31 May, 2011

Just Salvos Live -- Ep 17 2011 -- Sex Abuse Online

This week Gen speaks with Dr Mark Zirnsak for the Uniting Church of Australia Justice and International Mission Unit about the sexual abuse of children online at the proposed national internet filter.To find the online petition discussed in today's episode, please click here

Close The Camps Now

They’re a part of the human race
Searching for a safe place
To rise from their despair
To be part of the world that seems fair
Without wars
Or destruction
That stops all means of production
So they begin to flee
Unwilling to live amongst the debris
Where they lost friends
Without any warnings
Where they lost family
When they arrive
Freedom is limited in order to survive
Due to a lack of understanding
With the government demanding
Brief medical attention
A lack of food and mental exhaustion
A place we like to call mandatory detention
We owe them to act as human beings
And not bury what we have been seeing
And self harming
How much more before it becomes alarming?
That the process isn’t effective
And we must work as a collective
To disregard the previous policies of migration
And honour the U.N convention
By upholding human rights
It’s no longer about the blacks or whites
We must close the detention centres
And open our hearts to the ones most affected
Wether we title them
Asylum seekers
They deserve no less then you and me.

Written By: Brittany Ferguson

Freedom From Fear - Refugee Week

The Refugee Council of Australia, Friends of STARTTS and the Australian Refugee Film Festival warmly invite you to the official launch of Refugee Week 2011.Join us in celebrating the rich contributions refugees make to Australian society.

Saturday 18 June 2011, 2:00pm to 5:00pm

Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt Street

Sydney NSW 2000

Click here for more information

23 May, 2011

Getting Real

How can we help our girls and boys resist the negative messages of popular culture?

Monday 30 May 2011

7.30pm - 9.00pm

One Community Church

Click Here for flyer

20 May, 2011

Save Us From Ourselves by Rowan Castle - Songs of Justice

Written and Performed by Rowan Castle
Produced & Recorded by Benni Knop of Salvo Studios

Justice and singing are no strangers to each other.

Throughout Scripture and the history of the Church, the people of God have used songs to cry out for deliverance from oppression and to praise God for leading them in victory - even the final song recorded in the book of Revelation begins by declaring that God. Is. Just.

In light of our Just Judge, there is no such thing as too much awareness of injustice. These days the issues seem to confront us at every turn. As The Salvation Army, fighting against such injustices and advocating for the oppressed are a part of our very DNA. So is producing culturally relevant music that proclaims the good news of Jesus Christ.

The Salvation Army has been called to united, focused intercession. The launching of A Global Call to Prayer: A day and night cry for justice to commence on 1 January 2011 is related to the need for justice for the oppressed, according to Luke 18. So far, more than 40 nations around the world are participating in the Global Call.

As the call to prayer itself is a global initiative, we are praying that the movement of the Spirit around the world will stir hearts and that powerful ministry and worship songs would be born as a result. SayTunes will enable us to share those songs with the world. We will be highlighting certain songs and compiling submissions at the year's end. There are no limits on what can be submitted (in terms of genres, styles, etc.) -- we only ask that they be songs of justice for the oppressed.

Will you join us in echoing the General's Global Call to 24/7 prayer -- A Day and Night Cry for Justice? Will you help immerse yourself in Scripture and prayer, put your ear to the heart of the Holy One and declare justice for the oppressed across the world through songs bathed in intercession?

Will you answer the call for songs of justice?


18 May, 2011

Better Than Alchemy

A Salvo and good friend of mine, Sharon Hann, has entered Project Wildfire, which is a program to find and support promising young social entrepreneurs in the city of Toronto (Canada), helping them to develop and launch social business ideas that make profit while making social change.

Sharon's business is called "Better than Alchemy" which combines her passion for art and design with her heart for social justice and community transformation. "Better than Alchemy" is a recycled design business dedicated to building community and providing women with opportunities to engage in redemptive art.

Find out more and vote for "Better than Alchemy" at Project Wildfire by clicking here.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers - Hands Tied

In the first of the 'Justice Songs' collection, Melbourne singer Mez Colman muses on the plight of Asylum Seekers and the communities apathy towards them.

17 May, 2011

ACRATH Public Meeting

ACRATH is hosting a Public Meeting on May 30th 4pm -6pm

in East Melbourne to examine the issues of Human trafficking.
Click here for more information

Just Salvos Live -- Ep 15 -- Youth Issues

This week, Gen sits down with Captain Rowan Castle to discuss youth issues and Rowan's new song, 'Save Us From Ourselves'.

Women Stats

Some of these stats are old. Some have gotten better, and some worse.
Let's pray that in a decade from now this document is radically outdated.

Status of Women

- Women have not achieved equality with men in any country.

- Of the world's 1.3 billion poor people, it is estimated that nearly 70 per cent are women.

