On a related note, readers here may be interested to know that I have an article coming out on this subject soon. I’ll post details about that when the piece is published.
I haven’t posted one of these for a while. Here are a number of pages I’ve appreciated visiting this past week or so:
- Damion Searls on how psychiatrists used Rorschach tests to examine Nazis during the Nuremberg trials.
- George Monbiot’s piece on being ‘Screened Out’.
- Julian Cribb on why ‘coal will kill more people than WWII’.
- Frank Brennan, Tim Costello, Robert Manne, and John Menadue reckon that ‘we can stop the boats and also act decently, fairly and transparently’.
- The announcement about the National Gallery of Australia’s ‘Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial’ coming up later this year!
- Chris Green’s Ash Wednesday reflection – Christ’s Death Lives in Us.
- Steve Wright’s Ash Wednesday reflection – To dust.
- Mary Beard is simply awesome: check out her piece on Seneca and her lecture on women in power, delivered at the BM.
- For those within cooee of Melbourne, this looks good – Thomas Crow, Anne Dunlop, and Charles Green talking about theological originality in art.
- Matthew Sharpe on Montaigne’s Essays.
- Jane Hutcheon talks to Reg Mombassa.
- Michael Hobbes on the epidemic of gay loneliness.
- Jonathan Sacks on the architecture of holiness.
- Rick Floyd has been looking for light in the shadow of death.
- Jason Guriel on Christian Wiman and ‘kind of faith that a poet had better not lose’.
- Queensland, a part of the country where most locals seem to espouse the philosophy that two wongs don’t make a white and which is not especially well known for a radical brand of Christianity, sees some religious fanatics charged for beating swords into garden hoes.
- A funeral homily by Kim Fabricius, plus his good little introduction to Christianity.
- Raimond Gaita on Donald Trump’s America.
- John Milbank on the problem of populism and the promise of a Christian politics.
- Scott Jackson asks, ‘Was Niebuhr a “Real” Theologian?’
- The University of Divinity is seeking a Director for its Centre for Research in Religion and Social Policy (RASP).
- Swee Ann Koh asks, ‘Is there racism in the church?’
- Paul Collier reviews a couple of recent efforts to understand the logic and opportunities of, and challenges to, capitalism. Along the way, he has some insightful things to say about nationalism, ‘nationhood’, multiculturalism, and global citizenship too. (However, given the reality of religion, for example, it would be very difficult to defend the claim that ‘nationhood is the only force that has proved to be sufficiently powerful to bind millions of people together in a sense of shared identity’.)
- Why students hate peer review, and how to make it work better for them.
- Watching Umberto Eco and his books and books and books and paintings and books and books and ladders means that I will tolerate no more complaints on this subject, from anyone.
- Speaking of no complaints, Doug Gay’s third public lecture on reforming Scottish Presbyterianism is now available here.
So, Leunig on its first casualty:
And some good thoughts here on the costs of war and peace from Laurencia Grant, a cyclist in Alice Springs, published in the Alice Springs News.
Time away typically allows me the chance to catch up on some of my favourite podcasts and vodcasts, and to clear some room in my iTunes library. Two of my favourite vodcasts are Insight and 101 East. I just wanted to give a wee shout out about some interesting recent episodes from both. From Insight:
and from 101 East:
- ‘True believers’ – on the church in China
- ‘The world’s longest ongoing war’ – on the Karen’s ongoing battle for self-rule in Burma
- ‘Australia’s boomtown curse’ – on the cost of Australia’s mining boom
- ‘The Lady on the Lake’ – on the future role of Aung San Suu Kyi, the artist Zayer Thaw and Burmese ex-pats living in Thailand
The latest issue of The Other Journal includes Shannon Presler’s interview with Sister Helen Prejean. Along the way, they discuss rejection, state executions, victims’ feelings, the ‘guilt in being middle class’, and embodying love. Here’s what Sister Prejean says about assisted suicide in the elderly:
‘Whenever life is at a vulnerable point, from the very beginning of life to the very end of life, we have to really watch when the state code of law allows the ending of human life, and we make it legal, because we need to build moats around the castle of life, especially with older people. Now, so many elderly people are put into homes and other places where very quickly the right to die can become the duty to die. There is just not the discernment, care, and presence that goes into that decision. There should be pain management but anyone in chronic pain, anyone who cries to die, it’s tempting to want to bring their death. The Roman soldiers used to break the legs of the people being crucified to hasten their deaths, not exactly a painless death.
Of course, with the management of pain you also have some qualifiers. You can have people strapped into wheelchairs, their heads bent over because they’re so drugged, they’re already in half-life, and then it becomes an easy, easy step to just take it all away. Just give them enough so that it finishes people off, simply because the person is old, or the person is sick—those stages where other people are in charge of those decisions, or where the dignity of the self has lost all agency.
Killing them destroys us. It deteriorates us as a society. We have to uphold the dignity of the human person. Pain management, especially with the drugs that are possible now, morphine and so forth, is possible in almost all instances. Things are always complex, but the bedrock is the dignity of human life. Once you put something into law that says “Well, you know, this person is asking to die, so here are our steps,” it can never codify all the possibilities and situations of human life; it never can. So once we codify certain conditions that allow for someone to take drugs that can kill them, at the patient’s request or at the family’s request, I think we have to be abhorrent of that’.
Read the entire interview here.
Today is the fifth anniversary of the first prisoners being sent to the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Since then, more than 750 men and boys from 40 countries have been imprisoned there. Not one of them has been put on trial. Hundreds have been released without charge and sent home. Three have committed suicide at least 40 others have tried to do so. Just as well we are winning the war … what a scandal it would be otherwise :-). To listen/watch/read more click here. All this on the same day that the new U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated his conviction that the Guantanamo Bay should be shut down. For more on this see here.