Thoughts at Christmas

all i want

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep … You are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace …
You are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness …
You are more blessed than a million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation …
You are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death … You are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you can read this message, you are more blessed than …
Over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

If we eat out at a restaurant, this Christmas we probably will spend more than the average monthly income in Nicaragua or India without thinking.

If we buy a soft drink and a Tattslotto ticket, we probably spend what is a day’s wages for many humans.

 

 

 

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92 thoughts on “Thoughts at Christmas

      • It has to go public for those people to change their stance .
        How many times has that been required.
        The real test of how just something is when all the facts are laid out for the masses to view everything.
        Myth Busters made a “”LEAD BALLOON” and it did raise and maybe someone will work out how to make a “”PIG FLY” but we will never see all the facts from those that hold any power

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    • But of course let,s not forget about all those down the line of management who use the line of command to use their own psychopathic upon people .
      As the sketch in “”Little Britten” line “The Commuter say,s NO”

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    • Interesting she states that Australians are depressed after being in Ethiopia. I’ve heard more laughter amongst the poor in Jakarta than the middle class in Singapore and Sydney.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It would seem that as usual Mr CB/AT has missed the larger point that we SHOULD just be grateful that we have so much. But, in saying this, I’m with the nurse, we have so much it feels unfair. I feel disgusted when I here the usual jokes of stuffing ourselves silly – eating so much that some have to crawl off for a nap, or the rush to get the must have items “to show you really love them”. I’m in no way religious but this is NOT what it should be about………But it seems for most here it is. ):
      Seems as I get older my thoughts turn more and more to those in impoverished and War torn countries and question the unfairness in life.

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      • I went with a group for a Christmas break-up dinner at our golf club. We ordered the pensioner specials. The plates were large, filled to the edges and heaped high. The meal was lovely, but the thought of how many people each plateful could reasonably feed was nagging, and still stays with me.

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      • Michael,

        As far as ‘giving away my money’ goes, I have nothing to feel guilty about, but I do think having the usual, “What do you do to help your fellow man?” thrown at you is unfair and a put-down. Sure, we all need to be reminded and encouraged to give, and if we can’t give financially, to help out where needed, but surely that happens anyway at this time of the year with all the pleadings for donations we get from so many charities. I would have thought that seeing as it’s the season for giving, many people do give.

        Yes, yes, yes, ENCOURAGE us to do better, but please stop with the unfair generalisations and judgments.

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      • Mon, I guess having worked with World Vision for the past year I’m a bit sensitive to the eyes glossing over Aussies who don’t give a stuff about others suffering in this world. That’s not a personal attack on you. But sometimes people need to be challenged. Myself included.

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      • Simply standing up for Valerie Browning, bravely stating something that she would no doubt know to be unpopular opinion – believe it or not they used to crucify people for that you know. Of course in this civilised world we don’t literally do that any more, we have social media and Blogs for that.

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      • Apologies for my sensitivity Bryan.

        I know that it clouds what has been said at times; the way I comprehend, but gee, a lot of people are critical and judgmental (including me) at times, aren’t they? I’m really sick of it. I so want the Lord’s heart; really do— it’s time!

        But I love how passionate many of us are here, and how I feel comfortable enough to be able to have a say and sometimes vent.

        My love to you & Dawn. Hope you have a wonderful Day tomorrow.

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      • correct John

        This is the last quote

        Richard Baxter: “Fire is evidently the only word in human language which can suggest the anguish of perdition. It is the only word in the parable of the wheat and the tares which our Lord did not interpret (Matt. 13:36-43)…The only reasonable explanation is that fire is not a symbol. It perfectly describes the reality of the eternal burnings. As we paid nothing for God’s eternal love and nothing for the Son of His love, and nothing for His Spirit and our grace and faith, and nothing for our eternal rest…What an astonishing thought it will be to think of the immeasurable difference between our deservings and our receivings. O, how free was all this love, and how free is this enjoyed glory…So then let “Deserved” be written on the floor of hell but on the door of heaven and life, ‘The Free Gift.'”

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      • I’m unsure where to post this so it falls in a relevant spot, but Carol on December 27, 2015 at 10:42 said:

        Rian, Could you give my your primary source for the Isaac Watts hymn you have quoted? :
        …………………………………………………
        You’ll find many references if you google it, but unfortunately none seem to mention the title. Here is a list of Isaac Watts’ hymns. You might be able to trace it in there, but not too hopeful without the title.
        http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/isaac-watts/

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      • I don’t think Rian came back “seeking a fight” Alexie,

        Just to right some wrongs he strongly feels were committed against him. Though I did caution him about requesting an apology as I feel it should be ‘freely’ given and not demanded of. And I can honestly say that the man I met in person last year does not appear to have an aggressive bone in his body, let alone passive! But what do I know about psychology? Nothing! He’s a gentle, caring soul who obviously loves the company of people and who is incredibly passionate about all things to do with Church history/religion/art. His lectures/presentations on same are amazing! He’s taught me so much, although of course I do not agree with everything he says concerning my faith.

