Sunday, 3 September 2017

Burning up - a new poem



I am burning up!
There is a bush,
plenty of bushes in this wilderness.
I am glad to see them
because  they break the monotony.
This one seems to burn,
or is it me. 
I am burning.
My heart is wasting
the wilderness just eats me.
I am too hot.
Too hot even to wear shoes.
I take them off.
the ground seems cooler 
than my sandals.
Don’t you think I  am?
You are what?
I am feet and sandles
I am enough for you today.
I laugh!
Tell them, I suggest, I am has sent you.
I am.
Sandals, smell, burning,
cool ground. 
Enough.
Why don’t you tell them

I am has sent you.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Marriage Equality---opportunity to act SUPPORT NOW

I have taken up the invitation to write to Parliamentarians in anticipation of next-week's resumption of sittings in Canberra about Marriage Equality.
In particular you could do likewise by following Australian Marriage Equality's link.

I chose to write to C Pyne, as a prominent SA Liberal politician ( or another similar) along the following lines
Dear Mr Pyne

You are more than well-aware  that the nation is paying close attention to the discussion in your Party room next week about Marriage Equality.

I happen to be a priest of the Anglican Church, and along with a number of my colleagues am steadfastly in favour of Marriage Equality. Many Christians are in favour of this move
I also recognise, sadly, that it is unlikely that internal processes within a number of Christian Church's themselves will allow this to happen within Church ranks.

Yet this does not mean, I suggest, that our Nation as a whole should not go forward .

It seems unlikely to me that, as a priest, the Anglican Church will allow me to pray for God's blessing on the marriage of same-sex partners who clearly wish to make a lifelong marriage commitment to each other and their children. This is to the Church's shame.

I am sorry that, as a Commonwealth,  we have got stuck, largely because the plebiscite as a process  is clearly not going to work!  
This is so atrociously political on all sides as to be offensive.

I think it is incumbent upon the party of Government to move to break this impasse and exercise leadership.

The community is more than tired of the petty-politicking and I urge you and your colleagues to move definitely to resolve this.

[I think the 'Dutton Postal Vote' option is just a bizarre distraction, and cynical in the extreme.  Non-compulsory, non-binding. In other word 'non helpful' & 'non useful']

All the best and 

Respectfully,

Stephan Clark

Parish Priest: St Mary Magdalene's  
Anglican Church, Adelaide.


You might like to write to Pyne (above), or Birmingham or similar .
Birmingham seems to have become such a 'creature of the machine' which is deeply sad as he is creative thinker and should do better



Thursday, 3 August 2017

The mistake of the mandate

In the days when I was much younger and ( perhaps) more naive, a University lecturer reminded me that the Westminster system is not about mandates.
"We elect people to govern, not to implement a narrow raft of policies" he would say ( or words to that effect ).
He was not saying, I suggest, that politicians should be  allowed to make a swathe of promises and then not be held to account; but rather that we, the electorate, should pay attention to the tenor of the discussion rather than the minutiae.
We are not electing people to implement piddling little policies. that would be far too small,  but to govern according to clearly articulated principles.  This is of course easier said than done.
We, the electorate,  by and large have allowed ourselves to be seduced by minutiae...make my tax go down, stop the boats, free beer for all...
Rather than demanding that our politicians GOVERN according to PRINCIPLE.

The reason why the narrow mandate is a mistake, is that we actually discover there is not one but  a number of mandates (plural)....[housing, infrastructure, security, States' rights, increased wealth, closed borders, care for refugees, better education, military expenditure, lower taxes, improved health care, indigenous rights, marriage equality, law and order, water quality, a republic, farmers' rights, housing costs...... you get the idea...and I could go on]

Thinking back to the last election ( which was close... almost too close) all of these things and more were aired.

