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There has been much said about the negativity of our politicians and the political atmosphere in Australia.   When he recently ascended to office our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, indicated a desire for the transformation of this.  As we get closer to the election the negativity appears to eb continuing.

for example, as an avid watcher of Q & A I am continually disappointed in the lack of respect shown by our elected representatives for one another.  This week was no exception.  Constantly interupting and speaking over each other is standard practice whilst the moderaotr Tony Jones rather than dampening down the vitriol often adds fuel to the fire with his own questions or opinions.

Maybe this is a reflection of the adverserial Westminster system of govenrment that we have in Australia?  Maybe it is a reflection that our political parties are far closer in policy than any would like to admit so they have to ‘go hard’ on the issues where they do differ?  Maybe it is a reflection of a loss of common decency and honouring others in our society?

Whatever, the case my disappointment with politicians is equally matched by my disappointment with the general pubilc. There is a plethora of offensive comments that pop up as I follow the Q&A Facebook feed.  Comments made by everyday Australians which mirror the personal attacks, negativity and simple rudeness we seem to be nurturing as a culture.

The question I am left with is not simply ‘who will I vote for?’ but ‘as a Christian how will I behave in a way which brings something positive and life-giving to this situation?’  If I decide to comment on Facebook or Twitter or elsehwere how will it be a transforming message which builds up the whole?  Will I refrain for responding to attacks with more negativity and be able to turn the other cheek?  Do I have the capacity to listen carefully to the voice of others?  Can I see what might be positive in those who hold a different view to mine?  How will my faith and knowledge of a loving and forgving God moderate my thoughts and comments?

We have quite a few weeks until the election in the meantime there is an opportunity whether we support a particular party or not to weigh carefully our comments and behaviour.  How can we show grace towards those we agree with and those we disagree with?  what does love look like in politics?

 

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I have been waiting for a while to see Chasing Ice come to video and was blessed this week in seeing it.  I must admit I still feel the disappointment I felt missing it on the big screen. The images are stunning, the story amazing and the evidence of climate change in glacial retreat and permafrost melt, well it is just plain scary.

The documentary follows the National Geographic sponsored project by the photographer James Balog.  He set out to visually document climate change by taking time lapse photography of the retreat of glaciers.

The melting of the glaciers is viewed by many climate scientists as ‘the canary in the mine’ and watching this compelling documentary was left with the deep and disturbing sense that if the canary ain’t dead it ain’t far from it.

Balog’s images capture on film major parts of our environment simply disappearing as ice walls collapse, glaciers retreat and permafrost melts. 

In the midst of the various statements made Balog speaks of the deep fears that many within the scientific community are expressing.  It is a fear he says that simply is not being translated yet into the general community and more particularly our political leaders.  With this in mind Chasing Ice seems less like something to recommend as opposed to something which should be mandatory viewing for everyone

Maybe this is because we live in such an instant society and so we are incapable of seeing beyond our lunch appointment tomorrow or our next holidays. But if climate change is the biggest threat to humanity and the biggest moral challenge of our time then maybe we should start acting as of this was the case.  Certainly a few days out from our election the commitment to reduce carbon  emissions by 5% seems more about tokenism than a serious commitment to the issue.

Psalm 8 speaks of our responsbility in our dominion over creation.  I have asked the question in more than one sermon, so how do we think we are going with that dominoon thing?

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There is alot of discussion this week on the radio on what winning an election does or does not imply, particularly when it comes to mandates.

One caller on ABC radio, who volunteered they had voted for the Coalition, stated very clearly that whilst voting this way he disagreed with the stance on Asylum seekers and on Foreign Aid.  He went on to say that it is impossible for an incoming government to claim that they have won a mandate on any particular policy as voters will agree and disagree with a range of things being offered by that party.

In terms of the issues raised by this caller as Christians the question of what our democratic role is between our voting opportunities remains.  How can we continue to put before the new government our concern over the way our country if treating Asylum seekers? How can we encourage a greater commitment towards overseas aid?

Making personal commitments in giving is one apsect of this but is there also not a responsbility to approach our local representatives to express our concerns and invite further contemplatation on these issues?  Should we also sign the petitions and letters to seek to influence change? 

As a congregation we are blessed with the presence of people on Aus Aid scholarships most of whom are studying subjects which are about community building.  This investment in other countries should not be underestimated.

How does your faith convert to action?  How do we support the most vulnerable people in the world?