- Between 75 and 80 per cent of the world's 27 million refugees are women and children.

Women and Education

- Of the world's nearly one billion illiterate adults, two-thirds are women.

- Two-thirds of the 130 million children worldwide who are not in school are girls.

Women and Labour

- The majority of women earn on average about three-fourths of the pay of males for the same work.

- In most countries, women work approximately twice the unpaid time men do.

- Rural women produce more than 55 per cent of all food grown in developing countries.

Women and Health

- Women are becoming increasingly affected by HIV. Today about 42 per cent of estimated cases are women.

- An estimated 20 million unsafe abortions are performed worldwide every year, resulting in the deaths of 70,000 women.

- Approximately 585,000 women die every year, over 1,600 every day, from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 13 women will die from pregnancy or childbirth related causes, compared to 1 in 3,300 women in the United States.

Women and Violence

- Each year an estimated two million girls suffer the practice of female genital mutilation.

- Worldwide, 20 to 50 per cent of women experience some degree of domestic violence during marriage.

- The primary victims of today's wars are civilian women and their children, not soldiers.

- The use of rape as a weapon of war has become more evident. In Rwanda from April 1994 to April 1995, estimates of the number of women and girls raped is at over 250,000.

12 May, 2011


This week has seen a cyber-explosion of angst against injustice rarely seen in this country.  No, it had nothing to do with the newly-released budget or asylum seekers, but rather the absolutely farcical three-game suspension handed down to second-year Melbourne Football Club dynamo Jack Trengove.  For those who tragically aren’t avid AFL fans, this week the intelligentsia behind the league’s match review panel decided to suspend Trengove for what has been universally lauded as “the perfect tackle” on Adelaide’s Patrick Dangerfield (who left the field concussed), incorrectly assessing the incident in the process and sending the game into a tailspin of confusion about what is and isn’t permitted on the field.  Cue the (completely justified) lambasting of the decision and the AFL by players, supporters, and everyone with a desire to see the sport not completely sanitised to the point where future matches will have to be decided by future captains battling it out on an EA Sports AFL game on an Xbox somewhere to prevent injury.  High farce.

This whole debacle has however provided an interesting insight into how injustice is allowed to continue in our society.  While Melbourne supporters (yours truly included) and other AFL fans have lost the plot on internet forums and social media, Melbourne players have expressed their disgust via Twitter, and the Herald Sun newspaper has set up a ‘Free Demon Jack’ Facebook page which has thus far garnered over 3000 ‘likes’ in 24 hours, the anger has largely been restricted to the internet, TV news and talkback radio.  Where have the physical, situation-changing responses been though?  Where is Demon legend Ron Barassi chaining himself to the cars of match review panel members?  Where are the thousands of outraged demonstrators protesting day and night outside AFL House?  Where was the Demon mascot hurling his plastic trident at unsuspecting AFL administrators after Tuesday’s laughable tribunal hearing, at which 64 minutes of evidence was ignored in just four minutes of deliberation?  And where was I on my promised one-man crusade of justice through AFL headquarters wearing a Vin Catoggio wig and brandishing ‘Free Jack’ placards? 

Maybe I haven’t caught up with the power of social media yet.  It’s possible that internet blogs and forums, Facebook, Twitter and any other forms are the future of justice campaigning.  However, when Melbourne’s latest appeal is heard at 5.30 this evening, I doubt those with the power to revoke Trengove’s ridiculous suspension will be taking into account the 3000 likes on the ‘Free Demon Jack’ Facebook page.  Perhaps they wouldn’t listen either to the sounds of 400 rabid lunatics in red and blue out the front of the hearing, but I think such a public demonstration is an important visual display of disgust at a clear injustice.

It is incredibly simple to add your name to a cause on Facebook, as the growing number have done in support of Trengove.  How much this actually achieves though is questionable.  While I’m not advocating a rampage a la Liam Neeson in Taken in this case, though that would have been both spectacular and potentially glorious, there is something to be said for public, memorable protesting at injustice.  This week we’ve seen absolute outrage at comedic incompetence on the AFL’s part, but the response, while passionate, has been a few clicks of a mouse and some angry words typed on internet forums, a couple of semi-coherent rants on SEN radio and some columns in Melbourne newspapers warning of the potential damning effect the decision could have on the game. 

And you know what?  The likely happenings at tonight’s appeal will consist of Trengove’s legal representatives pointing out the utter stupidity and incorrectness of the classification of Trengove’s incident replete with evidence and testimony, which will be followed by a couple of minutes of whispering (most likely about what they’d like for dinner) by the match review panel before upholding the three week ban.  Nothing will have changed, and Melbourne, not far removed from a huge campaign to eliminate $5M in debt, will have to decide whether or not the principle of the matter is worth the financial burden and political danger of taking on the increasingly Gestapo-like AFL by taking the case to court. 