The electorate votes, I would say, not for one of these issues . But for the Team it believed most closely approximated most of their views in principle.
Some would hold that border control and lower taxes were what they held to be important. Others that water quality and military expenditure, law and order and marriage equality were what suited them.
We could go on and realise that some of us want part of this agenda and others want a different part.

This is NOT a mandate, this is an accomodation to a way of thinking.

So it is not appropriate or accurate to say that if I happen to have been elected, then everyone agrees with everything I said.
It is not even accurate to say that all those who voted for me ( and in this case it was barely 50%) were agreeing about the things that I was proposing.

There was no mandate for anything.
There was rather permission to govern.
Do not use the Mandate Argument to say...I cannot do this. Rather take the cudgels and govern.
Nothing would seem to be black and white, it is rather an invitation to enter into the mêlée of proper discussion.
Not applying the arbitrary mandates, but rather the principles that engender good government.

I fear that the "mandate argument" is the excuse of the craven to not declare themselves.

I do not believe that this wafer-thin government had a mandate for a plebiscite. If anything the reaction of the Houses shows that they clearly don't.

Get on and govern! You do not have a mandate for a plebiscite. And possibly not for much else either!
Get on and govern ...and realise the art of the possible......which after all according to many luminaries (Including J W Howard) is what politics is all about.



Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Don't we ought to have friends?

In conversation with a friend recently

I rethought these two poems

My friend threw me away 

My friend threw me away 
the other day 
Suddenly from being great 
I was ‘non grata’ 

Maybe it wasn’t sudden at all, 
from the moment 
we met 
I was being dumped. 

I should have seen the signs 
if only I had known 
what the signs 
might have been 

If only I knew now 
what happened then 
I could avoid 
doing it again 

But I am puzzled 
at why one day 
I was his friend 
and then I wasn’t 

I don’t have 
enough friends 
that I can afford 
to be thrown away 

But, rubbish does not 
climb out of the bin 
Unless the owner realises 
he has thrown way 
a treasure! 
-0--0--0--0--0-



I threw away my friend the other day 

I threw away my friend the other day 
and couldn’t get him back. 

Before I’d turned to walk away 
the rubbish van 
had scooped the garbage up 
and taken it away. 

I wrote a letter 
but they would not give it back to me, 
“I accidentally threw a precious gift away 
Can you get it back?” 
I’m sorry sir, they replied, 
if we were to answer every request 
to rescue rubbish 
then we would never collect any. 
“But it isn’t rubbish!” 
I said emphatically. 
Then why, they said, 
did you throw it away? 
Why indeed? 

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A poem about - The Ascension

Without being presumptuous, always think I did quite well with this poem:

Even as you wave goodbye

 On a mountain somewhere,
lifted up for all to see
you went
Just when we were beginning to have fun.
So, as if to comfort me,
a little while
you promised to be with me
not just now but always.
 
How could I have believed you
(fool that I am)
“I’ll be with you always”
as you waved goodbye.
 
Now on that same mountain
years later,
and then a little while,
why do I stand looking up
wishing, waiting, wanting
your return.
 
My soul longs for you.
And as I stand there gazing
I look sideways,
left and right,
and backwards
and see you standing here with me.
 
While that for which I am least grateful
tries to tell me
you deserted me
That for which I am most grateful
reminds me
that you enlivened me
you thrilled me
summoned me.
 
 

Not to float away
but to remember
that with you
a promise is a promise
even as you wave goodbye.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Straw dollies


It's the usual "straw dolly" ...set up a false assumption and then knock it down..How clever are you!

There are/is at least one/or more alternatives.
1) The Heimlich is not without consequence...and can cause damage.
Inappropriate intervention..particularly by amateurs can/could/perhaps should leave you open to assault charges
2) Not all "choking" is appropriately treated by the HM..eg. serious internal regurgitation and vomiting. However
3) I would say the BEST treatment is to:
Perform the appropriate action, (if you know how/are qualified/can actually accurately diagnose the condition)
and ALSO pray.
Most good doctors get this!

