Friday, 21 November 2014

These are a few of my most deeply disturbing things....about PUP

Now forgive me if I have got this sort of wrong and this may be an essay in naivete
But Australia is a democracy!

We got really worried about J B-P in Queensland...when it became so person focussed that Peterson could essentially do what he liked.
I actually think that he had the welfare of the State at heart, but he didn't do too badly out the deal. As did other very strongly State focussed politicians such as Henry Bolte in Victoria, and indeed Tom Playford in SA who though a liberal conservative was derided by his colleagues
as a socialist.
This, I suggest, is essentially because he sought the welfare of everyone. I suspect he was a selfless human being and what we might have called in previous generations a Christian gentleman. Indeed a Gentle  man.

It is interesting to read about Playford's relationship with the young Don Dunstan
"So, after a late session of parliament at night, Playford would give Dunstan a lift home in his car. As Dunstan's home was situated on George Street, Norwood, it was only a small deviance from Playford's normal route to his home in Norton Summit. The topics that the two discussed were not ever completely revealed, yet Playford, according to Dunstan, would talk to him in a paternalistic manner.[134] The two built up somewhat of a relationship and developed a respect for each other, but due to the strength of their respective views (Playford was a liberal conservative, Dunstan a libertarian socialist), did not establish the same type of bond that Playford had with earlier Laborites." from Wikipedia
He was a pragmatist, no doubt, but also was seeking the benefit of the whole State.

What of Clive Palmer?
The multi-millionaire  would-be politician who can't be bothered turning up to acquit his Parliamentary duties.
Quite frankly I would have thought that if you are not going to go to (the admittedly often tedious) debates and votes in Parliament...then don't presume to get yourself elected.

I must admit that THE most disturbing thing about PUP is that it is named after a person..Palmer himself
Oh who was the last person to name a political party after themselves...that's right Pauline Hanson!!

Now as I understand it Mr Palmer is a member of the Lower House, yet he is the one who apparently calls the shots in Senate.....how dare he? 
Well he dares I guess because he is extraordinarily wealthy and is calling the shots. He is, no doubt, bankrolling PUP...the party named after him.
But let's not pretend this is DEMOCRACY
this is what is called PLUTOCRACY...the rule of the rich.
In an alleged democracy, plutocracy has no part to play
It is, and was always going to be, a farce.
But an individual....as rich as he is...and a member of the Lower House....as limited as he is has NO RIGHT to direct Senators .
His personal charisma is fine, but we should be deeply worried if his personal wealth is dictating the agenda . That is NOT how Democracy works.

The new guard

It was good to attend a commissioning of a new priest at St Richard's Church, Lockleys last night. It is a church with which I have had quite a long association having been a best man in a wedding party there decades ago. My parents in law both are/were worshippers there, and indeed the last service I attended was the funeral of my father in law..
They have a new priest, Sue, who has an infectious personality and it looks like she will work really well in that parish.
One of the Wardens said that their last three priests...a wise young man with a pony tail..(David C-G) ...a  fine and highly educated African priest (William) ...and now a woman (oh horror!!!)....gives testament, and indeed it does, to that little corner's community life. The Western suburbs of Adelaide.
Sue is one of the 'new guard'...perhaps it is more that I am feeling that I am one of the 'old guard' ...even though I feel 18 inside I am sometimes 70 outside...how I got to be so old I don't quite know!
In conversation with one of my older parishioners the other day it was observed that the Anglican Church may be passing out of existence. I suggested that my observation is that it is rather reshaping...to some the new shape is almost unrecognisable.
But to others, me included, I am quite excited that the new guard will have the joy of being a community priest amidst folk who are and have been faithful for not only years but decades...I think of Heather and Marguerite, of Ken and Barbara (the last time I saw her she was in the process of delivering the middle S Clark...who is about to deliver herself in a few weeks).
Sue will be a great joy to Lockleys....and they are lucky to have her!  Perhaps it is prayer rather than luck that got her there.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Simple A..B..C of the media

