Faith in Politics

December 22, 2007

rudd290x200.jpgAustralia has a new Prime Minister who appears to have the convictions of a practising Christian. What difference does that make you might wonder? Hard to say at this point. Previously we have had Prime Ministers and ministers who have been ambiguous about their faith – you can never pin them down as to what they believe – Christian or otherwise. Read more

What are the Churches Not Doing?

November 25, 2007

I am no social commentator, not do I have aspirations to be one. But as a “member” occasionally things just leap out and slap you when they point at our society and highlight our shortcomings. In the Sydney Morning Herald this weekend there was an interesting article about a small company which has built its business around the cleanup required after a death (accidental or otherwise) or where a site is so filthy no regular cleaner will go near it. Council contracts for abandoned apartments and that sort of thing. They do a good job I am sure. But their observation about cleaning up the apartment of a derelict struck home. One of the cleaners said “…no one should live like that(in a “pigsty”) It is great to be able to help make his life a little better. Rightly or wrongly the reporter went on to say “This sort of work used to be done by charities or nuns or concerned people in the community. It is now done by cleaning contractors such as Gabby Simpson.”

Well I am not sure about you but it strikes me as a pretty sad state of affairs that our social safety net, our network of care, is reduced to not only contractors but to cleaning contractors!! Come on! Good on Gabby and her cleaning contractors for having the attitude they do. But shame on the rest of us for letting things get to a point where a reporter observes that in our community one of the key groups we expect to be best tuned into the needs of the poor and needy – the church – is not so tuned in. OK, there is a reasonable argument that plenty of churches are pulling their weight (here is one I know). But church or no church, our community is confronted by the fact that too many in our community live and die alone and none of us are aware until their lonely deaths hit the press – usually salaciously since some have rotted in situ for months and in one case for more than a year. Too many of these in Sydney these last couple of years. I sincerely hope we can do better than leaving these people up to our forensic cleaning contractors. Who incidentally, are usually on site when it is far too late!

Worship Via a Cell Phone

May 14, 2007

These old cathedrals reek of smoke and wax and are scented with aged timber. Light catches gilt and gold, careens off marble and helps give life to the slate floor, all cracked and tilted but polished smooth from eons of traffic. In their calm stillness you can understand how worshipers seek God, the more so for the singing choirs quietly being played in the background. You can imagine rows of chanting monks helping set a tone of awe, reverence and respectful worship. They would be nonplussed at the overcoated grey haired gent who rushed into this pool of quiet worship this afternoon. Crying out in French to the statue of Mary shrouded in a beautifully gilded cloth. Pointing and waving. And talking into his cell phone. I thought he was talking to someone else then I realised he was talking to Mary via his cell. It would have been humorous if his entreaties were not so earnest and heartfelt. I had stumbled over the place wandering the lanes of Brussels and had welcomed its solitude and a place to be reflective. I handed over to the cell phone worshiper and left him to this place. I hope God picks up at the other end for him.

A Good Therapy…

March 30, 2007

In fact, the best. There is no question that getting out and helping someone else is a good way to take your mind off the daily things that are nibbling you to death. The trouble is, our community is so insular, and we are so reluctant to ask if anyone needs help that we end up helping no one, including ourselves.

I found a rather extreme example of people helping others in a story of a group of people who got together to help build a house for a family in all sorts of need. Building a house is out there, but a good example of putting someone in front of yourself. While it is not really covered in the story, I bet there was more gained by those who did the giving. Working together in a community way can be stimulating, healthy, objective and usually puts your own distractions in perspective.

That challenge has been put to our own church community and last week some of us got together to do something about some needs at the local Spastic Centre. Mail-outs, weeding and painting had us all come together to help some of our community. Painting included this mural which Athalie is working on, decorating a wall in one of the therapy centres.

It was a day of putting others before ourselves. But in the giving we were all blessed, by working together and most simply through the action itself. In this therapy centre for spastic children and adults we got the best therapy of all. Each other.