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On the shaming of Bathsheba

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One of the most famous stories in the Bible is King David’s sexual abuse of Bathsheba. The account is rather brief. David, who has a demonstrated propensity for violence, is walking on the roof of the palace when he sees a woman undergoing a bathing ritual required by the law. David is consumed with lust. He makes inquiries to determine who the woman is, then sends a servant to bring her to...

A Prayer for Rohingya and Manus Refugees

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This is a prayer I wrote to use in my church. Feel free to use it in yours. Lord Jesus, We come to you who once was a refugee, To plead the cause of those who today are refugees. We come to you as the One who hears the cry of the poor & oppressed, And call you to hear the cry of the Rohingya of Myanmar And the despairing on Manus Island. We pray for the Rohingya, fleeing military violence in...

The most persecuted people on earth

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They have been described as “the most persecuted people on earth”  and they are now the subjects of the world’s fastest-growing humanitarian crisis. The Rohingya are  a stateless ethnic minority who live in the Rakhine, an area on the western side of Myanmar. They are the people no-one wants. Although the Rohingya have been present in Myanmar since the 12th century, the...

Should Euthanasia Be Legal? A Personal Reflection.

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As someone with a degenerative illness for which there is no known cure, I have more than a passing interest in the euthanasia debate. My fear is not a slow and painful death. Parkinsons does not directly kill its victims. Most Parkinsons sufferers die from the complications arising from a fall that has come about because of their unsteadiness or from aspirated pneumonia that occurs because their...

Protecting the right to discriminate. What should the marriage equality legislation do?

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The nation has voted for the recognition of same-sex marriage, and the challenge in the coming days is to legislate it. Many Christians are calling for a raft of provisions that protect their right to discriminate. The principle that it is unlawful to discriminate against somebody on the grounds of their sexuality is already part of Australian law. The Sex Discrimination Act was modified in 2013...

This Country is Leading the Way on Refugees…and It’s Identity Will Surprise You

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Of all the nations in the world that host refugees,  the country leading the way is none other than the African nation of Uganda. It has a population of 34 million, many of whom live in poverty and in the last few years has taken in more than 1 million refugees.  What sets Uganda apart  is the support and welcome it gives to refugees.  Every refugee household is given access to land that they...

The truth is now plain to see. There were no hordes of refugees making their way to Australia

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As the number of  refugees and asylum seekers arriving to Australia by boat rose sharply in 2012 and 2013, the  major political parties engendered a state of moral panic.  The long-standing debate over push versus pull factors  was resolved in favour of pull factors; that is,  it was finally agreed that Australia’s policies of welcoming  refugees and asylum seekers  made Australia an...

The casualties of our pragmatism

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The modern world was birthed in the ideal of freedom, eloquently expressed in the three-word slogan of the French Revolution – “liberty, equality, fraternity” – and the soaring rhetoric of the US Declaration of Independence that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable...

Why White, Middle Class Guys Like Me Struggle to Hear God

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Many years ago I was a regular attender at the “Baptists Today” conferences, held annually in Canberra. The rather unimaginatively titled conferences were focused on social justice issues, which at that time were commonly neglected by the wider Baptist movement. I was a young pastor, eager to do justice, love mercy & walk humbly with my God (Micah 6:8). At these conferences, under the...

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