Thursday, August 28, 2008

हाई कोर्ट Decision

Address: PO Box 6309, Kingston ACT 2604 Telephone: (02) 6270 6998 Fax: (02) 6270 6909
28 August 2008
The High Court of Australia today upheld the slavery convictions of a Melbourne brothel owner and overturned the orders of the Victorian Court of Appeal for a new trial. Ms Tang was convicted in 2006 of five counts of intentionally possessing a slave and five counts of intentionally exercising a power of ownership over a slave, contrary to section 270.3(1)(a) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. She was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of six years. Ms Tang was the first person convicted under the anti-slavery laws, introduced in 1999. The charges related to five women, all Thai nationals.
read more here.

Freedom Fridays...

Writing out a few prayer directives for the Freedom Friday network members today... it reminded me of the importance of God's people asking God to intervene and bring about justice for the victims of trafficking in our world... a million of them currently being enslaved. Have you considered joining the network?
every friday we fast and pray (lunchtime) in solidarity with the victims of trafficking and we pray for God's intervention. Some young people do this in groups at school - others meet at the corps - others still do it quietly and intentionally at their jobs... is the place to email with freedom friday in the subject line... we'll sign you up!
Today we are asking all Australians (and anyone who will join us) to pray for the high court's decision on the definition of slavery - key to advancing the fight against traffickers in Australia.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Immeasurably more...

Ephesians 3:20 and following was the theme for unlimited this year - in Sydney and in Brisbane.
Both events proved to be an exploration of God's love and power for mission.
I've been thinking about the theme and it's impact on the world.
Often times we think that the immeasurably more of God's love and power is for us... but clearly, if it's more than we could ever even ask or imagine - then it's MORE than enough for us... it's enough for the whole world.
This is something to pray and think about... how can I get the message of the immeasurably more love and power of God to a world struggling with poverty, slavery and heaps of economic oppression?
Well here are some ideas:
1. spread the word. Believe that the Word of God has power... and start speaking this out. This will matter - because it's much easier to despair than to hope for a better world...
2. live the word. Live as though there is more than enough - shake off the inclination to accumulate more 'stuff' in the world to make you feel better and get rid of some stuff - share it with those who need it... and free some stuff up to give away - in a fierce demonstration of the more than enough God we serve.
I'm going to give it a go.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Time to tell MPs unborn are 'alive and kicking'

Tail-docking a dog would be illegal, putting a lobster in boiling water would be illegal, but it will be legal to abort a six-month-old child if this Bill passes. – Victorian Liberal MLC Matthew Guy

If the Government is going to decriminalise the process, we need to do it with our eyes wide open and demand modern legislation that spells out a standard of care for our women. I am determined to get support from all MPs to pass amendments, whatever the outcome of the conscience vote. – Victorian Labor MP Christine Campbell

With 20,000 abortions performed in Victoria each year, the Victorian Government this week introduced abortion law reforms which provide virtually open slather access to abortion, ignoring calls for protection of women and unborn children.

Set to be debated on September 9, the Abortion Law Reform Bill will, if passed, give unfettered legal access to abortion for any reason up to 24 weeks’ gestation, without even the need for a doctor’s agreement. After that, women will also have easy access to late-term abortions - including brutal partial birth abortions, with no criminal penalties for either the woman or the doctor.

Needless to say, ACL is strongly opposed to the abortion bill which sells out the unborn children of Victoria and does nothing to assist women facing unsupported pregnancies. Pro-abortionists, however, are celebrating.

ACL Victorian Director Rob Ward has been lobbying hard against the bill and speaking to the media. The bill is likely to increase Victoria’s high abortion rate, departs from the Government’s plege not to change current clinical practice, does nothing to support women, and ignores major ethical concerns about the killing of unborn children – some of whom would be old enough to survive outside the womb.

With the abortion bill set to be debated in less than three weeks, it is vital that you make your opposition to the bill known to Victorian politicians. Several commentators are already suggesting the bill will be passed, even though thankfully there are a number of politicians who are strongly opposed to the bill and are making their concerns known. While strongly opposed to the bill, Labor MP Christine Campbell is working on ammendments to provide at least some protection for women and children.

