Global Hot Spots

4 08 2012

Operation World, edited by Jason Mandryk, lists the following as Global Hot Spots:

1. The future of Jerusalem

2. The Korean Peninsula

3. Somalia

4. Central Africa

5. Afghanistan and Pakistan

6. China’s growing self-confidence and assertiveness

7. Sudan’s deep divide

8. Iran

9. The Himalayan region

10. The Mexico—US drug corridor

11. The West African fault line between Islam and Christianity …esp. Nigeria

12. A Southeast Asian corridor—from Myanmar through Thailand to Malaysia & Indonesia

13. The Caucasus

14. Immigration into Europe—’an unstoppable tide of humanity’

Big Concerns—in Australia

9 07 2012

We have a great country here in Australia.  However we also have some big concerns. Here are just a few:

  • Mining. Community Life in Country Australia needs genuine support from Federal and State Government Regulation. One prime reason is that Mining Companies—in the race to get rich—are abusive of the people in small towns and rural areas, Aboriginal communities in distant regions, farmers, their roads and town infra-structure, community life and resources. It is not for nothing that biblical wisdom calls upon people to suppress greed, and curb foolish desires.
  • Ferral Animals in Outback and regional Australia. Camels, Pigs, Goats, Zebras, Foxes, Cats, Dogs, Cane Toads, and more are not being targeted and kept in check to a sufficient degree. This is decimating many parts of the landscape. We need to invest public money to control these creatures.  Political parties like the Greens are silent about this stuff, (while they almost dismantle an Indonesian Beef industry). We need more political will and wisdom to effect action, and encourage shooters to take this in hand, for the benefit of all Australians.
  • Marriage is Foundational to Community and to Life. It is mere popularism to jettison centuries of wisdom, by changing the marriage act to include homosexual relationships. There is enough confusion about life as it is, without this change being foisted upon everyone to satisfy the desires a so few!
  • Foreign Investment in Farming Land. We urgently need to severely restrict land ownership to Australian people—if we want a secure future for our food production, and wellbeing of our nation, overall. Government lack strength of will to address this. It is urgent. Learn from New Zealand. Learn from China. Learn Quickly please.
  • The River Murray. As a South Australian it is easy to see how the power of the Eastern States and their desire for more and more water, is to the detriment of efficient farmers at the bottom end of the River. The situation is being addressed, and I hope it succeeds. It just makes sense to have a healthy river all the way to the sea.
  • Prime Agricultural Land in Tasmania. The Forestry Industry in Tasmania has abused local communities, and abused good farming land. The buying up of the best land for the planting of small timber to be used for wood-chipping is wrong, and harmful to local communities and their life-blood. Again big and powerful seems to triumph over local, people-matters. Ask farmers around Deloraine. Forestry has surrounded small farms, buying out other landholders, giving the farmer unwanted shade and wallabies, stealing underground water supplies, stopping rivers and ruining community life. Sheer money madness. Meanwhile some faceless investor in Sydney with too much money profits from growing trees, and gets tax-breaks at the expense of Tasmanian community.
  • Suburban Housing Plans. In such a vast nation, it is unfortunate to see the lack of planning for space for people to enjoy. In Adelaide large house blocks where children can play and people can retain their sanity, are just being carved up to cram in more houses. This is folly. When there is a chance to retain land for parks and gardens, the government is just carving up the land for real estate. Sheer madness. Human beings need space.
  • Fishing. The recent decisions to grab so much of the ocean for national parks, and the ongoing restrictions on fishing by recreational people is madness. Meanwhile large Pirate trawlers are not being checked or stopped in far off areas of our Oceans. This is the clearly the wrong approach. But green consciences seem easily salved by poor solutions.
  • Coles and Woolworths Supermarkets are a greedy Duopoly. It is a great shame that this has been allowed to develop. These large companies ruin primary industries with their capacity to dominate prices, and exert their powerful will at the expense of local growers. People such as the dairy industry, the beef and wine, and fruit and vegetable industries matter. We are allowing them to be treated with contempt and disdain, by this dominating retail outlet. It is wrong. PRoduct labelling is deceptive and there seems to be a lack of bite in the ACCC. Home brands dominate. Sadly, people just ignore the plain wisdom of Dick Smith. Wake up.
  • Insurance Fear. We need to address the amount that small people, and local community can be sued. Much of our fun activity is curbed by insurance fears. This needs to be addressed at a legal level, so that community can regain their freedom to hold events.  How often do we hear that something has been changed for fear of insurance claims. Take a large slippery-dip for example, or a circular whizzie wheel in a children’s park, even climbing on an old train!  Recover freedom!
  • Youth And Children: Our young people need more areas to play. This is linked to the insurance and space issues. People in the cities need a small fortune for their young people to lear to ride a motorcycle and have fun in spaces.
  • Overseas Aid: The Budget decision to forestall the contribution of Government to Overseas Aid, in the face of global economic concerns was an example of sheer ALP selfishness and ALP self-interest. It is an example of not keeping our Word—another from the ALP. It is an example of not genuinely feeling that we are part of a global life, where we need to care for others less fortunate. Bad leadership, very bad.
  • Drugs, Crime, Bikie Gangs: Our society is being badly affected by home invasions, suburban killings, drive-by murders, gang warfare, addiction to drugs, an illegal and destructive methamphetamine industry, prostitution, pornography, robbery,intimidation, threats to murder and criminal activity. Police need better powers within the legal system to attack this horrendously growing and alarming trend. It is linked to International Crime, and is not an easy issue to solve. Penalties must be far tougher, and the ability to get a conviction made simpler. Do it!
  • Abortion: The attitude of our Australian society towards the abortion of babies is horrifying. We have succumbed to a deceptive view of when life begins, and have failed to speak of the rights of a child in the womb, to be cared for, and have a right to begin life in this world. Careful thinking even from a non-faith perspective will soon show that this is a person in their early stages, within the Womb. We must listen and give voice to the stories of those who have seen the horror, seen the baby-child move away from the knife, as they were slaughtered, without a voice, without a right to love.
  • Pay Rises for Politicians: It is shameful that our politicians can all conspire and agree to greedy $40,000 to $100,000 per year type pay-rises (not base pay… pay rises of this magnitude) in 2012, while pensioners and self-funded retirees who have contributed greatly to building the nation, are left to turn off heaters in winter, to survive economically. Poor form, real poor.
  • Payment for Elite Sport: The Payments given to AFL footballers is out of control. $500,000 to $800,000 a year for catching and kicking a piece of leather. It is madness. And it is sending the wrong message to youth, to small communities, and ordinary people concerning the place of sport in our lives. It affects young people their willingness to enjoy sport, to volunteer, and serve generously. The elite players get big heads. Ugly pride is rewarded! They are not worth it. Why should local people who like sport be paying through sponsorships for this?
  • Sharia Law: the creeping concessions being made to the demands of Islam will deeply affect our future. One only needs to look at England, France or the Netherlands to see the unhelpful changes to community life which this had afforded. Rights for women—married and for young girls and their future freedoms, approach to married life, restriction to dress-codes, butchering of meat, refusal to integrate, formation of ghettos, community anger, separation from others. The policy of closing a swimming pool for males in country Victoria, is a classic example, as is the banning of ham-sandwiches at local council luncheon.  We need courage and a clear and broad, well thought-out understanding of the true nature of freedom and the need for regulation within society, to enhance freedom.
  • Government speechmaking:  Any society which puts ‘the economy’ ahead of ‘community life’ is heading for trouble. Our speech-writers need to change their rhetoric to put people and their communities first. Only then, will we be in a genuine position to be a rich blessing to others—including other nations, refugees, and the world generally.
My views are held by many others, I know. My personal thinking is deeply affected by the need to care for people first, families, youth, the elderly, communities; and also for the environment with which we have been entrusted to enjoy, and to receive its benefits gladly. I am glad and sure, that to follow Jesus in the power of his Spirit is the way for people, communities and families to be a blessing to the creation, into which we have been placed. Renewal and reform of faith, and action is alway possible. Lets do some!

