explicit as the tabloids (mostly!) we often still sell short the glory of the Gospel. In the face of violence – whether from American or Taliban forces – we are tempted to believe that the only possible responses are ‘fight’ or ‘flight’.

When we choose to fight, we fuel the cycle of violence. We try to out-hurt each other until someone ‘wins’. In the case of war, tragically, heart-breakingly, we have seen (and still not learnt) that this defeat often never comes, and is only met with more lives being consumed. Just as gut-wrenching, nations can go to war waving a banner that says ‘God is on our side’, whilst they fight nations carrying a carbon-copy of that banner – both parties believing that God has signed his name on their bullets, that he has ok’d the destruction of lives. I cannot believe in a God of love that wished death upon Osama Bin Laden, no matter how heinous his crimes. When Jesus said, “Love your enemies”, he did not mean, “Unless you have a really good reason, in which case, go ahead and kill them.”

To flee in response to violence, or merely stand back and remain passive simply allows destruction to take place. This is not a more or less suitable alternative to ‘fight’, it is equally inadequate. Jesus did not say, “Be indifferent to your enemies,” or “Ignore your enemies”.

As people of faith, we believe that Jesus was God’s answer, a different way to break free from the pain game. People waiting for the Messiah expected a brawny, militant warrior to rise up and lead the people over the Roman Empire. What they got instead was a man that carried the disarming weapon of love, whose service in suffering was to take on the entire sins of the world – yours, mine, Barack Obama’s, Julia Gillard’s, Osama Bin Laden’s, everyone’s.

Together, we must mourn the destruction of all lives – those lost in 9/11, those lost in the violence following, those of the allied soldiers, and those of the Al Qaeda. Together, we must pray for the kingdom to come, for the real power of love to be present in place of war and violence and through that, for God’s justice to prevail. Together, we must understand that God calls us to participate in the story of love, that we are not called to stand idly by or pick up our weapons, but to beat our swords into ploughs, take up our cross and love our enemies from it.

It is likely many of you will have read this MLK Jr. quote already, but this only affirms the power of its truth:

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Lord, forgive us our sins, only as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into the temptation of turning to armies, war, hatred, and violence as we seek justice; but deliver us from evil, as only your amazing, grace-full love can.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

A Note

Last night, I wrote this to some people I love and trust:

Today I am heartbroken. Today I am overwhelmed. I am not normally afraid. But today I am frightened.

How do I continue to expose myself to all the hurt and injustices of the world – within my neighbourhood, my church, my place of study, my country, countries overseas, within my very life – and not simply be swallowed up by them? I cannot. How do I advocate for the humanity of my brothers and sisters, without being exposed for the hypocrite I am, with a life that often diminishes the humanity of others? I cannot. How do I answer God’s call to love my neighbour when I feel like I am coming from a place that seems so loveless? I cannot. How do I even just relax for once and accept that I am not the one God intended to ‘save the world’? Most days, it seems I cannot even do this.

I struggle to be gentle in nature, because I am also violent in attitude. I see so many holes in the attitudes and actions of those around me – a government that is broken; a church that is equally fragmented; Christians that are unknowingly racist; faith that is privatised and separate from other places in life; ignorance and apathy to the plight of the suffering; a gospel preached that is otherwise than the Gospel, when Jesus’ simultaneous heart for me and for the poor, weary, hungry and hurting are divorced from each other – and I see them through eyes of judgment, ignorant of my own gaping flaws. My high horse is well-fed. I do not know how to see others through the eyes of Jesus. Often, I do not know how to see or accept how Jesus sees me.

It seems very tempting to see my life before I met Jesus as easier, better, simpler. I never felt so guilty. I never felt so burdened. I never had to think so much. Often, the things I feel like I want to do now, I could just do then. I feel like I’ve built up whatever life with God looks like into its very own shiny idol. I have allowed relationships to become items on checklists, faith to become job, and have not actually allowed love to be free. I could keep looking back and turn the past into an idol too.

Still, I know that my life is forever changed for the better. I know that despite my blindness, I have caught a few brief glimpses of the Kingdom and they have captured me like nothing else. I ask the above questions and it seems I must answer with, “I cannot.” But ask me if I can stop foolishly chasing after this God who has changed my life, and I will also answer, “I cannot.”

I could resolve this note, round it into something nice. But I think today, it is appropriate to sit in this fragile space. Tomorrow, I may feel completely different, but right now – and more than usual lately – this is where I am at. My writing is melodramatic, but my feelings are real. I share this note with you because I trust you and respect you. I guess it’d be good to know other people feel like this too, so I don’t let you become superhumans in my eyes as well. And if you don’t, that’s ok. I’ll just imagine you in tights and lasers shooting from your eyes from now on.


I'm going to start blogging again. I love writing, it's always been a platform I've appreciated, both for the process and the end result. I love it more than blogging, and have begun writing again for me away from here, but blogging is easy and a space I also value.

It's closing in on two years since I last blogged. Some significant things have happened in my life and I have changed as a result. My beliefs are not all the same and I would not agree with everything I have written before. Still, I will leave them there, because they are a reflection of a part of me, at one point or another.

I don't know what I'll write. Probably a similar mix of theological rambles and inane nonsense. Some of my other writings will make it up here. I want to be a little more consistently honest in my reflections, so hold me to that.

Good to be back.