Archives For Australia

It’s a peculiar thing to see Australians, who naturally have a caustic view of Americans, along with contempt and suspicion of any kind of pageantry and ceremony, embrace American cultural traditions which involve pageantry, and ceremony.

If the irony fits, wear it. None of what I’ve just said is untrue.

Remember the hate and mockery thrown at Tony Abbott when his government reinstated knights and dame honors for Australians? Only to have Malcolm Turnbull ditch it, after he lead the take down of Abbott’s reign as Prime Minister, and was himself enthroned as Prime Minister in a bloodless coup.

Should Australians completely surrender and adopt the American tradition of Halloween, (one that reflects pagan ritual more than the All Saints Day it is founded upon), why stop there?

If we’re going to go “all the way with LBJ”, let’s also adopt great freedom loving American traditions such as being able to freely wear the Christian faith on our sleeves, without the fear of being dismissed, and ridiculed, as bigoted, religious nut jobs. If we’re to follow Uncle Sam’s sometimes misguided children and accommodate Halloween, why not also accommodate the mighty North American Thanksgiving holiday – albeit with a unique Australian flavor?

It’s not too far of a stretch. Australia already has an unofficial National Day of Thanks. The day became a reality in 2003, is mainly practiced by Australian Christian community groups and happens on the last Saturday of May each year. More to the point, Norfolk Island residents already celebrate Thanksgiving, following the ‘legacy of American whaling ships that would make frequent stops to the island during the late 1800’s.’ So why not go the extra mile?

After all, it’s the cohesion brought about by a deep gratitude for family, faith, and freedom, all packed in with a sense of responsibility, respect for history and a binding community, that makes those national days work in Canada and the United States.

These are embedded attributes of a cohesive community that Australian’s have lost, and in some respects may never have had in the first place; largely due to our worship of self. Our inherited, arrogant enlightenment, hyper-individualism, the i/it in “me culture”. The me, myself & I, over against the i/thou.

Aussies who fail to understand this reality will ultimately fail in adequately adopting American traditions. They’ll find themselves stumbling in the dark in fruitless attempts to celebrate them.

Such an embrace of tradition, ignorant of that tradition’s meaning and history, is a dangerous, foolish participation in an empty ritual. It goes from one innocent flirtation to an embarrassing gullible embrace of anything and everything.

In the case of Halloween, it unnecessarily places vulnerable children, and a society wrestling with its insecure agnostism, weakened identity, and anxiety ridden lack of self-understanding, in harm’s way.

As put by Saiko Woods, a Pastor on Facebook who simplified the content of Paul’s words to the Romans:

“Yes men” and gullible women are the lifeblood of EVERY cult!” (Romans 16:17-18, ESV)

The simple, blunt truth is that Americans know how to do community far better than Australians. For all its benefits, enlightenment individualism has created a cavernous hole in Australian society. This chasm isn’t hard to see. “Me culture” has meant that families become strangers, rarely meeting more than once a year. Neighbors no longer know each other’s names, let alone neighbors knowing anything about each other. This makes seeing groups of children dress up, and troll the street asking for lollies seem clumsy, and hollow, even desperate.

It’s also not unreasonable to suggest that Australians adopting Halloween is a sign that the religion of secular humanism is found wanting.  The embrace of Halloween is a symptom of longing for the transcendent, that which exists outside of ourselves; a longing for God, faith, family and community.

Australians adopting Halloween could been seen as a longing for familial dysfunction to end; a longing for the gaping hole produced by enlightenment individualism – endemic to Australian society – to be filled. If so, the tragic irony is that God, family, faith, and responsibility, the very things which can fill this chasm, are often the very same things written off as anachronistic, too awkward, worthless, or inconvenient.

This is ultimately why adopting American traditions may fail or even become destructive. The only antidote to this is for Australians to also adopt, and accommodate, the fundamental foundations so closely associated with those who celebrate these traditions. We cannot have one without the other.

