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In recent times, the thorny issue of asylum seekers, ‘boat people’, or the incorrectly and inhumanely named ‘illegal immigrants’ has raised its profile again after more boats containing these desperate people have reached our shores.

Predictably, the fearful xenophobes in Australian society have crawled out of the woodwork to bemoan the arrival of more foreigners to our shores (even though most of us can trace our families back to foreigners who arrived sometime in the past 200 years).  “We’ve boundless plains to share”? 

It seems not. 

 

If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing

Malcolm X

 

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Child Genius

How could i constantly be outsmarted by my 19 month old son?  Exhibit A, the following conversation which was had with the young fella when attempting to feed him lunch.  Who would have thought he was such a discerning connoisseur?!

 

Dad:  Do you want some mashed vegetables for lunch?

Little Fella:  No

D:  Do you want some pasta?

LF:  No!

D: Cereal?

LF:  No!

D: Toast?

LF:  No!

D:  Yoghurt?

LF:  NO!

D:  Cheese?

LF:  NOOOO!

By now the scowl on the face was menacing, and i have rolled off just about every food in the house.  In my desperation, i thought I’d have a bit of fun with LF and throw in the name of a snack i know he loves.  I reasoned that he was simply screaming ‘no’ now because he was beyond all reason and having a real hissy fit.  Getting to him to refuse his favourite snack would be my last revenge!  And so i proceeded…

D:  Do you want any chocolate?

As i awaited an immediate and vociferous NO, i realised the game was not going according to script.  I was initally met with a strange silence.  From there the frown lines dissipated, the tears dried up, the thrashing monster transformed into a cheeky little prince.  As my son turned his head towards me, he fixed his gaze with twinkling eyes and a charasmatic grin.  Then his answer laid the final blow:

LF:  yeeeeSSSSSSSS!!

 

Doh!

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The past year has seen the ground upon which my journey with Christ takes place become increasingly barren.  Despite the ongoing desire to continue traversing this winding path, efforts to water and feed its landscape, and constantly dreaming of ways my path may be better entwined with others, it seemed that every effort was met with failure.

I had dreamt of a tight-knit faith community that strengthened the call of Christ in each others lives…despite friendships remaining strong, that community has temporarily fractured.

I had dreamt of a positively disciplined life of prayer, fasting, generosity, and hospitality…instead i felt the hopelessness of unanswered prayer (in my temporal view), the frustration of personal failings and the nagging conviction that self is truly Lord when it comes to the crunch.

I had dreamt of connecting with my local community…i still only knew those i was friends with years ago and had virtually no knowledge of the lives of my neighbours.

I had dreamt of building true relationships with those less fortunate in our society.  As an ‘insider’, i wanted to help the ‘outsiders’ feel part of the circle in our wider community…while i have certainly acted in this area, my efforts have been rather spasmodic.

I had dreamt of being a true character of peace, promoting a different way of viewing our relationships with others…and yet it only takes my son to throw a bowl of cereal over his head for my veneer of peacable behaviour to reveal an intemperate, impatient man.

 

Unfortunately, despite having a sensational life, my longing to further reduce the dissonance between my beliefs and actions (which is often a chasm) creates a ‘glass half empty’ mentality.  Perceived failures hit me hard.  Despite having a character of perserverance, i must admit that in recent times the parched ground of my faith (the living actions as opposed to the inner conviction) was taking its toll.  I had begun to wonder whether the difficulty of this walk was worth it.  Maybe i should have settled for being a good little Christian blandly warming my pew while minding my ‘p’s and q’s’ in my daily life?  Maybe the exciting call of mission and justice was for better equipped people?  Maybe it was time for idealism to move aside for pragmatism as i set about having 2.3 kids and a manageable mortgage?

Hope was waning…

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Be a Man

Each time i encounter it i feel sick to the pit of my stomach.

The most recent occasion (and unfortunately there have been many) was on a routine hospital transfer.  It had been a fairly uneventful day full of ‘chest pains’ and ‘generally unwell’ patients.  We then received a hospital transfer case for a lady with a broken arm.  Again, nothing dramatic here.  The patient would be all ‘packaged up’ and ready to go, probably only requiring a pain relief top-up along the way to the next hospital. 

We arrived at the ‘sending’ hospital and i made my way around to the patient’s cubicle to introduce myself, get a quick nurse handover, and be on our way.  As i pulled the curtain across i noticed a plaster cast on the young woman’s arm and so i smiled, introduced myself and in an attempt to build rapport i jovially enquired “so how did you end up with that on your arm?!”

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For those who read my initial Magda Effect Birthday Challenge, read on!

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The Beatitudes 3

It is time to once again reflect upon that most ‘powerful’ of scriptures, the beatitudes.  Despite their ability to inspire world change throughout the ages, it seems many find that their mysterious beauty often transcends into incomprehensible confusion. 

There have been many different ways to interpret these words of Jesus.  Interpretations which have been common over the years when studying the beatitudes (and indeed, the whole ‘sermon on the mount’) have been ‘means of attainment’, ‘high idealism’ and ‘future realisation’. 

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Food For Thought?

Whenever people discover i am a Vegetarian i am usually met with incredulous responses such as “why the hell don’t you eat meat?”, “you don’t look pale”, “you are not a tree-huggin’ hippie are you?”, “i could never give up meat” and “you didn’t tell me you were gay”.  Some of the more blokey blokes can barely murmur a response with looks of horror and forlorn grief sweeping across their face as if another mighty oak of masculinity has fallen.

 

vegetarian

 

Next comes the inevitable question of ‘why’?

I have often resisted the urge to prosletyse the ‘vegetarian faith’ as i find for most people food is far more than a physical necessity for survival.  Food choices are bound up in much familial, cultural, historical and economic symbolism.  The mere mention of food evokes a passionate response akin to religious conviction.  I have learned to tread lightly, though if somebody asks, i am happy to discuss it further.  

Excellent reasons for the vegetarian option include health benefits (the initial reason i was attracted), ecological responsibility and sustainability, potential reduction of poverty and world hunger through better food resourcing, and prevention of animal cruelty (most apparent now ‘food’ animals are mere commodities).  Personally, i also find vegetarianism consistent with my Christian faith which aims to extend peace not simply to humankind but throughout the whole of creation (though i certainly do not believe Christianity mandates vegetarianism in every culture and every situation).

 

lisa_the_vegetarian

 

I may expand upon these reasons in the future but for now I’ll leave you with this provocative documentary highlighting the plight of animals in todays intensive farming economies.  It’s not an enjoyable watch but an important one to consider.

Eating Mercifully

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