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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Ockham's Razor: 26 June 2005 - Science and Faith

I loved this contribution [see Ockham's Razor on the Radio National website on]. Humanity frequently fails to understand time. We seem to prefer to have things done immediately or, at least, in the immediate short term. Consider how many things work their way out over time: the true value of things - either increasing in value over time or diminishing even to the point of crumbling away; justice, irrespective of human judicial systems, teaches its lessons over time; public policies instituted by governments or rulers are only seen for their true worth or usefulness over time. Perhaps, if we came to a more mature perspective about time, we could develop sounder strategies for humanity and the planet opting for those which are constructive and creative rather than those which are destructive and thwart that which is best in each of us.

Ockham's Razor: 19 June 2006

Here is part two of Dr Geoffrey Chia's contribution on ABC's Ockham's Razor. Does this mean that, if we act on his suggestion, the term 'scumbag' will cease to be a pejorative term and become a term of admiration?

Thursday, June 16, 2005


These days so many of us don't give a thought about where our food comes from. Some nations, like France, appear to be more in touch with their farmers and their countryside as the source of their food. MILK project is a refreshing look at food - where it comes from, where it ends up - as well as a great graphics project. It takes us from the milk in the cow's udder in Latvia right through its progress to market in Holland as cheese and ending up as a delectable product on someone's table. I hope you enjoy this imaginative project as much as I have.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Ockham's Razor:12 June 2005 - Part One

The link set out below is encouraging and challenging at the same time. If you think that going to war to ensure oil for consumption dominated societies is a human activity of dubious value and even more doubtful morality; if you think that political argument, and certainly argument relating to human life and how we continue to live, should be rationally based then you will be encouraged by the lucidity of this program. If you think that these thoughts belong to the loopy and loony left and that certain realities have to be faced in the modern world, you will be challenged in your thinking. Part 2 will be on next week and I will be listening, hoping to enjoy the same high standard of thinking exhibited in this week's episode.
Ockham's Razor:12 June� 2005� - Science versus Pseudoscience. Truth versus Lies - Part One

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Kingdoms we know about are populated by Kings and Queens, nobles and knights, diplomats and important people. Even in the world of republics little has changed. Presidents, Prime Ministers and Potentates, technocrats, corporations, and money provide a familiar milieu.

The Kingdom of God Jesus tells of is a very different place. One birth is not enough—there must be a second. Important people won’t make it and the rich find it difficult. Little children and those who have the nature of children will lead. Giving away one’s worldly goods brings riches. It is not the warlike who have the earth as their heritage, it is the meek.

If one meets a paradox, chances are it is part of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God turns upside down our ideas of rule. Those who are powerless are strong. Those who exercise strength are weak.

But this is a coveted kingdom. People will do anything to have a part in it. It is like, Jesus said, someone finding a treasure buried in a field. The person goes away and buys the field to get access to the treasure.

People are filled with regret when they don’t access the Kingdom and discover too late what it is all about. Jesus told of Lazarus and the rich man. The rich man asked for someone to go especially to tell his family. He was told that the message was already there for anybody to see and hear.

The message is so simple that it is easily by-passed by self-importance, by gratifying ourselves with the transient things and values of our time.

But the topsy-turvy kingdom has a price, a great price. It can mean ridicule, cruel gossip, denunciation, even persecution and death. It requires activism, sometimes quiet and unnoticed like leaven lightening a loaf and sometimes much noticed and noisy like tables being overturned in the most sacred of places. It requires acknowledgment of the king even when embarrassment overwhelms us. It requires care and acknowledgment for other inhabitants of the kingdom. It requires above all great love—whole hearted full bodied strong spirited love of God and love for others based on that relationship and what we would want for ourselves.

Kingdom rule, however, is a life for living—and living abundantly with great joy. It is only by living its values that we understand this and comprehend its working and ways.

