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Link Highlights - January 2017

Monday, 6 February 2017  | Ethos editor


Below is a selection of links to online news and opinion pieces from January 2017. To keep up-to-date with our posts, ‘like’ us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter.

The articles below are selected by the editor, Armen Gakavian, at his discretion. Neither the editor nor Ethos necessarily endorse the views expressed in these articles.

Asylum seekers, refugees and immigration

On Holocaust Memorial Day, Donald Trump took to his desk to instruct his government to keep refugees out, writes Geoff Gilbert.

https://theconversation.com/trumps-order-barring-refugees-flies-in-the-face-of-logic-and-humanity-72061

Christian families are among the first to be sent Back home under Trump's travel ban, writes Ruth Gledhill.

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/christian.families.among.first.to.be.sent.back.home.under.trump.travel.ban/104252.htm


Australia Day / Survival Day

The ad perhaps is a fitting theme for Australia Day: forget about or completely misrepresent Australian history and contemporary society, and buy stuff instead, writes Luke Pearson.

http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/nitv-news/article/2017/01/12/new-lamb-ad-gets-d-effort-not-diversity 

'Aren't we all boat people?': Multicultural Australia features in this year's lamb ad. Meat & Livestock Australia says its latest campaign for lamb aims to celebrate the country's diversity. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/01/12/arent-we-all-boat-people-multicultural-australia-features-years-lamb-ad

Indigenous Australians have criticised the Meat and Livestock Association’s (MLA) latest Australia Day ad for simplifying and trivialising the realities of what really occurred on January 26, writes James Reid.

http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2017/01/13/lamb-ad-poor-taste/

Acknowledging ‘the fact that on January 26, 1788 our forefathers invaded a land and started a genocide of its native people … is not political correctness gone mad. It’s just fact’, writes Jill Poulsen.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/australia-day-is-invasion-day-we-should-not-celebrate-it/news-story/bcfbb3eeed7d5a9ba73a8b0adf94be71

For those of us who are white, the dismantling of white supremacy is painful. It will require conflict and disorder, division from those we hold dear and the troubling of cherished myths, writes Joanna Cruickshank.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/01/20/4606952.htm

We are taught in Aussie culture to denigrate the wowser and to celebrate the opposite, the larrikin. No one wants to be a wowser, but we can also see how damaging the impact of our devotion to revelry is. So what are we to do? We can start by throwing better parties, writes Michael Jensen.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/opinion/how-not-to-be-a-wowser/

We should change the Australian flag and the date for Australia Day, for the good of the country, as an act of reconciliation and as a matter of justice, writes Mick Pope.

http://www.ethos.org.au/online-resources/Engage-Mail/i-see-truganini-in-chains-the-idolatry-of-flags

A sample of Survival Day events around the country, courtesy of The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/jan/22/australians-invited-to-commemorate-survival-day-at-indigenous-events

Services of acknowledgement, lament and prayer for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters are happening in every State and Territory around the country tomorrow. (Courtesy of Common Grace.)

http://www.commongrace.org.au/jan26_services

Three articles on the Australia Day date:

Instead of denigrating Australia Day, we should all recognise that it’s only because of the First Fleet that we are such a peaceful, prosperous and stable country — that’s why so many migrants want to live here, writes Kevin Donnelly.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/rendezview/january-26-is-australia-day-stop-trying-to-change-it/news-story/af8392591fa8610e13263f5bf73a3d0e

Australia Day should be celebrated on January 1. That’s the proper day to celebrate Australia’s independence, identity and nationhood because that’s the day Australia came into being and it’s a day everyone can unite behind, writes Warren Mundine.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/we-must-stop-celebrating-australia-day-on-january-26/news-story/36989400b8175992dddc98784358803b

Changing the date would be little more than celebrating the invasion and genocide of Indigenous people on another day. It's therefore unlikely that I will be able to stop protesting this celebration, regardless of the day it's held upon. Let's instead start coming to terms with our past, writes Celeste Liddle.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50528#.WIaSQLaGP_Q

‘In the Australian cultural myth, holidays are times for forgetting — good Aussies bury the claims the world, history and the family make on us under a pile of tinnies shared with mates. ... National days, however, are more properly about memory and attentiveness to all the relationships that compose Australia’, writes Andrew Hamilton.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50539#.WIk-rbaGOu4

‘For us, on the 26 January we will be commemorating, not celebrating. We will be commemorating losses – loss of land, loss of language, loss of life’, writes Brooke Prentis.

http://www.fortomorrow.org.au/stories/story/australia-day-a-day-to-celebrate

The Australia Day lamb ad presumes an Australian togetherness that ignores its brutally racist conditions of possibility. The real story is far more complex and less easily unified, writes Ann Deslandes.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50517#.WIVWcbaGOu4

