An offering for boat people

Mr Abbott, Mr Morrison, and Mr Alexander,

Despite the apparent fact that many of my fellow Australians disagree with me, I wish to voice my strong opposition to our nation’s treatment of asylum seekers.

How we act towards the poor and vulnerable amongst us speaks volumes about what we value. (And who is more vulnerable than people who have given up everything to flee for our protection?) And how do we treat them? With scant regard for their physical or mental health (particularly children) we incarcerate them for the crime of escaping persecution, we ship them to yet another foreign country, we put them in cramped pens with no shade, insufficient water, almost non-existent medical care, and arbitrarily limit family contact. For a nation that was up in arms about live animal exports, it grieves me that we embrace treating humans little better.

Digital publishing under the sun

(Reposted from The Briefing) As a way of masking my disappointment that certain terrible trends come back around again, I remind myself of the wisdom of Solomon: there’s nothing new under the sun. What has been done will be done again—like fluoro and neon colours coming back into fashion recently, after a reprieve of a […]

1 Samuel 16:7

(Reposted from The Briefing) But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on [Eliab’s] appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” It is only on rare occasions […]

Book review: “The Intolerance of Tolerance” by DA Carson

(Reposted from The Briefing)  THE INTOLERANCE OF TOLERANCE DA CARSON, EERDMANS, 2012, 186PP. You might have noticed a strange kind of double-speak going on around us. If you dare to hold a different opinion to the broader culture on a contentious issue, whether on marriage, sexuality, God or something else, you have a reasonable chance […]

Reading and thinking

Schopenhauer,1 updated for the 21st century: The difference between the effect produced on the mind by thinking for yourself and that produced by reading Facebook is incredibly great… For reading social media forcibly imposes on the mind thoughts that are as foreign to its mood as the signet is to the wax upon which it impresses its seal. […]

Editorial: A fool despises correction

(Reposted from The Briefing Many years ago, I led a Bible study group that appeared to me to be made up of clever, enthusiastic young people who were periodically stripped of the ability to speak. Chatting before and after about a whole range of things was fine; but during the study, any question I asked […]

An Australian parable

An Australian gloss of Luke 16:19-26, in order to contemplate a Christian response to refugees and asylum seekers (taken from Frank Brennan, The public, the Church, and asylum seekers): There was once a rich man, who dressed in purple and the finest linen, and feasted in great magnificence every day. At his gate covered with […]

Theological contrition

Wise words from Gerald Bray, in God is love: A biblical and systematic theology, p. 100-101: Whatever gifts we may have been given and however privileged we may be in terms of our background and education, what really matters is the presence of Christ in our lives. [...] We live in a world where much […]

Modifying the Baker Framework


I’ve been working on an iOS app for the magazine I edit, The Briefing. The basis of this magazine app is a truly excellent framework called Baker, which allows for quickly getting up and running with managing issues, downloading, and display. It can quickly look pretty great: The magazine shelf is fairly easy to customise, as I’ve done […]

168 hours

(Reposted from The Briefing) Last weekend I had the privilege of preaching at a friend’s church on chapter 13 of John’s Gospel, in particular these verses: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people […]

The power of stories (interview with Mark Gilbert)

(Reposted from The Briefing) Sam Freney: Your new book Stepping out in Faith is a compilation of stories from people who have left the Roman Catholic church as they’ve sought to follow Jesus—a journey you’ve taken yourself. What prompted you to collect stories like this? Mark Gilbert: Evangelicals, in general, are very good at explaining the differences between […]

Exodus 3:14-15

(Reposted from The Briefing) “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of […]

Your church is too small

(Reposted from The Briefing) Deep darkness is punctuated by the flash of a thousand cameras; rumbling bass rattles through my bones. Throughout the arena I can hear the burbling, surging, building crescendo of music ready to erupt—and then, with a synthesizer burst, lights erupt throughout the stadium, only to be extinguished just as quickly.1 They flash […]

One Forever

(Reposted from The Briefing) Sam Freney: Your new book One Forever: The transforming power of being in Christ is about ‘union with Christ’. This is a topic that theologians get excited about, but why should the rest of us care? Rory Shiner: Yes, union with Christ has been one of those doctrines that has tended to get stuck in the […]

Interview: Majoring on the majors

(Reposted from The Briefing) Sam Freney: Phillip, thanks for talking with me today. Part of the reason I wanted to ask you about your perspective on Chappo’s ministry is that I’m of the generation who largely missed him. I only heard one or two of his talks, and by the time I was at Moore College he […]