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May 17 - May 24, 2003


Saturday 24th May, 2003


Media Imperialism

In a nasty article, a couple of journalists on The Australian try to work up hatred towards missionaries, in what is meant to be a news report related to the murder this week of Seventh Day Adventist missionary Lance Gersbach in the Solomon Islands.


Look at this quote, presented with no supporting evidence at all:


Since Gersbach's death, many have been left pondering the missionary mentality, and wondering who, church or heathen, benefits most from persuading poor and tribal people to accept a culture of spiritual and economic dependence.


Or this:


Gersbach wasn't killed in a case of mistaken identity. Whether or not a martyr, he represented the religious imperialism that holds down and drowns a people's autonomy. Whoever killed him was not thinking about eternal damnation but removing an object he regarded as an obstruction.


Disgusting “reporting” in what claims to be a quality newspaper.



The Aussie Bible is due out soon (no links available). Here’s part of the story of the Good Samaritan, now retitled “The Good Bloke”:


A bunch of bushrangers attacked him, stole his dough, and left him as good as dead. A big wig from the Temple happened to pass by, took one look at the bloke, crossed the road and hurried off. Another official who was on the road that day did the same.


Then a really ordinary bloke (a grubby old street sweeper you wouldn’t look twice at) passed by and felt really sorry for him. So he used his first-aid kit to patch him up, and then put him on his old nag, took him to the nearest pub and took care of him.

Good friend Fred Peatross has a provocative new blog,, and I recommend it. If you know Fred, you’ll be heading there already. If you don’t know him, here’s a quote from Christian worker Buff Scott, Jr.:


Fred Peatross has been kind enough to send me his GraceAwakening [newsletter] since its inception. The Lord has blessed him with a sharp mind and humble spirit. I consider him a reformer whose efforts at renewal are a good 20 years ahead of the "pack." I'm always blessed by his insight. Truly, the Christian community needs more of his calibre!

-posted 12:50pm

Friday 23rd May, 2003


Self-Help Humanist God

“Bruce Almighty” starring Jim Carrey and Morgan Freeman, is already causing a stir, with its portrayal of a “more human” God.


Comments CNN on recent movie Gods –


Traditional religious iconography is mainly set aside. Movie Gods are usually self-help humanists who don't favour those who worship under the Crucifix, Star of David, the Quran or at the feet of Buddah.


But even that is apparently too much for some. Comments Newsday


Unfortunately, religious fervour moves in and sinks the last 20 minutes, drowning the actors in more prayer speak and sky gazing than we've seen in a studio release since "Lilies of the Field." You don't have to be an atheist or an ACLU attorney to be creeped out by the movie's lip-service spirituality, which panders to the common denominator that imagines heaven to be an all-white loft complex.


-posted 11:25am


Thursday 22nd May, 2003


Worship Where You Stand

Former colleague Garth George (VERY former – it was more than 30 years ago that we worked together on the Auckland Star) criticises a youth who is claiming that his local Burger King discriminated against him by ending a job interview when he said his religious beliefs wouldn't let him work on Sundays -


How sad. Not only does the young man not have a leg to stand on but by his actions he is likely to bring contempt upon his faith.


His church leadership certainly needs a shake-up if he hasn't been told to cancel his complaint, learn an important lesson from this situation and go look for another job.


The important lesson is that employers are looking to engage people who will do what they're told when they're told and who will put that before anything else. Burger King was looking for an assistant manager, not a Christian, just as the Herald employs me, not because I am a Christian but because I am an experienced journalist.


And just as the Herald couldn't care less what I do with my spare time, Burger King no doubt couldn't care less what young Mr Ward does with his - as long as, in both cases, it doesn't interfere with our work.


Mr Ward complains that "worshipping on Sunday is a religious ritual but they [Burger King] are making no allowance for that". Of course they're not. Why on earth should they?


The fast-food industry, like the newspaper game, is a seven-day-a-week business. I took that into account when I started and paid the penalty of weekend work for most of my 45 years in the trade.


It is only in the past few years that I have not had to work any part of a weekend - except in emergencies - and it's wonderful, I can tell you.


But I don't necessarily indulge in religious ritual on Sunday. I worship where I stand - every day of the week.


Blogging On

Congratulations to Bene Diction for a year of excellent blogging. I’m proud that Bene started on my website.


-posted 10:40am

Wednesday 21st May, 2003


David Beckham on Religion

It doesn’t matter what he does, Manchester United footballer is always in the news. Here he is on religion. It’s not a recent quote, but it’s still fun -


Discussing his current view of religion he said: “I’m not sure if I believe in life after death. I haven’t made up my mind yet… I don’t really have a particular religion that I stick to or that I would consider myself to be. I don’t go to church or pray, but I do have a definite sense of spirituality.”

