WEST PAPUA: CHURCHES SEEK JUSTICE, PEACE AND STABILITY

 

West PapuaAmidst intimidation, illegal arrests, disappearances, torture and killings in Tanah Papua (West Papua) resulting from tensions between the Indonesian authorities and the Papuan pro-liberation groups, churches seek justice, peace, dignity and security for the Papuans.

     The conflict in Tanah Papua has cost the lives of thousands since the late 1960s. A former Dutch colony placed under the United Nations administration in 1962, the region was unilaterally annexed by Indonesia and since then has experienced pro-independence insurgency. In 1969 Tanah Papua was formally incorporated into Indonesia, becoming Irian Jaya province.

     Jan Bastian Rumbrar, ecumenical relations officer at the Evangelical Christian Church in Tanah Papua (GKITP) – a member church of the World Council of Churches (WCC) said: “The GKITP formed in 1958 following over 101 years of mission work laid down by German and Dutch missionaries, was tested with political dispute between Indonesia and the Dutch over the territory called Dutch New Guinea.”

     “The human as well as spiritual development of communities at that time met with despair as preparation for an independent church was not followed by political independence for the Papuans who are the indigenous inhabitants of the territory,” he added.

     An article first published on the World Council of Churches' website looks at the role churches are playing in attempts to bring peace and justice to West Papua (Tanah Papua)... |  more... |

 

 

 

NEWS REPORTS...

GROWING NUMBER OF NSW HOUSEHOLDS IN FINANCIAL STRESS, SAYS WESLEY REPORT

A growing number of New South Wales households are suffering "financial stress", according to a new Wesley Mission report released this week.

The report, based on research conducted in December last year, found that 44 per cent of NSW households were suffering financial stress in 2014, up from 37 per cent in 2010, while 38 per cent were spending more than they earnt, representing an increase of seven per cent on the 2010 figure.

The research also showed that the proportion of households unable to keep a budget has risen five points since 2010 to 19 per cent.

Wesley Mission CEO Rev Dr Keith Garner said it was a "telling reality" that almost four in 10 households in NSW "are now technically insolvent".

DAVID ADAMS reports... |  more... |



THE DAILY STATISTIC:

5th May, 2015

Number of European countries in the top 10 happiest countries, according to the third World Happiness Report:

7

Source: World Happiness Report

For more of The Statistic... |  more... |

NEWS...

• Nigeria: Details of militant attack on church revealed in which pastor's daughter was killed... |  more... |

• South Sudan: WCC calls for prayer for peace process in churches this Sunday... |  more... |

• Pakistan: Christian journalists threatened... |  more... |

• UK: Christian Aid welcomes Church of England's move to dump its holdings in coal and oil sands producers... |  more... |

• Iran: Authorities increase pressure on US-IRanian Pastor Saeed Abedini, says advocate... |  more... |

| MORE NEWS...|

 


MOMENTS

4th May , 2015

NAMED: Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, and sister to Prince George.

2nd May , 2015

BORN: A princess, to Prince William and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, at 8.34am in London (weighing 8lbs, 3oz); younger sister to Prince George.

1st May , 2015

FREED: More than 460 captives of Boko Haram, including some 300 women and children, in operations conducted by the Nigerian military this week, according to army spokesmen.

FOR MORE OF MOMENTS... |  more... |

 

27th April, 2015

WORLDVIEW: VIETNAM'S TWO FACES

As Vietnam celebrates 40 years since the end of what is commonly known elsewhere as the ‘Vietnam War’, its government faces accusations of failing to ensure the rights of its citizens to religious freedom.

     “In Vietnam, we still have a government that shows two faces – the friendly and welcoming face on one side and the oppressive face on the other.”

     These words, attributed by Open Doors to a Vietnamese Christian whose name was withheld, provide an insight into a country which, on the one hand, is reportedly close to making positive reforms to its laws on religious practice, but on the other is accused by the UN of “gross violation” of religious freedom “in the face of constant surveillance, intimidation, harassment and persecution”.

     Where Vietnam is concerned, religious freedom is rarely black and white.

     The World Watch Monitor reports on the issue of religious freedom in Vietnam...  |  more... |

 

SIGHT SOAPBOX

REMEMBERING THE FALLEN OF WORLD WAR I

8th April, 2015

I was born in 1974, and just wanted to share my feelings about both World War I and World War II.
      I wanted as a child to take all the soldiers home and wash their feet and let them sleep in our backyard in tents where mum and I could bring them breakfast.

