CategoryPeace and Conflict

Bob Dylan, Tomahawk Missiles and the Lost Art of Lament.

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I found myself screaming obscenities at the TV screen last week as I viewed footage of Syrian children killed by a chemical weapons attack. Just as the body of a Syrian child washed up on Europe’s shores fixed the world’s attention on the desperate plight of Syrian refugees, so this footage concentrated our attention on the violent abuse of power by the Syrian Government against its citizens. The...

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...

The abusers within our churches

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In the last year or two domestic violence has loomed large in public discussion. No-one seems to know quite how prevalent it is, but we know that 2 women die each week at the hands of their partner and that surveys consistently show up to 1 in 4 women over the age of 15 have experienced at least one episode of violence from an intimate partner. 1. Family violence is overwhelmingly a male problem...

When God ceased being a perpetrator of violence and became its victim. A Maundy Thursday reflection

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Today is Maundy Thursday, the day on which Christians remember two great symbolic acts of Jesus: the celebration of the Passover and the washing of his disciples feet. Passover festival was a celebration of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, a liberation that was accomplished through the means of violence that I find almost incomprehensible when attributed to God. The text of...

Is Islam inherently violent?

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In Tuesday’s mail I received a nine page typed critique of a sermon I preached recently on refugees and asylum seekers. It was clear that my critic was very unhappy with a number of things, including my assertion that we had nothing to fear from Muslim immigrants. Islam, he strongly implied, was inherently violent, a claim I often hear. Now any of us can selectively quote the Koran to...

Love my enemy? What fool suggested that?

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  I too have been shocked by the violence in Paris over the weekend. It is almost incomprehensible to me that people would walk into a public space, fire off rounds from a machine gun with the sole intention of killing people, then blow themselves up. It makes me both angry and sad. But it also makes me wonder how I should respond. In particular, how do I respond as a follower of Jesus? Here...

I don’t want to live in a tolerant society

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Fear of the other has always marked human society. In response to this I frequently hear calls for us to be “tolerant” of those who are different. I don’t think tolerance is capable of overcoming fear. To tolerate something suggests that it is distasteful, that I’ll keep myself as far removed from it is possible but put up with it for the sake of maintaining some greater...

The nutters at the NRA have got it wrong on Australia

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The nutters that run the National Rifle Association in the USA have published an article criticising Australia’s gun laws.In a breathtaking example of the triumph of fictive ideology over brute fact they declare the gun law reform implemented by Prime Minister John Howard has infringed on our liberties without making Australia any safer. The headline, “Australia. There Will Be...

Anyone else disturbed by the tone of the anti-terror debate?

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Is anyone else disturbed by the tone of the anti-terror discussion? We have the PM calling for heads to roll at the ABC because a guy who was acquitted of terror offences and has since renounced his support for jihad asks some pointed questions on Q & A; the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection not only wanting the right to unilaterally strip citizenship from Australians he suspects...

Protect the unborn and slaughter your enemies. The bizarre inconsistency of the US right

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Later this month US Republican senator Rick Santorum is expected to declare his candidacy for the presidency of the United States.  Speaking this week at the South Carolina Freedom Summit,  a self-declared Conservative event, Santorum spoke of ISIS  and the approach the United States should take to combating them: If these people want to bring back a 7th-century version of Islam … then let’s load...

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