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Link Highlights | February 2018

Thursday, 15 February 2018  | Ethos editor


Link highlights – February 2018

Below is a selection of links to online news and opinion pieces from February 2018. 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.

Animals

John Sandeman writes: But will there be cats and dogs or other creatures with us, in the new Jerusalem? A surprising line up of saints will say “Yes”.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/opinion/cats-and-dogs-in-heaven-dont-laugh

Art & Culture

David James writes: The practice of appointing business people to oversee arts bodies is as questionable as referring to the arts as an 'industry'. Business and the arts work on almost diametrically opposed rationales. Understanding this might go a long way towards assessing the art world more intelligently.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54687

Neve Mahoney writes: Many films and TV shows use mental illness to explain violent behaviour. The stereotype is so ingrained that after the recent Florida shooting, Trump said he would deal with 'the difficult issue of mental health', but didn't mention guns once. In reality, people with mental illness are more likely to be the victims than perpetrators of violence.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54693

Asylum seekers, refugees and migration

In a previous blog, Scott Buchanan explored the rolling complexities of the situation at Manus Island. Here, he looks at the role that the asylum seekers' past and ongoing experiences of trauma would have played in the subjective perceptions of their own safety and wellbeing.

https://scottlbuchanan.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/more-on-manus/

Barnaby Joyce

Michelle Grattan writes: The Joyce affair comes against a background of the public hating politicians and deeply distrusting the media, and as increasing scrutiny is on the personal behaviour of those, particularly men, in senior positions – in business, politics and, most dramatically, the entertainment world.

https://theconversation.com/grattan-on-friday-is-barnabys-baby-a-matter-of-public-interest-or-just-of-interest-to-the-public-91507

Martyn Iles writes: In a world dominated by virtue signalling and externals, it is not often that the political conversation turns to questions of character. But if a man is not faithful to his family, one might well ask whether he is faithful at all.

http://www.acl.org.au/barnaby_joyce_s_lesson_shows_why_character_and_virtue_still_matter

Steve Biddulph writes: Issues of honesty and self-control are vital to political leadership. What do we vote for in our leaders if not character - integrity, consistency, openness? And what truer test of character is there than the way a person treats their spouse?

http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5232721/trust-is-foundation-of-love-and-politics/

Denis Muller writes: The media's coverage of the Joyce affair harks back to the moralism of the 1950s. It would have been so much better if journalists had established substantial public-interest justifications before breaking the story.

https://theconversation.com/welcome-to-the-new-old-moralism-how-the-medias-coverage-of-the-joyce-affair-harks-back-to-the-1950s-91919

Paula McDonald writes: Banning relationships is likely to be ineffective and may result in disengagement, secrecy and resentment by employees of the encroachment of employment policies into genuinely private matters.

https://theconversation.com/banning-workplace-romances-wont-solve-the-problem-of-sexual-misconduct-in-the-office-91975

Fatima Measham wrote: The extramarital affair involving the Deputy Prime Minister is far less salient than the choices allegedly made around it. No politician is owed anything. They are dispensable, and the role is not, which means they have an obligation to preserve the dignity of office and maintain confidence in government. Some things need expelling; it gets toxic, otherwise.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54680

Stephen McAlpine writes: As the Barnaby Joyce event has proven, we haven't let go of commandments just because we've jettisoned God in the West. We're just coming up with new commandments, new saints, new sinners, new heavens for the Qantas’ Alan Joyce of this world, new hells for the Barnaby Joyces. We have new priests and prophets.

https://stephenmcalpine.com/2018/02/18/a-tale-of-two-joyces/

John Sandeman write: It is not uncommon for churches to allow lobby groups to take the heat in public debate. Perhaps the response to Barnaby Joyce is no different. But the silence from official church spokespeople has been quite striking.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/australia/church-leaders-stay-silent-on-barnaby/

“I think it’s best for this conversation if, as much as is possible, we put aside the Deputy Prime Minister thing and just think of you as a child of God, a man, husband and father.” Dominic Steele imagines what he might say to Barnaby Joyce if he were to ring him as a pastor and ask to meet.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/opinion/what-would-jesus-say-to-barnaby-joyce/

Billy Graham

Billy Graham’s anointed evangelistic ministry was accompanied by a shrewdness of mind and far-sightedness. … May the Holy Spirit use Dr Graham’s life and death, in his own words, ‘to increase your burden for a lost and dying world, and cause you to rededicate yourself to the priority and urgency of evangelism‘.

