Two posts back I wrote about my feelings of shame regarding Australia’s treatment of refugees seeking asylum who try to reach Australia by boat.
But what is a ‘right’ christian response? Is there any ‘right’ response?
While we are on the subject of Australia’s attitude to refugees arriving by boat, here is a telling sketch by Aussie satirists John Clarke and Bryan Dawe. (Actually John comes from New Zealand, but works in Australia.)
For those not familiar with Aussie politics, the sketch presents hardline Australian Government Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison, who is a christian, as a schoolboy before the headmaster.
It is very galling when non-believers (I presume) have more christian standards than self-confessed christians do.
These are difficult times. For many in our world, the difficulty is surviving poverty, or escaping from a murderous regime.
I live in Australia. I don’t live in poverty, and while our government has some very bad features, it isn’t a direct threat to my life. For me, some of the difficult issues are ethical.
Like whether my country’s government is pursuing a murderous policy towards others.
Jesus told his followers, quite definitely, to love their enemies, and warned them against hatred. Yet today, the public image of christians is somewhat tarnished – some christians are seen to be loving and caring, but others are seen to be prejudiced and intolerant, especially towards groups like gays and Muslims.
What is the evidence for this?
Try this brief quiz (if you haven’t seen my other blog):
Have a guess, then check out the answers.
CS Lewis, christian, author, apologist and academic, died 50 years ago last week, and many assessments of his life and work have been made in commemoration.
I think he was, arguably, the most influential christian in the western world in the last century. And, definitely, he has been the most influential writer and teacher in my life.
Aussies wear T-shirts. We wear them at the beach, or around the house, or under a shirt when we go out. So we buy lots of them. And we like to pick up a bargain.
And we’re not alone – T-shirts seem to be popular all over the world.
So how much did your last T-shirt cost?
Malala Yousafzai has become famous for her fight for women’s education, her courage in the face of threats, and her recovery after a shocking gun attack. Her story has inspired many.
And she can teach christians a thing or too.
Today is World Day Against the Death Penalty.
Yesterday I went to “A Christian Service of Commemoration for Those Lost at Sea”. It was a surprisingly moving experience for me.
A few weeks back, influential New York minister Tim Keller spoke at a forum run by the US Ethics and Public Policy Centre, during which he made some comments on the issue of gay marriage. What he said attracted a lot of discussion, but was apparently misunderstood by some, and he subsequently issued an explanation.
His comments merit further thought.
Christianity is changing. Of course it has always been changing – I read once that christianity owes a lot of its success to its adaptability to circumstances and culture. But like most other things, it seems to be changing faster these days.
So is it good or bad?
When I was at school, we were taught about how slavery was abolished in Britain and the USA. This was obviously a good thing.
It came as a shock to find out, some years ago now, that there are more slaves in the world than ever before.
In October 2012, 14 eminent scientists, philosophers and other thinkers met for 3 days in a workshop entitled Moving Naturalism Forwards. What should we learn from this meeting?
One billion women around the world dancing and making a point. What’s not to like? And what’s the point?
Regular readers will know that one of my ’causes’ is ethical chocolate – chocolate that is grown by free farmers who are paid a fair wage, and not by trafficked children working more or less as slaves. (For background, see Ethical chocolate update.)
So it was with great delight that I received a weighty package in the mail recently and discovered a story of dark criminality and desperate legal actions.
Many people have commented these past few weeks on gun ownership in the US. As an Australian, I hesitate to enter into the debate, so I won’t discuss either of the key questions – whether a high level of gun ownership reduces or increases gun deaths, and whether the laws in the US should be changed.
But I think there are other questions that christians, at least, should ponder.