        I think too often he has felt discounted and dismissed here, and unfairly labelled, but I also acknowledge that his biblical literalist interpretation can be difficult to deal with at times….and the fact that he doesn’t like to let things go and move on. But perhaps the fault is ours for not taking into consideration enough, that he is unique. You know that God requires us to grow in our love for one another, and not to score points. I see this as our failure, not his. He will be sadly missed.

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      • Yes Mon, we will miss him. Bryan is correct in that he did not give us much chance.
        His offence scale was off the charts. Far too sensitive for simple debating with people you do not even really know. I have never seen it quite that strong before. Not even sure what to call it. You are correct that is he rather unique. His biggest issue is playing the victim and he can never seen any wrong he has done. As for apologies he has his own to give and you are 100% correct an apology is freely given not demanded.

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      • Monica, I agree with your sentiments regarding Rian. None of us is without fault, certainly neither Rian nor his detractors. It’s hard to live up to the ideal of Christian charity when you’re feeling burnt out on the one hand, or set upon on the other. It’s been a long hard year for many.

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      • You are right, John R. Living with an Aspie can be torture for both parties. It is hard to imagine any relationship staying the distance of permanency, be it a domestic one or on a forum.

        In a domestic situation the proximity is too much, politeness disappears. Yet step back a bit, and a degree of separation allows both parties to fully appreciate the other, as I have learned from friends from both ‘sides’.

        On a forum, anonymity allows straight talk, to the detriment of common politeness. You need a thick skin, unless you find somewhere warm, welcoming, friendly.

        Unlikely. There will always be one flamer or troll.

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      • What truth would that be? She’s happy enough to fund-raise in Australia and then criticise the economy that provides her funds. Retail workers are some of the lowest paid in the country but I’ll betcha if any of them wanted to donate some of the money they’ve made due to working additional hours over Christmas then Nurse Grich would grab it with both hands.

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      • Gees Louise, she’s a tad too judgmental for my liking.

        I wonder if it was my shopping trolley she was passing judgment on. Let’s see now, what did I buy from Woollies? Six litres of milk, a 3kg turkey, a tiny knob of ham, loaf of bread, bacon, sponge cake to go in my trifle, oh, tinned cherries and cream too, and a Flake chocolate for the topping; potatoes, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, cucumber, four handfuls of cherries and some grapes. And for a real treat, honey roasted almonds – yum! Fat I am, but not depressed, thank God, and I sure am looking forward to spending Christmas with my family.

        Yes, we are an extremely blessed nation, and a generous one too. But as someone said, charity begins at home, and it’s no-one’s business what or who I choose to spend my money on, especially at Christmas.

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      • Hey Bryan

        Nice to see you moving on from passive aggressive to just plain old aggressive. An improvement of sorts I guess.

        Next time Rian turns up on this blog you really should apologize. You probably won’t but you really should.

        As to the Grichichness I guess you can point to the comments I’ve made telling other people how they must celebrate Christmas or criticising them for how they celebrate ?

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      • Sadly Bubba,

        Rain has left the blog. He feels he was treated badly here by Bryan and Alexie ganging up on him. I will miss him, as he made me think and research the bits about my faith I’ve never given much thought to.

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      • Bryan, I reacted exactly the same as Bubba did to the nurse’s comments and “who let the Grinch in” was my first thought, and that I would not be giving to her charity. But having said that, as Alexie says, she does speak truth, but to castigate us for not giving to those in need, especially in other countries, and especially at Christmastime, is not only unfair, but untrue.

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      • Why “especially at Christmas time” Monica? You liberally quote the teachings of the bible every other time, try this one:

        Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Matthew 19:21

        I think this is what the Nurse has done and perhaps at this time of year “good Christians” fall way short of the mark(or Mathew). It seems to get worse every year – Christmas seems to be now a time of decadent gluttony for affluent nations like ours.

        I read no direct ‘castigation’ from Bryan, maybe time to check the guiltometre.

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      • It is sad Rian has left but he plays the victim while heaping his own abuse on others.
        I would welcome him back but I would continue to dissect his “facts” (as I would anyone) about his faith (and those of Christ) in detail. He does not enjoy that as he thinks he is always right. As Bryan stated he does not like being challenged. But that is what debate and disagreement are about. I love debating Bubba, stu, CB and others who are at opposite ends to myself. Although they are always wrong! 🙂

        I love debating Dom about Islam and he gives it back too. I love to debate with my Christian brothers and sisters here and at times disagree with them too, but not often.

        Lately we have the growing spirit of “offence” rising up and this has lessened our free speech across society. We should be able to discuss, debate and disagree without threat, without others constantly crying about being offended. This blog is excellent and we all usually behave pretty well.

        cheers

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      • Hey guys,

        if you don’t mind, in the spirit of Christmas, I’ll alert Rian to this thread as he’s stopped reading the blog altogether now and has asked me to let him know if there’s anything that crops up on the blog that he may be interested in reading. It’ll at least give him a chance to have his say if he so desires. And to see that we all love him.

        Blessings everyone.

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      • Bryan (to follow dec 24, at 13.24pm)

        Over Christmas, Monica drew my attention back to the blog, pointing out that there had been mention of me in the latest discussion. So I looked it up.

        Some few months back in the blog, you apologized for being a bit too hard on me. Then in private correspondence between us you made me some sort of gesture for the future. I am herein cashing in that ‘Wild Card’ referred to, and am deliberately reproaching you. You were very much in the wrong when you described me as being Passive Aggressive, and I am specifically requesting you to offer an apology. I will reprise the comments I made to you at the time, and add some extra points in evidence. You will be failing in decency and honesty if you gloss over and ignore my comments.

        The whole issue came up when I spoke in a posting of ‘Friend Alexie’, following it up in the paragraph with criticisms of him for being ‘cowardly and dishonest’. My archaic use of the word ‘friend’ when followed by such deliberate and direct criticism was perceived by you as passive aggression. Now I remembered well my earlier understanding of this term, but I refreshed my mind by looking up a number of definitions and commentaries; and I emphatically deny that any such thing was applicable in my words and intention. I can back up every word of that criticism.

        Over three and a half years, you will have been reading my posts on this blog; and curiously this is the very first occasion that I have been accused of P.A. In explanations of the term, one of the major points made about it, is that the perpetrator of P.A. is usually reluctant to speak his mind. He substitutes subtle and not so subtle disguised shots at his opponent without telling the truth. Funny when among others, my dear friend Monica has commented a couple of times both on the blog and in personal correspondence that I can appear uncharacteristically aggressive and confrontational. You just cant have it both ways, Bryan. Passive aggressive AND confrontational! No.

        In my Shorter Oxford, this is one of the many usages or definitions of the word ‘friend’: – ‘applied loosely to (or about) a mere acquaintance or to a stranger’. It also offered by one ‘who wishes another well’. The Oxford also recalls the old Quaker custom of addressing all persons as ‘Friends’. (Just for the record, please take it as read that I have no intention of wishing Alexie anything other than ‘well’, however much I might robustly disagree or debate with him about topics.)

        I also looked up my much thumbed Cruden’s ‘Complete Concordance to the Old and New Testaments’ (revised edition 1954), to see just how the Bible utilizes the word Friend. Along with two other examples of Scriptural usage, there was a third which read ‘The word friend was used as a general salutation, whether to friend or foe, – (see Matthew 22.12 and 26.50.)

        My use of the term friend is most certainly a rather old-fashioned way of introducing a person. But I can see not the slightest problem with it. Friend there refers to a fellow contributor, someone who is well known to the reader(s) of the comment. As I pointed out at the time, I DID NOT say ‘my’ friend Alexie, did I? Now I do not expect or hope for any sort of an apology from Alexie, but I trust in your decency to provide such to me.

        I shall offer more of my comments in a second posting.
        Cheers, Rian.

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      • To Bryan (to follow Rian)
        (Passive Aggression – part 2.)

        Now if by any chance you are going to persist in interpreting that in quoting the word friend as some sort of subtle and pernicious softening tactic prior to the following critical and truthful comments, then you really need to consider the following points about common Christian custom and thinking. Because there you can detect the possibility of some distinctively subtle forms of Passive Aggression which are native to Christianity. Just think about it.

        One of the popular principles I often see quoted among Christians is the motto that enjoins one to ‘hate the sin, but to love the sinner’. Now that to me can seem quite suspect. If I set out with a ‘loving’ word or gesture towards the sinner about himself, and then sneak in some criticisms of his behaviour or attitude, that might appear to the onlooker as being similarly a bit of Passive Aggression.

