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It strikes me that life is a lot like finding lettuce slugs; it is just as easy to walk right by and not notice the people and things right under our noses. I think we do a particularly good job of walking right by the people who need us, the poor in our midst, the helpless, the hurting, people who are different from us. We have our blinders on and walk right by. Pay attention to those who need our help, those who need our care. When we pay attention to those who are hungry, who are thirsty, who are sick, those who are different from us, we pay attention to Jesus.
When we pay attention to the stranger in our midst and welcome them we also welcome Jesus. To do this we need to be alert, be awake, live in the moment. We will never see what God calls us to if we are zooming by and not living in the present moment. We also need guides to see the needs of the world. We need people who are good at seeing a need and let them show us that need so that we too, can help. We also need to be guides showing Jesus to others. We often forget that not everyone knows Jesus, knows God like we do. It is our job to invite them to come and see.
See what God is doing here. See where God is calling this community. We are the guides, guides that can show others another way to live and love. Next week we begin the season of Advent. Advent is a time to see with new eyes the gifts and blessings God has given us. These may be hard to see, given the glitz and glamour our culture focuses on for the holidays, but we need to see, we need to see clearly the surprises God has planned for us, the true gifts that are hidden under all that silver and gold. Take time this Advent to open your eyes and see the gifts that God is giving you.
Pay attention because when you look closely, Gods gifts can be found around every turn. I pray that each of us will see those very things that are right before us, that our eyes will be opened and that our hearts will rejoice as God leads us into a season of preparing for the greatest gift of all. Fear is a powerful emotion.
For most of us when we are fearful we are frozen in inaction, we are afraid to move. I find fear to be paralyzing. I am stuck in a state of paralysis. When I am unafraid I can act with enthusiasm, I can take out my gifts and let them shine but if I am afraid I just want to hide. Has this ever happened to you? I think Jesus is telling us today not to live our lives in fear. This is easier said than done. The Gospel story is about our ability to act boldly and confidently for the Gospel.
Fear is pervasive in our culture. Do this, take that or this or that will happen. Vote for so and so or we will all self destruct. We have lost our ability to trust each other, to trust ourselves. So we need to get better at trusting God. Trusting in God takes a risk, takes a leap. This happens in communities too. We are packing bags for kids to take home. How will this work out, will we have enough resources, enough help? Sometimes you just have to start doing and figure it out as you go. We as the people of God need to set the example for our community, the example of generosity and faith.
We as a people hate to look foolish, hate to be shamed. Yet stepping out as a disciple of Jesus involves risk. Stepping out means you might be rejected, might lose face. Stepping out for God involves risk. When we step out we may experience failure, rejection or loss but these things help us to grow into stronger disciples for Jesus. Prince of Peace did this when they sold their building and moved in with Trinity. Trinity, you have experienced this in the change of leadership.
You all will experience this as I leave and Richard comes. Yet it is only when we take that step, when we set aside our fear that we will see the multiplication of our efforts, the transformation of our souls. When we are fearful we bury our treasures underground where no one can see them or take them. When we are fearless our lives open in new and unexpected directions.
We live with our gifts in full view, we live with a sense of abundance and we live with gratitude and generosity. That is how I want to live, to live fully, to live into who God calls me to be, without fears. I want to live grateful for all that I have been given, I want to live sharing those gifts with others.
I want to remember each and every day the great abundance of blessings that God has given us. I want to live without fear, defying the constraints of our culture. Free to fully be the person God has called me to be. But I know that in doing this, I will discover new joys, to live my life without fear, trusting in the One who loves me and you more than we can imagine. Reformation Sunday, commemorates Martin Luther nailing of his 95 theses to the door of the church, and the beginning of the reformation in Europe. Popular legend has it that on October 31, Luther defiantly nailed a copy of his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church.
The reality was probably not so dramatic; Luther more likely hung the document on the door of the church matter-of-factly to announce the ensuing academic discussion around it that he was organizing. The 95 Theses, which would later become the foundation of the Protestant Reformation, were written in a remarkably humble and academic tone, questioning rather than accusing. The overall thrust of the document was nonetheless quite provocative. The other 93 theses, a number of them directly criticizing the practice of indulgences, supported these first two.
Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers? Luther, refusing to recant, was eventually excommunicated from the Catholic Church. As Luther was doing this in Germany, the reformation was also occurring in England around the same time. So here we are years later, an Episcopal congregation and a Lutheran one, joining together; I think Luther and the other reformers would be proud.
Their frustration was not with each other but with the corruption in the Catholic Church. The question I want to ask is what needs reforming today? What in our system is broken and corrupt? We no longer have a pope to lead us but a similar question could be asked of the billionaires that run our country, of the very wealthy who do not look out for those in need.
We need reformation, we need to look at ourselves the institutional church and see how we like Luther can stand up for what is right, stand up for those who are unable to stand up for themselves. Luther fought for the poor, the indulgences were a hardship for them.
The rich had the money for them, Luther fought for those without a voice against the powerful. Freedom is an essential part of our democracy. Freedom is based on truth and trust. How do we live into our truth as Luther did at the time of the Reformation? Luther stood up to the injustices of power, Luther named the truth. How do we follow his example? How do we see clearly that which is put before us in our lives? What is the truth of your life? What do you want to do differently? Jesus calls us to look at the truth in our lives in our world and through that truth we will know the true freedom that only God can give.