https://www.lausanne.org/news-releases/billy-graham-tribute

After reading Billy Graham's autobiography 'Just As I Am', Sheridan Voysey suggests 8 lessons to take on board from the life of the evangelist.

http://sheridanvoysey.com/eight-lessons-to-learn-from-the-life-of-billy-graham-1918-2018/

Stephen McAlpine writes: While there may well never be another Billy Graham, what seems more certain is that there will never be another slice of culture in the West which allowed his ministry to flourish.

https://stephenmcalpine.com/2018/02/22/the-day-billy-graham-met-the-king/

Clare Bruce writes: In his 99 years on earth, Billy Graham touched the lives of millions, helped shape evangelical Christian culture, and at the height of his popularity, even lowered crime rates in cities including Sydney and Melbourne.

https://hope1032.com.au/stories/life/news/2018/farewell-billy-graham-fiery-us-gospel-preacher-put-brakes-australias-drinking-crime-rates/

Matthew Avery Sutton writes: Graham had good intentions, as his work desegregating his crusades demonstrated. But when his influence really would have counted, when he could have effected real change, real social transformation on, say, civil rights and the environmental crisis, he was too locked into last-days fearmongering to recognise the potential of the state to do good. We are all paying the price.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/21/billy-graham-wrong-side-history

Collin Hansen writes: For all of Billy Graham's remarkable accomplishments, he made his share of mistakes. These mistakes might have harmed his ministry if not for Graham's willingness to confess them and learn from them.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/billy-graham/what-i-would-have-done-differently.html

Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writes: Billy Graham partnered with John Stott on the Lausanne Movement and helped revive the World Evangelical Alliance. In the words of Melani McAlister: ‘He used his status as the most important religious figure of the 20th century to help lead American evangelicals into a more robust engagement with the rest of the world’.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/february/billy-graham-lausanne-wea-evangelism-social-justice.html

Trevin Wax writes: What happens when two of the most influential evangelicals of the 20th century don’t see eye to eye on an issue with important theological and practical implications? A public showdown. That’s what happened with John Stott and Billy Graham in the mid-1970s regarding the role of social ministry in the mission of the church.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevin-wax/when-john-stott-confronted-billy-graham/

Billy Graham, the magnetic, movie-star-handsome preacher who became a singular force in postwar American religious life and was a confidant of presidents, has died at the age of 99.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-22/billy-graham-dies-aged-99/9472846

Mark Silk asks: How Billy Graham changed religion in America? What would our world be like without him?

“Today, the default setting for non-Catholic Christianity in America is evangelicalism, not mainline Protestantism. It is fair to say that without Billy Graham, that would not have happened. … The movement Graham led out of the wilderness has been taken over by the very forces he rebelled against. They are now leading it back whence it came.”

https://religionnews.com/2018/02/23/how-billy-graham-changed-religion-in-america/

Martyn Iles writes: The “big idea” governing Billy Graham’s life was the principle of coram Deo: Living before the face of God. Many will remember Graham for his mistakes and allegations of imperfect theology. The simple truth is this: none of us are 100% right, but God uses us all the same when our hearts are right.

http://www.acl.org.au/billy_graham_s_legacy

Bob Moser writes: Billy Graham ‘was not so much "America's pastor" as its greatest evangelical entrepreneur – the man who launched a whole separatist (and lucrative) Christian media culture, who laid the foundations for megachurches and prosperity ministries, who brought Jesus back into American politics’.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-soul-crushing-legacy-of-billy-graham-w517067

John Paul Brammer writes: Billy Graham reached millions of Christians around the world and had an outsized impact on the national political landscape. For many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, however, he was a crusader against them, one whose efforts shaped the religious right into an anti-LGBTQ political force.

