Vale Robert Withycombe
I don’t commonly publish obituaries, but this one demanded my attention. My small tribute to a pastor and scholar I only met a few times, but who impacted me nonetheless.
Same church, different Iles
A conservative Christian organisation terminates its managing director, and Australian Christian social media goes into overdrive. And there are really just two views
Asbury and the longing heart
Recent events on the campus at Asbury in Willmore, Kentucky have divided Christian and other commentators much as always. Is this “the real thing”?
Witch hunting is back
Consider the witch hunts of mediaeval Europe. Then consider contemporary political conspiracy theories, such as QAnon. Then ask yourself, “Are witch hunts back?”
Charged with myths
A short piece about responding to the latest mythology on electric vehicles. Less about science denial, more about economic spin
Christian identity crisis #157
The current controversy around one man’s forced resignation as Essendon Football Club CEO highlights some gulfs between Christian and other worldviews
A true blue monarchy, my oath
What next for Australia? Republic or monarchy? Local or foreign? Here mates is a you-beaut solution. An Aussie monarch. What a ripper.
Australia, the Commonwealth and the world are mourning a momentous passing by any measure. On social media we will do this in a variety of ways. Live and let live
We're not homophobic are we?
Whilst supportive of the GAFCON movement within world Anglicanism, I have concerns as to what may be communicated by the present timing of a new diocese in Australia
Transgender for anxious Christians
Evangelical Christians tend to treat trans people and the whole idea of non-normative gender reactively rather than thoughtfully. But variations to the normative are nothing new
Oh the trenches of Numbla Vale
At last it’s happened. War has broken out in rural NSW, in the Snowy-Monaro region, in a paddock. Here is your on-the-spot report from your embedded reporter. Hard-hitting analysis too.
The sharing economy and your cat
Cat ownership is so twentieth century. Leave all that behind and become a cat shareholder in the twenty-first century. The future is here.
Playing the ball starts here
If we expect our public leaders to abandon the practice of public ad hominem attacks as an alternative to policy debate, we really should start at home
Cheap shots and barnacles
The digital age makes it harder to keep public discourse on substantive issues. Instead we’re distracted by cheap shots. We can do better. And we must
Trans athletes just want to play sport
Why are Christians anxious about trans athletes in female sport? Maybe it’s no more than its newness. The latest social change for the rights of minorities
Real pro-life in a dying world
Is absolute opposition to abortion the only Christian position? Perhaps not? An evangelical pastor asks again. As Roe v Wade seems to hang in the balance, let’s be real “pro-lifers”
If you’re so boring and shortsighted as to raise your kids to be responsible, disciplined and health-conscious, be sure it will come back to bite you one day when it’s all too late. It will bite, which...
The keyboard is mightier than the gun
A mac nerd ponders Ukraine. A lot of software developers live there. Some may be my relatives, as may some of the invading forces. Pray for the peace of Ukraine. And just government for Russia.
The pandemic, the politics and the science
How do medical science, the Coronavirus, pubic health and US politics get on together? ZDoggMD is one place to find out. I’m just starting. Might be a good ride.
The aioli challenge
A challenge for the hip and enterprising foodie. Post a video selfie demonstrating your ability to eat a Turkish take-away kebab with umm … refined delicacy
Happy New Holland Day, cobbers!
Australia Day. What or who might we be if the Brits hadn’t hoisted the flag first? A light reflection on the modern history of the land in the south
An island, a king, and a true blue republic
King Bluey and his royal Aussie successors shall live in a pub on Macquarie Island. It ticks every box surely. Lots of history, bracing climate, miles from everywhere.
Would you like microbes with that?
Will the common cup tradition survive the covid era? I’d love to hear from Anglicans in particular (and any others who share that tradition). But all are welcome to hop in
A tale of two worlds: social media and truth - Part IV
Final of 4. Truth, falsehood and trust. False premise #5: “The Media” is suppressing inconvenient information for an agenda. The fallacies of circular reasoning. Suppression is least likely.
A tale of two worlds: social media and truth - Part III
3 of 4. Truth, falsehood and trust. False premise #4: If there’s a counter narrative out there, there must be truth to it. More information does not mean more fact or more truth.
A tale of two worlds: social media and truth - Part II
2 of 4. Truth, falsehood and trust. False premise #3: All opinions are equal. The government and the experts are lying to us about their agenda. Ant-science sentiment.
A tale of two worlds: social media and truth - Part I
Beginning a 4-part series: Truth, falsehood and trust. How certain false premises have undermined trust in our culture. #1: global control by an ‘elite’. #2: only a few know ‘the truth’.
Back to the blog
Why I stopped blogging years ago, and why the blog and I are back with a fresh suit. The writing art, the lures of social media and its limitations. Stay tuned.
Bibles, beer and blindness
OK. I’ve been listening to this debate raging among Christians as well as in the general community - all without actually watching the video clip - until now. I’ve just watched it. And I think in this...
The hip pocket verve
This is one for my fellow suffering blokes. Are you tired of sitting on a burgeoning mound of leather, plastic, cardboard and metal alloys? .. buying new jeans because that mass of keys a jailer would...
Ok here's my take on the NBN debacle ...Tony Abbott was ideologically committed to trashing Labor's legacy, root and branch. He tasked his shadow cabinet members with crafting minimalist policies to...
Mercies in disguise
Being a fogey I naturally don't keep up with the latest in contemporary Christian music. So an awful lot passes me by, interspersed with haphazard moments of discovery. A couple of weeks back I happened...
Batting for Jesus on a rough wicket
The teacher set the class the common task of designing their own respective coats of arms and matching life mottos. Our son’s motto was simple and to the point:
Cricket. Nothing more, nothing less.Cricket...
What about the birds?
My vote on July 2 will go to the party whose leader can most satisfactorily answer the weightiest moral and economic question of our time. That question of course is
Have the birds got jobs?Voters...
Cakes, weddings and Jesus
I’d like to raise a question I haven't raised before anywhere. I’m thinking aloud, so this isn’t a ‘position’ in any sense. More an exploratory question …
To date I’ve shared common Christian concerns...
Why Pell is not the tree to bark up
I’m getting frustrated with much of the media commentary on Cardinal Pell and the Royal Commission. This isn’t about whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy, whatever that would mean. It’s about everyone’s...
Jesus and Anzac
I'm just back from a half-day's Anzac Day commemoration here in Cooma. Part 1 - the Anzac Service at the Cooma Cenotaph. Part 2 - the semi-formal lunch at the Cooma Ex-Serviceman's Club, complete with...
Say "No" to all domestic abuse
Fairfax's campaign on domestic violence is an exemplary instance of harnessing the power of a major media organisation for social good. Former Queensland premier Anna Bligh's public leadership for the...
Too much spark
The only truly surprising thing about the excessive revelry of New Year’s Eve indulgence in Fitzroy North’s Edinburgh Gardens, is that it wasn’t replicated in a dozen other neighbourhoods. Are we really...
Up the poll
Is there no end to the prevailing obsession with polls? When for the past 3 years our senses have been numbed and our reasoning capacities neutered by almost daily electoral horoscopes, I suppose one...
Hanging with the Greens
So its official. Asylum seekers are now the sacrificial lambs, to be offered up by both would-be governments to appease the rednecks who now hold the balance of power in voterland. All thanks to the...
And when Manus fills up … ?
WANTED URGENTLY: uninhabited islands, disused prison hulks, surplus orbiting space stations … anything really.
Must be situated outside Australian territory....
Are faces too human?
I can’t say I've ever taken much notice of the relative content of The Age’s print and online editions. But I'm intrigued by the non-appearance in print of an online article by Daniel Street, dated 9th...
Boats and votes
The new Rudd Government’s emerging asylum seeker policy will be a thing of horror to many Australians, but unfortunately not the ‘right’ ones. What we're now seeing is the long term impact on our culture...
Your Editorial of 22nd June called on then Prime Minister Julia Gillard to stand aside from her office “so that vigorous, policy-driven democratic debate can flourish once again,” and to allow the party...
Your leading editorial of Saturday 8th June is right to call our political leaders back to matters of substance, but short on collective self-awareness. The standard and style of current day political...
A Little thought
Cardinal Pell's account to the present abuse enquiry has quite understandably attracted more anger than sympathy, casting much doubt on his humanity. However on one point, he may deserve some defence....
Anyone for cordial?
Dave Greenslade’s vignette (Letters, 25/3) of the wartime cordiality between Menzies and Curtin might well be a piece of space fiction, beside the governmental processes that assault our senses in today’s...
Doodling on the hill
Jaye Fletcher (Letters, 14/3) is a bit tough on the pollies with their smart phones. If we expect the poor blighters to sit through day-long meetings on our behalf, the least we can do is let them amuse...
Who does this poncey Argentinian think he is anyway? We had the conclave right here in Melbourne a week ago. And the Pope’s name is Denis.