     REBEKAH BLACKWOLF-MITCHELL remembers those who have fallen in war...  |  more... |

FOR MORE OF THE SIGHT SOAPBOX...  |  more... |


To have Your Say on the Sight Soapbox, send submissions to editor@sightmagazine.com.au

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CHINA: RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION DRAMATICALLY WORSENED IN 2014, SAYS ADVOCACY GROUP

 

Persecution of Christians in China reached its highest level in more than a decade last year as the government cracked down on church growth perceived as a threat to Communist Party power, according to a US-based advocacy group.
      Texas-based China Aid Association (CAA) this week reported 572 cases of religious - mainly Christian - persecution last year, a 300 per cent increase over the previous year’s 143 cases. The number of people affected in those cases jumped from 7,424 to 17,884 people. More than 1,592 were church leaders, compared with 800 the previous year, CAA reported.
      “In 2014, the scope, depth, and intensity of persecution against religious practitioners far surpassed that of 2013,” China Aid reported. “The increase in government-sanctioned persecution against religious practitioners and human rights lawyers and advocates reflects the overall political transformation that is occurring within the Communist Party in China (CPC), namely an orchestrated effort to consolidate power and suppress dissent and any perceived threats to the Chinese government, including the growth of religion in China.”

     Morning Star News reports on the release of a new report from a US-based Chinese church advocacy group which shows a dramatic rise in levels of persecution in China last year... |  more... |

 

 

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE

 

A WEEK ON, NEED FOR AID REMAINS URGENT

Tim Costello in NepalA week after a devastating 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, survivors remain urgently in need of shelter, food and medicine, according to the UN.

     The death toll has now passed 7,000, including more than 50 foreigners, while the number of injured has reportedly climbed past 14,000. Thousands still remain missing.

     In comments echoing those of the Nepal's Prime MInister Sushil Koirala who said the death toll could reach as high as 10,000, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat reportedly said with rescuers yet to reach remote villages, the death toll was expected to climb.

     "The aftershocks have not receded and we expect the final casualty numbers to climb much higher," he said.

     On Saturday, a 5.0 magnitude earthquake struck near Pokhara, compounding fears of further devastation.

     DAVID ADAMS reports... |  more... |

 

FEARS DEATH TOLL COULD REACH 10,000 AS UN LAUNCHES $US415 MILLION APPEAL

Nepal earthquake

Updated 9am, 30th April, 2015

The death toll from Saturday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal has topped 5,200 with fears it could climb as high as 10,000.

     The news comes as the UN launches a $US415 million appeal for those affected by the quake which injured at least 10,000, reducing buildings in Kathmandu's historic district to rubble and sparked avalanches on Mount Everest, killing at least 18 people on the mountain.

     The UN estimates that as many as 2.8 million Nepalese have been displaced from their homes as a result of the earthquake with more than 70,000 homes destroyed and another 530,000 homes damaged across 39 affected districts.

     More than 3.5 million people are in need of food assistance.

     DAVID ADAMS reports... |  more... |

 

ON THE GROUND: IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE NEPAL EARTHQUAKE

Nepal chopperSince our team arrived in the area on Monday they have heard many confirmed reports of countless villages (ranging from 50 to 1500 residents), where 70 to 90 per cent of dwellings have been completely destroyed.

     The simple dwellings have either collapsed or been swept away by landslides, taking with them not only those who were inside (mainly children and the elderly as those of working age were in the fields) but food supplies that are typically kept within homes.
      More than three days after the earthquake there are still many isolated villages that remain accessible only by helicopters. Bad weather is hampering their efforts however and air assets have only been seen in operating from 8am until 1pm local time Tuesday, when a thunderstorm brought lightening and heavy rain which lasted for two hours.

     MATT DARVAS and THOMAS MEIER, from the International Nepal Fellowship - a Christian organisation serving the physical and spiritual needs of the Nepali people, filed this report on the situation in Nepal following last weekend's earthquake earlier this week... |  more... |

 

 

FASHION: SOME COMPANIES MAKE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN PROTECTING SUPPLY CHAIN WORKERS BUT MUCH MORE WORK STILL TO BE DONE, SAYS REPORT

 

Fashion reportSignificant progress has been made by some fashion companies in ensuring workers in their supply chains are not being exploited but much work still remains to be done in the area – particularly as one goes deeper into supply chains, according to Baptist World Aid’s latest Australian Fashion Report.

     The report, which gives companies a grade ranging from A to F depending on their efforts to protect workers in supply chains, comes two years after the organisation released its first report into the fashion industry, sparked by the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh which killed more than 1,100 garment industry workers.

