CategoryEthics & Justice

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...

The King, Sheep, Goats & Salvation.

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One of the most confronting parables Jesus told was his account of the sheep and goats (found in Matthew 25). The end of the age has come and humanity is gathered before Christ for judgement. Humankind is sorted into two groups: sheep, who the king claims fed him when he was hungry, gave him a drink when he was thirsty, provided hospitality when he was a stranger, clothed him when he needed...

The problem with conservatism

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I guess in the end, protecting what we cherish is why I am a conservative. The Left like to portray conservatives as doddery old fools opposed to modernity. But as its very heart, conservatism believes there are things in life, values and institutions, worth conserving. Conservatives don’t oppose change; they just don’t believe in change for change’s sake. If there’s a good case made for change...

The New Pharisaism

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One of the most beautiful passages in Scripture is the apostle Paul’s discourse on love in 1 Corinthians 13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give...

Did you see the dancing bear? A reflection on the conclusion of Micah Challenge Australia

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A few years back a brilliant tv ad was created which showed 2 teams of people passing a ball. You the viewer were asked to count how many times the white team passed the ball. And so you count…1,2,3,4,5. The ad ends, the correct answer is given and just as you are basking in the glory of getting it right the narrator asks “but did you see the dancing bear?” Dancing bear? The ad is replayed and...

Prophecies were made to be broken. Why restoration might be the last word.

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The most horrific of all Christian doctrines is the doctrine of the eternal judgement, the declaration that vast numbers of humankind will experience eternal punishment at the hands of their Creator. In its most extreme form it imagines a house of horrors in which people experience excruciating torments that never end and for which there is no hope of an end. In its milder forms it imagines those...

is God’s justice retribution or restoration? The apparently benign question that changes everything

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Over the last 25 years there have been dramatic shifts in the way I understand and frame my faith. Throughout my journey the one constant has been Jesus Christ and my devotion to following him. But I’ve realised that the classic evangelicalism I inherited has at its core two ways of framing the Jesus story:   a retributive understanding of justice and duty-based understanding of ethics...

A Budget is a Values Statement

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As the nation prepares itself for what is predicted to be a particularly tough budget, I find it worthwhile remembering something I learnt at theological college, that a budget is a values statement. Whether a church budget or a national budget, we can never reduce budgets to simply being financial statements. Budgets require choices, and when we choose one thing rather than another we reveal the...

A Bigger Vision for Who We Can Be

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It seems that the major parties are leading us into a time of turning our backs upon our global neighbours. We are witnessing a race to the bottom on asylum seekers, both parties are pulling back on their previous commitments to increasing aid, and there is fading resolve to lead on combating climate change. Given both major parties are led by committed Christians this is tragic. In the Gospels...

On Killing Cats

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We’re a cat family. Neighbours on either side have dogs, but we have a cat, a white and ginger cat named Mittens. Earlier this week Mittens disappeared. Three days later we found her, lying weak and helpless in a section of our garden, one of her hind legs dislocated. The vet concluded she had been run over. Run over! Someone had run over her and then left her wounded. Why didn’t they...

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