Current Affairs

Church Life AFTER Marriage Equality: The Questions No One Is Asking

Right now, Australians are deliberating about just one question - “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” A majority of conservative Christians (as well as Jews and Muslims) are campaigning for a 'No' vote, while less are saying it should be 'Yes'. A majority of society in general seems to be campaigning for a 'Yes' vote, while some are saying it should be 'No'. Whatever your answer is to this one question, the work of discussion and deliberation doesn’t end on the 15th November (or whenever the government makes a decision); it just begins. Regardless of... Read more →

The Current Refugee Crisis

I’m sure like me you’ve been deeply moved by the heart-breaking image of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi washed ashore on a Turkish beach. This precious little boy is only one of thousands of children and adults who’ve perished trying to reach the safety of Europe this year alone. This tragedy represents just a tiny fraction of over 16 million Syrians in need in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Syria itself. That’s equivalent to almost three-quarters of Australia’s population. World Vision staff are on the ground providing life-saving aid to Syrian families fleeing conflict, including food, clean... Read more →

Beyond the Walls by Brad Chilcott

Who would’ve thought that one photo could cause so much trouble? It wasn’t the first time I’d been criticized for my friendship and solidarity with the Muslim community, in fact I’d had some threats of violence when I spoke up about Halal certification but this one took it another level. Had I renounced the gospel? Sure, being friends with Muslims, but praying in a mosque? Did I even believe in Jesus anymore? The beard didn’t help any. Had I taken the instructions “love your neighbour as yourself” and “love your enemy” too literally? Too far? 1 John 3. This is... Read more →

Nepal Earthquake

The people of Nepal continue to grapple with the after shock of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook their country last week. So far more than 5,000 lives have been lost with some remote valleys cut off from help - raising fears that the death toll could rise. International relief and rescue teams have poured into Nepal as the scope of the devastation becomes clearer. World Vision has over 200 staff on the ground, responding to the needs of survivors – especially children. At this stage, their role is to provide survivors with clean water, food, cooking kits, temporary... Read more →

The Persecution of Christians (Guest Post: J John)

It is becoming apparent that far from dwelling at the ‘end of history’, as was naively envisaged at the fall of Communism, we are, in fact, living in perplexing, turbulent and dangerous days. One of the most troubling, if overlooked, features of our times is the appalling extent and depth of the persecution of Christians. Thirty years ago when we Christians talked of martyrs, we used the past tense; not any more. Whether in North Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, China, Pakistan or Columbia, Christians are being persecuted and killed for no other reason than... Read more →

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday at the age of 95. He was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politican and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. After studying law in university he became a lawyer. In 1962 he was arrested, convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela served 27... Read more →

Some thoughts on the current Asylum Seeker Issue (by Tim Costello)

Australia's humanity is the casualty of repugnant asylum politics Article written by: Tim Costello chief executive of World Vision Australia. The Australian philosopher Peter Singer asks students to consider whether a person wearing new shoes and a suit has a responsibility to wade into a nearby pond, thus ruining their clothes, if they see a child in that pond having difficulty swimming. Predictably they respond that the person has a responsibility to save the child and that the cost of the shoes and suit are no reason not to act. In other words, you either think that people have inherent... Read more →

Australian Government Considering Diverting Money from Poverty-Reducing Aid

NEWSFLASH: The Government is considering diverting money from poverty-reducing aid. The Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, recently admitted plans to divert at least $375 million of Australia's poverty-focused aid program to fund rising refugee support costs at home in Australia. Not only would this reduce the amount available for poverty-focused programs overseas, but it would make Australia the third largest recipient of Australian aid. World Vision Australia CEO, Tim Costello, has publicly condemned this decision, “I am stunned by the Government's plans to divert hundreds of millions of dollars away from its intended purpose." What can we do? 1. Call and... Read more →

New Archbishop of Canterbury: Justin Welby

[The following article is by Cole Moreton from the Telegraph] The next Archbishop of Canterbury woke up yesterday with something on his mind. “Thought in the night,” he wrote on Twitter. “Those who made money betting on me give it to their local church!” Chatting wittily online to 6,429 online followers is not something the present Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams, would find easy. But as one observer suggested when the appointment was announced on Friday, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, may be the most worldly man ever chosen for Canterbury. “Good gracious,” he said in response, raising... Read more →

2012 Global Atheist Convention

The 2012 Global Atheist Convention is back in Melbourne this year (April 13-15th). Some Christians become concerned and worked up about events such as this. Personally, I don't believe that people of faith have anything to fear about doubt or skepticism. No need to picket or boycott events. In fact, dialogue and discussion can be helpful in all areas of belief. Events such as this give us a terrific opportunity to talk about God and faith with those around about us. Let's pray and show the love of Christ. One of the main speakers is Richard Dawkins, one of the... Read more →