     Gershon Nimbalker, advocacy manager at Baptist World Aid, says there has been some “significant progress” since the last report with two-thirds of the companies rated in 2013 showing improvements in their worker rights management systems.

     But he says that while there had been some significant strides forward in protecting workers in the later stages of production - known as the "cut-make-trim level", it remains concerning that as they dug deeper into the supply chain, “we find that there’s been a lot less progress”.

     DAVID ADAMS reports that Baptist World Aid Australia's latest Australian Fashion Guide shows while some progress has been made, much yet needs to be done to ensure workers are protected from exploitation... |  more... |

 

 

ANZAC DAY

 

ESSAY: LEST WE REMEMBER

Villers‘Lest we forget’ is a key phrase of this Anzac season. 100 years on from Gallipoli, and with a world in growing turmoil, it seems especially apt. But one war veteran I knew, who has sadly passed away, remarked about his war service, "lest we remember, lest we remember".

     I asked him why he didn’t want to remember.

     He shared with me that, despite seeing little combat himself, he saw much horror, he saw much inhumanity, and he lost many friends. The world was so changed for him through World War II, that soon after returning home, he emigrated from Canada to Australia. In this new land there was no expectation that life would be the same, so it was easier to adjust.

     PAUL CLARK says it's the fact that some have to forget that makes it our duty to remember... |  more... |

 

ESSAY: THE PRIDE OF BEING A SON OF TWO NATIONS

Shrapnel ValleyHaving long hosted visitors to Gallipoli, Çanakkale is a town nestled on the bank of a narrow stretch of water known as the Dardanelles. An international waterway which runs alongside the Gallipoli Peninsula, gaining control of this strait was the Anzacs' goal in 1915.
      Only a short distance by ferry and then car from Anzac Cove (which lies on the other side of the Gallipoli Peninsula), Çanakkale is both ancient and modern. The board walks have a similar feel to our waterfront in Geelong or at Southbank in Melbourne.
     Restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels line the boardwalk. The streets, however, are cobbled and narrow, filled with history and the small shops of traders who make their living selling ornate handwoven carpets, intricately-designed jewelry and rose-flavoured Turkish delight.

     Musician GURYEL ALI has just returned to Australia after taking part in a "goodwill" tour in Turkey. He reflects on the time he spent around the Gallipoli Peninsula... |  more... |

 

INSPIRING STORIES OF BIBLES IN WAR SHOWCASED IN NEW BIBLE SOCIETY EXHIBITION

BibleIt was 2009. Chaplain Charles Vesely, who was on a six month deployment to Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment, was holding an evening prayer time with soldiers who would the next day pass through the Baluchi Valley, known to them as ‘IED alley’ in a reference to the numerous improvised explosive devices which had been found there.

     “We were all in fear, and we all needed to hear the assurance from the Lord who loves us and gave His life for us,” Chaplain Vesely recalls in his published account of the moment. Admitting that he hadn’t spent a lot of time finding a Bible verse, he instead took his reading from a lectionary which pointed him to Psalm 31.

     Under a dim green LED light, he started reading the passage in his Bible Society-issued camouflaged Bible and stopped when he came to verse four: “Free me from the trap that is set for me and keep me safe.”

     “I stopped at those words,” he recalls. “I felt the words stir me in my soul. I looked up at the faces of the soldiers who were with me. The dim green light cast a strange glow on them. Their faces were like mine, stunned. God had spoken to us, strongly and plainly. Even in the midst of a strange and hostile land, God was with us, assuring us, protecting us and speaking to us.”

     DAVID ADAMS reports on a new Bible Society Australia exhibition timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings during World War I... |  more... |

 

ANZAC DAY SPECIAL

 

In the lead-up to Anzac Day on Saturday - the 100th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli - we're asking a series of prominent Australian Christians what Anzac Day means to them...

24th April, 2015

"Anzac Day is a day of remembrance which we celebrate as a family. Our favourite gathering spot is at the junction of Bathurst and Elizabeth Streets, Sydney, where the Anzac Day march concludes. Armed with a sausage sandwich provided by Rotary, or the Salvation Army, we watch the parade with strangers, whom we greet as new friends, and who come from a great ethnic diversity. Pipe and other bands turn to the left and the veterans to the right, and their families reunite with them. All of this is a message of servanthood - giving one’s life for another, of mateship, of unity as a nation founded on the battlefields of commitment to a just and better world..."

