Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Julian Burnside about Asylum Seekers

   Here soon and later on iView you can hear Julian Burnside talking humane soloutions to the 'problem' of boat arrival asylum seekers!!


   How do we do what we can to make sure that our ministry and mission with young people does a good job of introducing them to Jesus and helping them hear the invitation to 'follow' and to participate in God's activity in the world to 'reconcile and renew' the whole of creation? Well, laser tag, a band or pizza might draw a crowd...but it's never going to be enough!! Absence of those things can make it almost impossible BUT at the end of the day a choice of substance over style is the challenge!!
   I agree with Youth Worker and academic theologian Andrew Root [Luther Seminary, Minneapolis] when he promotes the idea of 'place sharing' as an intrinsic gospel value and a non manipulative way to grow relationships, tell stories and act out the values and the bringing in of the world lived in God's interest. Know your story, share your insights, seek connections with'the good news' and put in time and energy!!
   'Place sharing' is essentially differentiated from trying to get young people to do or be something but rather to share space and time trying to discover 'who Jesus is' present in your community, relationships, lives and context... what is his call to you as a community and as individuals within it...
   This is an action and a participation in helping young people place their story alongside God's story through Jesus while seeking to engage God's Spirit...
   There's still 'telling' and still your hopes for the relationships... it's just not only about your agenda...
In mid August I am travelling to Melbourne to attend a training day and seek 'accreditation' with Search Institute in their 'Assets' work. This is one important framework for building 'resilience' in young people [an ability to bounce back from life's challenges and to thrive in life's opportunities] and to 'share place' through postive mentoring and role modelling relationships.
Search's 40 Developmental Assets are drawn from global research with millions of young people. They will talk about how the 40 are applicable in different cultures and what varies is often those already strongly present or absent in different contexts.
   I've written about this model before and have put it in front of Youthleaders for many years BUT will share again the latest insights and run some workshops here in the Hunter to share and offer practical examples for how it could enhance our ministry and mission with young people here... and beyond!!
   One simple example would be the positive spin offs available in forming  a team or teams to participate in the upcoming Newcastle/Lake Macquarie "RELAY FOR LIFE." Helping others in need, organising sponsors and successfully 'walking' at this over night fundraiser/support event at Glendale athletic track. Adult leaders mentors can guide the group and the helping experience can bring new light to Scripture and God's values as a participant not just someone exploring propositional faith. See the attached pdf and what you can identify as being offered in such an experience... with some young people the whole idea is an incredibly slow process and you won't always feel there's any impact [there is]!!
Here are two articles taking a different slant but essentially reflecting on the same challenges...
Rachel Held Evans here
A Response here
   As ever I am available to do more on this in any congregation/group/network or local setting in the Hunter [and beyond]... How would this be 'earthed' where you are?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Australia's Asylum Seeker Policy is an Appalling Farce

   Imagine if a political party and a few major Australian media outlets chose to tell the story differently!! Imagine if the template for understanding the arrival of leaky boats from Indonesia and beyond was a story about the global and regional issues that led people to flee OR if instead of being camped outside a London Hospital, a journalist went to the places the 'people smugglers' were organising from and unearthed and told their stories and those of the people giving them money....
   Imagine if we identified the story of boat people, through the kind of short piece from the papers a few days back that featured Dr Karl and others. Ahn Doh is a bloke who should have been overrun with media interview requests last week.... 'The Happy Refugee' has a story to share...
   Nobody wants people drowning at sea or flee-ing persecution and violence but the desperation is real and the need for compassion and understanding the issue is actually within the capacity of the average Australian [whatever their background]!!
   So, what of the recently announced Labor Government policy. Kevin Rudd enjoys talking more than me... I'll just pause for effect as my good friends take that onboard... we know this...
   At the moment he has a tattered notepad page in his top pocket, taking the opportunity of change, to 'fix' a list of problems for the government in seeking to be elected in the near future. Surely the kick on effects of the changes to FBT policy are an example of how short sighted this is... whatever you make of the government's policy on asylum seekers, it won't be tested in any meaningful way prior to the next Poll and so it gets to sound tough, with few consequences. Any wonder the stories of life on Manus Island emerge as journalists, activists and others seek to offer scrutiny.
   What if we could just choose that 'stopping the boats' was not the issue? What if we could say to Tony Abbott, you can stop the boats... so what?
   Lastly, even if your issue is not the government policy, my main annoyance is this 'tick it off the list' cynical politicking from Rudd [and Abbott]!! One positive from this may be Gonski... you think PNG are getting a brown paper bag full of money... stay tuned for what really gets the recalcitrant states over the line before Rudd calls a poll for either late August or late September.
You can tell a lot about a country by the way it treats the most vulnerable...