First Indigenous woman to graduate from Harvard among NT Australia Day honourees.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-26/australia-day-territorians-named-on-honours-list/8213418

If you wouldn't celebrate the September 11 attack on the twin towers, why would you celebrate Australia Day on January 26?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-25/invasion-day-video-compares-australia-day-to-september-11/8211630

Melbourne University has defended its indigenous institute, which issued a warning to avoid celebrating Australia Day.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/indigenous/indigenous-institutes-australia-day-message-pc-gone-mad/news-story/21202863b28d0723583e64d7bded7e0d

Most Indigenous Australians want date and name of Australia Day changed, poll finds. But just 15% of Australian population overall want the national holiday to be held on another date.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/26/most-indigenous-australians-want-date-and-name-of-australia-day-changed-poll-finds

’True Aboriginals don’t care about date’, says Pauline Hanson.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/pauline-hansons-open-invitation-to-have-a-beer-with-her-on-australia-day/news-story/acd384dd17fbbc16afecc20ae303ab73

'January 26 is a nothing day to us' say Invasion Day activists.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/indigenous-demand-settlers-pay-the-rent-at-brisbane-invasion-day-march-20170126-gtz7oz.html

Invasion Day Melbourne rally draws tens of thousands of protesters.

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/invasion-day-melbourne-rally-draws-tens-of-thousands-of-protesters-20170126-gtz3ce.html

Not today: Berejiklian rails against invasion protests.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-premier-gladys-berejiklian-so-disappointed-by-australia-day-protests-20170126-gtzddt.html

Perth 'Invasion Day' rally has clear message: Change the date of Australia Day.

http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/perth-invasion-day-rally-has-clear-message-change-the-date-of-australia-day-20170126-gtzfco.html

Invasion Day protesters undermine their own cause, writes Bernard Humphreys.

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/invasion-day-protesters-damage-their-own-worthy-cause-by-blocking-australia-day-parades/news-story/52e4ae7386ab3c773089232a3ac266c5

Australia Day / Invasion Day debate: #ChangeTheDate — but not right now, writes Natalie Cromb.

https://independentaustralia.net/australia/australia-display/australia-day-invasion-day-treaty-and-getting-over-it,9963

Australia Day, Invasion Day, Survival Day: a long history of celebration and contestation, by Kate Darian-Smith.

http://theconversation.com/australia-day-invasion-day-survival-day-a-long-history-of-celebration-and-contestation-70278

Protesting about Australia Day is a smokescreen to obscure the real problems that many Aboriginal Australians face today, writes Anthony Dillon.

http://theconversation.com/changing-australia-day-is-pointless-and-there-is-much-to-celebrate-71010

Change date so all can join celebration, writes Warren Mundine.

http://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/talking-point-change-the-date-so-everyone-can-join-australia-day-celebration/news-story/9abb9325e7229ff68477cea20b76d94c

Australia Day to Invasion Day: A difficult history. By Amanda Laugesen.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/australia-day-to-invasion-day-a-difficult-history-20170124-gty5oq.html

David Morris sets out his ideas to help resolve the Australia Day debate.

https://independentaustralia.net/australia/australia-display/its-time-to-think-big-on-australia-day,9959

Someone Else’s Shoes: A Simple Guide To Understanding Why January 26 Is So Offensive.

https://newmatilda.com/2017/01/26/someone-elses-shoes-a-simple-guide-to-understanding-why-january-26-is-so-offensive/

It’s ironic: I’ve had to leave the country of my birth so as not to feel the emotional toxicity of being an Aboriginal person in Australia on Australia Day, writes Nakkiah Lui.

https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2017/01/28/fighting-the-myth/14855220004157

Error nullius undermines Australia Day, writes Michael Bradley.

https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2017/01/28/error-nullius-undermines-australia-day/14855220004165

Prominent Noongar elder Robert Isaacs has called for a referendum on whether Australia Day should be moved from January 26.

https://thewest.com.au/news/australia-day/we-should-put-australia-day-date-to-a-vote-ng-b88368212z

Indigenous elder June Mills says changing the date is not enough but it would be a start to making people aware of the devastating effects of the first fleet’s arrival.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/27/what-are-you-actually-celebrating-indigenous-elder-says-australia-day-debate-must-continue

It’s ironic: I’ve had to leave the country of my birth so as not to feel the emotional toxicity of being an Aboriginal person in Australia on Australia Day, writes Nakkiah Lui.

https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2017/01/28/fighting-the-myth/14855220004157