Amidst the furious political commentary on the rise and fall of Ted Baillieu as Liberal leader, little has been observed about the role of temperament in the art of public leadership. It would be unfortunate...
Mary Delahunty (Opinion, 11/3) joins a long list of commentators and public figures suggesting that Prime Minister Julia Gillard's fight for legitimacy is fundamentally down to old-fashioned misogyny....
What can I say?
Please, no more letters denouncing lexical abuse. I'm speechless already.
Gun control and all that - a critical response
On the Second AmendmentIn the course of a discussion on Facebook the other day, a friend referred me favourably to the above post, asking my opinion. In reading and then pondering it, it occurred to...
Hey, big spender: Howard the king of the loose purse strings This will undoubtedly not end the frothing at the mouth on both sides of the house about the most holy surplus. But it sure does put a few...
Up the poll again
With a surfeit of worthy contenders, it would be difficult to single out one Age Reader's Poll for an inanity award. However the question posed on 9th January would certainly be right up there. "Is the...
Skybus on Myki? Way to go! Another chance to showcase our technological accomplishments to the world. (Let's hope the world doesn't touch-off.)
Now the jokes are on the Mayans
From little things slightly larger things occasionally grow. Here’s a slightly matured expansion of a recent Facebook status update …
What will the Mayans give eachother for Christmas this year?...
A coin toss
I'm trying to decide which major party I respect less. Labor for sacrificing the world's poor to appease the god of economics, and insulting our intelligence with a spurious casuistic rationale? Or the...
Another unMykely story
It’s been some time since I've ruminated in this forum on the mysterium tremendum which is Victoria’s very own Myki. That’s because its all been remarkably quiet and boring on (my) Myki front.
The lonely Cardinal
Editorial Opinion: ‘Pell has failed the church and its victims’
This was a secular commentator, and sadly I think they're right. Also sadly, the Cardinal has I fear lost a lot of respect in the...
Well there's still Tassie.
Living with grey
Even for those who believe unfashionably in absolute truth and absolute error (notably we orthodox Christians), mature engagement with the world demands a basic recognition that some things really are...
In a seemingly interminable announcement late in 2010, Federal independent MP Rob Oakeshott held the nation in thrall awaiting what amounted to his casting vote on which party leader would get the keys...
Enough about Alan & Tony
Quite magnanimous of The Age (Letters, Tuesday) to publish Roger Stagg’s observation that 46.7 percent (14 of 31) of letters printed Monday, related to Tony Abbott. Also quite ironic, given that on Tuesday...
Strong, please … and no sugar
So let’s see if I've got this right. To prove oneself morally pure, the unacceptable must be condemned (or something as closely synonymous as possible), and the vocabulary used must be of sufficient...
The off switch
I don’t like Alan Jones, and there is no defence for his tasteless remark about the Prime Minister’s late father. However the flurry of online vigilanteism in the wake of this, his latest folly, is itself...
Police using Myki to track people? (The Age, 17/9) What a brilliant way to catch those fare evaders! Oh wait ...
The wide mercurial boy
Michelle Grattan (Opinion, 14/9) says Tony Abbott is . Probably explains why we see so much of him.
Fair fighting in the public square
published here at On Line Opinion
Where two or more people are caught in a seemingly intractable dispute yielding only mounting frustration, the first word on the lips of a half decent mediator will...
Headlines and other mythologies
Oh for Pete’s sake! It’s time to sack a few sub-editors and redraft some headlines.
First the SMH publishes a headline with a grossly inaccurate and misleading paraphrase of a statement by...
Introverts in the Church
“Introverts in the Church”, Adam S McHugh
I came across this title in the course of researching on the subject of introversion among Christian pastoral leaders. The author, Adam McHugh, has written...
Well at least they could make them sell their coal in plain packaging.
A sweet reward
Our two cats are anticipating a very satisfactory Christmas, following the purchase of Darrell Lea by the pet food Quinns.
Mobilise the grannies
I quit smoking 40-odd years ago, aged 11, and haven’t looked back. That surely qualifies me to offer a suggestion or two on finishing off the tobacco industry. It all happened the day my grandmother...
Sleepless on the sofa
Geez, mate. We've reached a pretty pass when a bloke can’t get some kip in front of the box watching the cricket, without the nippers scarpering and the cops getting involved. I reckon that’s why they...
Saturday’s leading front page article should make us all nauseous. But it probably won’t. $310m of our taxes have been spent so that the fitter of our compatriots can play games on our behalf, and for...
Myki does it again
My capacity to expend further scribal energy on Myki is waning. I shall be brief. Just had yet another two phone conversations with Myki staff, after second “change of mind” failed to ‘unlock’ anything....
Seems our cricket team has dropped to 4th in the ICC’s one-day rankings. That on the heels of all those tacky silver medals in London. Desperate times alright. James Sutherland needs to get on the phone...
A daily suppository
Here we are back on the Myki investigative trail, continuing from last time. When last I mused, I revealed the gnostic intrigue of the “change of mind”, with its promise of deeper enlightenment. I can...
My Myki, my life
I reckon I was onto more than I knew in coining the language of gnosticism in recent reflections on my personal Myki saga. Indeed I've now attained a still higher knowledge of Mykinian mysteries, surely...
What we don't want
Spot on, Tony Burns. [end Letters, The Age, 6/8] Public funding of sport is plenty high enough already. The front page [end same date] should say it all. Half the games still to go, and we've started...
We're all psychics now
Some still valiantly persist in calling it a “news” cycle. But the tidal wave of reality is thinning their numbers. Increasingly now it’s just a stock exchange of opinions, peppered with the odd objective...
And so this is Christmas
Who remembers the olden days when we complained about Christmas goods in the shops in October? The local Woolies is selling Christmas mince pies. There’s either something wrong with my phone which says...
Top-up no dropoff
A glance at my tag cloud indicates what rich blogging fodder Myki has provided over the past few years; a fact we of the blogosphere are thankful for (when we have nowhere to go).
So, the Aussie commentariat is obsessing over medals? Well honestly, is anyone truly surprised? We have this same discussion through letters, talkback and (more recently) social media, over every Olympics,...
The lengthy coverage of the Australian team's entrance meant the arrival of the Austrian team was overlooked. I'm a proud Australian, but as an ex-Austrian I feel short-changed.
Erich Goetz, Mornington...
A neglected gift
Last night I discovered my daughter’s hidden blog, to which she has clearly posted rather erratically. That fact, together with many of the blogged ruminations themselves, is ample evidence of the old...
Not the Olympics
Modern Olympic Movement pioneer Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s mind would be exercised by more than in-flight gender discrimination between athletes. Were he to return from the grave now, he'd be perplexed...
No, Myki! Please, please … anything but that!!!!!
The great thing about Myki is that you learn something new about it most days. The sad part is that each new learning is most rarely either pleasant or winsome. Here’s my Myki-No-Lyki lesson for today...
The driest incontinence on earth
I thought I'd had the laugh of the week on reading the Zits cartoon (18/7) about . But that was before I got to the bladder-bursting lines from the real bureaucrats.
First there was the piece...
In the wrong queue
Medicare was born not long before our eldest child. At the first consultation with the doctor managing my wife's pregnancy, he wryly directed us to take the receipt to the "Mediocre-care" office. He...
Skipping all stations
Metro's strategy of "altered" services should be applauded as the stroke of sheer strategic genius that it is. And the lift in performance bonuses isn't the half of it. The possibilities for efficiency...
Not quite the fairytale for poor Gingerella. The handsome prince has turned into a glass Slipper, and the ugly sisters are dancing a jig in their budgie smugglers.
If I like you less, does that mean I like you more?
I don't know who or what I like anymore, since Facebook stole my dictionary. And now I'm wondering whether "like"-ing everything I read would actually devalue the currency of my good opinion. Like printing...
In challenging Archbishop Freier's grasp of economics, Colin McLean (Letters, 10/4) evidences his own brand of fiscal myopia. Dr Freier is not the only one who needs to be thankful, as he undoubtedly...
Let's get lexical
The lexical proficiencies of consultants Mercer are grossly under-utilised in merely serving the behavioural capabilities of educators at a single tertiary institution. National politics and news program...
After a week in which public political discourse has reached a new low on the common decency index, the community deserves better than major organs of media dancing to the new discordant tune of Labor's...
Trying to look annoyed
Until recently I thought the hardest thing about being snapped (by a camera) was putting on a smile that actually lasted, looked sublime, didn't make me look a dork, and ticked all the above boxes while...
Ticket to ride, and ride, and ride, and ....
Those folks who say Melbourne's Skybus isn't good value just haven't considered the technology. Granted the tickets have barcodes. But from my experience yesterday, the limited barcode scanning capacities...
Runs and rupees
(The Age, Reader poll, 5/1) Well absolutely, if Clarke keeps batting like this.
A bigger vision
Australian Marriage Equality convener, Alex Greenwich (The Age, 5/1), needs to listen a little more to religious community concerns on gay marriage. Proposed legislation may offer some consolation....
