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Saturday, 28 May 2016

Open Letter to the Australian Leadership OR Bowls and Boats

This is a fruit bowl.
I call it a fruit bowl because I put fruit in it.
For example, at the moment there are apples and pears in there.
I happen to be also rather fond of avocados, but their fruit status is rather more complex.
By botanical definition, they are a fruit. 
But my tastebuds protest that they are vegetable.
So should they be allowed to reside in the fruit bowl or not?
I tend to put them in there.
After all, it’s only called a fruit bowl because I usually put fruit in it.
But it’s really just a bowl.
And I could put anything in if I wanted to, if it wasn’t too big.

There are only ever two arguments made against taking in refugees and asylum seekers that ever seem to stand with people.
The first is against the people themselves; fears surrounding their reasons for coming here, whether they are actually terrorists, and if they’re actually genuine.
The second is that the country can’t sustain the influx of that number of people; there isn’t the infrastructure, or the economy, or the space, or something similar.

In regards to the first; we can be wary of putting avocados in with apples and pears.
But really, we just need to see that it is just a bowl, and it is we who have defined it as solely a fruit bowl.
Refugees and asylum seekers are first, human.
As are we.
Could there be terrorists among them?
There could also be terrorists among us.
But if we let that fear control what we do, then they have actually succeeded in their purpose.
That doesn’t mean that we do nothing; but we have other means of finding terrorists and other threats than just stopping people coming in.
This is a brute force method, rather than a targeted strategy.
And it’s not helpful.
Particularly not for these mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters that come to us.
Hurting, and in pain, and asking for help.
If we respond by turning away, then this just shows the world who we truly are.
We are working against humanity.

In regards to the second; yes, the bowl is only so big.
And yes, if you try and fit an elephant into that bowl, it will not work.
The bowl will probably break.
But we are one of the biggest bowls there is.
We have “boundless plains to share,” and yet we seem to be worried about running out of space.
This seems rather strange.
Yes, it will be hard.
But people are willing to make it work.
People are clamouring to be able to help.
Volunteering their time, their homes, their money, their energy and resources.
It might involve more of an investment than you would like.
But this is an investment into humanity.
And into our country.
And into the future.
I think that’s worth it.
And so do rather a lot of others.
Why don’t you?

*NB: I’m sorry if anyone is offended by the analogy used, or at being compared to an apple, pear, or avocado. I happen to be rather fond of each of them. And no, I don’t think we are as different as apples and avocados. But from some of the talk, you’d think that other people do.

Monday, 9 May 2016


Hello again! Hopefully, I'll be able to start posting on here every now and then a bit more regularly - trimester has just finished, so I've got a little bit of time where study is behind me. Which is nice :)

I wanted to post up on here about a bit of a challenge that God has put to me. Well, God through a good friend.

Long-time readers, and those who know me well, know that in many things I can be ruled quite strongly by my heart. In part, perhaps this is a reaction to a time when I tended to be much more dominated by my head - but whyever it is, that's what I've experienced. Particularly, of course, when you start talking about romance and the like. (Yay for being a Four!)

One result of this is that I'd pretty much follow my heart without question when it came to romance. Which, you know, would seem to make sense on many levels. It certainly made more sense to me than following my head, and having a list that people had to fit to before they'd be okay. But it meant that I often ended up chasing after a relationship in itself, which is a problem. Because that's something that God needs to fill. You can find the most beautiful person in the world (and there are plenty of beautiful people), the most loving and caring person in the world, and they won't fill our heart's desire for relationship. Only God can do that. My head knew that, but my heart was being rather stubborn in catching up and getting with the program. To the point where it was chasing after relationship to avoid the hurt of relationship not working out, at times.

So I was challenged to change the game. To take an intentional period where I'm not chasing after anyone, or after any relationship but the one that I have with God. I reflected on it a bit, and it didn't take much reflection for my heart to get very grumpy about the idea, balk against it a lot, and generally dismiss it as not good. Which was enough reason for me to see that it was something that I really, really needed to do. So I made the call. I started about four weeks back, and I'm going until at least the end of the year. The 'at least' is so that I can reflect on it then, and if my heart's still out of whack, I keep going until it plays ball. And also so it's more tricky for my heart to just wait for that end time and focus on then, because there's not necessarily a specific end time.

You may or may not have seen me wearing this over the past little while. It's a little reminder to me of my commitment, this season that I'm in. Originally the thought was to do a purple and green band as an alliterative reminder - purple for patience and green for God - but it was too finicky and didn't really work. So I've used this instead, and I remember something a little bit different.

I remember that if I want, one day, to be tied to someone else, that I first need to be tied to God. The image that comes to mind is that of an old sailing ship in a big storm. The waves are getting bigger and bigger, and it gets to the point that the captain knows he can't do anything. "Tie yourselves down!" he shouts. Now, if at this point you tie yourself to someone else, this is going to accomplish next to nothing. It just means you'll be thrown overboard together. You first need to tie yourself to something more sturdy - like the mast. If you do this, then you will weather the storm together. Otherwise, you will be lucky to survive.

I think the same is true in relationships, and in marriage. If we - if I - look first to trying to make a relationship work with someone else, then sure, a relationship might happen. But it ultimately won't last if I haven't first put the time into making sure that my relationship with God is healthy; that I'm drawing my love, identity, belonging from him, not from whoever I'm pursuing. I need to be tied to God first; and then, when I am tied to someone else, I know that that tie will be so much more enduring and sturdy, and will stand true through what comes in life.

Already, my heart is putting up one heck of a fight, and throwing everything it can at me to give it up. Depression is an old favourite, as are shame and guilt. So if I'm not looking fantastic, this might be why! But I know how important this is, and how crucial it is to get this right. My heart can have a temper tantrum all it likes, I'm in for the long haul.

I'm posting this for a few reasons. Firstly, accountability. The more secret something is, the easier it is to change it or get rid of it. But if I make it more public, then it becomes a lot more concrete. Secondly, support - because I'm darn well going to need it. I've already had some of my worst days in a long time over this period, particularly in terms of depression, but thankfully they've been and gone pretty quick. Thirdly, as a bit of encouragement to others. I don't pretend to have it all worked out, but I hope that in my process of working things out, people can find a thing or two that help them in their life as well. :)