These foundations are built on faith, which both justly binds and compassionately set frees. These foundations built in freedom, under grace in Christ, ground healthy families and bring community together.

If Australians are to embrace Halloween, let this be a cautious, informed embrace, with room allowed for it to be rejected. If Australians are to follow North America, let it include Thanksgiving, and a strong sense of freedom, responsibility, community, faith and family. All of which, despite its forced dysfunctional decline over the years, is still very much part of what made and makes America great.


First published on Caldron Pool, 1st November, 2019

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Yesterday’s election saw Australians choose freedom and individual responsibility, over surrendering their country to globalist bureaucrats and their inherent totalitarianism.

Against all mainstream media predictions which had handed the Labor/Green opposition the 2019 election, the discerning voter – Morrison’s “quiet Australians” – made their voice heard.

In many ways the outcome of the election, illustrates that Leftists within in the leftwing media are not reporting properly or honestly.

They have a narrative and expect people to fall in line with it. This is the way we want you to vote, so “vote as we tell you to vote, or else.”

Caldron Pool contributor, Dr. Ashraf Selah, was spot on when he quipped,

“This was not even close to being a swing voter’s election. This is a clear message that leaders shouldn’t be overly smug with virtue signalling and identity politics. Australians don’t want to be worse off for the sake of feel-good but do-no-good policies.”

And Herald Sun columnist, Rita Panahi stated,

“The centre-right Coalition government has achieved the most astonishing victory in modern Australian politics. The Australian people rejected the class warfare, climate alarmism & identity politics of Labor.”

Both Selah and Panahi don’t fit the identity box that Labor and The Greens use in exploiting the victims, or sin of racism, ethnic and religious prejudice, for political gain. Labor’s policies were militant, aggressive, divisive and un-Australian.

Panahi is right. This election result was a rejection of manipulative propaganda, a collective “nein!”, spoken in defiance against fascism and Marxism, in both its blatant and subtle forms.

With the media scoring through the debris and as the debriefing takes place over the coming weeks. Let it be remembered that Leftists have a narrative that they want you to believe. It’s constructed to sway opinion towards a collective goal that will, in the words of Roger Scruton, ‘always end in totalitarian control.’

Globalism is the new imperialism and at the centre of it sits an un-elected bureaucratic caste whose self-interest has no room for our best interests.

Bill Shorten’s concession speech, we “did all we could”, selling every Leftist progressive policy and the kitchen sink with it, acknowledges this point.

Under this auctioneering, the anything goes, and everything goes recklessness of Labor and The Green’s would have been a back breaking burden on the Australian people.

That is why this election was about freedom. If Labor and The Greens had won, based on the current lineup and their policing policies, the burden of their current ideological platform, would have been an astronomically heavy yoke on the Australian people.

If Bill Shorten’s belligerent rhetoric, his call to “fight on” is carried through without any genuine soul searching from Labor and The Greens, then we can expect much of the same Marxist rhetoric, division and catastrophic recklessness, which promises utopia, though a continuous revolution where one group is placed against the next and the never the two shall meet.

The perpetual class war in order to achieve the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, as translated by Labor and The Greens, would include laws of segregation based on the toxicity of intersectionality theory.

This would include excluding Christians and Christianity from public life. Under “hate speech” laws arbitrarily defined by Globalists and implemented by Labor and The Greens, freedom and individual responsibility would be a thing of the past.

The ideology of intersectionality feeds identity politics. It is a politics of division and displacement; a policing of arbitrarily determined privilege that measures the worth of a person by gender, skin colour, heritage, income, religion and sexual preference.

This is the same kind of yardstick the Nazis used against the Jews; intersectionality theory is treason against humanity of the highest order. This is why intersectionality theory must be unequivocally rejected, not unquestionably embraced.

Australians have avoided falling into servitude to the crushing ideology of Globalist imperialism and the Leftist cult of modern liberalism, but the discerning citizen shouldn’t grow complacent. This may only be three year reprieve from a gathering storm determined to crush everything in its path.