Some would say..'well prayer can't hurt'
Others, myself included have experience which suggests that when I put my arrogance aside; Prayer does considerably more than just 'not hurt'

As for the esteemed Professor Krauss, one would expect considerably more intellectual integrity than the establishment of such straw dollies ( I do recognise that he may not have been specifically responsible for this meme...but I suspect he did say the words!)


a classic straw dolly
just bash it and it will fall apart!

aka The Easy Target

Saturday, 24 December 2016

O spotless virgin - A Christmas poem



O spotless virgin
you should have been more careful
of your son
to place him
amidst all that straw
which could have scratched his skin
or worse still
poked his eye out.
what where you thinking?

O sinless son
you, too, should have been more careful
of your mother
to get blood
all over her best dress.
what were you thinking?

O perfect God
you should have been more careful
of everyone
Why put them together
so that mothers scratch their sons
and sons bleed over their mothers.
Sensitive skin
best dress
fragile lives

what were you thinking?

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Marriage equality- playing politics

The curious  Attorney-General, George Brandis, had the cheek to stand in thew Senate yesterday and yet again berate his fellow Senators (berating  seems to be a standard tactic of the Right these days...we are berated by Brandis, by Abbott, by Joyce, by Pyne...and poor Malcolm does not seem to like this tactic, but is increasingly seduced by his fellows to become the Berater -General!)
Brandis stood in the Senate and whined "Stop 'playing politics' with the lives of gay people"
His dubious argument being that (despite weeks of notice) because the Senate core: the Labor, Green and certain cross-benchers (NXT, Derryn and others)...did not capitulate to the berating ..they were 'playing politics'
Neither Brandis, Turnbull or Pyne and others have answered the criticism that The idea of plebiscite itself is a political ploy. And indeed a highly cynical political ploy.
There are two or three points I would like to make:

1. The Plebiscite Proposal of itself was a cynical political ploy of Abbott,  Brandis, Pyne, Abetz and Joyce et al .... ( as members of the inner group) by implication...
This proposal was shifting  the decision from the party to the amorphous voter...
It is noted in Western democracies (like the UK and indeeed Australia and elsewhere) that when decisions get too uncomfortable for the lily-livered..they then suggest plebiscites.  Get the people  to decide. Then the cowardly politicians, who are paid big bucks to dcide on our behalf, don't have to take the heat
Now mind you we pay the people ( in the Australian case) at least $200, 000 a year to be 'decision makers'
To me, not a politician, but an humble presbyter....it seems that the pollies who are paid this way should do what they are paid to do.
The cynical political ploy is to NOT do what you are paid to do.

2.The Pragmatism of Democracy.  This is a dogma much espoused in the Coalition: "Politics is the art of the possible"  we change and bend to accomodate changed circumstances.
Now circumstances have changed you need to accomodate the possible.
Yet there is no shift...why not? You would prefer to whine that Labor have denied this opportunity ...despite the fact that the LGBTIQ communities have steadfastly said they don't want it done like this...they want a direct vote NOW

3. In reality this vote could happen today! The Coalition can allow a direct vote today...this could be a Party Vote...then we would see how the Party is directing its members to vote.  Or if it allowed a conscinece vote..then how would individuals vote?
It does not allow this becaue of the POLITICAL PLOY of the factional right that knows on either scheme it would nbe defeated


Don't berate me George Brandis about playing politics with people's lives...you and yours  started this.
It is now up to you, and those who have any sense of decency and integrity left to STOP PLAYING POLITICS

Saturday, 5 November 2016

More language of marriage

Marriage doesn't need adjectival qualification.

Indeed the only qualification that I have any sympathy with is "underage"; and indeed that is already covered by the law. Like namely it is NOT a marriage under law.

And we wouldn't for a moment  think of qualifying marriage of two people in their 70s as "Pensioner Marriage"---I have incidentally conducted such a wedding. The Bride's mother was also there (aged 95), and her daughter, and her granddaughter who was with child ...so there is an excellent photo of 5 generations even if the youngest is ion her mother's womb....

