Archives For Australia

wedge-taled-eagle-aus-flagThe birth date for Australia as a nation is officially Federation Day, where on January 1st, 1901, the states and territories came together as one.

The 26th, “Australia Day”, marks the landing in Botany Bay of the first fleet, which arrived in 1788, filled with British convicts, their wardens and a few settlers. Worth noting, this was one year before the French Revolution. 14 years after the American war of independence.

They arrived not to fight an organised army or take siege of cities. When they arrived, they saw bushland that went on as far as the horizon. To this enlightenment age people, this land, although sparsely occupied by clans of indigenous Australians, was mostly empty.  Hostility fuelled by misunderstandings and racism, between Europeans and indigenous people came much later on and with it a history that is not as black and white as white vs. black.

There has been an official “sorry” given for wrongs committed towards indigenous Australians, plus a TON of aid and support in both education and other social programs to empower awareness and positive change within indigenous communities.

Today, Australia Day represents the ownership of those wrongs and the long effort to factually acknowledge and correct them. Australia Day also represents the celebration of freedom, God’s blessings, our rich heritage, the land, new citizenship for immigrants and the importance of  indigenous Australians to our nation’s future.img_0948

It’s also a day that reminds us, we are a people still in need of redemption.

For reconciliation to mature beyond words and gestures, forgiveness must follow that official apology. This won’t happen, though, for as long as Leftist elites and their sycophantic allies are allowed to control a skewed narrative and direct the hearts of people through their often biased politics.

Yes, Australia Day does remind us of the negative side to our nation’s history. However, that’s not something to run from. It’s something to be acknowledged; something that leads to Australia Day bringing not just patriotism, but humility; something that should rightly move us towards a solidarity of suffering, of respect, and reconciliation.

We as a nation are not beyond being mature enough, to hold the right and the wrong in both hands, being able to learn from both, being humbled by its mistakes and using them to empower our future.

To move the Australia Day to, May, or make it ”Wattle Day” is to jettison all the benefits that can come from redeeming the past for the present and the future. Effectively taking the negative aspects of this nation’s history and burying it does nothing for progress, unity or reconciliation.

Moving the date or renaming the day will only unnecessarily divide us, ripping from our hands and hearts, the potential to fuse together, and be fused together by a solidarity that Australia Day, as an event, brings and can bring.

We aren’t beyond redeeming the day or the date, because we still stand under the God who redeems, has redeemed, and will redeem. The land down under, is a land of liberty under God.

If you think the day is offensive, don’t reject it. Give it a fair go. Seek instead to redeem it.

 ‘…Transgression. Redemption. One island’ – Midnight Oil, One Country.

Happy Australia Day.


References:

Artwork credit: Artist TBC, otherwise unknown.

Image: Australian Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, Australia Day, 2017: “A great privilege to be welcomed as part of a traditional smoking ceremony at the National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony” (source: Official FB page)

During my management theory classes I undertook while working as a manager in retail. We were repeatedly told that the “crucial” characteristic of any successful manager was being clear on the complexities  encountered when arriving at the intersection between procedure and implementation.

The intersection has the universal reputation of being fraught IMG_20140518_160505with snares and frustration.

A procedure, therefore, should be informed by how it is to work on the field. Not just passed across from those personnel detached from the actual hands-on personnel.

Unfortunately even the best laid out procedure can hit pot-holes. This is because the delivery of any procedure when it hits the implementation stage can be limited by resources, circumstance, environment and time.

Simply put: what reads great on paper can become a nightmare in practice.

To resolve the issues encountered here managers will generally apply the axiom “review, review, review”.

Reviewing looks for limitations and strengths; taking a step back to refocus application, direction and timing.

Reviewing gives priority to the limitations in order to reform the procedure whilst seeing whether the strengths could be improved upon or simplified to free up resources for improving areas of delivery or achievement that need improvement.

One of the great things we enjoy about home-schooling is being able to apply and develop life skills learnt in the professional arena.

Today we had a parent-teacher conference and looked for limitations in our approach to home-schooling.

The outcomes included a list of new material to research and purchase. In addition to a simple timetable drafted to empower flexibility in our routine. A quick discussion followed in which we both talked about the progress of our kids, and the resources we are using to improve their education.

For example: creating more light in a room by replacing dark  and heavy bookshelves with white ones. Carefully putting new things in place to improve our environment can potentially improve the way in which their home education is delivered.

Stumbling along this “road less travelled” and feeling as though you’re walking through mud sometimes is a seasonal challenge for home-schoolers.

These seasons will come, they do in the business world as well. Some skills are transferable. The importance of reviewing and improving how we do things as home educators is that it advances the home-school team and can safeguard our parenting by minimise exhaustion closer to end of term.

Bringing your talents, gifts, work experience, knowledge, faith and skills into your approach towards homeschooling has serious potential. It can uplift the process by energising how children are taught in the way they should, could and ought to go.

In theological terms, reviewing is like confession. It recognises our humanity through our limitations and calls us back to life, out of self-condemnation and complacency. Back into the why and the how we got started on this journey in the first place. We are reminded of the One who schools us and grants us the privilege of the burden of responsibility in serving our children in such a special way.

‘Education is the point at which we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, not to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something new – but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world’

(Hannah Arendt, 1961 Between Past & Future, Penguin Classics p.193)

Image: mine via instagram.

