Wednesday, June 24, 2009


If you hadn't already worked it out, I am away for a couple of weeks on holidays. Posting will resume in another week or two.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Australian charter of rights

The Australian Government is considering introducing a charter of rights. While it may initially sound like a great idea, on further reflection, I have more than a few reservations. Some of them are expressed by former NSW premier Bob Carr in this SMH article. And some others are expressed (at greater length) by Andrew Cameron in this excellent submission to the Freedom of Religion and Belief Project earlier this year. Although the latter is primarily in relation to religious freedoms and potential anti-vilification laws, many of the principles also apply in relation to a possible charter of rights.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Dubbing Jesus

When people see the lives of Christians, is this what they assume Jesus was probably saying?

Friedrich Nietzsche said, "I might believe in the Redeemer if his followers looked more redeemed."

Jesus said, "By this will everyone know that you are my disciples: if you love one another."
H/T Chris.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Obama in Cairo: Islam and America

"I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world."
Barack Obama's recent speech in Cairo addressing the Muslim world was, in many ways, a model of respectful engagement. It acknowledged history (including American fault at times), it pointed to areas of common ground, as well as ongoing disagreement. It suggested ways forward on a variety of divisive issues: mutual perceptions; terrorism and empire; Afghanistan and Iraq; Israel and Palestine; Iran's nuclear ambition; colonialism and development; democracy and civil society; women's rights; Islam, Judaism and Christianity. While I am sure there may be many points of detail to debate further, I think it is worth reading in full if you are interesting in learning how to speak respectfully in situations of great tension and hostility. We might not all give speeches in Cairo that affect international relations, but we can all improve our ability to disagree well.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The trouble with Dawkins: loving intellectual enemies

In another CPX vodcast, John Dickson talks with philosopher Michael Ruse about Dawkins' intellectual shortcuts. H/T Dave.

This discussion is not simply about Dawkins but is a reminder to all of us to treat our intellectual opponents with respect. It is quite safe to assume that not everyone is an idiot, and that most intellectual positions that have been held for some time by some number of people will have some measure of coherence and attractiveness to them. Searching for that coherence and attraction is at once a winsome conversational strategy and a basic requirement of Christian love for one's enemies.

Building to last

Having spent many years disparaging blogs and those who read and write them, my old minister Andrew Katay has repented and started one of his own. It is on church leadership and ministry and is called Gold, Silver, Precious Stones?, a reference to 1 Corinthians 3.12:

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw - the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.

- 1 Corinthians 3.11-15

Paul is here speaking about his apostolic work of building Christian communities and the judgement that "builders" like him will face on the basis of their work and hence of the importance of taking care how we build.

Rev Katay is a Anglican rector in Sydney's inner west and has spent many years reflecting on his experiences of pastoral, leading and teaching ministry and has some interesting suggestions. Go over and have a read, especially if you are in vocational Christian ministry or care about how it is done.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Jesus loves you

How many people have heard the good news about Jesus and think it goes something like this? How many Christians have tried to explain it and ended up saying this?