How can you live your life differently trusting in God and the freedom that comes with that. Jesus calls us this morning to open our eyes, just like Martin Luther and see things for how they really are. Find the truth and hold it so that your life may be reflective of your faith, knowing that God alone can save us and give us the freedom we most desire. Today is a call to action ; years and there is still so much work to be done; years; how does the church have to adapt to meet the NEXT years, how do we need to take part in this new reformation?
Luther started it now it is up to us to continue in his footsteps. Every word we use has the potential to build someone up or tear them down. Words matter, what we say really does matter. Just look at our President and how his tweets are interpreted, words matter. The problem these days is we often just have the words to go on. So much of our communication is words in black and white.
This happens most often in emails, texts or tweets but it also happens in face to face. Someone says something meaning X and we hear it thinking they mean Y. How does this happen? It happens because we bring our own bias to every conversation that we participate in. These misinterpretations are less likely to occur face to face because we get so much information by looking at someone and listening to the tone of their voice.
We get so much when we understand the context of their experience and the context in which the words are spoken. I see this most often in relationships. One partner says something that the other perceives as hurtful and maybe the words were hurtful but the other partner did not mean it in that way. I see it in communities, where things are said and misinterpreted and many suffer for it. I think the problem is that we are always in a hurry. Words are tricky like that, they often have a life of their own.
Instead of really listening to so and so and find out what exactly they are trying to say, then telling them clearly what attitude or behaviors will be tolerated in our community. We do this with children all the time, we tell them what we will accept and what we will not accept and what is appropriate behavior. Right, but we fail to help the adults in our midst to see that words do in fact matter. Our Gospel story this morning is about judgement, evil and transformation.
We make judgements about people lumping them in the bad pile without truly knowing what was their intention or who they are deep down. After all, we all have our weedy moments. All of us are made of wheat and weed. We cast judgement often believing the worst about people, the worst about ourselves. I think what Jesus is telling us this morning is to stop and take a deep breath. Not everything has to be decided in an instant. Not everything has to be done right now. Think how your life might be different if instead of reacting you paused and took a deep breath.
I mean a deep breath all the way down into your diaphragm. A deep breath does two things it reduces our stress and it gives us a moment to think, to pause. You see if you are breathing in you are not talking. If you take a deep breath you are less likely to pull out the wheat with the weeds. Our lives, our culture has become very reactive. We have lost the art of breathing.
When we know how to breathe we allow a space for God to work, a space for transformation. That is our story this morning, let us see how the spirit can work, changing the weeds to wheat, changing us deep in our hearts. Take a breath, a really deep breath and let the love of God hold and strengthen you. I have moved many times in my life, big moves, moves across the country. Moving always comes with its own sets of challenges. Big moves are more disorienting than moves across town or within a geographic area.
I have moved across the country on 4 different occasions. There is something exciting about moving but it is hard. Moving involves an enormous amount of energy and a fair bit of stress. The hardest part often was saying good-bye to friends, yet I also knew that I would carry a piece of them with me for the rest of my life. These people were significant to me at certain periods of my life and they always will be. For me my friendships with them will always be tied to a particular place and period of my life. I bring this history up because I think we forget that Jesus too had personal relationships with the people in his life.
Relationships are the foundation of our faith. How we negotiate our lives living into and out of our relationship with God. Like all things, we sometimes get off track and need a course correction. Systems are slow to change, slow to correct but it is essential for us to do that if we want to survive. Just like in your own lives, when things are off kilter sometimes strong measures are needed to right the ship. Setting a new course like moving can be disorienting at first, it can be scary and you may not have faith in the new direction working out.
Like moving to a new place the fastest way to acclimate is to dive in, accept the changes and work to find your footing. Some of us do this easier than others. The disciples are faced with a course correction this week. Jesus tries to prepare them that although they will no longer see them He will be with them. Jesus has shown them the way to be, the way to act; Jesus has shown them God. They should not fear they should not be troubled. Jesus is telling them it will be okay, God is with them, God is with us.
Never in my life have these words had more context in our culture. So many are troubled today by politics, by drugs, by racism, by immigration status; so many are fearful of what tomorrow holds. Believe in God, believe also in me. How can we hear that and know that it is true? This has been most clear to me with my children. Maybe we worry less as they get older, maybe it depends on the child. Some children need more worrying about than others but it also depends on us. How are we willing to believe in God and Jesus?
How are we willing to trust our children to be who God created them to be without our constant interference? God walks with us on this journey of life, Jesus is by our side. We need to believe in that and trust that God will provide, more likely in ways we had not thought of, in ways we could not imagine. Belief is about trust, trust that we will find our footing, that God is with us, no matter where we go or how our life may change. This is what Jesus was telling the disciples, this is what Jesus is telling us.
In my family growing up I was the navigator. I was the one who would read the map and tell my Father where to go. My Mother and sister were not interested in this job. I was good at it. I got my bearings and sense of place by looking at a map and visually seeing how the world was laid out. This skill has served me well over many moves and different locations.
When arriving in a new place one of the first things I would do is get a map and discover how the area is laid out and what I needed to know to get from one place to another. Maps have been critical for me to really learn a new place and understand how it is laid out. Without studying a map, I often feel confused and lost in a new place.