Remember Israel Folau. Remember Roger Scruton. Never forget what internationally funded, militant Leftist group Getup!’s war on Tony Abbott. Remember those who have already been publicly castigated. The election outcome was not a truce. It will do either embolden those determined to separate Australians into enemy and ally, oppressed and oppressor, or it will expose the misery behind their masquerade.

Let’s hope and pray that Morrison is a real answer to this, and not just a placebo applied to a nation suffering from wounds inflicted by its would-be overlords, who, post-election, may not be inclined to hearing the voice of the people, or become “woke” enough to humbly acknowledge the destructiveness of their policies.

The pattern of behavior exhibited since Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election suggests that the Left, dominated by the radical Marxist agenda of Leftists, will be too busy laying blame on everyone who disagrees with them or didn’t fall in and march to battle in their culture war, as demanded the mainstream Leftist propaganda machine.

The defiant voice of the discerning voter; Morrison’s “quiet Australians” must stay vigilant, avoid complacency, and not let the great collective sigh of relief sweeping Australia today, lull them into a false sense of security.


Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Church leaders need to stop apologizing and step up in support of Biblical Christianity. It’s disappointing to watch key leaders betray theology, in a pacifistic appeal to the Left, for fear of being excluded by them from the table of discussion.

Appeasement never works. It didn’t work against the onslaught of fascism in the 1930s or during the Cold War, it won’t work now.

As Winston Churchill once said, ‘it would be wrong not to lay the lessons of the past before the future; noting that appeasement encouraged the aggression of the Dictators and emboldened their power amongst their own people.’ [1]

If John F. Kennedy had let appeasement permeate his decisions throughout the Cuban Missile Crisis, we may very well have been forced by totalitarian aggressors over the irreversible red line into global thermal nuclear war. Kennedy’s commitment to his people, grace and the firmness of his convictions was later echoed in Ronald Reagan’s ‘Peace through Strength’; Reagan’s unwavering commitment to build relationship with the Soviet Union from a position of strength, through a policy of mutuality, not fear and submission.

Furthermore, if Jesus had appeased the Devil in the desert or quit at the pain He felt in Gethsemane, His victory over sin would be non-existent; His actualization of the presence of the Kingdom of God, the Gospel itself would have been reduced to nothing more than a birthright from heaven, sold to the highest bidder.

Instead, Jesus stood firm. He didn’t retreat. His very presence triggered demons and He expelled them with a command; healed the wounded, called sinners to repentance, and taught with a veracity absent in the burdensome, stern, joylessness of the religious leaders of His day (Mark 1:22).

In recent weeks, we’ve heard attempts at diplomatic responses to the scripture Israel Folau posted on Instagram from John Dickson, Brian Houston and Simon Smart from CPX.

Their thermostatic diplomatic attempts might seem commendable, but it will not find its intended goal of peace in a conflict the Church didn’t start. At the core of their well-intentioned responses is appeasement.

Dickson and Houston may be appealing to Jesus’ command to love our enemies, which is honorable, but they appear to be clueless, underestimating the ferocity and ultimate goals of their opponents. These are opponents who have made it clear that they are not only determined to make Christians their enemy, but are determined to impose a convert, pay the fine, or face the consequences religious law on all those who dare to speak truth in love.

For the most part, appeasement is misguided neutrality. It reflects defeatism and surrender.

History again teaches us that few gains are made by giving up, what we can, should and therefore ought to defend. Appeasement in the guise of loving our enemies is a flawed approach. Appeasement often feeds retreat, encourages compromise, and cowers before the tyranny of false doctrine.

Anti-Nazi theologian, Karl Barth’s Second Letter to French Protestants written during 1940, makes this clear:

‘In the Germany after 1933, when she was overrun by the demonic power of National Socialism, [through compliance and an approved armistice], in order to maintain itself, Christianity in Germany retreated, no longer concerning itself with, or at least was not willing to fight and suffer for, the right form of the Church, let alone that of the State.’