I myself was once party to a marriage of people born in two different countries....it has never-ever been referred to as "interracial", or even "international" or "cross national"..we were just married.

I likewise have married people of different races...it would be offensive to call this "interracial".

I have married quite a number of interfaith couples; and indeed couples of no faith (an expression, I suspect, which is devoid of meaning...yet full of import)

I have never enquired about people's sexual predilections; so I have no idea whether anyone of the 400+ people  I have married are same-sex attracted, racially attracted, religiously biassed (I have discovered latterly...and surprisingly...that a few are some of these things).

To my mind everyone should have opportunity to marry... this is not about sex, race, nationality...

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Some more reflections on the language of marriage

The Marriage Equality debate for me is one of social justice.
Everyone should be allowed to have a committed relationship which is protected by law and which might allow for the nurture of children.
I  ( and most other commentators) am not at all convinced (along with mainstream political and language/linguistic) theory that language is neutral.
Basically...you open your mouth, or your pen hits the the paper and you have already declared a whole lot of stuff that you you may or may not wish to have disclosed.
So The Marriage Equality (my preference) discussion is subject to all sorts of renaming..eg:
Gay Marriage
Same-sex marriage
These both suggest that there are different types of marriage.
Obviously 'different types' of marriage does not suggest equality!

As a Christian I am well aware that conservative, right wing groups do not represent me (see below).
They are very strident and specific about using exclusive terminology 
as long as we describe marriage with other descriptors eg same-sex or Gay   then we are capitulating to the idea that marriage is not a Universal right, or that there are different types of marriage. Which is nonsensical!

To me I reiterate:
Everyone should be allowed to have a committed relationship which is protected by law and which might allow for the nurture of children.

But let me also add a discourse about the dilemma for Christians...particularly those of us who are NOT of the narrow/fundamentalist/evangelical/Pentecostal, right-wing perspective




Let me not begin to treat on the so-called Australian Christian Lobby, (ACL) I have already made a number of posts here, and occasionally written a few letters to the paper (see below(1)) about this misnomer

They are indeed "Australian"...
but "Christian"  is not an accurately inclusive descriptor...most ACL members are one or more  of evangelical, fundamentalist and pentecostal.
This may be a controversial statement...they (ACL) are no doubt Christian, but are they Universal (ie representative of ALL Christians)?  I would suggest No!

Indeed I, and many others in mainstream Churches are not only unrepresented  by ACL but at odds with their narrow, legalistic, moralistic, puritanical version of Christianity.
Which seems to me at odds with the Jesus who welcomed prostitutes, sinners and tax collec
tors

In traditional parlance  the universal term for all Christians is Catholic (not Roman ...which is only part of the Universal)
The Catholic Church consists of ALL Christians (not just the Roman). The ACL is certainly not representative of that Universal Church


________________________
(1)Extract from: Letter to the Adelaide Advertiser 12/9/16
I do not identify with conservative and fundamentalist Christianity.To caricature all Christians as being steadfastly opposed to this change is wrong. I suspect that proper investigation would surprise the community at large. The church of ordinary folk is much more tolerant than its caricature.So who then will receive the ‘equal funding’?.  I ,certainly, am not happy for extremist conservative Christians (the Australian Christian Movement & Family First, for example) to represent me, and do not believe that in any sense they represent 'the Churches'.  They are not  the representatives of Australian Christians.

\

(1)Extract from: Letter to the Adelaide Advertiser 12/9/16
I do not identify with conservative and fundamentalist Christianity.
To caricature all Christians as being steadfastly opposed to this change is wrong. I suspect that proper investigation would surprise the community at large. The church of ordinary folk is much more tolerant than its caricature.
So who then will receive the ‘equal funding’?.  