Maps are harder and harder to come by these days. You see our phones and GPS systems have become our maps and they will direct us to get anywhere we want to go. This was very hard for me to accept in the beginning, because it was hard to trust that a device would take me where I needed to go. I still have what I would call a healthy sense of mistrust for these devices and I have had them lead me astray from time to time, but they are getting better and better.
With their improvements, I find I trust them more and more. We have all heard the stories of people following their GPS blindly into very challenging and sometimes life threatening situations. I say this every time I visit my daughter in California, her area is set on a grid system around a curvy coast line, there are a few key roads but I have a hard time placing them in context. I am learning them slowing by looking at the map on my phone, not as good as the old paper maps but it is working. I still would like a paper map but as I said they are not so easy to find these days! I remember fondly our many trips across this country relying on our Triple A trip tix and a map for every state!
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So, you may be wondering what this has to do with our readings. Today is Good Shepherd Sunday and I think we have lost our way, not just us individually but our society and culture as a whole. Jesus is our shepherd and our map. As a shepherd leads the sheep, Jesus leads us.
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I think one of our problems is that we have lost the map. We have crowded that map out with all sorts of other distractions. It used to be you could come to church to get your directions for the week; less and less of us find that helpful. It used to be you could use the bible stories to make sense of your life but they are less and less known. We need to find new ways to share the map we have found in Jesus. We are the holders of the map and the ones to share how helpful it has been in our lives. Faith and belief in God and Jesus are timeless, they have survived throughout the centuries but how that gets transmitted has changed throughout the centuries.
In the beginning people gathered in small communities, house churches, in some places they did this in fear, hiding their community and faith. Over the years, the church gained more power and prestige, but not without challenges and misdirection. Just look at the power given to popes and clergy, just look at the crusades, killing innocent people who believed differently than us.
We have always had a problem with people who thought differently or acted differently than us. Look at the witch trials held in our neighboring state.
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People burned at the stake in the name of Jesus. I do know that individually and collectively we have lost our way and that our old maps are not working. I know we want the old paper maps and they have value but we need to figure out how God is calling us out in new ways. How we are to respond in new ways to the Gospel, new ways to follow our Shepherd.
How is the Shepherd calling you? Sometimes I like to go incognito. I find it very interesting to hide my vocation; sometimes I like to be a regular person and not an Episcopal Priest. Now I know I can never truly hide my vocation, and most conversations get around to what do you do? When I tell people, depending where I am, they are shocked, impressed or afraid. I always find this interesting, since I, maybe even more than you, have heard every human predicament that you can imagine. I have even heard bad language and on rare occasion have used it myself. Some of my best conversations have been with people who have no idea who I am, maybe because they can hear me not as a religious expert but as a regular person.
This is the gift of the gospel story this morning. Jesus appears to his disciples as a regular person and they engage in a meaningful conversation. He opens the scriptures for them in new and exciting ways. Jesus was content to just carry on his way, but his new friends insist that he stay. They invite him into their lives.
Here is where the miraculous happens, and they see Jesus for who he truly is. How do we invite Jesus into our lives? Do we miss opportunities to invite Jesus into our hearts? Of course, we do, how can we not, but what is most important is that we see Jesus for who he really is. This faith that I have has made the bad times bearable and the good times more joyous. Our faith is not meant to be a secret, it should shine out from our very being. The story this morning also offers us hope that in our darkest hour Jesus walks with us, that when we least expect it the Son of God will break into our life and give us renewed hope, renewed strength and courage.
God calls us to walk the journey to Emmaus repeatedly, to hear the stories of our salvation and to find new understandings and insights. I am so grateful for those that shared their faith with me, for without them I would not be standing here today. Who are you called to share your faith with? Who do you need to meet on your journey?
Jesus calls each of us maybe in disguise but each of us are called, it is up to us to invite Jesus in. So, pay attention, you never know who you might be talking to, and how they might enrich your journey or how you might enrich theirs. God is alive and well in our midst. It is time for us to stop going incognito through our lives. We are Christians and it is time for us to come out of hiding, to share the love and faith that has been given to us and that we share in the breaking of the bread.
Life with God is better than life without God and each of us has a story to share. It seems to me that we spend a large part of our lives wishing for something different. We often focus on this difference as if it would make all the difference in our lives. None of these things are bad but they miss the point of why we are here. They are temptations in a way a seduction of how things used to be or how we think things should be. Maybe you do this in your own life. You really could fill in any topic; things always seem like they could be better somehow. Our gospel reading and the reading from Genesis are about having enough.
About knowing that we are enough. Adam and Eve, right from the get go, wanted more. All the trees and fruits were not enough; they wanted the one tree they were not suppose to have. We can choose to live not with this desire to always want more but with the satisfaction that we are enough. Jesus understood this most clearly by saying no to the temptations of the world and understanding that what he had was enough.
How do we live more fully into this reality? Advertisements if only you had this, your life would be complete. The examples go on and on. When we live like that we miss the very life that we are having now. On Ash Wednesday we get ashes to remind us of our mortality, to remind us that everything in this life eventually turns to ash. God reminds us to live for today, today is what is before you. Accept that what you have been given is enough. Sometimes the simplest things can shift our perspectives. On Ash Wednesday I left the church door unlocked between the services, I was in my office and suddenly I heard the crying of a young child.