The voice of experience
Two PMs? We know all about it. But how many independents?
Don't thank us
If you're one of our customers directly affected by the grounding, you can look forward to a special thank-you … (Fullpage Qantas ad, The Age, 4/11)
Don't tell me; let me guess. ?
An uglier game
The race to the moral bottom has gone viral, it seems. No longer confined to our major politics, it now infects our major religions too. The next time you put on your football scarf, there's more to...
The God-shaped hole
This is the text of my sermon from last Sunday. The audio file is available on my podcast as usual, which is why I don't normally post my text anymore. But a few people have asked about this one, and...
More evidence that God uses a mac
I've discovered an even better method of using my iPad as a preacher, and surely further proof that there will be no Windows in heaven. One of those serendipitous discoveries when searching for something...
Let's have a real debate
The recent publication of Lindsay Tanner's "Sideshow" has in some sense given us all permission to question the health of politics in Australia, and especially of political coverage by media outlets....
Words and conspiracies
In a free, democratic and diverse society it's only to be expected that the place of religious belief in public life will be debated. This is as it should be. However in the interests of balanced and...
The silence of the plods
I would love to know what really went on between Mr Overland and his former deputy, Sir Ken Jones - just as between Nixon and Ashby, Rudd and Gillard, Turnbull and Abbott, Howard and Costello, Hawke...
Anyone for a truly secular long weekend?
Thanks to 2011's happy confluence of the lunar cycle, a Christian festival and the Australian calendar, Australians have enjoyed the mother of all long weekends. If the current tsunami of secularist...
Be sure your tweets will find you out
Before the commentariat, Christian and other, condemns the Australian Christian Lobby's Jim Wallace as a loony fundamentalist bigot, let's all take a deep breath and consider ...
This is the Twitter...
The PM's Speech
So the PM needs elocution? (Dean Frankel, Opinion, 21/4) Repeat after me, Julia: The refrain unplain goes mainly down the drain.
Not in my back pocket
Perhaps it's time to call a spade a spade on climate change action. Call me a pessimist, a simpleton or both. But here's how it looks from my kitchen table ...
There are really just two parties....
Close to home
A light has just dawned for me, and it's not a pretty sight. A bunch of teens brutalise a defenceless creature in a suburban park, and we're unequivocally sickened and outraged, and rightly. But it's...
Honesty: a political health hazard
A senior politician admits serious error on national television, and the nation's collective lower jaw hits the dirt. After the necessary analysis from commentators and letter writers on Kevin Rudd's...
The secular gospel
, Tina Whittle? (Letters, 5/4) That does sound interesting. Would that be something like a lecture on heart surgery delivered by a plumber?
Has the free speech horse Bolted?
Whatever one's personal opinion either of News Limited's columnist Andrew Bolt as a person or, of the case now before the court -- and it's clear opinions vary widely on both, the unfolding story has...
Losing the way
Polls heading south again, eh Julia? Bit of a blow. Good government losing it's way again, I suppose.
Confessions of an unusually old closet hipster (apparently)
I'm still in recovery mode after a Saturday morning breakfast conversation with my two still-living-at-home unattached 20-something Gen-Y offspring. It was in this conversation over egg and tomato that...
With all those rednecks flocking to Avalon (front page photo, 28/2), I'm amazed the Prime minister wasn't asked to comment. Avalon is now in her electorate. may be forced to court the redneck vote....
Whoever first dubbed Shane Warne spoke more than they knew. Move over, Will & Kate. No offence intended toward our esteemed constitutional monarchy, but we just don't need to salivate over a royal wedding...
The politics of being human
We as a nation - politicians, journalists and the general public - are displaying remarkably short memories of a Federal election campaign which was long on spin and personality while short on substance....
The changing of the colours
About the flag, one thing at least is clear. Ausflag director, Brendan Jones has never tried changing the carpet in an Anglican church.
More than words
While waters have flooded Queensland, some Australians with less on their minds have flooded cinemas and other venues. And in a week when public leaders have been exposed to rather more scrutiny than...
A number of friends have raved on Twitter, Facebook and blogs about the new movie http://www.kingsspeech.com/Official page_blank, describing it as a must see. As a self-confessed film dork who bombs...
God-talk on Facebook
Some thoughts by one recent Facebook returnee ...
Facebook has without question become one of the key places where the world hangs out. (e.g. a recent newspaper article reports that a third of the...
Clarkey pulling up stumps on T20? Makes good sense, I reckon. I did the same thing 10 years ago, when we moved to a house without a backyard.
A grinch for New Year!
Raining on others' parades is not normally my style. But the $256,000 budget for the fireworks over the 'G rates at least a casual question. Impressive? Spine-tingling? Jaw-dropping? City exalting? Undoubtedly,...
There's a lot to like about Myki, and many travellers who've been willing to persevere with some of its early foibles have been rewarded with a (mostly) functional and certainly convenient tool. However...
Relativity in sport
As erstwhile founding father of the Anti-Football League, Keith Dunstan (Opinion, 29/12) is well placed to comment on some of the excesses of Australian sporting fandom. However he, like Guy Thevenet...
Call the vet!
Forget burning the bails. Is there a vet in the house?
When truth leaks no one stays dry
The first flush of WikiLeaking has awoken the world. But in the scramble to untangle the cables, response to the leaker has been anything but nuanced. The most talkative will canonise Julian Assange...
A softer Ted?
Well I admit it. I'm starting to warm to Ted, moderate leftie though I am. The trigger is the new Premier's recent more-than-perfunctory, warmly human and gracious comments on his predecessor's legacy...
I'm all for a quick hobnob over a cuppa at govvy house. But surely in this age of digital communications and carbon conservation, we could have dispensed with the premier-elect making the trek to the...
Confucius say: Better to be oppressed with Suu Kyi than free with Myki
Is it true that Paul strangled himself after a washed out cricket match in India?
Let me speak
It seems there's a crisis even before parliament gathers, over who sits in the chair. I'm prepared to offer my services to resolve the impasse. The chair looks reasonably comfortable for my crook back,...
A small price
I'm perplexed that someone professionally concerned for women's safety (Jan Cooper, Letters, 18/9) would object to police advice on how women might protect themselves. Short of filling every police lockup...
Sirs, you go too far!
Good grief! Is nothing sacred to these men from the bush? Next they'll be wanting total honesty and transparency from all politicians. And then where will it end? People nodding off in the public gallery...
Cram them in
Since the Independents are calling the shots anyway, why not a lateral solution? Make the independents the government, and cram the other 144 into the cross benches. They'd have to get on then.
Jumping for blood
What kind of state leadership permits a racing body to continue a on the expectation of three cruel, senseless animal deaths per year? Probably the kind that's driven more by electoral pragmatism than...
When I grow up I want to be an Independent.
While we wait
Shame about the desal construction crew having to down tools in the big wet. Maybe they could build an ark while they wait?
Julia Gillard, and those chiefly responsible for her elevation to the party leadership, could belatedly recover the respect of many Labor voters with a simple transparent acknowledgement of how Kevin...
It's still not too late to save Election 2010 from total failure as a source of all-age family entertainment. The solution lies in the animal kingdom. Why has no one considered a more prominent role...
Metro's Twitter feed must be one of the least digestible reads in Melbourne. I literally cannot recall a day since subscribing when there hasn't been at least 2 or 3 tweets about delays on one or more...
In all my hundred-or-so funerals, I've yet to see a body cremated after burial. So what did Tony Abbott really do to Work Choices?
Honeymooning down by the mine
When is a backflip not a backflip? When it happens on your honeymoon.
What can Johnny do now?
Appeal to the 3rd umpire. Use a runner. Carry the drinks. Appeal against the light. Retire hurt. Bowl underarm. Count the seagulls. Find a beachball. Join the Mexican wave.
I recognise it's not common to confess to a criminal lifestyle through a letter to this most respectable of broadsheets. However as a regular user of Myki on a tram (an illegal activity, it seems), my...
Pardon our regress
If Metro must rewrite their contract, I'm happy to serve as an English language consultant. Fortunately I won't be requiring public transport during evenings next week. A Metro notice in The Age (29/4),...
The iron monk
I just want to know whether Tony's a real iron man or whether Mrs Abbott does the cuffs and collars.
Well sorry, Mark Webber. You've lost very nearly all my respect in a single hit. Comments like yours from a home motor sport hero are simply the worst Easter gift to the loved ones of young male drivers...
The Comedy Festival could hardly be more timely. With a little creativity, even the Brumby government could still get Melbourne commuters chuckling .. and maybe even voting too.
I propose "Myki -...
If Myki is my key to Melbourne, then I need a locksmith urgently.
Up the poll
Once again there are no winners in the perpetual blame-shifting merry-go-round of Melbourne public transport. If either the government or Metro's executives are genuinely surprised at the system's continued...
Stay on the ground, Tony
What with trucks on the highway and quad bikes in the desert, Mr Abbott's campaign strategy should not include skydiving or bungee jumping.