And that sense of spirituality is something he and Victoria are keen to pass on to their 18-month-old son Brooklyn…. “I definitely want Brooklyn to be christened, but I don’t know into what religion yet.”


Confused, Insecure and Driven

More parental abuse from the media -


Today's parents are the most child-sensitive in history but they are also confused, insecure and driven. And the result, according to a visiting US family relations expert, is the "overscheduled child".


"Parents today see their main role as identifying their children's hidden gifts and talents, and bringing them forth," William Doherty said. "They feel this huge pressure to develop their children's potential." And so children from a young age were swept up in a whirlwind of organised activities and lessons.


Driven by fear their children might fall behind or miss out, parents turned their own lives into a frenzy of car-pooling and cross-suburb commuting.


Hollywood Prefers Aussies


X-Men star Hugh Jackman says Australian actors are popular with Hollywood bosses because they are far less trouble than big-name Americans.


"Film bosses appreciate us because we can work hard, don't bitch and moan much and have a very relaxed view of the film industry," Jackman told German magazine InStyle.


Jackman, who starred in the hit X-Men films and action thriller Swordfish, is among the growing number of Australians in Hollywood led by Academy award winners Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Geoffrey Rush and Mel Gibson and including the ever-busy Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Noah Taylor and Naomi Watts.


-posted 9:35am

Tuesday 20th May, 2003


Jesus Saves

Would Jesus have a home mortgage? Would He invest in a retirement fund?


Biblical money management links personal spending decisions to Christian priorities, and the practice has gained a significant following in recent years, particularly among evangelical Christians….


All money belongs to God in popular Christian financial theology, so earners have a duty to spend it responsibly. Christian financial planners encourage savings and investments for short-term emergencies and retirement.


But they often discourage aggressive retirement plans because they hoard money, instead of spending it on good works while having faith in God's provision for the future.


See also my commentary, Which Shares Would Jesus Buy?



Was Jesus Black, or Irish?

An old joke, but still funny, in the Barbados Nation.


-posted 8:50am

Monday 19th May, 2003


Back in Business

Blogs4God are back in business after a lay-off for a few days. To mark their return they’re featuring an excellent essay by Internet Monk Michael Spencer.


Michael, in his own blog, comments:


Blogs4God has published an old piece of mine. "If It Looks Like An Evangelical Skunk." The whole thing. On the front page. Wow! It's kinda incomprehensible if you don't know that it's my response to this rant by Eric Rigney, "Christian Propaganda is Better Left Behind," which is at least partially inspired by Rob Dehrer's review of the first Left Behind Movie, "Do Fake Boobs Go To Heaven?", which contains one of my favourite sentences in all of the world: "It's like The Day of the Jackal as conceived by Ned Flanders, and produced by the film and video department of a rural Bible college." Anyway, thanks to the good people over at blogs4God.


The Perils of Being a Priest

A Sydney congregation want their new priest sacked because he demanded the removal of Aborigines gathered on the footpath outside the church. He also evicted a man who had been living in the presbytery for more than a decade. The previous priest used to distribute the collection money to those gathered outside the church.


The Sad Perils of Being a Missionary


-posted 10:20am


Sunday 18th May, 2003

Unexpected Benefits of Judaism
Writer and director Nora Ephron wonders why she was possibly the only White House intern President Kennedy didn't hit upon:

Perhaps it's because I'm Jewish — don't laugh, think about it, think about that long, long list of women J.F.K. slept with. Were any Jewish? I don't think so.


-posted 3:30pm


Saturday 17th May, 2003


It’s Official – Big Brother is Disgusting


Queensland's health authorities have warned the reality TV show Big Brother to clean up its act.


Viewers have complained about the unsavoury antics of 21-year-old housemate Carlo who has been urinating in a flower bed.


Queensland Health is also concerned about Carlo bathing in a sink used by the other contestants for washing up dishes.


Carlo is among housemates facing eviction this weekend.


His disgusting antics in the house also include brazen pimple popping and regular nose picking.



The Bell Tolls

Last week Macquarie Bank executive Dennis Eager boasted (apparently at a cocktail party) that Macquarie Infrastructure Group (MIG), owner of the Midland Expressway in Britain, intended to fleece users with high tolls.


He got the sack a few days later, and the bank, in damage control mode, declared his comments did not reflect management views.


But this morning The Australian explained why he got the boot:


It does appear Eagar fell – or was pushed – on to his own sword for stating exactly what the company thinks, and that he has been obliged to resign for telling the truth about MIG's attitude towards tolling.


The issue also exposes the way the company spruiks the market with tales of the myriad riches to be had from toll roads, while at the same time seeking to placate motorists with calming words about its reasonable approach to tolling. Last week that contradiction was exposed.


-posted 1:15pm