Salt and Light?

Church lunches where families enjoy each others’ company. Dinners at leaders’ and pastors’ homes where families have a great night of food and conversations. Church camps where everyone got to know other church people a lot better. Church committees and working bees all creating and maintaining a little – almost closed – community.

All wonderful little events. All happenings which I love and cherish. Except, what do they do to the communities around us and their most telling needs?

Light and salt of the earth? How does the church for example, make a difference to the scenario painted by this article? See these extracts:

  • Bega killer Leslie Alfred Camilleri, we got only dot-points: No father at home. Dysfunctional mother. On the streets of Kings Cross at 10. Add drugs, and what did you expect from him? Kindness?
  • “I see a growing underclass of young people who, from the day of their births, have never had a hope of turning into respectable citizens. “Raised in an environment of alcohol and illicit drug use, violence, unemployment and poverty, they are accustomed to these things by the time they are teenagers.”It is a problem that won’t go away and one that governments must confront as best they can.” – Retired Chief Judge (Tasmania) Ewan Crawford
  • What can a few more social workers fix when more than 630,000 families don’t have mum or dad living with them?
  • What can a mere law do when porn flows into every computer in almost every dark home? When beer is celebrated more on TV than faith?
  • Australians last year reported 237,000 cases of suspected child abuse and neglect.
  • Justice Paul Coghlan sentencing a 21-year-old who’d deliberately rammed his car into three people he didn’t like.

“Your first (court) appearance was when you were 12 years old. I think you have about 19 discrete court appearances for about 140 charges. Your parents divorced, having separated when you were six years of age, you do not have contact with your mother . . . Both of your parents have repartnered at some stage and you did not get on with either of those partners. At various times, you have lived with either your mother or father, but your father was very violent towards you and your mother provided little or no discipline. You came under the care of the Department of Human Services and thereafter lived in a number of residential units.”

  • Same with a Geelong man jailed for helping a mate beat to death an unemployed drunk caught defecating again on the floors of the hotel they all shared.
  • Justice Robert Osborn:

“Your father was a truck driver and heavy drinker. He was abusive both to your mother and to yourself. “Your mother also drank and by the time you were aged five or six all of the children in the family had been placed in Allambie. Thereafter you . . . became a ward of the state . . .At that time, you felt keenly that your family had abandoned you as a child. You were sexually abused . . . by two paternal uncles and, partly, it seems in reaction to this, you commenced using alcohol to a serious extent when you were 14.”

  • In February, another man was jailed for murdering a former friend he’d accused of having years earlier molested his daughter. He’d shot the man soon after his son accused him of having molested his other daughter. He is now 69, but still raised his childhood to help explain his crimes.
  • Justice Geoffrey Nettle

“You were born the eldest of eight children to a returned serviceman and a psychologically infirm mother . . . After the war, he spent considerable time in and out of hospital and he became an alcoholic. As a result, he was sometimes violent towards you. You were also sexually abused as a child. You (said) that, between the ages of nine and 12, you were cajoled into episodes of mutual masturbation with a friend of your father . . .”

  • Such damaged criminals often leave their own children littered around.
  • Justice Terry Forrest sentencing a 36-year-old drug user who helped a friend kill an older man they were robbing:

“You have three children aged about 15, 12 and 10. You have had no contact with them since about 2007.”

  • We are not just breeding an underclass for this generation, but the next. Help change our culture now, or pay later.

Churches in Melbourne should consider if Matthew 25 speaks in this context.

The Final Judgment

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


Great Weekend. Not So Great Easter.

Vintage Car Merimbula

Tress and I were at Merimbula over the Easter weekend and only came back this arvo, We caught a vintage car show, but other than that we rested a lot. We read, walked around Lake Merimbula, slept, watched tv, made coffee in the unit we rented, and basically just rested.

On the way home we passed many cars who have obviously been camping. I said to Tress I couldn’t understand church leaders – chair even – who chose to go camping over the Easter weekend, especially when  baptism will be carried out and it would do so much for the initiation of new members into the community of faith to have leaders of the community present and lending support. Instead, the focus on upholding the Aussie tradition of doing one’s own thing and going away camping takes precedence. Drifting along in the ways of the world around us, instead of making decisions which enhance life in a community of faith, seems the preferred ways – even of leaders – of church here in Melbourne.

I wish I had a community I still belonged to. I certainly wished I was in church for Good Friday and Easter, remembering and celebrating with a community of faith that is my family, and it just upsets me that the one I left behind has leadership that seems content to be swept along by prevailing community practices, not treasuring the family and just doing their own thing.

It was a beautiful weekend, with great rest and beautiful weather. But it was probably one of the worst Easters I’ve had for a long time.

Maybe the pics of the beautiful cars can do something to soothe that pain a little bit.

Vintage cares MerimbulaVintage Cars Merimbula 2013Vintage Cars Merimbula 2013