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Happy Friday! Today marks three years since I started my PhD. I’m setting an ultimatum.

Dear PhD, We’ve been together for three years now, it’s been a great journey, but I think it’s time to end things between us. What? You’re not ready for this? You’re disappointed I haven’t spent enough time on our relationship? I’ve worked hard, but yes, I admit, I could have done more. You want to give things another chance? I’ll give it 6 months. 9 months? Ok, 9 months, but that’s it. Then we’re done.

As you see, it’s complicated.

ecclesiastesMore ‘theologygrams’ here.

On introversion

Caroline Gregoire 23 signs you’re secretly an introvert

On refugees

Shaun Crowe The failure of the refugee lobby

Julian Burnside Temporary protection visas won’t work

On the Bible

Michael Bird Romans 3:1-20, a paraphrase

“There is not one righteous man or woman, not a single one to be found. Nobody has any clue about God, there is a drought of spiritual seekers. Everyone has deserted God, they have become as worthless as stock options in Lehman Brothers; there are no good Samaritans; good people are more scarce than twinkies at a 7/11.

“Their throats are like a graveyard during a zombie apocalypse; their tongues practice more deceit than all the Governor of Illinois combined…

Matthew Barrett Dear Pastor, bring your Bible to church, and a response, Michael Bird Dear Presbyter, bring your scroll to church.

On progressivism

Nick Cater Progressive intolerance and the allure of righteousness

On bodies

David Berreby The obesity era

And so the authorities tell us, ever more loudly, that we are fat — disgustingly, world-threateningly fat. We must take ourselves in hand and address our weakness. After all, it’s obvious who is to blame for this frightening global blanket of lipids: it’s us, choosing over and over again, billions of times a day, to eat too much and exercise too little. What else could it be? If you’re overweight, it must be because you are not saying no to sweets and fast food and fried potatoes. It’s because you take elevators and cars and golf carts where your forebears nobly strained their thighs and calves. How could you dothis to yourself, and to society?

Moral panic about the depravity of the heavy has seeped into many aspects of life, confusing even the erudite.

Hebel The body of liturgy

On submission

I’m looking forward to this series by Rachel Held Evans Let’s talk about submission.

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Friday once again! Hope you’ve had a lovely week. My week involved a day’s wine-tasting for a wedding anniversary. It doesn’t get much better than that!

On politics

Nick Evershed Three-word slogan generator. Now you can create your own banal slogan!  “Genuine on Emissions!”

On the parish

Stanley Hauerwas Does Anglicanism have a future? The priority of the local and the inevitability of conflict

On bodies

Hope Avenue How to talk to your daughter about her body

On the Bible

Morgan Guyon is doing a great series on Bible verses God has ‘tattooed on his heart.’ These are my favourites: Psalm 119:13 and Ephesians 2:10

To live as a Christian and as an artist is not an oxymoron. The degree to which Christianity has become
unimaginative and uninspired in Western modernity is the degree to which it has lost its soul. Our vocation as God’s poetry is to be beautiful.

On vulnerability

My favourite missionaries (are you allowed to say that?) are writing a series on ‘vulnerable mission’. It’s worth checking out.

Vulnerable Mission 4: African theology

Few would deny that ‘It is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish.’ Too few have realized that it is the gods/spirits/powers of Africa who are cutting open the fishing net and allowing the fish to escape, and that it is the almighty God who can intervene and enable African people to fish for themselves. (Jim Harries)

Vulnerable Mission 5: becoming vulnerable

On refugees

Leanne Weber Asylum solutions: reinstating the right to seek asylum

Have you ever wondered why asylum seekers would choose to spend $5000 for passage on an overcrowded, dangerous, and potentially fruitless boat journey from Indonesia rather than spend it on a first class plane ticket to Australia?

Perhaps the answer seems obvious. Legally regulated travel into first world countries is reserved for those with valid passports and visas, which are out of reach for this group. But how and why this came to be the case merits closer examination.

On feminism

Emily Lindsay Jackson Feminism versus humanism: the vanishing politics of gender

On abortion

Emily Matchar In liberal Europe, abortion laws come with their own restrictions

In America, anti-abortion activists and politicians construe abortion as a clear-cut moral issue: “abortion is murder,” “I am a person, not a choice,” “It’s not right versus left, it’s right versus wrong,” etc. Exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the mother are political concessions, not morally consistent positions. If you believe fetuses are people and abortion is murder, why would you think the murder of a person conceived in rape is more okay than the murder of a person conceived in a happy marriage?

