Sunday, March 30, 2008

I'll Fight... I'll Fight.... I'll Fight!

Just got back from Sydney where I was part of the social justice conference called I'll Fight!
Great job by the folks in Greater West Division who put it on - some great topics covered and some great reminders about what we need and are about in the Army and the world.
One thing God has really been reminding me about lately is the need to allow our imaginations to be fueled by God's spirit... we need to re-imagine the world in new ways... and then innovate like mad to bring heaven to earth... I'm asking the Lord to breathe in fresh strategies of justice that represent Him well. I'm praying it for everyone around the world who wants to fight...
Lately it seems the best innovators have been those dedicated to greed, power and evil - but we know that's a lie... evil doesn't create - it only destructs... at best it imitates... but we serve the One who creates... original, deep, true, life-giving and sustaining initiatives that aren't quick and easy but lasting and life changing... that's what I'm praying for - Divine, creative strategies to blast the darkness with some brilliant light!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Freedom Day

From the Reader Newspaper (Melbourne) promoting Freedom Day... wish I could copy the picture - it's the best... stay tuned! check out for more locations!

Free to get cross
over trafficking

WHITEHORSE kids will be having fun
this Saturday all in the name of a good
The Salvation Army will host Freedom
Day, which is aimed at increasing
awareness about child trafficking.
The Stop the Traffik event aims to
highlight issues, including child labour
in cocoa production.
Salvation Army captain Gen Peterson
said the day hoped to show children
their voice counted on significant
She said while having fun the children
would be part of a global movement to
help highlight human trafficking.
To lighten up the mood kids will have
access to a host of activities, including a
jumping castle, face painting and a
sausage sizzle.
Freedom Day marks the anniversary
of the abolition of slavery.
Stop the Traffik will be held at the Box
Hill Gardens this Saturday, March 29
from 2pm.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Women and children not for sale?!

I was reading through the media release below... and couldn't help thinking that one of the contributing factors of sex discrimination is the buying of a women's body for sex. Making that a normal and acceptable thing in society is to impede and cripple any attempts at equality in any other area of life. As long as men are encouraged to objectify women we are in trouble. Increasingly so.

So, it's a little weird that a government who collects tax revenue from the sale of women's bodies for sex is worried about sex discrimination in Aus. Increasing the irony is that Western Australia recently attempted to legalize prostitution in their state! I'm praying that many women will speak at the 'listening tour' about their dreams of a world where women and children are not for sale! Perhaps that will help aid our fight against sexual discrimination...

Friday, 14 March 2008
Western Australians have the chance to tell federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick how best to build a fair and equal society for women and men in Australia at a series of forums she is hosting in the state this week.
As part of her national ‘Listening Tour’, Commissioner Broderick expects her WA meetings will see paid maternity leave and sexual harassment identified as key issues as they have been elsewhere around the country.
"I want to hear from as many sections of Australian society as possible so I will be meeting with business, community and employee groups whose input will inform the next five years of my term as Commissioner," Ms Broderick said.
"I want to know people’s ideas for how we can best achieve real economic independence for women, and how we can support women and men to better balance their work and family lives.
"And I also want to hear what people think are the necessary steps for an Australian society free from discrimination, harassment and violence," Ms Broderick said.
The ‘Listening Tour’ includes a companion virtual tour, featuring an interactive website with a blog, case studies and videos. There is also a regular diary entry from the Commissioner on her findings as the tour progresses. The ‘Listening Tour’ can be found online at
WA Equal Opportunity Commissioner Yvonne Henderson has encouraged people to attend Commissioner Broderick’s ‘Listening Tour’ forums.
"It is clear that Australia still has some way to go towards achieving equality and being free from sexual discrimination," Commissioner Henderson said. "I encourage Western Australians to share their experiences and ideas with the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner as she looks to how we as a nation can progress these issues."
Alison Preston, Director of Women in Social and Economic Research (WiSER), said it was a golden opportunity for people to take their concerns to the person charged with overcoming inequality between the sexes in Australia.
"This forum provides a ‘new’ opportunity for women to not only reassert gender onto the agenda, but to actively participate in addressing women’s continuing social, economic and political marginalisation," Professor Preston said.
The Perth consultation is being co-presented by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), WiSER at Curtin University of Technology and the Equal Opportunity Commission, Western Australia.
The Perth Community Consultation Event is being held on Monday, 17 March, at the Curtin Graduate School of Business, 78 Murray Street (corner Pier Street ) Perth from 10.45am for 11.00am -1.00pm (light refreshments provided). RSVPs are essential to (08) 9266-7755. Women are invited to a lunchtime bbq consultation on Tuesday from 11.30 - 2.00pm at Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre, Fallon Rd, Fitzroy Crossing.
Upcoming 'Listening Tour' dates: Northern Territory: 24-28 March; and Queensland: 14-18 April.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

in but not of

So tonight at our cell group we were talking about how we can live 'in' the world but not be 'of' it. The writers of a resource called Living Simply suggest that the majority of Christians have it backwards... we don't live 'in' the world - we live in a huddle or a 'christian' world but we often live 'of' the world - in other words our lives (although cloistered from the 'evil' of the world) look remarkably similar to it. We are motivated and act almost identical to the world - our dreams and desires are basically the same.

So, we started thinking about how we could change it.

William Booth said every great Christian leader should lead with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in another. I think we need much more than a newspaper. We need friends... we need variety and full living colour. We need to get to know people who are not like us - on purpose.
And that takes effort. Much effort.

We've got a great opportunity to give it all away at self denial this year - shunning the worldly notion that they more you have the happier you are... that's a start. But we really must figure this out... any suggestions?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

oceans and reductions...