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/billy-graham-leaves-painful-legacy-lgbtq-people-n850031

Child sexual abuse

Sheree Limbrick writes: When the bishops and religious decided to establish Catholic Professional Standards Ltd, they understood that a new approach was needed. In a Church that will take many years to recover from the child sexual abuse crisis, something different had to happen. The safety and protection of children and vulnerable people in the Church is everybody's business.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54691

Address by Robert Fitzgerald of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse: 'Instead of a church walking humbly with its God, it found an arrogant church, that placed its own reputation above the interests of victims, and did so knowlingly in a way that would cause further harm to many of those victims.'

https://eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54717

Class

Shannon Burns writes: When rules of expression are forced on people who have their own peculiar relationship to speech, and who can reasonably be expected to struggle with the constraints, it is not a fair imposition. Political correctness is hardly the evil that conservative commentators make it out to be, but as a moral burden it is clearly weighted against the lower classes, who are smart enough to recognise when they are being set up to fail.

https://meanjin.com.au/essays/in-defence-of-the-bad-white-working-class/

Domestic violence

Calla Wahlquist writes: A domestic violence survivor who is part of the cashless debit card trial says she would not have been able to escape her abusive marriage under the income management scheme.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/01/domestic-violence-survivor-could-not-have-escaped-abuse-on-cashless-debit-card

Economics & inequality

Scott Stephens writes: Attention is most often focussed on the political and policy decisions that allowed economic inequality to reach such obscene proportions. But this lays altogether too much blame at the feet of political actors, and thereby ignores the cultural context in which their decisions received broad approval. And, when institutions are populated with individuals who have learned to live immune from the needs of others, the institutions themselves come to mirror the misery they are meant to ameliorate.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/02/08/4801041.htm

Michelle Grattan speaks with former deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe. Howe says that the targeted nature of Australia's social security system goes hand-in-hand with stigmatising welfare recipients, and calls for a universal basic income.

https://theconversation.com/politics-podcast-brian-howe-on-revisiting-henderson-poverty-and-basic-income-91677

Stan Grant writes: Economics is in many ways a defining story of our age. Economic growth has transformed the world and accelerated democracy. It has been the engine of progress. But do we believe in the ultimate freedom of the individual or do we surrender some freedom to a greater good?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-07/stan-grant-economics-are-destiny/9403814

Education

Mark Fowler writes: The proper place of religious faith in Australian private and public schooling will continue to be a source of disputation. As the new school year commences, it may be helpful for students and parents to have some awareness of the law and the human rights imperatives that are relevant to this discussion.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/opinion/freedom-how-the-law-keeps-religion-in-school/

Environment

What does climate science say about God’s control? In this interview with Rebecca Randall, Geophysicist Thomas P. Ackerman talks about balancing God's sovereignty over nature with human understanding of weather, and shares how a life spent trying to understand the climate has contributed to his understanding of God.

www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/january-february/who-makes-it-rain.html

Bronwyn Lay writes: A holistic, culture-sensitive ecological justice has its roots in the feelings, actions and awareness of each person and their relationships: human and otherwise. Organisations, a manifestation of our collective culture, must engage with the ecological challenges and not leave it to the individual, privatised space.

https://eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54676

Everyday living

Stephanie Bennett writes: Silence is a necessary counter to the relentless preoccupation of our multitasking minds – something that should provide a contra¬≠puntal rhythm to the steady beat of our busy human brains. Just as we are wise to protect the earth’s vulnerable woodlands from overdevelopment, so we must protect the sanctuary of our interior lives. Speech, relationships, the soul: they begin with, and are sustained by, silence.

https://www.plough.com/en/topics/life/technology/endangered-habitat

Steve Biddulph writes: Issues of honesty and self-control are vital to political leadership. What do we vote for in our leaders if not character - integrity, consistency, openness? And what truer test of character is there than the way a person treats their spouse?

http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5232721/trust-is-foundation-of-love-and-politics/

Anthony Galli writes: Abraham Lincoln died a hero. The country mourned him, honored him, and then deified him. But a closer analysis of his beliefs reveal that if he had lived longer then eventually popular opinion would have turned against him.

https://medium.com/the-mission/what-abraham-lincoln-teaches-us-about-right-and-wrong-68c39bfe4c19

Indigenous affairs

Peter Goss writes. Using equivalent year levels provides us with a clearer picture of the gap for Indigenous students, who can be up to an equivalent of 7.7 years behind their non-Indigenous counterparts in writing.

https://theconversation.com/closing-the-gap-in-indigenous-literacy-and-numeracy-not-remotely-or-in-cities-88704

Andrew Hamilton writes: Ten years have passed since the Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples by Kevin Rudd on behalf of Parliament and the nation. It seems longer. It was a time of great hope. Today, with respect to Indigenous affairs as to much else, fewer people hold great hope that anything good can come out of Canberra.

