World War 1 – the war to end all wars?

Trench warfare

A hundred years ago, World War 1 was being fought across Europe. In a few weeks, Anzac Day, probably Australia’s holiest day, will be the 100th anniversary of the abortive, chaotic, mismanaged attempt by the Allies to occupy the Dardanelles.

It was later said to be the war that would end all wars. Sadly, that was far from true, but there are still some lessons christians can learn.

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Enough is enough – guest post by a former Prime Minister of Australia

Malcolm Fraser

Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister of Australia from 1975 to 1983. His Government was formed by a coalition of the same two parties which form Australia’s present conservative government.

Fraser was vilified by his opponents during his term as PM, but has since mellowed and become much respected by those on the opposite (less conservative) side of politics, and less popular with his former party.

The Government has just released a report by the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report on asylum seeker children held in detention. The report is damning.

Malcolm Fraser has issued a press release which condemns the government (and by implication the opposition whose policies are similar). Read it and weep!

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Does the value of human life depend on where you live?

War cemetery

Terrorism has become an unfortunate fact of life in first world countries over the past decade or two. The Twin Towers in the US in 2001, the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings which affected many western tourists, Spain’s train bombings in 2004, the 2005 London transport bombings and now the several recent terrorist actions in France (and more besides) have all understandably generated outrage.

I have been pondering these matters for a while. Here’s a few of my thoughts, ending with 4 lessons I think first world christians can learn.

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The government shall be upon his shoulders?

The first Christmas

“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.”

I quoted this passage from Isaiah 9 last Christmas, and I still think it is profound. But what does it say to us today?

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Christians, non-violence and the Middle East – some random thoughts

tank

The world seems to be beyond horrific at the moment. Civil wars in Nigeria, Sudan and Ukraine as well as fighting in the Middle East in Syria, Gaza and Iraq. Grossly inhumane treatment of ordinary people by militias, rebels, terrorists and governments.

Surely there is something for christians to learn from all this?

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Gender equity?

Girl dancing

Two recent experiences led to this post, which takes up one of the issues I raised in The New Reformation.

Two weeks ago I attended the TEAR Conference in Sydney. TEAR Australia is a movement of Christians responding to the needs of poor communities around the world. One of its major emphases is raising the status and treatment of impoverished and mistreated women and girls around the world.

Then just last night I was speaking to a vibrant young christian woman who is committed to social justice and peace. She was concerned about conservative christian teaching on male headship and the submission of women, and how it might either prevent her marrying or blight a future marriage.

I couldn’t help seeing the connection, and the irony.

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