        Friend Paul (oops, I’m doing it again, aren’t I?) SAINT Paul tells us “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing SHALL HEAP COALS OF FIRE ON HIS HEAD”. So! It appears that while the Christian is sweet to his enemy, patting him on the head and speaking perhaps of the love he has for him, nevertheless all the time behind it, this loving Christian is happily thinking in contrast that he is subtly condemning him to hell-fire if predictably he doesn’t reform. Sounds just like Passive Aggression to me.

        Another point takes me back two or three years on your blog, when the point was raised that a very ancient Christian comment and teaching that one of the very great joys of the blessed in Paradise, will be to witness firsthand (from a front row seat as it were) the eternal torments of the damned in Hell. At the time, I expressed surprise that you stated that you hadn’t come across that old teaching. You emphasized that you didn’t know about it.

        Well, in your old newspaper columns, I discovered on June 20, 2008, the matter was brought up by two of your then contributors (Justin King and Non Believer). So obviously the matter had slipped your mind. I had felt sure you must have run across it previously. Anyway, you proceeded to state that such an attitude is just not legitimate Christian thinking. Let me remind you of what famous and respected church fathers said about it.

        Tertullian; “At that greatest of all spectacles, that last and eternal judgment how shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness; so many magistrates liquefying in fiercer flames than they ever kindled against the Christians; so many sages philosophers blushing in red-hot fires with their deluded pupils; so many tragedians more tuneful in the expression of their own sufferings; so many dancers tripping more nimbly from anguish then ever before from applause.”

        Thomas Aquinas: In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned. . .So that they may be urged the more to praise God. . .The saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens. . .to the damned. [Summa Theologica, Third Part, Supplement, Question XCIV, “Of the Relations of the Saints Towards the Damned,” First Article, “Whether the Blessed in Heaven Will See the Sufferings of the Damned. . .”]

        Jonathan Edwards: “The view of the misery of the damned will double the ardour of the love and gratitude of the saints of heaven. The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever. . .Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell. . . I tell you, yea! Such will be his sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish his bliss.

        [“The Eternity of Hell Torments” (Sermon), April 1739 & Discourses on Various Important Subjects, 1738]
        Catholic Truth Society: What will it be like for a mother in heaven who sees her son burning in hell? She will glorify the justice of God. – Pamphlet from the late 1960s, part of a catechismal teaching [cited in an essay by the English poet, Stevie Smith, “Some Impediments to Christian Commitment”]
        Martin Luther: When questioned whether the Blessed will not be saddened by seeing their nearest and dearest tortured answers, “Not in the least.”

        (Last part to come). Cheers, Rian.

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      • Bryan (to follow Rian)
        Last part Passive Aggression.

        Other examples from Martin Luther and St Augustine could be quoted, but one of the glaring examples comes from that great sweet hymn writer of Christendom, – Isaac Watts.

        During America ‘s “Great Awakening”, Watts (1674-1748) (who wrote ‘Oh God our Help in Ages Past’ and ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’)’ set Christians’ feet to tapping with this crisp little verse:
        ‘What bliss will fill the ransomed souls,
        When they in glory dwell,
        To see the sinner as he rolls
        in quenchless flames of hell’.
        Charming!!!

        These quotes express a distinct motivation that is in real contrast to the claim by many of these same persons of having some sort of Christian Love for all men. So Bryan, you must surely see that FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF AN OUTSIDER, this sort of insider attitude just has to suggest something in the nature of Passive Aggression.

        Again as I pointed out the other week, I have on a number of occasions seen you metaphorically tearing strips of individuals on the blog, whether irregular Christians or atheists, while at the same time addressing them as ‘Old mate’! And then when in ordinary life, you write letters to people whether friend or foe, you surely still use the pretty and time-honoured form of addressal – ‘DEAR Mr Bloggs’ and ‘DEAR Mrs Smith’. So DONT go accusing me of Passive Aggression. I have constantly come out directly and frankly with my arguments and comments when engaged in dispute on the blog. I have not hidden them in any neurotic fashion.

        AND by the way, I have no objection at all to ‘being challenged’. That is sheer nonsense. What I have objected to is dishonesty on the part of my antagonists and simply having my arguments dismissed and ignored in a very convenient fashion. There comes a time when even the most upfront individual realizes that he is hitting his head against a brick wall.

