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15 March 2015 |
'You can't go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world. Otherwise it's just a cage.'
When I heard English author Terry Pratchett had died, I immediately jumped online to start looking through some of my favourite quotes from his books. The above, from Witches Abroad, is one of many that have accompanied me over the years.
His 44 Discworld novels could be broadly described as comic fantasy, or fantasy satire, and yet that's really just the starting point for the immense variety of complicated ideas they explored in such a fun, joyous way.
Perhaps strangely for someone whose work is so grounded in atheism, Pratchett has had a profound impact on my religious faith. Read more
20 January 2015 |
Israel is demanding to be recognised as a Jewish state. The corollary is that they have an interest in getting Christians out. On the Palestinian side, the Islamic influence has been intensifying for decades. Fundamentalism creates the perfect audience for the disinformation and propaganda that masks the slaughter of some of the world's oldest Christian groups.
19 January 2015 |
Pope Francis has been hailed for his ‘rattling’ and ‘upsetting’ Catholic climate change sceptics and politicians. His predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI were ahead of most politicians on the issue, but essentially they underestimated the magnitude and urgency of the environmental problems we face. It is likely that Francis will make a decisive effort to confront climate change during 2015.
18 December 2014 |
Christmas is a fabulous time to spend at home. Even those of us who aren’t terribly Christian can enjoy a free holiday with friends and family. And if you like choral music, you can always come along with me and a Jewish mate to St Mary's Cathedral. But last Christmas I found myself in Taiwan.
17 December 2014 |
At a Christmas party, I met the charge nurse of the maternity ward. Pleading that because I was a celibate I would never be at a birth, I enquired if I might be allowed to come and see'. … Mary and I met six hours into her labor, which was an unusual circumstance within which to meet your birthing partner.' She had very little small talk, maybe because she had no breath at all.
16 December 2014 |
In his Mid Year Financial Economic Outlook statements this week, Treasurer Joe Hockey construed 'The Economy' as a rare prized orchid, requiring careful nurturing. The orchid is to be admired, and the gardener more so for the skill, expertise and craft that gives rise to such a beautiful creation. The trouble with treating The Economy like a prized bloom is that we fail to recognise that the it exists to serve people.
11 December 2014 |
On Wednesday, 53 Christian protesters were arrested staging 'pray-in' actions at politicians' offices around the country. Eight were allegedly strip searched before being formally charged with trespass after praying in the Perth office of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. There are echoes of martyrdom in the early church, which involved the refusal to worship the emperor. In contemporary Australia, the resistance is to the border protection regime.
16 November 2014 |
Total focus on designing the right professional standards policy could be creating a hole, where all that is heard is a droning 'let's move on' message. Where are the stories of people gathering to help mend and heal themselves and the victims of this horrific episode in our history?
12 November 2014 |
Utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer paid tribute to his friend and intellectual nemesis Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, who died last Friday after suffering pain and discomfort for much of his life. The majority of Tonti-Filippini’s influence on bioethics in Australia took place out of the public spotlight, including has work as chair of a govenment committee on the care of people in an unresponsive or minimally responsive state.
11 November 2014 |
There has been an avalanche of divestment, including from the Rockefellers and the ANU, as they discern a lack of concern for environmental, social and governance issues. Shareholders attending Wednesday’s Commonwealth Bank AGM will hear a resolution requesting more transparency about the bank’s fossil fuel investments. But the bank’s response can seem like a game whose rules only become clear to its participants as they play it. Banks and other powerful organisations can still exploit any lack of clarity.
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