Monthly Archives: June 2006

Pentecost 2006: Building a Covenant for a New America

Those wedded to the idea that all US Christians, particularly evangelical Christians, are slavish supporters of Bush and the Republicans should visit Poverty is not a family value by Jim Wallis.

…whatever else the gospel of Jesus Christ is able to change about our lives – overcome our sinful habits and addictions, save our marriages and families, make us responsible people – IF the gospel that we preach does not “bring good news to the poor,” well then, it is simply not the gospel of Jesus Christ – and it is about time that we said that.

To the political leaders of this capitol city, and from the places you all live across this country, we are here to say something else: the days when you could win the support of the religious community by merely speaking the language of family values and the sacredness of life while ignoring the desperate plight of poor people in this wealthy nation and around the world are over. Because for a growing number of people of faith across the political spectrum, you will now be held accountable for how the leadership you offer and the policies you support impact the lives of those whom Jesus called “the least of these.” You see for many of us, poverty is also a life issue and as our bumper sticker says “Poverty is NOT a family value!” …
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Posted by on June 30, 2006 in Current affairs, Events, Faith and philosophy, Religion


John Baker’s questions

If you are at all interested in writing, and enjoy good writing from a real writer, visit John Baker.

You may recall he asked five questions:

1. Why do you blog?

Because it is better than muttering to myself in the bathroom. Because I am addicted to teaching. Because I need to rant in Howard’s Australia. Because I have far too much time on my hands. Because writing is the best kind of thinking. Because “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” (That was E M Forster, I think.) Because “I blog, therefore I am.” See also Reasons to journal.

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Posted by on June 29, 2006 in blogging, Cultural and other, Observations, Personal, writing



And speaking of history…

I approached this week’s Bulletin with due cynicism when I saw it featured The 100 most influential Australians. Oh yes, I thought, wank-time! But I was wrong. Panellists Julie McCrossin, Phillip Knightley and Michael Cathcart have done such a good job I have listed this among my Best Reads of 2006, as you can see. Of course we could all suggest others, and maybe want to scrap some, but what a good introduction it is to our shared past and present, and a great tool for teachers, I would have thought. I’ll certainly be alerting my coachees to it.

Yes, John Howard is of course there, but I loved the positioning that happens on his page: you’ll have to buy the magazine to see what I mean. He is kind of, well, “buried”. This is the content on JH:
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Posted by on June 29, 2006 in Aussie interest, Cultural and other, Current affairs, gay life/issues, Multiculturalism and diversity, Politics, Reading


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Simon Schama on history

Thanks to the Arts & Letters Daily, I just read “The History Channeler” (sic) in the Washington Post.

In a 1991 New York Times piece headlined “Clio Has a Problem,” he savaged academic practices as stultifying, overspecialized and hopelessly biased against “dramatic immediacy.” And he satirized conventional historical argument in a passage that began:

“In 1968, Wendy F. Muggins published her seminal article on manorial social structure in 17th-century Fredonia. A decade later, this orthodoxy was substantially corrected by Cuthbert C. Buggins, based on a reading of Fredonian tax records. Unaccountably, neither Muggins nor Buggins consulted local manorial records . . .”
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Posted by on June 29, 2006 in Cultural and other, Education, Observations



John Howard on the Work “Choice” protests

The Great Grey Garden Gnome of Kirribilli House: “Mr Howard criticised today’s national union protest and Labor’s policy to abolish AWAs. He said the Labor Party and the union movement’s proposed changes are a dagger at the throat of Australia’s resource sector.”
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Crash-tackling the stereotype

Some of you remember my fifteen minutes of fame in 2002. There had been mutterings around The Mine about “Asians” and “coaching” (cheating?) and not playing Rugby…
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Posted by on June 28, 2006 in Aussie interest, Education, immigration, Multiculturalism and diversity, Personal, racism


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Notice the new page? Have a look.

An earlier version of “Marie” (as a prose-poem) was published in the very last Neos. The voice is entirely that of an Aboriginal woman I got to know in the mid 1980s in Glebe. Everything in the poem she said at one time or another, often as I shared a white wine or two in her room. She was the “concierge” in a kind of flop-house I was living in while I went through my mid-life crisis and a period of unemployment. She was, it was said, schizophrenic, and certainly not many of us have conversations with our television sets, especially when the set is switched off. But over time I saw that “Marie’s” ramblings actually made sense…

The poem tries to capture that.
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