        I suggest and ask again with all due respect that you offer me an apology Bryan, for the suggestion that I have been passive aggressive. Oh, I’m not hyper-sensitive. I can reluctantly dismiss the judgement you made so hastily that I am ‘blatantly anti-Christian’, however ill-conceived it may be. That is clearly just a mistaken conclusion you have come to. But ‘Passive Aggression’?? Oh no. Please fix that one.

        Cheers, Rian.
        (Gee, I hope that ending with ‘Cheers’ isn’t Passive Aggression too??? Can I perhaps add just a greeting to all with Compliments of the Season?)

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      • Hi Rian,
        Welcome back. I think some things are best left to the past. I understand that you do not like being described as passive aggressive so I will avoid such subjective criticism in the future. I’m pleased to see you say you do not mind being challenged. I think we are all hopefully open to that here. I hope 2016 is a great year for you.
        I’ll be interested to see your response to the questions about Isaac Watts. It’s quite possible that he wrote something like this but I’ve never come across it before Do you have a definitive source?
        Cheers
        Bryan

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      • Hello Carol I have a book of Isaac Watts hymns and cannot find those lyrics mentioned anywhere. It would seem that friend Rian has simply cut and pasted without attribution or further investigation from https://www.godfire.net/Hell-Perpetrators.html that used the same words

        Isaac Watts: During America ‘s “Great Awakening” the popular hymn writer, Isaac Watts (1674-1748). “…will even set Christians’ feet to tapping with this crisp little verse:

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      • correct John

        This is the last quote

        Richard Baxter: “Fire is evidently the only word in human language which can suggest the anguish of perdition. It is the only word in the parable of the wheat and the tares which our Lord did not interpret (Matt. 13:36-43)…The only reasonable explanation is that fire is not a symbol. It perfectly describes the reality of the eternal burnings. As we paid nothing for God’s eternal love and nothing for the Son of His love, and nothing for His Spirit and our grace and faith, and nothing for our eternal rest…What an astonishing thought it will be to think of the immeasurable difference between our deservings and our receivings. O, how free was all this love, and how free is this enjoyed glory…So then let “Deserved” be written on the floor of hell but on the door of heaven and life, ‘The Free Gift.’”

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      • No, don’t welcome me back Bryan. I am saddened by your reluctance to offer an apology.

        I have to confess I was rather amused to see that the only one of the famous quotes about the blessed enjoying the torments inflicted on the damned, that interested the folk here, happened to be that from Isaac Watts. No-one was at all interested in the earlier fathers of the Church.

        Doing a search on the verse in question, I found it quoted on loads and loads of sites, and among the sources I found a book called My Hope in Hell by Reuter; The Last Things by Bloesch; ref from Christianity.com headed OYB November 16; David Gurtetzki Associate Professor of Theology, and etc. Too many to list.

        Watts is described as composing upwards of 750 hymns, but fewer than some 500 or so appear to be in print at present. The one containing this verse presumably went out of fashion at some time. Not too surprising, I guess.

        How on earth can you express some surprise or approval at my guarantee to be happy at challenge??? I can only assume that you folk don’t like to be challenged by non-Christians, or to see non-Christians arguing back. Also I assume that no-one actually reads or seriously considers the arguments I set out in my posts. Get back to me sometime Bryan, when you can offer an apology.

        Goodbye everyone. Rian. (Ah you have conquered, oh pale Alexie. – Misquote from Julian the Apostate.)

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      • Well I’m sad that you have come and gone so suddenly Rian. And surprised. I did my best to be conciliatory and welcoming. It seems that wasn’t enough. Maybe e questioning over the Isaac’s quote was too much for you.

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      • I remember it well, I had been trying to explain things to my parents and they didn’t take me seriously at all. I was furious with them, could they not see how importance of what I was saying to them, how dare they treat me with such scorn!!
        I decided enough was enough, never again will they treat ME like this! I went to my room and packed my bags to leave and NEVER come back! They would soon realise what a grave error they had made and when they beg me to come back I will keep my back turned to them and keep walking into the cold dark night savouring their pathetic whimpering pleas. “just you wait and see, you’ll soon realise just how important I am to you, THEY WILL RUE THE DAY THEY EVER UPSET ME!!!” I thought to myself as I walked to the door.
        But, to my dismay, my mother came up and opened the door for me and said ” Well, if that’s what you feel you must do……but feel free to come back if you want” and then she gently closed the door behind me!! As I slowly walked down the yard I could here my sisters playing and laughing in there bedroom. It was dark and cold and the further I walked I started to feel a growing fear of being alone. “I know”, I thought to myself, “I’ll go back, have something to eat and I’ll runaway tomorrow night instead, unless of course they appologise for treating me so shabbily before that!” Mind you, I was only 6 years old. (:

        HMMM, What am I trying to say here?

