“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, ESV)

The Land of the long weekend

The October long weekend (3 – 5 October) has been hot in Sydney with temperatures reaching 350.

Saturday saw the spectacle of a full MCG hosting the AFL Grand Final in which the Hawthorn Hawks dominated the West Coast Eagles, winning by a big margin of 46 points.

Sunday morning began with the GEM commentator in Sydney, unable to establish any objectivity as he grinned in telling us that the Wallabies had overwhelmed the Poms, 33 to 13 and had eliminated them from the World Cup Rugby Quarter finals, being played in England. The word he used continually was, “glee”!

Then came the most wonderful spectacle of the weekend, the NRL Grand Final between two Queensland teams, the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys, won by the Cowboys, 17 – 16, ably led by that most impressive of sportsmen, Johnathan Thurston and his co-captain, Matt Scott, the Cowboys’ workhorse prop. It was a breath taking match, rugby league at its very best.

Sport has enabled us to escape, just for a few days, the harsher realities of life.

On Friday afternoon, Curtis Cheng who had worked as an accountant for the NSW State Crime Command for 17 years, was killed by a 15 year old boy, Farhad Khalil Mohammed Jabar. Police believe that Jabar had been radicalised at his local Parramatta mosque and randomly chose Mr Cheng, whom he probably thought to be a detective.

Mark Kenny, writing in the Fairfax Press , called this an incident of “politically motivated violence”, our new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull called it “an act of terrorism” and “an act of politically motivated violence”. “Our” ABC did not let us down, on channel 24, one commentator said “we have to empower people in schools, people in mosques, people in churches to be able to see the beginnings of radicalisation”.

These people have been watching too much football, the murder was politically motivated, nothing to do with religion and then, we need to be wary of all these religions, loading the churches in with the mosques as seed beds of murderous youth.

I am part of the pastoral team of an 800 member Christian Church, we are all being radicalised, every meeting, every week, to engage our society with the message of God’s love. We eschew bullets and bombs and take up a message of love, delivered as we are able with acts of kindness. Here is the radical Christian message, God your Creator, who made you, loves you, He gave His Son to die for your sin, He raised that Son from the dead to prove to you He is Lord, lose control of your life to Him and you will find true abundant life!

We renounce underhanded, manipulative and hateful ways, as we openly seek to persuade people, by stating and living the truth.

And then I read that the Director of Media Relations at Deakin University, Sarah Dolan said, “As a University we are committed to the free and open exchange of ideas” and so on this weekend a “Risk and Warn” conference has been held at Deakin, closed to the public, to promote the “true” teaching of Islam. One of the organisers, Waseem Ravzi is quoted as saying that any person engaged in extremist behaviour, in any religion, must be stopped and condemned. (Again all other religions lumped in with Islam).

Ms Dolan, will Deakin welcome the climate change skeptic, Bjorn Lomborg or what of the recently banned “anti-abortionist” (I prefer “pro life”), Troy Newman, not granted a visa to our land because of his respect for human life at every stage of development, the free and open exchange of ideas indeed!

Somehow the land of the long weekend has not left the fairy tale world of football final unreality.

Meanwhile, some of my grandchildren went to the movies to see Pixels (PG) pitched for a young audience. The baddy in the movie had multiple sex partners, women were spoken of as if they were merely bodies and I am told that there were lots of “s” and “b” words. The movie has made US$236 million worldwide so far. Get ‘em while they’re young!

Relax, have another beer, it’s the long weekend, what’s next – oh yes, the All Blacks in the World Cup and then three cricket test against New Zealand and then the West Indies come and then the NRL starts again, Centrebet is already offering good odds on the Roosters for Premiers in 2016 and Carlton and Essendon must be offering good money to make the final eight next year.

Happy Labour Day one and all.

David Cook

Posted 6 October 2015