Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Trimmed transcript from Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, 29 August 2016, Newcastle, Case Study 42

The questioner: Counsel assisting the Commissioner
The respondent: Archbishop Herft
Reference to: CKA, a victim of sexual abuse as a child


Q.   Are you familiar with the words in the gospel of Matthew, 18:4-6?
A.   I am - if you are asking me to remember the actual words, please, please would you help me?  Yes.
Q.   Yes.  Starting at 4: Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
A.   Yes.
Q.   Then 5:  And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
A.   Yes.
Q.   Then 6:  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
free and unattributable

A.   Yes.
Q.   Those are words attributed to Jesus?
A.   Yes.
Q.   A man with a reputation for compassion and forgiveness?
A.   Yes, sir.
Q.   You would agree that those are very strong words?
A.   They are.

Q.   Do you accept that at no stage did you show, in relation to Mr [CKA] and his complaints, that level of outrage?

Saturday, July 2, 2016

I love a sunburnt sausage

The challenge was set for Saturday 2nd July for a Commonwealth election:

1. Visit each of the polling booth locations of Public Schools in the Lane Cove area - Lane Cove Public School, Lane Cove West Public School and Mowbray Public School

2. Consume from the bacon and egg rolls/sausage sizzles on offer

3. Report.

After all, the biggest decision on the day was to the order of onion or no onion, or BBQ sauce or tomato sauce.  As In the Cove suggested, "It is unAustralian not to have a snag on election day".  Indeed, it is as much an Australian tradition as Channel 9  running Don's Party on election night.

Lane Cove Public School

Now a clear absence of bias was called for as yours truly may have had children through this school.  Indeed, your reporter may had turned many a sausage over the years.
The target here was breakfast and a freshly cooked bacon and egg roll with BBQ sauce was on the cards.  The roll was reminiscent of a similar Sunday morning offering from the Unwined Bar.  An all mum cooking army.  Riverstone Gourmet Meat sausages.

Money well spent = $5.00

The team did not disappoint.  Chef Neil Perry would have been impressed.  The egg was just right with a slight runniness.  The bacon was crisp.  Service was good and the team were well placed to target the voters. 

9 out of 10.

Mowbray Public School

These cooks and servers clearly had completed their responsible service of sausage certification.  Everything was pristinely presented right down to the gloves.  Very clever positioning near the voting queue.  I suspect many voting papers would have tomato sauce on them.  The booth scrutineer is likely to be challenged tonight as he considers whether the tomato sauce stains make a vote invalid.

The mum and dad army had plenty of smiles.  They were set to cook up a storm.  Chef Peter Gilmore would have been at home here.
Springbok Delight sausages.

Damage for a sausage roll with onions = $4.00, bacon in bag for gluten-free one = $1.00. 

10 out of 10.

Lane Cove West Public School

These were late starters with a 10am kick-off.  Nonetheless, no disappointment was to be had.  A fresh bun, tasty sausage and thick tomato sauce.  Optional onions made the snack just right.  The team clearly put in a special effort to see off their retiring Principal Mrs Judy Doherty.

The team here had the biggest smiles.  They looked like they could give a Masterchef contestant a flutter.  Chef Matt Moran would come back for more.  A mum and dad cooking army with Hummerston sausages.

Coins from under cushion of couch = $4.00

9 out of 10.

That is it ladies and gentlemen.  A win to Mowbray. Whether you voted Independent, Liberals or Labor or Greens, you certainly voted sausage.

Scoring considerations were:
Presentation of stand, Presentation of item, Sauce selection, Taste, Cleverness of placement near voting queue, Adherence to food safety standards, Adherence to responsible service of sausage, and,  Service-with-a-smile.

Thank you In the Cove for the opportunity.


If you have read this far then please consider donating blood.  There is current a shortage of O-negative.  A lovely new Red Cross Blood Bank facility is open at Chatswood Station.

Note: all links correct at 2 July 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Chairs and crosses and souls

“And who in this age would bother to get out of bed on a Sunday morning
 (or skip a beer on a Saturday night) to visit a poorly attended,
poorly operated version of what you already have?”

Happening in churches across the country…..

Pastor Barry (despairingly): How do we attract these local chardonnay-swilling, soy-latte 11am Sunday brunch, nouveau-rich, new apartment dwellers to our church?

Elder Lorraine (animatedly): Chairs!, New chairs!  Everyone loves a new chair.  Better a chair than a pew.

Pastor Barry: What then? What, if chairs don’t pull ‘em in?

Elder Bob (huffily - Bob was always huffy): Get rid of the cross behind the lectern.  It is an embarrassment.  I wouldn’t have it in my lounge room.

Pastor Barry (innovatively): Shouldn’t we do some door-knocking or outdoor evangelism to reach the people, how about a town hall event where we invite local political candidates?

Elder Fred (stoically): Pastor Barry, it’s all chairs and cross removals these days.  You set the room right then everyone walks in.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Of course I still love you

If you watch carefully at the end of this amazing thirty second video
from an on-board camera
of the first upright landing of a re-useable rocket at sea
you'll see the phrase "Of course I still love you"
and what at first appears to be an artistically styled Christian cross.
And you may think that a space engineer used the opportunity
to share his Christian faith.

But alas,
"Of course I still love you"
is the name of the spaceport drone ship
as borrowed from a work of science fiction.

And the cross - that's a company logo.


Monday, May 23, 2016


“You can touch everything and be connected to nothing.” 
― Mitch AlbomHave a Little Faith: a True Story

To be a social media user is to delude oneself as to your degree of connection.  Social media may allow you to form and develop on-line relationships, yet the depth of such relationships is often shallow.   "Friends" in the digital realm can be people you've never eyeballed in the flesh.