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      • …yes, I know Grammar errors everywhere, should take my own advice to my children – take your time and proof read. ):

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      • Goodbye Rian

        You know we do not have to reply to everything you type.
        We can choose what we want to reply with.
        You are not the centre of the universe and of all knowledge.
        You came back with conditions, demands and manipulations.
        Monica contacted you as we thought it was sad to see you go, she saw what we had typed. We tried but you came in seeking a fight. Unfortunately the only fighting was in your own mind.

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      • I recall Rian saying he struggles with aspergers syndrome. I have a friend who is the same so I know it is often difficult for aspergers sufferers to relate in what others would think of as normal. .They can be obsessive and miss social cues and misinterpret subtleties of language and find it hard to show empathy. .People with Asperger’s have lots of anxiety and that seems to fit in with Rian’s perception of being a victim. It helps to see aspies from all angles and learn to deal with t them a little differently from other people. After all, we’re all in this together, all people, this thing called life. , .

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      • Thanks John. As Mon says, Rian is unique. I’m sorry that he feels the way he does but your understanding of aspergers perhaps explains a little bit about his way of dealing with things. Yes we should try to better understand people who think a little differently.

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    • Yes, she is a bot over the top but there is some truth in what she says. The depressed part is us Australians working long hours, being pushed to rush in jobs, time poor and trying to make ends meet. Throw in drug abuse, mental issues, obesity, self image issues, domestic violence, crime and other problems and is it no wonder people are depressed and over weight.
      I read a survey whereby young muslims are disillusioned with the west and the lifestyle they live within. I believe they have come over thinking it will be all rainbows and sunshine, they may be free of shootings, starvation etc but they come to a different type of war in the west. One of anxiety, depression, isolation and a sense that something is wrong, something is missing.

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      • I heard a girl on the radio saying she was going to the all-night sales with her friends. “We just buy things we don’t really need,” she said. “It’s the fun of consuming”.
        When you think of the starving millions in the world who could benefit from a bit of charity it does strike me as very sad.

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      • Oh well, so much for the soul searching one would hope this topic may have provoked. At least they don’t have to bother themselves about the obesity and self image issues so much, and just how lucky are they that they don’t have all the pressure and stress of trying to make the repayments on the home loan….the Jeep….LED HD TV…..Surround Sound, etc. I believe the Barefoot Investor recently stated that we were back at record levels of household debt because we just can’t wait for these ‘must have’ items.
        Something I am certain of, I am not here in this country through personal genius or effort, but luck of birth. In what some call the hand of fate, I was dealt a Royal Flush.

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      • Hey Bryan,

        Hows about you try thinking inside the box first.

        And now we’re back to passive aggressive are we? Pick a stance and have the guts to stick with it If nothing else the change might do you go.

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      • Hey Bryan,

        OMG I just had to stop for a moment then and explain to my wife what I was laughing at.

        The steaks are on the barbie, my family has driven thousands of k’s to be here and the kids and I are set for a fantastic Christmas day.

        If I was any more relaxed I’d need help sitting up.

        Have another random guess the next one you come up with might also be hilarious.

        For me this is a wonderful time of year, full of hope and joy and the spreading of cheer to our fellow man.

        You and Nurse Grinch might see it differently but that’s on your shoulders and you really don’t need to project it onto mine.

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      • “Australia performs exceptionally well in measures of well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index,” the OECD said.

        Nothing to do with happiness although the word is used throughout the article.
        If happiness was just GDP and income then the rich would never suicide, be depressed or take drugs.

        Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/australia-the-worlds-happiest-nation-oecd-20130527-2n87z.html#ixzz3vEMQIbS2
        Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

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    • I don’t find Valerie Browning unreasonably judgemental. She is generalising, and no individual need feel singled out or guilty – it is up to each of us to judge our own circumstances and behaviour. But I do think that in Australia SOME people overspend on certain items, when there is a need elsewhere. There is no way I could presume any particular person is like this, without knowing the whys and wherefores of a case.

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  1. Bryan :-
    When you think of the starving millions in the world who could benefit from a bit of charity it does strike me as very sad.
    When you realize those same words where used way back in the late fifties and early sixties.
    Staving or under nourished millions in “”INDIA”.
    At the time India was spending big on building nuclear bombs.
    The charities departed !
    India had to look after it,s citizens.
    Every dollar that goes to looking after the poor and staving is a dollar plus more that country can spend on war stuff.