Like many/most people I have time shifted most of my media encounters. I listen to BBC radio at night, and catch up with ABC and SBS programs through iView and SBS On Demand. I can see all sorts of other thing on You Tube. I seldom say any more..."I have to be home by 8.30 to watch "Giggle and Hootch""   We almost always watch 'And live from New York....it's Saturday Night Live' the cutting edge , must watch satire, comedy, political/social commentary that is available online within an hour of it's being broadcast in NY at 11.35 p.m. each Saturday Night .
I am particularly struck by the BBC, and the depth of its quality radio...which goes back now over 40 years. They have simply kept everything...and continue so to do. [Today it is easier because of digital technology ]
I am struck by how good that is.
Of course the BBC has largely been able to be funded by the iniquitous "licence fee"... once present in this country, and there is no way it will ever be able to be reintroduced ( politically)  in Australia.
So there is now little or no radio drama, almost all comedy has disappeared or been destroyed; both commercial and ABC;...what a pity Mavis Bramson and the Naked Vicar Show have disappeared. I even imagine that there are those who would long to hear replays of Blue Hills!

So now we are facing, yet again, cuts to ABC funding. What concerns me about this is the loss of culture.  
Economic decisions seem little concerned with the preservation of culture..
They do seem concerned with limiting political criticism...some Liberals are convinced that the ABC is out to get them.  It is surely part of their Charter to critique the sitting government...and think Mr Bernardi at al are being just a little bit precious

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Leaving us behind


 our children quite rightly left us behind
we wanted them to stay
and enjoy the joy we knew
but, looking blankly,
they never got it
the fun, the excitement
the rage

I am glad they found their own
and will find
that their kids too
will look blankly
wondering what all the fuss is about

In old age we might all sit around
with grandchildren and great and greater grandchildren
realising that each must its own discover
 

Friday, 7 November 2014

We have got lost

Some where along the way Facebook,Twitter, etc. etc. have all got very confused
We should be mindful that the Media Manipulators (aka spin doctors) are more interested in their outcomes than ours
Personally I am interested in  truth and justice! [ Not THE AMERICAN WAY] I want truth and justice for the disenfranchised, the indigenous, the poor and the real people

Ungracious

I am vaguely scandalised, but not surprised, by the lack of grace of the militant right (let's name it for what it is) who cannot extend to Gough Whitlam what better commentators have done.


Though the bland Prime Ministers of the past, Howard, Abbott, and Rudd ...poll driven politicians....sat there (almost bemused) yet WE know that the life after Gough is different
Noel Pearson nailed the change that has occurred.
"This old man"....he not only played one....he drew the nation to a new vision. Every Government since has lived out of the reality that Australia should be better. Have greater vision and seek a better future. I don't think Johnny Howard had a clue about this. And T Abbott is, as Pearson suggests, more interested in re-election than the welfare of the Commonwealth.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Why don't you give me a call?

Me: Good Afternoon
Telephone: I wonder if I could speak to the financial decision maker
Me: We don't make any decisions.
Telephone: Oh...Oh... Have I rung a business?
Me: No!


Hang up!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Too smart for one's own good

I, like a lot of people I suspect,  have stopped watching the ABC's Q&A. We began to feel that there was too much posturing going on, and not enough Q & A.
I occasionally give in because of the quality of the panelists (It's unlikely that if any of the panelists are surnamed Morrison, Abetz or Brandis that I am going to watch...the recipe: Ask a question...direct it to one of the same...they begin their spiel....they don't answer the question asked...they go on and on and on and....if I haven't already, I then turn off)
Last night (27/10) promised to be a little bit better so I managed to watch ...for 30 mins!
I am fascinated by Geoffrey Robertson (we all loved the intelligence of his various Hypotheticals on our ABC!)
BUT I was put off last night. He is just too smart, and he knows too much. Even worse...he knows he is smarter than your average bear.
And then becomes dogmatic, and declamatory, he brooks little or no opposition. And let's face it ...we Ozzies don't like that. We can be convinced that we are wrong but we don't like being told we are as thick as two planks...simply by virtue of the fact that we live at the end of the world!
G Robertson rather alienates people that way...even though I agree with most of what he has to say!
Maybe we do need to discipline ourselves to applaud the expansive mind rather than decry it!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The end of a great life and indeed an era


Like the death of Kennedy, and Armstrong's walk on the moon I remember quite clearly where I was when The Governor General sacked the legitimate Prime Minister of Australia. Edward Gough Whitlam.