The lamb ad has sparked frustration and dismay, despite its attempt to humorously endorse Australia’s diversity and ‘inclusivity’.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/australia/indigenous-leaders-offended-by-australia-day-lamb-ad/

Guilt doesn't create the basis for reframing our relationships or enabling us to see new alterative futures together, writes Sarah Russell.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18818

Australia Day needn’t be an ideological battleground. We celebrated two Australia Days this year. The bad news is that they were on the same date as each other and not only will there be no extra holiday but half the population wasn't able to see what the other half celebrated, writes Graham Young

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18811

Solving the problem of Australia Day: debating the date, by Stephen Chavura.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18795

Dear migrants, let’s reclaim the flag as a symbol of unity, writes Saeed Khan.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18807

Three articles on the Australia Day billboard featuring two Muslim children in hijabs:

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50538#.WIf4qraGP_Q

https://newmatilda.com/2017/01/23/think-the-muslim-australia-day-billboard-should-be-re-instated-think-again/

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/laura-mcnally-you-think-this-is-progressive-really/news-story/b27a4b858c19a4e9094483961e89aae2


Bioethics

Can a robot sin? ‘Robots will need to behave in ways that look like moral decisions, whether we call it that or not’, writes Mark Woods

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/can.a.robot.sin.how.artificial.intelligence.is.challenging.christian.ethics/103808.htm


Conflict

Instead of fighting darkness with more darkness what if we fought the dark with beauty and light? Karina Kreminski writes.

http://www.karinakreminski.com.au/2017/01/29/throwing-flower-bombs/

Economics

Should we be fighting for a universal basic income in Australia? Is a universal basic income a solution to Australia’s growing inequality problem, or is it a utopian distraction that ignores suffering today? Troy Henderson and Gigi Foster debate the issues.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/12/debate-should-we-be-fighting-for-a-universal-basic-income-in-australia

End of Life

‘Asked about advice she'd give Australia, Downie said, ‘Get the infrastructure right, out of the gate,’ while paying close attention to language and conscience issues.’ Larry Cornies writes.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-26/the-complications-of-legalising-killing-humans/8209472


Environment

Trump's lies will not change the real facts - except they will become worse through inaction. Tell the truth about climate change during this era of Machiavellian, oligarchic lies, urges Ethos’ Mick Pope.

http://ethos-environment.blogspot.com.au/2017/01/dont-look-down-donald-climate-and.html


Gender

Toxic masculinity: Will the 'war on men' only backfire? Hayley Gleeson writes.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-28/toxic-masculinity-war-could-backfire/8207704


Health

Most marijuana medicinal benefits are inconclusive, according to a wide-ranging US government study, writes Jessica Glenza.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/12/marijuana-study-benefits-chemotherapy-pain-multiple-sclerosis


Housing & homelessness

There appears an increasing trend towards telling people on the margins of our society to simply get over their issues and get on with their lives. Some might call it ‘tough love’. I call it cruel and unforgiving, writes Toby Hall, formerly of Mission Australia.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/21/telling-the-homeless-to-get-on-with-their-lives-is-not-tough-love-its-cruel

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/professional-and-cunning-why-im-now-giving-less-to-beggars-20170119-gtuixk.html


Indigenous affairs

We should change the Australian flag and the date for Australia Day, for the good of the country, as an act of reconciliation and as a matter of justice, writes Mick Pope.

http://www.ethos.org.au/online-resources/Engage-Mail/i-see-truganini-in-chains-the-idolatry-of-flags

It’s ironic: I’ve had to leave the country of my birth so as not to feel the emotional toxicity of being an Aboriginal person in Australia on Australia Day, writes Nakkiah Lui.

https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2017/01/28/fighting-the-myth/14855220004157 

A sample of Survival Day events around the country, courtesy of The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/jan/22/australians-invited-to-commemorate-survival-day-at-indigenous-events

Services of acknowledgement, lament and prayer for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters are happening in every State and Territory around the country tomorrow, courtesy of Common Grace.

http://www.commongrace.org.au/jan26_services


Law, human rights
and free speech

Freedom of speech is to liberal democracies what air is to a person, but in recent times we have witnessed various attempts to circumscribe it, writes Scott Buchanan.

https://scottlbuchanan.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/free-speech-and-its-discontents-part-one/

Neil Foster looks at two cases involving purported marriages under Islamic law, entered into overseas by Australian residents: marriage to a minor; and polygamy. Australian law ‘generally supports religious freedom, the interests of children and women are legitimately seen to over-ride the religious freedom to enter into underage or polygamous marriages’.

https://lawandreligionaustralia.blog/2017/01/15/overseas-muslim-marriages-and-australian-law/

