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December 08, 2007

Parliament of World Religions 2009

I was privileged to attend the formal launch of the Parliament of World Religions 2009 at Federation Square on Thursday morning. This event, held every five years since 1993, and first held in 1893, calls together people of all faiths for dialogue and conversation, in the face of the realities facing our world. We evangelical christians have been skeptical of such calls, wondering what we might find in common with people of other faiths, particularly in the face of the unique call of the gospel and the unique person of Jesus Christ. The preference has been to avoid contact (for the large part), for reasons which generally run counter to the missional call of the gospel.

As we seek to minister in our local settings, we seek understanding of the peoples we are called to reach. By entering dialogue, such understanding is fostered, not only for the different values and ideals held, but also in clarifying what our own faith response might be, and how the gospel intersects with such realities. The Parliament of World Religions seeks to encourage and foster such conversations across people of all faiths. And, in a world such as ours, we ought to be encouraged in dialogue with people who recognise and affirm spiritual values in an openly and unashamedly materialistic setting. The event promises a strong emphasis on the situation facing Indigenous Australians, and our responsibilities in the face of them all.

The gathering will not hold worship events, nor will their be any resolutions. Dirk Vicca, chair of the Parliament of World Religions made a helpful call: "It is not perfection that is important, but direction." In a world where religious beliefs serve as a backdrop to many of the major international challenges, to gather for conversation and understanding is an important call. It matches strongly with Jesus' call to be light and salt in the world.

Posted by gary at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2007

How Portable Computers have changed

John Cleese debates the virtues of Compaq's new portable computer by comparing it with a fish:

Posted by gary at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2007

The Origin of Spam

The Monty Python sketch that gave birth to an annoying computer industry:

Posted by gary at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2005

Christians and Muslims

An ancient story...

In 1219, Francis of Assisi traveled to the Holy Land to bring the gospel to the Muslims. Given a pass through enemy lines, he met with Sultan Melek Al-Kamil. A sickle-shaped sword presented to Francis by the sultan as a memento of their encounter can still be seen in Assisi...

Francis of Assisi was sorely troubled. A great army of his Christian countrymen had come to Egypt to fight the Mohammedans. They were on a crusade to win the Holy Land from the Turks. They were killing many people. Francis saw people starving; he saw little children dying. It was not right. What could he do to stop the terrible massacre?

read the rest here.

Posted by gary at 04:07 PM | Comments (1)

March 28, 2005

100 up

Yesterday's entry was the hundredth posted. I wonder if it is significant that it occurred on Easter Sunday?

Posted by gary at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2005

Prayer Labyrinth

If you've never tried a prayer labyrinth, set aside about half an hour for this one...

Posted by gary at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2005

Turning the Light On

With children in the family, and coaching Under 12s in basketball, I have discovered that it is not enough to simply turn the light on. Many family conflicts emanate from a discussion where two people standing in the same room are clearly not seeing things the same way. Similarly with my basketballing boys. We can run through a drill (on more than one occasion) at practice, yet when they come to the game simply act as though we had never practised it. Occasionally, though, the light goes on...

I saw it quite clearly in a game situation... the young lad under pressure from the defense stopped, thought, and then perfectly executed the pass we had practised in a drill. What made the difference? Not the light from the outside, but from the inside.

It is one thing to bring people into the light, it is quite another for the light to be switched on in them. If I am honest, I would have to say the same about myself.

Juan Carlos Ortiz, in a book called Disciple commented that Western Christians are educated to an average of three years beyond their level of obedience. Impossible to prove, but the imagery is poignant. We have the light on the outside, but it doesn't impact from within.

As a parent, a teacher, a pastor, a human being, the challenge I often face is to lead people into the light. But I can't turn the light on from the inside. That is the work of the Spirit.

And of course the danger facing the church is that we spend so much time trying to turn that light on for others that we neglect it for ourselves.

Posted by gary at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2005

Football's back!

Football returned to the forefront of Melbourne this weekend. Unfortunately my team continued where it left off last year. There were some signs of encouragement as Richmond actually got into a winning position before blowing it. After 14 losses to end last season, I am not sure whether I can be a little more optimistic for the coming season.

But something tells me I can book my September holidays without too much worry again this year.

Posted by gary at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2005

New Year Cleaning...

It's a public holiday in Melbourne, and I am immersed in paper. Before one can start the new year, the flotsam and jetsam of the old year need to be sorted, filed and/or cleared out. It gives me some sense of control to leave my office for at least one day with the appearance of being in control.
And then there is the challenge of finding the right term to file things under so that I can find them when I need them....

Posted by gary at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2005

New Year Thoughts

Happy New Year!

from George Browning, Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn

"...If we believe that God has come then of necessity we will believe that God will come (forever comes!). This belief should radically change the way we live our lives. We will not say 'it does not matter', for, because Christ comes, everything matters.

* Because Christ comes, we will not leave until tomorrow that which we should do today.

* Because Christ comes, we will be careful over what we do, preparation is worthwhile.

* Because Christ comes, we will leave space for surprises, we will allow our lives to be filled with awe and wonder.

* Because Christ comes, we will believe in a future for the young, that they might believe in one too.

* Because Christ comes, we will look at each other with anticipation and respect, for fear that he may come disguised as our own familiar friend.

"Living with hope is arguably the greatest gift that the Christian community can bring to the world. We all know that hopelessness is the great 'dis-ease' of our time. As we prepare ..., may it be our personal resolve to live a life of hope..."

Posted by gary at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

December 31, 2004

On the hinge of time...

With hours remaining in the year, time comes to reflect upon the journey of the past 12 months, and to contemplate the year ahead. Not one to make "resolutions", I appreciate the importance of dwelling for reflection on the last year.

Our journey as a church community has taken some important steps forward...

Always tentative, though knowing we could not continue with the way things were, it took significant courage to adopt a new name, a new constitution, and to continue in perseverance with the things we had begun. The promise which came to us as a community early in 2003 as we studied Ezekiel: "things shall not remain as they are" (21:26) has continued to encourage us as we have stretched ourselves in new directions. We end the year with a renewed sense of encouragement, with new foundations on which to build as we enter 2005.

We are thankful for the growing bonds with our local community, and for the relationship we share with Bharoshaphur in Bangladesh. It is a privilege to support chaplaincy ministry into the Royal Childrens Hospital, and in other areas. It is our ongoing prayer that God will use us in our groping and tentative endeavours to serve him as 21st century people.

May the New Year be filled with the very best that God can give.

Posted by gary at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2004

First Words

One's first words in a blog - what are we looking for?
Sitting at the keyboard to make a first entry to one's blog is a unique experience, evoking the question, "How does one begin?" I suspect that it is like the first words of a child: first framed while lying alone in the crib, playing with sounds. Just seeing what works. Hopefully in time the art of expressing oneself, and conversation, begins.

Posted by gary at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

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