Occupy Faith

Occupy Faith
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Wednesday, December 31, 2008



Friday, December 19, 2008

Building...stone upon stone

Our own small stone of activism,
which might not seem to measure up
to the rugged boulders of heroism we have so admired
is a paltry offering toward the building of an edifice of hope ...
For we can do nothing substantial toward
changing our course on the planet, a destructive one,
without rousing ourselves, individual by individual,
and bringing our small, imperfect stones to the pile.
The Impossible Will Take a Little While:
A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A reprieve for specialist religious broadcasting at RN?

Readers of Desert will recall a series of posts regarding new programming at the ABC's Radio National in 2009 which would result in the axing of the Religion Report. Please see posts here, here and here.

This afternoon Crikey has published the following article:

Glenn Dyer writes:

Is the head of ABC Radio, Sue Howard, about to leave the national broadcaster?

Talk around the ABC is that the Corporation's Managing director, Mark Scott, has decided to find a new head of radio and Ms Howard doesn't fit his view of what's need for the gig.

Michael Mason, the current head of ABC Local radio, Kate Dundas, who has served in various positions in ABC radio is another contender, but a late bloomer is Linda Bracken, who heads up the Triple J Network.

There's talk Ms Howard's future at the ABC would have been clarified late last week, but there was a Radio National function on Friday and then in the Australian's Media section on Monday, Mark Scott was named media person of the year, so an announcement about Ms Howard's future might have been a bit off.

Mr Scott is understood to have been less than impressed with the way the restructuring of some of Radio National's programming next year was handled by the network's management and the management of the division.

Discontent with Howard apparently dates to the bungled decision to reshape Radio National programming, including the rescheduling and abolition of several specialist programs. Management's intentions only came to light after an unauthorised early morning editorial from the Religion Report's Stephen Crittenden in October. The changes might have been the sort of thing of which Mark Scott might approve, but the implementation was a PR disaster for Radio National. 

Calls to ABC Corporate were not returned by deadline.


Guantanamera: the woman from Guantanamo

There is something about the song, Guantanamera. Belting out that one word somewhat musically does something to one's spirit. Aaaah, I feel Latin, Spanish, Cuban. My Anglo-Irish genes have tucked away in them another gene that rolls its r's and speaks Spanish. And my foot taps: boots with cuban heels making staccato noises. Any moment now a tango, a salsa will come - all because of that woman from Guantanamo whose 90th annivesary of memory in song will be celebrated next year, in 2009.

Which brings me to Roger Cohen. Each day the email edition of The New York Times drops in. I don't read it every day and, when I do, I don't read it all. There's a cursory glance at the headlines as I head for the Op-Ed - the opinion pieces. And I'm picky. My favouritest is Paul Krugman whom I have been reading for years and who, just this year, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics. Nice to know I can still pick 'em. I used to read Thomas Friedman. But not since, some years ago, he complained that no one was helping the USA in the Iraq war - when Australia was, first in after the USA, because of the conservative PM at the time and Australia's penchant for following the USA into hell and high water. I used to read Maureen Dowd all the time - but then everyone in Australia caught on and her columns would make it into the Australia press and I moved on. I read the occasional Gail Collins - not quite as smart and not as politically sharp as Ms Dowd but very amusing. Frank Rich is getting more reading time - and, because of his Cuban columns, Roger Cohen is stirring my heart. See what I wrote about his last column over here.

And now he has written with the dateline, Guantanamo Cuba. Guantanamo: the sounds of music, desire, and inhumanity all in one word. In Cuba, Cohen found a surprise:

A surprise awaited me. The church was full. A young priest in luminous green vestments was holding Mass. His words met me as I entered: “La Misa es siempre un encuentro con Dios” — “Mass is always an encounter with God.”

Read his words for yourself - food on which the mind may meditate and which will touch the spirit.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Third Sunday of Advent 2008: Gaudete Sunday - Rejoice!

Went over to Eltham last night for their Multi-faith Carols by Candlelight. The Carols were to have been held in the Eltham Town Square - with a rain-affected strategy of retreat to the Catholic Church. Well, it was at the Catholic Church - but not because of rain. It was because of the cold - following all the rain of Friday and Saturday. Imagine - December in Australia and Carols have to be indoors because of the cold!!!

The Rev Stephen
Delbridge whose wife Libby is the Vicar of St Margaret's Anglican Church wrote his very first song for the occasion called "Dreaming". 


Dreaming God is with us
Dreaming God is here
Jesus born among us
Born afresh each year.
Listening to the rising wind,
Tossing the leaves,
teasing the night,
God is calling across the sky,
Jesus in love is coming in light.

Whispering to the sleeping Joseph,
Baby unseen, gift to the world,
Mary alerted holds her breath,
Joseph in trembling,
wonders unfurl.

