Monday, February 27, 2012

Behind the Wall: A Pilgrim's Journey Towards Easter
Carole Powell is a Brisbane woman who describes herself on her Facebook page as passionate about social justice and creating peace through nonviolence.

On February 29 Carole will begin a journey of peace to the USA and  Palestine which she describes as a pilgrim's journey towards Easter.

I invite you to join me in following Carole's story of faith and commitment via her blog.

In her 2007 pre sentencing court statement Carole declared:

I am also a catholic Christian – a committed follower of the nonviolent Jesus, a prophet of peace. The same man who on the night of his arrest told the disciples to ‘put away your sword’. The man who said ‘Love your enemies’ and ‘What ever you do unto another you do unto me’. His example of living is an integral part of a Christian life, not an optional extra.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Climate change and the purposes of God: a call to the Church

Operation Noah launched The Ash Wednesday Declaration on 22nd February 2012 at the start of the Christian season of Lent. The Declaration, written by Operation Noah’s theology think tank, challenges the church to realise that care for God’s creation – and concern about climate change - is foundational to the Christian gospel and central to the church’s mission. 
Operation Noah see this Declaration as a call of considerable significance. It marks a definitive line for the church: if we are Christians these are key issues which we need to respond to – as individuals, as local churches and as a national Church.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Post-immigration 'difference' and integration: The case of Muslims in Western Europe

Tariq Modood

Twenty-first century Europe is home to a mixture of ethnicities, religions and cultures. Alongside this diversity is a fear of and hostility towards immigrants – to Muslims in particular – and an unresolved debate on how and to what extent the individuals and groups in question should integrate within society.
Here Tariq Modood presents four different options for integration and equality of opportunity for all citizens. Some ethnic minorities may wish to assimilate; some to have the equal rights of integrated citizens; some to maintain the cultural differences of their group identities; and some to be free to choose cosmopolitan mixed identities.
Professor Modood argues that all of these approaches have value, and if citizens are to have not just rights but a sense of belonging to society the government should not seek to impose one particular option. No one approach fits all and none should be dismissed. 
Post-immigration 'difference' and integration is the fifth in the New paradigms in public policyseries, chaired by Peter Taylor-Gooby FBA.
The project reviews some particularly difficult issues in public policy: climate change, multiculturalism, recession and recovery, population ageing, neighbourhood problems and the Third Sector, rebuilding democratic engagement and managing the demands of an increasingly assertive public. The series reviews current understanding of the issues, situated within academic theory-building, and discusses possible ways forward.

Overseas Chinese Christian Entrepreneurs in Modern China: A Case Study of the Influence of Christian Ethics on Business Life

9780857283535 - HB

This title is also available as an eBook:         
Print friendly information sheet: 

The plug: 

Inspired by Max Weber’s thesis on the Protestant ethic, ‘Overseas Chinese Christian Entrepreneurs in Modern China’ sets out to understand the role and influence of Christianity on Overseas Chinese businesspeople working in contemporary China. Through its in-depth interviews and participant observations (involving 60 Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and the United States), the text discusses how Christianity has come to fulfill an increasingly visible and dynamic function in the country, most notably as a new source of business morality.

Advance Praise for “Overseas Chinese Christian Entrepreneurs in Modern China”

“Exploring relationships between Christianity and Chinese entrepreneurial endeavors, this meticulously researched study will be an informative, significant and engrossing book for anyone with the slightest interest in religion, economic development and/or contemporary China. I’m sure Weber would have enjoyed it.” —Professor Eileen Barker, London School of Economics

“Joy Tong not only captures the dynamism of the Chinese economy today, but also the importance of Christianity in China as a social force and an economic driver. ‘Overseas Chinese Christian Entrepreneurs in Modern China’ is a fascinating case study of a compellingly interesting topic.” —Professor Jack Barbalet, Head of Sociology, Hong Kong Baptist University

“This well-written and carefully argued book deepens the research on Weber’s Protestant ethic thesis, creatively examining the impacts of religious motivations, ethics and networks on the economic behaviors of Overseas Chinese businesspeople in China, and challenging the presumptuous but unproven claims of Confucian values for the economic miracles in East Asia.” —Professor Fenggang Yang, Purdue University


Anthem Press is an independent academic, educational and reference publishing house with a strong international focus.  The company’s head office is in London and has sales offices in New York, New Delhi. Anthem’s publications focus on the Humanities and Social Sciences and selected areas in the Sciences.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Peter Ediger RIP

I am grieving for a man I never met.
I am grieving for a man's whose life and vision I only discovered online  last month
I am grieving for a a man who I wish to imitate in his bold witness to masculinity and peace-making.
I am grieving for a man whose story I am proud to share online that others may be bold and courageous in their living.
I am grieving the death of  Peter J. Ediger, poet, prophet and peacemaker.

