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Life Skills for an Age of Populist Rage

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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 issue being addressed. And although I try my...

Challenges for the Church #2. Living as a Minority in a Pluralist Society

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One of the great achievements of Western society has been its embrace of religious and political pluralism as a way of enabling peaceful diversity. Throughout history diversity has commonly been met with violence, either the state enacting violence against dissidents, or conflict between groups. We easily forget that the sort of conflicts we see between Islamic groups in the middle east today was...

A doctor, five nuns and the Concorde. An unexpected tale that will warm your heart

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I read a delightfully heartwarming story this week. In September 1989 Dr George Lombardi received a phone call. On the other end of the line was a woman wanting to know whether he was the Dr Lombardi who was an infectious disease specialist. She introduced herself as the representative of a world figure and Nobel Laureate who was suspected of having a viral haemorrhagic fever and wanted to know...

On Leaving Lord Howe

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Today we fly home from Lord Howe Island. It has been a wonderful experience. The views are spectacular, the snorkelling a glorious kaleidoscope of colourful corals and fish, the people friendly and the food delicious. Yet the thing that I will carry strongest in my heart is the way this community preserves its sense of community. Two of the greatest threats to the community are isolation and the...

Celebration and sorrow. Two keys to a life well lived

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There’s an interesting episode in the Gospels where a woman brings a jar of expensive perfume, cracks it open and pours it upon Jesus. His followers, who have caught his concern for those living in poverty, grow indignant, protesting to the woman that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to those who were struggling. Jesus stops them, telling them that this woman has done a...

A new chapter in my life

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Last week marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life. After 8.5 years on staff at Baptist World Aid I have finished as an employee and taken on two new projects. The first sees me returning to BWAA in a consultancy role three days a week. I’ll work with the organisation on its theological formation, on the development of education programs, conduct research into strategic areas for...

Rain on My Roof

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Rain falling onto a tin roof. It is the only sound i can hear. Thousands of drops of the most precious liquid to be found on the earth, flung from the heavens, their descent temporarily interrupted by sheets of inclined colorbond down which they slide, before falling, falling again until, with a dull thud, they are consumed by a hungry earth. I am on the verandah of a rambling farmhouse with...

What if God Didn’t Create a ‘Perfect’ World?

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All my life I’ve understood the bible to tell the story that God created a perfect world, a world filled with all things good, free from suffering, pain, and death. This world became disordered as a result of human sin, from which Christ came to redeem us and creation. This constitutes a powerful story by which I have made sense of life. But it has always stood in tension with the...

Better Ways to Spend our $8 billion

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According to the Commonwealth Bank, Australians are set to spend more than $7.9 billion this year on Christmas gifts. Here are three ways we could collectively better spend this money. 1. Reinstate our spending on global poverty. The Federal Government has slashed $656 million from this year’s budget. Surely if we can send $8 billion on Christmas presents, we can give back the $656 million...

The Fine Line Between Monsters and Heroes. On the Passing of Nelson Mandela

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Nelson Mandela, the greatest statesmen of the past fifty years, passed away this morning. He will be eulogised, lionised, and turned into a god. Yet what strikes me about Mandela was his vivid awareness of his humanity, his humble recognition that he was just a man like any other. As he wrote in his autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom I wanted first of all to tell the people that I was not a...

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