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Author: Paul Mitchell

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Franzen and faith at the crossroads

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 10 February 2022
    2 Comments

    American novelist Jonathan Franzen has in his last three fictional works taken words that loom large in the collective consciousness and built worlds around them. First, it was Freedom (2010), then Purity (2015), and now Crossroads (2021). The latter title, of course, refers to a literal and figurative decision-making moment, but also the mythic locale where blues singers, notably Robert Johnson, made their pacts with the devil. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Broken: A profound study of Christianity and the priesthood

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 09 December 2021
    5 Comments

    Broken first aired on BBC1 in England in 2017. Four years to make it to Australia, but it was worth it. The series is a profound and powerful study of Christianity and what priesthood means, whether for the man holding up the bread at the altar, or that ‘priesthood of all believers’ to which Christianity’s adherents are said to belong.  

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What we talk about when we talk about mental health

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 19 October 2021
    2 Comments

     Millions of Australians are slowly emerging from another lockdown and it’s again reported our mental health has suffered. The Victorian Government recently announced 93,000 hours for mental health clinicians to work across the state, and the delivery of 20 pop-up community mental health sites.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Slow Train Coming: Bob Dylan’s spiritual journey

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 01 June 2021
    11 Comments

    Like the best religious poetry, Dylan’s works resists easy interpretation and remains open to endless meditation. Dylan’s overtly political songs — ‘Hurricane’, ‘Political World’ — and love songs — ‘Idiot Wind’, ‘Tangled up in Blue’ — have often been challenging. It’s the same with his religious output.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    AFL must take a serious stand against sexist sledging

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 18 May 2017
    7 Comments

    I was 16 and playing senior football for my local team the first time I doubted whether it was the sport for me. At training, the men's talk turned to the various ways they liked to 'take' their wives. They spoke as if the women in their lives were of a different species. I looked at my friend. We had girlfriends and had never spoken to each other about them in this way. That was in 1984. The abuse of Marc Murphy's wife in the Carlton vs St Kilda match last Saturday shows not much has changed.

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  • EDUCATION

    Preppies' hope cuts through the terror of terrorism

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 20 January 2016
    4 Comments

    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.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The theological lemming

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 18 February 2014
    1 Comment

    He only has faith in waves. They are the what in what he doesn't know. What he knows has left him on the edge of a cliff and whispered, Push yourself. Waves waver then crash. Their uncertain certainty gives him faith that he's only wavering.

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  • RELIGION

    Church helps set gay captives free

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 25 February 2013
    71 Comments

    David hated that he could not be himself at church. He considered suicide. But he couldn't give up on the God he believed loved him for who he was. One day he read a line in a local church's values statement: 'We regard each person as a valuable member regardless of sexual orientation'. 'Let's see if they're serious,' he thought. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Beatitudes for Aung San Suu Kyi

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 24 July 2012

    Blessed are those with empty chests, soles ripped from their shoes, fed to dogs. But most blessed are those who stole the hound scraps, nailed them to their feet and kept on marching.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Labor, unleash your rock star

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 20 October 2010
    5 Comments

    Labor has used its rock star politician to push paper around. Peter Garrett was a hero to a lot of us. Get him out of that godawful suit and let him speak — sing, if he has to! — his mind on every issue that made him the most outspoken rock singer this country has seen.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    More than one way to cool a baked couch potato

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 20 January 2010
    4 Comments

    Air conditioners are necessary when the weather gets very hot, not leastof all for the wellbeing of babies, the sick, elderly and frail. But sometimes it seems that we Australians can't tell a cool change from climate change.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Amrozi: What would Batman do

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 18 August 2008
    13 Comments

    Imagine Kevin Rudd in a Batman suit, and soon-to-be executed Bali bomber Amrozi as the Joker. Would the caped crusader's 'rule' — that he not become a monster to stop one — compel him to intercede on the smiling assassin's execution?

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