https://eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54583

Neale Cohen, Jonathan Carapetis and Sue Kildea write: Politicians make sweeping statements on how to close the gap. But here's advice from people working directly with Indigenous communities who have evidence for what actually works.

https://theconversation.com/to-close-the-health-gap-we-need-programs-that-work-here-are-three-of-them-91482

Michelle Grattan writes: With four of the existing Closing the Gap targets expiring this year, the Council of Australian Governments is working with Indigenous people to refresh the agenda.

https://theconversation.com/closing-the-gap-results-still-lag-as-shorten-pledges-compensation-fund-for-stolen-generations-91633

Peter Buckskin writes: The failed and continually failing political leadership on respect, relationships and reconciliation sets the quality of current and future education back for all Australians.

https://theconversation.com/closing-the-gap-on-indigenous-education-must-start-with-commitment-and-respect-91630

Frank Brennan writes: Today we celebrate the tenth anniversary of what was a graced day in our nation's history. Back then, our elected representatives on both sides served us well. A heartfelt apology was given and received. We are all the better for it.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54667

Anthony Dillon writes: We should celebrate those areas where we have seen some gains, but learn from the failures and come up with new strategies.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19573

The Sins of a Nation, the Ritual of Apology, the Work of Repentance. Danielle Celermajer explains how national apologies are the ritual whereby we turn back to see ourselves through the eyes of the injured other, and from this place, step into a more ethical collective identity.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/02/13/4802967.htm

Jordan Peterson

Ron Dart assesses Canada's enigmatic rock-star intellectual, Jordan Peterson, who transcends culture wars tribalism, provoking the Progressive Left while rebuffing the Soft and Alt-Right who attempt to co-opt him.

http://www.clarion-journal.com/clarion_journal_of_spirit/2018/02/jordan-peterson-transcending-tribalism-and-cloistered-virtues-ron-dart.html

Douglas Murray writes: Jordan Peterson has become a mixture of philosopher, life-coach, educator and guru. He has the kind of passionate, youthful, pedagogical draw that the organised churches can only dream of. Anybody interested in our current culture wars, not to mention the ongoing place of religion, should head to YouTube, where his classes have been viewed by millions.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/01/the-curious-star-appeal-of-jordan-peterson/

If you want to know what the culture war is about, look no farther than the spectacular eruption in Britain during the past few days over Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto.

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/young-men-have-a-new-defender-in-jordan-peterson/news-story/00ed04e7efb705ad03fed57f02b3c0f3

David Robertson writes: When asked in an interview in The National Post, 'Are you a Christian? Do you believe in God?' he responded, 'I think the proper response to that is No, but I'm afraid he might exist’. He is not a Christian but he is a sincere, intelligent, compassionate, human being who in his search for the truth sometimes gets closer than many professing Christians.

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/is-jordan-peterson-the-new-messiah/124312.htm

In his new book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Peterson draws on everything from neuroscience to the Old Testament to his well-known controversial views. He talks with Christie Blatchford, who has been known to court controversy herself, and who once referred to Peterson as ‘a warrior for common sense and plain speech’.

http://nationalpost.com/feature/christie-blatchford-sits-down-with-warrior-for-common-sense-jordan-peterson

Alex Smith writes: Jordan Peterson is the most thought-provoking person I’ve come across in a long. To some, he is a bigoted extremist, propagating harmful lies; to others he’s a profane heretic, undermining the inerrancy of Scripture. Yet to others, he is a brave hero; a prophetic genius daring to speak the truth. One thing is clear, he’s gaining followers and enemies at an exponential rate.

https://reforminghell.com/2017/12/18/jordan-peterson-hero-or-heretic/

Michael Frost writes: In the era of Beyonce, Hillary and #MeToo where men feel emasculated and think the only way to respond to thriving women is to call them she-devils, Peterson adopts a subtler approach: he’s telling frightened, struggling men that the deck is stacked against them, that the system is weighted in favor of women and the only way to restore the balance is to wage a “non-violent war” on this Marxist conspiracy to destroy your way of life.

http://mikefrost.net/really-need-war-manophobic-hell-bent-feminist-devils/

Tess Delbridge writes: Jordan Peterson is pushing back on a current stream of thought that blames patriarchy for all the ills of the world, striking a chord with young men in particular. But how does he measure up to what the Bible has to say?

