May 17, 2014


When a tree grows slightly crooked do we instantly chop it down?
It is God's creation and we generally tie it to a strong support and give it a chance to straighten up.
When we find a bird with a broken wing, or an animal with a broken leg, do we cast it out to look after itself?
It is God's creation and usually we are moved with compassion to get help so that it can mend.

Why then, when we see evidence of brokenness in a human being - a wrong action, a mistake or a failure - do we tend to dismiss them as bad, unacceptable, unsuitable, unable to change?
Have we never failed, or made a mistake? 
What gives us, therefore, the right and authority to judge?

Surely, if we follow the example of Jesus, our approach will be creative and not destructive or judgemental.
If God has created all that is created, then He is the strong support that will enable healing, change, new life.

Discernment is given so that we can pray and invite Him into a situation, so that we can co-operate with Him in seeking wholeness and fullness of life for each and every individual.
Discernment is not an invitation to judge or criticise, it is an invitation to PRAY and follow up with whatever action we are led to take.

Is it just and right that we who are so imperfect demand perfection from those around us?

May 07, 2014


In these last few weeks I've found myself really exercised over what is true and just, in the face of popular opinion and normalised behaviour!

It began with the photographic exhibition of gang members in an Auckland Gallery.  There is no faulting the artistic ability of the photographer or the amazing clarity of what he is portraying, and it has most certainly aroused controversy and conversation which creative things should do.

The ensuing arguments suggested that everything is right in the light of artistic freedom, and it is fine to exhibit photos of a genuine section of our community.  It is not deemed correct to censor artistic works.

Alongside all of this, we have a family grieving over the loss of their son, and one of the men in the photographs is about to stand trial for his killing.

At the same time the trial for the murder of Mallory Manning was taking place, with gang members accused of being responsible for her death.

There is also much discussion about the effect of drugs in our society, and the increase of manufacture and supply of illegal substances, alongside the discussion over removing legal highs.  Almost every report of a large drug bust implicates gang members.

It is very foolish to generalise, but overall the image of people who have chosen to deliberately flout the law and moral rules of our society is not a healthy one.

If the photographs were pornographic, or had been taken of children by someone with questionable motive, would the same artistic licence and lack of censorship apply?

In comments to the Court in the Mallory Manning case one woman was quoted as saying that she had some sympathy at first for the accused.  However, her final question was to ask why there was not one man in the room who offered help to a girl crawling away to escape from them and their brutality. 

The family who are still in pain over the loss of their son were shouting their dissent, but it was politely dismissed in the face of artistic licence.

What unjust licence do we give in our nation?
What questions do we ask about what is right and wrong?
Why are the voices of the victims and the weak unheard and their cries ignored?

There is a deep sickness in our society.  It is not apparent to those who are buffered by wealth and comfort and therefore is deemed unimportant by them, in fact it is fearful to acknowledge these things.  However, it exists and down at the bottom of the barrel are those who are fighting to be heard, fighting to get one foot on the ladder of life and hope, growing weary and giving up in the face of this unfeeling, uninformed, uncaring society. 

I know that is generalising, and there are wonderful hard-working people labouring to help and bring change, but the attitudes that came to the surface in this recent event are of great concern.

As we head towards elections all I hear are politicians criticising and finding fault with the opposition, or trying to discredit them in some way.
What I would like to hear is what they actually plan to do for this country,
I would like to know if they look at the shaky bottom of our society and seriously discuss what they will do to make it more equitable.
I would like to know if there is anyone in power who is willing to put their name and reputation on the line in the face of our sickness to do whatever is necessary to inject some health.

Removing the legal highs is great, but what about the pain and dysfunction that pushes people towards drugs (at any level of society).  What about the heart of a nation that needs a little attention right now.
Time to have a good look at who and what we are in 2014, compare it to the values the nation was founded on, to revisit democracy, and to endeavour to move forward into health and strength.

How do all these things line up with truth and justice, freedom for all?