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19 January 2016 |
Last year, I was my son's main school-day carer. It was a year of which the second half was dominated by acts of terrorism around the world. For the first time I properly registered the fact that there were people on the planet who, given the opportunity, would kill the preppie and me because we didn't want the kind of world they wanted. I started to feel a presence looming over us. It wasn't a pleasant reality with which to engage. Nor, I soon realised, was it any way to live.
23 June 2015 |
A poorly-organised ill-resourced minority community often feels it has better things to worried about than 'white' converts who, like converts to any faith or belief system are known for their zeal. If the government really imagines young Muslims and converts are ripe for 'radicalisation', an excellent investment they could make would be in support services for new Muslims. In our lucky country, there is much loneliness in this group and many reasons to feel marginalised.
18 December 2014 |
Christmas is a fabulous time to spend at home. Even those of us who aren’t terribly Christian can enjoy a free holiday with friends and family. And if you like choral music, you can always come along with me and a Jewish mate to St Mary's Cathedral. But last Christmas I found myself in Taiwan.
30 November 2014 |
World AIDS Day encourages us also to think of Africa, the continent most afflicted by AIDS. Cultural and economic factors are also significant, including the need for men to live far away from home in order to find work, and women driven to sex work. It is an issue of fairness, making us ask people in wealthier nations owe to those in poorer nations.
26 October 2014 |
Pope Francis warns perceptively that the urge to create peace by punishment leads to the search for more targets. The best way to peace and security is not to wage war on people but to be curious about them – what leads them to criminal acts, and how we can intervene to help them make good connections with society.
05 January 2014 |
I indulge a passing self-congratulatory thought that the Pope is, like me, a Jesuit, and will understand our Jesuit ways. And that the Church, of course, will benefit immeasurably from his Jesuit training. That is immediately followed by a touch of anxiety: perhaps he will understand our ways all too well.
20 August 2013 |
It’s a crude and misleading line of reasoning to declare that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood can’t be committed to democracy because it is an Islamist organisation much like al-Qaida and Hezbollah. On what basis do we label individuals or groups 'Islamist'? Or 'fundamentalist'? Or 'extremist'? How can we have a monolith amongst a set of congregations making up almost one quarter of the world's human population? The history and politics of Islam is just as complex as that of Christianity.
22 May 2013 |
The Commonwealth and the Victorian state budgets this year were marked by a contradiction. Both committed more money to incarceration — detention centres and prisons; and both limited programs to help the people confined there. Such contradictions are usually signs of a bad policy that flows from shallow cultural values.
21 May 2013 |
The 2011 book Five Uneasy Pieces offered an alternative reading of the so-called 'clobber passages' that are at the core of religious unease about homosexuality. A follow-up volume pushes the envelope further by examining the biblical recognition of the variety of human love beyond traditional marriage.
16 May 2013 |
It is difficult to get into the mind of a person who might have been pope eight years earlier. Would the intervening years have been filled with 'what ifs'? Would he have watched Benedict and wondered how he might have led differently? Whether they knew it or not the cardinals initiated a quiet revolution in electing this man.
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