In Western Europe, abortion is viewed as part of a larger conversation about the collective good.

On kindness & happiness

Daisy Buchanan Have we forgotten how to be kind?

Belle Beth Cooper 10 simple things you can do today that will make you happier, backed by science

On music:

Trombones:

tromboneAnd finally, 21 painfully awkward band photos.

Gary

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Well, I’ll have to apologise for my absence from the blogosphere recently. My excuse is I’ve been facing conference papers, a writing funk and winter apathy. So this is a massive post because I’ve been saving articles for weeks. Here’s to springtime being just around the corner!

On refugees

I’ve never been so ashamed to be Australian. In 2006 I fell for Rudd’s ‘Faith in Politics’ essay (worth reading) – the PNG ‘solution’ makes me suspicious it was all just a ploy to get my vote. I hope it’s not too late to call on our PM to remember at least what he said he believed.

David Marr Captain Rudd steers Australia into new depths of shame

Tracee Hutchinson An unconventional take on the refugee convention

Tim Costello Election is a time for welcome

While I’m whinging about the political state of affairs, here’s a great website from the Bible Society comparing political parties on various issues. Election Guide 2013

On feminine theology

Matthew & Joy Steem Finding a feminine theology in C.S.Lewis’ Narnia

On monarchism

No royal babies here. David B. Hart Anarcho-Monarchism

On depression

This made me laugh. You must read the whole post. Hyperbole and a half: Depression, part 2

depression

On gender and publishing

Tara Moss The age of invisibility?

Below I present two fairly random examples of The Age newspaper online, snapped as screenshots. The first was taken by me on July 17 and the second today, July 25. At a glance, I count over 43 men, 1 baby boy, 2 illustrated boys  and 1 woman, partially visible behind a male. Oh, and a cockatoo of unknown gender…

Eigenfactor Gender composition of scholarly publications by date and discipline.

On disability

Heather King Are birth defects really part of God’s plan?

On Ramadan

The Atlantic Photos of Ramadan 2013. I love this photo of protesters in Turkey breaking their fast in a massive street banquet.

Turkey Ramadan 2013

On nice words and bad words

Maria Popova How we got ‘please’ and ‘thank you’

Charles Halton Sterilising the Bible

I remember the first time I heard the C-word used to translate the Bible. I almost fell out of my chair…

On religion

William Cavanaugh The root of evil; Does religion promote violence?

Westerners are fascinated by the nexus of “religion and violence.” War on behalf of nationalism and freedom and oil and other such mundane secular matters hardly counts as violence at all. At the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Qatar in 2007, nearly four years into the U.S. occupation of Iraq, David Satterfield, senior adviser and coordinator for Iraq in the office of the U.S. Secretary of State, gave a speech condemning those in Iraq “who try to achieve their goals through the use of violence.” As the journalist Rami Khouri sardonically commented, “As if the U.S. had not used weapons when invading Iraq!”

Nothing, of course, justifies the Boston bombings. My point is simply that we prefer to locate “religious” causes of violence and become quite incurious when “secular” causes like nationalism are in play. Why? Because we are accustomed to dividing life into separate religious and secular spheres. We have been habituated to think that devotion to one’s religion is fine within limits, while public patriotic devotion to one’s nation is generally a good thing. We are appalled at violence on behalf of religion, but we generally accept the necessity and even the virtue of killing for one’s country.

On technology

Martin Olmos God, the hacker: Technology and the cross

On history & the Bible

Peter Enns Archaeology and the exodus narrative as a mnemo-narrative

Maeir reasons that archaeology and the biblical narrative do not match up not so much because nothing happened, but because of the nature of the biblical narrative as a mnemo-narrative. The exodus story that we have is the result of a process of “remembering” the past through ongoing reception and appropriation over time. Those memories were–as are all memories–transformed and shaped by those very communities that embrace and transmit them.

On the ‘establishment’

Shelby Steele The decline of the civil-rights establishment

Finally, back to refugees…

(thanks First Dog)

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Happy Friday, dear readers!

