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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...

If the Bible is so clear, why do we keep getting it so wrong?

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I recently read Mark Noll’s book, The Civil War as a Theological Crisis. It was something of a shock to discover that in the mid 1800’s the majority of North American evangelicals opposed the abolition of slavery. Noll describes the crisis that the war created, Debates over Scripture and slavery, which combined passionate moral reasoning, careful attention to the particulars of exegesis, and...

It is not about my view of sexual morality.

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The marriage equality debate is underway and I find that the no case is being most zealously prosecuted by the evangelical wing of the church. This also happens to be the part of the church I belong to. Sometimes the ways of this group of believers thrills me, sometimes inspires me, sometimes infuriates me and and sometimes disappoints me (and I no doubt do the same to some of my evangelical...

What my straight Christian friends need to know about my gay Christian friends.

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I want to tell you about my Christian LGBT friends. Almost all of them have had an agonising journey as they have sought to reconcile their sexuality with their faith. They have cried themselves to sleep each night begging God to change them; they have been to counselling; some have sought conversion therapies; they have hated themselves; hated God for hating them; some have teetered on the verge...

Don’t fall for the fear-mongering.

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One of the fears of many religious people have around marriage equality is that it will erode their freedom to practice their religion. How valid is this concern? My thesis is this: marriage equality will throw up questions about religious freedom, but they will not be new questions. As a society we have become more pluralist and are now working through how we protect how we protect the various...

The Meaning of Marriage

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What does marriage mean? The debate over marriage equality has forced us to ask this question. It is a good question to ask. In a 2011 article for the Sydney Anglicans website, which was later abbreviated to appear on the Drum website, Anglican Rector Michael Jensen argued that to recognise same-sex relationships as marriage would fundamentally change the meaning of marriage. Marriage, he argued...

Why Parliament & Not a Plebiscite Should Resolve the Question of Same-Sex Marriage

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The modern world has been distinguished by what David Bentley Hart calls a “tilt to freedom.” Beginning with the demand that kings be subject to the law, there has been a steady process of enlarging people’s freedoms and a consequent diminishing of the coercive power of the State and of one human over another. The fundamental principle underlying this is the equality of human...

Julia Baird, Complementarian Theology, Domestic Violence & the Church

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Journalist Julia Baird has conducted research on domestic violence in the church that is being released as a series of reports on the ABC. It has already sparked intense discussion and people are getting defensive. Surely this is a moment for deep introspection, a time for us to talk about the culture of our churches, and not to make this just another stage in the Complementarian v Egalitarian...

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