Friday, June 10, 2005


It amazes me - the financial brains currently directing our country are either very dumb or very greedy. Currently, the Australian Government is trying to deprive many of those it is supposed to serve of work and wage justice. It is doing this in two major ways:
  1. Removing the rights of workers employed in places of 100 employees or less to take action for unfair dismissal. Small business is not always known for its following of procedural fairness for employees. If such business got good advice AND followed it, they would find that unsatisfactory employees could have their services terminated without the employer being found guilty.
  2. Reordering the way wage decisions are made for workers in Australia which will mean a diminution in the value of real wages of the lowest paid workers who do not have any powerful collective strength in the workplace. In the US there are people who work but do not even receive a wage - such as drink waiters who have to survive only on tips and those tips have to be shared with people behind the bar. Driving wages down for the poor could eventually lead to such a situation.

All this is happening when wages for CEOs in some companies have reached heights the cow that jumped over the moon could not jump over. The CEO for Macquarie Bank has had HIS wages lifted to $18 million and the new CEO of Telstra gets $2 million before HE actually starts work.

Surely it makes sense to make every endeavour to ensure that all Australians can receive a FAIR and REASONABLE wage. Surely as we all have reasonable amounts of money jingling in our pockets we can spend more - so there can be more home mortgages, more car sales, more computer and electrical appliance sales and so on and thus increase jobs and grow our economy. Statistics show that lower income families tend to spend all their income and are the most likely to provide stimulus to the economy. If this is the case, then why are we winding back income and job opportunities for Australians at the bottom end of the socio-economic ladder.

In my view, it can only be because those who are the decision makers are dumb and incompetent - or it is that they are greedy and couldn't give a fig for the rest of us. As long as they, their families, their friends are doing well, buying consumer imports and luxuries, what does it matter for the rest - even if one day they find, as the wealthy did in Thatcher's London, that they have to step over the begging poor as they are economically forced to the major cities and take their ease in the theatres and places of elite entertainment. Perhaps, the poor might then inhabit the gateways and doorways of Mosman, Point Piper, Kirribilli, Toorak, Kew, and the Commonwealth Offices near Treasury Gardens in Melbourne.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


It has been said that we are the sum of our choices. Meself has thought much about choices as time passes and each year she gets a bit older and learns a little more.

She sees on television and reads in the newspapers the results of choices made by many people who appear to have life’s good things—success, status, riches, fame—only to see them disappear. These people, who have sometimes been held up to us as people to emulate, now find that all they have had is turned to dust. They are frequently bankrupt, sometimes in prison, sometimes, separated from spouse and children but one thing is clear. Their former lives are now in disarray.

On examination, it appears that these results are the brought about by choice. Actions that were chosen. Goals that were followed. Environments and social milieux which were enjoyed or tolerated. All because a particular object or goal was valued above all else.

Conversely, she sees—not frequently enough– on television and reads in the newspapers inspiring stories of inspiring individuals who have made wonderful contributions to the human life and story. These individuals have often, but not always, begun their task in obscurity.

Many of them say “I was just doing my job” or “I only did what anyone would have done. I saw the need and worked to meet it.” On examination, these people have made a difference in the world and these results have been brought about by choice. Actions that were chosen. Goals that were followed. Environments and social milieux which were enjoyed or tolerated. All because a particular object or goal was valued above all else. It may be that they have not sought the publicity they have received but have come to it accidentally. Or it might be that they have at last emerged from obscurity merely to promote a need of which they believe the wider community should have knowledge.

What then is the difference? Two things—what is valued and what is chosen. Jesus explained it to us. He told us that in that place where we placed our values—there would be our heart too. From this would come our choices—choices on how to act, which goals to pursue, which company to keep, what status to seek. Wrongly placed values produce wrongly placed choices.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


When someone says “Don’t worry” what is your reaction? Do the words reassure you? Do you take notice – and relax, ease off?