A mouse by any other name (please! ... )
as a name for Apple's previous desktop rodent really didn't do it for me. But as it came bundled with my last computer, who was I to complain? But at any rate, it scarcely lived up to the jingle I remember...
A , led by an Abbott and a Bishop, cloistered from reality, preaching to the choir, praying for a miracle.
Separating fact from fiction
Most of those who invoke the doctrine of the in political discourse these days evidence little grasp of it's actual meaning. It's become a kind of popular Dawkinsian rallying cry for the atheism. Peter...
Global climate change treaty looking doubtful? Well not to worry. The seas will eventually reclaim all the world's industrial sites, and then it won't matter. But Copenhagen needn't go down as another...
To wit, to who?
I'm trying to decide whether to be more grateful to Greg Craven (Opinion, 4/11) for injecting some balancing wit into current public debate on the merits of theism, or to his respondents (Letters, 5/11)...
More or less
I'm rather confused about numbers just now. The PM apparently wants fewer asylum seekers and more people whilst his critics want more asylum seekers and fewer people. Is it just me and my arithmetic...
The Rudd government is under heavy fire from it's own constituency on many fronts, most prominently asylum seekers and climate change. Ultimately the two are united by the question of lifestyle. How...
Jesus is always more than you've yet realised he is. And following him is always more than you realised it was.
Whoever you are, however much or little you know about Christianity or the church, or...
It doesn't work
I'm a film dork, if there's such a thing. (And if there isn't, there will be when you've met me.) When I'm with a bunch of people who are talking movies, I try to grunt intelligently but my answer to...
Choose your weapons
Apparently Rob Hulls stands guilty of protecting unenlightened disrespect, hatred and religious prejudice in this state. But then again, the undercurrents of this debate reflect a far-from-helpful use...
Luke has linked: the great catch of fish -- Jesus declaration that they will catch people -- the leaving everything to follow.
He says They respond by leaving everything - even the fishing where...
God and the doctor
Well the next time God has a bad hair day, he can always go and flop on the couch in Dr Deveny's (The Age, 2/9) consulting suite. And Galileo might well join him, so the good doctor can inform him that...
Any water up there?
Looking for water, eh Tim? Well I guess it's the desal afterall. (Glad you're back anyway.)
A job well done
I can only contemplate how dull this past week could have been if Mr & Mrs Grech had been so unimaginative as to name their son or (or even worse ... , for instance). But bless their souls, they too...
Ready to jump
Jumps protesters ejected from parliament | Herald SunFrom the TV footage, the protesters looked ready to jump the barrier
None so intolerant
Peter Costello is right (Opinion, 29/7) - not a statement I've commonly made. This surely is the fundamental absurdity of the entire so-called proposition currently levelled at the religious school...
I've got friends again
Even a proud Facebook evictee gets lonely sometimes. Especially when one keeps on discovering more people who've signed up in recent months, yea even the most recalcitrant Luddites of one's acquaintance.
What language was that?
Now don't come the raw prawn with us, Kev. … Geez, mate, I sure hope the German pollies got that one. Just typing it into Google was nearly too much for me. Word of advice .. Just stick with shaking...
Here's my latest of the options for receiving Communion in the quarantine age. Drafted with my current ministry in mind - a traditional Anglican parish ...Drinking from the common cupPro:• Natural expression...
Still in transit
So we're going to get a more reliable system, more services and greater punctuality, with the same infrastructure, same public investment and Myki? Looking forward to it, John.
So Jacko has now followed Elvis out of the building! Now I suppose we watch for the impersonators ...
In an ABC Lateline (22/6) debate on the so-called affair, Tony Abbott averred that
it's the job of the Opposition Leader to attack the Prime Minister based on credible evidence
A good article here about (Kids in Parents' Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings), as they're lately defined. Financial ties still bind empty-nesters Good cross-reference for those of us Melbourne Anglican...
Sacramental philosophy, anyone?
If you're confused about which world you're in, try this one for size: Virtual Holy Communion? at Brownblog ..
But seriously, there is some real wrestling here for leaders in the C21st church. The...
If God had meant some people to wear clerical collars he'd have created us with a docking station either side of the Adam's apple.
No ordinary microbe
May I be the first to hail the international acclaim lately accorded a microbe of humble origins. What an inspiration to other aspiring viral nasties. You too can rise above your south-of-the-border...
The postal Jesus?
You've got wafer Just check this one out. I suppose it had to happen some time. Rather topical after just posting the other day about communion cups and lurgies. I had a lively discussion on the same...
Of cups and microbes
Well it's about my turn probably. Wednesday: I got home from a first-rate Melbourne Anglican ministry conference, possibly the best ever for me. Thursday: early signs of a cold. Now it's Saturday evening,...
Welcome to Victoria
I hear there's a new sign at all our state border crossings and airport terminals:
Believers right and left
Given the currency in the Australian media of phrases like with reference to any public expressions of orthodox Christian morality, it's little surprise that both the ABC and The Age (26/5) would list...
Pensions and passions
One of my parishioners told me a true story today, arising from a recent conversation with a friend who presumably is a rare visitor to church. The friend had attended a church service recently (not...
Hope for the drowning
Here's one piece of good news for anyone drowning in unsolicited bulk e-mail messages ("spam", in other words). And from what I can tell "anyone" is everyone these days. Jeff Hendrickson of Hendrickson...
It's more than Rugby
The ABC's Four Corners programme exposing the ugly depths of misogyny in the NRL raises broader questions, requiring the attention of far more sectors of our society than the NRL itself. Among the programme's...
Islam, the world and us
A record of interview with Barnabas Fund's Dr Patrick Sookhdeo in the April issue of Australian Presbyterian is one of the more helpful things I've read in a while for an understanding of Islam and...
Defaced and loving it
It's now about 3 months since I was promoted to the rank of Permanent Facebook Evictee. This was achieved some 6 weeks after an initial reprieve, allowing my return to Facebook following my account being...
Grace and wrath
Grace cannot be grace if sin is not deadly.
Powered by Qumana
“A safe jumps industry”? Well why not? We have “clean coal”, don’t we?
Blogging is good for your soul
The title of this post just came to me after reading a very helpful blog post by John Piper on why pastors should blog. This in turn caught my attention as I was continuing to chew over the impact on...
Tell us when to laugh
Well enough of this melancholy, please! We're Aussies. Yes we know the swine flu is a serious matter, and no we don't want to be flippant about human suffering. But humour is in our souls. We're all...
Down from the summit
Throwing open the windows is always a good idea when the air gets stale. It offers the hope of a fresh breeze with good results, though also the risk of a storm bringing chaos in its wake. If there proves...
The great unread
I've just reading the Saturday Age. Or in translation - I've perused the news and 'Insight' sections. On a suburban Saturday with cleaning, washing & shopping to do, I think I've done well. My wife...
Call it quits
I shan't pretend to understand the economic or national security implications of the Defence Minister's friendships. Such things are far too wonderful for me. But lately democracy seems to have degenerated...
A senator just the same
In company with others, I'm perplexed by Senator Fielding's parliamentary record. (And I speak as a fellow Christian, in substantial agreement with Family First's platform.) But whenever the Senator...
Let's just listen anyway
I'm poorly placed to debate John Searle (Opinion, 20/3) on the value of Archbishop Freier's planned hospitality toward former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami. Searle is a far more engaged and informed...
The new king
As Ben Cousins finally recedes to the relative ignominy of the sports pages, please put your hands together for the new tabloid king - Peter Costello. Succeeding where even Paris Hilton failed.
Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky should think big when it comes to bikes. Everyone could be a winner here - commuters, the government, the health system, the environment .. maybe even Connex too....
Greed without borders
American corporations typically are governed by a supremo who functions as both board chairman and executive director. Consequences may include lack of accountability and grossly disproportionate salaries,...
Confessions of a facebook felon
On 31st December I attempted to log on to my Facebook account, only to get the following message: "Account DisabledYour account has been disabled by an administrator. If you have any questions or concerns,...
More than satisfied
It's not Ms Hilton's fault; but unfortunately she picked the wrong country to shop in just now. Our appetites for celebrity gossip and general tabloid drooling are at present amply satiated by Ben Cousins....
Fewer cars on the Westgate? (The Age, 3/12) Brilliant! I won't need to park quite so close to one in front.
Who needs luck?
Well I just hope David Hicks reads John Bell's (Letters, 22/11) enlightened take on his life. Then perhaps Hicks will finally stop blathering and bless the extraordinary benevolence by which he was clapped...
The really early bird
A recovery package for the Early-Bird ticket: Make it really early, say 3am, in the opposite direction. That's when most commuters are staggering home to bed, where they're still snoring at 6.
Not the recession
Just don't mention the 'R' word. JP Morgan mentioned it once, but we think they got away with it.
A hollow morality
Paul Austin's call (Opinion, 16/10) for state government minister Theo Theophanous to be granted presumption of innocence and due process, would ring considerably less hollow if it weren't for the fact...