On giving

Aaron Moore Reflections of a man who sold everything and gave it to the poor

‘One thing you lack’ was my first solo art exhibition and opened to a few hundred people in Kudos Gallery, Paddington, just before Christmas. That was a matter of months ago when at the age of 34 I sold everything I owned in the space of one week. I emptied the contents of my bank accounts and, along with the proceeds from the sale, gave it to charity, moving me to financial and material ground zero in the hope of moving others out of poverty.

On discrimination

Rebecca Onion Take the impossible “literacy” test Louisiana gave black voters in the 1960s. I couldn’t have passed this test.

On love

Morgan Guyton Love is not love unless it becomes flesh

On theology

Brian Le Port Rethinking how we teach ecclesiastical history and systematic theology. He draws on Ralph C. Watkins’ essay “A Black Church Perspective on Minorities in Evangelicalism”:

Black theology, liberation theology, Latino theology, and feminist theology are considered “contextualized,” but Eurocentric theology is not considered contextualized. The theology of the others is not considered worthy of required learning for students in evangelical seminaries. Students are required to take systematic theology, and in these courses they may take note of “minority” theology, but the minority voice is nowhere equal to the dominant Eurocentric voice. The marginalization of voices in text selection, theological discussion, and the very design of the curriculum is a product of institutional racism.

On sex

Rachel Pietka Christians are not called to have amazing sex

This discourse also smacks of an inferiority complex that wants to compete with mainstream culture’s view of sex rather than modeling a rightly ordered sexual ethic to the world. For example, teachings on the Song of Solomon can range from using the book as a modern-day sex manual to a tool of manipulation to get women to acquiesce to inflated views of sex, such as a well-known pastor controversially enjoining women to perform oral sex because “Jesus Christ commands you to do so.” These sort of teachings on sex indicate the spurious claim many Christians accept: that the call to be a married Christian includes within it an obligation to become a sex god or goddess.

On gender politics

Stephen Marche Home economics: the link between work-life balance and gender equality

For the Boomers and members of older generations, a married couple’s decisions about work were ultimately questions of power. For younger generations, marital decisions boil down mostly to money. And yet the debates about gender, particularly the debate that has emerged in a thousand blog posts surrounding “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” and Lean In, retain the earlier framework. These discussions tend to recognize the residual patriarchy, but they do not see its hollowness, or the processes hollowing it out.

Laurie Penny I was a manic pixie dream girl.

For those of you who haven’t heard of manic pixie dream girls before see Anita Sarkeesian’s video.

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I couldn’t make it to a computer last week so there’s even more Friday reading today. There’ll be a bit of a gap in the blogging for a while – I’m going away for the next two weeks, visiting some remote communities in the NT. I love visiting these communities, they’ve got a lot of things going for them but unfortunately a reliable internet connection isn’t one of them.

On mothers

Diana Butler Bass The radical history of mothers day

Sarah Arthur Are women really saved through childbearing?

Anne Summers There is a better way to help mothers return to paid work

On Phoebe

Psephizo Phoebe, carrier of Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians

Where does that leave Phoebe? It appears as though she was not in fact the lector of Romans, and so Wright’s statement that she was ‘it’s first expositor’ is perhaps an overstatement. However, it remains the case that Phoebe was known to Paul, had a role of church leadership, and was entrusted by Paul with a key letter on which the next phase of his ministry depended. The phrasing of Romans 16.1–3 makes it clear she fulfilled the usual role of letter carrier, and as such she would have had an important role in answering questions and ensuring that the letter was understood correctly—so a better phrase might be ‘authoritative interpreter.’

On leadership

Ben Myers Bonhoeffer and the magical powers of leadership

On Adam

John Schneider The fall of “Augustinian Adam”: problems of original frailty and supralapsarian purpose

On the budget

I love interactive infographics.

ABC Budget 2013: where will your taxes go?