So what is the solution then?  In this case, justice firstly requires that the Melbourne Football Club take this matter as far as they can, and if that means court, then so be it.  Seeking a just outcome can include using social media, but it doesn’t end there.  Social media allows us to promote injustices that are out there, to gather public support and to provide information and ways of acting to bring about justice.  Sending the AFL information that most people aren’t happy with this decision however isn’t going to change the collective mind of an organisation that hates to be corrected at the best of times.  Not when the league’s new five-year TV rights deal will net them $1.253 billion, a clear indicator that the footy public is pretty happy with the current state of the game.  The situation calls for politically dangerous moves from not only the Melbourne Football Club, but other media outlets concerned with the plight of the game, whether that comes from Melbourne’s AFL-committed newspapers, radio stations or television networks.  Lastly, the public (and this will never happen) would need to be incredibly organised, united and committed in their response.  If games were largely boycotted by fans this week, that would take the attention of the game’s administrators pretty quickly.  The AFL doesn’t need to admit an error unless the response is so undeniably confronting that action would need to be taken.

The Trengove case highlights this week the way in which a large section of the public can be outraged about an injustice but largely do nothing about it.  And why was nothing substantial done?  Because it’s difficult, confronting, and because we lead busy lives.  As much as I’d have loved to go on a Clark Griswold-style hijacking of the tribunal hearing on Tuesday night, I was working at the time and missed out.  Acting against injustice requires a personal cost and commitment, whether financial or of time.  And you know what else?  I don’t know how many supporters at home who were outraged by the suspension thought they could actually make a difference to the outcome themselves.  Probably none I’m guessing, with the possible exception of that Richmond supporter from the 1990s who emptied his manure truck at the front door of the club’s administration after a particularly poor performance from the Tigers.  We’re taught, whether subconsciously or not, that we really can’t make a difference in our world.  That corporations are too big too be touched, that starving children halfway across the world in Africa are too far away to be helped, that child prostitution is too underground a problem to be solved, that homelessness is not our concern but somebody else’s and probably won't ever be eradicated, and so on.  It’s quite possible that if I parasailed onto the turf at Etihad Stadium at this Saturday’s Melbourne game with a 20-foot “Free Trengove” banner, it would achieve nothing more than me being slapped with the obligatory $7000 fine for entering the field during play, and leaving the game with a criminal record.  But what are we prepared to sacrifice, risk or act on to ensure that just outcomes are found for those most oppressed.  Does the victim of sex trafficking receive any help from us beyond a feeling of outrage that such a situation can occur?  If you’re unhappy with how asylum seekers are treated in this country, have you done anything to help their plight beyond writing messages of support on Facebook?

So, "How do I help?", you are asking from your computer at home.  I don’t have the answers for each individual situation (that’s a whole other blog), but I will encourage you to be passionate about issues of injustice, and to let this passion inform your actions.  Be organised, committed, united with others in the cause, and vigilant.  And see the oppressed as your brother or sister – love your neighbour as yourself.  In the words of legendary Hawthorn coach John Kennedy, “Do something!

I’d love to stay and chat, but I have a large ‘Free Trengove’ banner to get to work on.


11 May, 2011

Official Love146 London Flash Mob - Can you see me?

On 11 April 2011, over 100 stars from London's top West End musicals stunned Trafalgar Square, in the centre of London with a spectacular Flash Mob in support of Love146, a non-profit organisation working to abolish child sex slavery and exploitation. Captured on film in just one take, the singers and dancers wowed the unsuspecting crowd with a stirring rendition of Annie Lennox's Little Bird. The Love146 Flash Mob included stars from Wicked, Mamma Mia!, We Will Rock You, Love Never Dies and Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

10 May, 2011

SHOW OFF YOUR SWAP Fair Trade Fortnight 2011 ANZ

May 7-22 is Fairtrade Fortnight.
Show off your swap.

2011 Media Release: Commission raises concerns about sending asylum seekers to Malaysia

The position of the Human Rights Commission on the recently announced policy on Asylum Seekers to Malaysia.

Click Here to read

Just Salvos Live -- 2011 Ep 14 -- Welcome to Australia


This week on Just Salvos Live, Gen and Kris speak to Brad Chilcott from 'Welcome to Australia' about the issue of asylum seekers and how our society can welcome these people to their new home.

04 May, 2011

People Workers

Children are the future.

Any arguments?

I think it’s pretty much a biological fact that the next generation of youth and adults will come from the children of today. Pretty straight forward I’d say.

If the above is true, what I find puzzling is the seeming lack of funding, resources, people and time given to children, in comparison to teenagers, adults, and the elderly.

What is so extraordinarily appealing in waiting until the little ones have hit puberty before we decide to start investing in their futures and well being?