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Ouch, that's gotta hurt!!

Mark Webber's crew mix up and the camera operator breaks a collarbone and some ribs!!!

Monday, July 08, 2013

New Wallabies Coach!!

   Well, it seems it's a done deal and at a press conference tomorrow it will be announced that Robbie Deans will be replaced by Ewen 'Link' McKenzie as coach of the Wallabies!! The 2008 to now years have been a real mixed bag and the team haven't risen to the heights they might have... that's for sure!!

Wrap up:
- The team has developed way too slowly
- Our scrum has improved but at times is a joke
-There have been a lot of significant injuries
- We have introduced new players at times of injury but not enough on form in Super 15 until too late
- Quade Cooper bombed at the pressure moments so far and doesn't defend in the front line
- The only person who thinks O'Connor is a flyhalf is O'Connor
- The team struggled to 'play what was in front of them' and then Cooper rebelled against structure
- The injury list has seen lots of younger players brought in and that will soon yield results
- No Bledisloe, no World Cup Final, rare high points...
- The Team pushed the Lions and exposed a lack of precision under pressure but didn't sustain it
- I don't think their losses have hurt enough

   Robbie Deans is a culture builder and player manager who tried to get the team to play to their strengths but the team was too inconsistent and Cooper didn't deliver...
Good luck Ewen!!

Roxy Pro Advert Causes a Storm

So it seems this 'Teaser' advert for the surf context has caused a bit of a stir...
Is it the sexualisation of a sport?
How does it rank with Beach Volleyball bikinis, the similarly controversial women's golf ad a few years back, the previous Opals lyrca tights in basketball or every second clip on weekend TV music shows at the moment?
Would the reaction be the same if it was a bloke?
Is it a #first world problem and people should get over it and be more concerned about politics, human rights and poverty?
Is it about what it says about the audience more than the ad agency?

I just find it interesting to observe the discourse...

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Monday, July 01, 2013

What a Week in Oz

   Now that the dust has settled a little on the week that was it's worth a look back at how there was "too much sport and too little sleep"...
   There's no doubt QLD deserved a win in State of Origin 2 but to be fair, the Referees were aweful!! Overawed by the occasion they were on top of the play the ball speed until they penalised Fifita for holding a player down and then proceeded to let it happen for the rest of the game. The 'sin binnings' were a joke brought about by administrative interference in the games showcase series... The two players throwing punches were always going to be sent to the 'sin bin' after the failure to deal with fighting in Game One... but the second player from each side was ridiculous. Beyond that... the referees were inconsistent and surly!! Anyhow QLD win game 3 by a point and inflict an 8th series of pain soon so we all move on...
   On the same night the farcical Federal Government continued the fun with a leadership spill interrupting pre game coverage of the footy... and to her surprise I think, Julia Gillard was rolled by jittery colleagues. To be fair, it was a mistake to depose Rudd, as dysfunctional as he was... with brilliant policies and important vision tossed in... he was never going quietly and pretty much any leak since then can be traced to him and supporters [despite denials]!! Here's hoping the government can actually:
- speed up an emissions trading scheme vs carbon tax
- bring a humane sense to 'turning back the boats'
- deliver the education reforms outlined in the Gonski Review Panel list
- launch some new policies re benefits, incentives, green energy and recognition of indigenous people
- Get broadband roll out on track
- Find, not wedge issues but, genuine differences in policy that speak of a kinder, more savvy Australia
   Two Rugby Union players went to Burger King at 4am in the week of a Test preparation and day off or not and although not drunk, this was a stupid thing to be doing and sjowed how I'm right in thinking they really don't get how fortunate they are and how they will look back on their careers with regret at taking so much for granted... portents of dropped ball, uncertainty and a lucky last moments win in the 2nd Test v the Lions... The Wallabies deserved to win game one and lose that game so fair enough I guess... I'm not confident re the decider in Sydney Saturday night... they are as reliable as a Green Edge Tour Bus in France!!
   Le Tour de Cortisone got underway and weekend at Bernie's is in full swing at SW19 in the tennis. Tomic is annoyed his Coach [Father] is banned from being at Wimbledon... perhaps he shouldn't have headbutted your practice partner in the first place then Bernard?
   OK, got all that out of my system... put a full stop on it with great fun watching "Man of Steel" today at the cinema school kids didn't turn up at... winning!!