Writing, as he did, Barth encouraged the French to see that

 ‘even if this is the judgement of God on the Church, His judgement does not cast us into a self-chosen neutrality […] Repentance will us lead us to watch and not to sleep; it will guide our steps to life and not to death […] It follows that prayer will not lead us away from political thought and action of a modest but definite kind, but will rather lead us directly into purposeful conflict […] The spirit of Christian repudiation of defeat, the spirit of a Christian approach  to a new and better resistance, the spirit of Christian hope will not leave the field  to the demons!’

The Church and Church leaders must reject a policy of appeasement that would force Christian theology into servitude to ideology, which demands appeasement and affirmation by only approving the words of false teachers, and false prophets.

The Church cannot on any terms surrender to any lord other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the reason for the existence of the Church, for from Him the Church was brought into existence, and in Him only will it find its end. The free Theos-Logos (the free Word of God) remains free to speak to humanity, and this fact will always mean that God’s grace is offensive and in conflict with a world determined to reject it.

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18, ESV)

Church leaders need to stop apologising for Israel Folau, and begin to show backbone and true leadership. Like Churchill and Barth, Kennedy and Reagan, and ultimately in Jesus Christ, we can seek an exchange of understanding that is metered out in order to establish mutual respect.

Appeasement, however, is an abdication of responsibility, it requires the perilous decision of abandoning the theological critique of ideologies, which are proving, and have proven, themselves to be treason against humanity of the highest order[2].

Israel Folau has every right to post what he’d like on his own personal Instagram account. That’s an issue between him and Instragam. If people don’t like that, then they should simply just unfollow him.

If a post-Christian society is to be as it claims to be: tolerant, open and inclusive, then the people who advocate it should be mature enough to practice what they preach, giving Israel Folau and Christians, the same space and understanding that they demand for themselves.


References:

[1] Churchill, Winston. The Gathering Storm: The Second World War, Volume 1 (Winston Churchill World War II Collection) . RosettaBooks.

[2] For example, Nazism, Socialism, intersectionality theory and Islamism.

Photo by Daniel Sandvik on Unsplash

(Originally published at The Caldron Pool 13th May 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

 

Abortion to be or not to be.Guest post by Jonda Lampard.

There have been lots of news articles, memes and comments after Queensland passed its recent laws legalizing unrestricted abortion. Predictably, there were immediately calls for New South Wales to follow suit.

Although they are already performed by qualified Doctors despite this law, and have been for many years, I was surprised to hear that abortions are illegal in New South Wales. Even though abortion is technically a criminal offence, there are enough loopholes in the law already to allow abortions, (even to girls under 16 years old WITHOUT their parent’s consent or knowledge[1]).  I have seen comments saying that abortion up until birth has not been legalised under the new Queensland law, however, it has, with the approval or consultation of two doctors.  One of those doctors doesn’t even need to see the mother of the unborn child’s file. What two doctors, who are paid well, to work in an abortion clinic are going to say “No, there is no good reason to kill your baby, take your money and go home”?

A frighteningly confronting truth is that the unborn human has been dehumanised. We’re told by abortion activists that an unborn baby is just a ‘parasite’ or a clump of cells and not a ‘real’ baby. Through subliminal means the idea is implanted that conceiving a child is the equivalent of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

Add to this the fact that someone is financially benefiting from operating abortion centres. These centres already openly operate in New South Wales, providing women with a private procedure, so that they don’t have to wait, deliver or recover in an actual maternity ward.

There are also the calls from abortion activists to fully cover the cost of abortions under Medicare. This would enable abortion activists to make an even bigger profit, padding their murderous bottom- line with the tax-payers purse. All under the guise of ‘helping’ women, so that they don’t have to pay any out of pocket expenses for killing their own child/ren.

Another frighteningly confronting truth is that abortion statistics in Australia are inaccurate[2]. They are complicated by the fact that only South and Western Australia keep actual abortion records. The other states use approximation based on Medicare codes for post-miscarriage procedures during all trimesters and other situations or conditions that may require procedures like a ‘D and C’[3].