It is interesting when you try to find a picture on the web....there are hundreds of excellent pictures. He was a very photogenic man.
There will be many discussions about his contribution to our national life. He seems to be one who polarised people. One of my friends, Joyce Townend, and also here (along with some of my family and friends including my mother  who was another) who seemed to think that Gough was a Bodhisattva.
Certainly the difference I feel between, say, Menzies...the towering Tory...and Whitlam is that Gough was charismatic, imaginative and above all idealistic. Menzies ran government (for far too long...but he had gone by the time I became an Australian...thank goodness)
We have much to be thankful for from the few years Gough was PM. Universal health coverage, a whole generation and a half of free tertiary education. As a teacher and (as in the picture above) the solemn commitment to return to our indigenous peoples the land that Europeans just assumed they could take.
Whitlam poured sand into the hands of Aboriginal patriarch Vincent Lingiari AM saying  that the land, presumptuously taken by the colonial plunderers, should and would be returned.
From Little Things, Big Things Grow we were reminded by the wonderful song of Paul Kelly



Wednesday, 15 October 2014

vote for the black guy

It's fantastic living in the Western Suburbs of Adelaide. There has always been ethnic diversity here, and long may it remain. Last Sunday the non-S (ie K) Clark & I were doing authentic Vietnamese in Ferryden Park. One of the local government signs I passed said 'Vote for the black guy!'
I did note that if it said 'Vote for the White Guy' there would be hell to pay...however
I have noted at other times: the rules for voting for the Senate or the LA when you don't want to vote for a party and have to chance a choice between a wide range of others. my (partly tongue in cheek) rules are these
  1. vote for the woman
  2. vote for the black guy
  3. vote for the gay person
  4. if you can vote for all three then you are doing well
I would want to add
5 don't vote for a gun-toter.  though I am a member of the Royal Hawaiian Gun Club....we are better offer without them

Friday, 10 October 2014

Reservation(i)

We don't always tell everyone everything every time, do we?
We reserve the right, for example, about how much information we share with children about intimate sexual relationships.
I felt, as a parent who had been told virtually nothing about male sexuality by my father...a book was left on my bed when I was about 11.. ,  that I should be more open with my children. My impression is that my kids knew enough, and didn't particularly want to talk about it with me and indeed used to get annoyed with me because I was so open....hope I still am!

You know the joke:
"Dad, where did I come from?" asks the 10-years-old. 
The dad was shocked that a 10 year old would be asking a question like that. He was hoping to wait a few more years before he would have to explain the facts of life, but he figured it was better a few years early than a few days too late, so, for the next two hours he explained everything to his son. 
When he finished, he asked his son what prompted his question to which his son replied, "I was talking to the new boy and he said he came from Port Augusta
It is not always necessary, to tell everyone everything every time! We reserve the right to pick the time, and, perhaps,  to limit the information.
There is a continuing case which has come before the courts (see here) in which a minister of another church talks about one of the Roman Catholic 'dogmas' of "reservation". The practice of, seemingly, saying one thing whilst knowing another...the specific dialogue in the court went as follows:
Yesterday, Fr X agreed under cross-examination that it was not a sin for a Catholic to lie in order to protect another person from harm or for another “proper purpose”.
He said he was familiar with that Catholic doctrine, known as wide and strict mental reservation.
Asked whether he had created such a mental reservation for himself when swearing, on The Bible, to tell the truth in court, he replied: “I can’t answer that question.”
Asked whether that answer itself was a form of mental reservation, he replied: “Not as I understand it as part of my duties.”
I will leave it up to you, dear reader,  to make what you can of this 'mental reservation'
The lawyer at least questioned this
Mr Harris asked whether holding such views would make Fr X “a hypocrite”, in the event the allegations in the newspaper reports were true.
“Very likely, many people would conclude that, also that this is a weak person who has behaved at odds with his professed or stated views,” Fr X said.
Again, I leave it to you, dear reader to draw your own conclusions about...appropriate reservation, hypocrisy, truth, ethics and morality.