Another happy Christmas
So it's Christmas as usual, then? Another orgy of excessive culinary indulgence? Another round of retail extravagance and seasonal checkout mayhem? Another box-load of trinkets we'll all figure out what...
Words can kill
The passage of legislation decriminalising abortion is in no small part a victory for selective parlance, studiously applied in public discourse. Throughout the public and media debate on this legislation,...
Now let's have no more of this fiscal gloom. What these silly economists need is the verbal dexterity of the makers of Stage 3a water restrictions - our very own state government. All that's required...
Surgeons and bishops
I'm not a Catholic, which it seems is a good thing in Victoria just now. A few weeks ago a front page Age headline grabbed our attention: "Archbishop's abortion threat". Now (The Age, 6/10) it's the...
The politics of death
So capital punishment is "morally repugnant" (Editorial, 4/10). No argument there from this writer. But then I'd have thought the same of euthanasia and abortion on demand. As a community we are poorly...
Against pro-abortion legislation
Text of a letter (e-mail) to members of the Legislative Council of the Parliament of Victoria (Western Metropolitan electoral district):Greetings to you all in your capacity as Legislative Council members...
Of unborn persons
In a matter of weeks we stand to become a very muddled society indeed. Under current legislation a miscarried foetus of 20 weeks' gestation or later must be registered as a birth, may be named, and must...
One who is weighed down with earthly treasure and duty cannot follow Jesus for heavenly treasure. I must hang loose from possessions to hang tightly to Jesus.
God bless secularism!
Oh the religious passion with which John L. Perkins of the Secular Society of Australia (Letters, 27/6) defends the cause of Australian secularism! Truth, justice and the secular way. God bless you,...
Too many obese Aussies? Well I don't know. I reckon we need to take a more global perspective. With so much excess corpulence weighing down the northern hemisphere, we need all the fat people we can...
So we spend the morning at the Shrine solemnly reflecting on life, death and sacrifice; and then we spend the afternoon at the G in a frenzy of Pie and Bomber adulation. And we call it an Anzac Day tradition....
Well they say actions speak louder than words. Here's what I've deduced from the contents of page 4 (The Age, 17/4):
In a 3-inch news item: The sexualisation of children for commercial profit is a...
Lord you know my rebellion and it shames me. And yet again today, just like yesterday and every day I'm free to stand in your presence unashamed because of your Son's blood which avails for me.
If ever I find myself a broken man in thrall to substances, I'll be sure to seek the professional counsel of an interviewer under studio lights before a national audience. The ABC's Andrew Denton is...
Have a bunny holiday
Brave man, Dr John Evans (The Age, 20/3). Very brave! Knock off Good Friday as an Aussie public holiday? If I were you, I'd lie low for a few months and get a new deadlock. And a few humble apologies...
Cheers for Johnny
It's time those carping lefties gave Johnny a break. Does no one appreciate the great service that one man rendered to the nation? I defy anyone to identify an Australian public figure in the past generation...
It's not about logic
Logically you're right, Catherine Deveny (Opinion, 5/3). I too have wondered about the sense of "deb balls" in the 21st century. But what seems to escape your notice in your ongoing quest to rid the...
If we clock Sydney for population, sprawl and overall vehicular mayhem, do we get the harbour and the Opera House too?
Let's all take a pay cut
The Rudd government's determination to proceed with the promised tax cuts is simply an expression of the integrity we've cried for from our political leaders for a long time. They deserve our commendation....
I miss Johnny
Well after 3 weeks I have to say I'm bored stiff. Please, please, Messrs Tandberg, Leunig & co! I want Little Johnny back. Kevin's just so darned honest, altruistic and compassionate - and worst of all,...
And the other person ... ?
The common thread in all letters defending Prof Lachlan de
Crespigny's controversial abortion procedure is the underlying
assumption now so mainstream, it rarely rates a comment: The mother
How many Kiwi cops does it take to change a lightbulb? None; they
haven't got a warrant yet.
Whom to believe
Three journalists, a politician, a bottle of wine and the Truth? I'll
stick to the crossword.
Family life is part of us all
To liken John Brumby's appointment of John Lenders as Treasurer ahead
of Tim Holding, to Senator Heffernan's
appellation of Julia Gillard, is overblown and unfair. To splash it
on the front...
They said it all
The Friday press conferences said it all. Bracks: the man who
humanised politics. Baillieu: the pollie who politicised humanity.
Nigel Jackson (Letters, 12/6), you little bewdy! A true blue Aussie
monarch. What a ripper of an idea to save some trees and 20 years'
gasbagging. Now here's what I reckon. We invite the nation...
Mokbel's last mocha.
Will the next flawed Australian please step forward?
Baby mother might thank Thérèse Rein for supplanting
her from the national spotlight, thus allowing her to resume the
familiar comforts of anonymity. Ms Rein in turn can rest assured that
The power of choice
Anyone who thinks that Thérèse Rein has caved in to gender
conservatism, joining the ranks of subjugated women, should think
again. The nation has witnessed a transparent demonstration of true
More to go round
Only 15 dinner guests instead of 19, Mr Howard? Well look on the
bright side. The humble pie won't have to stretch so far.
Why is it news?
The ill-considered Daily Telegraph headline (baby
mother) might best have been ignored and forgotten
amidst the vast annals of editorial misjudgments. So why wasn't it?
Tragedies nearly identical...
We mortals have long suspected it, but Paul Keating's latest
utterance on ABC radio puts it beyond doubt. Politics is indeed a
parallel universe. Labor's IR policy it seems has done away with
I must congratulate The Age on catering for ever widening reader
tastes. Gone are the days when I had to wait until my next trip to
the supermarket to catch the latest Hollywood divorce scoop on...
Money for brains
Whilst not at all doubting Professor Davis' assurance that the 'Melbourne Model' is targetted foremost at quality educational outcomes, it's clear that financial pressures are at least one catalyst for...
Tarred with a broad brush
According to various correspondents (Letters, 13/4) Kevin Rudd has now revealed his true colours as a gutless Howard clone like all the rest. The Opposition Leader, apparently, has 'defended' or even...
The roo may stay on the tail. But the question is one of posture: As
a hopping icon, or as roadkill?
Regarding the Federal Government attack on Kevin Rudd over Brian
Burke, three words will suffice: Desperate, grubby and contemptible.
Planet for sale
For Sale: One very used planet, occupied by 6 billion careless
owners. Set in established solar system with free and unlimited solar
power. Distant views of planet Mars with potential for future
Foot in mouth
State Labor frontbencher Tim Pallas should have resisted the
temptation to score a political point in commenting (3/2) on the
current public transport crisis. The Bracks government may be
Well honestly, some people are just never satisfied. If the train
doesn't stop at some stations it gets there faster.
Bring him home now!
I hope Messrs Howard, Ruddock and Downer enjoyed their breakfast
yesterday (31/1). I didn't enjoy mine much, thanks to the artist's
image of David Hicks' predicament and the accompanying report...
I'm hardly a monarchist, but I found Tony Boyle's anonymous jibe at the Queen (Letters, 29/1) simply crass and offensive. Technically, yes it was a clever literary device, making a valid point by a play...
People and parrots
Senator Ian Campbell shuffled from Environment to Human Services, and
he's listed with the . (24/1) But I don't know. Serving
people has to beat serving parrots.
Christian Right? Wrong ...
The current rather sensationalist charges through the Age (and other
outlets) of fundamentalist Christian political influence, are
disappointing and certainly unhelpful to social harmony. It's...
Mighty pens indeed
When in 1839 novelist Edward Lytton wrote , he didn't know the half of it. Within just a few
months, by scribal enactment, a planet has been cut adrift from the
solar system, and here in our own...
There's 'choice' and there's ...
Eva Cox of the Womens Electoral Lobby bemoans that (The Age, 3/1). The double-standard is extraordinary.
Imagine the reaction if it were suggested that a health minister with
It's politics, Stupid!
Yet again the Exclusive Brethren emblazon the
front page (30/12), with a further
by Michael Bachelard. Yet another
revelation to evoke moral outrage, as indeed such
behaviour should. Then...
Making the grade
In leaked government documents just to hand, the proposed Citizenship Test will include the following:1. The capital city of Australia is ...
a. New York
c. Pine Gap2. Complete...
It would be fascinating to observe the reaction if Professor Stephen
Lamb's contention against academically selective state schools
(Opinion, 21/11) were applied, say, to sport. Let's try it. Let's
It can only be hoped that members of the Federal lower house can work
their social lives around the debate and voting on the therapeutic
cloning bill, in contrast to several senators. More gravely,...
Recently I spent an unanticipated 24 hours as an inpatient in a
Victorian country hospital. I won't name the town, and I doubt that
it matters. I came away feeling healthier, but also angrier....
The debate we didn't have to have
Now I know why we didn't have a TV debate last time. Pointless
exercise. Plenty of spin; little substance. Nil-all draw. Voters in
the dark before, in the dark still. Doubtful benefit to journos....
