Archive for July, 2007

a chance to reflect, meditate & pray…

12.30pm Wednesday 1st August

University of Wollongong Building 1. G05

all welcome 

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seeing god as a cow?

Posted: July 24, 2007 in reflections

Some people want to see God with their eyes as they see a cow and to love him as they love their cow – they love their cow for the milk and cheese and profit it makes them. This is how it is with people who love God for the sake of outward wealth or inward comfort. They do not rightly love God when they love him for their own advantage.

Indeed, I tell you the truth, any object you have on your mind, however good, will be a barrier between you and the inmost truth.

 

Meister Eckhart, the 14th century mystic

UoW Week 1 Clubs Market Day

Posted: July 23, 2007 in Clubs & Socs, UoW

Week 1 Clubs Market Day – Thursday 26th July 10am-2pm

UnitingSpiritually is hosting a table at the Clubs & Societies Market Day during Week 1 of 2nd Session at the University of Wollongong THIS Thursday.

What we need:

  • people to come and hang out, be a friendly face & meet others
  • ideas to engage and connect with the Uni community

Can you be there anytime during the day, including setup from 9am? Or have you got suggestions for campus engagement? Contact Dave davew[at]uow.edu.au

neighbours part 2

Posted: July 11, 2007 in reflections

when i was writing the previous post i had in the back of my mind the current aust. governments immediate & heavy-handed approach to tackle social issues within indigenous communities in the NT. i was skeptical when i first heard of the move, particularly because the howard government hasn’t only decided to deem whats best for indigenous communities in the NT, but they have also taken the power off the NT government to govern in order to push their own agenda. No where else in Aust could this have happened [except the ACT] because as far as i’m aware the federal government has no jurisdiction to impose legislation like this within the states – only within the territories of australia. everywhere else in the country the states are left to resource, support, and implement policy. So why does howard and brough want to get their hands in on indigenous affairs so urgently – to the point that they’d use their federal power to override the authority and determination of the Northern Territory? one might suspect its a proactive attempt to demonstrate their leadership in the leadup to the election, another hot contender wonders what could possibly link the welfare or sexual abuse of indigenous children to the Aboriginal Land permit system.

when announcing their intentions, John Howard stated that this is our Katrina, creating a link to the hurricane disaster and the obvious social implications and issues that were exposed in southern usa in its aftermath. I was confused by such a statement – Howard wanted to tell us that this is of national interest, and so deemed it a national emergency – therefore giving him the power to act as he wished – but he did this by comparing it to a weather event?

On monday a MP from the Maori Party in New Zealand labeled Howard a ‘racist bastard’ for his intervention in the NT. Hone Harawira’s words were blunt and i doubt he would have got airplay in Australia if he hadn’t used them. but what he then went on to offer as a member of a first nation peoples is certainly insightful. Harawira picked up on Howards use of Katrina, and offered that perhaps his governments actions were far more interventionist like Iraq. He went on to say that this would not happen in NZ because such action would illicit violence. What a sad indictment on the indigenous people of australia that they are too peaceful.

so our neighbour across the tasman sounds the alarm bells. our actions here in australia haven’t gone unnoticed. in many debates about indigenous issues, status and place in australia we as a country often fall into us & them – one opinion piece in the age on sunday unfortunately highlights this too well. Terry Lane writes: “we may be as sentimental as we like about indigenous culture, but it is simply incompatible with real life and must change or be changed….Realistically there is no alternative to assimilation”. If Terry Lane had any idea about aboriginal culture he would understand that for example football – both league and afl have become for many as intricatly woven into its fabric as many other traditional elements. the point is that indigenous culture has been evolving for 1000’s of years, and kept doing so post 1788. Lisa Hall, a school teacher in central australia wrote a response to the age over Lane’s words, you can read it here. Clearly all we who understand ‘real life’ are the ‘us’, and those aboriginal people are the ‘them’. What nonsense!

i could write more, and more and more – and include the piece i heard on monday about Mal brough’s intentions to claim land in this affair. i could wonder why this has popped up now after indigenous communities rejected the 70 odd million dollors promised to them some months ago over a 99 yr lease.

if you want to read some more check out:

this piece in the smh

lateline transcript from 2 weeks ago

Monday’s westaustralian report on NT govt.