     Rev Dr ROSS CLIFFORD, president of the NSW Council of Churchesreflects on Anzac Day...   |  more... |

FOR MORE FEATURES... | more...|

 

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REGULAR COLUMNS

 

WOW! VIDEOS OF CHRISTIANS FORGIVING THE ISLAMIC STATE GO VIRAL IN THE ARAB WORLD

VideoAn extraordinary series of videos of Christians forgiving Islamic State have gone viral in the Arab world.

     The “Resistance through forgiveness” videos of a 10-year-old Iraqi displaced by Islamic State (IS/ISIS) and of a brother of two Egyptian laborers beheaded in Libya - both voicing forgiveness for their persecutors - have been watched by a million viewers and have drawn the attention of mainstream Arab media which rarely covers Christian news.

     According to SAT-7, under the title 'Iraqi Girl Myriam Faces ISIS with Love', pan-Arab broadcaster Al Arabiya told how the clip of young refugee Myriam had spread via social media and was impressing ordinary viewers and media commentators.

     DAN WOODING, of ASSIST News Service, reports on how two videos showing Christians forgiving members of Islamic State are making a big impact in the Arab world... | more... |

 

OPEN BOOK - HUNCHES ABOUT JESUS: EVIDENCE DISBELIEVED

Four endings from various places, were added to Mark's account. In verses nine to 11 Mary Magdalene was given a personal audience with Jesus. But still her account did not convince the unbelieving disciples. It did not overcome their grief.
      We have said before that Mary Magdalene was an important part of Mark's story. She may have been the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and from her name it seems possible that she had gone away for a time to be a comfort girl in Magdala.

     As we have said, she may also have been part of the household of Simon the Pharisee in Bethany. If this was the same Mary, then what Jesus did with that family, and in that Bethany circle, was nothing short of amazing. Lazarus had been raised. But just as importantly sinners had faced up to their sins, received God's forgiveness and become Jesus' closest disciples.

      BRUCE C WEARNE looks at what Mark says about a couple of Jesus' appearances after His death and resurrection...  | more... |

 

SIGHT-SEEING: THE ROLE OF FAITH BEFORE THE FIRING SQUAD

It is hard to imagine the final thoughts of Andrew Chan as he waited, tied to a stake, for bullets to tear into his flesh and swiftly bring his life to a violent, inglorious end. If you contemplate this even briefly you can sense something of the chilling terror of that moment. It's a tragedy when any life ends prematurely, but somehow the cold mechanical intentionality of execution carries an especially grave weight. Australians have been feeling that weight of late, despite the fact that executions are routine in various parts of the world, including in the United States.

     Chan famously became a Christian in jail, studied theology, and right up until his transportation to Nusakambangan Island led the English worship service in Kerobokan prison. In recent weeks he was ordained as a minister of the church. He attributed his radically changed life entirely to his religious conversion.

     Not everyone buys it. "Jailhouse religion" is a pejorative term for crims finding God in the slammer in the hope of a reprieve or better treatment. There have been some notorious ones. Charles "Tex" Watson, Charles Manson's right-hand man, has been a Christian since 1975 and these days, despite being unlikely to ever be released is an ordained minister. Even serial killer Ted Bundy claimed a dramatic conversion on his way to the electric chair.

     In an article first published in The Sydney Morning Herald, SIMON SMART, director of the Centre for Public Christianity, says executed Australian Andrew Chan's faith meant he died "hopeful, even confident"  that he was "in a mysterious but profound sense going home"...  | more... |

 

SAINTS OF PAST AGES: ANDREW GILLISON

Andrew GillisonThe first AIF chaplain to die after the landings at Anzac Cove, Andrew Gillison was born in Baldernock in Scotland on 7th June, 1868, the son of Rev John Gillison, of the Free Church of Scotland and his wife Jane.
      He was educated in Edinburgh – including have studied theology – before serving in ministry in the US, England and Scotland. Having married Isabel Napier in 1895, he came to Australia in 1903 to serve at St Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Brisbane and, from 1909, at St George’s Church in the Melbourne suburb of East St Kilda.

     While his involvement with the military went back to when he had served in Glasgow where his church was next door to the army barracks, he was appointed a part-time chaplain to the Australian Military Forces on 9th November, 1906, and from 1909 served as chaplain to the Victorian Scottish Regiment.

     In October, 1914, he was appointed chaplain-captain to the Australian Imperial Force and applied to serve with the 14th Battalion. The Battalion’s colors were paraded in his church of St George’s shortly before he sailed and consigned there while the Battalion was at war. He sailed on 22nd December that year, arriving in Egypt on 3rd February where he took part in training.

