27 October, 2010

White Ribbon Against Pornography Week

Dear Friends:

This is a friendly reminder that this coming weekend begins White Ribbon Against Pornography Week.
I hope many of you will take advantage of this opportunity to share about pornography's harms with your family, friends, and congregations. For inspiration, here is what Captain Mark Czanderna of Gaffney, SC, plans to share about with his corps:
"This Sunday, I plan to talk about how Christians are not only to abstain from works of darkness, we are to EXPOSE them (Ephesians 5:11). Psalm 97:10 says that those who love the Lord are to hate evil. My primary objective is to thwart people from going down the porn road and to rescue those who are on that road (a road to destruction). My secondary goal is to expose how monstrous and enslaving the porn and trafficking business is... just as William, Catherine and Bramwell did so many years ago. While many media outlets normalize the pornification of people, our media outlets seek to protect them and uphold their dignity. We need to keep hitting this giant head on and trust like David did that one small person with God can take off a giant's head."
Additionally, Captain Mark has developed a terrific sermon outline that may be of help to those of you who want to attack this issue but feel ill equipped to do so. You can find his sermon notes (developed with resources from http://www.porn-free.org/) and the 2010 WRAP flyer attached below. For additional resources please visit: http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/anti-pornography. 2010

WRAP Flyer

Sermon Notes



22 October, 2010

The State of World Population 2010

"Ten years ago, the United Nations Security Council passed a landmark resolution calling on governments to protect women from rape during war time and to tap the power of women to keep the peace and rebuild societies once the fighting has stopped.

Has the resolution made any difference in the struggle against gender-based violence? Are women in war-torn countries faring any better today than they were a decade ago? Do women finally have a place at the table in peace negotiations and in reconstruction?

The State of World Population 2010 will show what has been accomplished in places affected by ongoing conflicts or by military occupation. It will also show the special challenges of countries that have endured both political instability and natural disaster."

12 October, 2010

Walk Against Family Violence 2010

Join us at the
Walk Against Family Violence 2010

Did you know 1 in 3 women will experience some form of violence
throughout their life?

Show you care by taking part in this year’s Walk Against Family
Violence and raise awareness for this cause.

Join Father Bob Maguire and the Melbourne Storm as we show our
support to end violence against women and children.

This event is being organised by many agencies working in the area
of preventing and eliminating family violence.

Last year, we had over 250 participants, and we would like to make
this year even bigger.

Thursday 25th November 2010
From 10:30am
Outside AAMI Park, Olympic Blvd, Melbourne
Melways Ref: 2G D9

We will then be walking to join the Not1More event at
Federation Square.
Contact Gae Old, Family Violence Outreach Worker on
9536 7735 for more information and find out how else you can be

Look forward to seeing you there,
Walk Against Family Violence Organising Committee 2010

Our Generation

Here is the beginning of my post.And here is the rest of it.

Ukrainian woman 'tries to sell toddler'

When I check my emails, I open the yahoo homepage, and a news feed of five headlines will appear. I am often amused by the selection of stories, and wonder what the criteria might be. It wouldn't be unusual to have a the latest political news next to a story on parrot that sings a repertoire of Elvis songs.

And today, they had the story of the Ukrainian woman who tried to traffick her toddler. It struck me, as it is the first time in my memory I have seen the issue of trafficking on Yahoo. With an estimated 27 million people trafficked every year for all sorts of horrible reason, you would think it would be reported more often. And while I am happy to see this horrific injustice hitting the spotlight, I wonder if this story made the same criteria as quirky parrot as opposed to world news. Regardless, the story is worth a read, and if you go to the link, keep your eye on the comments below. It is always interesting to see what the average Joe sits.
Ukrainian woman 'tries to sell toddler'

Ukrainian police have detained a woman suspected of trying to sell her 2-year-old daughter to human organ traffickers.

The woman, 28, is described as an unemployed resident of the village of Uspenovka, in the eastern Zaporizhia region.

Police have evidence she intended to sell the toddler to human organ traffickers for $12,600, the Interfax news agency reports.

Law enforcement officials reportedly detained her on Saturday evening, shortly after she accepted payment for the child and its organs.

The baby girl was now "safe, healthy, and in the custody of a regional hospital," a Zaporizhia police statement said on Monday.

The woman will face charges of human organ trafficking with intent to sell abroad.

If convicted, she faces a prison term of between eight and 15 years, police said.

In recent years, Ukraine's government has attempted to reduce trafficking of people and human organs, with a state-run media campaign warning of the illegal trade's dangers.

The campaign has reduced the numbers of human organs exported from the country illegally and Ukrainians sold abroad into slavery, law-enforcement officials say.


11 October, 2010

silent = deadly

When flicking furiously through the Herald Sun while you wait for your morning coffee, looking for the Sudoku which conveniently changes location in every single issue, you may have noticed that somewhere around the weather section there’s a little box in the corner that details the Daily Road Toll Update. It offers readers the current total of deaths caused by car accidents in Victoria and a statistical comparison of the same day in the previous calendar year? In case anyone was interested the tally stands at 234 deaths (7th October) and this is a 12% increase on last years total for the same date. This modest little box stands not only as a memorial to those lives that have been lost on our roads but also as a reminder of the destructive capability for which we are responsible every time we get behind the wheel.