This is to the advantage of abortion providers because no one knows exactly how many abortions they perform a year (and at how many weeks) except for them- and they aren’t telling. For the majority of Australia, the loop-hole abortion industry is unregulated, and exists without any real accountability.

Australia doesn’t need a tax-payer funded murderous monolithic political conglomerate like America’s ‘Planned Parenthood’.  It doesn’t need to place graphic sex education placed up there in importance before even Math, Science and English. Australia needs to encourage and cherish the value of human life and self-control, not abort it.

With the level of contraception available to women today, there should be no need for abortion. What happens if a woman becomes pregnant because of a violent sexual assault? Not every woman who is raped and becomes pregnant chooses to abort the unborn child. It’s a misconception to believe that conception during rape is a wide-spread issue. Only a small percentage of abortions in the West are performed as a result of a woman having been raped. The majority of abortions are for adult women who have consented to having premarital sex, with multiple partners, without choosing to protect herself, first against sexually transmitted diseases and without being responsible enough to use a wide range of contraception available to her and her male partner/s. Something that can be simply bought at the grocery store.  There are likely to be more cases of conceiving a child because of intoxication and drug use, than through the vile act of rape.

There is no excuse in this day and age for abortion. Most Western countries have sex education classes for children. Some, thanks to activists, are now pushing this onto children at younger and younger ages, for spurious reasons.  With all this effort and education, it would be a weak case for any reproductively healthy adult male or female, to claim to not know that when a man and woman are sexually intimate, the possibility of conceiving a child is always a high probability. Abortion is not a form of birth control, and there is nothing ‘reproductive’ or ‘healthy’ about it, it takes a life. It dehumanises the unborn and pads the coffers of the greedy with the blood of the innocent.


References:

[1] https://www.fpnsw.org.au/sites/default/files/assets/law_on_abortion_fs.pdf

[2] It is estimated by ‘family planning services’ at one quarter of all pregnancies. https://www.childrenbychoice.org.au/factsandfigures/australian-abortion-statistics If we use the 2015 birth total, approximately 155,000 babies would have been aborted each year. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2018-in-brief/contents/births-in-australia

[3] https://www.childrenbychoice.org.au/factsandfigures/australian-abortion-statistics

(Photo credit: Manuel Schinner on Unsplash)

Wiel 18th October 2018In 1944, C.S Lewis wrote:

‘The demand for equality has two sources; First, the noble: the desire for fair play. Second, the mean-spirited: the hatred of superiority. If you seek to appease envy: 1. you will not succeed. Envy is insatiable. 2. you are trying to introduce equality where equality is fatal.
Political democracy is doomed if it tries to extend its demand for equality into the higher spheres of beauty, virtue and truth. Neither of which are democratic. Ethical, intellectual or aesthetic democracy is death.’
(C.S. Lewis, 1944. Democratic Education) [i]

Lewis’ position can be read as a push back against extreme egalitarianism and the quagmire of sameness. The late American political philosopher, Jean Bethke Elshtain, also brilliantly hummed her own critical tune in relation to this issue.

Writing under the heading, ‘Multiculturalism and Democratic Education’ Elshtain stated:

‘Teacherly malfeasance occurs in instances of unreflective, dogmatic politicisation […] This sort of education fails in its particular and important task of preparing us for a world of ambiguity and variety. It equips us only for resentment or malicious naivete [ii]

Lewis and Elshtain come at this argument from different angles. Both add to an argument for the re-balancing of popular ideologies birthed in the 1960’s, and the new societal norms which come from them.

As Elshtain posits, “I wonder if democracy can survive what it has to, by definition allow? Such as, the desires a mob majority,  which works against the democratic voice of the people. Democratic freedom must have a framework of responsible limitations, for example, a just constitution, in order for democratic freedom to exist.

The area where this applies most is forced compliance with ‘unreflective, dogmatic politicisation’ (Elshtain)(E.g.: forced compliance to the failing and flawed ideology of multiculturalism and new definitions of tolerance).