     As Australia commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, DAVID ADAMS looks at the life - and death - of army chaplain Andrew Gillison...  | more... |

 

SIGHT-SEEING: THE ANZACS, CHURCHILL AND A LESSON FOR OUR POLITICIANS

Sir Winston ChurchillThis week, millions of people in Australia and New Zealand, joined by more than a few in Britain and Turkey, will pause to mark the centenary of an awful tragedy of war.

     Though modern conflicts throw up all manner of horrors, few can compete in terms of the sheer scale of carnage involved with the Allied invasion of Gallipoli, starting on 25th April, 1915.

     The battle for this Turkish peninsula cost the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers from both sides, particularly during the initial assault. It gave rise to the legend of the Anzacs, an acronym for members of the Australia and New Zealand army corps.

     Anzac Day, to be celebrated again this Saturday, is a prominent marker in Antipodean calendars.

     Unravelling the political motivations that lead to a war and the machinations shaping its various campaigns, is hardly ever easy, even with the benefit of hindsight.

Mal Fletcher Writing from London against the backdrop of the UK's national election campaign, MAL FLETCHER reflects on the lessons modern politicians can learn from the response of former British PM Winston Churchill following the unsuccessful attempt to take the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey during World War I...  | more... |

FOR THIS AND MORE OF OUR REGULAR COLUMNS, GO TO OUR REGULARS PAGE here

 

IN HIS HANDS...

16th October, 2014
VenezuelaThis is the story of a very ordinary person with no claims to any special attributes or exceptional virtues but who is bursting inside to tell what the Lord has done for her.

I am recounting this with a heart full of deep gratitude. I am humbled by the fact that a spiritual being, maybe a guardian angel or the hands of the almighty God, saved me from serious harm on two occasions. I have remained silent for too long and it would dishonour and diminish the work of our Lord if I did not tell the story.

     I was 12-years-old, living in Caracas in Venezuela, when I joined the girl scouts, and remember vividly my first excursion. Armed with all the required scout “gear” - including a medium size machete - we set out to conquer Mount Avila, a 2,740 metre high mountain. In 1977, when this excursion took place there were no such things as mobile phones or GPS equipment.

     TANIA NEALE tells of two occasions in which she credits God with saving her life... | more...|

FOR MORE OF MYSTORY... | more...|

Looking to encourage or inspire others or simply share how meeting God has changed your life? We're looking for your story - perhaps the inspiring story of how you came to know Jesus or an incident in your life in which you saw God's hand at work. MyStory - an addition to our existing LifeStory column - is a new regular feature where we'll publish your story for the benefit of others. Simply write your story in 200 words or less and email it to editor@sightmagazine.com.au and we'll post it here under our MyStory banner. We're looking forward to hearing from you!

 


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To sign up for our church newsletter service or to find out more information, simply email subscriptions@sightmagazine.com.au.

 

REVIEWS

 

SIGHT BOOKSHOP

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BRINGING GRACE TO A POST-CHRISTIAN WORLD

Vanishing GraceA follow-up to his earlier book, What's So Amazing About Grace?, in Vanishing Grace US author Philip Yancey takes a look at the state of grace in today's churches, finds it wanting and then sets about taking a look at how Christians can redress this.

     In a text which Yancey describes as "four short books", he starts off by looking at why so many people today have such negative views of Christianity, particularly the group of people he terms "post-Christians" - that is those who have experienced church to some degree and walked away.

     His conclusion is that the church is perceived more as "guilt dispensers than as grace dispensers". The way forward, therefore, lies in the church learning how to present the "Good News" of the Gospel in a graceful and non-judgemental way, and admitting that "far from claiming to have it altogether, Christians regularly confess that we do not".

     DAVID ADAMS reads Philip Yancey's Vanishing Grace...  | more... |

 

WATCH

SCREEN SHORT: AVENGERS LATEST HAS ACTION APLENTY BUT FAILS TO WOW

AvengersThe latest in the growing and interconnected series of Marvel superhero films, Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn’t wow in the way some of the others have – yes, we love you, Guardians of the Galaxy. And if you haven’t been following the series assiduously, it starts off a little incomprehensibly before eventually settling into something of a standard format – the ‘good’ guys, aka the Avengers, battle it out with the ‘bad’ guy. In this case the latter is Ultron, a computer program (voiced by James Spader) who gains consciousness (thanks, of course, to the mischievous meddlings of Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr)) and decides that in order to make the world perfect, he has to rid it of humanity (yes, you have seen this before - remember 2004's I, Robot?).