Jesus is born love and tears,
Held in embrace, hope amongst fear.
Mary knows God is born this night,
Joseph holds promise
new life so dear

(c) Stephen Delbridge 2008
Please note:
The words of Stephen's song are published here by permission.
If you wish to use the words and if you wish to obtain the music that accompanies them,
please email Stephen at 
PS:  The Christmas Bowl collection was for "Disaster Risk Reduction" in the Pacific Islands. The money will go to help people reduce the damage from cyclones which have increased in frequency due to climate change.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Breath, Hope and Light

My friend Belinda and her blog, Belinda's place, are very inspirational.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Thoughts for the Journey

Behold, behold I make all things new,
beginning with you and starting from to-day.
Behold, behold I make all things new,
my promise is true, for I am Christ The Way


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Second Sunday of Advent: 2008

Prayer of the day - Advent 2

Merciful God, you sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: give us grace to heed their warning and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever - Amen

From the Pew Sheet, All Saints, Mitcham
Rev'd Dianne Sharrock, B. Theol

The first reading today is from the prophet Isaiah [Isaiah 40 1.11] and brings a message of hope and comfort to the people of Israel who wee in exile in Babylon.  Despite their failings God is merciful and has promised them a new beginning.  John the Baptist appears in the line of that great prophet and again promises Israel the chance of a new beginning if they repent and turn again towards God.

The emphasis in Mark's portrait of the Baptist is very much that of the subordinate.  John's self-effacing manner makes it clear that he is not the one who is promised, but the one who is to prepare the way.  The emphasis in John's preaching is non judgment, for Jesus it is salvation.

The wilderness or the desert can be a silent and frightening lace - and yet it is into this silence that both John and Jesus withdraw to pray.  For them it became a place of deep intimacy with God.

Advent is also a time of new beginnings and John the Baptist's 'voice in the wilderness' is also a personal invitation to each of us to prepare a way for the Lord into our lives now.  The church recognizes the need to be in a kind of wilderness and so we do not have flowers, except for the Advent wreath, no water in the font, no Gloria nor Creed and we could also use a pottery chalice, paten and candle holders.

John speaks of repentance and to repent is to have a change of heart or mind.  Have you ever had a change of heart or mind over a significant person, issue or task which has led to a new approach or way of thinking?

Make time this week to spend a while in the wilderness within, listening to the voice that is there.

Pax, Dianne


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Bearing Witness

Here’s the principle: 
if something is happening 
and we’re the only ones witnessing it, 
we have a responsibility to posterity


Thursday, December 04, 2008


Come, Advent God
and complete the special work of Love
which you began in Jesus of Nazareth.

Many are cast down with spiritual needs,
thirsting for the Peace of your forgiveness
and the warmth of your healing Love.
Come to them with the grace they desperately need.
At evening or midnight, morning or midday - Come, Lord Jesus

Many are in despair through physical hardship,
seeking relief from their burdens
and hope in the midst of their cares.
Come to them with the help they desperately need.
At evening or midnight, morning or midday - Come, Lord Jesus

Your church in all the world needs saving
from everything that threatens its mission.
Where it is persecuted, keep it faithful.
Where it persecutes, rebuke it.
Where it is seduced by affluence, shake it to its foundations.
Where it is self-satisfied, thoroughly unsettle it.
Where it is weak, poor, and meek, bless it with your Joy, Peace and Strength.
At evening or midnight, morning or midday - Come, Lord Jesus

Come Advent God, and complete your work in Jesus Christ,
through whom we offer these Prayers.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

At the dawn I seek Thee,
Refuge, Rock sublime;
Set my prayer before Thee in the morning,
And my prayer at even-time.

I before Thy greatness
Stand, and am afraid;
All my secret throughts Thine eye beholdeth,
Deep within my bosom laid.

And withal, what is it
Heart and tongue can do?
What is this my strength, and what is even
This my spirit in me, too?

But indeed man's singing
May seem good to Thee.
So I praise Thee, singing, while there dwelleth
Yet the breath of God in me.

Translated by Nina Salaman


Thoughts for troubled times - 14

This picture comes from here

Righteous art thou, O Lord,
when I complain to thee;
yet I would plead my case before thee.

Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all who are treacherous thrive?

Thou plantest them, and they take root;
they grow and bring forth fruit;
thou art near in their mouth
and far from their heart.
...to be continued
 The Book of Jeremaiah 12:1 and 2


Monday, December 01, 2008

Thoughts for troubled times - 13

In the midst of concern for our economic direction, the size our carbon footprint...

I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself,
that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps,
Correct me, O Lord, but in just measure;
not in thy anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.
The Book of Jeremiah 10: 23,24