Speaking of provocation ...
It would be a pity if the community's natural outrage at Sheikh
Hilali's now infamous comments did not occasion some honest
reflection on mainstream western culture. In the cultural world
If Gough held Maragaret's hand more she'd write less.
The world, it seems, has plunged into acute
Brethophobia. In a matter of days a relatively
small and obscure sect have been singled out as
electoral terrorists. (And they probably can't
Pity the Exclusive Brethren can't read newspapers. The exposure's
been anything but exclusive.
It's probably true that Pope Benedict failed to distinguish what he
could helpfully say as Pope from what he could legitimately say as an
academic theologian. He has been called to task for this...
Refreshing change, this Naomi Robson story. A front page slanging
match between media outlets. Who needs parliament to entertain us?
The one missing ingredient: an analysis by the pollies.
Cricketers' boot camp near Gold Coast? Hope they confiscated Warney's phone.
A future for sale
Another August and another round of university open days. Two themes stand out for this parent at least, one standing in marked contrast to earlier years with my (slightly) older children. One is the...
That's the way, Mr Baillieu. Dump the dump. You'll certainly draw the
'nimby' vote with that one. But then, as Paul Austin (Opinion, 18/8)
hints, you do face the small challenge of the waste we...
The power of definition
Imagine that! The solar system could be about to expand while we
sleep. (, The Age
17/8) A planetary realignment? A deep space invasion? The end of the
world? No. All it takes is a committee,...
Misinformed? It depends ...
Here's an idea for Senator Stott Despoja (Opinion, 17/8). Let's
legislate. Every pregnancy counselling service shall be obligated to
display this notice: primarysecondary Deal ? Probably
1 Jn 1:1-4
Come and see. Oh won't you come and see! Come and see God, up close.
Come and see him in his Son, in whom you may see the secrets of the
Father's heart laid bare. We beg you to come and see him,...
Just the two of us
You can't be too careful who you fly with these days. I'm flying in a few weeks, and I'm making my list ...
* people of middle-eastern appearance * people of Pak... No, make that sub-continent generally...
The age of terror
Spooner's cartoon (The Age, 12/8) is ageist. The only young and
skinny ones are the terrorists.
It's in the bag
So the terrorists are the ones without the plastic bags, right
No Hans Paas (Letters, 11/8), doesn't mean
And by the way, Hans, I don't hate you. I just
happen to disagree with you. There is a difference, and it's almost
Dean Jones should feel for remorse for his quip. And by
all accounts he does. He should apologise to Hashim Amla. And he did.
Amla should accept the apology. And he has. The public should know
A war by any other name
So the US generals are warning of the of a civil war in
Iraq (The Age, 5/8). Indeed. But I'm intrigued ... With a hundred
deaths a day due to sectarian violence, what would they call it now?
Sharing to learn
I'm probably an economic simpleton. But I'm puzzled by the polarized ideologies displayed in the debate on the funding of university places. It seems we are at war on the matter. One camp lobs a grenade...
Bank of terror
'Onya Southgate! Protecting us humble latte-sippers from those snapshot terrorists. Why I was down there just the other day, and they were swarming, a veritable cohort of them. Some still in strollers...
News of an impending Asian series for Australia's
cricketers sounds great for this cricket fan. It would sound even
better had I not read Good Weekend's (29/7) extract of Paul Barry's
That the Federal Treasurer's comments on the relationship between
fertility, immigration and should trigger
instinctive disquiet is perhaps not surprising. But his comments in
Oh bother! My mother always said I was too impetuous. If I'd only
waited another few decades to become a human embryo ... I could have
enjoyed the of medical scientists like Sue Hawes and Megan
Cricket at the G
Now that we've done our dash with the soccer in
Germany, it's back to thinking about nicking the
Ashes back from the Poms. Well I've had this
thought. Someone should capitalise on Cricket
Sorry, son, you're just not a person
How interesting to learn from James Guest (Opinion, 28/6) that (sic) have believed that
human personhood begins at birth, rather than conception. But I
suspect it would also come as news to the...
People, not politics
Unsurprisingly Tony Abbott has won few sympathetic hearers with his
appropriation of the term in proposing a revolution in
indigenous policy. However the Minister's crude vocabulary should not
And the sun sets ....
And the lone Dutchman rides off into the Slavic sunrise.
Fortunately for Harry he didn't know how to say .
Whether Bruce F. MacKenzie (Letters, 20/5) truly speaks for in his call for Brendan Nelson to take the rap for Brigadier Cosson's failure, I know not. But I at least am wearied by the parroting of...
Don't bring us a shrubbery
In addressing (The Age, 17/5), I hope that the state government's transport initiative will address one ubiquitous and often-overlooked suburban hazard. Councils across Melbourne seem obsessed with...
The Liberal Anthem
[Led from the front]:Cantor: I will remain as party leader Chorus: For as long as the party wants me to, and as long as it is in the party’s best interests that I do so.Cantor: The rich will remain rich...
After the inevitable of exchanges of suspicion, conspiracy theory, political speak, and sundry assurances, perhaps the planned government services smartcard warrants more thoughtful reflection from all...
Never let it be said that the petrol barons have no soul. They've clearly grasped that Easter has something to do with rising.
[Submitted to the 'Riverine Herald', Echuca-Moama]
About the middle of the first century AD in Israel, a rather enthusiastic cult figure got up the noses of the wrong people. Some of his few hundred...
I'm sorry Alastair Isherwood felt that my comments (22/3) about an imbalanced emphasis on sporting success devalued Aussie sport generally. He might be pleased to know that the day his letter appeared...
An offer too good to accept
Never fear, oh people of North Queensland! The Saviour of Iraq and Comforter of New Orleans stands ready to deliver. Thank you, Mr Bush. Don't call us, we'll call you.
The Feelgood Games
The volume of letters bemoaning the sickening jingoism of the games commentary is heartening. But we'd best save our typographic energy if we expect to make any difference. The unflattering likelihood...
At the risk of causing economists to choke with hysterical laughter, here's my prescription for restoring equity, good sense and goodwill to the Commonwealth Games. (Substitute as applicable.)
I share Dr Muriel Porter's concern for the good health of the Anglican Church in Australia. I pray that we are and remain a fellowship of Christians able to attract Australians to the grace and truth...
Ravens & monarchs
Good to read (The Age, 22/2) that the Tower of London's ravens are safe from the grim reaper. Whether their good health will be enough to secure the British monarchy remains to be seen. But as we mark...
Robots and ministers
Roy Arnott (13/2) asks a fair question. Will those arguing for ministerial determination in the case of RU486 accept a pro-choice decision by a future health minister? From one such person, the answer...
My problem with Melbourne Cricket Club membership has little to do with women. It's much more to do with the clearly anachronistic name of the club and the ground over which it presides. I would gladly...
It's not about hate
In a world community where trust is fragile enough, headlines like (9/2) are scarcely a recipe for calm. The subject of the laws in question and of church leaders' pleas is not . This distinction is...
Safer on the jetty
I hope Steve Bracks had a good summer break. Sounds like he needed it. And I'm glad I'm not a Labor politician. It's probably just me. But I've never quite grasped the sense of the seemingly time-honoured...
Why is it that critics of the Prime Minister or his government, especially letter writers, insist on polarising political debate with all-or-nothing rhetoric? Are those of us who long for a return to...
Before the soapie and reality producers rush to the bank, a check of Grandma's old Latin school dictionary would be advisable. Contrary to your report (26/1) on Pope Benedict's new encyclical, the title...
When fairness and respect die
Richard Woolcott (Opinion, 21/1) has captured clearly what I have felt for several years, but could not have expressed as he has. neatly capture the character and approach of the Federal government,...
I checked the Vicroads website and clicked on . Nothing moved, and the text at the bottom said An appropriate answer to my question.
I remember the days. A bunch of sleep-deprived, nocturnal arts undergraduates, slumped in commonroom chairs, allaying our boredom and flexing our otherwise dormant intellects, by indulging in "punfests."...
Labor's latest oxymoron: compulsory volunteerism.
Narnia and a free society
In an age when most are calling for less rather than more film censorship, concerns such as Julian Cook's about "the intention of the Christian movie enterprise" (Letters, 30/12) are puzzling. Are we...
Lord, you are the one who does what he says he will do, who keeps his promises! You spoke your word of deliverance through the prophets centuries earlier. Then generations came and went, were born and...
A year or so ago, the state government commendably introduced legislation restricting telemarketing activity. It is time to take this further to severely restrict, or even ban this invasive practice....
Faith left and right
I find Senator Fielding's support for the government's Voluntary Student Unionism legislation surprising and profoundly disappointing.
In contrast the resulting resurgence of conspiracy theories...
Whatever labels might be applied to the Singapore government, isn't among them. Heartless to the end.
The politics of persons
Inconveniently for women who'd like to use RU486, there are enough Australians who believe that a human foetus or embryo is a person with their own rights, rather than merely a piece of human tissue....
