The Hypocrisy of the “Chattering Classes”

If you  thought this was OK

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And if you were not offended by this

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You do not have the right to be offended by this

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If the so-called “iconic”, sails of the Opera House are “sacred” as one commentator put it, then they were “sacred” when you approved of the cause being promoted.

You don’t get to pick and choose what you are outraged about according to the particular image being promoted.

This is the biggest problem in our society today. Very few people believe in principles that are unchanging. We just want to cheer or boo the cause of the day.

Despite all the chest thumping, only 1000 people turned up to express their opposition. But at least it gave the ABC something other than climate change and Tony Abbott to get worked up about.

 

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A Reminder About Our Fauna

From the ABC:

British man dies after being bitten by a sea snake off Groote Eylandt

Updated about 5 hours ago

A British man has died after being bitten by a sea snake while working on a fishing trawler off the Northern Territory coast.

Key points:

  • The man was bitten while pulling up a net on a boat off Groote Eylandt and died on board
  • NT WorkSafe is investigating the incident
  • The British High Commission has been informed of the man’s death

Northern Territory Police said the 23-year-old was bitten while pulling up a net about 12:00pm on Thursday, about 70 nautical miles south of Groote Eylandt.

A CareFlight helicopter crew and ships in the area rushed to help but were unable to save the man.

Craig Garraway from St John Ambulance said there was little emergency services could do to help the man.

“A trawler off Groote Eylandt had reported that one of their male crewmen had been bitten by a sea snake,” Mr Garraway said.

“The Groote Island health clinic and police responded to the trawler, but unfortunately the male passed away at some point yesterday afternoon.”

The man was declared dead after the trawler arrived at the town of Borroloola in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The British High Commission has been informed of the man’s death.

Police are investigating and a post-mortem examination will be carried out.

NT WorkSafe said in a statement it had been notified of the man’s death and had begun an investigation into the incident.

It is not the first death involving a young British man aboard an Australian fishing boat in the north.

Twenty-year-old Ryan Donoghue was electrocuted on a prawn trawler in the Gulf of Carpentaria in November 2013.

NT Coroner Greg Cavanagh found his death was needless and a tragic waste of young life.

“It would have been prevented if there was even a modicum of compliance with the law,” Mr Cavanagh said.

Sea snakes ‘equally poisonous’ as tiger snakes

Earlier this year, Darwin fisherman Peter Davis nearly had his finger amputated after being bitten by a sea snake that was snagged on his line.

Sea snakes are “equally poisonous if not more poisonous as things such as our tiger snakes and western brown [snakes]”, Charles Darwin University honorary fellow Dr Michael Guinea said at the time.

While sea snakes were rarely aggressive underwater, if caught by a fisherman Dr Guinea said cutting the fishing line could be the safest option.

Anyone bitten by a sea snake should bandage the wound and immobilise it, before seeking medical attention, authorities advise.

Stephen McAlpine: Exile, Evangelism and Ebed-Melech

Steven McAlpine brings glimmers of hope for the church in an age of increasing hostility.

Exile, Evangelism and Ebed-Melech

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While much of the talk is of bunkering down in the face of a coming cultural exile for the traditional church, we might just be in for a surprising gospel harvest at the same time.

Not a harvest instead of exile.

Nor in spite of.

But because of.

Amidst the scandals of rotten in churches that say one thing and do another; amidst the scandalon of the gospel proving to be too much for denominations seeking culture relevance, there’s a growing and genuine interest in the gospel that is translating to people actually becoming Christian.

And they’re not doing so because it’s convenient, or because all their friends are rushing to sign up and they’re getting caught in the hype, or because the media has a love-in with the church.  In fact it’s quite the opposite. To remain a Christian today is quite a challenge in the West.  To become one, well that’s another thing altogether.

Yet that is what I am seeing.  That’s what our network at Providence is seeing, as Rory Shiner reports on The Gospel Coalition site.

In our small church alone we have seen several people become Christian this past few months; one a long time church attendee who was not converted. Another one who was saved out of the blue from an atheist background after starting out on a spiritual search through reading the book of Numbers of all things!

And about five or six young people asking us for baptism.  And all in the face of a peer group outside the church that is increasingly suspicious – hostile even – towards their faith.

Yes I do think we’re headed towards cultural exile at a rate of knots.  Yes I do think that the Benedict Option is a good long term strategy.  But in the midst of all of that God is still saving people, still carrying out his intentions to bless the whole world through the covenant made with Abraham and completed in Christ.

It reminds me of the story of Ebed-Melech in the dark, desperate days of exile and ruin for Jerusalem.  Babylon is in the process of dismantling the city, the temple and God’s people.  More than that, it seems like God is in the process of dismantling His promises to bless Israel and the whole world through her.

And Jeremiah, the weeping, mournful prophet who vainly calls God’s people to turn from their desperate attempts to find security in anyone but God in the midst of it all, is shunned and disdained.  Eventually he’s thrown into a well.  Left to die.

And then we read this in Jeremiah 38:

When Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern—the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate—  Ebed-melech went from the king’s house and said to the king,  “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern, and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.”  Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, “Take thirty men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”  So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe in the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes.  Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.” Jeremiah did so. 13 Then they drew Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.