I went to investigate and there was a pregnant woman with her 2 year old child. She told me that she had tried a few churches and this was the only one that was open. She was looking for a priest to receive ashes, get a blessing for the baby in her womb and also to make a connection, to know that there was more than her complicated life and that someone cared. She and her children had recently been homeless. Yet she was grateful, grateful that God loved her and that God would take care of her. What are the doors in your heart that need to be unlocked? What are the doors in this community that need to be unlocked?
I can promise you that everything we need and have is enough. I can promise you that the spirit will show up. God is always sending us signs if only we can pay attention. God is always steering us to what is most important if only we take the time to listen. Many years ago, when we lived in Georgia, I was the chair of the Newcomers Committee. While I was chair we started baking small loaves of bread to be delivered to every newcomer each Sunday. To do this I taught a group how to bake bread. Then I was asked to teach bread baking at the community college.
I was surprised but agreed. The time frame for a class at the community college was short so I had to adapt my recipes from regular yeast to quick rise yeast. If you are a bread baker you would know that this is not a simple substitute. The recipes have to be reworked to accommodate the quick rise yeast. I tried out the reworked recipes at home and made a beautiful loaf of bread that looked fabulous.
The texture was perfect, it baked evenly with a great crust. In fact I thought I had never baked such a consistent loaf of bread; it was amazing! So I slice it up and take a bite. It was awful; I mean really awful. It was immediately obvious what was missing — Salt! I had forgotten to write the salt into the new recipe. Salt hinders the rising process so that is how my bread looked so perfect, but bread is meant to be eaten and this bread was almost inedible.
I always think about that when I read the gospel for this morning. Read a history book once in a while, llanfair. By WW1 Australia was an independent nation with its own independent military. It's our problem only because we allow it to be. The area in question is the greatest oil producing area in the world. Do you really think that withholding the small amount of aid money that some of the nations in it get will make them redraw their borders? I wonder whether independent Turkey would appreciate being told it would have to give up part of its territory, without being given a choice in the matter.
Your solution is just as colonialist as was the original one: The tribe of Western Sydney eh? The same tribe that has just about every nationality from around the globe? The same tribe that is now, starting in certain areas, having their houses forced from them by government so that ugly unit blocks can be plonked down in their place? People that didn't want to move? They shouldn't feel at all angry about their houses being ripped off them, thrown a bit of cash less than is needed to move into an equal house in a surrounding suburb My own house has recently been placed in the 'red zone' of higher housing density.
I wonder how long it will be until the government come along and tell me the gig is up and to pack my bags? As for mixing Pacific islanders and Iranians So they should be able to exist just fine together in PNG I often think to myself, when I drive along the leafy north shore, and northern beaches, why, with all these lovely parks ready for development, and big houses taking up all that room, why this people couldn't feel some sort of compassion and take in their multicultural brothers and sisters?
Why not tear em down and put some humanitarian unit blocks in there? So many lovely, leafy suburbs in sydney Lets just turn the whole of Sydney into unit blocks? Nobody needs a back yard, or parks, or bushland, or wild life, or the ability to commute anywhere without stepping on each others heads and sensibilities. Lets just develop forever! Except for the poor old native animals of course Iran was not part of the Ottoman Empire. The border between Iran and Iraq was substantially in existence a long time before the British had any involvement there.
No need to fight. The country is an islamic democracy. Maybe not perfect, but not in the same league as North Korea. They made their choice Not my problem and not my country's problem. For those of you who are having guilt trips over it - reach into your own damn pockets to fund whatever you want to fund. Australian taxpayer dollars are for Australian citizens first and foremost. I've read your previous posts advocating military intervention in Iran to change their wicked regime. Now you flip flop when it suites you! My previous post stated that Iranians should be dealing with their issues and not bringing their baggage to Australia.
As far as I am concerned if we have to get involved then we just smoke the whole country with nukes. Problem solved once and for all. Australia had the tech knowhow back in the 50's to build them and still does. The only times I advocate direct intervention in other countries affairs is when they intervene in our affairs.
Afghanistan was a good case in point because of their Government allowing terrorists sanctuary within their borders. The only issue I had with Afghanistan is that we did not just go in, flatten the country and then leave. Bleeding hearts interfered, so now we are still stuck there pointlessly since the tar baby that Afghanistan is, will go back to being a 3rd world hellhole no matter what aid they are given to drag them out of their 8th century doldrums.
So, Peter of Melbourne, you send other people to fight. I am glad you live here. If, for whatever reason, Australia falls into a civil conflict, I know I can count on you. Just make sure you are on my side. It is true, though, that internal problems are best resolved by the people themselves. That does not mean that everybody needs or wants to get into the conflict. Personal circumstances are paramount.
And it may be cyclical. I know I did silly things myself against the opressive regime in my country of origin when I was younger. But I wouldn't do the same today, although I'm still physically capable. Now, I would flee. I sure understand Iranians who do likewise. You seem to think that what happens in Iran is somehow my concern - You lot made your society, deal with it.
Muslim culture and I use the term loosely which Iranian culture is now based upon is utterly alien to our own and as we have seen worldwide now multicuralism does not work only integration does. It is time for the Australian Government to take a heed of the French. They proved zero support for those of other nationalities, all official documentation is in French only and they do not proved free interpreters like our Government does.