Should Parliament have a free vote on same-sex marriage, or should public opinion first be tested through a plebiscite? Jack Maxwell writes.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50531#.WIaSTLaGP_Q

To avoid a constitutional problem, the religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws would need to apply to genuine religious objections to any type of marriage instead of just same-sex marriages, writes Luke Beck.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/why-proposed-samesex-marriage-exemptions-would-be-unconstitutional-20170124-gtxhgx.html

Neil Foster responds to Dr Luke Beck‘s opinion piece in The Age, which argued that the proposed same-sex marriage exemptions would be unconstitutional.

https://lawandreligionaustralia.blog/2017/01/29/why-proposed-same-sex-marriage-balancing-clauses-would-be-constitutional-and-right/

The idea that tolerance is a defining national virtue doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, writes Phillip Adams.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/weekend-australian-magazine/tolerance-what-tosh/news-story/c08b183e07b0b3b074157a311bcad4ee

To avoid a constitutional problem, the religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws would need to apply to genuine religious objections to any type of marriage instead of just same-sex marriages, writes Luke Beck.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/why-proposed-samesex-marriage-exemptions-would-be-unconstitutional-20170124-gtxhgx.html

Neil Foster responds to Dr Luke Beck‘s opinion piece in The Age, which argued that the proposed same-sex marriage exemptions would be unconstitutional.

https://lawandreligionaustralia.blog/2017/01/29/why-proposed-same-sex-marriage-balancing-clauses-would-be-constitutional-and-right/


Luther 500

500 years after Luther, we still feel the pressure to be justified. Yet Luther's law/gospel insight is as brilliant as ever - especially in 21st century America, writes David Zahl.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/january-february/pressure-to-be-justified.html


Martin Luther King

Reinhold Niebuhr's political realism may have won, but it is Martin Luther King's radical politics that we need in this neoliberal, neofascist era, writes Daniel Jose Camacho.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/01/17/4605527.htm

King practiced nonviolent resistance because he was sure that to do so was to be in harmony with the grain of the universe. His willingness to suffer without retaliation depended on that conviction, writes Stanley Hauerwas.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/01/16/4604568.htm

The Prophetic And The Patriotic: Why We Must Criticise Our Country, writes Andy Walton.

What King and Lewis ‘show us is that Christians' ultimate allegiance is never to their country – it is to God and their fellow human beings. Sometimes, that will mean that we must speak out and act for justice regardless of the criticism from those in power. In fact, that will make us better patriots – those who strive for justice and mercy for all in their country.’

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/the.prophetic.and.the.patriotic.why.we.must.criticise.our.country/103984.htm


Mike Baird

Eternity News approached several key Christian leaders to collect their responses to Mike Baird’s shock announcement.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/australia/mike-baird-resigns-as-nsw-premier/


Michael Chamberlain

Michael Chamberlain ‘was sorely treated by callous and self-serving agencies of governance and by us, his public, shamefully. He deserves our apology. If we are moving away from a wave of ignorance and malice, toward sympathy and outrage, we will become a better society for the change', writes John Bryson.

http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/people/2017/01/13/michael-chamberlain-apology/

Michael Chamberlain's ex-wife, Lindy, has spoken out after the 72-year-old's sudden death on Monday night, Emily Brooks reports. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/01/09/lindy-chamberlain-creighton-speaks-out-after-death-of-ex-husband/.

Across three decades of covering the Chamberlain case, Malcolm Brown came to know Michael Chamberlain and he was asked to speak at his Memorial Service. Michael gave Eternity permission to publish what he shared.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/australia/michael-chamberlain-kept-his-faith-despite-loss-and-public-shame/


Moral philosophy

Michael Frost asks: Are we really cheering for the Rebels while silently supporting the Empire?

http://mikefrost.net/homepage/cheering-rogue-one-really-empires-side/

We need a spoonful of common sense and a large dose of wisdom in 2017 after the year that brought us post-truth, writes the World Evangelical Alliance’s Amanda Jackson.

https://amandaadvocates.blog/2017/01/13/a-spoonful-of-reason/

Sacred thinking isn't limited to political conservatives, according to a new report from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Winnipeg. ‘This study suggests that liberals and conservatives are more alike in their moral functioning than previously thought.’