(OK, so the next blog can include some good stories of good things that are happening)

Creation: Full of Wonder

15 05 2012

8 Gorgeous Nature Blogs for Earth Day.

Nice images, indeed!

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.

Psalm 19:1

A few tips for young guys

11 07 2011

Young guys: become a good catch!

Many young women would love to get married.  Many young women today are ‘a good catch’, already.

However, so many young guys their own age are ‘just not up to speed’.  I mean, ‘what are you young guys doing?’ I am convinced that many young guys just do not know how to be a suitable ‘catch’.  Now, I am not a ‘ladies man’, nor a ‘Casanova’. And I never had my act together—far from it.  But I am acutely aware that young guys in our society really do need to learn how to become a suitable catch. Some of my tips may seem obvious, and very basic. However, many young guys just seem to be totally ignorant of them. So here goes—a few tips for young guys:

1. Think. Think about this matter. Start thinking about how you might improve your treatment of all young woman.

2. Treat all young women really well—treat all as you would both a dynamic princess, and a good friend, and a fun sister. Honor them. Regard them highly. Cherish their presence. Happily honour their integrity (Most, will notice this quality shining forth in you). Chivalry is a bit out of fashion in some parts. (So don’t be wrongly condescending, as if you are superior. You are not). But it can still have a place.