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/in-depth/the-never-ending-search-for-masculinity/

In response to an article by Eternity, Alex C Smith calls for us to give Jordan Peterson “a fair go and show him some of the grace that’s so central to Christianity”.

https://reforminghell.com/2018/02/19/give-jordan-peterson-a-fair-go-mate/

Alastair J. Roberts writes: “If Peterson can so powerfully resonate with certain fragments of Christian truth, how powerfully could a full-bodied presentation of Christian truth speak into the disorientation of contemporary society?”

https://alastairadversaria.com/2018/01/27/what-pastors-could-learn-from-jordan-peterson/

Janet Albrechtsen writes: One way to explain this rise of a man who has been described as a cowboy psychologist and an egghead who gives practical advice is that he drives many on the left bonkers. There are at least a dozen reasons for this.

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/inquirer/jordan-peterson-six-reasons-that-explain-his-rise/news-story/2466de41292be34e26e6c29041688eba

Justice

Andrew Davison writes: As surely as if we were dragging marker stones around in the dead of night, each of us who contributes to climate change is depriving people of their land. That is surely a sobering thought for the beginning of Lent.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/02/14/4803394.htm

Andrew Hamilton writes: World Social Justice Day greets a year when social justice is returning to favour. Bank executives begin to own their social responsibilities. Liberal economics begin to be seen, not as the condition for a productive economy but as a barrier to it. That is the rhetoric. For governments, though, it is business as usual.

https://eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54686

Law, human rights and free speech

In his submission to the Religious Freedom Review Panel, chaired by Philip Ruddock, Neil Jams Foster argues that there are gaps and shortcomings in the current “patchwork” protection for freedom of religion. Therefore, he suggests specific legislation at the Commonwealth level to protect religious freedom.

https://lawandreligionaustralia.blog/2018/02/05/submission-to-religious-freedom-review/

Michael McGowan writes: Charities have warned that the government’s proposed foreign donations bill will impose a huge red tape burden and strangle their attempts to advocate for policy changes, while Tim Costello said the bill was part of a ‘zeitgeist’ of attempts to silence dissent, similar to countries such as Russia and India.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/01/tim-costello-compares-coalitions-foreign-donation-ban-to-putins-crackdown-on-dissent

Frank Brennan writes: Keeping foreign billionaires and foreign governments out of Australia’s elections can be done without keeping churches and charities out of routine advocacy for the poor and marginalised.

https://eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54594

Brian Morris writes: Collectively, religion is one of the largest private employers in the nation, with unique exemptions from anti-discrimination laws. Will Philip Ruddock’s planned review recommend more?

https://newmatilda.com/2018/02/07/one-rule-save-religious-right-hire-fire/

Neil James Foster writes: while some religious freedom rights are protected under the amended marriage law, there are some serious gaps in protection for some involved deeply in the celebration of same sex weddings, and also a failure to deal with a range of other issue

https://lawandreligionaustralia.blog/2018/02/15/religious-freedom-implications-of-same-sex-marriage-in-australia/

Mark Fowler writes: The proper place of religious faith in Australian private and public schooling will continue to be a source of disputation. As the new school year commences, it may be helpful for students and parents to have some awareness of the law and the human rights imperatives that are relevant to this discussion.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/opinion/freedom-how-the-law-keeps-religion-in-school/

Stephen McAlpine writes: Proposals to wind back religious freedoms in regard to sexuality show once again the poverty of understanding in our wider culture as to the role of religion both in public life, and the way that religion is profoundly shaping of everything that people do in their lives, both private and public.

https://stephenmcalpine.com/2018/02/15/and-so-round-two-begins/

John Sandeman writes: A wide range of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian churches have received 13,500 submissions for the Ruddock panel on religious freedom. “I think it is safe to say that people are concerned about religious freedom,” says Michael Kellahan, executive director of Freedom for Faith.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/australia/churches-unite-to-propose-religious-freedom-act/

In its submission to the Ruddock panel, the Institute for Civil Society argues that religious belief and conduct should be made a protected attribute under federal anti-discrimination law.

http://www.i4cs.com.au/ics-submission-to-the-review-panel-on-religious-freedom/

Martyn Iles writes: The yes campaign has advocated for the complete removal of religious freedoms from discrimination laws. Christian schools, churches and religious organisations would not be able to employ staff or enrol members or students that share their faith.

http://www.acl.org.au/will_we_be_free?