Peter, died in Las Vegas February 16 after a brief illness. Ediger resided in Las Vegas , where he co-founded Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service in 1989 with the Franciscan Friars of California.

The lifelong activist and advocate for nonviolence, social justice and Christian pacifism had recently directed his prophetic words to local churches, challenging them to obey Jesus’ command to “love your enemies.” In addition to regular work with Pace e Bene, he worked part time for Family Promise and served as a member of the Las Vegas Catholic Worker community until near his death.

Born to Jacob H. Ediger and Margaretha (Wiens) in central Kansas in 1926, Ediger was ordained by the General Conference Mennonite Church (now Mennonite Church USA) in 1954 and pastored several Mennonite congregations until 1986.

He was preceded in death by ex-wife Marjorie Reimer Ediger and brothers Abraham and Menno, and survived by sisters Katherina Epp, Marie Regehr, Anne Martin, and Elma Kauffman; children Irene, Joe, Janice and Duane; and grandchildren Jack, Greta and Sallie.

The memorial service is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 21, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4601 W. Lake Meade Blvd , Las Vegas .
Source for this material: Duane Ediger, 

The Australian Connection: A Reflection from Brendan Mckeague
Peter's ongoing generous support and encouragement over the years helped us to create something fresh and innovative here in Australia - I recall many clarifying emails and phone calls during the course of our first few years as we established and consolidated our own identity down-under. Peter was instrumental in providing so much practical assistance also - he made dozens of trips to the LA Post Office (Mail Centre) lugging cartons of FVTW and ENGAGE, bound for eager audiences in this far-away land across the ocean.

And as we gather in our various locations to celebrate one magnificent life well-lived, by my reckoning at 8am Wednesday Feb 22nd in Perth, Western Australia, (I can hear Pete chuckling at the notion that he passed away in Australia about sixteen hours before he passed away in LA) - I send you blessings of joy and gratitude for having had the privilege and the pleasure of meeting this grand man at various crossing points in my life. He has meant much to me then and will continue to mean much to me now and beyond.
Pace E Bene Newsletter February 2012
We at Pace e Bene are deeply grateful for the wisdom and many gifts that our brother Peter brought to our community. Perhaps some of the most memorable experiences we had with Peter were the times when he would sing with gusto and passion.  His voice, faith, and committment to justice always came together in a beautiful melody.  Here are two examples that keep this memory alive!
Finally, I thought I would share with you a poem Peter wrote some time ago.  We read it to him during the Mass Friar Louie Vitale celebrated at Peter's bedside in the hospital a few days ago.  Though we could not know what the days ahead would hold for Peter, there was a sense that this poem of his was in his thoughts and dreams:
Some nights
While not tending now
but rather counting
sheep awaiting sleep,
from somewhere
in the coming time
my aging ears are hearing
angels singing. 

Supporting Project Compassion 2012

My connections with the annual Project Compassion Appeal go back to 1978. I was living in the Fitzroy   parish community with the local clergy,  Len Thomas and Peter Hart. Our community embraced  a colourful collection of people with gifts and needs.

 Len was also National Director for Caritas' earlier incarnation, Australian Catholic Relief  at the time and we were looking at some creative ways to launch the campaign.  This is where I took to the streets, a custom  begun in the days of the Vietnam moritoriums.

Rather than marching and chanting slogans I took to the steps of the GPO  in Bourke Street  with some Project Compassion material, a guitar and my well rehearsed songs of freedom and liberation  from my copy of "Travelling to Freedom".

Those songs of justice have continued to be sung with new choruses from communities  that include Timor Leste, Thai -Burma Border, Zimbabwe, The Philippines Peru and our own country.

On Friday February 17 the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane was filled with compassion as Caritas Australia took centre stage for the launch of the 2012 Project Compassion Campaign.

Click here for images of the event with Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd  joined by Caritas Australia CEO Jack de Groot, Sister Joan Doyle RSM and Brisbane schoolgirl, Tess David.

Project Compassion is our annual fundraiser. In 2011 we raised more than $9.7 million for the world’s poorest communities. These funds directly support our vital humanitarian work in more than 30 countries!

In 2012, we’re hoping to raise even more but to do that we need your help to get the word out there that it’s Project Compassion time again!

Help shape what campaigns we work on in 2012 and beyond.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What's in a Name?

The Diocese of Orange  has formally acquired the iconic Crystal Cathedral and its campus in Garden Grove.

Before the building may be used as a Catholic cathedral several design and other changes must be made. In addition, the Bishop will re-name the site. You can be a part of that process by submitting your suggestion for the cathedral's new name. The deadline for suggestions is February 20, 2012.

Following a review of all suggestions, Bishop Brown will determine the cathedral's name and announce it at the appropriate time.

