Books · life · social issues · Uncategorized

Bookish (AND not so bookish) Thoughts Thursday

I missed WWW Wednesday yesterday so had a look around for a Thursday Meme, this one hosted by Bookishly Boisterous  looks perfect!

  1. Attended yet another awesome bookclub last night. We were all fans (except one prude :p) of An Almond for a Parrot by Wray Delaney (pen name of Sarah Gardner) a great, easy, fun (sexy) read
  2. Signed a petition today for Amnesty International regarding child labour on palm oil plantations in Indonesia (specifically Wilmar) – I’m not 100% sure about it and did a little research which initially was mostly about the environmental impacts of palm oil plantations. To this end it does seem that some companies have been improving their practices – WWF Scorecard  and Australia Scorecard . This website had a good explanation. However my friend asked a good question regarindg the child labor – if the companies stop buying these products what happens to the children? Do they get pushed into other areas of slavery/sex objects/ etc so that they can survive?
  3. Read a bit about family law and royal commissions – absolutely love Rosie Batty and all the work she does
  4. Also read about the new Australian Conservative Party and although I liked this tag line ‘policies, not personalities. Principle, not politics.’ I don’t think I’m onboard with them.
  5. Have had two home days, yesterday super relaxing as both kids at school/kindy, today was harder to get motivated and harder to indulge for second day.
  6. Tried to get my head around Four Corners expose on the Murray Darling Basin, quite relevant for my local area but not sure of anything. Good list of ABC articles here  but my question is which response is best out of a federal judicial inquiry (Labor option), independent inquiry (Australian Conservatives) and senate inquiry (Greens option)? Disappointingly I havn’t seen anything from Liberals.
  7. Just had a lovely 30 minute phone call with my Mum, love that woman!
  8. Other parentals on my mind are my father and father-in-law spending the week together volunteering in the Bush – not sure how I feel about that!
  9. Oooh and last but not least I havn’t started any other books so have made progress on Silence

 

 

Hope you are all having a good week. Would love to hear your random thoughts on all and everything too 🙂

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political · relationships · social issues · Uncategorized

Opinion post: Legalising Same-Sex Marriage in Australia

Haiku for the religiously observant via On the sabbath — poemsinseason

Freed by Jesus’ words,
standing upright, rejoicing;
giving praise to God.

Religious leaders
speak to defend the sabbath
from such outrages.

Six days for working!
The seventh’s not for healing;
come another day!

Get real, says Jesus.
Common sense and compassion
must rule ev’ry day.

Living is empty
if love no longer shapes us;
Embrace its freedom.

 

Is our faith empty if we are not ruled by compassion, by love? Or is our faith empty if we pretend that everything is ok, sin is not really that bad, love (not forgiveness) is all you need?

 

From a Human’s of New York post

“I call them clobber verses. There are six of them. They’re the verses that get used to hammer gay people… I had tried so hard but nothing worked [therapy, straight marriage etc. etc.]. I got so angry with God for not keeping up his end of the bargain. But after some time, I finally realized why he wouldn’t change me. He never felt like he needed to.”

Let me just talk about me for a minute – what I find so difficult to understand is why I should get so blessed to not be plagued with such a sin as same-sex attraction, not having to live with it makes it incredibly easy to get on my high horse and when I read of people such as above who try so hard to fight this sin it seems so unfair. How do I resolve that?

 

From my understanding of the Bible I do believe that homosexuality is a sin, just as when I lie or say or think mean thoughts, it is not the way God intended the world to be. But there is sin in this imperfect world and we need to find a way to live with it. Through resurrection and grace of my saviour Jesus Christ I live with it in constant forgiveness and a promise of eternal life. In gratitude I try my best to lead a ‘good’ life, attempting (and constantly failing but forgiven) to avoid temptation.

I do not believe same-sex marriage should be legalised as to me it promotes temptation. I do not fight same-sex marriage for this reason though. I’ve come to a belief that just because I as a christian hold to certain beliefs does not mean I can force society to live according to those beliefs, I can simply promote them (and also use my political vote to do this).

Now for me it comes down to semantics, which sounds a horrible reason and yet…. Marriage by definition is the union of a man and woman therefore same-sex relationships are different. Many argue that it’s all love and the difference is unimportant (see a previous post I’ve written on love for an opinion on that topic) but I believe if merely from a biological point of view it IS different. Because I believe they are different does not mean I believe one is better than the other.I consider it a issue around equality and equity

Equality doesn't mean Equity

Psalm 98 v9 He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity

(an aside  -read this recently as with above haiku parable it doesn’t quite fit but does show the Bible talking about equity.)