3. Talk. Learn to talk to young women, by talking to them as often as you can (without being overly invasive or pushy). Overcome some natural shyness, just by trying a few simple words—often. ‘Hello……  (‘say their name’). Ask how they are? Tell them something interesting, you saw or heard. Not all just about yourself—especially, if you have a big ego, and think you are good.  If you are a bit timid, reveal something about yourself. Share your hopes. Believe in the future. Be sensitive to their comments in conversation! Be responsive too. It is a conversation. Converse!

4. Notice. Take a moment, to notice the small and the overall details of a young woman’s appearance (don’t stare!  haha). Notice accessories and colours – jewellery, shoes, colours, ribbons, fabrics, hair cuts. Pay compliments! (Often, a lot of effort has gone into the selection of these things—why?—so that you notice!)

5. Comment. You can say: ‘You look great!’ (Some young women hope they do, but are not 100% sure. Some don’t realise how lovely they really are. Even the most beautiful women, possibly do not get so many nice comments as you think). Or ‘I like your….’  These are not pick up lines. Just comments, open hearted.  The pick-up lines, haha. Do what you like with them!

6. Discover. Discover the grand dignity of true masculinity—your own, yes, but in the light of the master of masculinity himself: yes, knowing Jesus Christ, by faith, is important here. He has all the qualities of true humanity—kindness, sympathy, understanding, acceptance, genuine strength and toughness (dying on that cross was not a simple, easy matter), a non-violent masculinity, an outward looking focus towards the needs of others, joyfulness, service, cheerfulness, seriousness and a self-giving life! Learn what

7. Include. Learn to include young women in your conversations. Help them to know that they matter to you, and that you like and value their presence in life. Some few, can be a bit shy (but definitely not all!). Include, include, include.

8. Presentability. Clean your teeth. Smell nice—not stinky. Be clean, not grotty. Shave. Wear some real nice stuff, occasionally—as you can afford it. Stand tall. Be clear eyed. Get enough sleep. Have some money in your pocket. Keep your own room clean. Clean up the crap. Start some good habits right there, now. Clean the dust. Keep the floor clean. Lose some weight, if you need to.  Put on some muscle if you need to. Give attention to your skin and diet if you need to do so—as best as possible.

9. Outward. Be outward. Be outgoing. Help. Assist. Move. Dig in. Get over yourself. Don’t just be self-obsessed, always wondering how you are coming across, and if you are looking impressive in the mirror. It is much more than that. Be active. Actively, enjoy the company of the young women. Open doors for women—even the feisty feminists who can do it themselves—it may ev en be a laugh.  If not, think twice on that one— or thrice, she could be a total gem. Be sociable. Turn up. Go to stuff. Be available.

10. Generosity. Learn to give generously, whether it is help, or inclusiveness in conversations, or in preparing some food, or buying drinks, or giving a gift. Give good gifts. When you are going out, do the flowers thing, and the small gifts and the little things. Just a bit here, and there—care enough to bother.

11. Food. Life involves food and drink. Good food and good drink is always attractive. Learn to cook, and make basic stuff—and interesting stuff. It is not that hard. Be confident with a BBQ and with  stove-top. Learn to make a nice drink. A smoothie. Coffee. Tea. Teas. Mixing nice alcoholic drinks.  Go shopping and learn about products on the shelf. Learn about specialty shops. Fruits. Vegetables—lots of interesting ones. Enjoy good foods and drink. Learn how to cook fish, catch fish, flavour fish. Be a good ‘catch’ (haha).

12. Body language.  Laugh. Stand well.  Be attentive with your eyes (to their eyes! And their overall person). Stand near to girls, not distantly. Learn to do so. Let them appreciate and enjoy your masculine, physical presence. Even if you a scrawny, or a bit large. Be physically approachable, thoughtful, a bit buff, and a bit hug-able—when appropriate. Not always easy to work out, but practise. We are our bodies—a hand on a shoulder is still ok—not out of place.  Many young women will be game enough to touch your body, if they feel confident enough to do so. (And you are not some odd-dude, who is seriously unable to control your thoughts, and actions). So, let women touch you without them feeling uncomfortable, or embarrassed. Let it be natural. Let them hit you for stupid jokes. Human bodies are not just about sexual parts, and for sexual interaction. Good heavens! (And you may have to stop thinking about sex allllll the time if it is a bit obsessive, guys!).

13. Practical Man: Learn to be a bit practical at doing stuff, fixing stuff, or finding out who can fix stuff, and obtain stuff. Get your driver’s license. Look after a vehicle. Or motorcycle. Boat. Ski’s. Surf board. Help fix girls cars if you know how. Offer some advice, if they need some help. Some know heaps about cars, and gear. Some do not.

