Five New Year Wishes for the Church

1. A mature debate on same-sex marriage Within the Christian world there are a variety of principled perspectives on same-sex marriage, including diverse views within the conservative wing of the church. Yet it seems that this discussion is surrounded with hysteria. The moment anyone urges anything other than opposition to same-sex marriage they are pilloried.…Continue Reading

Joe Hockey ends the idea that Australia can help make poverty history

Yesterday Treasurer Joe hockey announced that next year’s international aid budget would be slashed by $1 billion. This decision marked much more than the cutting of the aid budget. It marked the end of the idea that Australia could play a significant role in bringing extreme poverty to a halt. In the last decade a…Continue Reading

Don’t be fooled. Children will remain in detention.

In the wake of the agreement between the crossbench Senators and the government, many are under the impression that no children will be held in immigration detention into the future. This is a misunderstanding of what was agreed. Children are currently held in immigration detention centres on the Australian mainland, Christmas Island, and Nauru. Prior to the current…Continue Reading

What the changes to the migration act mean

This week the Senate passed the “Migration And Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving The Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014″. The bill results in sweeping changes to Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers. Reintroduction of Temporary Protection Visas When asylum seekers arrive in Australia they must apply for a protection visa. A protection visa gives them the…Continue Reading

Hugs from strangers

I was on the train from Newcastle to Sydney a few weeks back. It was a Sunday afternoon and the train was packed. I was sitting in one of the designated quiet carriages where conversations must kept to a minimum, phones are to be put away, and if you listen to music you must do…Continue Reading

It Turns Out that Christian Attitudes to the Environment are Not So Christian

In 1967 a history professor from the University of California delivered a paper in which he argued the world’s environmental degradation had its roots in the Judeo-Christian notion of dominion. When the biblical text declared that humankind was to “rule” and “subdue” the earth it was mandating a view that creation exists to serve our…Continue Reading

Some suffering may be redemptive, but some is just plain senseless

“Why do you think God allowed you to get Parkinsons?” This question or some derivative of it is commonly put to me, or if not put to me directly, at least thought about. Behind it lies the assumption that there must be some divine purpose to everything that happens, including the bad. People want to…Continue Reading

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

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…Continue Reading