On recovering from alcoholism

Rachel Held Evans Ask a recovering alcoholic

On thinkers

Alecia Simmonds Why Australia hates thinkers

As a country we are hostile to those who are well-educated. We prefer home-spun wisdom to years of research. Our language is peppered with vitriol reserved for those who think for a living: “chattering classes”, “latte-sipping libertarians”, “intellectual elites” and now Nick Cater’s most unlovely term “bunyip elite”. If we want to emphasise the importance of something we say that the issue “is not just academic”. Any idea that takes longer than a nano-second to understand is howled down. Or perhaps, more precisely, any idea that threatens conservative orthodoxy is consigned to the divine irrelevancy of the academy…There’s no doubt that Australia is a vast, sunny, intellectual gulag.

And a response from Jeff Sparrow – Why Andrew Bolt is not an imbecile.

On wise women

Sarah Bessey has put together a list of 50 Church and Faith Lady-Bloggers. I’m working my way through her list.

She’s written an excellent piece on how older women often get left out of our churches. We put the young and enthusiastic up the front and forget older women, even though they’re often the wisest among us. Bessey’s piece is called ‘in which they are overlooked in a sea of hipsters’.

A few months ago, I requested stories or anecdotes about how it feels to be a woman in the church… One woman told me about how she had led worship at her church for years. But when a new young pastor was hired, he wanted a cooler band to get more young people, and the first thing to go were the older women. “No one wanted to see old women on stage,” she wrote candidly without bitterness, and so she was replaced with young women in their late teens and early twenties. She misses leading worship. Another woman told me about the sting of being passed over continually. She had very high levels of education, a seminary degree, a long history of teaching with many beloved students, but every teacher at her church’s education program was a young, charismatic man with half her education, let alone experience, despite their position of welcoming women in ministry. In practice, it wasn’t actually happening. She believed now that it was because she did not fit the expected look or personality or gender of their education program. Another woman shared about how she has welcomed and celebrated the shift in the churches of her context towards women in leadership and ministry. Yet, she has noticed that they are all young and beautiful women with identical outgoing and big-smiling personalities. The glass ceiling remains for her because she doesn’t fit the standard or “target audience” so she cheers on these young women, the age of her grand-children, with a selflessness that amazed me…

Then she Bessey went and got a list of Christian women bloggers over 50 so we can share some of their wisdom.

On Eurovision

I’m still trying to work out what to make of Romania.

Rebecca Vincent When the music dies: Azerbaijan one year after Eurovision.

On ‘typical’ Australians

Matt Cowgill What is the typical Australian’s income in 2013?

Low income earners tend to overestimate their own position in the income distribution, while high-income earners tend to underestimate theirs. In short, we all think we’re middle class.

On the ACL

Steph Judd What Christian constituency? Which burnt bridges? Rudd, the ACL and same-sex marriage?

On anglo-Catholic heaven

Anglo catholic heaven

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Happy Friday everyone. Yes I’ve been neglecting the blog. I haven’t forgotten you. More posts are coming soon. I’ve exhausted my writing capacity on thesis chapters in the last few weeks and left no energy for blogging, but the drafts are nearly done.

On power dressing

Jane Goodall Dressing the part: women, power, fashion and that bloody jacket!

On poverty

Tamie Davis Living ‘below the line’, Tanzania

On paid parental leave

Eva Cox Are feminists opposing Abbott’s paid parental scheme on personality grounds only?

Joshua Gans Abbott’s leave scheme is a step backwards for women

On egalitarianism and complimentarianism

CBE Is egalitarianism on a slippery slope?

Amy Lepine Peterson A new wave of complimentarianism?

On work

The moonbat Review: in praise of idleness. I’m not sure it’s ‘idleness’ he’s actually praising though – I think he’s suggesting a fuller understanding of ‘work’.

On history

JR Daniel Kirk Does Paul’s Christ require a historical Adam?

Joel Willitts What does ‘historical criticism’ mean when it comes to the Gospels?

On philosophy

What do philosophers themselves believe about life, the universe and everything? What do philosophers believe? is a study of just that. 72.8% of them ticked ‘atheism’, 14.6% ‘theism’. There’s also their results on time, free will, moral judgement etc.

Valentina Palladino Explaining complicated philosophies with gorgeously simply postcards. Here’s ‘determinism’ for you:

Determinism

On dialogue

Chris Stedman Want to talk to non-Christians? Six tips from an atheist

On dating

This one made me laugh. Derek Rishmawy 7 tips on “how to meet reformed men”. There’s actually a website ‘reformedsingles.com’:

Our members know that their futures are predestined by our heavenly Father and rest in His kind hands.

