The Budget Betrayal and Christians

The Word in Hand

Whom do we follow?

Some time has passed since the Federal budget. In that time I have been reflecting on the responses by fellow Christians and non – Christians alike. Why has there been such an outcry? Politicians have lied to us in the past. There is nothing new about that. Why are people so affronted now?

I think I have one reason.  After the confusion and lies of the previous Labor government, Australians were looking for something new and fresh, something different from the turmoil and back flipping that had been going on.  They were tired of it.  Tony Abbott, astutely, played to that confusion and promised certainty and no more lies.  We all knew that the “lie” bit was a lie but we hoped anyway.  This desire of the people to have politics played differently was strong. We have seen that in the move to independent members of parliament and minor parties.

So when the budget came out and promise after promise was broken at a scale never before seen in Australian politics, many people felt betrayed and, I believe, justifiably so.  Even worse, the most vulnerable were targeted with the budget decisions – here and overseas.  If promises had to be broken why wasn’t the Paid Parental Leave scheme, delayed?  Is it too cynical to suggest that most of these people who would benefit would vote Liberal?  Why wasn’t the abolition of the Mining Rent Tax shelved – just as money was starting to come in?  Is it that the miners are too powerful?  There are many more uncomfortable questions like this.  Do I believe that we have to live within our means? Certainly, but there are different ways to go about it.  Starting from the weak up is not it.

But personally, I feel betrayed at a different level as well.  As a child of the King, and many in the Government claim to be His, I cringe when I see fellow children of the King, in politics, obfuscate, justify and support policies that would make the King weep.  Christ directed his followers to support the needy, weak and vulnerable.  He modelled it for us.  He, in fact, has given power to these brothers and sisters in politics and claims their first allegiance – before all else and that includes the Party.

So what is my job now? Matt 18 reminds me that when a brother or sister sins or sins against me I need to go them and speak to them.  And yes, undermining the safety net we have for the vulnerable, I believe, falls into that category. That will have to be my first step.  A step I need to take in grace – even when I feel angry and betrayed.

Categories: Ethics, Obedience, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

The Connection Between Porridge and the Bible

Oatmeal (courtesy Flickr)

One of my favourite poems by the late Spike Milligan is called “Porridge” (see below). Whenever ‘porridge’ is mentioned, my wife or I will blurt out a line from the ditty, such as, “Why is there no monument to porridge in our land …?” or “Oatmeal OBE”, usually in a wobbly Scottish accent. Amongst our girls it’s film quotes. Lines from favourite films (in suitably dramatic accents) will be thrown in at appropriate places. How often have we heard, “I am a military man. I want a military meal.” (Toys). “Mustard! Don’t lets be silly.” (Alice in Wonderland). And there are hosts more; too many to mention.

It caused me to pause and think. How much is our speech seasoned with helpful aphorisms from God’s Word? Direct encouragements, challenges, comforts, wisdom and more can be declared directly from the Bible. In order to do that however, we need to know the Word and have it inwardly digested. Rather than our fill of mindless TV or internet trawling, we need to spend time taking in and appropriating God’s Word. No I am not ‘anti film’, in fact I love a good movie and I also enjoy the banter that our family has with film and other quotes. Where would I be without a good Mark Twain quote? Far more life enhancing though, is to know and share where life to the full comes from.

The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.  Psalm 19

How much time are we spending, not just reading, but ingesting,  memorising and clothing ourselves in the living Word of God. The theologian Karl Barth believed that the Word of God came alive (my words) when it was acted upon – other than just being dry words on a sheet of paper. The Hebrew word ‘dabar’ which means ‘word’ or ‘talk’ cannot divorce itself from the action it is declaring. In fact, Jesus is the Word come to life in human existence. Our challenge is to clothe ourselves in the “dabar’s” of God and speak and be the Word of God to each other and the world around us.

… and Spike’s suitably bizarre poem …


by Spike Milligan

Why is there no monument
To Porridge in our land?
It it’s good enough to eat,
It’s good enough to stand!

On a plinth in London
A statue we should see
Of Porridge made in Scotland
Signed, “Oatmeal, O.B.E.”
(By a young dog of three)

Categories: christian, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Family, Life, Obedience | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Church Structure and Christian Obedience

Being “between churches” I was ruminating on the positive aspects of institutional church. When a person is a traditional church member there is a lot of security and familiarity within its organisation. Its activities and expectations provide daily guidance and discipline in a very concrete way. The church services, Bible studies, men’s and women’s groups, Sunday school, mission and deaconate  organisations, the giving – all provide a ready made and comfortable ( and comforting) structure in which to live and serve.

Being “between churches” at present means all those usual trappings are absent. My wife and I have to invent them for ourselves. We need to determine our worship (yes, we always sit in the same “pews”). Bible study is easier because that is part of our regular pattern. But tithes, who and where to serve and other church-like activities, we need to determine for ourselves. A home church would have similar questions – or should we call them possibilities?

For us, the positives are that our current situation makes us think deeply about our Christian life,  service and expression as it would be easy to slide into “nothingness” as far as faith and public worship are concerned if we not proactive.

And yes, we are also aware that we need to be part of a living expression of the body of Christ and as neither of us is musical, we miss the singing! However, our journey does give us time to pause and reflect on what “church” should be and look like in the C21st.

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