Fired for quoting the Bible

Australian Rugby professional, Israel Folau has had his multiple million dollar contract ended because of alleged “homophobic” comments made on his private social media account.

Note, those comments were effectively a quote from scripture – and they don’t single out homosexuals, but equally specifies several types of sinners who need to turn to Jesus.

Why the allegations of “homophobia” and not similar complaints about the condemnation of drunkards, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves atheists and idolaters?

 

 

View this post on Instagram

Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19‭-‬21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Acts 17:30 KJV _______________

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

 

Advertisements

The World In Chaos – A Christian Perspective

Please take the time to follow the link at the end of this article excerpt.

I have found too often that people have “liked” some of the re-blogged articles I’ve tried to share, but the WordPress stats don’t record that anyone has clicked on the links so that they could actually READ the recommended article they have “liked”.

_________________________

 

What's Happening...?

No doubt you are as troubled about world events as I am, especially as there seems no relief in sight.

And these days, praying isn’t so straightforward either, since we have less and less clarity on exactly what is the Lord’s intention (except for the obvious biblical prophecies.)

(Personally, I pray Lord, let YOUR will be done, and YOUR will prevail.)

Today on Twitter, Ron Perlman  addressed the current situation from his own patriotic American perspective, and it sparked off some thoughts for me. What he said was this:

View original post 1,970 more words

Christchurch

A few of my thoughts about the terror attack in Christchurch New Zealand.

The question has been asked why NZ?

The fact that the alleged perpetrator was Australian and had far rightwing, racist allegiances is very relevant to that question.
Political rhetoric in Australia in recent years has developed an ugly racist element. The Guardian article linked below gives a lot of detail of that.
Also see the link to an earlier blog post of mine that refers to the foolish Christian involvement in support of that political direction.

Added to that atmosphere is the difference in gun laws between close neighbours Australia and New Zealand. Many years ago the Australian parliament passed laws that prohibited the kind of fire arm used in the Christchurch attack.

Those guns are legally available in New Zealand, making an attack like the one on Friday easier to carry out against Muslims in New Zealand than it would be in Australia, where the type of weapon used would not be easily obtained.
Combine the Australian political climate that has given traction to far right racist dogma together with the availability of semi-automatic weapons in nearby NZ and I can understand “why New Zealand”.

Yesterday I noticed that the Sunday Telegraph front page had a large photo of a small child, one of the victims of the shootings. The major headline read “Peace Be Upon You” – a common Muslim religious phrase that is used to greet or say farewell to others.

The Sunday Telegraph is one of the Murdoch papers referred to in the Guardian article. The Murdoch press has regularly given a platform for strong anti-Muslim rhetoric from commentators in their weekly columns and I believe that has been instrumental in fomenting a political climate that makes far right extremism more likely.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/17/australians-are-asking-how-did-we-get-here-well-islamophobia-is-practically-enshrined-as-public-policy

https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/danny-nalliah-false-prophet-and-political-agitator/

Pell’s Toll

I don’t want to spend a lot of time delving into the intricacies and contradictions of this topic, but I do have a few thoughts I want to express about Cardinal George Pell, his child sex abuse conviction, and the influence he’s had on Australian political direction. Until his downfall, Pell embodied that dangerous mix of religion and “rightwing conservative” politics.

It has now been revealed in Australia, that the nation’s highest ranking Catholic was found guilty in December 2018, of sex offenses against children. The verdict had been suppressed here until two or three days ago, even though it was revealed elsewhere in the world.

I remember local newspapers expressing a grievance for being prevented from reporting about a prominent Australian’s conviction of serious offences. They were prevented by a court order from reporting on the case and its outcome.

Now the news is out.

Cardinal George Pell was found guilty of engaging in forcible sexual acts against two choir boys after mass in the 1990s. Pell is one of the Pope’s most senior men. I recall something about him being the third most important person in the Roman Catholic Church.

Of the two victims, only one took this case to court, the other had died of a drug overdose many years ago. His family now say they finally understand why their son had such a troubled life, spiralling into a fatal relationship with drugs; although throughout his life he had always denied he’d experienced any sexual abuse.

The case against Pell therefore relied on the testimony of one man who gave evidence on behalf of himself and his childhood friend. While not intending to defend Pell or discount the validity of the guilty conviction, I find myself troubled a little by that. How much actual evidence was there apart from that one person’s testimony? I assume there was a lot more than that single thing, but I’ve come across nothing yet in the news reports I’ve seen.

My unease is exacerbated by the many cases I’ve read and heard about recently, where there have been clear miscarriages of justice and the innocent have been given long prison sentences on very flimsy evidence, or have had their lives ruined by false claims against them that they were never allowed to challenge in court. For various reasons the courts, and the media, do get things wrong, particularly when evidence is sparse and circumstantial.

