27 September 2023

14 - 20 September

Australians invited to learn how to ease suffering at compassion forum – The Melbourne Anglican 

Australians will have the chance to learn how to practice compassion without feeling burnout at a National Day of Compassion online forum. 

It aims to empower participants to respond to various contemporary crises, and teach them about how deep wisdom can guide their decision making. 

Organisers at the Australian Compassion Council say the annual forum encourages and supports participants to come together with care and learn about alleviating suffering, particularly during unsettled times. 

Presbyterian church of Australia bans acknowledgement of country at services – The Guardian 

The Presbyterian church has banned congregations across Australia from conducting an acknowledgment of country at their regular services, in a decision described as “extreme” and saddening by Indigenous Christians. 

The prohibition was made at the denomination’s general assembly in Sydney last week, amid a heated debate over whether the church needed to lament some aspects of colonisation. 

John McClean, a spokesperson for the church who took part in the meetings, said the general assembly had authority over how worship services were conducted. 

Church seeks exemption for religious belief in misinformation bill – The Age 

Catholics and Muslims have raised the alarm about the potential for Labor’s new online misinformation laws to restrain the teaching of religious doctrine on issues such as euthanasia. 

The powerful Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is pushing to make sure a person expressing sincere religious beliefs cannot be captured under a draft bill that has been criticised by the Coalition, human rights commission, civil liberties groups and top legal minds. 

Broome Catholic Bishop Christopher Saunders faces allegations of ‘very serious’ sex abuse in Vatican report – ABC News 

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has described sexual misconduct allegations against a prominent WA church leader as “deeply distressing.” 

The long-serving Catholic Bishop of Broome, Christopher Saunders, has been the subject of a Vatican-led investigation into allegations of sexual and professional misconduct, first revealed by the ABC in 2020. 

The 73-year-old, who lives in the Kimberley town, denies any wrongdoing. 

Scott Morrison opens up about ‘God’s plan’ and his faith in upcoming book – SBS News 

Former prime minister Scott Morrison is set to reveal in detail how his Christian faith influenced him, in a memoir to be published in May 2024.

The 288-page book, Plans for Your Good – A Prime Minister’s Testimony of God’s Faithfulness, will be published by Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

The publisher’s website blurb for the book says it: “offers a unique insider’s account of a Christian who was open about his faith and operated at the top level of politics for more than a decade”. 

Hindus may pray to 333 million gods, but there’s more to the faith than that – The Age 

Hinduism, unlike other faiths does not have one holy text, such as the Koran or Bible. There is not one single prophet or god either, writes Shobha Sekhar, lecturer at Australian National University.  

Yes, we have many gods and goddesses. But our beliefs evolved to make religion more user-friendly and increase focus by introducing imagery and physical form, she writes. 

U.S. woman arrested in Afghanistan among 18 aid workers held for “promoting Christianity,” local official says – CBS News 

Almost 20 staff members of a charity organization operating in central Afghanistan, including one United States national, have been arrested by regional officials in the Taliban-controlled nation, a spokesman for the provincial government in Ghor province told CBS News. 

The 18 detained aid workers were arrested for “propagating and promoting Christianity,” a violation of the Taliban’s strict regulations on all non-governmental groups, according to Abdul Wahid Hamas, the spokesman for the regional administration in Ghor province. 

Can religion be funny? These comedians joke about religious stereotypes but they aren’t always having fun – ABC News 

Australian Muslim comedian Frida Deguise got into stand-up by accident. Twelve years ago, she made an off-hand joke to colleagues about all Muslims being “terrorists” and “gangsters”. 

It was at a time when these harmful stereotypes were frequently being applied to her community, she says. 

“I don’t think Islam is funny… I think my religion is tasteful. I think its people are funny”, she says. 

How can I respond to coworkers who think Christianity is bigoted? – The Gospel Coalition  

In working with unbelievers and believers alike, we’re called to live and labor in a manner worthy of the gospel. We should be quick to humbly confess and repent when we fall short of it, writes Kaitlin Miller Febles. 

But how should we respond to coworkers who’ve taken offense not over our own actions but over those of other Christians? 

‘Celebrities for Jesus’ – The book that reveals why the church is hurting – Eternity News 

Author Katelyn Beaty is no stranger to the media. Writing for both the secular press and faith-based media, she writes with affection of an insider of both church and the media who wants us to be better. 

Beaty makes her charge that “the American church has overall mimicked celebrity culture rather than challenged it,” writes Susanne McFarlane, head of publishing at Bible Society Australia.