On evangelicalism (and conservatism)

Carl Trueman What if life was complex?

 I thought I would use this column to indulge in a little thought experiment. What, I wonder, if the conservative evangelical church world came to be dominated by a symbiotic network of high profile and charismatic leaders (think more Weber than Wimber), media organisations, and big conferences? What if leadership, doctrine, and policy were no longer rooted in the primacy of biblical polity and the local church? What if, in other words, all of this became a function of an Evangelical Industrial Complex?

Christopher Brittain Plague on both their houses: the real story of growth and decline in liberal and conservative churches

On tradies and princesses

Here’s a photo from Canberra in 1985. Love how the t-shirt doubles as a hard-hat.

Di and tradies

On loving Jesus

Finally, here’s a short sermon by Stanley Hauerwewas which encouraged me this week.

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Argh, it’s already Friday today and I still haven’t caught up on Thursday yet. The blog almost went forgotten this week!

On the NDIS/DisablityCare

It’s so tantalisingly close now!

Stella Young Why fund the NDIS? Because one day you might need it

Ben Eltham Disability levy serves common good

On doubt

Derek Rishmawy Karl Barth’s 3 aphorisms on doubt

On marriage

Andrew Errington Same-sex marriage: what’s really at issue?

Of course, irrational commitment to tradition and ugly prejudice are distressingly common and too often all that opponents of same-sex marriage seem to have produced, so it is perhaps not surprising that many think that this is the only kind of opposition to it. However, at its better moments, opposition to same-sex marriage has been motivated by a way of thinking about marriage with a long history and inherent rationality. And while we may as a society wish to change our minds about marriage, we should not do so blindly. We should only do so understanding the view we are rejecting, with a clear sense of its rationale. Even if it is a rationale we now find difficult to accept, we do ourselves no favours if we simply lose our capacity to understand it.

Russel Blackford Keeping the state in its place: the case for same-sex marriage

Peter Kirk Marriage and divorce equality

You may have heard that a recent galaxy poll found that 53% of Australian Christians (or those who identify as Christian) support gay marriage. Interesting.

On groceries

Images of what families from around the world eat in a week- What the world eats – a week’s worth of groceries

Here’s Australia

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Here’s Bhutan

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On old testament historicity

Michael Bird Why we need to teach historical criticism

Now I know Michael Bird wants to ‘slap him with a soggy fish’, but here’s one from Peter Enns. He seems to be the only one talking about this stuff – On creation and killing Cananites. Or is there someone else? Any suggestions? 

On unemployment

The Economist Generation jobless

On time travel

I love dinosaur comics.

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Happily it’s Friday again. Especially happy for all of you who’ve taken the day off to make it a four day weekend (I didn’t even take yesterday off, but I’m happy nonetheless). Things seemed a bit quiet on the blogosphere this week, or perhaps I was too busy doing other things (did I mention my sister got married on the weekend). Still, I’ve got a bit of a theme this week: sacrifice.

On Anzac Day

McCrindle Anzac day: Second only to Christmas. That’s right 30% of Australians feel that Anzac Day is the most meaningful public holiday to them.

Stanley Hauerwas Telling the truth about the sacrifices of war

The sacrifices of war are undeniable. But in the cross of Christ, the Father has forever ended our attempts to sacrifice to God in terms set by the city of man. We – that is, we Christians – have now been incorporated into Christ’s sacrifice for the world so that the world no longer needs to make sacrifices for tribe or state, or even humanity. Constituted by the body and blood of Christ we participate in God’s Kingdom so that the world may know that we, the church of Jesus Christ, are the end of sacrifice.

Nicholas Herriman gives us an anthropologist’s view of Anzac Day – Is Anzac Day really unique?

On the atonement

John Goldingay Sacrifice and the death of Christ

Seeing the way the relationship between God and Israel worked helps us see why the cross was necessary. Through God’s life with Israel God was paying the price for that relationship, making the sacrifices to keep it going. God’s people keep doing their worst to God, so eventually God paid the ultimate price for them. God showed that even killing God cannot put God off from relating to them. God will just come back from the dead.