Instead of preserving the vibrancy of a cohesive multi-ethnic society, under one meta-culture, multiculturalism morphs a once united multi-ethnic society, into a multi-nationalist society. This threatens the national sovereignty and stability of that multi-ethnic society, because it breaks with a shared history, agreed upon ideals, civility and common values. It creates foreign enclaves or beachheads, such as “no go zones“.

This is the direct result of tolerance introducing ‘equality where equality is fatal’ (Lewis). The ‘unreflective, dogmatic politick’s’ reign of terror.

Disguised as part of the new educational standard, guided by a good vibes only, ‘unreflective, dogmatic politicisation’.  The new definition of tolerance and compliance poses as the only academic essential. Acceptance and legitimacy are only validated by an absolute alignment with approved ideologies. In turn, a form of emotional blackmail follows. The academy is paralysed because the academic focus is reduced to how best education can be forced to fit within the new educational standard of the ‘unreflective, dogmatic politick’.

Democratic education is reduced to compliance. Academic standards are lowered, while teachers are forced to obsess over appeasing the feelings and fickle sentiments of society.
In not being willing to responsibly discuss differences, for fear of offence or ridicule, democracy wanes.

This narrowing forces everyone into the same box: a secular version of “convert, pay a tax or die.” From here academic indifference and complacency replaces the energy of academic rigour. Genuine progress, and the conservation of hard fought for healthy traditions, are held back by the demand for total compliance to the ‘unreflective, dogmatic politick’.

Along with a cohesive multi-ethnic society, democratic debate and its ability to preserve the beauty of unity-in-diversity, dies. Political democracy, as C.S Lewis pointed out, is ‘doomed if it tries to expand its demand for equality into beauty, virtue and truth [none of which are determined by democratic vote].’

Society and politics, placed under this good vibes only, ‘unreflective, dogmatic politick’, sets people on a trajectory towards tribalism and slavery. People are then forced to stick to their “own kind”: Whites with whites; men with men; women with women; black with black; indigenous Australian with indigenous Australian; Left with Left, Right with Right.

Differences are considered irreconcilable. People are divorced from one an another. Strangers become enemies, and friends become strangers. Thus we come to the  inevitable rejection of differences and the quagmire of sameness.

As Elshtain predicted, this flags a new segregation:

‘As a form of ideological teaching, multicultural absolutism isolates us in our own skins and equates culture with racial or ethnic identity. [In America], the new multiculturalism promotes commensurability: If I am white and you are black, we cannot, in principle, speak to or understand each other. You just won’t “get it […]. Some critics wonder how long it will take to move from separate approaches for African-American children in the name of Afro-centricity, for example, to a quest for separate schools.[iii]’

Extreme egalitarianism is a quagmire of sameness. We arrive at the quagmire of sameness because of envy and (as C.S. Lewis so brilliantly put it) its hatred of superiority.

The quest for equality ends up creating new forms of inequality. Anyone with opposing views or unique abilities is silenced, condemned and shipped off to camps, under the guise of “re-education” or “resettlement.” This is all done “for the good of the collective”.

This is evident in Australian society. Where very early on children are taught to tow the good vibes only, ‘unreflective, dogmatic politick’.

Over achievers are called “try-hards.” They’re deemed a threat to the collective and are consequently castigated for it. Rather than celebrate the competency and talent of a person, the majority maliciously turn against them. “Try hard”, an otherwise encouraging term, is used as a shaming control technique. Uniqueness is squashed into the box of sameness, under the name of equality.

For both Lewis and Elshtain, extreme egalitarianism is a ‘phony equality.[v]’ It perpetuates that which it says it opposes. This phony equality levels whatever it subjectively sees as uneven ground. The same could be said about the new definitions of tolerance.

Those who want to walk away from the ‘unreflective, dogmatic politicisation’ won’t find it easy.

