Remembering Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan

Today marks the first anniversary of the killing of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran at the command of the Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Their lives were ended at 12.25am on 29 April 2015.

From ABC Radio

Remembering Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were convicted drug smugglers but in the 10 years leading up to their deaths, they completely reformed. Andrew became an ordained Christian minister inside his Bali prison. Myuran expressed his growing faith in his art.

On their journey, they were accompanied by two extraordinary couples: Salvation Army chaplain David Soper and his wife; and the Rev Christie Buckingham and her husband Pastor Rob Buckingham of Melbourne’s Bayside Church. Rob Buckingham became a friend of this program, where he was a voice of reassurance in dark times.

Illustration from here:

Also see story here:

and here

Ben Quilty and Andrew Ford.

QuiltyThere are some fascinating insights into the creative process in these discussions between painter Ben Quilty and composer Andrew Ford.

Quilty is one of my favourite artists, and I recall Ford giving a talk to my Arts Journalism class at university in the early 90s.

So far I’ve listened to the first two recordings in the series and particularly liked the second – very moving: looking at the way an artist struggles to address difficult human experiences.

Blokes’ Exhibition 2016

It’s been over a year since I’ve entered my work into an exhibition, but yesterday I dropped four paintings into the local gallery to be included in their annual “Blokes’ Exhibition”.

2015 was a lazy year during which I did little painting. The only thing I started remains unfinished, but this year I have at last picked up my brushes again. While I have very little new output I wanted to give my support to the “Blokes” in the hope that it continues as a regular event in the gallery. I sorted out some of my older work and added the only painting I’ve done this year.

When I look at what I’ve submitted, I find two of them are appropriately relevant to the feast of Passover. The one in the illustration is called Passover and was the first of my paintings that I was really happy with, it gave me confidence that I wasn’t wasting time (and paint) in trying to be an artist.


The following painting is another old one I’ve entered, called Redemption.
Not illustrated in the photo is the basic frame that I made for it that I think has improved it considerably.

With this one I won first prize in the mixed media category at the agricultural show a few years ago. [Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but it was the only entry in that category].

At the time of posting this I don’t have photos of the other two paintings. I might get the chance to take some at the gallery on the weekend.

Charismatic Post Mortem by Bill Randles

Bill Randles has a very interesting on-going series of articles on his blog, starting with “Charismatic Post Mortem”

He looks at the beginnings of the Charismatic Movement and how it has progressed since then.

At the time I post this, he has written six parts to the series. Links to the other parts can be found at Bill Randles’ blog.

Thoughts on Voting

I have a lot of respect for David Servant. I came across his ministry more than 10 years ago and his teaching helped me through a very vulnerable time.

Therefore I was very interested to see what he had to say when I received his articles with the title “For Whom Should You Vote”.

While he and I are in different countries with different political systems, the way Christians approach elections shouldn’t be too different, and like Servant’s homeland of America, we are also facing a federal election this year in Australia

The teaching has (to date) been presented in two parts. The first addresses the question of whether a Christian should vote or not (Servant stands on the “yes” side). The second part turns to what kind of candidates Christians should support.

The first question perhaps has less significance in Australia, where voting is compulsory. While some believers might still choose not to vote, their choice takes them outside of the law – so they have to consider the consequences for their decision, not only the civil law they break, but whether they are taking a valid spiritual path in breaking it.

It has always been my choice to vote.

The second question has wider significance, and is one that Christian voters can’t avoid. Having chosen to vote, how do we choose between candidates and political ideologies that are imperfect, and heavily flawed?

In this matter I disagree with Servant. He takes the single issue approach, focusing on attitudes to abortion. His choice would be to vote for an anti-abortion candidate above anyone else. To me that way is short sighted and is liable to make us overlook other serious policy problems – some of which can actually create pressures of poverty that add to the increasing number of abortions.

Yes, abortion is a serious evil prevalent in society today, but it is not the only issue that needs to be addressed. And rather than looking to politicians to legislate against abortion (something that experience shows that even those opposed to abortion won’t/can’t do anyway), a more effective way of approaching it would be to address the extreme poverty that makes abortion seem a necessary option for many.

In the current day there is a strong tendency for the political system to favour the rich. For at least three decades now, dominant political ideologies have looked to lowering taxes (particular for the wealthy) and making up the shortfall by cutting social and community services (which impacts the poor).

We’ve seen policies introduced that favour big corporations, allowing them to cut jobs in our own countries so the work can be outsourced to the “third world” where pay rates and working conditions don’t meet the standards required in our own countries. Those pushed out of work by these policies are then demonised, more or less labelled as lazy parasites, while the corporation bosses and shareholders profit from the lower production costs enabled through that outsourcing.

The increasing poverty created can be a strong motivation for seeking an abortion, making it hard for low or no income women to consider bringing a baby into the world in which the mother would struggle to survive and provide.

When I consider who gets my vote, I put aside that one issue standard favoured by David Servant and others, and I try to look at the whole picture. Recognising that no earthly government can legislate righteousness and moral behaviour, I try to consider who would be most likely to work towards a more equitable society where temptations towards immoral actions are reduced. As a general rule, fewer people are tempted to steal when they have access to honest work with adequate pay. And many women won’t feel the need to kill their unborn baby if they are more confident of providing and caring for a living child. (Of course there will always be those who choose immorality no matter what worthwhile opportunities are available to them – or what the law declares as unacceptable).

Servant recognises that he needs to make some kind of concessions with his vote if there are no anti-abortion candidates and so he turns his eyes to a wider view and looks to other issues to determine his vote.

That is the situation we generally face in Australia where anti-abortion politicians seem thin on the ground. And sadly those few Australian candidates who DO have an anti-abortion platform either have to compromise their stance to follow their party’s line, or they combine that stance with some very questionable philosophies and policies, often aligned with highly questionable religious beliefs.

And that is a very good reason to be cautious about basing one’s vote primarily on a candidate’s claim regarding their positon on abortion – that single issue stance can easily cover up a vast number of other issues no less destructive and immoral than abortion.

abu grahib

David Servant’s articles can be found here:

Martyrdom of a Friend: in the news again.

Several years ago I posted an article on my old blog about a friend of mine who had been martyred while visiting a jail in the Philippines.

Even though it happened almost 27 years ago, this morning it was in the news again, thanks to disturbing comments made by a current candidate for the Philippine presidency.

What does it say about the world when vulgarity and misogyny can be seen as traits worthy of a nation’s leader? It’s clearly a trend NOT unique to a particular candidate hoping to be the Republican candidate in the US.

If I hadn’t seen a story on the news this morning I couldn’t have understood why my old article on a mostly inactive blog, could accumulate 300 views in one day.

See may article here:

And why it has suddenly become news again here: