CategoryPeace and Conflict

A time to stand shoulder to shoulder with Australian Muslims

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The great environmentalist David Suzuki has spoken of the shame he experienced when as a Canadian of Japanese descent, he and his family were incarcerated in their homeland during WWII. Being of Japanese heritage they were viewed with suspicion, so untrustworthy they had to be locked up. This experience was so damaging that Suzuki spent his teenage years saving for a plastic surgery operation to...

Never Trust the Bastards. A Reflection On Anzac Day

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Among the living lay the dead. As we dug ourselves in, we found them in layers stacked on top of one another. One company after another had been shoved into the drum-fire and steadily annihilated. Ernst Junger, German officer I came across the quote and photo above on Flickr. Each is a graphic, horrific reminder of what war does. It’s easy on a day like Anzac Day to focus on what is good...

“Justice didn’t do a thing to heal me. Forgiveness did.”

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“Justice didn’t do a thing to heal me. Forgiveness did.” This is the closing sentence of Debbie Morris’s remarkable book Forgiving the Dead Man Walking. On a Friday night in the 1980′s sixteen year old Debbie and her boyfriend Mark were kidnapped while on a date. After shooting her boyfriend in the head and leaving him for dead in the woods, the kidnappers subjected Debbie to...

The Value of Non Retaliation

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I am reading Darrin Belousek’s Atonement, Justice, and Peace, and have been struck by his argument that Jesus didn’t proclaim the principle of non-violence but of non-retaliation. A commitment to non-violence leaves open the possibility of retaliating in non-violent ways. Jesus however, asks us to live lives in which love, even for those who mistreat us, is the guiding principle. “You...

Peace on Earth

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The Christmas story confounds my expectations of God. The angels in Luke’s Gospel bring news of peace, which will have been heard by his audience against the backdrop of a similar claim by the Roman empire. The Empire’s peace was in reality a subjugation, in which wealth was stripped from the poor and the merest hint of rebellion was ruthlessly crushed. Within a few years of...

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...

Did God Really Command the Slaughter of the Canaanites?

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When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are about to enter and occupy, and he clears away many nations before you—the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations mightier and more numerous than you— and when the Lord your God gives them over to you and you defeat them, then you must utterly destroy them...

The Problem of Violence in the Bible

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The Bible is a violent book that describes a violent God. In Genesis 6 God sends a flood that wipes out life on the earth he created. Only the select few on the Ark are saved. Fast forward to the liberation of the Israelites from slavery and God kills all the firstborn sons of Egypt before drowning the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. The Israelites are brought to their own land and told to commit...

Good Friday, Bombs in Boston, and Anzac Day.

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[quote]For god’s sake, don’t glorify Gallipoli – it was a terrible fiasco, a total failure and best forgotten’. Last survivng Anzac, Alec Campbell[/quote] I have always struggled with Anzac Day. On the one hand, I do want to remember the horror that is war and the sacrifice our soldiers made, but on the other, I can’t shake the feeling that eulogising our fallen...

Palm Sunday. Does An Ancient Prophet Riding a Donkey Have Anything To Say To My World?

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Today is Palm Sunday. It’s the day we remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, greeted by crowds waving palm fronds and acclaim him the descendent of David, come to reclaim his throne. I write while sitting in an airplane, 35,000 feet above the ground, hurtling through the air at hundreds of kilometres an hour. What relevance can this story of an ancient prophet on a donkey...

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