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Sunset


The sky has bent its beam tonight.
western suburbs,
brightened city.

What better place to be
than the church's city
sun, sunrise, sunset


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Faith in ourselves (i)

I haven't normally and/or ever felt the need to defend the ABC;  its policies, its reporting and any  particular strengths, weaknesses, biases or general inadequacies.
Last night (Monday 6/10.14)  it was instructive to watch about 2+ hours of broadcast.
The 7.30 Report noted that the current Federal government  didn't really like the ABC. There was the suggestion that no matter what was reported the ABC would be opposed to the right wing government ...commonly called the 'Coalition'. 
But it moved on; the wonderful Australian Story, once again delivered a high quality story about Jack Rogerson, an autistic child who has been so loved by his parents; and so supported by friends, family and community (including the wonderful Jesuit school at Riverview....I think the Society of Jesus would be cautious about claiming particular credit for Jack....but they seem to have got their act together.)
The real people who got their "act together" were: Jack himself; Ian Rogerson, a former media person;  and the extremely impressive Nicole Rogerson. [This all begs the question about what happens to those kids whose parents don't have what the Rogersons had ..financial resources, intellect, insight and capacity...] .  But it was a profound insight about what might happen when faith is bigger than fear!
Well done ABC     more to come!

Monday, 6 October 2014

A nice dilemma

If you've been to the funny, but lovely, little town of Bath then you will have been to the square wherein the Abbey is located (it is the major feature of the town).  There is a curious article in Church Times (here) about Evensong having to be cancelled because the activity outside  the Abbey was too loud.
It reminded me of one of the profoundest religious experiences I ever had in Paris (here sorry the picture has disappeared if you need one ...here you go)
My dilemma is this:
What is more authentic; the people who sit on the steps of the Basilica ( a truly amazing place...no doubt), or the people who are inside at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night.
I must admit I went in and I was overwhelmed that the 400 or so people who were there at the dead of night were probably not going to turn up on Sunday morning; many of them clearly gay and Bohemian. What ever either of those terms might mean in today's world!
Isn't this the dilemma for Bath ( and indeed the Church where I work)? Is Evensong or busking the more authentic expression of life?
I think I know the answer. It is not always comfortable...or if you were in Paris confortable !

Friday, 3 October 2014

Caution about intolerance


Although it looks as though Abbott will pressure the Speaker of the House, and the President of the Senate to backdown on not allowing  women wearing Islamic religious dress to sit in the Gallery opf the Parliament; It remains to be seen if that will actually happen. 
I suspect it will. But we shall see.

The Abbott machine has obviously sussed out very quickly that the community is "not very happy" about the arbitrary erosion of religious freedom

One of the great problems is that the non religious community is pretty unaware of what such things are all about. And often use such issues for expressions of fear, intolerance and....frankly    ignorance.
Most of us, for example, are not aware that there is a variety of religious garb...quite a good article on the ABC News website here.

I also have often made the observation that you don't have to go very far to find that the sort of criticisms that today are offered about Islam, or Judaism, Hare Krishnas...could just as easily be fired at Christians.
The typical characterisation of "cults" for example...that people sell up their lives and give their money to the faith body; make acts of commitment and ultimate obedience....could just as easily be aimed at many Christians.
Indeed I make the observation : would nuns of the most conservative Christian traditions (like the one that Senator Bernardi and Mr Abbott belong to) also be banned because their bodies and faces can't be readily identified.



I know that lots of modern nuns don't wear habits at all. And most people don't understand what they are all about it. Some of it is anachronistic (see below)...but in a pluralistic and democratic society people are allowed to choose to be religiously conservative ...even if you or I would not choose to be so.