I’m making reference more specifically to the fact that you will find (at least in my experience) an abundance of people willing to spend time with youth and teenagers...willing to run drop in centres, social clubs, Friday night youth groups, church hang outs, etc. But when it comes to the children...only a few put up their hand. And of those few, mainly females remain.

I’m an employed children’s worker. I’m in my late 20’s and have been working with kids, in a very wide variety of settings, both voluntary and for employment for the past 10 years. I consider it a privilege to be welcomed into the world of a child and to have the opportunity of journeying alongside with them. I am never bored but am instead forever being entertained, challenged, taught, and stretched. What’s not to like?

I am continually running into the problem of not having enough people willing to give of time and invest in kids who desperately need someone to care. Oh, there are many good intentions, with most people stating how much they love children. There just aren’t people who are willing to put their words into actions and actually give some time to kids (in their own communities) who could use an hour of positive attention more than anything in the world. However...I’ve been to youth events where the adults outnumber the teens, and the amount of youth workers to children’s workers funded and employed are 5:1. Never mind the fact that more time is put into youth “programs” and big flashy events, then it is into spending one on one time mentoring and discipling youth who could really use an adult to walk along side them and take an interest in their world.

If children are our future, and childhood certainly happens BEFORE adolescence, isn’t that where we should start? If the decisions teens are going to make under peer pressure, biological change, and worldly pressure are going to be at all influenced by what they have known and experienced up until this point in their lives, doesn’t that make the time of their childhood absolutely critical to helping prepare them for the hardest stretch of change, decision making, and new things they are ever likely going to face?

Childhood is fleeting, yet it leaves a lasting thumbprint on the rest of an individual’s life. Doesn’t it make it the most valuable and vital time to invest a few minutes into the next generation of youth and adults? Maybe we wouldn’t ‘need’ quite so many youth workers if the investment time was put in just a few years earlier?

I’ve heard the line, “but I’m just not good with kids” or “kids don’t like me.” Granted, there are a few people who I might want to say that to. Regardless, I was challenged recently by someone who said, “There is no such thing as children’s workers, and there’s no such thing as youth workers. There are only people workers.”
In the past, I may have argued that, stating that I believe my gifting and talents make me a children’s worker and that is the only thing I will dedicate my life to. However, experiences in the past couple of years have led me to think on the above statement that perhaps, the problem we have (specifically in the church) is not being able to train up ‘people workers’.

We tell people that they can only do kid’s ministry OR youth ministry OR seniors ministry, never crossing over between areas. But what if we taught that things weren’t meant to be this off balance? What if we were all “people” workers? Then certainly the important time and influence needed in the life of a child wouldn’t be wanting, and we wouldn’t be bombarded by people who want to join the ‘hip’ ministry of youth work leaving those age groups who maybe aren’t quite as attractive, by the way side. The needs of people would be met, not just a select few.

My heart is well and truly for children’s ministry, and I am continually amazed at the lack of people wanting to pick up on the cause that will affect the future of everyone, never mind the fact that it takes a giving of so little to make a difference in the lives of some so desperate.

However, I would like to conclude with calling you to be people workers. Be advocates for people who are desperate and without a voice, not being limited by the need to be titled and put into a box, only giving time to the groups that are easy or are the most popular to work with.

And if needs be, maybe for the first time, consider investing into kids.


15 Fantastic Films for Teaching Social Justice

Here is a link from our friends at onlineuniversities.com with some helpful film resources that deal with difficult social and ethical issues.

"The results serve to educate viewers and hopefully pique effective action once the screen’s glow diminishes."

Have a look here to see the list that has been compiled.

03 May, 2011

Fair Trade Article in Onfire Magazine

With Fairtrade fortnight apon us, Caleb Bridge talks about the fair trade movement and how we can and should be apart of it.

The article picks up on the Just Salvos Live interview done with Carly Swan.

A prayer for refugees

Dear Lord, thousands of people are driven from their countries; thousands are dying at sea in boats, unable to find a welcome port; thousands are kept in camps without much hope for a normal family life in the future. Day after day, the number of refugees increases and day after day it becomes clear that we are living in a very inhospitable world.
O Lord, show me ways to respond to this human tragedy. Show me how I can live in fidelity to your word in the days of anguish and despair for countless people. Give me an enlightened mind, a fervent heart, and a strong will so that I can speak and act according to your great commandment of love.
I know what is happening, I realise the emergency of the situation and i am convinced of the need to make a generous response. But I do not yet know clearly what you ask me to do here and now. I pray that you will help me to find my way of being your disciple. Amen
Henri Nouwen

Just Salvos Live 2011 Ep 13 - Sexualization of Children

This week, Gen and Kris discuss the sexualization of children with Collette Smart from Collective Shout.