Some lives matter
Public debate produces some eerie juxtapositions. At this time many Australians have passionately opposed Friday's planned execution of Van Nguyen in Singapore. Our core grounds for this have included...
No more of this
A few lines of text could hardly convey the pain, sadness and sense of injustice doubtlessly felt by millions of Australians on hearing of the planned execution of Nguyen Tuong Van in Singapore.
Just passin' through
[Submitted to the 'Riverine Herald', Echuca-Moama]
I couldn't write a song if my life depended on it. But if I did try to pen a ditty about 2005, the chorus line might be: "Not sure if we'll meet...
Please Mr Batchelor, don't change anything about our public transport system. Especially not before the games. It's Melbourne's strongest line of defense in the war on terror.
Religion and power
Pamela Bone (Opinion, 25/8) raises again the question of a link between violence and oppression, and religious faith. She asks reasonable questions, from a historical perspective - questions which ought...
The last refuge
Very good, Johnny! You can go out and play now. Not so terribly difficult now was it? And after recess we'll have another look at that old spelling test, with that word that caused you such trouble -...
The need to party
From Kirribili to the local RSL Australians have responded in widely varied fashion to the screening of the rather upbeat style and lyrics of the Bee Gees ahead of this year's Dawn Service at Anzac Cove....
Saved from boredom
Thank you, thank you, Benedict XVI! You have saved the world from a prolonged tabloid frenzy over every puff of smoke.
I ran the phrase through my grammar checker, and the system crashed.
The final test
Text: Jn 15:9-17 Preached at Werribee Church of Christ 6/2/05
Ask any politician, and they’ll tell you that topping every opinion poll for 3 years is worth little if you lose...
Private lives of public people
Greens leader Bob Brown is right to challenge the latest on-air tabloid pursuit of Mark Latham. In similar vein, it's heartening that Mr Howard has staunchly resisted the invitation to politicise the...
Love, hatred and good sense
Moira Rayner (Opinion, 6/1) proposes a sound alternative to the legislative and juridical approach to villification now so beloved of governments. I would like to add another in some sense related to...
World wealth and the truth
The truth is out. It has taken a single day's cataclysm with appropriate media exposure to draw billions from government coffers across the western world. In announcing a $1b aid package to Indonesia...
The right questions
I'm humbled by Jason Foster's (Letters, 4/1) appellation that I have trumped even the likes of Barny Zwartz and Gordon Cheng in the defense of blind, baseless and purposeless faith. Don't thank me, thank...
The God who is real
It is entirely appropriate, especially at such a time as this, that a range of views and reflections appear in your pages as to the character and activity of God. Whilst all these perspectives merit...
Hard world, secure faith
Kenneth Nguyen (Opinion, 30/12) thoughtfully ponders the impact of Sunday's tsunami on people's beliefs. He more than fairly asks how this awful event sits with faith in a good God who is involved in...
A new government
Text: Isa 9:1-7 Preached at Werribee Church of Christ Christmas Day 2004
The Religious Liberty Prayer Letter of 15th December reports this:
On Sunday 12 December, two...
Asleep at the wheel
Thankyou Mr Vic Roads, for filling my day with hope. It's 10am. My wife can't get to work on her normally smoothly running arterial route. The radio stations are reporting traffic gridlock stretching...
Poor enough to be rich
Text: Phil 4:10-19 Preached at Werribee Church of Christ 12/12/04
About 18 months ago, I told you about one of the most challenging expressions of Christian discipleship I’ve...
Your mind matters
Text: Phil 4:1-9 Preached at Werribee Church of Christ 5/12/04
And the people bowed and prayed, to the neon god they'd made. If you’re somewhere within cooee of my age, you’ll...
Thanks to Alan Attwood (27/11) for introducing us to I now can't wait for next week, when I hope to be introduced to those that do.
Make your life count
Text: Phil 3:1-9 Preached at Werribee Church of Christ 21/11/04
About 10 days ago I read something disturbing, which I shared in my message last week. To remind you of it...
Living through death
Text: Phil 2:1-11. Preached at Werribee Church of Christ 14/11/04
An overseas visitor, unfamiliar with the workings of cricket, asked his host to explain the purpose of the...
Think I'll walk ...
Traffic congestion, more buses, smart buses, heavy rail, light rail, more freeways, underpasses, overpasses, level crossings, consultations, telemarketing, white papers, blueprints, congestion tax, oil...
A ban on unions funding political parties without member consent? Sounds great for democracy ... As does a ban on private companies funding political parties without shareholder and employee consent.
All for the Gospel
Text: Philippians 1. Preached at Werribee Church of Christ 7/11/04
Last week I discovered the missing ingredient in my love life. Guys - you might want to pay close attention....
Competing for "moral" Australia
Competing for Australia:
A digital image of a fully naked child in a vulnerable position displayed on a 15
A renovator’s dream
Text: Gen 12:1-9 Preached at Werribee Church of Christ 17/10/04
The back page of CHOICE magazine each month is titled “The hard word”. It displays some of the interesting attempts...
For whom the ballot tolls
I hope Robert Hum (Letters, 13/10) is wrong in his assessment that the Mitcham-Frankston tollway issue tipped the scales against Labor in Aston. If he is not, there are disturbing implications for Australian...
Faithlessness is spiritually less perilous than feigned piety. The faithless are always within a breath of mercy; the falsely pious are far from mercy because they will not seek it. Cf 1 Cor 10:12; Lk...
C'mon, guys, lighten up! Have any of you actually spent five minutes perusing the Family First website? If you had, you'd read many policies in areas like welfare, health and even Iraq (to name but a...
The Towering Fiasco
Text: Gen 11:1-9 Preached at Werribee Church of Christ 10/10/04
Well we’re nearing the end of our series on Gen 1-11. Today chap 11, next week chap 12 .. which will cause you...
I understand football now
I've never attended a football final, nor even one of those other games titled in honour of an evening soapie. Strange, but surely apt. The game has remained entirely a mystery to me. However now they've...
This world as we know it is a negative image of the world as the Creator designed it. When the Lord comes, all that sin and Satan have done to the planet and to human affairs will be put back to right....
Living in a dying world
Text: Gen 9 Preached at Werribee Church of Christ 19/9/04
In a world of scams - property scams, get-rich-quick scams, internet scams, software piracy, insurance scams .. -...
Old Aussie proverb: He who cuts 'n runs can ease the squeeze.
No, he isn’t joking
Text: Gen 6:9-8:22 Preached at Werribee of Church of Christ 12/9/04
Last Sunday while we were reflecting together on the escalating nightmare of what sin can produce on planet...
Man at his worst, lowest and most desperate sees God at His best, highest and most glorious.
We are created for a great dignity, but one which only Christ by his death could make a reality. So becoming a follower of Jesus means becoming truly human for the first time, and taking up our rightful...
Faith withers through lack of rehearsal and reflection.
It gets worse
Text: Gen 4:1 - 6:8 Preached at Werribee Church of Christ 5/9/04
Last week, the technology of the 1960s got the better of me .. which doesn’t offer much hope for the 21st century....
There's no excuse for spam, spam, spam
The integrity or otherwise of Mr Howard's bulk e-mail campaign through his son's company I'll leave to others to judge. However there's a deeper issue raised by Communications and IT Minister Helen Coonan's...
Sport-obsessed? ... or something worse?
Now that the torch has been put to bed for another few years, how about some national reflection? Some letters to The Age, and several conversations I’ve shared, have indicated thinning interest in these...
Where the trouble started
Text: Gen 3. Preached at Werribee Church of Christ 29/8/04
It’s human nature to resist change, and opt for the status quo. Anyone who’s ever tried to bring about any kind...
A tale of two gospels: grace and religion. Two kinds of lost people: the lost who know it, and the lost who don't. How (not) to rest in the Father's arms of grace.
Invest yourself in that which will produce heaven's greatest joy. What does this say of the church which pours all its wealth into the saved who ? Are we driven by earthly passions, or heavenly?
Is our lack of experience of God's power and intervention simply indicative of our laziness and half-heartedness in prayer? Surely a word of rebuke to the western church. We expect lavish blessing for...
1 Tim 4:14-16
A Christian leader who isn't seriously, consistently and visibly committed to their own growth is a spiritual danger to themself and those God has entrusted to their care.
1 Tim 4:3-4
The habit of thanking God (e.g. meal graces) means we recognise that we live in an ordered universe, in which grace is a deeply embedded principle. God is always the giver, and people always the receivers....
It's God's design that functional families produce functional people. Therefore service that targets families is more than an evangelistic strategy; it is also a means to impacting the health of the...
Leadership is recognising the marks of the hand of God, and gathering leaders to the task. Vision biblically is not creating new plans out of nothing, but seeing where God is already at work, naming...
Jesus says clearly here that he has no accidental, random or conscripted followers. A disciple is someone who has made an informed, conscious, costly and counter-cultural choice.
