Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Where is hope?

Where is hope in this world? The prospect of peace seems slimmer each day with Israeli settlement construction constinuing, with US support. I had hope with Obama, but that is now gone.

Where is hope when Christchuch suffers again from a large earthquake, this time with such tragic consequences. So many lives shattered through deth and injury, through loss of homes and places of work. Is there no end to these earthquakes.

I struggle to hold hope in the face of ongoing violence around the world, where people seem to count for so little in the face of greed and lust for power and wealth.

And yet I must hope. For that is all there is. Hope, when all else is lost. Just hope.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ministering in the flood zone / Worldwide / News / Anglican Taonga - Anglican Taonga

Jean is a friend. Her offer to go to Brisbane meant she was not at Parachute, where she was greatly missed. But her Franciscan spirit led her to go and be with these people. It is an example of what the Anglican Communion is about at its best. Here are some of her reflections

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Waitangi Day and church

I just walked out of our church service. I have never done that before, but I just couldn’t stay. I was too incredulous that we could have an Anglican service on Waitangi day and deliberately decide not do say a single thing about it. Not even a prayer.

Today is Waitangi day, our national day. A day we remember the signing of our foundational document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi. A treaty that would not have happened without the work of Anglican missionaries persuading the British Government of the need for it, helping write it, translate it, and then persuading Maori at Waitangi on Feb 6 1840, and around the country to sign it. Those same Anglican missionaries worked hard to try to have that Treaty honoured, and Maori land protected, along with Maori tino rangatirotanga (authority). It is our treaty. It is part of our constitution, and helps shape the life of our church in Aotearoa-New Zealand. And in my church today, we decided not to even mention it. Not in the sermon, that was well set up for it with it being about salt and light and such. Not in the prayers. We prayed for the oppressed in PNG. We did not pray for anything to do with Waitangi. The liturgy was all about peace and justice, breaking down walls that divide, celebrating this land, and yet we decided to be Waitangi free. It is pious Christianity, all nice but totally removed from actual life. So I left. Me and God, and not about us and God, and the land we live in.
Yesterday I went to a wedding in Matamata. It was what Waitangi day really is about. Two young Maori whose wedding was in an Anglican church, a liturgy full of Te Reo, and then a celebration at Ngira’s home marae of Pikitu in the Waikato. Just a beautiful spot. While the occasion was Maori, it wasn’t forced or strident. It just was. People spoke in Maori, used Maori terms naturally. It is how they live and work. Maori culture underscored everything, but there was a generosity in all we did that made you feel welcome and part of everything. It was a coming together of people in a Maori environment that was clear, but open and inviting. It is what we should be working towards and celebrating every Waitangi Day, and the days between. It gave me hope.
The service was held in the Anglican Church in Matamata. The stain glass windows in the Nave have St. Francis on one side and Wiremu Tamihana on the other. Both men worked and lived for peace. Wiremu is described as “a remarkable man, whose vision of peace and prosperity for his people was disrupted by a conflict not of his own making.” You can read more on http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/wiremu-tamihana. While he did not sign the Treaty, he worked hard to create a strong place for Maori so that Maori and Settler could live side by side, two people under one God. It was good to have the wedding in a church which honours such a man.
So at least I had a Waitangi type celebration. Too bad for the others who came to my church today. Hei aha.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Bishop of Egypt gives thanks / Features / Anglican Taonga - Anglican Taonga

A few years ago at the WCC General Assembly in Porto Alegre  I went to a seminar on Christianity in the Middle East. I went because I thought it would be about Israel and Palestinians. Actually they weren't mentioned, and the people speaking came from Iran and Egypt. One of the questions asked of the Egyptian was about democracy. He replied American style democracy would not be a good thing for Christians in Egypt. They are too small a group, and in all likelihood could end up with either no or little representation in the government. He suggested other models of democracy and government were needed, and Egyptians needed to work that out.

I have remembered those comments as I have watched the gleeful reporting from Cairo. Another dictator falls!! (well maybe) Democracy is on the way! But I keep wondering how long the various groups involved in the opposition will hang together, and what will happen when they splinter? In Iran it lead to the bloody and forced Islamisation of a once relatively Western country, where those who had once been together in opposing the Shar fractured, and the non Islamists were eventually driven out or executed. What will happen in Egypt? What will be the consequences for the Christian community? When will some of these thing be talked about by our mainstream media?

Anyhow, here is what the Anglican Bishop in Egypt has to say. 

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Asset sales

I will declare myself here. I am opposed to asset sales on ideological grounds. I cannot understand how they are good for the country in the long term. We are selling companies that do two things. First they create income for the government. Which is a really good thing. Secondly they also should have a slightly different rationale. that is to provide a service, as opposed to make a profit. WE have seen with our railways what happens when we privatise assets. Disaster! Overseas owners did not care one jot whether we had a long term viable rail system. They simply bled it dry and flogged it off. Or Telecom, which despite the Kiwishare, failed to provide a good modern telecommunications network for this country, and instead made huge profits for the overseas owners, which we as tax payers paid for with the poor service and inflated fees. And then there is Air New Zealand, wrecked by private enterprise board who were, in the end, incompetent, but extremely well paid for being incompetent.

But, I am not an economist. So I was well pleased to read this article. Sadly, we will vote Mr. Key and his unwise cronies back in, and we will suffer the long term affects

Archbishops lament hate crime

I wonder what hope there is for our Communion when my Anglican brothers and sisters  seek to preach a gospel of hate and violence. This is in direct contravention to any Lambeth Resolution. Let alone the gospel. Some might argue they are being pastoral. I would suggest they are simply bigots who do not represent anything of the Gospel I read about in the Bible. Where can we go in this situation. And why bother with a covenant which will not hold us together?