If you live in Victoria, we urge you to go to our ‘Alive & Kicking’ campaign on our Make A Stand website and sending off an email to your local Member and Upper House representatives urging them to vote against the bill. But don’t stop there, please also consider ringing your local MP or visiting them in their electorate offices to let them know your concerns. Contact details can be found by clicking here. If you live outside Victoria you can still help. Please also join our campaign and your email will be sent to the Victorian Premier.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Between hearing Commissioner Linda Bond at Unlimited in Sydney and then Commissioner Hope Mungate at the Eastern Divisional meeting last night I'm convinced that God is speaking to the Salvation Army about authentic discipleship.
What this means to us isn't some new idea - it's an old, simple truth that simply needs to be enacted... we just need to 'do it.'
I was able to spend some time with Commissioner Mungate's who are champion officers currently leading The Salvation Army in the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and they tell of the hard realities of being officers in the Congo and yet they are filled with joy. They personally have opened at least two other countries for The Salvation Army and have plans for more!!! yeah God.
The thing is their methods are not rocket science... it's evangelism, visitation - practical support, hard work - meeting together... the standards for a Corps in the DRC are hard (check out for details) and yet they are growing them all over the place!!

I've talked with people in 'the west' and they insist that those 'old fashioned' things don't work anymore... but I beg to differ. Visitation and evangelism still work - we just don't like doing them. In our new Corps Plant some folks went door to door in our neighbourhood last week (and again today) and the reception was amazing with over 60% of homes being open to visits by people from our community... many of them receiving prayer... the same was true of a godly woman who decided this week to take some muffins to the legal brothel in her neighbourhood... they let her in - she met all the women, took their birthdays down so she could send a card and asked if she could come back... the answer? yes!! I've prayed with two people on planes in the last month - one to receive Christ who took a Bible to read and the other a young student who wants to start The Salvation Army in East Timor (we aren't there yet!!) who is a catholic by birth but wants to learn to love Jesus more... he wants to be a disciple.

Add all this to my accountability partner telling me about her conviction to be more spiritually disciplined so to be ready for the war and it resonates deeply within me... not just as a judgement but as a need and desire... so here's a quick list of why that doesn't happen in my life:
lack of discipline

So, I'm repenting of those things - changing my mind about how the kingdom advances... and applying myself to simple disciplines rigorously - wholeheartedly... may God's Kingdom come. Want to join me?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Westcare rocks...

I was privilege to get a small look into what Westcare Salvation Army does in the western suburbs of Melbourne today... it's incredible.
And it makes a lot of sense... often The Salvation Army works with those at the end of their rope - who are at the bottom of the barrel - in drug addiction and the like... but we don't often enough look at the root causes of that rejection and intervene earlier to prevent the end of the road... Westcare is primarily a youth services program that really tries to target those kids who are at risk of social exclusion...
foster care
residential services
and much much more... they need foster parents.. i met with a couple of carers this afternoon - and they are people with a practical hope of redemption who are willing to embrace kids... in all shapes and sizes.. perhaps one thing you can do right now for social justice is to apply to be a foster parent... who knows the kind of impact you can make in a life... stay tuned for more details..

Thursday, August 14, 2008

20% increase in fair-trade chocolate worldwide!!

20% increase in fair-trade chocolate worldwide
This month, one member of the Chocolate Industry took a landmark decision that will result in a 20% increase in fair-trade—Traffik Free—chocolate worldwide.

Royal Verkade, a Dutch household name and subsidiary of United Biscuits, announced that they will be using 100% Fair Trade cocoa and sugar in their products from the autumn onwards. This is the first A-list chocolate producer worldwide to make the transition to Fair Trade production on a large scale and STOP THE TRAFFIK CONGRATULATES ROYAL VERKADE FOR TAKING THIS DECISION.

Though many players were involved, a major turning point occurred during STOP THE TRAFFIK NETHERLANDS and local NGO Fairfood's 'naming and shaming' campaign, linking Verkade with the worst forms of child labour in Ivory Coast. "Within a day we had a phone call from Fair Trade", states Antonie Fountain of STOP THE TRAFFIK Holland, "saying that Verkade had just called them to talk about the possibility of Fair Trade sourcing for their cocoa".