I ,certainly, am not happy for extremist conservative Christians (the Australian Christian Movement & Family First, for example) to represent me, and do not believe that in any sense they represent 'the Churches'.  They are not  the representatives of Australian Christians.

Monday, 31 October 2016

And then there's Halloween

The greatest thing about Halloween  is that the youngest Clark once said when kids come knocking for trick or treat (Does anyone in Australia understand how Trick or Treat works?) ...any way she said that we should not give them anything and say "We don't believe in Halloween, it's against our religion!"
I feel so efficient as an indoctrinator! I did have 5 or 6 kids knick tonight...and would have happily given them a Mars bar,but I had not a lolly in sight. They accepted my grumpy old man and I was a bit sad to tell them, I had 'absolutely nothing to give them' ( I realised after they could have shared my rice pudding which I had made to satisfy my own sugar craving!....perhaps not!

I don't think we should be so cruel, to Tricker and Treaters. 
The oldest child says she thinks Trick or Treat will be BIG this year. This is probably divined from the internet
Any way I am thinking we shpouldhave had saint cards available and a lolly or two.
As I understand it it is not so unChristian a feast.

Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows Even, or the Eve (day before) All Hallows Day (Nov 1st). 
Naturally as we think about the glory of heaven on All Hallows (All Saints) Day we also think the day before of the other side of the coin...and so the ghosties and ghoulies and four legged beasties and things that go bump in the night get to capture our imagination.
But as blessed youngest S Clark would have you know... we don't believe in this.... it's not that we don't believe in the dark world so much, as we don't believe it exists with the sort of forces and powers that the movies and imaginations gone wild would have us imagine. In fact quite the reverse orthodox Christianity believes that when Jesus died he defeated all that sort of evil.
We need to believe this I think.
One of my colleagues once said to me, these things have the power we give them. The unfortunate thing about horror as a genre is it tells a lie about how powerful these things are, and gives them power they do not have.
So any kids who come deserve  to get  a nice saint picture....and a lolly too

The language of marriage

Let's make no mistake that the nuance of language does matter
I have been trying to encourage people to use correct ...perghaps the expression is more accurate ...language in regard to the present discussions about who is and who is not allowed to get married.
For me there is a universal human right that all adult human beings should be allowed to enetre into lifelong marital relationship.
More than this, I would maintain that traditional Christian doctrine has a high view of marriage as an agent for social stability and for the secure nurrture of future generations of children

In marriage a new family is established in accordance with God’s purpose, so that children may be born and nurtured in secure and loving care, for their well-being and instruction, and for the good order of society, to the glory of God.
N and N have now come here to be joined in this holy union to which God has led them. They seek his blessing on their life together, that they may fulfil his purpose for them; and they ask us to support them in this prayer. If anyone can show why they may not lawfully be joined in marriage, speak now, or hereafter remain in silence.
(The Australian  Anglican Church's current prayerbook)

If you dig back into this statement we well know that the social supposition has for most of recorded history  assumed, and indeed asserted, that  "N and N"  have actually been  Mary and Mark, rather than Mary and Margie, or Mark and Mike.

But I want to dig around that in the next few articles.

At the heart of my thinking is equality, social stability and, primarily, the secure and loving care of children.
This does not seem to me to be intrisnically linked to: the age difference of the parents, the racial or credal difference, the intellectual compatibility (or otherwise) and finally (the cause of the current dicussion in Australia) the requirement for N & N  to be  of different gender



Here's a couple of links to other interesting articles on this issue
http://splash.abc.net.au/home#!/media/1163914/presenting-a-point-of-view-about-marriage-equality

https://www.theguardian.com/media/mind-your-language/2015/sep/25/gay-or-straight-lets-embrace-the-language-of-marriage-equality

Monday, 12 September 2016

Equal funding

There is a lot of misleading nonsense being spouted about ‘equal funding’ for proponents and opponents of Marriage Equality.

Those who say “both sides” should be funded make the false assumption that there are only two sides. 