or NZ MP Harawira’s comments – or just google ‘howard racist bastard’!

neighbours

Posted: July 10, 2007 in reflections

whats a neighbour? who do you consider your neighbours? i remember once hearing a speaker of a forum offer great wisdom in defining ‘the neighbour’. essentially he said that the significance of a neighbour comes with the reality that we rarely get to choose who they are.

in this weeks lectionary reading jesus confirms a man’s belief that to gain life is to love god with your whole being and to love your neighbour as yourself.

the Dalai Lama during his recent visit to australia stated:

The concept of ‘us and them’ should now be deemed irrelevant. In ancient times ‘us and them’ was a reality because the destruction of our enemy was in our best interests for our survival. Today however according to the new reality, destruction of our neighbors means destruction of ourselves.

the neighbour can not be the target of our fear. the other – as ‘them’ – is redundant. no longer can the other be isolated from us, for when we do, we risk seeking scapegoats for our own fears and prejudices.

so who is the other? ultimately the other is the one we name as god. but also, the other is all of humanity bound up and united in the image of this god in human form – jesus. seeing ourselves in the bigger picture, as sharing our humanity and existence with billons of others around this diverse globe, begs us to look beyond ourselves, to shed our ego, and be motivated by humility and love.

so loving god, loving ourselves, and loving the other is essentially the same task, goal and process… it is the way we find meaning, develop compassion and grow in wisdom & understanding… it is the way we find life.

have you ever thought a solution to be to easy?

there’s a story about a leader of the army of the kingdom of aram named naaman. he was seen to be a good man, successful in his leadership, except one thing threatened him and especially his position & status. he suffered from leprosy.

now naaman’s wife was served by a slave from the kingdom of israel, and she said to naaman if only you would go to my country you would be healed. so the king of aram sent naaman to israel with extravagant gifts of gold, sliver and expensive garments. upon arrival the king of israel was threatened by the idea – not knowing how he could possibly find a cure for naaman, especially with the gifts bestowed to him. He feared the king of aram was setting him up for failure, and would thus seek to war against him.

enter a prophet named elisha. elisha told his king to be at ease for he had the solution. elisha sent a message to naaman telling him to wash in the jordon river 7 times. naaman was outraged – ‘what sort of prophet is this?’ he thought, why wont he even come see me? isn’t he going to call on the name of his god, touch my skin and heal me?’ naaman thought the rivers of his own country were at least as clean & fresh as the jordon, and dipping in it 7 times was surely nonsensical – he could have stayed at home. yet his servants said to him ‘naaman, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult you would have lept at it, why then don’t you just follow this simple command?’

so begrudgingly naaman dipped in the jordan 7 times…

 

i wonder how often we seek big solutions to our problems or the issues that confront us. we might seek a miricle fix rather than acknowledging that often we can be active in the process of healing, fixing, solving, & moving on in our own lives. we live in a world of professionalism, where the latest gadgets and hype of new technology or a new guru can overshadow our own intuition and the still small voice leading us to reconcile our own needs. perhaps sometimes the simplist option is just the best, and the plain advice is just the voice we should listen for.

so did naaman get healed? yep – you can check out the book of 2 kings chpt. 5

where is everyone?

Posted: July 2, 2007 in Uncategorized

Did you know?

At present some of US are overseas, or about to head there! That’s right! Currently Julie is about 8 months into her stint at Agape Aids orphanage in Chiang Mai, Thailand – you can check out her blog http://thaijulie.blogspot.com. Bec is in Japan on conference for a few weeks. Suz is heading to the UK on Wednesday. David is off to Europe via Vietnam on the 13th for 5 weeks. Meagan heads to NZ for 3 months on the 15th. And Jesse is off to Korea and Japan in September! WOW – hope I haven’t missed anyone!

 
In any case, it’s a great opportunity to remember the diaspora of US, and how this community remains connected even beyond geographical limitations!

 
So, get along to the North Gong on Thursday night and we’ll raise our glasses and remember those who are no longer here in Wollongong with us, and offer a blessing to those planning to head off soon.

A new look

Posted: July 2, 2007 in Uncategorized

Welcome to our new look site…

all previous posts should still be around, so feel free to comment!