     DAVID ADAMS looks at the latest Avengers film, Age of Ultron...  | more... |

 

CLICK

THEIR SACRIFICE

Their SacrificeCreated to accompany Bible Society Australia's Anzac-related exhibition Their Sacrifice, this beautifully presented website can take a moment to load. But it's worth the wait, bringing to life the stories of the Bibles featured in the exhibition and the brave men who carried them in an immersive experience which comes complete with moving sound effects (so make sure you have the sound turned up). Along with the stories of soldiers who served in World War I - including that of Lance Corporal Elvas Jenkins who survived Gallipoli when a shrapnel bullet which should have killed him struck the French New Testament in his shirt pocket instead - there's stories of men from conflicts spanning the period from the Boer War to the recent conflict in Afghanistan.

      DAVID ADAMS look at the website which accompanies the Bible Society Australia's Their Sacrifice exhibition... | more... |

 

LISTEN

CONCERT: THIRD DAY LIVE UP TO EXPECTATIONS AS THEY 'MAKE A DIFFERENCE'

First the bad news. Third Day's Mark Lee, it seems, is a Collingwood supporter (something that, as he discovered, divides an audience pretty quickly when in the AFL heartland of Melbourne).

     The good news, on the other hand, is that this concert was a delight. Consummate professionals, Third Day claim to be a band that are at their best on stage - and last night's concert at Festival Hall was no exception.

     Part rock concert, and as you'd expect from Third Day, part worship service, the band pulled out some old favorites as well as newer hits, the latter including numbers off their 2012 release Miracle and their shortly to be released Lead Us Back: Songs of Worship (their first worship album for 12 years).

      DAVID ADAMS was among those who enjoyed Third Day's Melbourne show...  | more... |

ALBUM REVIEW: MIRACLE KICKS OFF WITH ENERGY BUT DOESN'T PLAY A GREAT SECOND HALF

MiracleWith 11 studio albums and over 10 million(!) albums sold, countless awards, and multiple world tours, Third Day are one of the truly mega acts of Christian music. Hit play on a Third Day CD and you know you’re going to get confident strong music. Miracle is no exception.

     Opening with Hit Me Like A Bomb, Miracle gets off to a strong and energetic rock start - Australian listeners will likely recognise some Powder Finger-like similarities. But the album does then take a bit of an unexpected turn into contemporary acoustic pop with Kicking And Screaming and the worshipful Your Love Is Like A River. Neither of these songs are bad, they just sound a bit out of place after such a strong opening track.

     Up next is the title track I Need A Miracle which is drawn from a true story of a young man who drove into the woods to end his own life only to hear a ‘miracle’ song that made him change his mind. The story within this song is moving, and is testament to the power of music and how God can use it to speak deeply into the lives of people.

      Yes, Third Day are in Australia and about to release a new album. In the meantime, ROBBIE TOWNSEND takes a look at their last, Miracle...  | more... |

Ray Kelly

Soundbite1st May, 2015

THE TCM UPDATE: HALLELUJAH PRIEST AND MATTHEW WEST/TCM LAUNCH

To hear CAM WANT with this week's edition of The TCM Update, simply click on the link... | more... |

 

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A HELPING HAND TO FIND THE RIGHT BOOK FOR YOU; AND, GETTING A COLLECTIVE VIEW (WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS)...

BlinkistEach year thousands of books are published on leadership, entrepreneurship, science and a range of other nonfiction topics. But how do you know which ones are right for you? And who has time to read them all? Enter Blinkist. For a small subscription per month, Blinkist will give you access to their summaries of over 400 books with more added each month. The summaries highlight the major points in each book and provide a link to the e-book if you decide to purchase it.

      ALAN TAYLOR on a couple of apps that make life just that little bit easier... | more... |

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LIFESTYLE

 

SEE YOU THERE! SIGHT'S TRAVEL DEALS COLUMN

Alps

9th April, 2015

Save 20 per cent when you take a friend on a walking tour of the European Alps.

     FOR DETAILS OF OUR LATEST DEAL, HEAD TO OUR SEE YOU THERE PAGE... | more...|

 

ORIGINS: HUBBLE MARKS 25 YEARS OF SPACE EXPLORATION

HubbleThe world's most well-known space observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, celebrates 25 years this month. But its history goes back far longer.

     The idea of a space telescope has been around for a long time - it was first proposed as far back as the 1920s.

     American astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer, Jr, again proposed the idea for a space observatory in a paper published in 1946 and it was his advocacy which helped to lead NASA to approve a proposal for a large space telescope in 1969.