There is another form of connection that pre-dates social media.  It is a form that is sadly neglected. 

Mitch Albom in a book "Have a Little Faith: a True Story" identifies a form of connection that transcends space and time.  Read carefully as Albom illustrates connection in a form that few understand. The illustration comes from Albom's observance of the ritualised life of an elderly Rabbi.  The Rabbi sticks to a pattern of prayer, study, charity and custom:

Rabbi: "My grandparents did these things.  My parents, too.  
If I take the pattern and throw it out, what does that say about their lives?
 Or mine?  From generation to generation, these rituals are how we remain..."

He rolled his hands, searching for the word.

Albom: "Connected? I said

Rabbi: "Ah", He smiled at me. "Connected"   

Prefer connections that hold through time rather that transient digital links.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

To be a good healer

In Acts 28 Paul survives shipwreck. Paul lands with other survivors upon the island of Malta.  It was raining and cold.  The islanders showed kindness by building a fire.  Paul gathered brushwood for the fire.

“Paul gathered a pile of brushwood…..” Acts28:3

The single act of gathering brushwood tells us a lot about Paul’s character.  From the act of gathering brushwood we learn that:

-          being a servant of God means committing to menial tasks – picking up brushwood for a fire was well beneath Paul in a worldly sense,

-          Paul was not being selfish in gathering the brushwood but was instead serving others.  Perhaps other survivors were injured or in a more miserable state in the cold and rain than Paul, and,

-          Paul found it natural to complete the task of picking up brushwood, he seems not to have had a second thought about doing it.  He did not dwell on the setback of the shipwreck.

Paul served naturally, joyfully and wholesomely.

When we consider the whole of Act 28:3 we learn even more of Paul’s character.  Indeed, we learn of what it means to have a Godly character.  Paul survives the attack of a snake and in so doing gains good standing amongst the islanders.

“Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.” Acts28:3

So, from Acts 28:3 and the following verses we learn that:

-          God’s people will face dangers, yet God will use the dangers to build his people and his kingdom.  Following God is never a trouble free journey, and,

-          God used the viper’s attack for good (see Acts 28:6) in that the islander held Paul in esteem on seeing that Paul came to no harm.

Later on the same island Paul serves others by administering healing:

“There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.” Acts 28: 7 to 9.

Paul healed first a respected senior official then many people of the island.  Paul was a powerful healer because he was first a natural and complete server.  A righteous person who can pick up brushwood, can heal kings. 

Paul was not first to pick up wood,
as Christ first had picked up the cross.

Paul was not first to encounter a serpent near wood,
as Christ had first surpassed Satan (the definitive serpent) at the cross.

 Paul was not first to gain esteem for surviving the serpent’s sting,
as Christ had first risen to God’s right hand.

To be a good healer, first be a winsome server.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Throw your cloak away

A blind man, a beggar, Bartimaeus, hears of Jesus passing by (Mark 10:46-52).  Jumping to his feet to meet Jesus he "throws his cloak aside".  The episode concludes with Bartimaeus being healed by faith.

Bartimaeus boldly broke through a number of barriers to ensure an audience with Jesus:  

i) He could not see Jesus, only hear of his presence.  

ii) His infirmity put him in a poor position in that others crowded Jesus in preference to providing Bartimaeus an audience.  Many of those in the crowd where following Jesus from far away locations so they would not have known this local beggar.

iii) Jesus was on a passage to Jerusalem and his disciples were eager to ensure he did not deviate from his path.  At this point in the journey, "leaving the city" Mark 10:46, it would have been common for beggars to gather to target those who were travelling the Jerusalem road.  As people were making the journey to celebrate Passover the beggars were hoping to benefit from seasonal generosity.  The disciples were perhaps particularly weary of such groupings of beggars as they presented as a very needy group for healing ministry.

Against all these barriers Bartimaeus threw away his cloak - a most remarkable thing to do as his cloak was his sole means of worldly protection.  Bartimaeus was literally throwing away all he had so that he could follow Jesus - a message that had earlier pained the rich young man in Mark 10:21.  That the cloak was of importance as a means of protection is identified here:

"This cloak would have been his only protection from the cold at night, and his only shade from the hot sun during the day"

Source: http://bibleillustration.blogspot.com/2007/10/blind-bartimaeus.html accessed 16 May 2011

Bruce Robinson, an Episcopal priest, of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Highland Park, Pitttsburgh, Pennsylvania,  captures the essence of Bartimaeus' contribution to Mark chapter ten very well:

"He first calls out as the party comes by, and when Jesus asks him what he wants he cuts right to the chase. No bargaining for position and status, like James and John. No trick legalistic questions, like the Pharisees. No playing to the crowd, like the Rich Young Man—who wanted to be sure that everybody knew, we’ll remember, that he had kept all the commandments since he was young. "

Source: http://revbmrobison.blogspot.com/2009/10/twenty-first-after-pentecost-2009.html accessed 16 May 2011
referenced from Wikipedia page: "Healing the blind near Jericho" accessed 16 May 2011

Many who read this will most likely identify themselves more with the rich young man than a poor blind dependent beggar.  However, it is Bartimaeus who is the last that comes first (Mark 10:31) and who is like the little child (Mark 10:15).  Bartimaeus while blind had seen (Isaiah 42:7), when others who had sight were blind.  Bartimaeus who left everything behind to join Jesus on the journey to the cross.

What cloak are you gripping onto?  Can you cast it aside for the sake of the kingdom?