I, as you know, am a priest of a City Anglican Church, and am clearly aware that many of my colleagues in my denomination and other  denominations throughout the country are in favour of Marriage Equality. 

I do not identify with conservative and fundamentalist Christianity.

To caricature all Christians as being steadfastly opposed to this change is wrong. 
I suspect that proper investigation would surprise the community at large. The church of ordinary folk is much more tolerant than its caricature. (see here for example http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/a-majority-of-christians-support-marriage-equality/)
So who then will receive the ‘equal funding’?.  

I, certainly, am not happy for extremist conservative Christians (the Australian Christian Movement & Family First, for example) to represent me, and do not believe that in any sense they represent 'the Churches'.  They are not  the representatives of Australian Christians. And should nto be the ones who are the beneficiaries of such arbitrary largesse from government

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Plebiscite schmebiscite..this post is worth repeating

In democracies, by definition, plebiscites must be almost always:  deceitful, deceptive, manipulative & unhelpful

 In a democracy we delegate responsibility to our elected representatives...occasionally we have a Referendum...when matters are so great that it is good to get whole-community consensus

Plebiscites, it seems to me, are when our elected representatives are so weak-kneed that they lack the courage and conviction to do what they were elected to do...that is DECIDE
To not be too cynical, it is the sort of thing our Lords and Masters ( for they are largely male) do when they are too lily livered to actually make a decision...God forbid that they might actually declare their hands!

Sooooo....the dilemma we now face in the Parliament which looks increasingly hung is this:

  • Turnbull has declared that there will be a Plebiscite  
  • Shorten, whilst not committed  to a Plebiscite, suggests that there should be resolution of this issue within 100 days
What it seems to me.....neither of these luminaries rate this issue as primary within their present DIFFICULT PARLIAMENT scenario

Even more importantly, neither Shorten nor Turnbull, seem to be able to  actually effect their agenda...

So my, SAD,  suggestion is that the expectation about Marriage Equality is not going to be addressed by either Turnbull or Shorten...they will both have their reasons.

None of them will resonate with people on either side.

I suspect it will make Australians seem like Luddites.
The people of a generation  a hundred years or more ago!...no wonder we don't trust them

Monday, 29 August 2016

The nonsense of the mandate

I grit my teeth every time the modern politician talks about a mandate.
The truth is the Westminster system does not deliver mandates.
It delivers government.
We elect a team to govern, not simply or only to implement the declared and limited list of policies that may have been identified during the election campaign.
I am not saying that these should be disregarded, ....but I will come back to that in a moment...
Then truth is it nonsense for any party to say it has a mandate to implement every single policy that may have crossed their lips during an election campaign simply because they happen to have been elected (and in this latter case by the slimmest of majorities)
Just let me walk you through my logic.
During the last election campaign, just to take the presently elected team, they talked about: Marriage Equality, Superannuation, Budget Reform, Submarines, Education, Refugees and the hideously named  lie "Border Protection", let alone the duplicity on both sides about Health Care
Now I agree with them about some things..and indeed some aspects but not necessarily all of their policies. I do not agree with them about some others
Now I, and everyone else, did not get a chance to say what I was particularly "giving a mandate" for.

Indeed I was NOT giving a mandate! I cast my vote for an individual and/or a party whilst not necessarily agreeing to absolutely everything they were promoting.

Indeed I actively disagree with both major parties about their hideous policies to do with refugee resettlement.

Though they can erroneously claim that they have a "Mandate"...they have no way of knowing which of the broad range of policies people actually approve.

I would suggest that most Australians...however they voted... did not give "mandates", they thought some things were good and other things were not.
We vote not a "mandate" ...but on balance.
Indeed we vote for the team.
We recognise that not everything is solved, or sorted. But by and large one team has got the balance we prefer.  This does not commit us to support the details.
Rather we empower the team.

We do not implement the mandate. We elect a government.