     The project continued to gain momentum in the 1970s and the European Space Agency joined with NASA in developing the project with the US Congress approving funding for it in 1977.

    DAVID ADAMS takes a look at where it started for the Hubble Space Telescope...  | more...|

 

TRENDSPOTTER: HELPING THE BLIND EXPERIENCE GREAT WORKS OF ART

ReachingIt is one of the world's great pleasures to visit a gallery and gaze upon a great work of art - provided, of course, there's no touching involved. But sadly, for the visually impaired, that hasn't always been an experience they've been able to partake in. Until now. The Museo del Prado in Madrid is among galleries around the world which are exploring how to help the blind and visually impaired 'see' the works through the sense of touch. Don't be alarmed. The Prado has utilised a new 3D printing technology known as Didú to recreate remarkably accurate versions of some of the art world's greatest works

     DAVID ADAMS takes a look at the trend for galleries to allow the visually impaired to experience art through touch... | more...|

 

KNOW IT ALL: RICHARD III

Richard IIILast week, the bones of former English King Richard III were finally laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral, having been found three years before buried beneath a carpark in the city. We take a quick look at the life of this somewhat notorious king and the rediscovery of his remains...

     • Richard III was born on 2nd October, 1542, the 12th of 13 children of Richard Plantagenet, third Duke of York, and Cecily Neville. He lived during the period known as the Wars of Roses when his family, the House of York, vied with the House of Lancaster for the English crown.

    • His eldest brother, King Edward IV, was the first Yorkist king and  reigned from 4th March, 1461, until deposed on 3rd October, 1470, and again from 11th April, 1471, until his death in 1483. His brother created Richard Duke of Gloucester the year he was crowned.

     • Following the death of King Edward IV, Richard was made Lord Protector of Edward's son (and his nephew), Edward V (who was never crowned and only ruled for 86 days). Twelve-year-old Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, were known as the "Princes in the Tower" and disappeared after they were taken to the Tower of London. Their deaths have been widely attributed to Richard III although their fate remains a matter of debate.

    DAVID ADAMS looks at King Richard III - in life and death...  | more...|

FOR THIS AND MORE, GO TO OUR LIFESTYLE PAGE here...

 

20/20

 

THE BIG PICTURE: LEST WE FORGET

I never met Oswald. Yet my heart swells with pride for what he did. My grandfather was in the first wave of soldiers that landed on the beach before dawn at Anzac Cove on 25th April, 1915. It was the beginning of a campaign that would leave families all over Australia missing sons, fathers, brothers, uncles...and mates.

     By late morning Oswald had been shot in the left foot but, although wounded, he chose to stay with his battalion until it was relieved some days later. After recuperating in Egypt for two months, he returned to keep fighting at Gallipoli. When that campaign closed Oswald fought on the Western front where he received severe gunshot wounds to his chest and arm. After recovering in England he returned to France only to suffer gunshot wounds to his forehead. This sent him back again to England for more recuperation. Despite all these traumas, in 1918, Oswald returned to France one more time to fight.

     To see Outreach Media's April poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

THE WEEKLY SNAPSHOT

     24th April, 2015

   The smoke plume from the Calbuco Volcano. Taken by JEFF SCHMALTZ (LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response at NASA Goddard)

In Sight's Weekly Snapshot, we'll endeavour to publish an image from somewhere around the globe every week. To see this image in a larger scale and for details of how you can submit images, follow the link...  | more... |

 

WORDPLAY CHALLENGE #5 AND THE ANSWER IS...

This wordcloud represents the words contained in a oft-quoted passage from the Bible (with the more frequently used words shown in larger type). The challenge for you is to identify the passage - which book and chapter does it come from...

AND THE ANSWER IS? Follow the link to see the answer... | more... |

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ARTS PAGE - 20/20 here


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RELAUNCHED! SIGHT BOOKSHOP

Bookshelf

We've relaunched the Sight Bookshop - you can also buy our Christmas cards and other items we release there.

The bookshop is now open. Click HERE to go there...

 

NEW! THE SIGHT BOOKCLUB

The Songs of Jesse AdamsThroughout the year, we'll be reading a series of books and then joining in a discussion about it - both among others within your church or small group and the wider Sight community.

For April-May, 2015, we're reading Peter McKinnon's novel, The Songs of Jesse Adams. To register your group (and receive our discussion notes via email) and for more details about how the club works, head here...

 

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THEY SAID IT

 

 

"Every day we witnessed the death of one of us and waited for our turn."

