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my first citizenship ceremony

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Last Friday I attended the citizenship ceremony for a friend from my church. It was a profoundly moving experience. Just on 100 people were becoming citizens and what a marvellously diverse bunch they were. They came from 30 countries and every inhabited continent. They aged from the young to the old. They included a buddhist monk, a Catholic nun, at least one Muslim, and two Sikhs. The majority...

To Members of our First Nations.

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Yesterday indigenous leaders gathered  at Uluru released  a statement calling  Australians to walk with them on a journey to a better future. It’s an invitation I accept. As a follower of Jesus I think I’m called to this. One of the most significant Christian thinkers on questions of justice is Yale philosopher and theologian  Nicholas Wolterstorff. He notes that in the philosophical...

Memo to Australian Christians.

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No Margaret you’re not being bullied This week former tennis great Margaret Court became the focus of media attention when she published an open letter in the West Australian newspaper declaring she would be boycotting Qantas because of statements by the company CEO in favour of gay marriage. The backlash was swift, from tweets by other tennis greats, to Tennis Australia distancing itself...

When in Rome…

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I recently revisited Rodney Stark’s The Triumph of Christianity and was once more struck by the power of the early Christian movement. He describes first century Rome where, for most people, life presented serious challenges. The city was crowded. It is estimated that population density in Rome was almost three times that of modern-day Calcutta. Buildings were incredibly close to one another, and...

From all the lands on earth we come…

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I was on a train recently and found myself surrounded by groups of people speaking languages I didn’t understand. There was a time when I would have felt uncomfortable about this, but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself grinning and feeling joyful. I couldn’t understand the words people were saying but I could grasp the tone. For some there was excitement, for others laughter...

Has Malcolm got his Mojo back?

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The Federal government released its 2017/18 budget last night. On first glance it represents a radical departure from the infamous “lifters and leaners” budget  delivered by the Coalition just a few years ago. As a commentator in one of our broadsheet newspapers noted, this is much more the sort of budget we expected from a Malcolm Turnbull prime ministership. The underlying narrative...

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...

Farewell Vienna

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One of the things I’d been looking forward to this year was  taking up invitations to speak at conferences in Vienna and Jakarta.  A couple of weeks back I wrote to the organisers of those conferences to notify them I would need to withdraw,  for over the last couple of months I have experienced a substantial deterioration  in physical health that makes...

Hands Down The Best Investment We Can Ever Make

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One of the most thrilling moments I have ever witnessed occurred during the Live8 concert in 2005. A giant screen displayed footage from the 1980s famine in Ethiopia. It was distressing. Mothers with eyes evacuated of hope cradling emaciated babies; children too weak to play sitting quietly on the dusty ground surrounded by death. The camera zoomed in on one baby girl, gaunt, listless and just...

Are we all falling victim to conspiracy theories?

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Last week the Guardian online published a disturbing article under the headline “I’m an Artic researcher. Donald Trump is deleting my citations”. The author noted that links to research on climate change on US government websites no longer worked, and expressed concern that this is part of an effort by Trump’s administration to deny people access to information about climate...

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