This would rather expose the  current Marriage Equality discussion.

There is NO mandate to implement or not implement Marriage Equality; there is no mandate for a plebiscite.

What there is, is a requirement for the elected member to exercise their conscience.
And not to hide behind the false wall of the illusory mandate.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Laying awake

A dear young friend lay awake this week 
I invited his macho-self to be a bit poetic ...reminding me of this poem I wrote a decade ago...I think it's pretty good...but you should always be wary of your own judgment





NIGHT'S MIDDLE

If I could live at night's middle
instead of running rather ragged
and drilling at the day
then my vision would be brighter
and the voice of God heard clear.
This morning, even,
the moon's fullest beam
shone bright as day.
total stillness
haunted dead trousers on the line
until the softness
of the Spirit's coolest breath
walked them gently
and I shuddered, not with fear
but with delight
as my too warm breast was cooled
by the lightest of touches.
Who can faint while such a zephyr
reminds me of my own aliveness.

I did not rise.
almost disciplined
to stay in bed
to the point of pain
lest, in embracing
the middle of the night,
I devoured the day
which still demands my full attention.
And so, I crept
as early as I could
to put pen to paper.
visions fleeing,
God's voice whispering
"Wiedersehen!"
and by a few lines,
the rising of the sun,
the plaintive magpie
and the start of the traffic
night's middle
had gone.


Written Feb 2006

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The plebiscite

In democracies, by definition, plebiscites must be almost always:  deceitful, deceptive, manipulative & unhelpful

 In a democracy we delegate responsibility to our elected representatives...occasionally we have a Referendum...when matters are so great that it is good to get whole-community consensus
Plebiscites, it seems to me, are when our elected representatives are so weak-kneed that they lack the courage and conviction to do what they were elected to do.
To not be too cynical, it is the sort of thing our Lords and Masters ( for they are largely male) do when they are too lily livered to actually make a decision...God forbid that they might actually declare their hands!

Sooooo....the dilemma we now face in the Parliament which looks increasingly hung is this:

  • Turnbull has declared that there will be a Plebiscite  before the end of the year
  • Shorten, whilst not committed  to a Plebiscite, suggests that there should be resolution of this issue within 100 days
What it seems to me.....neither of these luminaries rate this issue as primary within their present HUNG PARLIAMENT scenario

Even more importantly, neither Shorten nor Turnbull, can actually effect their agenda...

So my, SAD,  suggestion is that the expectation about Marriage Equality is not going to be addressed by either Turnbull or Shorten...they will both have their reasons.

None of them will resonate with people on either side.

I suspect it will make Australians seem like Luddites. The people of a generation  a hundred years or more ago!


Monday, 4 July 2016

The Briggs Brag

Interesting article in today's Australian about the defeat of the brash Mr Jamie Briggs in the seat of Mayo.   More than one journalist has commented on the fact that Mr Briggs seems to blame everyone (in this case Julie Bishop) other than himself.  Which I think rather goes to the point that he just doesn't get it...like a lot of career Liberal politicians, his predecessor included; and his colleague in the electorate of Sturt.
The best comment I heard on morning radio was from  the redoubtable Senator X...he was asked why do you think your (the X Team's) candidate Rebekah Sharkie won?...the dialogue went something like this:

X: "Well she is a local, she lives in the electorate  and she worked the local community  for 6 weeks"
Interviewer: "Well so is Jamie Briggs, he lives locally and has been very visible"
X: "Yes" (and this is the killer...so pay attention to his nuanced comment said sotto voce ( which is my only explanation for why this perceptive comment has not been picked up in the press)
X: " The difference is that the more she went round the electorate people warmed to her, and liked her more..."
He left us to wonder what happened as Briggs went around his electorate! I will leave you make your own connection

One of my observations about the culture of the Liberal Party is that it is such a "boys club"  typified by snide remarks,  inhouse jokes, deprecatory slurs, and arrogant proclamations of their own 'rightness' as opposed to 'righteousness'

AD (Briggs' predecessor in Mayo ) used to caricature my predecessor in another position, Ron Williams: innovative missionary, bishop, & ethicist as Ron the Red!
I actually think Ron was not worried...and would have been bemused, knowing what schoolboy antics this boy's club gets up to.
But I think the use of the tactic which dismisses people so glibly is shallow and patronising.