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    • CB, No the charities didn’t depart. That’s just not true. There are several Australian charities that have been working in India for decades and the money has not gone to building nuclear bombs.. The poverty there is less because of these efforts. If you have any proof otherwise now is the time to put up or shut up.

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      • At the time the people in INDIA were staving and under nourished INDIA was building nuclear reactors and produced ATOMIC BOMBS .
        And charities packed up and departed on mass .
        Did I say every charity departed.

        The Indian government decided the production of ATOMIC BOMBS was more important than feeding their citizens.
        And everywhere charities are the government of that country can increase their percentage of budget on weapons .

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      • Which charities packed up and departed on masse? Where’s the evidence mate? And where’s the evidence that money given to Australian charities ends up making bombs?
        As I said before put up or shut up.

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      • Such a shame you place your own words within mine.
        When ever charities get involved governments step back from their responsibilities .
        Yes even in Australia.
        But instead of tackling the main issue of defense spending you place fault upon shoppers in Australia .
        At least if those products are made in a poor country the money goes into their pocket instead of business class flights and four star junkets of charity management .

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      • “Did I say every charity departed”

        Plainly not sure.

        I know many people working over in India and they live there now. They did not depart.
        Many charities in India who have never departed.

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      • “O” Gee !
        Now I realize I should have penned down the disgrace the charities dished out to the Indian government at the time.
        Should have kept a record for the narrow minded of a time five decades later.
        Fancy that !
        Fifty years later a religious person defending the production or weapons as part result of charities helping were the government priority should be .
        Instead the religious man blames the consumer.

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      • CB
        Who’s defending the production of weapons?
        And once again you have no evidence for charities money going to arms production or that charities pulled out en masse from India.
        Your view of history is based on nonsense. You can’t even come up with one case story to verify your premise. I suggest you just admit you haven’t got a clue.

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  2. The World Giving Index 2012, compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), an international charity which promotes charitable giving via companies and individuals, found Australia topped the 2012 table, and also headed a new five year index which looks at giving between 2007 and the most recent year of fieldwork, 2011.

    The survey, compiled by CAF using polling information from Gallup on the charitable behaviour of more than 155,000 people in 146 countries, found more Australians had, on average, donated money, volunteered time or helped a stranger in the past month than any other country, ahead of Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

    – See more at: http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2012/12/australia-most-generous-country-world-giving-index#sthash.3osRXu1e.dpuf

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  3. Merry Christmas to everyone who reads and/or contributes to Faithworks. Thanks for all the lively debate and discussions through out the year. Special shout outs to: Rian – I hope you are reading and change your mind about posting in the future, Bryan: for providing the space to share ideas and moderating the blog and Bubba: fellowship ain’t just for believers!

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  4. Bryan you have such a narrow mindset.
    You take my view as a attack on those with a charitable mindset.
    Placing your own words within mine.
    Then demanding I take ownership of your words!
    “”Get real “”
    Every government is very pleased there are those doing the work for FREE they should be doing
    And one of the benefits is freeing up MORE money to be spent on weapons.

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    • And “”Bravo” Bryan !
      Just the typical defensive position every self interested group has.
      Unable and or unwilling to see the bigger issue.
      To me there is only one issue of up most importance.
      This planet would be a paradise for all if there was under fifty million Homo Sapiens spaced out over the planet.

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  5. The stories of the Nativity need not be factual but mythically they are immensely powerful. The artists who composed them knew what they were doing—they catch the deep imagination and yearnings of the human heart for justice for the poor and in doing so offer what is in many ways the essence of the Christ path—that Good News will come to the poorest (the shepherds) and the four-legged ones (ox and sheep) will be in a privileged place and that Divinity is young—a child—not just an old, bearded fellow. And that we are cosmic beings born of a cosmos that has loved us and we will find no peace without remarrying our psyches to the cosmos.

    The Gospel writers were NOT members of academic seminars: They were ARTISTS and they wove together powerful teachings and stories from the Hebrew Bible and elsewhere including their own hearts and imaginations to create powerful works of art. It was the Jesus event that aroused this creativity and breakthrough thinking in them. It is an insult to throw out their brilliant mosaics based solely on a modern perspective of “facts only.” Do not underestimate the power of myth and story to move minds and hearts and thereby create metanoia or transformation.

    http://progressivechristianity.org/resources/toward-a-more-than-literal-and-more-than-rational-and-more-than-capitalist-christmas/

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  6. Hi Rian

    Welcome back, friend!!!!

    “Sounds just like Passive Aggression to me.”
    You were speaking this of Christians, (love the sinner, hate the sin).
    Should we now all be offended as you have been offended?