I started on some harm reduction thinking today as I read my friend Dion's thoughts on visiting a safe injection site in the downtown eastside of Vancouver. It really fires me up... and I think I'm starting to know why.
In a week or two Major Campbell Roberts (from New Zealand) and I are publishing a new book on social justice called JUST Imagine - the world for God. 
In that book we suggest that often the reason for the world being so filled with injustice is because people have lost the ability to imagine it any differently. 
I've just finished the biography of Muhammad Yunis, the founder of Grameen Bank (a micro-credit bank for the poor) - who won the Nobel Peace Prize for economics and is a hero on poverty reduction. He starts his book with this:
"we can only build what we can imagine. only if we conceptualize a world without poverty can we start to build it." then he ends the book with the chapter, 'what would it be like?' here's a quote: 
"Can we really create a poverty-free world? A world without third-class or fourth-class citizens, a world without a hungry, illiterate barefoot underclass? Yes we can, in the same way as we can create 'sovereign' states, or 'democratic' political systems, or 'free' market economies. 
A poverty world would not be perfect, but it would be the best approximation of the ideal... it would be a world we could all be proud to live in."
It struck me that what I most dislike about harm reduction is it's agreement with despair. It's resignation of hopelessness, it's deal with 'fate'. I want to (and choose to) believe in a world where addicts can be completely free. not just manage with their addictions BUT COMPLETELY FREE... I feel like I'm one of a few voices who choose to speak with faith the things that aren't as though they are... but this week I heard a great holiness teacher, Alan Harley remind me through a Bible study on Isaiah 61 that God's salvation is BOUNDLESS... enough to save the whole world... so rich and so free.. I'm letting it wash over me again and then take me out to the depths of it... and join Him in redeeming the whole world. 
Just some thoughts from a shameless dreamer. 

Monday, March 10, 2008


Armybarmy is critiquing Collo's blog so I thought I'd go back a day and quote some of what Dave had to say about Gluttony - which I found interesting and helpful:

As part of my contribution to camp I was one of several asked to lead a session on the seven deadly sins, I chose gluttony. It was great to discuss and debate with the youth the over indulgence of food that takes place in our culture and look at some of the history.
Thomas Aquinas went so far as to prepare a list of six ways to commit gluttony, including:
•Praepropere - eating too soon
•Laute - eating too expensively
•Nimis - eating too much
•Ardenter - eating too eagerly
•Studiose - eating too daintily
•Forente - eating too fervently

I've got FASTFOOD Nation on the list of must see documentary's to help combat gluttony (or at least contribute to some thought about what we eat and why and as Aquinas would encourage us even HOW we eat it!). 

Interestingly, hospitality is one of the most underrated spiritual gifts of our fast food culture... we never really understand the power of sharing a meal together... but we should - perhaps gluttony has lead to a poverty of sharing food??? And that poverty has created a hide out and consume copious amounts - instead of everyone join in and let's share... that sort of selfish intent is sure to kill the generous, open-handed hospitality needed in the Kingdom of God. Eugene Peterson in his book on Spiritual theology suggests that hospitality (the act of the shared meal) is the lost ingredient in true Christian practise... well worth a read... 

anyway, I struggle with everything Thomas broke down about gluttony (with the exception of Studiose!). i'd say if you live in a Western World - you too struggle with this particular sin as well... the good news is that we can break the power of gluttony with sharing. Why not make hospitality a discipline today... share more than you keep - it could get gluttony off your back. 

Be blessed.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

kangaroos and sun...

The Australian summer is full of many things. 
yesterday, we went to the beach and stopped by the RAW camp (where dozens of kangaroos - wild ones - were gathered). I haven't seen a kangaroo in the wild before so it was a great occassion (hattip to TA for making the trip!). While we were watching them a joey (although very big) was trying to get into his mother's pouch. We were thinking about how hard it would be to hop around everywhere with a joey that size in your pouch. And it made me think about the many times we all hop into our own spiritual pouches and make someone else do the work... I'm not sure if it's a bad thing really - perhaps, God is alot like a mama kangaroo - always ready to give us a ride when we need one... or maybe we are tempted to use other people or systems or programs to hide in for forward progress... 

just got me thinking... I'm wanting to hop in the right direction and at some serious speed...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cocoa and the chocolate factories...

Met with the confectionary manufacturer's association of Australasia the other day. Those are the folks that represent the major chocolate companies in the region. Very interesting meeting and dialogue can't be a bad thing...
As you can imagine I was interested in their commitment to reforming the Ivory Coast child slavery issue. 70% of all cocoa is produced in the Ivory Coast where child slavery (and trafficking) is a huge issue. They admitted the problem was fierce and the solutions very complex and assured me that all the 'majors' were very committed to making change.... so I asked for some measure of their commitment. I mean, we all need to know in any relationship how committed we are! They said, 'very'. So, I asked a reasonable question:
The global chocolate industry makes $44billion (US) dollars a year
They have designated $4million (US) dollars a year to the Ivory Coast reform
the global chocolate industry making $44BILLION and giving $4MILLION back.
If that's commitment I'm not interested in a relationship - you know what I mean?

Anyway, that may not be the final figures... that's the record so far (and hey - it's only been five or so years - so a lot could change - and it's only 12,000 child SLAVES that we can find - so it could be worse!!!!). Wow. This stuff is incredible.
Last night I watched the documentary The Corporation - well worth a rent and a watch!

I think industry should have to answer to someone. Ideally, government but at the very least consumers. let's talk to them this Easter by refusing to buy unethical chocolate and BUYING COPIOUS amounts of fairly traded chocolate.
check out for a link to some yummy fairtrade chocolate
or chocolatier in Melbourne (with some GREAT sales on right now for fairtrade chocolate)
CHECK OUT JUSTSALVOS.COM for more details.
OR has some great resources OR don'