Did you get the idea that Ebed-Melech was an Ethiopian?  It reminds us three times.  Oh, and a eunuch as well.  He’s not ticking too many of the boxes is he?

Yet right at the nadir of Israel’s life, God, through this Ethiopian eunuch, points to the fact that His salvation purposes of blessing the whole world through Abraham’s descendants are still at work.

Someone not of Israel living as a true Israelite, and indeed saving an Israelite from certain death from the hands of unregenerate Israel.

A prototype Good Samaritan perhaps, while Jeremiah’s countrymen not only walk by on the other side, but inflict his wounds.

And  a precursor to another Ethiopian eunuch on the other side of the cross, who hears the good news about Jesus from Philip the evangelist, even in the midst of persecution of God’s people by faithless Jerusalem leaders once again.

In Jeremiah 39, when things have gotten worse in the capital, we read this:

The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah while he was shut up in the court of the guard:  “Go, and say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will fulfill my words against this city for harm and not for good, and they shall be accomplished before you on that day. But I will deliver you on that day, declares the Lord, and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid.  For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in me, declares the Lord.’”

Here is a true Israelite, as Paul would say in Romans 6.  One circumcised of heart, not just body.   Ebed- Melech finds salvation in God, even as the city is about the be handed over to the Babylonians one final time, and exile proper kicks in.

It’s a gospel moment.  Ebed-Melech is not commended by God for taking Jeremiah out of the well, but for trusting in the LORD.  It was his trust in the LORD, in fact, that led him to taking Jeremiah out of the well.  Here is a picture – albeit a small, fractured picture, of the nations putting their trust in Israel’s God, even in horrendous times, with a faltering witness from Israel, and a looming exile in Babylon.

So both my experience and my theology are demonstrating that something good is going on, not instead of something difficult (a cultural exile will indeed be hard for many Christians), not in spite of something difficult (as if this is pattern is an upset for the books), but because of it of it.

We’ve talked a lot about how God is doing a purifying work in these hard, secular times, burning off some of the dross.  We’ve talked about how this thing has not bottomed out, and that there’s still a falling away to come for many who love the praise of humans more than the praise of God.  We’ve talked about how some of our church growth is simply because people are swimming away from sinking life boats and scrambling on to ours.

And that’s all true.

But at the same time God appears to be taking away, He’s also adding.  Adding people to His kingdom His way.  And many of them are looking at the difficulties that the gospel will bring to their lives, and deciding that for the joy set before them it will be worth it.

I’m looking forward to meeting Ebed-Melech in the new creation. For he is a prototype of all Gentiles such as I, who although not “cut off” physically, were indeed cut off spiritually from the hope of God, but who through Christ are being brought in at a surprisingly healthy rate of knots, despite our present cultural exilic circumstances.

Brian Houston- Apostle

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The announcement last week that Brian Houston was withdrawing his Hillsong church network from the Australian Christian Churches denomination cane as a surprise to people on the outside, but it was inevitable.

pastor-brian-houston-89Pastor Brian Houston is a very successful church leader and founder of the original Hillsong megachurch. For a number of years he also served as state and national president of the ACC. Many ACC churches, large and small, have sought to emulate the style and success of Hillsong.

Meanwhile, Hillsong has planted churches around the world and has changed from being an Australian church with overseas churches to being a globally based organisation in its own right.

The movements have parted ways, on respectful and friendly terms. Hillsong will continue to relate to the ACC, but it is not clear how that relationship will progress.

Here are the reasons why I believe that Brian Houston is a true apostle:

  1. He has a big vision, always looking for the next frontier. National borders and locations do not deter him.
  2. He is a strong leader, knowing exactly what he wants from the people who work with him.
  3. He is not afraid to innovate and try new things.
  4. He is a true father in the faith. He has trained and raised up leaders whom he mentors and sends out. Looking at the pastors who are a part of the Hillsong network, many of them are people who have been a part of the Hillsong mission for many years, trained under Brian Houston and moulded by him.
  5. Although there is a strong corporate feeling to the Hillsong structure, it is also highly relational. When I have been to Hillsong, which hasn’t been for some years now, it has always struck me the love and affection which the leaders have for one another.

I believe that the new Hillsong denomination is a part of the restructuring that the Holy Spirit is bringing to the church. Authority is increasingly flowing through personal relationships rather than man-made structures. We still need the structures but it is the father and son relationships that will increasingly mark the church of the 21st century.

Hillsong Becomes a Denomination

From Vision Christian Radio:

Hillsong Becomes a Denomination

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

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Hillsong has become its own denomination this week, withdrawing from the Australian Christian Churches group.

The church, which began as Hills Christian Life Centre in 1983, led by Brian and Bobbie Houston, grew and planted into 123 locations across the world.

It was formed within and has remained under the governance of the ACC until yesterday.

Brian Houston says the move, which has been under consideration for two years, is not based on division, but on growth.

He says Hillsong no longer see themselves as an Australian Church with a global footprint, but rather a Global church with an Australian base.

Hillsong’s global HQ is now in the United States.