Friday, 26 September 2014

Authenticity

Having been a University Chaplain (University of Adelaide, South Australia), and now a priest in an inner city church of a University town (Adelaide, South Australia http://stmarymags125.blogspot.com.au/) it is interesting to cogitate upon what University students might want in a church.
One person once said to me about a big evangelical church which they used to attend that it was a "meet market" and a "meat market". Lots of uni students went there, and young people like to go where other young people go!  Indeed that guy met his wife there!

But I also want to add another dimension, which is true both of our church (St Mary Magdalene’s Adelaide, and  of the Cathedral Church of St Peter, Adelaide):
that social outreach is important.
A very Anglo Catholic principle.
The incarnate God is met in the incarnate people!
Two decades or more ago a group of ‘earnest’ (quite the wrong word to describe the lovely kids who were uni students in the 80s) but genuine Christians ….sat around for weeks wondering about how they should put their faith into practice. Finally they just decided they needed to DO something. That something was putting on a slap-up meal for all comers on Saturday nights. That has continued for nearly thirty years. Diocesan parishes and schools volunteer every week.
Really looking forward to my first Christmas here, when the parish will outdo itself with a proper Christmas dinner for those who we are called to love.
I am impressed by the quality of University and young professional volunteers who staff this wonderful ministry.
It strikes me that most freshers get this as authentic Gospel…and so do I

Tomatoes

Jon Lamb writes:

It’s tomato planting time
Our recent run of warm weather has encouraged topsoil temperatures to rocket past 16oC, the recommended minimum temperature for planting tomato seedlings in the ground. 
At Kent Town, the topsoil is currently hovering between 17oC and 18oC with more warm weather forecast.
For tomatoes, cucumbers and other summer salad lines, it’s all systems go.

Been there, done that!!!  And looking forward to a garden that actually has some light.


Monday, 22 September 2014

The rubber hits the road

Last week as I was going home on Saturday night: in intended to stop in at the Collective (see below  important work),  I was waylaid by an important pastoral concern.   We stopped in at the Collective and had some soup. After I had been to the chemist, with my concern, and dropped her off...I witnessed an act of violence....a 20 year something guy...smacking a young woman across the face. Not once, or even twice!
I blocked the road with my lights on high beam...another youngish guy waved me through as if this is just what happened.
Thank goodness the taxi driver  on the other side of the road rang the cops (I hope).
Cannot help but think..........this is not like my last parish.!And the rubber  is hitting the road



The Collective of St Mary Magdalene
Week by week volunteers from parishes and schools meet with coordinators to offer a free meal to all-comers on Saturday nights. We probably don’t get how important this is. It allows some of the needs of people who are hungry to be met. It allows us who are well-supported, to be able to volunteer out of our wealth and good fortune to offer some sustenance to others. This is a good thing.
But it is of course not only the food (though that is important)  but the human contact. I have been struck in the few weeks I have been here how people know each other, and things about each other’s lives. So that there are meaningful and friendly conversations. How careful the volunteer coordinators are, also,  to respect the dignity of the guests. I think this, too, is just as, if not more, important.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

On being a charlatan

I don't know that I quite understand this image to the side.
But it might give us all some cause to think about the sort of image that we present, and the image we try to present to the world
We talk a lot, and expend a lot of energy (well I know that I do) trying to convince people that I am other than I am.
Yesterday I had an appointment with someone who had clearly forgotten I was  "duly appointed".....he managed to fake it quite well. He had lost track of the time, and his earlier appointment had cancelled. (I had sort of wanted to cancel too! but didn't because it's usually better tp get it over and done with 
But he faked it...I faked it ( I pretended Felicity, that I had done more practice than I had!) And I was sort of glad to get it over and done with....but he also "faked it well" so (were it not for the fact that I, too, am a charlatan) he could have got away with it. And it was OK
Are we all charlatans? I know I am!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