    Instead of slowly making your way back to the blog you have come in all guns blazing, demanding an apology, calling Christians P.A etc.
    No, Merry Christmas. No hello everyone, Good to be back.

    You do this constantly and maybe why you get the reaction you get and then turn around and play the victim. Can you not see it???

    Things like:

    “You will be failing in decency and honesty if you gloss over and ignore my comments.”

    Then in short you infer, or rather quote others, to say we Christians do not “really” love.
    You refer way back to 2008 and then go on to quote some of the church fathers. Then you wonder why you have people like myself “challenge” your writing and posts. We could easily become so offended by your comments but you seem to become overly offended when we report your comments and hand them back to you in tatters.

    Can you not see it?

    “Another point takes me back two or three years on your blog, when the point was raised that a very ancient Christian comment and teaching that one of the very great joys of the blessed in Paradise, will be to witness firsthand (from a front row seat as it were) the eternal torments of the damned in Hell. At the time, I expressed surprise that you stated that you hadn’t come across that old teaching. You emphasized that you didn’t know about it.

    Well, in your old newspaper columns, I discovered on June 20, 2008, the matter was brought up by two of your then contributors (Justin King and Non Believer). So obviously the matter had slipped your mind. I had felt sure you must have run across it previously. Anyway, you proceeded to state that such an attitude is just not legitimate Christian thinking. Let me remind you of what famous and respected church fathers said about it.”

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  7. Thought I would take to Rian and his comment,‘hate the sin, but to love the sinner’.
    He then quoted Christian authors in an apparent links to the line ‘hate the sin, but to love the sinner’. Which really was creating a point for bruin about PA. A long bow I know.

    Firstly, this is not a biblical verse or line. Some subscribe Augustine to have first said it.
    I rarely hear Christians say this line. I do seem to read it on some sites though. It is not a common saying as far as I am concerned so to use it as a starting point for Christians is not correct to do so.

    In fact some attribute Mohandas Gandhi having borrowed the idea and further popularized it when he wrote in his 1929 autobiography to “hate the sin and not the sinner.”

    There are hundreds of times the word love is used and over a hundred verses on the theme.
    Jesus changed history because of His love.

    Anyone who would infer the bible does not preach love but preaches glee over people in hell obviously is biased and/or does not know the Word very well

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  8. As part of Rian’s bias and lack of scholarly research we can see this in his quote, “Tertullian; “At that greatest of all spectacles, that last and eternal judgment how shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness;….”

    In the book, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1: By Edward Gibbon, straight after the quote by Rian we can read this:

    “if the polytheist… if he could persuade himself to suspect that the Christian religion might possibly be true, it became an easy task to convince him that it was the most prudent and safest party that anyone could embrace”

    This certainly changes the context of the Tertian quote and shows a great love for people.

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  9. Again Rian gets it wrong when he uses the quotes of the old fathers out of context.

    I will use Jonathan Edward’s a background: “The view of the misery of the damned will double the ardour of the love and gratitude of the saints of heaven. The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever. . .Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell. . . I tell you, yea! Such will be his sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish his bliss.”

    I”n order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned. . .So that they may be urged the more to praise God. . .The saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens. . .to the damned.”
    Thomas Aquinas

    You see, in Heaven there will be no tears, there will be no darkness, there will be no sorrow, hate, anger or lusts. There is only joy, beauty, love and peace. So the saints do not blissfully look at the people in hell with a jubilant self absorbing glee. This would not be possible. They just can see the justice, love and Grace of God who so beautifully offers a way of redemption.

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  10. Rain mentioned Julian the Apostate. How interesting this is? One might say it is a coincidental description?

    In the 18th century A.D., a brilliant English scholar named Nathaniel Lardner produced a remarkable set of volumes titled The Credibility of the Gospel History. He shows that Julian opposed Christianity, had provided supporting evidence for our faith.

    He mentions the historicity of Christ, Jesus did nothing remarkable—unless you count the fact that he “healed the cripples and blind”, “walked on water”, “Died and ressurrected”. Julian recounts the calming of the storm and how Jesus walked upon its waters. But he tries to give “natural” reasons for the miracles. Lardner thus concluded: “He aimed to overthrow the Christian religion, but has confirmed it: his arguments against it are perfectly harmless, and insufficient to unsettle the weakest Christian (McClintock 1969, 1090). In A.D. 363, Julian finally died in a battle against the Persians. He was but thirty-two years of age, having reigned only twenty months. He represents but another “glitch” on the panoramic screen of history in the futile efforts to discredit Christianity.”

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