If Australia ever falls into civil conflict it will be a direct result of stupid policies such as multiculturalism as we have seen in Cronulla. Peter, after having read your posts for a while, I didn't think for a moment that you considered the Iranian situation your concern. Not sure what you meant by "You lot", but basically, you are right: But that does not mean that we shouldn't help people who, for one reason or another, cannot cope with the situation at home. Fear is a very powerful motivator. I felt fear when the mounted policed charged against my position in my country of origin.
I would have felt fear if a drunked mob had forced me to kiss the Australian flag in Cronulla. Because I lived through it I can understand others and be more inclined to accept their reactions. I am a firm believer that the ability to feel empathy is genetic.
Either you have or not. Australia will not fall into civil conflict because of multiculturalism. It could fall because of people not accepting their differences. You have hit the nail on the head. If people of countries like Iran want a better life, they need to overthrow their government. I can not understand why we take a single refugee from Afganistan when the Taliban has been overthrown and we have Aussie troops dying for their freedom. They should join the Afgan army to fight the Taliban instead of seeking asylum in Australia because we are a rich country full of bleeding hearts.
So your suggestion is that women and children go back to where they came from and fight the taliban Even if they are economic refugees, why is that a problem? We are losing sight of what the real problem is here. There are, apparently, some 20 million people fleeing persecution around the world - most in refugee camps or trying to to get to one.
Clearly, whatever we do about the relatively small number of boat people or even if we increase our refugee intake, that's not going to solve the problem of the 20 million people. The solution to that lies in, somehow, making it unnecessary for them to flee their countries in the first place.
Relocating entire ethnic or religious minority groups can never be the answer. And even if it were, surely we'd be assisting the Taliban, the Iranian mullahs and others achieve their ethnic cleansing objectives - and that'd make the persecutors even more aggressive towards those they want to get rid of, wouldn't it? Surely, with the reach of the Internet and even better penetration of the world's dark zones by conventional media, we should be able to destroy the hold of the dictators, fundamentalists and others who creating the refugee problem in the first place.
If we can reduce the number of refugees worldwide, then allowing a few thousand to come here, by air, boat or whatever, would be a solution. But with the current numbers worldwide, we are kidding ourselves if we think that our agonisng over a small number of asylum seekers is anything other than gesture politics. Australia can not effectively intervein in foreign countries. We can symapthize but that does not mean we should accept responsibility. Australia is foolish for accepting Iranians as in Iran the life expectancy and chance of torture may not be good, but they are miles ahead of other countries.
Unless someone can prove they acted in a way that directly challenged the oppressive system, they should not be granted refugee status. Only if they committed an act that was a crime or something that leads to be a beating in Iran and not in Australia should they be called a refugee. Just believing their story is not good enough because anyone can tell a story. My doctor is an Iranian refugee and I'm bloody glad he's here. I'm not sure how he would prove his active opposition to the regime if he were fortunate enough to survive that action but my life is better for him having made it in to Australia, not worse.
I'm quite confident he did not take a job from an Australian doctor - my local GP clinic has never had enough doctors. The assumption that taking refugees costs us as a nation is a curious one, not really born out by the evidence as far as I can see. I'm not suggesting there are no negative effects, but on the whole, I reckon refugees pull their weight. I'll take most of them over the average Aussie bikie any day.
Would that be a little bit racists, like this story is? Why is it that we have especially to take Iranian refugees. I'm saying he adds value to this country and it was significantly to our benefit that we accepted him. He can't be the only refugee that was a net gain to this county rather than a cost. My own belief is that Iranians themselves as with Syrians should choose their own destiny. If they want a theocracy, democracy, or something else, it is their choice. They alone have the right to decide. How it evolves and if it evolves, is another matter.
The US and the "west" in general are not the world's police any more and we have no right to be. Huonian you are absolutely right if people stopped believing in these stupid religions religious persecution would cease immediately. Then again ceasing to believe in Islam is an invitation to persecution in many Islamic countries. And punishable by death. OUB I think you understand we are talking about blanket disbelief. If everybody stopped using some hand me down pagan belief to define their existence at the same moment it would not be a problem, indeed if all humankind applied commonsense instead of the manipulative dogma of evil old men generally most of the problems in the world evaporate in a moment.
Your evil old men will simply find another way to power. Behind them is a surging population and a consequent need to control land and resources. If there was no religion society would still divide along ethnic lines or tribal lines or because the next village's grass is greener. Demography is the driver, religion just has the shotgun seat. People wouldn't abandon their greedy and bloodthirsty ways simply because they lost their religion.
Quite a few people get murdered for not paying their debts but that doesn't make it government policy. It's an old chestnut thrown up to demonise muslims, when a simple search will show that yemen, arabia, iran, afghanistan or anywhere else you care to mention have recorded not one single excution for apostacy since Even the reporting on the murders will omit any other personal factors between the parties.
This is why christians can murder women and children in png and nigeria for being witches but we don't get the same confected outrage over religious extremeists. The qu'ran itself doesn't command death for apostasy. All schools of sunni orthodox have their own view on just how it's to be dealt with- it's informative stuff. In assume that when you write "apostacy" you actually mean "apostasy".
And if you do, then you are woefully wrong. I can recall at least two, one named Abdirahman, who was executed in in Saudi Arabia and another named Sadeq, who was executed in about from memory Thanks, Huonian; probably the most, and as far as I've read these, the only reasoned and intelligent comment so far. Not a "knee jerk", but a thoughtful response. Why only Iranians, Mary? I'm sure a similar argument could be mounted on behalf of any number of nationalities, by any number of members of the Australian refugee industry. The fundamental question that remains to be answered by you and your fellow travelers in the publically funded refugee industry are, firstly, how many refugees should Australia reasonably be expected to resettle?