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-01/uoia-mto010917.php

When language is decoupled from reality - or at least agreements about a shared, objective reality - there are de-civilising effects. Donald Trump is the apotheosis of this deepening incongruity between language and lived realities, writes Fatima Measham.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50524#.WIFkebaGP_Q

Social media, which was meant to make the world a smaller place by bringing everybody closer together and allowing more expression, is actually perversely causing communities to pull apart, reports Joanne Shoebridge.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-20/social-media-death-of-democracy-and-toxic-politics/8198142

‘When building walls, ignoring the poor, and breaking promises is normal, then being truthful, faithful, selfless and kind is radical. And we need to be radical now more than ever. Come on, church, let’s embrace afresh our role as truth-seekers and truth-tellers’, writes Michael Frost.

http://mikefrost.net/homepage/truth-telling-world-fake-news-alternative-facts-america-first/

Why do people persist in beliefs that are wrong – and even harmful? Richard P. Grant writes that people often maintain beliefs that can’t be explained away by ignorance. In the face of this, how do we effectively communicate science?

https://www.theguardian.com/science/occams-corner/2017/jan/12/why-do-people-persist-in-beliefs-that-are-wrong-and-even-harmful

Can the Religious Right be saved? The people who warned us to avoid moral relativism now tell us that we should compare our choices not to an objective standard but to the alternative, as if an election transcends moral principle, writes Russell Moore.

https://www.firstthings.com/article/2017/01/can-the-religious-right-be-saved  

In the age of the internet, we seem to have lost touch with civility and good judgement, writes Bashir Goth.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18810


Nationalism, patriotism and extremism

Because it fastens onto something that is inevitably a mixture of good and evil, love of country is always a mixture of gratitude, pain, joy, sorrow, pride, shame and sometimes guilt, writes Raimond Gaita.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/01/25/4609096.htm


Politics, society & ideology

Stuart Rees calls for a reversal of the market-oriented convention that tinkering with an economy must precede efforts to build a just society: economy first, society later.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18780

Karina Kreminski suggests a few disciplines to reduce the current atmosphere of polarisation and extremism in society and, more importantly, in the church.

‘I don’t want to contribute to it but I want to function as a peace-maker and healer in times such as this.’

http://www.karinakreminski.com.au/2017/01/22/how-do-we-practice-being-long-suffering-in-a-polarised-world/

The year our leaders doubled down on doubling down, by Mark Hearn.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50431#.WJG-2raGM0p

Our society is fraying, and the problem starts with our political leaders, writes Ross Gittins.

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/our-society-is-fraying-the-problem-starts-with-our-political-leaders-20170130-gu1xdh.html

Entitlements saga asks what is legitimate political work, by John Warhurst.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50548#.WJG-5LaGM0p


Persecution

‘Centuries of continuous repression have left many without any sense of identity within their home country. Many Christians here just want to breathe – being able to truly live is a distant dream’, writes Altaf Khan.

http://theconversation.com/breathing-without-living-the-plight-of-christians-in-pakistan-70892

The Casey review into integration and community cohesion in the UK offers a helpful diagnosis of the problems, but some of its solutions risk being almost as intolerant as some of the problems it seeks to address, reports The Barnabas Fund.

https://barnabasfund.org/news/The-Casey-review-replacing-one-form-of-intolerance-with-another


Poverty & inequality

Should we be fighting for a universal basic income in Australia? Is a universal basic income a solution to Australia’s growing inequality problem, or is it a utopian distraction that ignores suffering today?

Troy Henderson and Gigi Foster debate the issues.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/12/debate-should-we-be-fighting-for-a-universal-basic-income-in-australia

While politicians claim to place a great deal of importance on the idea of the fair go, there are still significant ways in which Australian society seems to depart from this idea, writes Nicholas Barry.

http://theconversation.com/in-australia-land-of-the-fair-go-not-everyone-gets-an-equal-slice-of-the-pie-70480


Religion & spirituality

‘There is a groundedness to my existence now and it is prayer.’ Rachael Lopez reflects on her time at The Community of St Anselm at Lambeth Palace last year.

http://stanselm.org.uk/a-tangible-connection-finding-new-and-ancient-ways-to-pray/


Religion in society

The Prophetic And The Patriotic: Why We Must Criticise Our Country, writes Andy Walton.

What King and Lewis ‘show us is that Christians' ultimate allegiance is never to their country – it is to God and their fellow human beings. Sometimes, that will mean that we must speak out and act for justice regardless of the criticism from those in power. In fact, that will make us better patriots – those who strive for justice and mercy for all in their country.’

