Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Conflicting Values

There is a deep tension brewing within my spirit over the conflicting values that are evident in Australian politics and an even deeper tension in how I feel and what I think about it!  You may be wondering, "which particular conflicting values are you referring to?"  A question that exposes a whole other level of tension!!

For the sake of this post I'll narrow it down to two current issues:  The execution of two convicted Australian drug dealers in Indonesia and the detention of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Islands.  While these two issues are unrelated, the juxtaposition of our government's response is the source of my tension.

Before I explain my tension, let me be clear what this post is NOT about.  This is not a debate about capital punishment, nor is it a discussion about Indonesian law.  It is not a judgement of two convicted criminals, nor intended to disregard the impact upon their family and friends.  It is not even an expression of my disgust about the government sanctioned abuse of human beings who are exercising their internationally protected right to seek asylum!

The conflicting values that is creating so much tension for me is the politically distorted view of justice and politically motivated expression of mercy by our government!

I am struggling to reconcile the public expression of emotion over the fate of two people who broke the law with the public disregard of human rights of vulnerable people who are legally seeking asylum by our politicians.

I am struggling to reconcile the political pressure being placed on a sovereign nation to show clemency towards two Australian citizens on death row with the political propaganda that is justifying inhumane treatment of hundreds of foreign refugees held in detention by Australia.

I am struggling to reconcile the use of tax funded resources to advocate for drug dealers with the same source of funding being used to abuse asylum seekers.

I am struggling to reconcile the Prime Minister's threat of consequences towards Indonesia if the executions proceed with the Prime Minister's disregard for the consequences of a damning Human Rights Commission report on Australia.

I am struggling to reconcile the media attention surrounding Chan and Sukumaran who, according to Indonesian law deserve to die, with the forgotten name of Reza Barati who, according to International law did not deserve to die.

I am struggling to reconcile our government's defence of the indefencible in both cases.

I am stuggling to reconcile our government's contradictory application of justice and mercy.

While I am unable to reconcile these conflicting values, I do know that I need to guard against allowing my inner tension to perpetuate the same conflict of values in my own attitude towards justice and mercy in these challenging times!  

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly 
with your God." (Micah 6:8)

Postscript:  At the beginning of this post I clearly stated what it was NOT about.  However, at the conclusion of this post I want to make it clear what I'm about by declaring that I do NOT support capital punishment.

Monday, February 16, 2015

National Day of Prayer & Fasting

Today I joined a gathering of Christians at Parliament House in Canberra for the National Day of Prayer & Fasting.  Together, with two other Salvation Army Officers from Melbourne, we assembled in the Great Hall for six hours of powerful worship of our Lord and passionate prayers for our nation with people from diverse church and cultural backgrounds.  Yet amidst the diversity of this crowd was a shared unity of spirit through a common union with Jesus Christ.  From beginning to end we had an acute awareness that we were a part of something of kingdom significance and had a strong anticipation that God would use this event to reshape the spiritual climate of Australia.

Throughout the day we were guided through a variety of worship and prayer experiences that focused on Adoration, Worship & Thanksgiving - Repentance & Revival - Australia's Christian History & Heritage - Praying for Leaders - National Repentance Service - Delight & Destiny.  

Two significant highlights for me were the bilingual prayer and worship service led by the Rhema Chinese Church and the National Repentance Service for the abuse and hurt caused by the church led by Commissioner James Condon.  

The Chinese leaders uttered passionate and prophetic prayers that spoke of renewal and revival in our nation.  They demonstrated an unbridled faith that dared to believe that Australia really could be won for Jesus...and that the Australian Chinese church would lead the way!  From what I saw today, I have no doubt!!  Engaging in a bilingual service reminds you that we worship the God of all nations and really allows you to connect with the heart of God through the heart language of His people.

The Commissioner's prayer of repentance was powerfully illustrated through an act of humility by him washing the feet of a survivor of abuse by the church while in the care of The Salvation Army as a child.  We were deeply moved by the survivor's story of restoration and healing and the Commissioner, together with other church leaders, demonstration of repentance and humility.  Through the regrets of the past came a resolute commitment to righteousness in the future.

Jesus was truly glorified today!  Holy Spirit was present!  God's heart was revealed!  The Church was united!  The gates of Hell were shaken!  The National Day of Prayer & Fasting was a catalyst for revival in our nation!

Let every Church leader, Christ follower and Christian politician put Sunday, 7th February 2016 on their calendar and plan to make the pilgrimage to Canberra next year to participate in the National Day of Prayer & Fasting.  Visit www.nationaldayofprayer.com.au to register or for more details.