Secondly, how should they be selected? And thirdly, what would you do with the first boat-load that exceeds the quota? I'd be very interested to see your response. You mean like Afghanistan.. The only issue I see with Afghanistan and the other regressive societies who pose a threat to citizens of the West is that we do not just nuke them off the map when they present themselves as a threat.
We have absolutely zero responsibility for the decisions the Governments of those countries make. Nature works in the same way - might makes right. The Taliban leadership numbered about ten men. That you'd chant to nuke a whole country over the decisions of ten men is about the most comb-over, lets play risk, schoolboy spit balls I've read all week. The Taliban controlled the country with the support of Afghanis. Those were a powerful ten men who controlled the whole country, ofcourse if you look back at the history of the Taliban you might gain an inkling into their origins as the Afghani Mujahideen who fought against the Soviets with the help of the West.
So maybe you need revise your "ten men" as the Taliban was formed from a fighting force numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Was it worthwhile supporting the Mujahideen? Is it in OUR interest to allow these people into our home? Communities have friends and even nations, through bonds of affinity have friends. Governments, composed of power hungry politicians funded by greedy business, I agree, have only interests.
Do we call immigrants from Turkey refugees because we invaded Gallipoli? A specious argument if ever I heard one. Susan you are probably clever enough to answer that question yourself. Are thousands of people leaving Turkey seeking refuge in Australia? If not its not an issue. I was think more of countries like Iraq and Afghanistan where we have recently wrecked the economy at the behest of our friends the Americans or PNG which we once colonized.
Peter if you applied your rule about nuking countries that present themselves as a threat the US would be the first to go but they would have to nuke themselves as they are the best equipped to do so. The US has never presented themselves as a military threat to Australia, Afghanistan's rulers on the other hand had willingly allowed terrorists a foothold within their country who presented a clear threat to all Western democracies. Try another strawman argument. I'll take a crack, Mack: Might have to work up to it. Perhaps , when we get things sorted for the higher numbers. That makes 1M every 10 years.
We could do that. We could go and select them from camps around the world and bring them here. However, we could make a queue of our own a real one, not the imagined one and put their names on it. Then put them elsewhere until their name comes up. A million every ten years, sean? Are you planning to pay or are you expecting the rest of us to foot the very, very large bill? We already have a queue like that and every asylum seeker granted asylum pushes those on it further and further down it. Reaver, I reckon we can do the refugee intake for a hell of a lot less per person than we do now.
No, I don't make this suggestion with the expectation that others foot the bill. I'll pay my share. I don't think we do have a queue already - but let's do each other a favour and not get into that argument just now. I acknowledge that some sort of fairness is in order in terms of who gets in and how long they wait. Finally, if turned out that we simply couldn't take them in cheaper per head than now then yes - that would be an issue and I would not support unlimited expenditure. By saying that you'll pay only your "share", sean, you are demanding that others pay for what you want done.
We have a queue because Australia has set one up. Refugees in camps all over the world have been informed that they've been accepted for resettlement in Australia as soon as there's a place for them. They may not be standing in a neat line, but a queue it very much is. Tend to agree with the approach you've outlined, sean. Questions two and three are problematic, and I wait with great anticipation for Mary's response. There is a queue, and it's not imaginary, just shifting, depending on who needs resettlement most.
Unfortunately, the process gets hijacked by those who decide to circumvent it. Australia, Canada, the US, and maybe even those European grumps might be more interested in taking people out of the camps if they weren't having to cope with unmanaged influxes of people not on the UNCHR's priority lists. As for numbers, well, 50, a year would be a quarter of our total migrant intake.
Australians are simply not going to accept that we take in 50, a people a year, year after year, who will be dependent upon the public purse for five years or more. Australia can barely cope with the pressures created on infrastructure and social services by skilled migrants who are paying taxes from the moment of arrival. Invoke a system in which the proportion of humanitarian cases outnumbers the economic contributions of the skilled migrants, and you're asking for a world of pain.
We are pretty flush as a country and I can think of several ways to cut costs before abandoning generosity to people from hellholes. However - if I'm wrong and if support costs for refugees got to the point where it really truly was making it harder for tax-payers to make ends meet then I would favour reducing those costs by the most reasonable means available - including reducing our intake. I take my hat off to you. A rare flower that can change it's spots Ideally , a year would solve many problems.
It would destroy our social welfare system and create such social disharmony that no one would want to come here. Perhaps but perhaps not. We can solve a great many problems when we choose to try, so let's not rule out solving this one. If the problem was getting our hands on a particularly valuable but difficult to extract resource, we wouldn't just give up without a try - we'd work on it CSG? We can work on this too. All those who have arrived on our shores without invitation should be placed in camps and the UN tasked with relocating them to safe havens within their own cultural groups.
It is very clear that multiculturalism is a failed policy worldwide just look at how England has finally had enough and is now rounding them up to be forcibly deported. Multiculturalism isn't the same thing as visas and residence. You should keep a dictionary next to your pc. A hundred thousand a year? At a million bucks a head for starters.