Josh Taylor writes: The highly-secretive review into religious freedom in Australia is being accused of ‘bias’, with an LGBTI group concerned that the panel is only hearing one side of the story.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/joshtaylor/the-highly-secretive-review-into-religious-freedom-in

Caitlin Fitzsimmons writes: The Christian baker argument is not about religious freedom for everyone, it's about religious freedom for business owners.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/debunking-the-myth-of-the-christian-baker-20180220-h0wdn7.html

Will Jones writes: How much longer, I wonder, will people be willing to risk their reputations and endure the social opprobrium and financial penalties of speaking out? How long will it even remain legal?

“It is time for conservatives to start talking about what we really want, rather than gratefully accepting any meagre crumb off the table of what we hope our progressive masters might be willing to concede to us.”

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/long-speaking-law/

Stephen McAlpine writes: Many Christians are unable to envisage a day when actual religious freedoms in this country won't be wound back; either because they don't want to think about it, or because they have little understanding of history - either political or church history.

https://stephenmcalpine.com/2018/02/21/the-times-they-are-aprogressin/

Media

Jonathan Green writes: Here we have a quick demonstration of a new political method. It's not designed to advance any particular policy position. The point is trolling: the simple art of using rhetoric and political acts to provoke a reaction. Suddenly a lot makes sense. Tony Abbott makes sense. Donald Trump makes sense. So much of social media makes sense.

https://eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54592

Mental health

Neve Mahoney writes: Many films and TV shows use mental illness to explain violent behaviour. The stereotype is so ingrained that after the recent Florida shooting, Trump said he would deal with 'the difficult issue of mental health', but didn't mention guns once. In reality, people with mental illness are more likely to be the victims than perpetrators of violence.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54693

Alison Simpson joins CT’s associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss spiritual oppression and mental illness in the Gospels, how our understanding of the brain has transformed in the past 50 years, and where sin fits into this discussion.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/february-web-only/mental-illness-sin.html

Politics, society & ideology

Alan Jacobs writes: There are few things our social order needs more right now than political creativity. We have been locked for far too long into the same reductive set of simplistic oppositions. The task of universities is to understand the pain that inevitably accompanies learning, to try to prevent the accretion of harm, and to steer those who experience that pain towards finding benefit in it.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/02/02/4798008.htm

Daniel Jose Camacho writes: In U.S. politics, the "religious left" is often imagined as a counterbalance to the religious right. Yet, despite all the noise, the religious left has not been able to organise itself around a focused policy agenda.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/02/01/4797159.htm

Stan Grant writes: Economics is in many ways a defining story of our age. Economic growth has transformed the world and accelerated democracy. It has been the engine of progress. But do we believe in the ultimate freedom of the individual or do we surrender some freedom to a greater good?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-07/stan-grant-economics-are-destiny/9403814

Lyle Shelton writes: The Australian Conservatives offers a constructive, principled conservative voice in the sensible, common sense centre. A vote for Australian Conservatives is a vote to bring common sense back. This is a movement that offers real hope – perhaps our only hope. I'm glad to be joining.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19554&page=0

Patrick J. Deneen writes: Liberalism is failing today precisely because it succeeded. Across the world, liberalism's moment of triumph is being marked not by the tolling of victory bells but the sounding of air-raid sirens.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/02/15/4804482.htm

Timi Olotu writes: “With isms, there’s always an “Other” and this “Other” is always to blame. But the fight is not with people who think differently from you (independent thinkers) — it’s with those who try to stop you from thinking differently yourself (thought police).”

https://extranewsfeed.com/why-i-live-by-ideas-not-isms-adc0aecdd732

Racism

Shannon Burns writes: When rules of expression are forced on people who have their own peculiar relationship to speech, and who can reasonably be expected to struggle with the constraints, it is not a fair imposition. Political correctness is hardly the evil that conservative commentators make it out to be, but as a moral burden it is clearly weighted against the lower classes, who are smart enough to recognise when they are being set up to fail.

https://meanjin.com.au/essays/in-defence-of-the-bad-white-working-class/

Religion in Society

Peter Sellick writes: Divorce and remarriage became easier, contraception more available, abortion laws liberalised, homosexual acts were no longer illegal and governments gave up censoring content in the media.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19534

British Prime Minister Theresa May, a minister’s daughter, is a Christian and says her faith “is part of me … and therefore how I approach things”. So is it possible to “do God” and politics – and live out faith as Christians serve in public life? Nick Spencer, Director of Research at Theos, thinks so.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/world/being-a-christian-in-politics-harder-than-ever/

