Tuesday, April 29, 2008

ANZAC Day-a faith event?

Somebody linked to this article in a previous comment, thought it was interesting, and with quite a few things to think about too. Click on the title of this post to read. I'm not convinced either way, is just an interesting one.

Here are some excerpts

For historians, Anzac Day, is “a martial affair with military music and ritual”, while for churches and their army chaplains, it’s a “faith event”.

Anzac Day services, asserts a Brigadier Principal Chaplain, are, “in essence faith events. Through the prayers, the acts of memorial, and the playing of bugle calls, those who are gathered are led through an encounter with acts of personal devotion and sacrifice, they are reminded of the comforting care and presence of God and they are pointed to the hope of future resurrection”.

Taking part in such a service, the Principal Air Force Chaplain said, “that the thousands of Australian men and women serving overseas were continuing the Anzac tradition by facing evil at every turn, and that it is a time to be inspired by their sacrifice and courage, so that we might play our part in seeking to confront the evil in our world”. (See "Time to ditch compulsory study of Australian history", On Line Opinion, July 4, 2007.)

The media has been relentless in exposing the shameful treatment of members and ex members of the ADF. Since last Anzac Day, its now known, that 1,200 personnel who served in East Timor have lodged post traumatic disorder claims; that thousands of Australian veterans took pills linked to symptoms of Gulf war syndrome; that at least 48 Iraq and Afghanistan vets have been discharged with mental health problems; that of the 900 who served in Somalia, some 20 per cent had serious mental health concerns, and that the ADF’s alcohol and drug service was starved of funds and ignored by officers. Not a word from the churches.

A faith event is not about parades and prayers. A faith event is about confession and the creation of four million Iraqi refugees and an untold number of soldiers disturbed and disabled. It’s about the condemnation of evil whether that of the suicide bomb or the cluster bomb; it’s about a rededication to peace, and not to out of control budgets for maiming and killing.

Anzac Day services might be a lot of things, but they are not faith events.

Non-violent resistance to war.

Recently some friends of mine were involved in a protest against war, they broke into an Army War Game, played frisbee with some troops and made their point that they disagree with war n stuff.

That's a disgusting over-simplification, so check out the full story, and results from their court case here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What is prayer 2

I stole this post from Hamo, but have been thinking similar things myself for a while now, so just thought I'd use his words instead of mine :)

It seems a pretty standard trait of almost every church I’ve been a part of (including Upstream) that when it comes to praying in a group, we almost always ’share’ what’s going on (talk about it) and then when everyone’s had a turn we pray about it.

I have often wondered if the ’sharing’ isn’t actually the prayer and I have always felt a little weird telling God the stuff he just heard when he was present with us in the conversation.

Its almost as if we behave like he’s not in the room until we are officially praying.

And yet because of my long history of prayer in this form I would feel like I hadn’t ‘prayed’ if we just talked. Maybe this is something I need to unlearn?…

What do you think?

When are we actually praying?


Have been reflecting again on the importance of ANZAC day to us Australians, and why it is we honour so much a battle we pretty much lost. Actually, did lose.

Is an interesting question I wasn't really forced to articulate until i met some Canadians overseas who didn't really get it.

The thing I came up with was basically about how young we were as a nation, and how it was the first war we entered as a country, and how that defined us int he eye of the world so much etc. Was amazing seeing how quiet and respectful the kids at school were yesterday. They really seem to get it.

Somebody asked if I would go with them to the dawn service, but to be honest, I feel a little ambivalent about it. And I feel just a little ashamed of that, i feel a tad Un-Australian.

I'm still struggling to articulate it, but after having been half way around the world to pay my respects, and seen Anzac Cove first hand, going along to the parade just feels all a little too routine and 'something I really should do'. If I'm just doing it because I 'should' then I'm not really interested.

It's kinda funny, but going to the footy-and more specifically, doing my minute's silence there, feels like it's a whole lot more appropriate this year.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Coolest Website Ever

Am just doing a bit of research with this post. I have noticed that lately my blog readership has pretty much doubled, despite me posting bugger all. I did some research into why, and found out heaps of people are being referred here when they search Google for the phrase 'Coolest Website Ever'. Obviously they aren't searching for my site, but cos I had that heading, originally linking to this site, somehow they're coming to my site.

I wonder if this post will change that in any way...

Pretty funny I thought.

Credit Card Scam

Probably worth being aware of.

This one is pretty slick since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want.

Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it. This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.

One of our employees was called on Wednesday from 'VISA', and I was called on Thursday from 'Master Card'. The scam works like this: Caller: 'This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a Marketing company based in Arizona?'

When you say 'No', the caller continues with, 'Then w e will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the e $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?'

You say 'yes'. The caller continues - 'I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security.

