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Weblog Archive 


May 1 - May 4, 2003


Sunday 4th May, 2003


Merciful Heart - Go and Listen

I’m a big fan of Southern Gospel music, which sadly is virtually non-existent here in Australia. That’s why I’m always looking for internet resources, and I’ve written several times about my favourites.


So I’m grateful to Jeff Purdue of the Merciful Heart gospel group for alerting me to several others.


He writes:


The first is a local station out of North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. We actually charted number five there once. Anyway their link is They stream live 24 hours a day and take requests.


The other station is out of Texas and they also stream live 24 hours. They have less talk and more music. Their link is  They also take requests.


Merciful Heart have their own fine website, and are generous in letting you enjoy online half-a-dozen of their songs. Go and listen.


Not Dull

I must get out more. How come I missed The Wibsite, a low-key, humourous British Christian site? It’s a showcase for some gently amusing cartoons, there’s a collection of articles (including one by a personal favourite, New Zealander Mike Riddell, whose course on the church and post-modernity I took here in Melbourne several years ago) and the site offers some excellent links. Highly recommended.


-posted 1:40pm



Saturday 3rd May, 2003


Thatsa Gratitude!

At great political risk we Aussies send troops to help you Yanks and Brits in your Iraqi adventure, and what sort of thanks do we get?


Hard to believe, but a British Methodist minister has just used an American website to declare a classic Aussie hit recording as “worst disco song ever”.


Shaddap You Face by Joe Dolce, recorded here in Melbourne, is an icon. It’s been the most successful popular Australian single for 23 years – overtaking Slim Dusty’s 1957 classic The Pub with No Beer – and has sold four million copies worldwide. It was the Number One song in eight countries, and won Joe, who spent $500 to make the recording, the Advance Australia Award for Export Excellence.


I think Joe himself has the right words for all this ingratitude:


 What'sa matta you, hey,
Gotta no respect, whatta you think you do,
Why you looka so sad?
It's-a not so bad, it's-a nice-a place,
Ah, Shaddap You Face.

(repeat as many times as possible!!!)



Pushing and Nagging

I’ve been brooding all week on John Derbyshire’s superb essay on the problems of today’s youth, and how teenagers from even the most caring and loving families can go horribly wrong. (The essay struck home. My three sons are aged 14, 13 and 10.)


John’s conclusion:


What we have to do is push them and push them, nag them and encourage them, towards the bourgeois virtues, and hope to God we succeed.


Here something that might help them stay on track: ticket prices for forthcoming performances in Sydney and Melbourne –


Avril Lavigne - $69.90

Cold Chisel - $98.00

Eric Burdon and the New Animals - $75.90

Percy Sledge - $98.00-128.00

Jack Welch - $895.00


Who’d choose to drop out to become a pop singer if, like Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, you can get away with charging $895 for a 2˝-hour talk on leadership?


-posted 2:40pm


Friday 2nd May, 2003


Novel Happenings

Party happening over at Kathryn Lively’s Come On, Get Lively blog, to launch her latest novel, Saints Preserve Us. Open bar, and all (I couldn’t get it to work for me). The first two chapters are available free; you have to pay for the rest.


Best of luck, Kathryn. I’m more than a disinterested observer. I’m putting my own first novel up on this site, probably next week.


-posted 7:10pm


Not Just Matters of Opinion.

Gasp. An Anglican clergyman who actually believes his church’s teachings. So newsworthy that The Australian gives two entire pages to the story in its Media supplement.


Phillip Jensen, new Anglican Dean of Sydney, also understands the media –


To the media, everything is opinion. To the media, religion itself is just a matter of opinion. And because religion is just an opinion – and there's no such thing as right or wrong – tolerance is just allowing everyone to get on with each other. So one thing I must not say is that other religions are wrong. That's one thing you're not allowed to do.


Not that I think the media are evil people….Nor that it's a thought-out conspiracy. It's that they're writing in a framework that is hostile to Christianity. They don't understand that of themselves. They think they're being neutral and very tolerant….


Most of the media are ignorant of the content of religion. For example, Islam teaches that Jesus didn't die on the cross, but I hardly ever met a journalist who knew that about Islam, though it's fairly basic. Christianity teaches that Jesus did die. They can't both be right. And they're not just matters of opinion.


-posted 9:10am

Thursday 1st May, 2003


Hail Chairman Bush, Revolutionary Hero

Albert Langer is, according to the biography at the end of his Mayday message in The Australian this morning,


an unreconstructed Maoist (anarcho-Stalinist) who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for attempted incitement to assault police as a May Day speaker in 1971. Released on appeal after six weeks, he is still at large, and still supports the overthrow of tyrannical regimes by armed force.


Here is part of what he wrote:


Both Bush and Chomsky know the US cannot be secure from medievalist terrorist mosquitoes while the Middle East remains a swamp. But Bush also knows that modernity grows out of the barrel of a gun. That is a genuinely Left case for a revolutionary war of liberation, such as has occurred in Iraq. The pseudo-Left replies: "That's illegal." Well, of course revolutionary war is illegal. Legal systems are created by revolutions, not revolutions by legal systems….


The revival of the Left in the '60s only began once it was widely noticed that the remnants of the previous movement were reactionaries obstructing progress. After it tried so hard to preserve fascism in Iraq, even after Bush Jr had wisely given up on Bush Sr's policy of keeping the Iraqi dictator in power, can anyone deny the pseudo-Left is reactionary?


I think Glenn Reynolds would write “Heh” here.




In his latest Breakpoint commentary Chuck Colson writes again about the spread of AIDS in Africa, and efforts by President Bush to enlist Christian groups in the battle to stop its spread.


He notes the president’s belief in “the power of the Gospel to change destructive behaviour. It's the only way we are going to stop the carnage.” He wants faith-based groups to be allowed to work freely, and he cites approvingly the Ugandan ABC campaign – Abstinence, Be faithful, Condoms.


I’ve written several times on this issue. Might not a more effective campaign be BAM – Become A Muslim? As I pointed out last July, the HIV/AIDS rate is generally highest in Protestant Africa – where Christian missionaries have been active for decades – and lowest in Muslim Africa.


-posted 2:50pm


Blogging Again

A major writing assignment – five or six months of work - is virtually complete, and the manuscript heads for the publisher tomorrow. Now I can devote a little more time to the website, and I’ve decided to revive my blog.


In theory, I’ve always been a blogger. Check with blogs4God and they still list me. But my twice-weekly jottings haven’t really been bloggery; more like lighter reflective essays. Now I should have the time to comment more often on our world.


So if you’ve been visiting just twice a week, you have an excuse to visit every day.



Casualty of War

As expected, my visitor numbers fell in April from the previous month. Unique visitors were down 18% (to 16,000), page views down 12% (to 24,000). Blame the war, or, rather, the end of it.


In the build-up to the war I saw a sharp increase in traffic, particularly to my Christians and War page. Once the shooting began, traffic levelled off, and by war’s end it was falling.


Anyone with similar experiences?


(By the way, I’m dubious about those visitor numbers. Not infrequently, I check my visitor stats service, and find, say, 20 visitors, of which 18 are Google or Inktomi crawlers.)


posted 11:40am