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  • RELIGION

    Luther’s challenge to the Church then and now

    • Bill Wright
    • 05 March 2017
    4 Comments

    Speaking of reform in the church can mean many things. Often it's about practical matters: sorting out the Vatican Bank, changing how bishops are chosen or clergy trained; that sort of thing. Occasionally, however, reform is about seeking real religious change. Martin Luther, I want to suggest, is one of those reformers who was not concerned with tinkering with structures of the church but with reforming the Christian message so that it might reform the believer.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Scenes from a city picked clean by investors

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 02 March 2017
    4 Comments

    An unread newspaper tumbles and breaks apart in the wind. A man sits alone on a park bench wondering what it would be like to hear children riding bicycles through the park. As darkness settles the city's workers commence their long journeys home. Not even the music of the street performers is heard anymore. They were all relocated. Car engines hum and airplanes roar. Somehow the city ecosystem continues despite the investment predators having eaten up all other types of life.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    There's life in Ecuador's 21st century socialism

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 01 March 2017
    4 Comments

    Ecuadoreans will head back to the polls on 2 April after this month's presidential election didn't come up with an outright winner. Against all projections Socialist Lenin Moreno, who served as Rafael Correa's vice president from 2007 to 2013, did very well. While he fell short of winning, there is a sense that the Ecuadorean 21st century socialism, an economic and political model instigated by Correa, is still popular; and in this Andean country of 15 million the majority are poor.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The power of persuasion in confronting fascism

    • Daniel Nicholson
    • 23 February 2017
    9 Comments

    In the footage of one violence protest, I was shocked to see a handful of my homeless clients, draped in Australian flags, engaged in street battles with anti-racists. These young men had experienced alienation, exploitation and poverty - all the things the Left is supposed to fight against. Long, uncomfortable conversations don't make for good social media content, yet if Australia is to stare down the threat of a rising alt-right it won't be done by yelling at right wing fringe groups across a police barricade.

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  • MEDIA

    Sports Illustrated's plus-sized push is deeply sexist

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 23 February 2017
    3 Comments

    Women everywhere are celebrating Sports Illustrated's 2017 Swimsuit Edition for including among the innumerable images of slender young models a picture of a voluptuous woman wearing a bikini which doesn't conceal the stretch-marks on her stomach. This is Denise Bidot - a so-called plus-sized model, though probably average-sized in reality. This response is problematic, for it salutes a publication that objectifies women for widening the definition of those it is willing to objectify.

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  • RELIGION

    Ensuring justice for all after the Royal Commission

    • Frank Brennan
    • 16 February 2017
    3 Comments

    The commission's forensic scrutiny of past actions of church officials in no way constitutes an interference with the freedom of religion. Its spotlight is to be welcomed, provided only that it is shone on a truly representative sample of all institutions which have been found wanting and provided the same light filter is applied to all institutions. I do however have a problem with the commission making findings on issues like the want of compassion when those findings are made only against a Church.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Fences and co. fight back against Oscars racial bias

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 07 February 2017
    1 Comment

    The Academy, it seems, has listened. After the #whiteoscars furore of past years, three of this year's Oscar nominees for Best Picture, Moonlight, Fences, and Hidden Figures, are films with predominantly (if not entirely) Black casts, and focused on the experiences of Black characters. Cast and crewmembers from all three have been nominated in various categories. To be fair, all three films would have demanded attention, with or without the recent controversy around awards season racial bias.

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  • RELIGION

    Sister Barbara and the books that changed everything

    • Julie Davies
    • 06 February 2017
    20 Comments

    Sister Barbara taught me in my fifth and sixth years. She had a large multi-grade class, yet she found time to realise I wasn't 'a bit slow' but was actually half-blind, partially deaf and bored witless. She ensured I was placed close to the front where I could hear, and arranged my first eye examination. Sister Barbara also sent away for high school English books just for me and that year this supposedly 'slow' child came first in class. These acts changed the course of my life.

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  • RELIGION

    Looking for light amid Royal Commission's Catholic wrap-up

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 February 2017
    17 Comments

    Listening to the media and our church leaders in recent days, we know that there is plenty of darkness ahead for our Church in the weeks ahead with the Royal Commission's so-called 'Catholic wrap-up'. We're told that the statistics will be terrible and we expect that some of our church leaders will appear, looking stunned and helpless. This morning, I think we need to reflect on these stark realities in the light of the scriptures. And this can be done only by holding the victims clearly in focus.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nazi punch is a non-violence red herring

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 05 February 2017
    7 Comments

    The recent viral footage of 'alt-right' spokesperson Richard Spencer taking a punch to the chops caused considerable debate. There is no doubting the moral clarity that non-violent resistance achieved in the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King and the Indian independence movement led by Mahatma Gandhi, and the real result of justice for African American and Indian people. When it comes to the odd individual act of public pushing and shoving, though, asking 'Is it okay?' is a red herring.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Washed in Thomas Becket's blood

    • Earl Livings
    • 05 February 2017
    4 Comments

    Narrow, pointed arch entrance, low vaulted ceiling, stone and wood panelling - here four murderers walked over 800 years ago to rid their king of a meddlesome priest. Amidst singing and candlelight at Vespers, Thomas Becket stood at the Cathedral altar, knowing the armoured knights were coming: 'Here I am, not a traitor of the King, but a priest. Why do you seek me?' After their clamouring and brandishing of hatchets and axe, he knew his fate, bent his head in submission.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Sifting the scat of Trump's first ten days

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 31 January 2017
    23 Comments

    The shape Trump's presidency is beginning to be discernible. The likely deepening of inequality, the disregard for universal human rights and for the international and national responsibilities that flow from them, the contempt for the environment and for evidence based research, and the debasement of political speech promise a more divided society in a more divided world. In such a noisy and staccato atmosphere the beginnings of an appropriate response lie in not responding to every tweet.

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