Don’t worry is a common phrase. Sometimes it is just a throw-away line. When we really do take notice it is usually because the person telling us not to worry is someone authoritative, someone who cares for us, someone who can take responsibility from our shoulder or someone who can step in beside us and help to share the load or carry out the task to its conclusion.

A child rests easy when the words "Don’t worry" come from a loving and caring parent. A spouse relaxes when the words come from a loving and responsible partner. An employee feels the stress go from situation when a humane and hands on employer gives the instruction.

When Meself came across these words said by Jesus at a time of life going awry, great stress and concern in a life just hitting the quarter of a century - she took Him at His word. Meself read these words in Luke Chapter 12, took them to heart, and acted on them. How beautifully He explained what He meant.

Don’t worry. Relax. There is no need to worry and there is a reason why there is no need to worry. The reason is that basic needs such as food and clothing will be provided. Need the evidence for that? Take a look around—God’s creation is provided for. Birds and plants are part of God’s economy—not a man made economy. They exist in His care, in His provision—just as we human beings do.

There is however a catch, a but…

Meself took this in. The role of humanity in God’s economy is to seek first His Kingdom. We don’t have to possess the Kingdom, we don’t even have to obtain our passport and enter the checkpoints of the Kingdom. We just need to turn in the right direction and that right direction is in the way of seeking His Kingdom.

When we decide to do this all the things that we need will be given us.



He sustained me in a desert land in a howling wilderness waste:
He shielded me, cared for me,
Guarded me as the apple of his eye.
As an eagle stirs up its nest
And hovers over its young;
As it spreads its wings, takes them up,
And bears them aloft on its pinions,
The Lord alone guided me.

Deuteronomy 32: 10-12


High on a rock I sit.
Dangling my legs over the cliff face.
Innocent. Fearless.
Trusting. Secure.

Danger? I might fall?
Behind, around and over me
is my Eagle.


I walk the highway
in the wilderness.
I cannot see ahead.
the way is carved
through rocky walls –
beyond them barrenness.

I cannot see ahead
but never fear –
not to mind.
Behind, around and over me
Is my Eagle.


He is my surety
He is my companion
on The Quest
He alone is my guide:
my eyes, my senses,
my Spirit

The Eagle's Child

THE EAGLE'S CHILD Nancy Jean Carrigan
2 S. 526 Williams Road
Warrenville, IL 60555
On seeing Internet pictu taken by the Hubble telescope of the birth of a star in the Eagle Nebula*

I saw, with my astonished eyes
a story told in ancient light--
celestial birth in distant skies
as our Sun-star once took flight.
This nameless star, egg-like it grew
in dull galactic primal dust
until it left the womb as new
stars and poems always must.
Has it, like Sun, a circling globe
with sea-fish, bird, and dexterous ape
who'se built a clever eye to probe
our mysteries? Does her mind escape
its bounds to ponder ancient light
and move a poet's pen to write?

©1998 Nancy Jean Carrigan
Thank you Nancy
The Eagle Nebula

Monday, June 06, 2005

Return from the Pilgrimage

I have just returned from a pilgrimage to one of my favourite places Tennant Creek on the Barkly Tableland in the Northern Territory of Australia. I have spent a large portion of my life over three separate periods living on the Barkly Tableland - first of all at MacArthur River Station (NT), then Mt Isa (Qld) and lastly Tennant Creek. It is a place of great spiritual healing, solace and joy. A place that grew me in its own special way and that has provided me with experiences, spiritual growth, great times, and great friendships that will warm me for the rest of my years. Many years ago I gave expression to what I feel about the Barkly. It was true for me then and is still true to-day nearly ten years later.


life is one of presence to the desert, presence to God. For the desert is an empty and vast symbol of the unknowable God.
William Johnston in
The Wounded Stag

The Barkly is a distinct region extending across the Queensland and Northern Territory border, not too far from the centre of Australia. While the region itself is distinct in geology, geography, and culture its boundaries are blurred, difficult to outline definitively.

