Archive for the ‘Ponderings’ Category

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A letter to the government

November 1, 2010

Last week I wrote my first letter to an MP.

After discussing euthanasia in my Ethics class, me and many others at College decided to voice our opposition to the practice. This is particularly timely as a euthanasia bill, introduced by the Greens, is currently being debated in the Federal and State Upper Houses. The letter isn’t argued brilliantly, but it’s something. For more detailed information about euthanasia, head to the Social Issues Executive website.

Here’s what I wrote:

Dear the Honourable …,

I am writing to express my opposition to voluntary euthanasia and to urge you to oppose the voluntary euthanasia legislation soon to come before the Parliament.

My concern that is that this legislation will de-value human life and have a negative effect on society, particularly our view of the terminally ill. A person’s life remains inherently valuable during the course of a terminal illness. Therefore, life must remain protected at this time, even if someone, at some stage, desires to end it. We seek to protect the lives of the suicidal, even when they have an illness such as depression. Human life is to be always to be valued and protected over and above an individual’s wishes.

I am also concerned on the effect such legislation will have on society’s concern for and care of the elderly and terminally ill. If euthanasia is the path we take as society will increase our loathing of the sick and elderly, rather than our desire to care for them. These people will be seen pure as a burden to be removed rather than a person to be cared for. Those that wish not to receive a lethal injection feel that they are a drain on resources. Research and funding into palliative care, which is highly effective, will also be reduced. This legislation opens the way for euthanasia without consent, which has been the experience of countries such as the Netherlands.

I ask that you consider these arguments and oppose this legislation as it comes before the parliament.

Regards,

AM

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Devotion and Justin Bieber

April 28, 2010

Breakfast television was captivating viewing last Monday morning, caused by a certain individual – Justin Bieber. My family watched as we heard the news of the live concert being cancelled, the swarming of the television studio by hundreds of female tweens and finally the one-song, studio performance of the bite-sized Canadian.

But what got my attention was the devotion of the thousands of fans to this pop (although I’m sure he’d like to be known as R&B) star. Some camped out all night at Circular Quay, others flew in from interstate, some made signs, all screamed at the sight of even a picture of Justin and all knew every word to his song. It made me reflect on our devotion to Jesus. What can we learn from these fans on how we relate to Jesus?

They were devoted to Justin, but is Jesus the one we are ultimately devoted to? Do we take every opportunity to get to know him better? Do he and his word fill our minds so that we live lives to please him? Can we not help but share our excitement over him to others? Does it lead us to do crazy things like love our enemies or get up early to read the Bible and pray?

But how do we grow this devotion to Jesus within us? We do this not by the excitement of going to a concert or stalking a celebrity, but by the ordinary activities of reading and reflecting on God’s word, being part of a Christian community and praying to our heavenly Father. It is in these ‘ordinary’ things that we see Jesus and how worthy he is of our devotion.

So if we’re excited over someone, then enjoy their music or movies or even their appearances on TV. But our devotion to them should pale into insignificance compare with our devotion to Christ. He has loved us, not by performing for us, but by dying for us. He has given us true cause to celebrate because by trusting in him we have a right relationship with our Creator.

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Holidays?

January 21, 2010

I think we’re finally feeling like we’re on holidays. Although College broke up in late November family illness, baby issues, writing talks etc have made the last couple of months really tough. But we’re finally doing small holiday-type things like visiting the local pool or going to the beach. That summer/holiday feeling has finally begun.

One thing (among many) I’ve found hard is not being able to help those around us. With lots of friends moving and with others on holidays I would have love to help more with moving or had people over for dinner. But we just haven’t been in a position to do so and the couple of times I have helped others move it has been quite costly to my family that day. I guess it’s just not the time to be helpful and trust that God will provide for the needs of others without me.

However, reading a bit of the Bible this morning was timely reminder:

  • Romans 5:3-5 – we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

How comforting to know that hard times are not meaningless but are being used by God to give us hope, the certain expectation of God’s love. I look forward to looking back at this time and seeing how God used it so that I trust him and depend on him more deeply.

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CMS Summer School – Senior High

January 16, 2010

At the start of the year I gave six talks for the Year 11-12 (Senior High) programme at CMS Summer School. The theme of the week was “Jesus….   really.” We looked at John’s account of Jesus’ life and I asked questions including What is your saviour / solution / hope / life and challenged the group if Jesus really is the answer to these questions in their lives. Cathy Sampson wrote on the vibe of the group here.

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Two things that struck me over the week were:

– How Jesus can become dull in our thinking. It was great fun to preach on episodes in John like Jesus feeding the 5000 or raising Lazarus from the dead, which many of the students would have heard 100 times before. However, the goal was not just to be reminded of the story but to see who Jesus is through them. Hopefully, it was helpful in getting to know the one we follow better, and

– How God works through weakness. These talk came at a really bad time for us as a family with wife not 100% and daughter still not settling well. As a result my head and energy was not full in gear to give a series of talks. Also, the directors were first-timers and were nervous about the week. But on both fronts God proved faithful, allowing the week not only to run smoothly but effectively and my talks seemed well-received and God was a work challenging us to trust Jesus more.

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Christmas Day thought – Carols

December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone in the blog world!

My thought for Christmas day regards Christmas carols. With Natasha sleeping so badly, I’ve taken to singing Christmas carols to her while rocking her to sleep (If anyone from Tresillian is readying; yes, we’ve left her to cry, then gave her a pat, then repeat before I picked her up). However, it has been really lovely reflecting on the words of the many Christian Carols. Many particularly focus (appropriately) on the incarnation – God becoming human in Jesus. Not only does this enable Jesus to save humanity by entering into humanity, but also shows that we have a God who can relate to all that we go through as humans. He knows our fears, joys, griefs and delights. The verse below from ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ reflects on this. How I love relating and depending on a God who knows me and what it is like to be me.

For he is our childhood’s pattern,
day by day like us he grew;
he was little, weak and helpless,
tears and smiles like us he knew.
and he feeleth for our sadness,
and he shareth in our gladness.

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The Return of the Ton

November 23, 2009

Well, exams and the College year are over and so is my self-imposed blogging break. The exams were a lot of work, but I’m happy with how I think I went (the actual marks may prove me wrong) and am pleased with all I have learned. The exam period was very full on for us as a family, and so we’re very thankful to God for his support and loving kindness he showed us through that time.

Here’s a taste for what’s coming up on “The Ton”

– More music reviews (now that I have a bit more time to listen to music again)

– Reflections on ministry, taking a blogging break and Natasha’s first time in hospital

– The Moore College golf day is on Thursday and results will go up shortly after, and

– I’m preaching on Haggai (ch 1) and giving a series of talks for Senior High at CMS Summer School so there’s bound to be something to write on in that

Also, I’ve been asked to put up more Natasha pics, so to start off here is one from a recent wedding we attended.

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Sydney Dust Storm Pics

September 23, 2009

Looking out my window I feel like I’m in an old movie. Getting up early meant I saw the sky turn from blood red to sepia. Looks like a crazy weather day ahead – should be fun!

Here are some dusty pics. Wanna know who’s behind it all?

Sydney DustSydney Dust view