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    The sad release of skipping church

    • Ryan Suckling
    • 09 May 2017

    There came a time for me, as it does for many, when going to church was no longer obligatory. I suspect it's most common in those middle years of adolescence - the time when parents feel the need to loosen their hold over you, but with the blanket of judgement ever fixed. My wane in piety was not unforeseen. Each Sunday, as my family was getting ready, I'd linger by the bathroom. The plan was to tentatively make everyone aware I wasn't quite up for church-going that day. Reactions varied.


    Australian bishops gather in the light of the royal commission

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 May 2017

    The government and the Catholic Church both face difficulties when commending values. The difficulties will dog events during the next week in which both institutions are on public display: the bringing down of the budget and the meeting of the Australian Catholics bishops. The question Australians ask is whether the bishops and other public representatives of the Catholic Church have the stomach for the changes in governance needed to address the factors that led to child abuse.


    Unis share blame for profit motive funding model

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 03 May 2017

    For various reasons, 'free' education in Australia has been qualified by HECS, which actually serves to wedge the liquid incentive of government and educational institutions on the one hand with the need for students to obtain affordable education on the other. Even that balance is now under threat, with a pre-budget announcement suggesting cuts to university funding and increasing costs to student degrees are in the offing. Universities are far from blameless in the present distorted funding model.


    Hardline on soft drink

    • Isabella Fels
    • 02 May 2017

    In my late 20s when I became seriously unwell and diagnosed with schizophrenia, Coca-Cola was like an ever flowing fountain of happiness for me. How I loved sipping it. I would even quickly down it with my meds. I could feel life getting better and speeding up. Having Coke was magic. But lately, with all the publicity surrounding the dangers of drinking fizzy, sugary soft drinks, I am trying to cut down. It is not easy trying to fight an almost lifelong addiction.


    Reading, writing, and stifling homeschool regulations

    • Kate Moriarty
    • 01 May 2017

    I decided to homeschool for one year, to give my daughter a chance to recover and to build her confidence. I never expected to fall in love with the lifestyle. Twelve months later, I gave in to my younger son's entreaties and began homeschooling him as well - just for one more year. In Victoria, the registration process is simple and straightforward. It is not surprising, then, that Victoria has the highest number of registered homeschoolers. But this may soon change.


    Identity on the line in the fallout over Anzac free speech

    • Rohan Salmond
    • 28 April 2017

    Even though the post was quickly withdrawn and an apology issued, the backlash has lasted more than four days. It was enough to warrant a front page story on The Daily Telegraph, a call for Abdel-Magied's dismissal by the deputy prime minister and public repudiations by half a dozen government front benchers and other politicians, including Pauline Hanson. It's ironic that the very commentators who constantly rail against political correctness are apoplectic about a woman being politically incorrect.


    Remembering John Clarke at Easter

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 April 2017

    Following the passing of the Australian comedian and social commentator, John Clarke, his co-presenter Bryan Dawe talked about being on a tram in Melbourne with people nodding compassionately and knowingly at him. Bryan recalled that an old man had once commented to John, 'You know what you two do? It's a secret between you and the audience.' These are not the sorts of things we expect to hear when someone is still alive. Once they are dead, those who love and admire them recall all sorts of details about their life, finding new meaning and new depth even in the everyday things.


    Easter is the right time to find homes for children

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 April 2017

    Sometimes events coincide happily. At other times the coincidence rings strangely. This year Youth Homelessness Matters Day is celebrated the day before Easter Sunday: desolation confronts happiness, penury plenty, and deprivation plenitude. When events clash most sharply, they may also illuminate one another most brightly. The Easter stories invite deep reflection on home and on homelessness, on finding a home and being made to feel at home.


    No easy judgement in Syrian chemicals attack

    • Justin Glyn
    • 07 April 2017

    The pictures coming out of Khan Sheikhoun are horrific. Children foaming at the mouth, some with terrible head wounds. No wonder the reaction of the world has been outrage. 'Assad must go' has been revived as a catchphrase in the West. We are right to be appalled. Yet several features about the reported sarin attack in Syria's Idlib Governorate should give pause in the current rush to judgment. Firstly, while you wouldn't know it from much of the media, the facts themselves are contested.


    Religious literacy routs Islamophobia

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 07 April 2017

    A person with religious literacy has an understanding and appreciation of the teachings of religions in the world, is knowledgeable about the various applications and manifestations of those teachings, and understands how religious faith forms, informs and enriches contemporary human society. In a world where Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are on the rise, endangering and taking the lives of so many innocent people of faith, it is difficult to overstate the importance of religious literacy.


    Racism and renewables in the developing world

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 06 April 2017
    1 Comment

    A 2015 cartoon by Bill Leak depicts an Indian family squatting, smashing solar panels to pieces. A woman chews on a shattered piece of glass, and a man attempts to smear mango chutney onto glistening shards. The initial reaction centred around the racist depictions of Indians. But it also represents a broader and worrisome attitude towards global energy politics, that assumes idiocy in developing countries, combined with a push to burden them with the dangerous wares of a dying industry.


    Religious belief in a tempest tossed church

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 29 March 2017

    The Tempest Tossed Church will invite some Catholics to ask how they should visualise and plan for the future of the church. The Catholic challenge will be to shape pockets in which religiously literate and radical communities are formed around the symbols of faith. Its contribution to a more humane society will be made by joining other small groups in keeping alive the sense of 'something more' and by passing on the craft of finding the words, symbols and silences that catch it.



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