- Asabe Umaru, one of almost 700 people freed from  captivity at the hands of Boko Haram in Nigeria over the last week (as quoted on the ABC on 4th May, 2015)

"All executions are fruitless and ghastly, but in this case they will also have been arbitrary. Andrew and Myuran's death proves the death penalty to be fickle and untenable. The strength of the mercy community should act as reinforcement for all those who stand in the way of state sanctioned killing."

- Matthew Goldberg, co-founder of the Mercy Campaign and president of Reprieve Australia, in an opinion piece published in The Sydney Morning Herald on 29th April, 2015 following the executions of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia.

For more of They Said It, follow the link...  more...

 

 

THIS WEEK ON THE WEB

 

 

22nd April, 2015

Geelong-based musician and singer GURYEL ALI has written a song, Lest We Forget, which he recently performed for more than 500 people at Gallipoli in Turkey in the lead-up to Anzac Day in Saturday. To see it and hear the song, head here...

 

19th April, 2015

Along with the centenary of the Gallipoli landings, this year also marks 100 years since the Armenian Genocide in which as many as 1.5 million Armenians, Assyrians and Pontian Greeks were killed at the hands of the rulers of the Ottoman Empire. You can read about the genocide and ongoing attacks against Armenians in Chris Ray's article in the Sydney Morning Herald, 'Soft targets: the continuing persecution of Armenians'...


For previous 'This week on the web'... | more... |

Sight now has a Pinterest page where you can see some of our images. To see it, head here...

 

 

MUSINGS   

 

 

TESTOSTERONE

5th May, 2015

PAUL CLARK

I remember watching a fascinating documentary. They followed a 20-year-old male - who hadn't naturally gone through puberty as he was given a course of testosterone.
Wow, this compliant, nice, gentlemanly individual became an irresponsible, female-seeking, non-compliant, monster! You can see where the inspiration for the movie Teen Wolf came from.
I couldn’t believe how much the male chemical cocktail changed this man’s character and personality. It made me wonder - are we simply a result of the chemicals in our system?

Musings is a regularly updated, column featuring short snippets reflecting on daily life from a Christian perspective...  | more... |

 

 

THE WORD EXPLAINED

 

 Wordle

Kingdom of Heaven

Winnowing fork

Oil (on head)


| more... |

 

 

BLOGS

 


WOMAN THROWS A MANGO AT THE PRESIDENT (AND GETS A NEW HOME); USING MINCRAFT TO DESIGN NATIONAL PARKS; AND, A NEW WAY TO SERVE YOUR ICE-CREAM...

A Venezuelan woman who threw a mango at the head of the country's president to get his attention (recorded in a video that has gone viral) has been rewarded with the promise of a new home. Marleny Olivo had housing problem and was looking for help, so she tossed a mango at President Nicolas Maduro while he was driving a bus (he's a former bus driver who apparently likes to connect with constituents by getting behind the wheel every now and again).

DAVID ADAMS writes about the odder side of life... | more... |


SHROUD OF TURIN GOES ON PUBLIC DISPLAY FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2010...
The fabled Shroud of Turin - which some believe bears the image of Jesus Christ and others say is a medieval forgery - has gone on display in the Italian city whose name it bears.

The 4.4 metre long linen cloth, which bears the image of a crucified man and was last publicly seen in 2010, is on show in a free exhibition in the city's cathedral until 24th June.

DAVID ADAMS reports... | more... |


CHRISTIAN GENERAL RECALLED IN JERUSALEM EXHIBITION...
The World War I British officer who gave the order to lay down arms in 1918 is the subject of a year-long exhibition in Jerusalem opening this week.

On the 50th anniversary of his death, Lt Gen Sir William Dobbie's life is being celebrated at Christ Church, an Anglican community with strong links to the family and located within the ancient walls of the Old City.

CHARLES GARDNER, of ASSIST News Service, reports...  | more... |


AN END...AND A NEW BEGINNING...

What's on my mind?... Thanks for asking, Facebook.
Time to say goodbye to Just Been Thinking after many years, stops and starts. Thank you for your attention over the years, readers. Thank you for your endless commitment, encouragement and patience, David Adams- editor extraordinaire.
And now...I migrate back across to sightmagazine.com.au to begin a Coach Column, sharing insights in the area of human behaviour and life design.
 The final instalment in ANN WOJCZUK's blog about 'life, the universe and possibly everything'...
  | more... |

FOR SIGHT'S BLOG LINKS, HEAD TO OUR BLOGSPOT PAGE...    

 

 

SIGHT'S FORUMS ARE NOW CLOSED

 



     

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