Then the cost of infrastructure for a new city the size of Canberra every three years. And that is on TOP of the need for a new city the size of Canberra every three years already being created by population growth primarily through immigration. The only way that is paid for is by increasing the load on the rest of the taxation base. I'm very keen to know where you're going to get the money I disagree with most of your assumptions there.
Particularly about costs - for example that infrastructure spending would create jobs and generate wealth. The new people would buy food and other commodities, creating economic growth. It's not as simple as saying the costs have to be born form the hip pockets of taxpayers. Unfortunately, sean, it is as easy as saying the costs have to be born form the hip pockets of taxpayers. Read the reports that I directed you to in my previous post. They show that these refugees don't get jobs and don't get off welfare.
You don't create economic growth by adding more welfare recipients. Providing a legal but remote chance of legal entry is a good idea. The Chinese have mastered this form of manipulation with the 'letters and visits' complaints system. In that example people can express their grievances without resorting to violence and dissent and have a remote hope of achieving a positive outcome. The government's strategy is to make phoney promises about caring for their plight whilst also putting up so many barriers to the actual success of claims that most people eventually just give up.
From the CCPs perspective, the problem is solved. I think Iranians are more savvy and belligerent than Chinese peasants and most will board boats anyway, but it will help. Why is Australia expected to carry the can for Iranians disenchanted with their own country and it's regime? Could Australians expect to be re-settled in another country if similar conditions prevailed here? Quite frankly looking to a future with Kevin driving our nations economy many of us may feel a sense of persecution inside our own borders. You can bet like Vietnames etc once they get their Australian Passports they will be off visiting their homelands again before long.
No fear of persecution, right of passage or other. Just the ability to Con a gullible Australian Government and lax security and entry checks. Must be one of the only countries in the world willing tear apart border protection and homeland security exposeing its citizens to who knows in future.
Kevin Rudd is entirely responsible and should hang his head in shame. Frank, Some might do that, but not all, so let's not tar everyone with the same brush. Once we are just talking about the ones that abuse the system, it's a different discussion. Also - how does it hurt us if someone accepted as a refugee visits their country of origin - is it just that we don't like being lied to? Well Aussies are pretty good at lying to suit themselves, it's just what people do.
And to be fair, you may have a real fear of persecution that no longer exists when you have that Australian passport. Finally, I struggle to accept the border security argument. Asylum seekers MAY include security threats but I'm not convinced they are any more of a threat than plane arrivals. We have this system solely to help those in genuine need. If people aren't in genuine need because they aren't facing any real persecution then they shouldn't be allowed to be a part of our humanitarian program.
If someone returns to their own country after claiming that they fled that country in terror then their re-entry visa should be automatically cancelled. Doing this would be perfectly legal under International law as Article 1C of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees states that "This Convention shall cease to apply to any person falling under the terms of section A if: He has voluntarily re-availed himself of the protection of the country of his nationality". Exactly how would a real fear of persecution suddenly disappear just because you have an Australian passport?
Does it change your race? Seems to work for our drug traffickers - they don't escape the legitimate laws of that country but they are visible and tend to receive some level of due process. For a start, have you looked at the Federal Budget's bottom line. Since "Rudd the Dudd" took charge aided and abetted by Gillard et al the interest on Government borrowings is now the equivelant of the entire Department of Defence's annual budget let alone paying off any of the principle.
The illegal entries have cost us billions and continue to do so. Mean while our elderly and aging population is being short changed, our indigenous people are still living in third world conditions and of course our health and welfare systems are breaking down under the strain. Don't struggle with the Border Protection and Homeland Security issues, boat people turn up without proper identification etc and you don't have to be Einstein to work out that it is an easy way for anyone who has something to hide fool the lax security checks.
It's happened, will continue to happen, and just look at crime lists etc to demonstrate the antiu social impact. But that's okay for the do-gooders and boat people industry, they just turn a blind eye to it all. Why have we got Middle Eastern Crime Squads, Asian Crime squads etc now let alone the terrorist issues already simering through the Islamic side of town. As a member of the Military, we were briefed about the TAMAL Terrorist organisation in the seventies and the havoc they were causing, yet today they are turning up on our shores and bluffing their way in.
I'm sick of it all, and especially those calling for free entry for all and sundry. I thought the new Iranian president is a moderate who is eager to re connect with the US? Maybe the people coming here via criminal's boats, that we have been told only takes weeks now via the very well entrenched illegal immigration people smugglers, should wait and see how their country proceeds before trying to force their way into Australia and onto it's welfare system. Sorry, I have no sympathy for anyone who comes via the services of criminals.
If life is so bad, make your claim via the UN, the convention in place for refugees and wait your turn and stop forcing yourself into the line before those who don't have the cash to pay people smugglers.. I'm continually amazed and saddened at the xenophobes and racists hiding behind fake concern about asylum seekers dying at sea in leaky boats or claiming the moral objective is to stop the people smugglers, being the vile and heinous criminals that they are There is very little difference between people smugglers and heroin dealers. Brave, Kind, and Proud Australians, all of us!
I agree with the spirit of your comment, Father Oblivion. I think you describe the situation very accurately. People transport must be one of the oldest professions in the world. A blip in history makes them illegal in this case. But I wouldn't call people names xenophobes or racists.
