Author: Kamal Weerakoon

Religious freedom is most likely to create happy, committed Australian citizens

As most of you will know, the Australian Government is holding a major inquiry into religious freedom legislation (the Ruddock Review). Submissions officially closed on 14 Feb but you may be able to get in a late submission on request. Freedom For Faith put in a major, wide-ranging submission. Here’s my much shorter but hopefully appropriately person one. *** Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the review of legislation concerning religious freedom. I am a minister of the Presbyterian Church and a member of that church’s Gospel, Society and Culture (GS&C) Committee. That committee’s task is to assist...

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Interesting Times: Challenges & Opportunities for Australian Churches in 2018

“May you live in interesting times.” That statement is traditionally taken to be an ancient Chinese curse. It’s probably neither ancient nor Chinese. But it picks up on the common human preference for peace and calm over uncertainty and tumult. Christianity in Australia is facing a time of uncertainty and tumult. Ongoing secularisation, the increase of people who explicitly claim “no religion”, the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex marriage, sexual scandals, hyper-sexualised self-identity, the rise of non-Christian religions – all of these mean we are living in “interesting times”. Could it be, though, that these are times, not...

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Joy born in Bethlehem part 2

This article and the previous one are guests posts by Kirk Zylstra, pastor of Everton Park Church, a Presbyterian Reformed Church in Brisbane. They’re an abridgment of a Christmas message. **** Who is this baby? Christmas is a time of joy. We enjoy family, friends, food, and the fun of holidays. But in the Bible, Jesus brought joy to unexpected people – bad people, immoral people, social outcasts. We saw that in our previous post. How can Jesus bring joy to wicked people? How does he have the right to do that? The angel who announced the good news of...

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Joy was born in Bethlehem part 1

This article and the next are guests posts by Kirk Zylstra, pastor of Everton Park Church, a Presbyterian Reformed Church in Brisbane. They’re an abridgment of a Christmas message. **** The birth of a child brings joy The birth of a child brings great joy. My wife Simone and I have four children. The birth of every single one of them brought us amazing joy. I remember with one of our births, when the child was born I actually started laughing. I think it was an overflow of nervous energy – I was just so relieved that the child was here, and everyone was safe. So I laughed. I was just so happy. In Luke 2:10, the angel told the shepherds “good news of great joy”: the saviour is born. And that saviour is Jesus, born in Bethlehem. But what’s interesting is – in this instance, the joy doesn’t come merely from the fact that a new baby is born into the world (as joyful as that is). It’s got to do with who that baby is, what he’s come to do, and who gets to rejoice in his birth. In this post, we’ll explore that last point – the unexpected group of people who get to rejoice in Jesus’ birth. In the next post, we’ll see how and why Jesus brings them joy. Good news for bad shepherds Luke...

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Christmas: when God moved in

A time to enjoy relationships What are you looking forward to this Christmas season? Holidays? Presents? Eating a lot? Singing Christmas carols? I think one of the best things about Christmas is spending time with people we love. We spend holiday time with them. They’re the ones we give Christmas presents to. And share food with. But sometimes sharing time with family and friends can be awkward. There might be unresolved tension between some family members. Or it might just be the hassle of people taking over your house and using your bathroom snoring loudly as they share your...

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