THIS IS BIG NEWS but It is critical we keep pressure up on this issue. We are making a difference. We will not stop until the trafficking has been STOPPED.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Prayer of Humility
(accustomed to be said after celebration of Mass, 
by Merry Cardinal del Val, secretary of state to 
Pope Saint Pius X)

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, 

Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, 

Deliver me, O Jesus. 

From the desire of being extolled, 

Deliver me, O Jesus. 

From the desire of being honored, 

Deliver me, O Jesus. 

From the desire of being praised, 

Deliver me, O Jesus. 

From the desire of being preferred to others, 

Deliver me, O Jesus. 

From the desire of being consulted, 

Deliver me, O Jesus. 

From the desire of being approved, 

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated, 

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being despised, 

Deliver me, O Jesus. 

From the fear of suffering rebukes, 

Deliver me, O Jesus. 

From the fear of being calumniated, 

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten, 

Deliver me, O Jesus. 

From the fear of being ridiculed, 

Deliver me, O Jesus. 

From the fear of being wronged, 

Deliver me, O Jesus. 

From the fear of being suspected, 

Deliver me, O Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 

That others may be esteemed more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 

That, in the opinion of the world, 

others may increase and I may decrease, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 

That others may be chosen and I set aside, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 

That others may be praised and I go unnoticed, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 

That others may be preferred to me in everything, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 

That others may become holier than I, 

provided that I may become as holy as I should, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Polygammy - an article

Australia - Polygamous Marriages: Multiple Reactions
By Neena Bhandari

Sydney (Women's Feature Service) - Aamina was 27 when she married Ayoub to become his second wife in Tripoli, Lebanon. While Aamina viewed her marriage as something that fate had ordained, the family's decision to migrate to Australia meant that Ayoub had to divorce his first wife, as polygamous marriages are not legally recognised in Australia.

Like Ayoub, who ensured that his first wife was sponsored to Australia by their son, there are Muslim men from countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Sudan, who have migrated with more than one wife, but their multiple marriages don't have the legal sanction in their adopted country.

The issue of polygamous marriages is causing a furore in the country with the government categorically stating that polygamy shall remain forbidden. However, some Muslim leaders argue that such marriages exist and should be recognised on cultural and religious grounds to protect the rights of women.

Recently, two senior leaders of the Islamic community in Sydney called on the government to recognise polygamous marriages, or men marrying more than one woman, in order to protect the rights of women in such marriages.

One of the most vocal advocators of changing the Australian law to accommodate the multiple marriages is Keysar Trad, the president of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, who grew up in a home with a mother and stepmother. "There was nothing out of the ordinary in our extended family. My mother and my stepmother were best of friends. Even though a polygamous marriage was not the norm, the Lebanese society even in the 1960s was very open-minded," recalls Trad.

"My father's first wife was ill and could not look after their five children when he married my mother. For the children my mother was a godsend and they addressed her as 'khaala', or maternal aunt, and made her feel tremendously appreciated and respected," he says, "It's a solution that our faith offers to social problems."

As marriages in the 21st century go beyond the traditional to encompass de facto relationships and recognition of gay and lesbian alliances, some are arguing for polygamous marriages to be protected and granted equal rights under the law.

According to Sheikh Khalil Chami of the Islamic Welfare Centre in Sydney's Lakemba suburb, polygamous marriages, although illegal, exist in Australia. He reveals that he has been asked almost weekly to conduct polygamous religious ceremonies. But while he refuses, he knows there are 'imams' (clerics) who do not.

Those seeking legalisation of polygamy cite that in traditional indigenous Aboriginal communities in Australia's Northern Territory, unofficially, such marriages exist and that these relationships are even recognised when the government grants welfare benefits.

In fact, in February this year, the United Kingdom ruled that it would grant welfare benefits to all spouses in a polygamous marriage, if the marriages had taken place in countries where polygamy is legal. Nearly 1,000 men are said to be living legally with multiple wives in Britain.

Polygamy is also common in Indonesia, but remains a controversial lifestyle choice. In the United States, polygamous sects such as the Mormons and practicing polygamists have conflicts with the law constantly.