On the other side of the equation, if Pell is innocent, it astounds me that his defence team tried to minimise the sentence he’d be awarded, by trying to underplay the seriousness of the crimes of  which he’d been found guilty. Describing the crime as a “plain vanilla sexual penetration case where the child is not actively participating”, didn’t seem to be the tactic of a genuinely innocent man.
In the many cases of wrongful conviction that I referred to earlier, there was an ongoing insistence of innocence, with no desperate backing down, in the hope of getting leniency in sentencing.

One of the complicating factors of this case is that Pell was a senior member of an organisation with a woeful record of sexual abuse against minors committed by its leaders. Equally woeful is the response taken when the abuse has been exposed. The response primarily sought to protect the RC Church and its guilty clergy rather than bring about justice for those who had been abused.

Cover-up was the chosen course. And that ongoing history places some guilt upon ALL of those in leadership who enabled it. Whether they personally abused a child or not, if they actively played a part in that cover-up they should share the guilt.
Pell himself gained a reputation for making things harder for those who sought some kind of recognition and recourse from the church. Is Pell a good man, innocent of the sex crime but reaping what his church had sown? Some are suggesting that’s the case.

After the revelation of the guilty verdict, some of the more rightwing commentators of the local Murdoch press have spoken out against the court’s decision, claiming that Pell is a scapegoat. Additionally some of the more rightwing Government ministers have expressed similar views. And two former prime Ministers have expressed their support for Pell. John Howard (PM from 1996 to 2007) wrote a glowing character reference for Pell after the conviction and before sentencing, describing him as  “a person of both high intelligence and exemplary character“. (my emphasis – onesimus)

Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that Pell continues to maintain support from those people. He has been a strong voice of right-wing conservatism, and his influence on the political paths of a few domineering members of Australia’s current government is evident, in particular the climate change deniers who have crippled Government climate and energy policy since they came into power in 2013.

Some time ago, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott (a Pell supporter) gave a speech decrying those who sought action to address climate change. His speech was a barely disguised repetition of one previously given by Pell. (see below)*

Now that Pell’s conviction has been made known, it will be interesting to see whether his political influence, enacted by his polictial acolytes, will gradually be undermined.

________________________________

*

Pell said some of the “hysteric and extreme claims about global warming” were “a symptom of pagan emptiness, of Western fear” of the “immense and basically uncontrollable forces of nature”.

“In the past, pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods,” Pell said. “Today they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.”

This week, Tony Abbott made a curiously similar speech.

Addressing the climate-sceptic Global Warming Policy Foundation in London, Abbott returned to his own scepticism about whether climate change is occurring to worrying degrees. He adopted his private confessor’s argument and his style.

“Environmentalism has managed to combine a post-socialist instinct for big government with a post-Christian nostalgia for making sacrifices in a good cause,” Abbott said.

“Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods. We’re more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect.”

https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2017/10/14/abbott-looks-pell-energy-policy/15078996005349

Also of interest, a dissenting right wing commentator’s view.

Broadcaster Ray Hadley criticises Howard and Abbott for supporting Pell.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/28/commentators-doubting-pell-verdict-sends-damaging-message-to-survivors

 

 

A Gift and a Promise

A gift and a promise.

For whom are they intended?

upended bible

Article from Sydney Morning Herald 26 Feb 2019

Highlighted parts of the article:

God’s sacrifice of Jesus to express his love on Earth was the favourite Bible passage of many Christians. But that is changing, as messages of hope and prosperity on social media find greater resonance with the younger generation.

“Whereas once John 3:16 was the ‘poster boy text of the 20th century, the latest star is Jeremiah 29:11”

The passage which reads: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life,” has been eclipsed in the UK by the offer of hope and prosperity in Jeremiah 29:11.

It reads: “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 is also the favourite in nine other countries including Canada and Australia.

“Millennials have drastically changed how they approach the Bible’s teachings… We find that Millennials tend to share therapeutic messages – it’s far more about their own identity”

A disturbing example of the way scripture can be adopted and misapplied when context is thrown out.

A section of scripture declaring God’s sacrificial act of love for the world, that made salvation available to ALL who believe, has been pushed aside to favour a verse declaring a promise to a select and specific group of people, NOT just any individuals who choose to claim the promise.

That newly favoured text from Jeremiah is being personally appropriated by people who are not addressed in the context of that verse.

The promise “to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” is not a universal promise.
It was a promise in a prophetic context addressed to a people who had survived slaughter and destruction, who had been taken captive by an invading army, and exiled from their homeland.

It is a promise to THOSE people, that their exile would last 70 years, and then they as a people – not necessarily all individuals – would be returned to their land.

This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfil my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’ (Jeremiah 29)

While that return did occur as promised, the complete fulfilment of the prophesied promise, is still to come, when Israel as a whole recognises their Messiah, and He returns to rule over the earth from Jerusalem.