Martin E. Marty writes: What about those of us who are grateful for the gifts of the Enlightenment and also for what he dismissively characterizes as belief in “magic, a father in the sky?” Where do we go from here?

https://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/faith-and-enlightenment-dark-times

Lyle Shelton writes: The Australian Conservatives offers a constructive, principled conservative voice in the sensible, common sense centre. A vote for Australian Conservatives is a vote to bring common sense back. This is a movement that offers real hope – perhaps our only hope. I'm glad to be joining.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19554&page=0

Many secular opponents of religious freedom seem to be driven by myths - myths about religion, and how religion works. Unfortunately, many of these secular people are vocal in the public square, driving important discussions around the role of religion in society. Akos Balogh writes.

http://akosbalogh.com/2018/02/13/4-secular-myths-religion-theyre-dangerous/

Caillan Davenport and Shushma Malik write: The idea that the athletic contests – held in honour of the Greek god Zeus for over a thousand years – were shut down by a puritanical Christian emperor makes for a good story. But is it true?

https://theconversation.com/mythbusting-ancient-rome-did-christians-ban-the-ancient-olympics-92023

Science

Jennifer Powell Mcnutt writes: The story of enmity between Christianity and science has often been distorted and overstated, leading us to forget some of history’s most influential science advocates and fueling a false dichotomy that unnecessarily polarizes scientific debates today.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/december/clergy-behind-science-as-we-know-it.html

Jenna Freudenburg writes: On both the personal and systemic levels, science is vulnerable to social failings. It’s arrogant of us to pretend otherwise. It’s also demonstrably false. If I adhere to an ideology that lionizes Science and Reason above human relationship, I am not following Christ’s example.

https://sojo.net/articles/will-science-have-its-own-metoo-reckoning

Sexism and #MeToo

Meagan Tyler writes: #MeToo seeks to show the everyday nature of sexual harassment and violence, and the severe consequences of letting this behaviour go unchecked. Q&A's casting decisions made a mockery of these aims.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/02/16/4804952.htm

Sexual abuse

Kate Galloway writes: Many claim it is inappropriate for media to report stories of sexual harassment. The concept of justice at law depends upon systems designed to weigh evidence, affording the parties the opportunity to tell their stories. But what if these systems are inadequate to expose the abuses of power evident in the recent disclosures?

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54519

In an interview with Christianity Today, Rachael Denhollander shared more details about her break with her church community, how poor theology causes many churches to poorly care for sex abuse victims, how she found God's perspective on sexual abuse in Scripture, and about her convictions that forgiveness and justice are both biblical and must go hand in hand. 

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/january-web-only/rachael-denhollander-larry-nassar-forgiveness-gospel.html

Keiran Hardy writes: Just because universities teach about human rights and feminism doesn’t mean sexual harassment is left outside their walls. #MeTooPhD is a hashtag for university staff and students to share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/04/metoophd-reveals-shocking-examples-of-academic-sexism

Rachel Neary writes: If you have been online at all in recent weeks, you will have seen how sex and consent has been a leading issue, the focus of countless headlines. Yet consent and mutual pleasure is not something we hear much about in churches. What then is the role of Christian faith when it comes to consent and sex? And what should churches offer in any public conversation around power and gender norms and how these operate in relationship dynamics?

http://www.fixinghereyes.org/single-post/2018/02/07/Sex-consent-and-churchtoo

Megan Powell du Toit writes: When Christians argue that sexual liberation and feminism have caused the #metoo phenomenon, they betray a desire to return to a situation where women are made responsible for men’s sexual appetites.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/opinion/christians-need-to-reform-their-ideas-about-sex-and-power/

Sexuality and same-sex marriage

John Mark Capper writes: Even though more than half of Australia's Christians are in favour of marriage equality. Yet, to date, no major denomination has publicly shifted to allow same-sex marriage. Why?

‘Three factors affect whether Christians support or oppose marriage equality: how they read the Bible; how they understand church tradition; and how they see the relationship between the world around them and the life of the church.’

https://theconversation.com/same-sex-marriage-is-legal-so-why-have-churches-been-so-slow-to-embrace-it-91564

Social media

Amanda Jackson writes: My Facebook life is not me; it’s a better version of me. Even though I try not to post only about sunsets, talented children and victorious Bible verses, it is inevitable that my life on Facebook has fewer cracks and less boredom than my real life.

https://amandaadvocates.blog/2018/02/07/my-facebook-life/

US politics

Randall Balmer writes: "The religious right’s wholesale embrace of the Republican party and of Donald J. Trump, both as candidate and as president, has necessitated a rewriting of evangelical ethics."