They will face the same hostile reaction, French philosopher, Albert Camus faced, when he ‘was virtually excommunicated from the French Left by Sartre, and his comrades, because he expressed a strong disapproval of the passion for unity that saw any opposition as treason.’[iv]

In not being able to celebrate unity in diversity or find and maintain common ground, democracy fails. The cohesive elements of a vibrant multi-ethnic Western society are then consigned to the prison of a good vibes only, ‘unreflective, dogmatic politick’. If left unanswered, Western society will descend into the terror of fascist rule, the shared poverty of communism or the destructive anarchist vacuum of pagan tribalisation.
________________________________________

References:

[i] Lewis, C. 1944, Democratic Education In Walmsley, L. (Ed.) 2000 C.S Lewis Essay Collection Harper Collins p.190

[ii] Elshtain, J.B. 1995 Democracy on Trial Basic Books, Perseus Books Group p.83

[iii] Ibid, p.79

[iv] Ibid, p.120

[v] Ibid, p.74

Originally published 5th January, 2016 & on The Caldron Pool, 2nd November, 2018 under the headline: ‘Multiculturalism has failed: Identity politics sets people on a trajectory towards tribalism and slavery.’

Photo credit: rawpixel at unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2018

 

Windmills & Giants!

June 19, 2018 — 1 Comment

As a father, who happens to homeschool his five kids, I also have the distinct honour of managing the general household paradigm.  Here’s a retelling of an event involving one of those responsibilities.

 

 

Chores are not like a small kitten’s purr,

No. Chores are torture.

Run the linen up the flag poles,

Stoke the spinning bucket with garments,

And it’s still hungry.

Such is this monster, which I have,

    daily, gallantly met.

It makes me Don Quixote against

Windmills and giants!

With the same checklist,

 gusto and loyalty,

  as that of D’Artagnan’s servant, Planchet.

Into the chilling wind I stride,

Weighty basket in hand,

Like an explorer in wet clothes, traversing unexplored Antarctic land.

The south winds blow in from hills covered in Australian snow,

My uncovered hands are no match for the cold.

My destination is only ten steps from the back door,

but the wind is like a frozen invisible wall.

My climb against it has become a solitary fight

Like the one faced by an imprisoned, Edmond Dantès

stuck inside a cell with no light.

the minutes drag on, the seconds slow down.

Like the resuscitated Dantès, become Count,

fighting back against all that was unfair;

Where is my Prisoner Priest, like Abbe Faria?

Where is my Island of Cristo,

with its hidden treasure made ready for me to bare?

the wind chill hitting my hands,

it’s a solitary stand.

This, these darkened minutes are testing my resolve,

It’s a saga even Dumas would have, with bravado, retold.

All because I went out into the cold

To hang up on a line, a bunch of wet clothes.


©RL2018

Photo credit: Jessica Fadel on Unsplash

25th April 2016 007Anzac Day comes with a caveat.

Absent of any understanding about what causes war and the case for just-peace. Absent of the moral restraints of the message about Christ’s act and command to love God and love one another as we love and care for ourselves, Anzac day becomes a celebration of chaos, not life; a day of hero-worship, not sincere remembrance and gratitude.

We surely remember the sacrifice of our ancestors, but with it we remember God’s summons to hear the importance of His commandments that empower us to stand against the continuing brutality of war. It’s because God comes to humanity that this word can be received as true word. A word we did not speak ourselves. A word that we’re encouraged to test and try out, because God is not insecure about who He is or anxious about what He has planned.

Anzac day is for humanity to stand before the past, under God, towards the future. It’s a time to mourn, a time to recollect, a time to reconsider and lament the effect of war.  Not only on those who didn’t return, but on those who did.

Traditionally, on this day Australia and New Zealand commemorate, not war, or the sins of it, but engrave, through Christian prayer, a deep gratitude and remembrance, of and for, the freedom and life given by those who sacrificed their lives to give it.

But, Anzac day comes with a caveat.