You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. 'Do you need me to read it again?'
Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then says, 'I need to verify you are in possession of your card'. He'll ask you to 'turn your card over and look for some numbers'. ; There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are e part of your card number, the next 3 are the security Numbers' that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, 'That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?' After you say No, the caller then thanks you and states, 'Don't hesitate to call back if you do', and hangs up.

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to our card.

Long story - short - we made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the scammers want is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card.Don't give it to them.. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Master card directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card! If you give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think y you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or more difficult to actually y file a fraud report.

What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a 'Jason Richardson of Master Card' with a word-for-word repeat of the V ISA scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Free Business cards, Notepads etc

I have stumbled upon this most fantastic of scams-it's great.

Basically the way this company works is that they offer you free stuff, like business cards, T-shirts, postcards, rubber stamps, stickers etc, which you can personalise in any way.

They way they make their money is that they always offer you little upgrades, or extra little things to buy as ur ordering. But if you're smart the only thing you pay for is the postage. I've got my own business cards, stickers, rubber stamp and a T-shirt and notepad on the way soon-it's great!

Check outt he link above to get on it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Community as a bowl

Had a discussion with somebodu today about what my perception of Christian community is, what a suitable analogy might be.

The one I came up with was that of a bowl within a bigger bowl. So everybody in community is a part of the smaller bowl, so that when cracks appear on the edges,a nd when pieces start to fall apart, they fall into, and are held by the rest of the bowl-everybody else.

But if they ahppen to fall outside the people bowl, the bigger bowl that is God is always there to help catch and support them.

Kinda cheesy, but a helpful analogy for me at the moment.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Christian response to Clairvoyancy...

A friend of mine spoke to me about this recently, and whilst we didn't have the chance to chat through our ideas on it, it got me thinking.

I remember at primary school being told that all of this sort of thing is evil and bad and we should not go near it. Even back then I thought that this sounded like a fairly extreme response.

I also know some Christians that go around to like Mind Body Spirit Festivals and talk to people about Jesus by explaining the themes in the Tarot cards and relating them back to Jesus (hard to explain, but is actually quite good quality contextualisation of the Gospel) and I'm still working out what I think.

One one hand, as I believe in God as a spiritual force for good, it make sense that there would be a spiritual force working against that, so I don't actually have a problem with believing that some clairvoyants can 'see' stuff that is beyond the scope of our human realm.

I believe that God is always bigger than any other spiritual force in the world, so in a sense we have nothing to worry about, but do need to realise that we can come under spiritual attack from stuff working against God, and that is very real and potentially harmful.

I also don't subscribe to the 'cold n flu spirit' theory that says if you go near anybody who is using evil spiritual forces you will automatically 'catch' a bad spirit.

This is by no menas my area of expertise, but is an area worth thinking about.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

When do we disagree with other Christians?

Have been thinking a bit lately, following some interesting conversations at footy, about when it it and isn't appropriate to speak out against other Christians-particularly around those who don't really follow Jesus right now.

The first came up around the time of Heath Ledger's funeral, and I had a great conversation with a mate about how I was equally outraged at those Christians picketing his funeral with all their 'God Hates Fags' signs and crap. I think he was relieved to find that not all Christians are bigots on this one.

The other was a much more complex issue which I couldn't be bothered explaining here, but I did make it well known how strongly I disagreed with some people's actions. Not only because I do disagree, but because I think it is important for him to see two points of view on the issue.

But then i was challenged when reading some stuff in the bible about people knowing us by our love for each other, for our unity and stuff like that.

So perhaps my mates walked away from those conversations thinking how divisive and argumentative Christians are, and that they aren't actually that loving. Now i definitely wasn't way harsh to the people, but to their actions, but maybe not everybody can differentiate the difference?

I don't think there is a blanket answer for this one, and it probably just needs to be thought about case by case, but has got me thinking.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Has the money changed me?

As many of you know, about this time last year I was on a game show and manged to score myself a very lucky $98 000. If you saw the show you'll know what i mean by lucky!

I have been reflecting a bit lately, as I have been all year really, about the effect that winning such a large amount of money has had on my life.

They (who is 'they' anyway) that like 70-80% of people who win massive amounts of money-like in the millions, end up regretting it, as they change their lifestyle, live it up and the monet runs out and they are much les happy afterwards.

I didn't win that much, and was quite aware of that kind of thing, and so have been fairly conscious of the effect it's had on me, which i will post on soon.

But I'd love to hear from anybody who reckons they ahve seen it change me in some way-good or bad. Not everybody is comfortable with posting criticism, so if ur not, then email me. If you know me well enough to know if it's made a difference you'll prob have my email.

I know what i think, but would love to hear others feedback.