There is risk in ignoring God's invitation to bask in grace. One day it will be too late to say Choose now to let God serve you; stop looking for eternal joy in earthly shadows; stop seeking nourishment...
A heart that hankers for earthly reward will not be content to wait on the heavenly blessing of the Father.
The perfect match
Text: Gen 2:15-25. Preached at Werribee Church of Christ, 15/8/04.
Whoever you are, God created you to be an object of his love and in fellowship with Him and others. That,...
Better than drugs
So Kederis is revered . (The Age, 14/8). No drug could produce that. She/he would really make Olympic history.
Democracy turned feral?
Is it the constitutional monarchy system that's flawed, as Ted O'Brien (11/8) insists? Or is it democracy turned feral? First it was Dr Hollingworth. But there, a legion of grounds were advanced for...
The perfect job
Text: Gen 1:26 - 2:3. Preached 8/8/04 at Werribee Church of Christ.
What is man? What makes a person human? What gives them dignity, worth, significance? .. If you turn on...
A number of articles in the Age of recent weeks have referred to Treasurer Peter Costello's address to a gathering at Scots Church, Melbourne in May. It has been described as a Pentecostal service, and...
1 Tim 1:5
Not for a mind full of knowledge, but a life full of love. Cf 1 Cor 13.
The perfect start
Text: Gen 1:1-25. Preached 1/8/04 at Werribee Church of Christ.
Suppose you were walking down Watton St, or through the Plaza, and you found a handwritten letter lying on the...
A question asked in terms of law is answered in terms of grace. God's pure law is very uncomplicated:
Don't let the passing buzz of Satan's defeat distract you from the eternal joy of what's yours in the gospel.
Hearts desperate for home.
1 Th 1:9-10
Trusting Christ means accepting that invisible, heavenly, future and eternal treasure is of more worth than treasure you can see and handle and use now. It's a choice between being empty-handed now but...
The lifestyle Paul commends is riddled with Christ. Christ, because he fills everything, must fill every atom of our existence. If not, he is not Christ, he is not what we claim he is in our hearts.
1 Chr 10:13-14
This was no earthly kingdom like the nations about. The king is under another's authority, and the consequences of forgetting this can be deadly.
We are seriously into burnout. God is seriously into rest.
The electoral heist
So the surplus has vamoosed? Amazing! But wait, just check your bank statement. You never know what you might find.
How so? Well here's just a thought, inspired by Johnny's own battlers. Harry...
To know everything but Christ is to know nothing of any value.
Think about the grace of the gospel to you, and you'll have access to a lasting reservoir of joy.
It was all for us ...
It was all for us: A GST to bill us. A budget to buy us. A trade deal to sell us. A PBS to sicken us. A Plus to fix us. A Bush to lead us. An alliance to enslave us. Intelligence to spin us. A bonus...
cf 2:22-23 Christ will fill all things with himself, and he will do so through the church by feeding her with his word through empowered ministers.
Spirituality is not in league with greatness.
Toxic waste - the international solution
Toxic waste? What a conundrum! Put it in a paddock? The cockys are upset. A forest? The greenies are upset. My backyard? I'm upset. Anywhere else? Don't ask! (And Mr Doyle gets another free kick). What...
Saved from the truth?
The US, British and Australian governments have certainly been selective in their reporting and reinterpreting of events, in relation to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. But they may not have a...
2 Cor 2:10-11
If Satan cannot stop you believing the Gospel, his next resort is to stop it impacting the way you live. The Gospel unlived is the Gospel unheard.
Seven announces a new reality TV series:
Beyond the pale
Readers of The Age are accustomed to being challenged, provoked, at times even perplexed. We expect to be made to think, ponder, reflect, search and analyse. But yesterday (Saturday) it was just too...
Easter trading and greed
In reflecting on the Bracks government's modified Easter retail trading regulations, your editorial (8/4) rightly highlights some striking contradictions and inconsistencies. However some scrutiny of...
The glory and the shame of Old Covenant piety: The glory - that God honours those who are the same inside as out. The shame - that one's own flawed character is all there is to trust.
Check the mirror
Premier Bracks charges that the federal government's distribution of additional funded tertiary places is targetted at votes in Queensland and WA. (The Age, 29/1) He may well be right. In an election...
As a parent I must agree with Evan Davey and Raymond Hawkes (16/1) who variously highlight the rich creative stimulus that computer gaming offers, together with the primacy of good parenting in moral...
The devil's job description is upfront at the start: to make disobedience attractive.
No carols, please; we're multicultural!
Oh the zealous defence of the secularised Christmas! Out with the Christian . No carols, please; we're multicultural. It's easy to tell Christians to stop singing. But the follow-through would require...
We got 'im
Thank heavens they didn't get 'im while the cricket was on. We could have missed a whole session.
You do not know the end from the beginning, but you do know you are safe.
Being a prophet is costly not only because of rejection by the hearers, but more deeply also. The prophet pays the price in the depths of his spirit because of the gulf between the holiness of the word...
A princely call, or a poisoned chalice? The servant of the Gospel can expect a measure of both.
Riches lavished on the objects of wrath.
A real saviour and a real redemption. Real people, real sin, real consequences, a real solution.
If you can never understand grace (v31), you cannot be an agent of the waiting Father, and you cannot share heaven's joy.
Have we in our time become so comfortable and complacent about God's hand among us that we will not give ourselves to him utterly? Have we grown fat on grace?
1 Tim 2:1-7
God is desperate to save. Why are we tardy to pray?
A liar, or a pragmatist?
is now, it seems, firmly cemented in the psyche of professional journalists and casual letter-writers, when referring to the PM's promotion of Australia's participation in the Iraq war.
We worship money because we do not know the grace of the Gospel.
2 Chr 26:15b-16
When strength is a leader's fatal weakness.
A movement that begins with a thirst for righteousness and God's pleasure can degenerate to a club that preserves the mere form of holiness without its substance.
1 Th 1:9f
When the Gospel comes with true conviction, people will willingly sacrifice idols they can see now and whose claimed benefits are for now, for the God they cannot see and whose full blessings they must...
Live evey moment for Christ and his pleasure.
1 Kings 12-end & 2 Kings (general)
1. “Now the rest of the acts of ... are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of ...” The finer details you can read. But our interest is the state of their heart and its outflow. cf...
2 Kgs 5:20
Oh the temptation to be satisfied with less than God!
Until the wonder of the Gospel - of what the Son of God has sacrificed for your purity - has captured the deepest recesses of your heart, you will know nothing of marriage under God.
You can give a lot and withold from God what he most desires and that which is supremely his; or you can place your entire self, all that you are and have, your hope and your future, at his loving disposal....
It takes one generation for the unspoken gospel to become the unknown gospel .
Whew! - it's legal
I can just hear concerned people the world over breathe a collective sigh relief at the PM's latest assurance. It may kill a few people and maim a few more, but at least it'll be legal. Thankyou, Mr...
Time to grow up
Shane Warne's actions may speak unflatteringly of him. Thoughtless? Vain? Self-absorbed? All the above?
Perhaps. But the sanctimonious frenzy of some of the commentary might just say something...
Leaders must lead
My opposition to Australian involvement in Dubya's war is I hope as intense as anyone else's, and I share in the widespread outrage at John Howard's stance. However an air of unreality has emerged in...
All nature's mightiest fury is merely the shadow of his might.
You blessed me .. I was comfortable .. You held yourself back .. I learned to seek you desperately.
A few simple answers to a few simple questions, please Mr Bush. Why Iraq? Why only Iraq? Why now? Why wasn't the evidence delivered to Dr Blix for independent assessment and report?
And now, a...
George! I know just how you feel, mate. That Saddam bloke is really trying your patience, a real pain in the (you know); enough's enough. I often feel like that when I'm dealing with the bank or the...
Saved from sushi
Some recent correspondents have argued that as our saviours from a life of sake and sushi, the US morally merits Australian military support for her war. When Saddam parks his aircraft carriers off Manhattan...
Faith: the assurance of the unseen (Heb 11:1). God says to Abram,
The pain of separation from the One for whose fellowship we were created is not bearable for long. From very early in sin's reign the banished heart cries to it's maker. Lord, we love you, we miss you,...
To you who truly seek him, his handiwork is not hard to find. His fingerprints are all over history's pages.
Release to prison
At last, some good news for the asylum seekers! With the new hope of a prison term for lighting the fires, they could have the best accommodation ever at Commonwealth expense. Shame on me for thinking...
News from Fortress Australia
A national meeting of defence chiefs and senior police has approved the distribution of beacons, life vests and ration packs to householders in major population centres. And in other news: •Treasurer...
Poor little Johnny
Poor little Johnny in the schoolground! It's always the same isn't it. You can crawl to the bully for all you're worth ... and he still does you for your corned beef sandwich.
The Media and truth
When is the truth not the truth? When it makes headlines. So at least it has seemed with some Australian media reporting over the past few decades; and rarely more so than in the current controversy...