Australia. How we bludge off the rest of the world

I opened the Australian newspaper today to read a vigorous defence of the government’s  policy of turning back  boats filled with asylum seekers.  Australia has not only succeeded in stemming the flow of people coming by boat to Australia, we have apparently also reduced the flow of refugees into Indonesia, and saved people from drowning…Continue Reading

Sometimes we don’t get to decide who comes to this country

This week Scott Morrison invoked John Howard’s famous dictum “We will decide who comes to this country and the manner in which they come.” We should decide whether to turn back boats filled with asylum seekers and we should decide who gets a visa granting them the right to enter and live in Australia. The…Continue Reading

The death of the wisdom of our youth

When I was growing up there were two pieces of wisdom frequently imparted to me: “the ends don’t justify the means” and “think about how you would feel if that were done to you”. These two pieces of ethical guidance were designed to help me act with clarity and correctness in difficult situations. The first piece…Continue Reading

That Strange Moment When A Stranger Offers Me Her Seat

It had to happen sometime. That moment when my physical impairment became sufficiently noticeable that complete strangers feel the need to offer me assistance. Last Sunday as my flight from Perth approached Sydney, a fifty-something woman across the aisle watched me struggle to put on the shoes I had earlier slipped off. When we landed…Continue Reading

A time to stand shoulder to shoulder with Australian Muslims

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…Continue Reading

I have been blessed with Parkinsons.

In recent months my physical condition has deteriorated. The tremor in my right side is becoming more pronounced; I have found all kinds of things for which you need fine motor skills, like folding down the collar on your shirt, and bending down to put on your shoes and socks; I occasionally lose my balance;…Continue Reading

Is Marcus Borg a Christian?

One of the most helpful books I’ve read in recent years is a short popular work by the Jesus scholar Marcus Borg. Titled Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Borg describes his shift away from the conservative faith of his childhood to a fresh engagement with Jesus. I found myself excited by the Jesus he…Continue Reading

A Prayer for the Middle East

Loving God, we know that both your tender compassion and your fierce anger are aroused by what is occurring today in Syria, Iraq, Israel, Gaza, and other parts of the world where people are wounded and displaced by political violence. Our hearts long for peace, that full-bodied peace pictured in the Scriptures in which warfare…Continue Reading

The New Bigotry

In recent weeks Facebook has been filled with anti-Muslim diatribes. They all share the conviction that there is only one form of Islam in the world, that it aims at the imposition of islamic law on all people, and is not afraid to resort to violence to achieve this objective. Anyone who is a committed…Continue Reading