I don’t think society needs to be quite so concerned with equality (at least in this example) as with equity so straight marriage is different from LGBT marriage however we can ensure there is equity between the two.

 

 

(I actually prefer this image from here as it shows not only different heights but different people with different and equally valuable personalities)

 

 

I strongly support civil unions and for same-sex couples to have the same rights as current married couples ( I do not argue on the basis of the needs of children as there is already so much sin and despair in family relationships across Australia I don’t think straight couples can claim any moral high ground in that area – although I do believe children should ideally have a mother and father there are no guarantees in our society such a family unit is any better than any other). I have long meant to look into whether same-sex couples who are recognised in civil unions receive the same rights as married couples in Australia, please inform me if they don’t as I would certainly work to rectify that.

 

Thus ends my first hopefully regular ‘issue’ post, next – netball in small communities.

I imagine they may be many who disagree with me, I hope I have been respectful and would love to hear any responses.

 

 

 

parenting · social issues · Uncategorized

Reflecting on our boarder experience

I was planning on doing a post on this topic after watching a Four Corners (ABC) episode* on “Broken Homes’ about Australia’s child protection crisis, in particular ‘resi’ residential care, but this morning my motives have changed somewhat. Our 18 year old boarders mother passed away this week and I feel my strongest first reaction is not so much sadness for her loss (although there is that along with care and worry) but moreso ‘did I do everything right?’

My mother and I received a message from her saying something had come up and she wouldn’t be back from visiting home as expected, when I replied asking if everything was ok she texted back- talk later. I sent another message that night about random local news and then last night when I saw something on facebook stalked and texted asking was she ok, she replied with details of her plan to return.

I don’t feel hurt that she hasn’t told me herself (found out via a facebook post this morning with some of my friends offering condolences before I even knew), well actually yes I guess I do feel hurt and wondering what could/should I have done differently? How can I be there for her now? I think I’m overly sensitive about these things. I havn’t called as I feel maybe she’s kept me at a distance for a reason, but rather sent texts and fb msgs.

I think I’m scared. I know I havn’t been the most supportive person to her. That’s my biggest concern regarding this experience. I entered into it thinking it could be a stepping stone for our family towards fostering and while it has gone well, there have been times when I know I should be doing more, checking in more, talking more but I was tired, I was selfish and it wasn’t my responsibility. After all she was just a boarder paying rent for a room and feed. Yes I wanted to be a friend, family even – but there were times when I placated myself with, I didn’t have to, it wasn’t my responsibility, she wasn’t my child.

After watching the tv show and seeing the horror that is Australia’s care system I am even more pulled towards fostering. That along with all the posters and ads I’ve been seeing this year have been making me consider God’s call. In fact the morning after the show I was going to call our local service and start the ball rolling, even without hubby’s agreement (although being honest about it.) But this would be different to having a boarder. It WOULD be my responsibility. If we took this on, I wouldn’t be able to laze on the couch after a long day and placate myself. I would need to get up and deal with their issues. And as children in the foster system the issues would likely need a lot of time and effort. I’m a far from perfect carer but at the same time I feel confident my imperfections are better than other alternatives for foster children, arn’t they? Could I and my family be helpers to children in need? Or would the business of our lives (our selfishness) leave too little time and effort to give them the love and care they need? I didn’t get to making that call, life got crazy again, but the idea/seed is not going away. If you are the praying type ask God to give me direction and to help me act on His call in his perfect timing.

 

*http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2016/11/14/4572365.htm

 

Post script – it’s been over a week since I first found out and I’ve been blessed with the honour of supporting our boarder and attending her Mum’s funeral. She is ok.

 

 

pps So I literally just pressed publish on this post and this quote came up on my FB feed ‘There is no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a great one’ …

faith · political · social issues · Uncategorized

What I learned from this weeks US election results

Firstly I know nothing about the American political system but I do believe it could do with some improvements. As an observer who mostly tried to avoid observing, my biggest issue is how long the whole process takes and the money spent on the campaign…but that’s not what I’ve put my effort into learning this week….

Rather I’ve learnt that:

  1. Many people believe that “Trump being elected means bad things –  electing Trump in light of his deplorable views and behaviours, tells America and the world that those actions are okay, and that bullies can and should win by doing whatever it takes to get to the top. He is setting a horrifying example for those who already agree with some of his ideals”

Whilst I can understand how it can be seen that way, I in contrast don’t believe the results of the american election TELL us anything (other than Trump won). You can perhaps say it implies such things but I believe we as individuals and communities choose what is ok or not, not the American president, or America.