East Africa Emergency Appeal

Many of you would be aware of the dire situation in East Africa right now. More than 11 million people in the Horn of Africa countries, particularly Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, are in need of our prayers for relief from one of the worst prolonged droughts in 60 years. Children are especially in need of prayer for nourishing food, opportunities to go back to school to learn, spiritual nurture and safe places to live and play. The crisis is worsening by the day, and is highly complex and urgent. UN and media reports point to a spreading famine across the... Read more →

The Death of Osama bin Laden

The biggest breaking news of this week has been the killing of Osama bin Laden, the self-confessed orchestrator of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the USA. The execution was carried out by a US Navy SEAL team and watched by a American national security team, including President Obama, via video.This has been the culmination of a 10-year military project of tracking down this terrorist leader. Response to this news had been wide and varied ... jubilation, relief, sorrow, as well as fear of increased in terrorism. Here are a few quotes: "I think we can agree this is a... Read more →

Prime Minister Julia Gillard backs Chaplain Program

Some old but good news ... in August last year, new Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised to extend the use of state funds to put staff chaplains in both public and private schools (as it has since 2007) through to 2014. State-funded chaplains now serve 2,700 schools and Gillard wants to add another 1,000. Gillard, a self-professed atheist, pledged faith in the chaplaincy system shortly after taking office. "We think it has been a great success, and wanted to make sure schools around the country were fairly benefiting from it," Gillard told Australian Christian Lobby director Jim Wallace. The... Read more →

Muslims defending Christians ...

Some of you may have heard about the brutal attacks from militant Muslims on Christians in Egypt at a New Year's Eve Mass. Tragically, at least 21 people were left dead at the Saints Church in Alexandria after a car bomb exploded outside. The attack rocked the nation. This kind of religiously motivated terrorism is evil and continues to create fear and havoc across our world. An inspiring story has emerged since this time, with Muslims turning up in droves for a Coptic Christmas Mass, offering their bodies, and lives, as “shields” to Egypt’s threatened Christian community. Read the full... Read more →

Approval Ratings of President Obama

It has been 18 months since America elected Barack Obama to be it's president. His presidency began with a lot of excitement and anticipation, partly created by his inspiring messages about "Yes we can!" It has not been an easy run for him, with many complex challenges and problems ... Gallup reported last week that the president’s average seventh quarter approval rating among Americans stands at 44.7 percent – its lowest point since Obama took office but still significantly higher than among Protestant pastors. A new survey by LifeWay Research indicates that 61 percent of Protestant pastors disapprove (47 percent... Read more →

Pastor Plans on Burning Koran

A Florida pastor by the name of Terry Jones plans on hosting a Koran burning event at his church to commemorate the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the USA - 9/11 (this coming Saturday). He is doing this to target Islam extremists. Protestors are rallying in various countries around the world and their are growing security concerns in the US. The move has been criticised by many people, including President Obama.Violent attacks of retaliation on innocent people could occur. So what do you think? Is this an appropriate response by a Christian leader to Islam extremists? What would Jesus... Read more →

Labor Wins the Australian 2010 Federal Election

Finally, after two and a half weeks of speculation and negotiation, we have a government - a Labor government led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Support from a few independent MPs has given Gillard the narrowest of margins. Labor's position on broadband and climate change were influential in the final decision. This has been Australia's first hung parliament since the 1940s. Without doubt, Australia is a divided nation politically and only time will tell how well the new government will perform in leading the nation forward. Labor voters will be pleased with the final outcome while Liberal voters will naturally... Read more →

Thinking Globally ...

While those of us who live here in Australia wait anxiously to see who is going to become our next Prime Minister after such a close federal election, let's be sure to lift our eyes and realise that we are only one small part of what is now a global village. We live in a networked world and through technology we can be instantly aware of what is taking place anywhere on the planet. This can become overwhelming at times but we can also become numb and immune to the issues and suffering that others are experiencing right now. God... Read more →

Some Post-Election Observations ...

The voting is over and the 2010 Australian federal election has turned out to be the closest election result in our short history as a nation. No out-right leader has emerged yet and we may end up with a hung parliament. A few observations are clear: 1. The Labor Party has had a large swing against them right across the nation, with many seats falling to the Liberals. Maybe the de-throning of Kevin Rudd has come back to haunt them after all. Julia Gillard looks a little shaken, to say the least. 2. The Liberal Party has made a remarkable... Read more →

The Australian Liberal Party

The Liberal Party of Australia has been the opposition party since losing the 2007 federal election. Prior to that, it had held power since the 1996 election. At the state and territory level, the Liberals hold government only in Western Australia. The Liberal Party was founded after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party. When in government, the Liberals usually govern in a coalition with the National Party. Tony Abbott is the current leader of the Liberal Party with Julie Bishop as his deputy. For more background on Tony Abbott, click here. For more details about the... Read more →