Scot McKnight Centre of atonement

On atheism

Scott Stephens Can a religious believer be a serious journalist? Richard Dawkins and the unbearable smugness of tweeting

On maturity

Mike Wanted: adult faith in a youth culture

I’m done with an approach to the faith that flies by the seat of its pants and calls it “spiritual.” Gatherings that feel like pep rallies, youth conventions, or pop concerts hold no appeal. I need to be humbled, not enthused.

On sexuality

Mary DeMuth I’m sick of hearing about your smoking hot wife

There’s been an interesting series on sexuality and the Christian body over at Rachel Held Evans’ blog by Richard Beck. Part 2 is Grace and Election.

Our bodies are not our own. They are “community property.” I share my body with my wife. And it doesn’t end there. My body belongs to the community of faith. I don’t wholly control my own time, money, efforts, or talent. The community has a claim on me. Ultimately, because these loves–for my wife and for the world–are simply reflections of my love for God. As Paul writes: “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”…

God’s marriage to his people is what makes sense of human marriage… God’s grace is experienced in God’s own choosing of a people. God chooses Israel to be his bride. And in this choice Israel is found to be an occasion of joy. Israel experiences God’s grace.

Rowan William’s essay, which inspired all this, is The Body’s Grace.

On a very hungry caterpillar

Tomcat The very hungry caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a phantasmagoric bodyshock horror story that focuses on the tenets of extreme gluttony and one creature’s psycho-compulsive desire to consume the world around him.

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Happy Friday everyone. My fabulous sister gets married tomorrow so it’s a particularly happy Friday for us, I hope you’ve got a good weekend lined up too.

On celebration

Ben Myers Letter to the Chinese student, baptised on Easter Sunday

I worry that we will sing our songs and pray our prayers and have our tea and biscuits and then all go home afterwards without actually celebrating anything. This worries me especially here, in Australia, where (you will have noticed) we are not very good at celebrating things. On occasions when other people would celebrate, we Australians mill about uncertainly, hands in pockets, vaguely or acutely embarrassed. You can turn up to a wedding, a funeral, the birth of a baby, even Easter Sunday, and you’ll always find us standing about like that, exchanging dry remarks about the traffic and the weather, just when we ought to be shouting, weeping, rending our clothes, kissing strangers, firing pistols in the air. We like the idea of celebration, we have heard of it, but it is a language we never learned, and our bodies don’t know the rules.

On Thatcher

Timothy Lynch The death of Margaret Thatcher and the legacy of Thatcherism

John Milbank Thatcher’s perverse victory and the prospect of an ethical economy

On doubt

There was a bit of a blog-quake this week in response to a post by Derek Rishmawy called ‘who are you sleeping with?‘ based on Tim Keller’s talk at the Gospel Coalition conference. Rishmawy summmarised Keller’s message that when young people have doubts, the doubts almost always originate in their sexual sin. The college students are having sex and then, because they discover they like it, Christianity becomes doubtful.

I was a little concerned by the message because, as someone who often wrestles with doubts and questions, I worry that if I approach people for answers, they’ll presume my doubts really come from some sin and fail to take my questions seriously. I worry because, if they thought that about me, they’d be right! My doubt often stems from my pride, my failure to take advice, my stubbornness and I know it. But knowing this doesn’t deal with the doubt. The relationship between sin and doubt is complex and the assumption that doubt is merely a way of dealing with some hidden sin won’t encourage doubters to seek help.

Rachel Held Evans Is doubt an STD?

Nick Tim Keller, sex and the scandal of religious doubt?

Rachel Held Evans Some helpful critiques of yesterday’s post ‘is doubt an STD?’

On asylum seekers

Sienna Merope The economic cost of our asylum seeker policy

On euthanasia

Tim Dunlop Future generations won’t go quietly into that good night

On the ‘Jesus Juke’

This one’s just plain manipulation. John Acuff You don’t have to attend choir practice

A Jesus Juke is a phrase I came up with to describe that moment when you’re talking about something normal and someone tries to juke in some Jesus out of nowhere. The first one recorded in history is when I saw a guy next to me at the airport doing pushups in the terminal and someone said, “Don’t you wish we were all this disciplined with our Bible reading.”