Needless to say, this is pretty serious stuff. But what should be more alarming than these printed digits is the fact that significantly more people die every year from suicide than from motor vehicle related fatalities. This is meant as no disrespect to our rectangular shaped friend from the Herald Sun but as one of Australia’s leading cause of death, it would seem that the issue of suicide perhaps deserves a little more attention.

So we’re going to give it some.

According to the World Health Organisation’s Annual Report, in 2008 there were 2,191 registered deaths from suicide and nearly 80% of these reported cases were males. While this makes up only 1.5% of all registered deaths in Australia, it is alarming to recognize that this figure accounts for a significantly greater proportion of deaths within selected age groups. For example, of all the registered deaths of males aged 15-24 years, 24% were due to suicide.

Put simply… one quarter of all young males who die – die because they kill themselves.

Another disturbing statistical standout is that the age-specific suicide rate for indigenous males aged 25-34 lies at ten times the national standard rate. It is this elevated rate of suicide among Aboriginal communities that accounts for the Northern Territory consistently reporting the highest number of suicides in the country.

Now while the national standard suicide rate has declined slightly over the past decade it should come as little comfort when we recognise that an increase in larger and less personal communities, mental health problems including depression, substance abuse issues, conflicts over sexual identity, violence and abuse, and even bullying in schools is causing individuals such emotional grief that they feel the only way out is to simply stop living.

This is the horrific reality that we as justice seekers must confront. I mean there are a plethora of social justice issues to be faced and suicide may even seem like the least of them, but what lies as the common foundation to all of these indignities is a flawed understanding of the inherent worth of humankind. So as the euthanasia debate rages on and the casualties of global conflict continue to rise, as human beings are considered nothing more than commodities to be consistently sold into slavery, and while individuals continue to remove themselves from reality believing it’s there only choice… we must respond with Hope.

A counter cultural response to the indignities of humanity must be a hope filled espousal of the sanctity of life.

03 October, 2010

The Girl Effect

"Over and over, studies have found that the level of poverty reduction and economic growth in a country is directly correlated to the levels of education attained by women - more so than any other factor. " Doug Saunders - Globe & Mail

Did you take that fact in? It means that we have a place to start when considering the eradication of poverty. We know that whatever plan we come up with must redress the issue of inequality, persecution and violence against women, but we also know that it all starts with education, both access to and involvement in. What is going on now that prevents women from accessing education? War and conflict, inequality, a need for women to work or rear children…a whole range of reasons I am sure. We must realise the complexity of factors contributing to their inability to access education, because any success in providing education will first have to address these additional issues.

There is no silver bullet that will ‘fix’ the world. We are going to have to peel back the layers of injustice. And with that, we are surely going to realise that we too contribute to the injustice experienced by others. We are going to each have to examine our lifestyle and decide what we are doing to perpetuate injustice experienced by so many of our brothers and sisters around the world. From the clothes we wear (find out about ethical shopping), to the food we eat (think about environmental issues as well as ethical trading), to the places we travel and the ways we spend our money there, to the political regimes we support both directly and indirectly, to the charities we fund (we need to support the current need while also investing in new and transforming models like micro credit schemes). Take some time to think over how your life could impact negatively on another’s. And then, make a change.

This is a cool little youtube to watch. Yes, it is more complicated than illustrated, but it helps simplfy things a little.


02 October, 2010


I have just spent the last week in New Zealand. It confirmed for me again just how much work we have to do to embrace our Indigenous brothers and sisters in Australia.

In New Zealand, Maori culture and language is everywhere, and speaking and singing in Maori is quite common for all who live in New Zealand. Even the kids programs on TV include Maori language as a I watched my son learn that a cow or Kau says moooo. The 'welcome to country' for the Just Action conference almost brought me to tears as I watched a genuine exchange of respect and understanding. To then witness the American Teritorial Commander speak for the first five minutes in Maori said to me that learning the language and culture of the Indigenous people is not a token, but a given. It blew me away.

I have two questions. One, why is New Zealand so much more advanced than Australian in their acceptance of Indigenous people and culture? And two, what does Australia need to do to follow in their example?

I would love for some discussion to start, otherwise, I guess I will research and get back to you!!

Oh, and look out for the upcoming Surrender Truth Lab to be held on Saturday 6th November at Box Hill Baptist Church/Art Gallery (Melbourne).

The Jisas wantaim Art Exhibition will be opening will be from 4-6pm and the SURRENDER Truth Lab: ’First things first – how your faith is linked to Indigenous Australians and what to do about it’ at 7:30pm. Speakers include AUNTY JEAN PHILLIPS, GRAHAM PAULSON, BILLY WILLIAMS, LLYOD HOLLINGSWORTH, GOMA CONLON

Come and chat with passionate Indigenous Christians in a safe space. Explore the history of Christian interaction with the First Australians, begin a journey through listening and find out why the country needs to look to Aboriginal leadership for true reconciliation.