More about same-sex marriage

I had a very thoughtful and charitable letter from A who "respectfully disagreed" with my views about same-sex marriage.
I think it is now better to call it "equal marriage"
I wrote in reply
A
Thanks for your response to my blog
I have made a number of posts over the years …you may not have tracked them all down
On my blog a link might be:
http://stephenclarks.blogspot.com.au/search?q=gay+marriage
I have a high view of marriage, [ this may surprise you] and part of my discussion about equal marriage opportunity is about encouraging commitment, morality and in particular an environment in which children may be nurtured  with the assurance of love and security. This latter principle is one that is explicitly stated in the Anglican marriage services.
It does seem to me that the gender of the parents is secondary to the parents’ commitment to love each other. This is the primary environment out of which children will know that they are loved. And in that love to allow the children to know that they are loved.
We are all well aware that many homosexual people live immoral lives…..I want them to live committed, decent lives.
Sorry,
I could also re-write that statement : We are all well aware that many heterosexual people live immoral lives…..I want them to live committed, decent lives.
I have experienced a couple of extraordinary things in the last year. A homosexual couple (male) who have embraced twins into their lives. They seemed to think it was going to be a breeze, and it wasn't…my observation is that it has transformed their relationship. They are deeper people, more loving, more capable of embracing carefully the lives of the fragile.
Most gay people do not “choose to be gay”…they are born that way.
Did God want them to live a life doomed to failure? With all due respect, I don’t think God is like that. God does not make life particularly hard for 10%…!
It is not as if we have a God who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses! (Heb 4:15)
I do not think homosexuality is a weakness, any more than heterosexuality is. We struggle with both! We are after all made in God's image. Male and female God created us, ...is is too presumptuous to say "gay and straight" God created us!


Saturday, 30 August 2014

Humbled yet again!

What a full and diverse day I have had!  The parish was privileged to have our Bishop celebrate gently and humbly in our midst this morning; and then to have "low breakfast" with us...croissants and coffee and various forms of Spring Gully jams! (South Australians are nothing if not parochial)
+J was good, and I think none of us would have left feeling anything but encouraged by his words and insights.  I say to people...we come when the Bishop comes to allow our Bishop to exercise his ministry to us.  I think he did that this morning.
I like how he affirmed that the Anglo-Catholic presence is a legitimate expression of what the Anglican Church is like.

I did however have to "go away" to anoint the dying....who subsequently had treatment removed and, thank God, died graciously and well.  He was a fine and intelligent man.

Then my friend G came to the 5 p.m. Mass. He too is a fine man, he is a humble man aware of his limitations; and I don't think it is my job to manipulate people to come to Church. He is smarter than that! He came because he joins us in friendship,  at Craft Group,  and at the Drop-In Centre.

The Mass went better than last week and then I went and chatted to people in the lane (dinner was 10 mins late....a big ask for people who don't have food!) some were under the weather a number were wary of the priest....but I reckon I can wear that....and indeed ride it out....and hopefully develop some trust from them.
I have seldom, if ever, felt so alive as priest as I do today.

I prayed with some care for S & P who were married today. Some who know, and some (like N & P) who have known us for 20 years, would understand that this was not without significance.  I wish S well and pray for her life together with another.

Tonight I said Mass at 5 particularly praying for the Drop-In Centre. I chatted to a number: A vulnerable couple ( who I later witnessed shoutingat each other in the street what seemed like the scream of desperation...don't leave me alone); and a couple of really angry people...and why wouldn't you be...the rich couldn't give a stuff about the poor and are happy to blame and victimise them.  I did NOT vote for the Liberal government! (Or for that matter for a Labor Gogernment)
And my friend G!(spoken of above)....who is a damn sight more intelligent than the world gives him credit for just spoke kindly to me about what he could do.
It has been a full, difficult day. I am humbled....NOT humiliated,  at being allowed the privilege (totally undeserved) of being a servant of Jesus...my buddy. And we have the same Dad!

Friday, 22 August 2014

And dreamt amongst us!

