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28 November-4 December

Music is a key to helping Christians celebrate Advent amid the busyness of the weeks leading to Christmas; sacked Wallaby Israel Folau and Rugby Australia reach agreement; Melbourne Anglican poet Philip Harvey remembers Clive James; and how faith helped slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman stay fearless.

December 4 2019

 

'Tis the season to be singing

Advent is a time of year when Christians prepare for Christmas, and anticipate the second coming of Jesus. In Australia, the reflection time that Advent provides gets squeezed out amongst the busyness of the holiday season — travel plans, gift shopping and tragically, bushfires. How can Christians be reminded of the season's spiritual significance this year?

 

Religious discrimination bill: faith-based groups and equality advocates welcome delay

Faith-based service providers and equality advocates have welcomed the Morrison Government’s decision to delay new religious discrimination laws, saying the legislation has “overreached” its initial intention. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced last weekend that the Government needed more time to get the laws right, promising to release a revised draft of the Religious Discrimination Act before the end the year.  Religious groups had slammed the proposed laws as not doing enough to protect religious freedoms, while the former High Court Justice, Michael Kirby, warned that the “unbalanced” law would lead to a rise in both religious intolerance and anti-religious hostility.

 

Rugby Australia and Israel Folau reach settlement, both apologise 'for any hurt or harm caused'

Rugby Australia has avoided a costly and potentially embarrassing legal trial after reaching a settlement agreement with sacked Wallaby Israel Folau. After 14 hours of negotiations, RA apologised to Folau and his family, saying “while it was not Rugby Australia's intention, Rugby Australia acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus”. “Similarly, Mr Folau did not intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused,” the two parties said in a joint statement issued on Wednesday afternoon. Folau claimed he was unlawfully sacked because of his religion in May this year.

 

Clive James’ poetry of memento mori

Obituarists sharpened their quills in 2014 when word had it the death of Clive James was imminent. Since then we have witnessed a late flowering of poetry, reviews and articles tinged with mortality that revealed to the last his Twainian flair for journalistic self-promotion, albeit in the internet age. Now the quills are out in earnest, writes Melbourne Anglican Philip Harvey, who is a member of TMA’s book review committee.

 

Forced to slow down, I'm struck by the gentle kindness of strangers

Clare Boyd-Macrae, a regular TMA contributor, reflects on how a recent injury has made her look a little differently at the world.

 

Struck twice by terror, this London cathedral looks to God for answers

Twice in little more than two years, 800-year-old Southwark Cathedral at the southern end of London Bridge has found itself at the heart of fear – and its loyal congregation is growing weary of being tested.

 

ACT school chaplains set to lose hours in new role, leading to concerns student demand won’t be met

The ACT Education Directorate is opting out of the National School Chaplaincy Program in 2020, in a bid to “take the religion out” of public schools, the ABC reports. Costs currently met by the Commonwealth under the program will be picked up by the ACT Government, but the additional hours many chaplains work, funded by Scripture Union, will be lost.

 

New Bathurst Bishop Mark Calder shares his No.1 priority

Just over eight months after Bishop Ian Palmer's retirement, and only a week into his new role, Bathurst’s new Anglican Bishop Mark Calder has made clear his No.1 goal to The Western Advocate newspaper in the seat of his diocese.

 

Good leaders know the art of successful failure

Christians — for whom success and glory walk hand in hand with failure and death — are ideally placed to bring to leadership a healthy way of living well with the pressures and demands of our success-obsessed culture, writes Church of England suffragan Bishop Emma Ineson of Penrith in this edited extract in Church Times from her book Ambition: What Jesus said about power, success, and counting stuff.

 

Faith made Harriet Tubman fearless as she rescued slaves

Millions of people voted in an online poll in 2015 to have the face of Harriet Tubman on the US$20 bill and her life has been chronicled in a recent film, Harriet. Harriet Tubman worked as a slave, spy and eventually as an abolitionist but historian of American slavery Robert Gudmestad writes that he is fascinated by how belief in God helped Tubman remain fearless, even when facing many challenges.