Bishop Brown has asked that any suggested name have a "Christological" relevance, that is, the name must refer to the nature and person of Christ or to his activities as illustrated by the gospels.

"It is our goal to make the new cathedral a gathering place for Catholics and other people of faith. By asking for naming suggestions we begin the process of connecting this wonderful structure and its future to our faith and the larger community."
-Bishop Tod D. Brown-
Watch a video here

So readers, what suggestions will we send to our friends in Orange for their  shiny new Cathedral? I think it should capture the spirit of the new translation of the Mass and be called something like The Consubstantial Cathedral. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Did the Archbishop Tell a Furphy?

Hidden away in the Letters column of the Fairfax press one of Australia's most senior Catholic Archbishops has been caught out telling a  "furphy:" about one of Australia's best pastoral Bishops. Just when the  class of 2012 were hoping the "Morris" affair would quietly die away, Denis Hart, the Archbishop of Melbourne launched himself into Fairfax land on February 4 2012 with this outlandish piece of episcopal spin:

Pope did not err
Your report ''Pope broke canon law dismissing bishop, say experts'' (February 2) regarding the removal of Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba is unfair and inaccurate.

In fact, the Holy See conducted a pastoral process of dialogue with Bishop Morris over 11 years involving senior officials of three offices of the Roman Curia, a number of meetings in Rome and a personal meeting with Pope Benedict. An archbishop of another diocese from overseas appointed by the Holy See to investigate the matter has stated that he did discuss the contents of his report with Bishop Morris while he was in Toowoomba.
In the Catholic Church, because the Pope is the Vicar of Christ and Pastor of the Universal Church, he has final power throughout the Church and can freely exercise it. This includes the appointment, transfer and removal of bishops.
Father Waters is misrepresented by the statement that the Pope has breached Canon Law and exceeded his authority.
In the final analysis, the Pope always has freedom to act for the good of the Church in the appointment and removal of bishops.
Most Reverend Denis Hart Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne

Anyone following Rome's sad and sorry saga of the pursuit of a good Bishop like Bill Morris would have almost choked on their corn flakes to wake up to  this city slicker taking on the boy from the bush.

Today Bishop Bill Morris has replied to Archbishop's Hart's letter with the steady hand of one who is a true leader by simply stating things as they are:

Claim inaccurate

Archbishop Hart stated that Archbishop Charles Chaput (of Denver, sent by the Pope to investigate the Toowoomba diocese) discussed with me the contents of his report (Letters, 4/2). I categorically deny that Archbishop Chaput ever discussed with me what he was going to put in the report. His discussion was always focused on clarifying the questions he had brought with him from Rome and those that had arisen in his inquisitorial examination.
Archbishop Hart's comments concerning the process by the Holy See are also inaccurate.
He is correct in stating the Pope did not act against canon law because he is the legislator and therefore decides what is canonical. However, he omits to acknowledge that while the Pope is the Vicar of Christ for the Universal Church, Vatican II clearly taught that each diocesan bishop is the Vicar of Christ in and for his diocese.
William Morris, Bishop Emeritus of Toowoomba

I know who I prefer to see wearing the title "Most Reverend" in this debate and it's Bill Morris, the bishop with real heart.

Monday, February 06, 2012

UK Parliament Debate: Situation of Christians in the Middle East

Following a conference at Lambeth Palace, jointly convened in the summer by Their Graces the Archbishop of Canterbury (Church of England) and the Archbishop of Westminster (Catholic), addressed by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem among many others from all faith communities in the Holy Land, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams has today (9th December 2011) initiated a debate in the House of Lords, the Upper House of the United Kingdom Parliament, on the situation of Christians in the Middle East. It lasted for over four and half hours and included highly informed interventions from Peers and Bishops with direct knowledge of international, Middle East, interreligious and ecumenical affairs. Source: Society of St John Chrysostom

Lambeth Holy Land Conference

Lambeth Conference Extended Excerpts


For full coverage from the Diocese of Westminster, click here. For short bio's of the listed speakers, along with transcripts and audio, click here.
To listen to and read a Vatican Radio interview with French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, click here
To read an article on the event from America magazine, click here.
For an article written for the National Catholic Reporter, click here.
For a video Jacob Sleibi's '11 speech, click here. For a transcript, click here.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Introducing the Prayer Cycle

A new feature o this blog is the World Council of Churches  "Ecumenical Prayer Cycle". I offer this opportunity for reflection and prayer with the hope that readers will share this practice.  As music and song have been integral to my spirituality and faith I also invite you to enter into song with this new round from Lutheran pastor,  Per Harling. The text and music are available as a pdf file as well as an interview with the composer.

Click here for text and musical notation.
Interview with  composer Per Harling