My neighbour ( and I hope, increasingly,  friend) Hilary of the ATF kindly gives me copies  of current productions.  I am impressed by Portuguese priest Jose Tolentino Mendonca (Portuguese wiki here...or some  English commentary)
I made a couple of comments in my previous blog about Our Father who art in earth
A couple of comments he makes early on quoting from other writers
"Choose your place in the middle of a forest and withdraw to that place every day. And pray like this "Lord, I am here waiting for nothing!" " Lord I am here waiting for nothing""  and then again "What about ourselves? To whom will tell our story?"

This morning as I noted this in my journal I quoted John 1 and I wrote "And the Word became flesh and dreamt amongst us!" (normally and dwelt or lived amongst us)

Can I say this resonates deeply with those of us who often have conversations...important conversations...with people about how they want grow spiritually.  God encourages us to dream! And to dream expansively




The Lord's Prayer in Arabic.  


And I note that, by and large,  there is nothing in other religious traditions (Jewish, Ismlamic, Hindu..and even  non theistic Buddhists) that would prevent people from praying the Lord's Prayer. Perhaps also non-religious, (maybe even atheistic spiritual people can be open to this!) It is not the 'property' of the Christian Church. It is a true statement of openness to the God who blesses the reality of daily life

Nice day

I have no doubt that I suffer from SAD.
This is not about being "sad" but about the mood change that happens to some (perhaps even many) people when the season darkens.
So I am really GLAD that we seem to have turned the corner and are heading into Spring.
[I was really glad to go to Hawaii for July and August last year  (here and here). So I avoided the depth of the SA winter in 2013] . Not so this year. Glad it seems to be on the up!
There is a great deal of scientific  evidence  which tells us that SAD is a real issue in Scandinavia and to the North......I often wonder how I could have survived in the grey land of my birth...as beautiful as it is.
Anyway that is not my point today. It is to celebrate my total lift in mood now that the sun is shining.
Meditation and prayer are lifting. There is much going on in my dreams at this time....this too is something that happens in the change of seasons.
I dreamt of a wonderful white (but not dark) Christmas last night...it was almost frenetic. As a convinced Jungian I need to reflect on this....and it was interesting there was both panic and joy. Suspect this is the state of my present life!  Both personal, professional and religious.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Faintly amusing...if it wasn't for the fact that Ministers of the Crown think of themselves as princes!

I wrote to 'Senator' Abetz about the forthcoming push to get the Liberal party room to have a conscience vote about same sex marriage
He (allegedly) replied:

*Dictated by Senator Abetz and sent in his absence
 Dear Dr (sic) Clark,
 Thank you for your email regarding same-sex marriage.

For my part, I firmly believe that the institution of marriage is one that has been uniquely, over the centuries, the union of a man and woman to the exclusion of others for life.  I also believe it is the best environment in which to raise children. This is a bedrock institution of our society that I fully support and I do not support any efforts to make changes to this definition.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me on this matter.

Yours sincerely


Eric Abetz
Leader of the Government in the SenateMinister for EmploymentMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public ServiceLiberal Senator for Tasmania
---------------
I replied ( this at least allowed me to vent that I am not convinced this is a genuine reply

(Please note that in my original email I informed you that my title was Fr (Father) not Dr….but that your automatic answering system doesn’t allow for my proper title!)

Thanks anyway for your reply. I thank you indeed  for bothering to reply( many of your your colleagues don’t bother)…but would respectfully disagree with your assertions  that “the institution of marriage is one that has been uniquely, over the centuries, the union of a man and woman to the exclusion of others for life.”

It is clear for example, even from the Hebrew-Christian Biblical narratives ( to which I adhere) that marriage is not so concisely or conveniently defined. As religious people we struggle with this.

The Hebrew Scriptures in particular point to a plurality of practice. The Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) for example, appear to have practised polygamy and concubinage. There are numerous stories throughout the Hebrew Scriptures ( the prophet Hosea, the great King David…and so on ) where their marriage ‘practice’ has been anything approaching monogamy.