Equally both the bumptious Mr Briggs, and the prissy Mr Pyne used to opine about Senator X.
They hated the fact that he was able to catch the public imagination...often by stunts    and DID!

It was the cry of a political establishment being furious that THEIR message did not impact like the good Senator's.

Well there are lots of messages to be learnt

Saturday, 25 June 2016

New Age.. .Reblog

(Facebook threw this up today..worth reblogging)


I get New Age self-help books, which are often looked down upon with disdain by religious folk.
But personally I think that  books and podcasts that encourage folks to attend to the inner life should, on the whole, be encouraged.
A couple of years ago in the lon vacation (ie: Christmas in Australia) I read about The Sedona Method, and felt quite enamoured of the discussion of the curiously named Hale Dwoskin (he of the very irritating laugh!!... sure he would be the first to admit it) 

 I ran a short course in our parish to explore The Sedona Method in a Christian context.
BUT, (and this is probably a big BUT) my course also encouraged people in the Ignatian Examen. Indeed it seems to me that Herr Doktor Dwoskin, and Blessed Inigo have quite a lot in common.


Dwoskin asks people to attend to the emotions that drive and govern them.
Control, Acceptance, Approval...Can we let these needs go?...will we let these needs go. When? Now?


As a process (slightly more comprehensive) this seemed to help me quite a lot.
And, I think, those who shared the course.
Let's release unnecessary attachments (New Age) to those things which falsely give us hope (idolatry)

BUT Blessed Ignatius (also known as Inigo) invites us to an active participation in what the Holy Spirit might be doing in our lives.
At its simplest: stop twice a day and ask yourself

How is God present to me?
What do I have to be thankful for?
What's been going on (emotionally/spiritually)?
How is this inviting me to live today?
What am I going to do tomorrow to live out of this insight?
This may seem simple, some might even say simplistic'
It is, of course, also profound.
Asking us to make scrutiny of ourselves at the most basic level.
This is perhaps what made me make the connection with the Sedona Method.

BUT...and again a big BUT.......it is also the point at which the Christian tradition departs from the New Age
( and what deeply unsettles me about the NA). 


All that Ignatius is asking the believer is:
 "What is Jesus speaking into this situation?"


By and large the New Age stuff (like Sedona) is what Christians would call
Gnostic...a word which is known but profoundly misunderstood by the modern world.
It suggests that Jesus is a sort of spiritual principle to be encountered or absorbed
they often use expressions like "universal energy"
as if Jesus is some sort of spiritual power-plug.



Forgetting that the whole point of Jesus being human 

is that he is personal, 
that he is known as friend, brother and indeed son of God. 
Very "personal" language
When Mr Dwoskin talks about Jesus he talks about him in this way, 

when other New Age writers like Wayne Dyer (here) do likewise
They do not seem to talk about Jesus in the same way as the Christian faith does...not as the "word made flesh" 

but as some sort of spiritual principle...which has no embodiment, and is indeed  more like wish fulfilment, and (as Dyer puts it himself) 'magic'.

So, amidst all this
I am drawn back to the reality of Ignatius 

who calls his sisters and brothers (you and me) back to what it means to have a relationship with Jesus of Nazareth..... 
not some disembodied spiritual principle but a real man...
How does Jesus speak to me? How is he speaking to you?

I often say to my folk...if you find this hard to do ask yourself the question
 "If Jesus was speaking to me today what would he be saying about ....work, school, family, relationships, ....here put what ever is going on....day to day life"

That is probably closer to the truth than real magic!!!