When in Rome… how love, hope and mercy overcame suffering and despair

When in Rome… how love, hope and mercy overcame suffering and despair

I recently revisited Rodney Stark’s The Triumph of Christianity and was once more struck by the power of the early Christian movement. He describes first century Rome where, for most people, life presented serious challenges. The city was crowded. It is estimated that population density in Rome was almost three times that of modern-day Calcutta.… Continue Reading

From all the lands on earth we come…

From all the lands on earth we come…

I was on a train recently and found myself surrounded by groups of people speaking languages I didn’t understand. There was a time when I would have felt uncomfortable about this, but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself grinning and feeling joyful. I couldn’t understand the words people were saying but I could grasp the… Continue Reading

Has Malcolm got his Mojo back? Reflections on the 2017 federal budget

Has Malcolm got his Mojo back? Reflections on the 2017 federal budget

The Federal government released its 2017/18 budget last night. On first glance it represents a radical departure from the infamous “lifters and leaners” budget  delivered by the Coalition just a few years ago. As a commentator in one of our broadsheet newspapers noted, this is much more the sort of budget we expected from a… Continue Reading

Farewell Vienna

Farewell Vienna

One of the things I’d been looking forward to this year was  taking up invitations to speak at conferences in Vienna and Jakarta.  A couple of weeks back I wrote to the organisers of those conferences to notify them I would need to withdraw,  for over the last couple of months I have experienced a substantial deterioration  in… Continue Reading

Hands Down The Best Investment We Can Ever Make

Hands Down The Best Investment We Can Ever Make

One of the most thrilling moments I have ever witnessed occurred during the Live8 concert in 2005. A giant screen displayed footage from the 1980s famine in Ethiopia. It was distressing. Mothers with eyes evacuated of hope cradling emaciated babies; children too weak to play sitting quietly on the dusty ground surrounded by death. The… Continue Reading

Are we all falling victim to conspiracy theories?

Are we all falling victim to conspiracy theories?

Last week the Guardian online published a disturbing article under the headline “I’m an Artic researcher. Donald Trump is deleting my citations”. The author noted that links to research on climate change on US government websites no longer worked, and expressed concern that this is part of an effort by Trump’s administration to deny people… Continue Reading

Coopers, the Bible Society, and what Christians don’t seem to understand about same-sex marriage “debate”

Coopers, the Bible Society, and what Christians don’t seem to understand about same-sex marriage “debate”

Like many others I watched the publicity train wreck that was the Coopers-Bible Society collaboration with astonishment. In a number of fora I’ve heard Christians lamenting that they are not able to have a “civil discussion” on same-sex marriage and that this represents the silencing of the church in public debate. They’re right on one… Continue Reading

Life Skills for an Age of Populist Rage

Life Skills for an Age of Populist Rage

Populism is everywhere at the minute. It’s particularly pronounced in the rise of Trumpism and Hansonism, but is found on the left, the right and the centre whenever people seek to win over an audience with arguments that confirm the fears, biases and prejudices of that audience but fail to take account of the breadth and complexity of  the… Continue Reading

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