2.10.04

a brave post

Some years ago I was in a large Assembly of God church when several people were asked to stand. They were candidates in the coming election for the Festival of light which has since evolved into the Christian Democrat party. They were commended for their actions, prayed for and the congregation was asked to support them both financially and on polling day at the booths. Of course all present would vote for them too. This assumption was never questioned. It certainly wasn't true of everyone there. I had no intention of acting that way. I was horrified. I'd read of such actions in churches in books such as the Don Camillo series, set in rural Italy in the mid twentieth century. I did not believe that a church service was the place for politics, nor should a pastor be basically dictating how his congregation should vote.

Another political party has risen from members of the same denomination. I have been suspicious of this group since I first heard of it.It claims no relationship with the church. However,many of the candidates are from that group.

I'm not the only one suspicious. Here's a well researched series of posts from a member of the church where this seems to have started. He puts forward a good case that there is a definite relationship.

I think he has acted bravely and I hope he does not suffer for what he has done. I have seen what can happen both openly and under cover when authority in such churches is questioned. (Link from signposts)

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Police in Australia are claiming that they have smashed a child pornography ring. About two hundred people have been arrested and police suggest that there may be hundreds more still to be arrested over the next few months. This morning it has been announced that four of those arrested have committed suicide.

It seems that buying and distribution of pornographic images of children from the net was a large part of the ring. However,there were also other criminal actions involved. The press has mentioned an Anglican priest and a Catholic priest from other states. Several teachers have apparently been involved. One man,arrested and held in custody, was accused of using a two way mirror and a camera to film girls changing at a Christian school. He was both a teacher and a pastor.

Police are concerned that some of the computers involved may have been sold to people who unknowingly now have hard drives with this material on them.

I have known two at least men who were involved in this sort of crime. The first was some years ago. This man used to regularly visit our house for lunch after church on Sunday. He never said anything about it, but his presence made me feel creepy and soiled in some way. He was a Christian who was also an alcoholic and was regularly drunk. He was prepared to weep volumes of what were really remorseful,not repentant tears. He was weeping becuae he had been exposed. He wasn't prepared to do anything about the alcoholism or paedophilia.

The second was a person whom I knew fairly well and liked. He too was often in my home and I did not suspect anything at all. He has just been released from a fairly lengthy gaol term and has to report regularly to police and to stay away fromschools etc. He also has to tell the leadership of any church he attends of his conviction. He considers this hard. To him, he was hard done by. This time at least he says, he did nothing physical. So what was the crime? He supplied money for procurement of both pictures and innocent victims. He can't see that this is the equivalent of the actual crime.

People I knew and were close to, heard rumours of this man's activities and leanings but did nothing because they wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. I find this shocking and can hardly believe it. As a teacher I was legally obliged to report even suspicions of abuse. This also applies to any work I do with students. Pastors and ministers are under the same obligation too. I'm not ordained but understand the need for this obligation.

I would like to think that the breaking of this ring will see the end of such things. That would be an idealistic view,but scarcely the true view. It will start again somewhere else. That's the nature of sin.

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The road was actually completely blocked ,but was cleared by the SES in the rain at 10:00 pm.

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Ouch! What a weight on my shoulders.

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ouch!
We had about 60mm rain yesterday, more than we've had in total for many months. The tree in the picture above came down just two houses away at about 10:00 pm last night. It actually completely blocked the road but the State Emergency Service (SES) cleared the road in the pouring rain.

I don't know if the owner is away for the long weekend or what, but he currently hasn't seen the car.

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30.9.04

I found this test at BeneDiction's blog. It's a test similar to those given to determine qualities for an officer in the US Air Force.

Like Bene, I passed but my scores were much higher in verbal and reasoning etc type tests than in those involving spatial and visual skills. This is no surprise to me. I've always been that way and can remember a schools career advisor suggesting that perhaps architecture would not be a good career for me. It was one I had never considered!

Now if this is the case, why do I always feel inferior at these results? This lasts only a short time, while I give myself a talking to and remind myself that this has always been so.

We're all different but often feel the need to conform, to be part of a homogenous group. Yet,if we were all similar,we would have no need of each other, as we could each meet our own needs. Paul talks in several places about gifts. They are given for the purpose of building up, edifying the people of God. We are to each contribute to the body as we have been gifted.

Much as I might want to, I can't do everything. Is this a challenge to my pride? Perhaps. Certainly it's a challenge to my self sufficiency, my desire to do things by myself, to my satisfaction. Even as I teach on the body and the parts to be played by different members, I still have much to learn.

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28.9.04

the magic pudding
We are in the midst of another Federal election campaign. Thankfully this will finish after a reasonably brief time on October 9 when elections for our new Federal Parliament will be held.

I've said very little about the campaign as there is really little new that can be said. The two major parties have become almost identical over the last few years and each is currently outdoing the other in wild campaign promises. If there is money available for all these goodies, why hasn't it already been spent. Health, transport, education, childcare... Dollar after dollar has been announced as each leader tries to outdo the other. I wonder if anyone actually believes either of them, although they both speak about "trust" as the basis for this campaign. There's an old saying here about not trusting someone further than they can be kicked. Very applicable.

I was reminded of the old story the The Magic Pudding by the artist and writer Norman Lindsay. This is really an Australian classic, although I don't think it is well known outside Australia, more's the pity. It's a story about Albert, the magic pudding on legs. He's "cut and come again," as Bunyip Bluegum describes him. Steak and kidney this side, turn him around and it's Christmas pudding on the other side. Or perhaps you fancy some other flavour? Just turn him around till you find it. Cut a slice, as large or small as you wish. It's always available, unless Albert has run away.

Albert is finally penned up in a treehouse with a small exercise yard. He can't run away and is always available.

Now, how can we pin down our politicians and make them deliver on their promises?

(I've been thinking of this for a few days. Now I see the editorial writer of the Sydney Morning Herald has used the same illustration, drawing a few different conclusions.)

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new baby
Little Morgan Ingrid arrived yesterday afternoon after quite a few hassles in the last week. We are grateful for her and her place in the family. She's fine and so, thankfully, is her mother. She's a little sweetie, looking very much like her two year old sister. It will be good for the two girls to be close together.

I'm home now as my son has holidays. However, I'm quite tired from a week of looking after the two other children. While I wake reasonably early, my days of consistent 5:30 am starts have really passed. "Grandma, do you want to play I Spy?" Not really at that time, but what else could I do? It meant he won quite often.

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