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/the.prophetic.and.the.patriotic.why.we.must.criticise.our.country/103984.htm

The turn of politics in the West clearly shows that Christians who aren’t on the same page politically better recognise they’re in the same book. If they don’t then there’s a shameful schism coming to the church that will expose how in thrall we are to earthly politics as our true hope, writes Stephen McAlpine.

https://stephenmcalpine.com/2017/01/22/when-youre-not-on-the-same-page-but-in-the-same-book/

Violence without religion is just as terrifying. Australia now faces a problematic social issue, in conveying a message that clearly deals with the tragedy and successfully separates the Islamic State connection to avoid further and unnecessary divisive discourse, writes Kendall Galbraith.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18817

Blasphemy laws desecrate democratic rights: The Grand Mufti’s approach is draconian, oppressive and stifling of the fundamental value of free speech, writes Amanda Stoker.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18809


Science

Most marijuana medicinal benefits are inconclusive, according to a wide-ranging US government study, writes Jessica Glenza.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/12/marijuana-study-benefits-chemotherapy-pain-multiple-sclerosis


Sexuality and same-sex marriage

Recent changes among conservatives on the issue of sexuality gives hope that we can negotiate the difficult discussions ahead with honour and grace, writes Scott Higgins. http://scottjhiggins.com/challenges-for-the-church-3-homosexuality/

Could the 2015 Utah Compromise offer a way out of the tense back-and-forth between religious liberty and LGBT rights?

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/december-web-only/fairness-for-all-evangelicals-explore-truce-lgbt-cccu-nae.html

Leaders from nearly 90 evangelical seminaries, publications, ministries and churches – along with Catholic and Orthodox clergy – have rejected the idea of a potential nationwide Fairness for All law guaranteeing both LGBT and Religious rights, modeled after a well-regarded compromise enacted in Utah in 2015. Kate Shellnutt reports.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2017/january/evangelical-leaders-reject-compromise-lgbt-rights-sogi.html

Growing up gay, Catholic school was a haven for me, and the upcoming apology by Christians for centuries of anti-LGBTQI sins is no surprise, writes Joel Meares.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/growing-up-gay-catholic-school-was-a-haven-for-me-20170109-gto3a8.html

A new, cross-denominational organisation for Australian Christians will collect signatures for a grassroots-driven apology to LGBTI people in an effort to ‘address the harm’ caused by the church. Lane Sainty reports.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/lanesainty/equal-voices

A survey of more than 6,000 respondents from the LGBTI community shows that they would rather wait for marriage equality than accept the terms and conditions imposed in the Brandis bill, writes Rodney Croome.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/23/we-dont-want-marriage-equality-if-it-means-giving-businesses-the-right-to-say-no-gays

The Church of England’s bishops have issued a minor review of pastoral practice regarding sexuality, and a pledge to put together a major new teaching document on the doctrine of marriage. Fundamentally, it offers no change to church teaching, writes Ruth Gledhill.

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/the.church.of.england.and.gays.a.brave.attempt.to.walk.the.biblical.line/104221.htm

A personal refusal to officiate at a gay wedding is different to state sanctioned exemptions for such refusal, Joel Meares writes.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/businesses-should-be-allowed-to-boycott-gay-weddings-then-well-know-who-to-avoid-20170129-gu14b4.html

US elections & Donald Trump

The response we have to the new administration is: faith, resistance, and healing. We will need all three, writes Jim Wallis.

https://sojo.net/articles/resistance-patriotic-and-christian

‘What does Trump's election say about American Christianity that so many Christians threw in their lot with the insurgent and revolutionary forces washing over the West?’ An Australian perspective by Jonathan Cole.

http://www.politicaltheology.com/blog/thank-you-lord-jesus-for-president-trump-apostolic-theology-and-the-evangelical-vote-jonathan-cole/

Trump’s inauguration ceremony will help turn heresy into mainstream, by bringing together two major currents of indigenous American spirituality: Norman Vincent Peale’s 'Power of Positive Thinking’ gospel of self-esteem and Paula White et al.’s 'Word of Faith’ theology, writes Michael Horton.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/01/03/evangelicals-should-be-deeply-troubled-by-donald-trumps-attempt-to-mainstream-heresy/

Trump embodies the classic authoritarian leadership style: simple, powerful, and punitive, writes Amanda Taub (article from March 2013).

http://www.vox.com/2016/3/1/11127424/trump-authoritarianism

Can the Religious Right be saved? The people who warned us to avoid moral relativism now tell us that we should compare our choices not to an objective standard but to the alternative, as if an election transcends moral principle, writes Russell Moore.

https://www.firstthings.com/article/2017/01/can-the-religious-right-be-saved

‘The call for reconciliation following the election of Trump is premature. ... Reconciliation is the end - not the beginning - of a process that leads all parties into greater truth, justice, and solidarity’, writes Stephen J. Pope.