On inviting Jesus into our hearts

Ben Myers Come into my heart, Lord Jesus; Origen and Augustine on the roomy heart

I suppose it’s good to learn that sort of thing when you’re still a child, before you get too disillusioned about the capacities of your own (or anybody else’s) heart. It never occurred to me to doubt that my heart was spacious enough to accommodate a person like Jesus, or that it was the kind of place a person like that would want to live…. Nor did it occur to me that he might want to buy the house (like so many people in my neighbourhood in Sydney) only in order to demolish or renovate – that he might show up on the first day with trucks, sledgehammers, men in hardhats; that he might be the kind of homeowner who tears out the kitchen sink and knocks down walls.

On writing

Jack Shepherd 30 indispensable writing tips from famous authors

ImageOn leadership

The moonbat The alienating myth of leadership

On work

Sarah Burnside The indignity of work

On gonski funding

Yes, I’m self-interested in posting these ones, but the announcement made me really angry. You’re not doing today’s school kids any favours if you fund their schooling at the expense of their tertiary education.

Andrew Norton Should universities suffer to pay for school funding?

Richard Hill The case for academic disobedience

On gendered products

The Hoopla The women’s shampoo ad effect

and here’s Barbie without make-up:
barbie

On photography

Alison Zavos Flesh Love: photographs of vacuum-packed Tokyo couples by Haruhiko Kawaguchi.

Haruhiko-Kawaguchi4

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Happy Friday everyone. My question of the week is could you imagine such a response if one of our own politicians passed away – both the vitriol and the admiration? Perhaps John Howard would get it. Perhaps it’s a good thing that our politics are comparatively bland (better bland than Maggie Thatcher I suppose), though our can’t say our blandness comes out of consensus or cooperation, it’s probably just apathy.

On marriage

Eric Simpson The purpose of marriage is not procreation. I can’t say I entirely agree with what he says the purpose is, but we agree on what the purpose isn’t.

This one pretty well represents my view at the moment. I don’t think that a secular state should legislate on marriage – it should limit itself to civil unions. Roger Olson A question for conservative Christians and GLBT rights advocates: why not civil unions?

On the Eurozone crisis

This is the best explanation of what’s going on that I’ve seen – BBC What really cause the Eurozone crisis

On language

Megan Garber ‘Ogooglebar’ and 14 other Swedish words we should incorporate intoEnglish immediately

Google has officially objected to one of the best words that has ever graced this planet: ogooglebar, which translates — if such a glorious word must be subjugated to the indignities of translation — to “ungoogleable.”

On racism & multiculturalism

Waleed Aly Curse of Australia’s silent pervasive racism

Ghena Kryem The challenges of being a Muslim woman in a multicultural society

On prison

Lisa Wade Prison labour

American companies that once looked to places like Mexico and China for cheap labor are bringing those jobs back to the U.S.  Why? Because prison labor is much, much cheaper.  Paid between 93¢ and $4.73 per day, and collecting no benefits, prisoners are a cheap labor source for about 100 companies.

On beauty

Mr Toledano A new kind of beauty. It’s beautiful pictures of people who have had quite dramatic plastic surgery.

Beauty has always been a currency, and now that we finally have the technological means to mint our own, what choices do we make?

Eddie Ndopu A black crip’s perspective on fashion and embodied resistance

When I wore sweats and lounging-around-at-home clothes in public, the gawks I got from non-disabled strangers were slightly more condescending than the gawks I got when I wore trendy, fashionable clothes. Over time, I realized that non-disabled folks re-inscribed my casual attire with a social meaning that rendered my body the personification of dishevelment and neglect. I think this is largely because, within the able normative imagination, a visibly disabled body clad in sweats and lounging-around-at-home clothing invokes a longstanding and recycled representation of Crips as the objects of deprivation and targets of charity.

On demographics

McCrindle Research Easter, Australians and Christianity

ABS Australian social trends has just come out. We’ve discovered that the ‘average’ Australian is a 37 year old woman working as a sales assistant. Sydney had the highest proportion of people reporting a religion (75%). Hobart had the highest proportion of people with no religion of any capital city (29.1%), just ahead of Canberra (28.9%)

On evangelism

Tamie Davis Re-thinking a ‘worldview’ approach to evangelism

On Mr Abbott

Address to Institute of Public Affairs – worth reading if you want to work out how he thinks and his priorities for government.