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Weblog Archive 


April 27 - April 30, 2002



Tuesday 30th April, 2002



The world is insane, according to writer and musician Mark Butterworth in a provocative posting to his Sunny Days in Heaven weblog. And to prove it he’s setting up a website where you can read, completely free of charge, his book Brightness Springs. (You can of course still choose to buy it, from Amazon.) I’m in the process of doing the same with my book, Living Water to Light the Journey, though I’m not completely mad—my book is out of print.


-posted 8:20pm



Blogging for the Lord

A week ago I sent out questions to lots of Christian bloggers, asking how they started, where they get their material, what sort of audience they attract, how they view the future for Christian blogging, and so on. I found the replies fascinating, and I've written them up for an article Blogging for the Lord now posted on my site. I think you'll enjoy it.


-posted 12:40pm



A Few Miserable Aborigines

From Angela Shanahan’s regular column in The Australian:


We seem to have lost the ability to distinguish the dehumanising effects of pornography even when they are all around us and are affecting the most vulnerable of our citizens. Aborigines are the most obviously vulnerable and…have been affected. But when will censorship as an issue of freedom start to be overshadowed by the corrupting effects of pornography as an issue of freedom?


Even the most vigilant parent is unable to protect their children against the pornography of modern culture, which has permeated the mainstream. Perhaps when our own vulnerable and confused children have been corrupted we will stop thinking of this in conventionally blinkered terms that have been partly dictated by pornographers who give themselves airs under the guise of the Eros Foundation, principled social libertarians instead of pushers of a product that thrives off the misery of young men, women and, above all, children.


Until then, we'll only have to worry about a few miserable Aborigines.


-posted 9:30am



Monday 29th April, 2002


Inside the Christian Ghetto, Book Division

From Terry Mattingly’s latest column, quoting a lecture by novelist Reed Arvin:


What if William Shakespeare had been preparing [Romeo and Juliet] for sale in stores linked to what used to be called the Christian Booksellers Association? What changes would he have been pressured to make? The lovers would meet, just as before, and the parents would still disapprove. Probably one set would not be Christians at all, providing a convenient subplot of salvation….As newlyweds, Romeo and Juliet would strive to evangelise those lost parents. Shakespeare would manfully struggle to build tension, but "the fix would be in," with a happy ending assured….In the final scene, Romeo's parents would be converted and, as Juliet's father leads them in prayer, the sun would break through the clouds over Verona.


-posted 7:55pm



Jakarta, Not Jeddah

Read Ralph Peters’ compelling article to learn why America (and Australia) should be paying far more attention to Indonesia:


Indonesia is the least understood Muslim state. While its population of over 200 million is almost 90% Islamic on paper, less than 20% would qualify as good Muslims by Saudi standards. No other country offers so wide a variety of Islamic practices as does Indonesia, where Hinduism and Buddhism prevailed far longer than Islam has yet done. Folk beliefs still haunt the mosques and Muslim schools, and "pure" Muslims struggle, with only marginal success, to persuade the others that the local, Sufi-influenced forms of Islam are all wrong. Jakarta, not Jeddah, is where the future of Islam will be decided. And we are not even seriously engaged, although our extremist enemies have been pouring in money and peddling hatred for decades.


The Islamic world is rich in possibilities and remarkably various. By betting on the Arab states, we have been letting our best prospects slip away--abandoning global Islam to the apostles of terror. In military terms, we have "left the battlefield to our enemies." If we really believe that Islam is a great world religion, we need to treat it as such and engage it where it is still developing--on its vibrant frontiers, not in its arthritic Arab homelands.


-posted 2:55pm



Double Standard? – No! Never!

An Australian church delegation has returned from the Sudan appalled at the treatment there of Christians, and determined to pressure our near-silent government to speak out, as it often did in opposition to apartheid in South Africa.


According to the head of the delegation, Anglican Archbishop Ian George:


The churches of Sudan have asked us to tell the world that their people are being persecuted on three fronts. This persecution is racial, economic and religious….It is like apartheid in South Africa but with an additional religious element. It is astounding that there was so much interest about South Africa and support for the ANC. But there seems to be no world interest in Sudan.