From sociological perspectives, (my area of academic discipline) it is also quite clear that some cultures have practised polygamy, polyandry, and there are also a number of cultures where people who today we might call ‘transgender’ have been accepted and celebrated.It is simply naïve, arrogant (two curiously Western characteristics don’t you think?) and nonsensical to suggest that the Western pattern of, say, the last 50 years is the one and only definitive pattern by which we can and should live our lives.


I serve (and choose to serve) a community which is pluralistic and loving, who want children to grow up in stable families. There are families with children, where both parents are of the same gender.  And some where they are of a different gender.There are men who have committed themselves to each other. And women likewise! There are of course men and women  in loving relationships.   Almost everyone I know has at least one person in their family who is same-sex-attracted
As a Christian and a priest I want to do everything I possibly can to provide for children to grow up with parents who love them.I want people to live lives  in which they don’t feel guilty for just being who they are.

It seems to me that if the State can encourage the parents of children to live in committed relationships…then they should.  It is not the gender that is important. It is the commitment, to the relationship. To the family. To the children.I think everyone has this right. To be a committed parent; and to have parents who will commit themselves to their well being. What, on earth, does this have to do with gender?


Stephen

Didn't really think Abetz's response would be otherwise






Monday, 11 August 2014

We love the Church of God oh what on earth so dear!

I write to Anglicans Online ( a very good thing!...to quote 1066 and All That)  this week

As a parish ( speaking of St Mary Mags) which seeks to reach out, in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, to the poor, the marginalised and those generally disdained by churchy and society; I note that this week there is much sad news throughout the Communion/World.
Death of a young boy  in Iraq, concern about the priest; Gaza...and it's senseless slaughter; oppression of homosexuals by the Ugandan Anglican Church; Ebola and so on.
May we stop "stuffing around" worrying about whether we can have women Bishops, be recognised as a denomination by the State of Italy.... as the King of Siam might say   et cetera et cetera et cetera

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Peter Sculthorpe...the sound of Australia

I came upon the music of Peter Sculthorpe quite late in the piece..
This is because I was a Britain and took a while to get up with what had been happening for 50 years.
My late arrival matters little, his death is deeply sad. (8th August)
But check out his vitally evocative music if and when you get the chance.
Here is a link to some of the understated yet vivid music which so captures Australia...its nature...its quiet (this seems to me a vital thing)..and its subtlety 
While I pray that he may know God's eternal presence, may we also be thankful for his musical gift to Australia and the world



Saturday, 9 August 2014

Illegal immigrants

It was interesting to change my electoral enrolment after 18 years in one of the most Liberal electorates of the country, to a marginal seat.
And find that even though I have been an Australian citizen since 1975, held an Australian passport for almost as long...that apparently the Australian Electoral Commission requires me to prove the same ...after nearly 40 years.
Bloody Cheek! (hence the awful pic!)
A copy of my correspondence to the "Honourable" The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison is below

The Hon Scott Morrison

Minister for ImmigrationCANBERRA 

2nd August 2014

 Dear Minister 

I recently returned a questionnaire sent to me pursuant to my application to change my electoral enrolment after a recent move from the electorate of Boothby to the electorate of Hindmarsh. I must say that I was shocked to be asked to provide documentary evidence of being an Australian citizen, which I have been since 1975 at a wonderful ceremony conducted by her Worship the Mayor of Whyalla, Aileen Ekblom.And,also, a copy of my Australian passport, which I have held since 1985. It is indeed a matter of great offence to one who has deliberately and proudly defined myself as Australian rather than British, and purposefully not held ‘dual citizenship’! I have been enrolled in the electorate of Boothby for the last 18 years; and also in the electorates of Adelaide (on two different occasions) of Makin, and of Grey and of the equivalent State electorates. It has been my privilege and democratic joy.
 It is incredible (but perhaps not surprising) to me that the Electoral Commission cannot routinely check citizenship status and/or the fact that a person holds a valid Australian passport. Particularly given the fact, I assume, they already have access to my previous address and electoral enrolments. 

Respectfully yours

I am absolutely sure I am a threat to the polemical lie of "Border Protection"!