The 70 year exile to Babylon referred to in Jeremiah preceded the promise being so casually adopted and misappropriated today. The promise was not made to those who hadn’t suffered significant cost.

So, what is wiser? To claim a promise not intended as an individual promise to me?

Or to focus on the importance of God’s gift to the world, a gift anyone can receive through belief, trust, faith in Jesus?

And which promise is it wiser to proclaim to the world?

UFO? NO!

The following is a still image from a video I took last night. Unfortunately this site won’t allow me to post the video file. Maybe if I had a YouTube account and posted the video there I’d be able to share the whole thing.

The video shows the white dot portrayed below, dancing around the screen at speed. The dot is a bright moving light I saw and recorded last night not long after sunset. What could that rapidly dancing light be?  A UFO, suggesting “we are not alone”?

ISS

The straight answer is no.

The light wasn’t an unidentified object, and it wasn’t actually dancing around in the sky. All of the movement came from my inability to hold the camera still, amplified by my use of the zoom lens.

What I had tried to film was the International Space Station (ISS).
I had recently registered with NASA to get notifications of when the ISS was visible above my town. Yesterday I received an email giving me the time and trajectory related to a potential sighting.

At 8.30pm Gloria and I went into the backyard and tried to work out where it would be first seen, and we concentrated on that part of the sky, just above our neighbour’s house. After a few minutes Gloria’s attention was distracted by a moving light significantly to the left of our chosen spot.

That was it.

It was surprisingly bright and moving quite quickly. We were able to watch it for around 6 minutes, moving from NW to SE at a comfortable viewing angle. The NASA advice had said it would be approximately 70 degrees – almost perfect, needing only a small backward tilt of the head.

It was a very exciting experience.

I have been interested in space exploration and travel since childhood,  when the Apollo missions leading up to the moon landings were big news. But that interest always had to be from a distance, not having any opportunity to observe any of it first hand. (I do have vague memories of seeing a Gemini capsule on display some time in the 70s, but I’ve not been able to find out any details to corroborate my “memory”.)

Last night that interest came much closer to home, seeing with my own eyes the large space facility orbiting the earth. It’s been there for many years, has certainly been visible countless times during those years – but not knowing where or when to look robbed me of the chance of witnessing it fly over.

The conditions were excellent for a perfect viewing. It was just after sunset, meaning we were in partial darkness but the ISS was still in full sun reflecting a lot of light, and  the trajectory was just right to give a comfortable and lengthy view. I’m looking forward to the next email advising when I can see it again.

It’s a shame about the video – it would have been a much more impressive (though deceptive)  illustration of the experience.
If I can get hold of a suitable tripod for future use, next time I might be able to get a better record of the station’s journey above my house. One that shows its actual movement, and not the erratic dancing captured last night.

A few stats.

Currently on board is a crew of three. Anne McClain (USA), David Saint-Jacques (Canada) and Commander Oleg Kononenko (Russia). The current mission is “expedition 58”.

crew portrait exp 58

The ISS orbits the earth at a height of 400km (250 miles), travelling at a speed of  27,600 kph (17,150 mph). A full circuit of the earth takes about 90 minutes.

Essential websites for ISS spotting.

Spot the station: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings/

Live TRacking Map: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/tracking_map.cfm

Truth-Challenged Politics

America has it’s Trump-loving evangelicals.

In Australia we have the truth-challenged Pentecostal Prime Minister, who  has no difficulty ignoring, avoiding and refusing to acknowledge the truth when the truth is politically inconvenient. He’s also not averse to spinning a lie or two (or three or four or…) *

In the US and Australia, the result is the same: contempt is poured on the name of Jesus.

But the lesson should also be the same – followers of Jesus should not put their trust in politicians, or politics, for faith related matters or to bring about “Kingdom conditions” on earth. That is not what the gospel is about.
Politics will never further the gospel or do the work of the gospel.

I’ll let you into a little secret. Democracy is not God’s form of Government.  Democracy is man’s best attempt at dealing with government corruption (sin) – giving a community or nation the possibility of voting out one sinner or group of sinners and replacing them with another sinner or group of sinners. It allows a community or nation to say enough is enough when a government fails to deliver, and lets them appoint another government that will also fail to deliver.

God’s Government is the rule of a righteous King.

May that Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

Not as the result of misguided, even corrupt, political machinations by professing Christians, but by the return of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

 

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.

 

 

 

___________________

References.

* https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/13/pm-pushes-off-medevac-loss-by-launching-a-sonic-boom-on-border-protection

A former leader of the PM’s party also wrote (in the Sydney Morning Herald, 14 Feb) that for the PM to continue his current scare campaign would be totally dishonest, ignoring the facts.

___