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/not-time-reconciliation

‘The obsession with Trump is a cover for many of those calling themselves ‘left/liberal’ … [who are] not ‘left,’ neither are they especially ‘liberal’.’ So, ‘when will a genuine movement of opposition arise - angry, eloquent, all-for-one-and-one-for all. Until real politics return to people's lives, the enemy is not Trump, it is ourselves’, writes John Pilger.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/The-Issue-Is-Not-Trump-Its-Us-20170116-0025.html

US evangelicals helped make Trump's presidency happen. Now they must take the responsibility of being the first to criticise Trump when he gets it wrong and the first to praise him when (perhaps 'if' is better) he gets it right, writes James Mildred.

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/a.trump.presidency.might.not.be.all.bad.how.can.evangelicals.engage/103947.htm

Disillusioned Australians believe the system is rigged against ordinary people and want a strong leader to break the rules, wrest power back from the elites and close the doors to the rest of the world.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/ipsos-survey-australians-want-a-strong-leader-to-take-country-back-from-rich-powerful-20170117-gtsu9v.html

Myths Debunked: Why Did White Evangelical Christians Vote for Trump? By Myriam Renaud

Contrary to what has been widely reported, nearly half of white evangelicals considered the economy or national security most important when choosing between presidential candidates, with these issues being ranked higher than Supreme Court appointments and abortion’, writes Myriam Renaud.

http://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/myths-debunked-why-did-white-evangelical-christians-vote-trump

Do Pastors Belong on the Trump Inauguration Stage? Samuel Rodriguez explains why he will pray at the next president's swearing-in.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/january-web-only/do-pastors-belong-on-trump-inauguration-stage.html

The story behind Trump’s controversial prayer partner: what Paula White’s Washington moment implies for the prosperity gospel’s future. By Kate Shellnutt.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/january-web-only/paula-white-donald-trump-prayer-partner-inauguration.html

‘If Donald Trump has done anything, he has snuffed out the religious right’, is a recent Washington Post headline. And Southern Baptist Russell Moore agrees.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/in-depth/trump-hanson-and-the-death-of-the-religious-right/

‘Christians here, despite their reservations about the new President, are determined to make the most of this opportunity to rebuild’, writes Lyle Shelton from Washington, DC.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/opinion/i-was-there-when-donald-trump-became-us-president/

When language is decoupled from reality - or at least agreements about a shared, objective reality - there are de-civilising effects. Donald Trump is the apotheosis of this deepening incongruity between language and lived realities, writes Fatima Measham.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50524#.WIFkebaGP_Q

In Trump’s America, faith communities should protect vulnerable and marginalized people, include and welcome ‘the other’, and become safe and sacred spaces for deeper conversations about race. In an age of almost complete cynicism about politics, we can offer the power and promise of hope, writes, Jim Wallis.

https://sojo.net/articles/now-time-faith-flourish

‘I will pray for Donald Trump because he will be directly exercising authority over the US, and indirectly over many people all across the world. I can't let go of the command in 1 Timothy 2 to pray for our leaders and those in authority – that command isn't contingent on whether I agree with them, voted for them, or support their policies.’

Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, reflects on how Christians can respond as Donald Trump becomes president of the United States.

http://www.eauk.org/current-affairs/news/trump-the-politics-of-praying-for-presidents.cfm

Donald Trump doesn’t really reflect the moral values of middle America. He is a consummate city slicker, a soft-handed, foul-mouthed toff who lives in a 58-story building and has been identified with New York City excess his entire life. But people in rural areas are desperate these days. Many of them chose Trump, despite his vulgarity and his big-city ways, because he promised to make them ‘great again’. - Thomas Frank.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/27/why-donald-trump-win-walt-disney

Trump's piety is not a reflection of Christian faith, but of his understanding of what makes America unique, writes Stanley Hauerwas.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/01/27/christians-dont-be-fooled-trump-has-deep-religious-convictions/

Christian conservatives in the United States are so angry with the state of the nation they are in danger of missing out on opportunities presented by the transition to the presidency of Donald Trump, new research suggests. By Ruth Gledhill.

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/do.not.give.in.to.cultural.despair.christian.conservatives.in.us.are.urged/103805.htm

Can the Religious Right be saved? The people who warned us to avoid moral relativism now tell us that we should compare our choices not to an objective standard but to the alternative, as if an election transcends moral principle, writes Russell Moore.

https://www.firstthings.com/article/2017/01/can-the-religious-right-be-saved  

On Holocaust Memorial Day, Donald Trump took to his desk to instruct his government to keep refugees out, writes Geoff Gilbert.

https://theconversation.com/trumps-order-barring-refugees-flies-in-the-face-of-logic-and-humanity-72061

Christian families are among the first to be sent Back home under Trump's travel ban, writes Ruth Gledhill.