What? Double standards in world affairs? Hard to believe.


-posted 2:00pm



Prosperity and Environmental Extremism

Economic prosperity has not been kind to organised religion in this country. As Australia has grown richer, the number of believers has declined. And there have been other consequences, too.


Economist David Hale is always worth reading. He is rare among top US economists in taking a particular interest in Australia. (He is also a charming bloke, as I found when I met him in Tokyo some years ago.)


In this morning’s The Australian he says (article not available online) that global oil production is expected to start declining around 2012, after 140 years of steady increases. At the same time Australia’s level of oil self-sufficiency will have declined from 80%-90% to about 40%. Also at the same time, China and other East Asian countries will be experiencing explosive growth in their oil demand.


A small Aussie company, Southern Pacific Petroleum, could help. It has oil shale reserves in Queensland that could potentially produce as much as 30 billion barrels of oil. (For comparison, the US and Canada together have an estimated 28 billion barrels of oil reserves.) But development of this resource is hampered by objections from Greenpeace, which claims it will contribute to global warming. Yet according to Hale, oil shale will not have a more detrimental impact on the environment than other forms of fuel.


As he writes:


One of the interesting questions raised by Australia’s prosperity is whether it will encourage environmental extremism detrimental to the country’s long-term interest….The strategic case for helping Southern Pacific to overcome the Greenpeace boycott is overwhelming.



Country Keepers

Thank you Gary Peterson for generous comments about this site and for adding a permanent link.


-posted 1:45pm



Sunday 28th April, 2002


Another Knight, Another Performance

British pop star Sir Cliff Richard has endorsed the new Australian CD, “Hearts of Faith”, which features music from the suffering church of the Maluku region of Indonesia.


Christians in Maluku have suffered terribly for their faith. Their songs have come directly out of the fire of persecution. I warmly commend this CD, which will both break your heart and inspire you to worship. Through their songs we can share in the sorrows and suffering of our brothers and sisters in Maluku who have lost everything for the sake of Christ.


Another ageing rocker, Sir Paul McCartney, is also involved with Indonesia. He is expected to help headline a concert next month in East Timor, to celebrate that nation’s first anniversary of independence.


No word yet on whether much younger Aussie star Kylie Minogue will reprise her last huge East Timor gig.


-posted 2:40pm



Saturday 27th April, 2002


The Devil Made Me Do It

The secular lefties who are so prominent in Australia’s Aboriginal rights movement have a problem: Aborigines are among the most spiritual people in the world. Their spirituality imbues just about everything they do.


But the lefties can’t really acknowledge this. Otherwise they’d be forced to concede that other spiritualities—ie: Christianity, for example—also have merit. Yet neither can they damn Aboriginal spirituality as an out-of-date superstition, because that would be paternalistic and might suggest that Aborigines are primitive. So they tend to ignore the issue altogether.


Not so Northern Territory judge David Angel. He has accepted that a young Aboriginal man was under the control of a “kadaitja man” demon when he violently attacked six relatives after a night of heavy drinking. The judge released the offender and told him to seek out a medicine man to reverse the kadaitja man’s spell.


Wonder if the courts will now also accept a “Satan made me do it” defence from a Christian.


-posted 4:50pm



Spontaneous Human Combustion

Anne Wilson started her blog five days after me and it’s impressive. In just a couple of weeks she’s posted comments on architect Glenn Murcutt and singer Nick Cave (both Aussies), the King of Afghanistan, Ally McBeal and spontaneous human combustion. I’ll be watching with fascination to see what she offers in the coming fortnight. She says in an email that she found my site through a link on Chris Johnson’s Midwest Conservative Journal. Thank you Chris.



Chinese Repression Worsens

The Chinese are cracking down even more harshly on religious activity.


The new policies make illegal several dozen specific kinds of religious activity, including evangelistic outreach outside officially permitted church buildings.


Christianity Today has an exclusive report.


-posted 12:25pm