Hi there mate, and welcome to my special Aussie-Election edition of 'The Good Fight'.
It's taken for granted nowadays that religion and politics are never supposed to interact with each other, but I truly can't understand where that idea came from.
Certainly not from the Bible, where prophet, priest and king would work together to build the sort of community that God desired, and certainly not from Christian history, where people of godly conscience have always fought against governments and institutions that oppress and dehumanise.
I suspect that it's something we picked up from our American sisters and brothers, where separation of church and state seems to be a proud institution, though I get the impression sometimes that those who most loudly proclaim it are the least interested in adhering to it!
Anyway, I personally have no qualms about nailing my colours to the mast when it come to this forthcoming Aussie election. As I said at a gathering of Labor Party buddies yesterday, "I'm never sure whether I should be praying that we should win, but I'm totally convinced that it's the will of God that the current bastards lose!"
Frankly, I don't think my issue is even political. My issue is that the current government has covered us in the blood of the innocent - most notably of the dead and dying in Iraq.
We were dragged into an unprovoked war against a sovereign nation, despite that fact that the country at large was entirely opposed to the attack. We fought, we killed, and we created a human disaster that may never heal!
I believe that the politicians who led us into this attack should be tried as war criminals - our Prime Minister included. At the very least people, don't vote him back into office and legitimate this man's crimes.
The crimes didn't stop with Iraq of course, but the Tampa Affair and the Children Overboard scandal, amongst other acts of violence targetted against refugees.
And the worst part of the Howard Government saga, in my view - by far the saddest part - is why we voted him back in last time. We did it for one reason and for one reason only: because he offered us more money!
Shame Australia, Shame! Rise up and redeem yourselves, and let's show the world that we still know the meaning of the word, 'integrity' by voting for someone else - anyone else, just not this guy!
Friends, I'm sure that some of you don't agree with me in my own political stance. That's OK. But as Christian people, I can't see how we can support anyone who considers economic wealth to be of greater importance than the human needs of the poor and oppressed.
Let me know if I missed something.
Your brother in the Good Fight,
P.S.Click on each of the thumbnails for some favourite pics from the last month.
Whether Kris is a fun guy to be with or not, I've got no idea, but he did me a great service in showing me how to speed up my PC ... enormously!
Kris claims to be able to transform your slow and sluggish PC into the fast, secure and stable speed-demon you've been dreaming of, and he claims to be able to accomplish this in 15 minutes!
Can he do it? Well, I'll tell you now that it took me longer than 15 minutes, but it was well worth it. The difference in response time from my PC has been enormous.
There's nothing magical about the Mainieri system. It's all just a matter of knowing the Windows system well enough to know where all the hidden settings are that most affect speed and stability.
\Perhaps when you first installed Windows, you figured that you had plenty of memory and plenty of speed, and so you switched on all the resource-hungry special affects that make fonts look ultra smooth and windows minimize and maximize in cool ways, Most likely, you didn't even realise there were options. Either way, getting your machine working smoothly is basically just a matter of tweaking these settings and making sure you've got updates and antivirus etc. working properly.
In the end, there's quite a bit to it, which is why Mainieri compiled a manual. To go through it all comprehensively will take you more than 15 minutes, but if you've got an old PC like mine, you won't regret the time investment, and at less than $10, you won't regret the financial investment either.
In case you haven't heard, my friend Sheikh Mansour (best known to readers of this ezine for the interviews he did with me) has lost his High Court appeal, and is now threatened with imminent deportation!
This is astounding, as Mansour's appeal was not over whether he is a decent citizen or not. It was simply over a point of law - ie. whether he was entitled to a fair trial - and the answer he's been given is that because he is not an Australian citizen, he is not entitled to a fair trial! This seems simply monstrous to me, and something more appropriate to Nazi Germany than 21st Century Australia!
Mansour is Iranian. Because he is Iranian, he is apparently not entitled to a fair trial! Can we imagine the outcry if the situation were reversed - if I went to Iran and was detained on suspicion of some crime, but was then told that because I was Australian I wasn't entitled to a fair trial!
Mansour has asked his friends to do no more than pray for a just outcome. I intend to do that and more. Indeed, I'm looking for support from other Christian clergy, politicians, and high-profile sports people of all nationalities, religions and races to show their support for this man, who is a renowned pacifist, and a bridge-builder between our various ethnic and religious communities.
If you'd like to get more involved in the 'Save the Sheikh' campaign, please email me and let me know, and pray both for justice, and for peace and cooperation between our communities - Christians and Moslems, Arabs and other Australians. And while you're at it, you might pop over to the Sheikh's website, and cast your vote over whether he should be allowed to stay!
"The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage" (Luke 20:27)
Free sex? That's the first thing that tends to come to mind for most of us when we hear this? No sex? That's what they told us this passage meant when we were in youth group.
Jesus gives us no answers on either of these issues because the passage is not about sex any more than it is really about marriage. The dialogue in Luke chapter 21 is really all life after death, and whether it really makes sense to believe in the resurrection of the body, and that's probably a more significant question than any of the others.
You can read my thoughts here or use the buttons below to listen now.
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As of today, we've now finished and uploaded the new version but haven't updated the sales page yet. I'm going to tidy up the sales page and put the price back up again some time in the next week. If you're interested in grabbing Ezine-Express though now at a super-low price, click here.
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No, it's not the final judgement, but hopefully it will be for the current Prime Minister of Australia.
Over the last four weeks at Holy Trinity, we've interviewed the four most prominent and popular political candidates for our area. For those of you who weren't able to make it, listen up now and prepare to pass judgement.
Anthony Albanese (ALP)
When I tried to record my in-church interview with Anthony, the batteries on my MP3 recorder died, so I organised an interview at Anthony's office during the following week. Hence you'll find that this is the longest and clearest of the recordings..
I don't pretend to take a neutral stance in this election, nor towards Anthony, who is both a personal friend and a man to whom I am indebted, for the work he has done for our community.
Andrew Markwell (Family First)
Andrew Markwell is the leading state candidate for the 'Family First Party' - the party that is vying with the Greens for control of the Senate.
I was a little disappointed that Andrew defined his party's position primarily through their opposition to the Greens. Even so, it was an illuminating statement.
Saeed Khan (Greens)
Saeed Khan is a local Councillor and a renowned expert in Urdu poetry, as well as being our Greens representative at the coming Federal election.
The Greens have a reputation for being 'unChristian' if not 'anti-Christian' in many of their policies, and Saeed was keen to demonstrate to us that this is not the case.
Alex Bainbridge (Socialist Alliance)
Much to my surprise, Alex Bainbridge turned out to be one of the most popular, if not the most popular, candidate to visit us. I guess that's because the political agenda he presented mirrored very closely the agenda of the Gospel - peace, fair working conditions, public education, and a fair go for refugees and minority groups.
Alex spoke in terms of BIG changes that were needed in Australian society. We might disagree on the means to the end, but the idea that a big shake-up is needed, is something that all Christians would surely agree with.
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SURVEY UPDATE So what should I have called "Sex, the Ring & the Eucharist"?