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/christian.families.among.first.to.be.sent.back.home.under.trump.travel.ban/104252.htm

What should Christians, especially in Australia, learn from the rise of Donald Trump?

http://akosbalogh.com/2017/01/22/a-christians-brief-guide-to-the-trump-apocalypse/

‘Religious organizations, leaders and individuals - mostly from the religious left - have reacted to President Trump’s expected executive orders on building a wall along the Southern border, negating sanctuary cities and banning refugees from Syria and other Muslim countries’, writes Kimberly Winston.

http://religionnews.com/2017/01/25/refugee-ban-border-wall-religious-leaders-respond/

‘…Trump’s election serves us all because it is an apocalypse. It is a revelation; an unveiling of reality. A testament to the real state of affairs going on around us…’, writes Mark Baddeley.

http://thinkingofgod.org/2016/11/trump-apocalypse-invitation-reflect/

Christian faith instructed him to honour and pray for President Trump and to trust God’s sovereign purposes, writes Barney Zwartz in The Age.

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/faith-spiritual-instruction-shows-we-must-respect-and-honour-donald-trump-20170118-gttmrk.html

Robyn Whitaker responds to Barney Zwartz article in The Age, arguing that ‘our responsibility is to speak the truth, build community, and resist, even at cost’.

https://seanfwinter.com/2017/01/30/trump-respect-or-resistance/

Sifting the scat of Trump's first ten days, by Andrew Hamilton.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50552#.WJKP-LaGM0q

Other links:

http://scottjhiggins.com/trumpaggeddon-america-has-always-acted-in-its-own-interests/

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/monster.or.messiah.how.should.the.church.respond.to.donald.trump/104038.htm

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/how.can.christians.speak.truth.in.a.post.truth.world/104140.htm

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/january-web-only/3-priorities-for-evangelicals-in-trump-years.html

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/trump.inauguration.sit.up.and.pay.attention.resistance.starts.now/104010.htm

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/opinion/i-was-there-when-donald-trump-became-us-president/

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/january-february/churchs-integrity-in-trump-years.html

http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2017/january/trump-washington-national-cathedral-prayer-service-lineup-e.html

http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/january/how-trump-inauguration-catalyze-christian-witness.html

http://religionnews.com/2017/01/20/americas-gospel-of-success-leaves-no-room-for-failure/

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/could.the.environment.be.the.issue.on.which.christians.break.ranks.with.donald.trump/104171.htm

https://sojo.net/articles/ban-not-about-national-security

http://polemicsreport.com/2017/01/30/why-our-evangelical-leaders-need-to-shut-up-about-immigration/

http://thenewdaily.com.au/entertainment/tv/2017/02/01/budweiser-super-bowl-commercial/


Welfare

How Centrelink unleashed a weapon of math destruction - ‘The most frightening thing about the Centrelink malware debacle is the verve with which the government embraced it’, writes Peter Martin.

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/how-centrelink-unleashed-a-weapon-of-math-destruction-20170105-gtmsnz.html

Kasy Chambers responds to David Leyonhjelm's remarks that the aged pension should not be an ‘entitlement’ but rather seen as a punitive ‘welfare’ payment.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/poverty-shaming-pensioners-is-a-low-blow-20170105-gtmvg8

Where is Compassion and Concern for Dignity in the Centrelink Debt Collection Debacle?

We need a more compassionate approach to providing welfare where it is needed, an approach which values the most important biblical principal of human dignity, regardless of circumstance, writes Kasy Chambers.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/01/19/4606410.htm


Work

Balance and boundaries in 21st Century work: while once it was honourable to put your work first, it's now seen as a fool's errand, writes Megan Graham.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50108#.WG7p2raGP_Q

‘Why all of a sudden is work not just a means to an end but something we are supposed to find enriching and fulfilling?’, asks Katie Bice.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/millennials-want-to-enjoy-work-but-need-to-just-suck-it-up-and-get-on-with-the-job/news-story/4ed8665543ce267f0323665dcac9ae20

Kara Martin responds to a Herald Sun editorial, arguing that Millennials who want to enjoy work need to just suck it up and get on with the job.

http://www.ethos.org.au/online-resources/Blog/response-to-suck-it-up-and-get-on-with-the-job

‘Fall in love with these aspirations, and your work will bear much fruit for Christ, regardless of your field’, writes Marshall Segal.

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/100-000-hours-eight-aims-for-your-career

An English Bible ‘has called on all Australian Christians to be informal missionaries in the workplace’, warning them ‘that standing up for Christ at work would make them objects of derision among non-believers’, writes Anne Lim.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/culture/how-to-wear-your-faith-to-work/

Rethinking care work is the key to closing the gender pay gap, writes Kate Galloway.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50287#.WHRalraGP_Q

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50288#.WHb30LaGP_Q

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50424#.WHb30LaGP_Q


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