Brian Houston says two thirds of the people attending Hillsong Church each weekend live in countries beyond Australia.

He says “it has become clear to us that we need to be able to credential our own pastors and restructure our church in a way that enables us to give due diligence to governance, risk, church health, safe church and many other policies that are crucial to the future progress of Hillsong globally.”

Read the full article here

ABC: Hydrogen Fuel Breakthrough

From the ABC, good news about a real competitor to petrol driven cars, hydrogen. Electric cars really aren’t a starter once you get outside the major cities, but a car fuelled by hydrogen with a range of 800 km and a re-fuel time similar to petrol is a real possibility.

Hydrogen fuel breakthrough in Queensland could fire up massive new export market

 

Two cars powered by hydrogen derived from ammonia will be tested in Brisbane today thanks to a Queensland breakthrough that CSIRO researchers say could turn Australia into a renewable energy superpower.

CSIRO principal research scientist Michael Dolan said it was a very exciting day for a project that has been a decade in the making.

“We started out with what we thought was a good idea, it is exciting to see it on the cusp of commercial deployment,” he said.

For the past decade, researchers have worked on producing ultra-high purity hydrogen using a unique membrane technology.

The membrane breakthrough will allow hydrogen to be safely transported and used as a mass production energy source.

“We are certainly the first to demonstrate the production of very clean hydrogen from ammonia,” Dr Dolan said.

“Today is the very first time in the world that hydrogen cars have been fuelled with a fuel derived from ammonia — carbon-free fuel.”

Program leader David Harris said Australia has a huge source of renewable energy — sunlight and wind — that can be utilised to produce hydrogen.

But the highly flammable element is difficult to ship long distances because of its low density.

CSIRO researchers found a way to turn Australian-made hydrogen into ammonia, meaning it could be shipped safely to the mass market of Asia.

It is converted back into hydrogen using their membrane, then pumped into hydrogen-powered cars.

As of now, there are only five such cars in Australia, but there are tens of thousands across Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

“The key here is we can transport the hydrogen from the place where it is produced from renewable energy — let’s say maybe that is in outback WA — and we can ship that form of ammonia anywhere in the world,” Dr Harris said.

‘A massive step for Australia’

Both Toyota and Hyundai have invested millions of dollars into hydrogen-powered cars.

Today’s road test will be on Hyundai’s flagship eco car the Nexo SUV, and Toyota’s Murai.

The ABC got a sneak peek at the testing station where the cars were fuelled up and given a short test at CSIRO’s Pullenvale technology hub in western Brisbane.

Hyundai spokesman Scott Nargar said the main advantage of hydrogen over electric cars was they could be filled up in three minutes like a normal car and had a range of up to 800 kilometres.

“So they are just like driving a normal car but there will be zero emissions,” he said.

“From a car manufacturer’s point of view, we see this as a massive step for Australia.

“Working in and out of South Korea quite regularly, I know Hyundai has a massive contract to provide hydrogen buses to the Korean Government.

“It just announced 16,000 hydrogen-powered cars will go on the road and 310 hydrogen refilling stations across the country under a five-year plan.

“They need to power those cars from somewhere so why can’t it be renewable hydrogen from Australia?”

Toyota spokesman Matthew Macleod said the breakthrough was exciting because it addressed one of the key challenges with hydrogen.

“It is a game-changer,” he said.

“Ammonia already has established routes for transportation and to transport at relatively normal temperatures.

“When it gets to where it is going they can actually pull the hydrogen out using the CSIRO technology, which opens up fuel cell technology to markets that previously did not have the technology.

“From an energy perspective, the ability to move solar energy or wind energy from one place to another using ammonia opens up doors that previously would have been closed because of the difficulties of transporting hydrogen.”

Australia’s next export boom

The CSIRO team has already received expressions of interest from Japan, South Korea and Europe, with industry players looking at taking up supplies initially to fuel commercial vehicles like buses, taxis, trucks and trains.

Dr Dolan said a million hydrogen-powered cars were expected to hit the streets by 2025.

Currently hydrogen-fuelled cars sell for about $80,000, but, as with electric cars run on power-grid charged batteries, the price is expected to fall as production increases.

Mr Nargar said they expected to see price parity with petrol and diesel cars within a decade.

Dr Dolan said the cost for the fuel would be around $15 a kilogram, with an average car holding five kilos of pure hydrogen in a tank.

“But the efficiency of the car is twice as good as current gasoline cars, so you can actually drive twice as far on a tank,” he said.

Dr Dolan said renewable hydrogen was seen as Australia’s next export boom.

“It could potentially rival our LNG export industry,” he said.

“As of this year Australia is the world’s biggest natural gas exporter. Hydrogen could be in the same position in the next couple of decades.”

Hydrogen-powered cars could be on sale in Australia with the next two years.

An Oldie but a Goodie

Remember the days when we could laugh about white racism and urban aboriginal culture without people taking offence? And you could get the message across with subtlety, so you didn’t actually subject your audience to apartheid and preach at them? Well if you’re in your 60’s you might.

Here’s a skit from “Fast Forward” when comedy was both funny and edgy without the swears.