Also I don’t think you can judge how people see the world and their values by a vote. Each candidate had pros and cons. However if it is the case that his voters have questionable morals then I believe we should be thinking about why/how they have come to that view. One Trump voter whose morals I do agree with shared her reasons for voting here https://beautybeyondbones.com/2016/11/10/profile-of-a-trump-supporter/

2. Campaigns based on hate and fear are what I hate most about politics, it’s what’s done in Australia too. I would love to see the focus taken away from the candidates themselves and energy used on properly investigating the policies they stand for.

3.  I’m against demonizing Trump but do understand peoples reactions of fear/sadness “I think one reason people like me have a big fear about this man is because he is a misogynistic, homophobic racist – him being the president represents all of the hate and oppression women, LGBTQI people, and people of colour experience.”

Yep he does appear to be all those things 😦 and if I am truly going to say I understand these reactions I need to allow them time/space to grieve even if I don’t 100% agree that’s the best response.

4. People are genuinely terrified of “how easy it is to brainwash the masses with fear and vulgar views. Historically we’ve seen it before and many are scared of seeing it repeated in their own lifetime as a result of this election.” “Trump himself does not scare me as much as the people who actually believe in the rhetoric he used. They just had their worldview validated.”

Yes we’ve seen it before and historically I guess I don’t see any reason why it won’t happen again. (indeed this article arguing why it could happen is highly convincing – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tobias-stone/history-tells-us-what-will-brexit-trump_b_11179774.html, but be sure to also read the follow up https://medium.com/@theonlytoby/a-response-to-some-of-the-comments-on-my-last-essay-f7917146aebe#.u50rpem0x).

I can appreciate fear of that, and perhaps everyone is right and Trump is the start of a shocking period in our time. I don’t see that so much as a sign of Trumps influence but more the fact we live in a sinful world. Indeed I’ve learnt how my christian faith ensures I KNOW we live in a fallen world and that no matter what happens I have HOPE in Jesus and him alone, not the state of the world.

“The truth is that most of these problems are the same problems that people suffered thousands of years ago…no one single human being is going to bring about the change to human suffering… So it follows: If there is nothing beyond this life then everything that happens here in this world is potentially catastrophic. Political outcomes are the end of the world, literally–because there is no other world.” Except I believe in eternal life with a Savior. Hence I heed this call “Show them, by OUR actions and words that there IS hope – and our hope isn’t in the president elect, but in the Lord Jesus Christ!”

5.  I’ve learnt that maybe I’m a glass half full person, choosing not to let other peoples choices influence my outlook on the world. And I think this may have actually been influenced by my study this semester. Shock horror I learned something at uni! We looked at Foucault’s ideas around power in professional ethics. When people argue about where power comes from there tends to be an agenda operating about where it should come from. And often when exploring this we are considering power that results in injustice, inequality and oppression.

All this came from a reading by H. Sercombe who asserted that it is better to recognise not only the inevitability but the productiveness of power. That productiveness is not limited to one person. Indeed Sercombe and Foucault argue that power comes from below. Power is constituted by relationships not institutions. Sercombe goes on to talk about mandates and collective action but I don’t really want to write an essay (or more of!). My most important point though is that no person is powerless, no person can make me do something I can only cede my power to him/her (and yes sometimes this can be done under coercive means.)

So we can choose to let Trump’s win represent hate and oppression. Or possibly we can choose to see the outrage as a positive sign and use our personal or collective power to keep Trump under check for example –

“No matter who you are, whether you supported him, or what his presidency means to you. He. Works. For. The people. There are layers of abstraction between you and him, and those layers are especially thick if you’re a Democrat or lean to the left. But the president is employed by the people. We need to remind ourselves of that today. And we need to remind him of that for the next four years.”

 

All of this links in quite well with a dream of mine to start a policitical party one day……but that’s a whole other post!

 

A few other things…

 

  • Economics is just not my thing, this article paints a rather dire picture though as a result of Trump’s election http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-consequences-of-a-donald-trump-win-are-disastrous-for-the-australian-economy-20161108-gsl5dj.html
  • Regarding policies I’m very not in favour of scrapping Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, do support restrictions on abortions and fixing America’s mental health system (wonder how he’ll do that!), quite dubious about his immigration policies, interested in his ideas to allow families to deduct the average cost of childcare from their taxes, including stay-at-home parents (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-09/what-has-donald-trump-promised-to-do/8009846)
  • The next few years may be interesting – The long period where America’s position on issues was predictable, where America supported freer trade and helped move the world towards more open engagement, is likely to change (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-09/experts-say-a-president-trump-will-change-the-us-and-the-world/8009504)