"For religious men, polygamy essentially protects them from committing adultery. Adultery in Islam is strictly prohibited. If a man decides to have a sexual relationship with another woman, he has to marry her. In countries like Saudi Arabia, where polygamy is legalised, adultery or extra marital affair is rare," says Faten Dana, 45, President, Muslim Welfare Association of Australia.

"In Australia, one of the benefits of legalising polygamous marriages would be that men would openly talk about their relationships rather than under the garb of secrecy. Making these relationships formal will also grant the women and children in such relationships certain rights as men would have obligations and responsibilities towards them," says Dana, who migrated to Australia from Lebanon 19 years ago.

In 2006, there were 114,222 registered marriages, but there is no figure for polygamous marriages. The author of 'Islam: Its Law and Society', Jamila Hussain says, "The origin of polygamy dates back to the early days of Islam, to the battle of Uhud, when many men were killed. Men marrying more than one woman was a social welfare measure, ensuring that widows and fatherless children were looked after, as during those days there was no government social support system."

Citing similar situations that still exist, Hussain explains, "If we look at the massacres of men in Srebernica and Bosnia, polygamy can be justified on the grounds of providing material and emotional support for the women left behind. However, polygamy is and was never meant to be an excuse for men to indulge their sexual fantasies. Some men over the years have abused this right and maintained harems, but that doesn't affect the original rule which imposes a restriction of a maximum of four wives to be treated equally."

Hussain further adds, "In Australia there is a great deal of hypocrisy. The government recognises de facto relationships as legal. According to some estimates, as many as 75 per cent Australians are living in de facto relationships, which has become normal and acceptable. Even married men may be living in de facto relationships and, in some cases, in more than one de facto relationship. These are perfectly legal - no fuss. There is also a push for homosexual relationships to be legalised. But there is an outcry if Muslims want to marry more than once."

"A polygamous marriage is like any other marriage with trials and tribulations. It is not always a burden for women. In the current scenario, given the rise of HIV and STDs, in any sexual relationship one must tread with caution," says Hussain, a lecturer in Islamic Law at the University of Technology, Sydney.

The Qur'an allows Muslim men to have four wives as long as they can support and treat them equally. However, evidence shows that polygamous men cannot always adequately and equitably feed, shelter, educate, and emotionally cherish all their spouses and dependents.

The Australian Muslim population, at 340,400 or 1.7 per cent of the total population, is noteworthy for its diversity in terms of ethnicity, national origins, language, and class and not all in the community want polygamy to be sanctioned by law. The National Imams Council says, "As Australian Muslims we recognise that the Marriage Act 1961 prohibits polygamy and we are not proposing any changes to this law."

The government is in no mood to take a liberal view on the issue. Australia's Attorney-General Robert McClelland says, "There is absolutely no way that the government will be recognising polygamist relationships. They are unlawful and they will remain as such. Under Australian law, marriage is defined as the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. Polygamous marriage necessarily offends this definition."

But what do the ordinary Muslim women have to say on this issue. Safiya Husain, 75, who migrated to Australia in 1981, feels polygamous marriages are not in the interest of women and children. She says, "In the times we live today, no man can treat all his wives equally. The women in such relationships can never be happy. The worst affected are the children."

Silma Ihram, an Anglo-Australian convert to Islam and one of the pioneers of Muslim education in Australia, believes most women are smart, educated, financially independent and don't want such relationships.

Courtesy: Women's Feature Service

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

stop the traffik...

A must listen - Steve Chaulk speaking at Mars Hills on stop the traffik and the image of God in ALL people... want to join the fight? check out the latest Uk resources to wet your appetite at the main site.