It is totally ineffective as people are not going to change when being labelled like that. As a country, we are what we are and have to deal with it. At least we should be grateful to the people who express their beliefs with total frankness. And they are not punished for that unlike in Iran. The government can easily take measures to ensure a safe passage of a pre-determined number of asylum seekers, thus alleviating the concern for lives lost at sea.
If, after achieving that, discontent still exists, it will mean the motives were darker as I personally think they are. Father Oblivion-- Screeching the normal nasty names shows exactly what you are, just a screaming left leaning supporter of the scam that is being forced upon this country by no one else but Rudd, the very worst excuse for a PM that has ever been foisted onto this country.
It appears that you have your eyes tightly closed to the damage being done to this country and what gives you the right to think you can denigrate anyone with different vies than yours? Calling others names simply displays your level of intelligence, or lack of. Far more than any area of comparable size off mainland Australia. I reckon the vast, overwhelming majority of economic migrants come here from New Zealand, and probably Britain after that. If economic migrants are such a concern for us, then shouldn't we look at NZ first. Unless the concern is actually not economic migrants but people who claim persecution but really are just after a better life.
I can live with people lying to me in order to escape a shitty deal. Of course the vast number of economic migrants come from places like NZ and the UK. They pay their way, the qualify under different programs, we know who they are, they bring skills. That's what economic migration is supposed to offer. Someone who's an economic migrant posing as a refugee is misusing the system.
You might be comfortable with people lying to you "in order to escape a shitty deal", sean, but the rest of us aren't. We aren't for two reasons. If someone isn't a real refugee, but lies in order to be classified as one then they are ripping off the Australian people. OK, Reaver you make a valid argument, I know that.
But I'm not proposing the ideal system, I'm saying our current system does not ensure fair treatment for all and our response seems to be to treat everyone as though they are trying to scam us.
Some are, to be sure but the way we are treating these people is not resulting in a totally fair and equal intake of refugees. Anyway, I reckon this debate has gone as far as it can - I'll finish by saying that when we develop a process than can come close to a guarantee of equal and fair intake of refugees, I'll accept coming down harder on those who are not following the system. But right now we are coming down hard on those people without providing the totally fair and equal system. How is the approved system not fair and equal, sean? It takes people from all over the world regardless of race, religion or nationality.
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The only criterion is that the people accepted for resettlement in Australia are those most at risk. If you're one of the ones most at risk then you're one of the ones resettled here. You couldn't get a fairer system than that. It seems that your idea of fair and equal is to give preference to those who can pay at the expense of those who can't. Dove - the difference is, they are living with their co-nationals, and often with family members, and if they're not who they say they are, the authorities usually find out fairly quickly.
That is true, Dove, but we get to pick who we take from the camps. If they look dodgy we don't have to take them. They don't self select as the IMAs do. My very premature son was tended in part by an Iranian immigrant doctor in Tasmania. Dianne Thorley Lord Mayor of Toowoomba decided this family could not renovate their family home because 'It's a pig's ear that can't be turned into a silk purse'. Not good treatment by paid politician.
In short, such appalling treatment it led to very negative outcomes for this family unit. You cannot get it addressed. In a single word - redneck. Amazed, you're not giving very much information, other than to say the family's house could not be renovated because it was "a pig's ear that can't be turned into a silk purse. Councils nationwide make absurd decisions, often based on the say-so of one public servant's opinion or personal bias. I know of one family who spent two years having to amend their project home plans so as to not have a straight outside wall of more than 16 metres - a straight wall, I might add, that was directly parallel to the boundary fence.
Who would have a clue what was going on inside the mind of that Council worker's head, but they got to make the final decision, at great cost in both time and money to the family. So purely based on what you say on your post, what leads you to believe that the family you refer to was denied approval to renovate based purely on race?
Or in fact on anything other than the whim of the decision maker? Australia is a land that suffers from water scarcity. Australia is an independent nation where the majority are not in favour of population growth. Australian acceptance of people into Australia should not be determined by Iran.
If Iranians want to improve the situation, they should get increasingly vocal and actively participate in their elections. Irans new leader was the most moderate of all options and is softening the Iranian stance in an effort to get rid of sanctions. Things look like they could improve in Iran. If people are funding criminal syndicates with this amount, things are not going to improve. Iran is a different country where oppression occurs by Western standards to Women.
The Iranians that arrive by boat are not the most in need in the world and their efforts to get here only fuel they types of activities they claim to be fleeing from. Australia should pressure the world community to only ease sanctions on Iran if it accepts back its migrants.
If an Iranian migrant wants safety, there are UN refugee camps near by. If an Iranian migrant wants to push ahead of the long line of people, they will arrive in Australia on a boat after associating with international criminals. Any ideas about what to do about the overstayers who arrive by plane given all this scarcity in Australia or is it only Boat people that contribute to this? Failing that, I'd recommend using a bit of the apparently brilliant Iranian aptitude for maths and working out that While we're waiting, perhaps the authors may also wish to advance their own particular theories as to why access to limited Australian assistance should be predicated on an ability to pay.
That seems a surprisingly right-wing, neo-con approach to human life from my perspective. Hmmmm, clearly I should have run the numbers past my friendly local Iranian first - " I guess that's me off to Manus as well then. I suppose the positive is my faux pas opens up one extra place in Australia, and the overall standard in maths goes up. Win-win I think it's called. Iran has 77 million people of whom a tiny percent risk their lives making the sea journey, presenting themselves as asylum seekers. High to Low New Arrivals.
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