If we jettison Jesus Christ from Anzac day, our remembrance spirals into the worship of chaos, hatred of our enemies and as it deteriorates into the empty worship of our ancestors. Without the Prince of Peace and those He represents, Anzac day has no real message of peace or hope, only war, the hype and devastation of it.

This is exemplified by the words of Anti-Nazi German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who in 1932 preached to a solemn gathering of Germans,

‘when the church observes Memorial Day, it must have something special to say. It cannot be one voice in the chorus of others who loudly raise the cry of mourning for the lost sons of the nation across the land, and by such cries of mourning call us to new deeds and great courage. It cannot, like the ancient singers of great heroic deeds, wander about and sing the song of praise of battle and the death of the heroes to the listening ears of enthralled young people. On this day the church stands here so strangely without ceremony, so little proud, so little heroic. The Church is like the seer of ancient times who when all are gathered… is wholeheartedly present but suffers because he sees something that others do not see and must speak of what he sees, although no one wants to hear it…the one who loves most is the one who sees deepest, sees the greatest danger. A seer has never been popular. That is why the church will also not be popular, least of all on days like this.’[i]

“Jesus is victor.”

Any real human victory begins in Him.

In no other way and by no other name can Anzac day be what it should be, a time and place when our hearts are directed, not towards human ideological constructs of peace, but towards the Prince of peace and therefore towards just-peace. Our memory and treatment of those who gave up their very lives for us is only enriched by this. Our mourning turns into hope, as we hear from chaplains, pastors and Christians, throughout both nations, at most remembrance services, we are asked to carry away with us the challenge of the message of just-peace.

‘Memorial day in the Church! What does it mean? It means holding up the one great hope from which we all live, the preaching of the kingdom of God. It means seeing that which is past, and which we remember today, with all its terrors and all its godlessness, and yet not being afraid, but hearing the preaching of peace […] Now pass on the message of peace, for the sake of which their death had to be, and preach it all the more loudly.’ [ii]

The one whose own broken body was laid in a tomb guarded and then, against, and to the shame of the chaos and all that stood in proud victory over Him, was resurrected from the dead.

Any real human victory begins in Him; all just-peace follows the Prince of peace who was judged become judge.

‘Where the power of darkness wants to overpower the light of God, there God triumphs and judges the darkness.’ [iii]

Any real peace follows from the one who is peace, not the one who through media, machine or human, only gives lip service to it. Or who through a mask of peace seeks through a will to dominate, only to expand a human empire.

The importance of Christian participation in Anzac Day is the reminder that peace comes to humanity from outside itself; from outside our ability to save ourselves. Through conviction, through just-justice, through covenant, through commandment the chaos is answered with purpose. It’s lifeless ‘mass, rebellion and tumult against true life is conquered, transformed as the One who ‘hovers over it speaks [and because He does, decisively acts].’[iv]

Jesus the Christ doesn’t seem to be. He is, was and will be.

That is our starting place and EVERY Anzac day what was once their march, but is now ours, must begin and end here.

For as Bonhoeffer noted:

‘wherever the word of Christ is truly spoken, the world sense that it is either ruinous madness or ruinous truth, which endangers it’s very life. Where peace is really spoken, war must rage twice as hard, for it senses that it is about to be driven out. Christ intends to be its death […] Memorial Day in the church means knowing that Christ alone wins the victory! Amen.’ [v]

References:

[i] Bonhoeffer, D 1932 National Memorial Day, Berlin, Reminiscere, Feb. 21,. In Best, I. 2012 The Collected Sermons of Deitrich Bonhoeffer,  Fortress Press

[ii] ibid, (p.21)

[iii] ibid, (p.17)

[iv] Bonhoeffer, D. DBW:3 Creation and Fall: A theological exposition of Genesis 1-3, (p.41) [parenthesis mine]

[v] Bonhoeffer, D 1932 National Memorial Day, Berlin, Reminiscere, Feb. 21,. In Best, I. 2012 The Collected Sermons of Deitrich Bonhoeffer,  Fortress Press (pp.20 & 21)

(Originally published, 25th April 2016)