Talking About Vistas

March 27, 2014 — 2 Comments

Making a slightly divergent post away from theology for today.

The view this morning reminded me of the fishermen’s axiom. (or should that be fisherperson’s axiom?)

Pink sun, blueish purple clouds.

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Very thankful for the rain.

I guess the “red sky in the morning” axiom rings loud with truth.

 

Signs of Life

January 20, 2014 — Leave a comment

Faith like a grain of mustard seed

At the end of the day,

a pinkish red Sunset breaches clouds,

bouncing colours like it’s whispering “goodnight”.

Thunder rumbles.

Lightening crawls.

No water falling,

even though the sky looks like it’s about to fall.

Through the hazy fray

of unchained grey,

Shadows silently form.

This sudden blossom

has announced a storm.

Beauty within,

no final curtain,

this performance is yet to be called.

Through the sky,

gathering rumbles,

shout cracks which follow,

jagged fingers of light.

as they pierce the horizon,

and we anticipate rainfall.

This dry will soon crack,

wrinkled land will reform, and

signs of life shall be recalled.

©RL2014

Advent Day 3: Waiting

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The documented events pre and post-birth of Jesus the Christ are about expectancy. This is on display in Luke and Matthew’s historical record of Joseph, Mary, Zechariah, Elizabeth, John, Herod, no vacant inns, Roman administrative customs, Shepherds, Wise-men, Angels, and a postnatal flight to Egypt (Mt.2:13).

A concept of waiting has a big part to play in the Advent tradition. However, this focus on “waiting” can hide from us the tremendous amount of movement found within both texts.Particularly the  activity of the Holy Spirit. This is primarily because of a thematic over emphasis on ”waiting” found in some (not all) advent reflections.

It is summer in the Southern Hemisphere. The traditional ideas of Advent which consider it a time of waiting seem out of sync, almost abstract. For example: there is more movement here because of the warmer days.

Having said this,  the summer also enhances our chances of appreciating the themes of waiting and anticipation. This is because of the anticipation of cooler temperatures which arise when clouds announce potential storms.

New Testament scholar, Joel Green, considers Luke’s record of the geographical and geo-political to be unique markers of significance; features, among others, that ‘contribute to the dramatic movement of the Advent story and to the sense of perpetual motion within the story‘ (1997:50)[i].

Perpetual motion is considered impossible in practice. So it is a term, that properly understood and applied in a theological context, helps to identify the paradox, the potential and the actual participation of God and those He called. There, heartfelt tensions must have shifted between an overwhelming mix of bewilderment with doubt, and the knowledge that these strange events was God fulfilling His promise. People whose feet appear to us covered in dust, as they embarked on a wild and nervous journey, became not only participants of the impossible, but also witnesses of that which has become possible.

As we enter a season that places more demands on our time and creativity, Advent should call to us to a remembrance of God’s freedom and invitation to relationship. In Jesus the Christ, son of Mary, step-son of Joseph we encounter Him as fully human, fully God. On the cross and outside the empty tomb, we encounter Him as Saviour.

Yet, before a manger, straw and the scent of farm animals we encounter Him as a baby, in a strange event that implies God became vulnerable and dependent for our sake. Displaying the length to which the Creator chose to go in order to rescue His Creation. As Karl Barth stated: ‘Jesus is not an idea. He is a person. It is the truth of the real the reality of the true which here enters the field: ‘God speaks. God acts. God is in the midst’ (CD. Outline 1949:58)

Hildegard of Bingen [ii] said, that by the Spirit we are:

‘awakened, called by the resounding melody; God’s invocation of the word’.

Like a fire pouring forth from God’s heart, bursting through our despair and obliterating it (1 Jn.5). Almost every reminder of this birth narrative brings with it a light that pierces the darkened areas of our lives (Jn.5:35).

For: ‘in His light we see light and in this light our darkness’ (Ps.36:9) [iii].

Over the next 8 weeks most Australians will slow down.

Schools will begin a 5 week summer break. Shops will trade until Christmas eve, opening Boxing Day, coming to life with fanfare, discounts and line-ups. Human activity is likely to distract from the meaning and purpose before us.

However, it doesn’t have to. Advent is a journey about embracing ‘the dramatic movement of the Advent story by, marking the event where the impossible became possible’ (1997:50). Any understanding of waiting as a kind of static stillness cannot be drawn from the texts. There is waiting, but there is also movement. Like Mary and Joseph who did their best to ”trust God without borders” (United, Oceans), we ‘look and march towards God’s appearing and revelation, the world’s redemption and God’s fulfilment of His promise in Advent’ [iv].

‘We are the object of divine compassion[v]

Sources:


[i]  Green, J.B 1997 NICNT: The Gospel of Luke Wm.B Eerdmans Publishing US/UK
[ii] Hildegard of Bingen Selected writings, Penguin Books (London 2001) Kindle for PC Ed.
[iii] Barth, K 1949 CD Outline, pp.62 & 75
[iv] Barth, K. Church Dogmatics IV:3, Henderickson Publishers p.322 & CD Outline, 1949:62 & 75
[v] Barth, K 1949 CD Outline, pp.62 & 75

(I was introduced to the song ‘Oceans’ by the Blog, Found. The lyrics seemed fitting.)

RL2013