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                      Living Water to Light the Journey

 

When I started writing my book Living Water to Light the Journey I intended it mainly as a guide for parents who were concerned that their kids did not understand traditional virtues like honesty and courage. But then I decided to add material on spirituality, and after that I included a lot about my own personal journey - via Buddhism - to Christianity.

 

So, in some respects, the book heads off in various directions, and each chapter is fairly self-contained. But there is also a common theme - how can we live in a world without God, without His spiritual nurturing and His ethical guidance?

 

The book was published in 1999 and is now out of print. With my publisher's permission I have decided to place it on the web.

 

What you read here is essentially the same content as in the original book, although I have up-dated certain parts and added hyperlinks. I have also deleted a few (very few) bits I now wish I'd never included!


 

Contents

 

Preface

"Our kids may know in minute detail what is 'cool' and 'uncool', but in many cases they no longer know what is right and wrong." How I came to write this book.

 

Introduction 

Virtue died in Australia on 23 May 1994, at 4:30 in the afternoon. For it was at that moment that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, traditionally one of the foremost guardians of our culture, began its television screenings of "The Adventures of Blinky Bill". And by doing so it confirmed what many already suspected: that our societyís premier institutions no longer view moral education - the teaching of traditional virtues like honesty, courage and justice, or concepts like right and wrong - as a necessary component of the upbringing of our children.

           

Part A - Snapshots

 

1. The Dimming Light of Heroism

There was a time when we celebrated heroism. That time is gone. Could it mean we are becoming a nation of sheep?

 

2. Childrenís Literature

Why have some writers of kids' books forgotten their duty to provide moral education for their readers?

 

3. Whinge and Titter Rags

Our society used to respect character. Now we worship personality.

 

4. Reaping a Destiny

"Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny." Sports and society.

 

5. Agony Aunts

Don't laugh! Our Agony Aunts are now providing advice that's hilarious.

 

6. Tittytainment

A slightly off-colour chapter that offended some readers.

 

Part B - Healing the Soul

 

7. Living Years, Living Heroes

I never thought of my father as a hero. Only after his death did I learn of his heroics as a leader of the anti-Nazi youth movement in Austria. Why didn't we communicate more in the "living years"?

 

8. Finding My Religion

I once worshipped at a Japanese Buddhist temple before the mummified body of a priest who had starved himself to death in a hole in the ground hundreds of years earlier. This chapter relates my unusual journey to Christianity.

 

9. A Listening Heart 

"I have experienced more joys: of worship and prayer. And with a listening heart I have experienced the presence in me of Godís holy spirit, usually when I did not expect it."

 

Part C - Spirituality for a New Era

 

10. When Blasphemy Came to Town

Melbourne was rocked in 1997 when the National Gallery put the notorious Piss Christ artwork on display - an attack on the picture forced the exhibition to close just two days after its opening. In the ensuing uproar, the church emerged as the main institution willing to fight for what is good and decent and civil in our society.

 

11. Rise of an Old Eastern Religion

Australia is one of the most multi-cultural countries on earth. I think that's good.

 

12. Mateship to Community

If you can't trust your mates, whom can you trust? Try church.

 

Part D - Heroines and Heroes

 

13. Justice

Caroline Chisholm is the very model of a heroine; just the kind of person our children should emulate.

 

14. Moderation

The Flying Doctor Service is one of Australia's great stories. Its founder was a great man. Even David Letterman agrees.

 

15. Courage

The Betty Cuthbert story is an inspiring journey into courage.

 

16. Wisdom

A look at Aboriginal wisdom and spirituality.

 

17. Faith

To my everlasting regret I turned down an invitation to meet one of the greatest men who ever walked on Australian soil.

 

18. Hope

The "forgotten" virtue.

 

19. Love

Spirituality and morality are not enough. We also need love. 

 

Epilogue

What chance for spiritual revival?

Book Launch

A speech on the theme "How Can We Live Without God?", that I gave in 1999 at a book launch party for my church.


 

Affiliated websites: The Personal Health Monitor Blog, Bird Flu Update, Bollywood Down Under, Southern Gospel Beat.