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An Unexpected & Stunning Turnaround. A Health Update

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Last November I posted a health update that reflected a rather bleak outlook for 2019. I had watched my physical health deteriorate under the influence of Parkinsons to the point that most days were spent with hours of disabling tremors, a window of functionality that might last anywhere from one hour to many hours, followed by many hours of dyskenesia. I was scheduled for a promising new...

The dividing line between good and evil…A response to the conviction of George Pell

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When I heard the news that Cardinal George Pell had been convicted of the sexual abuse of children I felt sick in the stomach. I felt disgust at what he had done; sad for the boys he abused; grieved when I learned that one of the boys had taken his life; and fearful at the damage it would do to people’s capacity to hear the gospel. Like many others, I read the articles suggesting the...

Why empathy matters. Reading the Bible to hear the word of God #1

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I was revisiting Richard Hays’s The Moral Vision of the New Testament recently and was reminded of his very helpful description of how we can discern God’s word to us through the Scriptures. He speaks of a fourfold task: Descriptive Task: Reading the Text Carefully. This seeks to identify the messages of the various texts/books of the Bible “without prematurely harmonising...

Truth, Lies & the Stories We Tell

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Our lives are defined by the stories we tell. Stories give meaning to our experiences, our relationships and our places. Many of these stories are personal. They’re my story, not yours. But we all have stories that define “us”, whether the “us” be a family, a community group, a nation, humanity, or all creation. Australia has at least five great stories (each with...

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall. Who’s the Biggest Taxer of Them All?

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As we gear up for a federal election I’m already hearing people characterise the Labor Party as big taxers and big spenders and the Coalition as the party of lower spending and lower taxes. Really? The chart below shows government receipts and payments as a proportion of GDP from 1975 until the present. The black line represents government payments, the coloured bar tracks tax receipts (red...

My kids reckon I will be an ugly bald man. A health update

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Many of those who follow my blog are aware I have Parkinsons. Less well known is that the same year (2012) I was diagnosed with Parkinsons I was also diagnosed as having Chronic Lymphomatic Leukemia (CLL). CLL usually progresses very slowly and doesn’t need treatment for many years.  So at my last six monthly checkup I was expecting my Doctor to give me the same message I’ve...

Say No to the Australian Christian Lobby’s Latest Campaign of Fear

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Popping up regularly in my facebook feed is a campaign by the Australian Christian Lobby titled “You won’t Believe Labor’s Latest Attack on Parent’s Rights”. This is what the ACL campaign page says: The party’s National Secretary has released a consultation draft of the platform and it contains some radical, extreme material.   Hidden on page 183 (clause 83), we can see the party is seeking...

Unanswered Questions about Kids Off Nauru

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I have been celebrating the news that the Federal Government is bringing all refugee children on Nauru to  Australia for medical treatment. Yet there remain disturbing, unanswered questions. Why not bring them all now? The mental health crisis among child detainees is well-documented. So why are we waiting until Christmas to bring all of them to Australia? At the same time the government...

What the church needs more than freedom of religion

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Freedom of religion, conscience and speech are at the heart of a free society. They protect us from an ideological totalitarianism which demands everyone believe, speak and act in the same way. The price of any of us enjoying these freedoms is that we respect the freedom of others to believe things we find unreasonable, to hold morals we find objectionable, and to say things we find offensive...

Kids Off Nauru. Why Isn’t This A No-Brainer?

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Like many others, my heart skipped a beat this week when I heard that three Coalition MPs had broken ranks on offshore detention and were calling for children and their families detained on Nauru to be brought to Australia.   The situation on Nauru is heartbreaking. Medicins Sans Frontieres, whose staff were very recently expelled from Nauru, describe the situation of asylum seekers and...