One can enter upon The Barkly without knowing. There is no sign to provide direction or tell of arrival there. The one sign - sacrament even - is a highway, The Barkly Highway. It travels laterally through the region in a more or less straight line for not quite a thousand kilometres. It penetrates a land of legend yet travellers who are not familiar with the resource, cultural or historic richness of The Barkly feel they are in a barren and desolate land.

A traveller may unknowingly pass one of the greatest pastoral holdings in the world, through country traversed to this day by people of traditional and diverse language groupings without anything to draw attention to the fact. Occasionally, evidence of the region’s geological richness is seen in towns and mining superstructure.

On the NT side, The Barkly covers approximately 250,000 square kilometres with a population of approximately 6,000 people. People of the continental fringe ask “Why do you live there?” They have a picture of stagnation and boredom and isolation. They do not understand that life here is one of “presence to the desert, presence to God.” This is a place to be present to people and their cultures.

What does this “presence” mean? Our Australian interior is old country and it is palpably so. Come upon The Barkly just east of Cloncurry, Queensland. Travel through the Argyllas. To one whose spirit belongs in The Barkly, and who has travelled gradually from the urbanised coastal fringes of the continent, the spirit sings on arrival.

This is home. This is rest for the body, soul and spirit. Here is healing. To travel eastward from Mount Isa to Cloncurry, one has a vista of vast ages imposing the elements on a continually worn landscape.

Travel across the vast distances between Tennant Creek and the Queensland-Northern Territory border and one is conscious of humanity’s place in the scheme of things. Distance, vastness, isolation, and extremes of climate are overwhelming here. The traveller is not in a comfortable landscape. Here the landscape not only surrounds utterly, it penetrates one’s being.

There are no huge trees. There is abundant flora which does not grow tall. Much of it hugs the ground, staying close to make the most of what little moisture there may be and to present a low profile to the desert wind.

In making one’s life present to the desert, it is possible - as in all things - to see positive and negative results. For those whom the desert has adversely overwhelmed, the spirit may be left barren, parched, and cracked. Unable to give forth life.

For those who have allowed themselves to be open to the desert, who have absorbed its beauty as well as its harshness, there is abundant life. The secret waterfilled places are known. The rich lodes of quartz hanging on tightly to precious gold are treasured in deep places. There is food from the grassland and language and culture to allow expression, celebration and remembrance.

The Barkly appears flat and unchanging but there are the high places. The patriarchal literature of the Old Testament tells of the worship of El Shaddai on the high places. These are places of vista. In The Barkly, suddenly, one may find oneself alone gazing out across the vastness from stunning vantage.

There is a place when travelling east on The Barkly Highway near Alexandria where suddenly there is the realisation of a high place. I once came to this place in the early evening of a long summer twilight. A 240 degree vista of golden grassed plain was before me. Above it hung a heavy storm-grey sky filled with lightning dancing from horizon to horizon: a timeless theatrical performance from the drama of eternity.

When I travel north from Tennant, the road to Renner Springs provides high places to lift my spirit and cause it to rejoice. I look across expanses of countryside without a sign of anything that has to do with a human being. It is truly wilderness without habitation.

Presence to the desert, presence to God? The former permits the latter. Being present to the desert takes one from a zone of comfort. It shatters and remoulds preconceived ideas. It relies on the experiential not the idyllic nor the theoretical. It calls forth the tangible into the spiritual and allows the spiritual to inform earthly reality. It means exposure to elemental force. It becomes an incarnation of spirit and matter as real as the Christian theology of God became Man and dwelt among us.

To place one’s self in the desert is to place one’s self in the presence of God. It is stepping into the place of vulnerability. No longer the doer but the done to. No longer the knower but the seeker. No longer the lover but the loved. No longer owning but sharing. From here, the place of spirit’s rest, becomes the place of spirit’s growth.