14.  Word oriented. God’s Word forwards life. His Word moves life in a noble direction. Be a person of the Word—knowing the incarnate Word, the written Word (Bible), the Implanted Word and receiving the Preached Word—the truth of Christ. Be able to be still, thoughtful and changing in your ideas. Don’t get stuck and fixed and rigid in opinions like a grumpy old man. But have an opinion. Think about life. Think—don’t be careless and manipulated by the media for all your opinions.

15. Action: Do a few dynamic things. Sport is good. So are plenty of other things. Some sport. Any type. Just some. So is activity, of all sorts shapes and sizes. Be active—it makes you appeal as a good catch.

16. Encourage: recognise and identify the gifts and talents, and hopes and dreams of women you meet. Be encouraging of them in their life, activity, family life.  It is so important to see the qualities of others and to urge them to be a significant contributor in life. Many will already be that. Some may not. True love discerns the needs of another and seeks to supply those needs.

17. Family: honour family life and families of all sorts. Honour your own parents. Highly important. Even if they have made a mess of some things. Family matters: It is good to recognise this strength in society and its importance all over the world. Welcome people, guys and girls into your own family relationships. That is where much of your identity has been formed—like it or not. Help the young women you meet to enjoy their own family—wherever possible. Many have wrecked families, and would love to be connected to stronger ones. Show an interest in children and young people. After all,. that is where things may head if you are a good catch. Family is so joyful, when it is good, and it can be so sad when it is not.

18. Culture: Be culturally alert. It is a global village now. Learn a bit. Understand some other diverse cultures. It makes you more objective, of our own cultures. It makes you more interesting, more adaptable. It inriches what you have to give to another person—to be a good catch.

19. Finance. Have some savings, if you can. Care for having a bit of money to do things. It will give her some confidence in things working out ok—in you being a good catch.

20. Mates.  Have some. Have plenty. Enjoy them. Learn from them. Accept them. But be objective about them too. And take a critical view of them if you need to. But be your own person, independent of mates. The group thing can stifle individual growth and maturity. I think this post is about maturity, in the details of life, actually.

21. Mystery: recognise that there is a lovely mystery in femininity that you and I will never, ever understand, comprehend or ‘get’. It is a marvel, a trouble, a problem and a delight—mostly. We will never be feminine, and so we shall never fully understand. It is a mystery to be lived in and appreciated, not puzzled out and solved. So receive the mystery of the Risen Christ in your life, and the mystery of womanhood, and let it be all that it is. Forgive, adapt, respond, marvel, laugh and wonder, and accept. It is a mystery!

22. Reflect: Take a good, long, hard look at yourself in terms of what a woman may think of you. It is not just about looks. If you are not great looking, let your personality and willingness to be a loving, dynamic person, be the attractive part. If you are great looking, then make sure there is more to you than that! Ha, in the whole scheme of things, when the light is off, it is not just looks that counts! Be thoughtful about what makes a good woman, and overlook, or embrace any lack some things if there is plenty of potential, otherwise. After all, she will be doing that about less-than-perfect, you!

Comment: Some of this looks a bit cheesy, I admit. Ok, a lot cheesy, I guess. But I hope you can see where I am going. Forgive me for serious omissions. Or let me know, and we will update the list, even to 100 things. C’mon guys, young guys, lift your game a bit. It will bless and benefit a lot of people.  (Ha, it could be a controversial post, I also agree. Being a bit of a traditionalist, myself, i guess). Even so, my aim is to say. ”c’mon young guys, c’mon”! Crikes! 

The gist of this, just had to be said!

Things that matter

21 11 2008

It seems to me that there are lots of things that matter in life. But, sometimes one is faced – or confronted, with the brevity of life. Like when someone you know is suddenly taken from this life. Death, can come so quickly. It catches us, it takes by surprise. It leaves its deep shock in our spirit.

So then, what matters? Just having fun? Doing lots of good things? Having lots of friends? Laughter? Joy? Or, as the cynics, might say… nothing. 

No. There are things that matter.

In the end it comes down to relationships. Many will agree. But sort of beyond that, is the matter of purpose. And that can be summed up in two things:

(1) Participating in the “mandate”, the great agenda, for creation. Which is, having been blessed, to then…: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’ (see Genesis 1:28) 

(2) Participating in the “gospel”, the great hope, and certainty, for the future of creation. That is, pausing long enough for the resurrection and crucifixion, to have their full effect upon one’s life, causing a great change of mind… for the better.

So then, may you be in the things that matter. Mowing a lawn, or catching a fish, or studying the galaxies, or nursing a sick child – these are creational things.

And, unfolding the mystery of life – Christ Jesus – that is a gospel thing.

Both are good to do. Both need each other, not just for balance, but for fulness of life, and for exercising our true humanity; and for joy – ah yes, joy, and for – well, making true sense of it all.  Cheers!

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