Monday, August 11, 2008

the Samson generation

I was able to preach last night at Glenroy Corps for the justice night... good times.
It was a great reminder to me personally about the call of God on this generation of Salvos to be the people He has called them to be. Holiness... to be different from the world - set apart... but not just different so that we can be nerdy or wierdos... different so that we will be alert... and able to recognize the occupation of the enemy - the compromise of our lives and futures. the thing is Samson was to be a Nazarite... which among other things means that he wasn't to touch alcohol.
this is a similar call to a salvationist... except that I understand from many i've talked with that Salvationists want to do away with this... and I don't get it. Now, I get it if we are simply following some sort of irrelevant religious code for no specific reason... but when our call is to be set apart from a culture that is so steeped in oppression - and to allow that to keep us alert (think about braveheart before his death - 'I need my wits about me')... it's like the people who think we should drink are not aware of the snare... the oppression of Alcohol on society. Check out these stats and then take a long hard time to ask yourself if abstinence from alcohol doesn't just sound like a great idea?!

consider these stats just in Australia: for more stats click here
Alcohol is the second largest cause of drug-related deaths and hospitalisations in Australia (after tobacco) (AIHW, 2005a).
Alcohol is the main cause of deaths on Australian roads. In 1998, over 2,000 deaths of the total 7,000 deaths of persons under 65 years, were related to alcohol (Ridolfo and Stevenson, 1998).
In 2004, the age standardised rate for male deaths due to alcoholic liver disease as the underlying cause was 5.5 per 100,000, compared with 1.5 per 100,000 for females (ABS 2006b).
In 2004, the age standardised rate for male deaths with mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol as the underlying cause was 1.9 per 100,000, compared with 0.4 per 100,000 for females (ABS 2006b).

In the seven years from 1998-99 to 2004-05, the overall number of hospital separations with principal diagnosis of mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol increased from 23,490 to 35,152; the number per 1,000 population increased by 39% for all ages during that time period (by 41% for those under 20 years) (AIHW 2006).
According to a study by Ridolfo and Stevenson (2001), the largest number of alcohol-related hospital separations among both men and women in 1998 was due to alcoholism and alcoholic liver cirrhosis. The second-largest number was due to road injuries for men and cancer for women.
It has been estimated that 31,132 Australians died from alcohol-caused disease and injury between 1992 and 2001; of these 75% were male and 25% female. From 1993-94 to 2000-01, there were over half a million hospitalisations due to risky and high-risk drinking in Australia (Chikritzhs 2003).
At the community level, the estimated economic cost of alcohol misuse to the Australian community in 1998-99 totalled $7.6 billion, and this estimate includes associated factors such as crime and violence, treatment costs, loss of productivity and premature death (Collins and Lapsley, 2002).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Prophetic imaginations...

Just finished listening to a message by Walter Brueggemann... blogged about it but accidently posted it on armybarmy... go on a listen to it there!
It reminded me though of the book I've just finished reading by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw, Jesus For President... offering a great historical glimpse at the counter-cultural call (including a rugged and fierce non-violence) of Christ... and the confusing realities of the Empire (dominant culture) when it tries to squeeze Christianity into it's mold. Tony Campolo used to say that if we lived truly holy lives it would be like giving the finger to the world... this book is a bit like that - the challenge of course is to ask ourselves how following Jesus makes us different from the rest of the world... what would Jesus do? was a campaign that tried to ask I suppose, but we answered with typical personal and super spiritual answers... like 'he'd pray about it' or work a miracle... but where would Jesus live? and would Jesus join the military? and would Jesus pay taxes? and What would Jesus' house look like? Who would Jesus hang out with? would he give away his life savings to the poor? etc.... interesting stuff.
Check out their website for more.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The General of The Salvation Army has called all Salvationists around the world to pray for peace on Sept. 21st.
Jesus said that peacemakers would be blessed... why not step up and consider yourself blessed this year by hosting a local peace prayer vigil... or gather some friends and pray together - or organize a protest against military spending... let's ask for more money to be allotted to poverty relief than bullets, bombs and guns - call us crazy! ;-) WELL, on second hand, call us blessed!
You can download a poster to get started at justsalvos... be a peacemaker.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Darwin greetings... the Australian Outback...

Well, it's official - i've now seen Australia... the outback of the Northern Territories is something to behold! Yep, that's me - holding a crocodile! ;-)
This sunday morning there were at least six languages spoken/sung in the meeting at the Northern Territory Congress... reminded me of the complexity of humanity and at the same time we were all able to put aside our cultural differences and fix our eyes on Jesus - celebrating our diversity! Wow! I'm praying God will continue to teach me how to transcend culture through the Cross... this day also reminded me of God's great heart for the whole world... "from every nation and every tribe... oh come to Jesus... His blood cries..."
The world for God.