Welcome to Friday! Highlights from this week:
On poverty and homelessness
A couple of years ago, a certain politician had be throwing things at the TV and stomping around the house. He had implied that Jesus’ statement that ‘the poor will always be with us‘ was reason to give up on reducing homelessness.
(by the way, the ABS has just told us that Australia’s homeless population has grown by 17% since 2006 – we need to do something about affordable housing)
Since then I’ve been a little (hyper)sensitive to the misuse of this saying, taking care to point out that in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus quickly follows ‘the poor you will always have with you’ with ‘and you can help them any time you want, but you will not always have me.’ He’s saying Christians will always be near the poor. Like Jesus, we’ll be hanging out with the poor for a long time, but Jesus’ own time on earth was short.
But thank you Con Campbell – he has explained it far better than I could: The poor are always with you
My only concern with Campbell’s piece is that he contrasts caring for the poor with ‘proclaiming Jesus’. I’m not sure this is a helpful dichotomy (I know many disagree with me here). As I understand it, we proclaim Jesus both with our mouths and our bodies, our speech and our actions. We can’t neglect either because our whole selves are his. I would hate for a Christian to worry she was spending too much time loving and not enough time evangelising, like these are discrete tasks. Jesus himself proclaimed his messiahship through speech and action.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
On war, peace and remembrance day
Stanley Hauerwas Sacrificed on the altar of the nation
Do you say ‘people with disabilities’, ‘the disabled’, or what? – Stella Young Reporting it Right: How the Government Got it Wrong
Alix Spiegel Struggle for Smarts? How Eastern and Western Cultures Tackle Learning. Apparently, in Japan kids learn that you succeed if you work hard whereas, in America, they learn that you succeed if you’re smart. All I know is from my Suzuki violin days; the first song I learned went ‘Dr Suzuki says never be lazy but practice and practice until you go crazy.’
On gambling, ‘high rollers’ and addiction
Lawrence Bull Meet Packer’s High Rollers. Many of the so called ‘high rollers’ also suffer addiction and depression.
On the new Archbishop of Canterbury
Who would have thought. He’s an ex oil executive and Etonian, but Justin Welby actually sounds pretty good.
On the Bible
Michael Pahl Radically Evangelical - we need to be more evangelical, he argues.
Of the 20 women in the USA Senate, 70% were girl scouts (compared to 8% of American women). I’d like to see the stats for Australia. Julie Bishop and Louise Pratt were brownies, there’s got to be others.
Some people joked that Romney was the perfect candidate, if it were 1950. Seems like he’s an actually the ideal candidate for 1868 – given this map of the result of the election if only white men could vote. If it was just up to white men, Romney would have won 501 electoral votes to Obama’s 37.You can also see the result if it were only white people voting or people over 24.
Finally, the anniversary of the possessed toaster was this week.