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/18/donald-trump-evangelicals-code-of-ethics

Michael Wear writes: In our increasingly polarised nation, elections are not just perceived to determine the direction of our nation’s policies but as a declaration of who is included and who is excluded. We cannot have a nation where half of the country wakes up the morning after an election feeling like they no longer have a place in their own country without severely fraying our social fabric.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/february/us-politics-trump-clinton-hope-christians-michael-wear.html

Volunteering

Catherine Walsh writes: Looking for a New Year's resolution? Stop volunteering. We all accept the received wisdom that volunteering helps our communities. But does volunteering really help, or does it simply prop up broken systems? Is there a better way?

www.smh.com.au/comment/volunteering-doesnt-make-the-world-a-better-place-20180104-h0dd25.html

Stephen McAlpine responds to Catherine Walsh: I guess in a world of resumes and cocktail parties and superannuation figures volunteerism is a dirty word. But in a jobless world, a world of drug cocktails and Centrelink queues, it’s a lifeline for many.

https://stephenmcalpine.com/2018/01/05/peak-stupid-has-been-reached-and-its-only-january-5/

War, peace & nonviolence

Noah Vaz writes: When Australia's arms sales reach the shores of countries and parties with histories of human rights abuses and blunders, the growth or even existence of a defence exports industry must be heavily questioned.

https://eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54670

Binoy Kampmark writes: The mass murderous gun, even in the hands of a disgruntled teenager, remains a manifestation that will linger in the face of legislative apathy and constitutional fervour. A civilised society may not require such guns, but US civilisation expresses a frontier brutality that refuses to abandon them.

https://eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54682

Welfare

Calla Wahlquist writes: A domestic violence survivor who is part of the cashless debit card trial says she would not have been able to escape her abusive marriage under the income management scheme.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/01/domestic-violence-survivor-could-not-have-escaped-abuse-on-cashless-debit-card

Michael McGowan writes: Charities have warned that the government’s proposed foreign donations bill will impose a huge red tape burden and strangle their attempts to advocate for policy changes, while Tim Costello said the bill was part of a ‘zeitgeist’ of attempts to silence dissent, similar to countries such as Russia and India.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/01/tim-costello-compares-coalitions-foreign-donation-ban-to-putins-crackdown-on-dissent

Frank Brennan writes: Keeping foreign billionaires and foreign governments out of Australia’s elections can be done without keeping churches and charities out of routine advocacy for the poor and marginalised.

https://eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=54594

Women

Collin Huber writes: As stories from the #MeToo and #ChurchToo campaigns have rippled into the church, they have kindled needed conversation not only about the proper methods for handling cases of sexual assault but also about how we discuss sexual assault itself.

Vindicating the Vixens, edited by Sandra Glahn, explores the subjects of women, victimhood, and abuse through careful exegesis and contemporary contextual evidence.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/march-web-only/vindicating-vixens-sandra-glahn.html

Work

The workplace can be an incredibly challenging place for Christians, and work can bring out the best and the worst in people. Kara Martin identifies different personalities we may encounter in the workplace and suggests an alternative behaviour that exemplifies the gospel.

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/opinion/11-impossible-people-you-meet-at-work-and-how-to-deal-with-them/

Year in Review / New Year

‘I have always had a general ambition to be a better, nobler, wiser person’, writes Barney Zwartz at the start of another year, ‘but somehow I never seem to have time’.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/faith-20180106-h0ecdq.html

Natasha Moore writes: The beginning of a new year offers something we all crave: a sense of possibility, of starting afresh. A prompt to ask, what do I want my life to look like? And then figure out how to get from here to there.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-31/christmas-and-new-years-holidays-theology-christianity/9292660

Young people

Jana Riess writes: PRRI and MTV recently released a study on the political and social views of more than 2,000 Americans ages 15 to 24, which includes younger Millennials and older members of Generation Z.

https://religionnews.com/2018/01/29/new-study-of-millennials-and-genz-points-to-a-massive-religious-realignment-in-america/


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