Saturday, December 31, 2005

Kerry Packer

Kerry Packer, whom I hadn’t previously thought of as a theologian, said at the time of his 1990 heart attack, when he was pronounced clinically dead for eight minutes, "The good news is there's no devil. The bad news is there's no heaven. There's nothing." This piece of information was played back after the news report today of his (very private) funeral.

Well, the good news is that now he’ll know whether he was actually right. The bad news, for him, anyway, is that he may have been totally wrong.

Elsewhere it was stated that he was making a million dollars a day out of his investments, business interests and so on. Pity that none of it will do him any good where he’s gone – wherever he’s gone.

On the basis of my understanding, he’ll stand, like everyone else, before God Almighty, and have to account for his life. I wonder if being a ‘brash, swashbuckling businessman with a voracious appetite for gambling, both in the boardroom and in the casino’ will be deemed as a worthwhile way to have spent his life. Or the fact that he revived the game of cricket: will God be interested in this, I wonder?

Let’s hope Mr Packer was secretly giving away some of those daily millions to the poor and needy. That would help him a little.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Amaziah complex

I suppose there is an analogous situation for some of us. We might call ourselves ‘evangelicals’ and yet there is little zeal after personal piety, little effort to teach and indoctrinate our families, not much passion to bear personal or public witness – or to raise our voice against unbelief in our church denomination. We’re evangelical – no need to go bonkers over it. Maybe it’s the Amaziah complex: we don’t see why righteousness must be rigorous or godliness aggressive.

Dale Ralph Davis, discussing 2 Kings 14 (with some irony) in his book, The Power and the Fury, page 205.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Great Divorce

Reading C S Lewis’ The Great Divorce again the other day, for at least the third time, I came across this section on page 71:
"This curious wish to describe Hell turned out, however, to be only the mildest form of a desire very common among the Ghosts – the desire to extend Hell, to bring it bodily, if they could, into Heaven. There were tub-thumping Ghosts who in thin, bat-like voices urged the blessed spirits [already in Heaven] to shake off their fetters, to escape from their imprisonment in happiness, to tear down the mountains with their hands, to seize Heaven ‘for their own good’: Hell offered her co-operation."
How like the last book in Philip Pullman’s famous trilogy, His Dark Materials, this sounds. It could almost be a summary of what goes on in the great battle in that book, quite apart from a reminder of that awful section where the children ‘release’ the spirits under the Earth into…what? Not life, but nothingness!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Men, those dangerous creatures

Obviously the PC brigade has found yet another way to try and make us blokes feel ashamed with this latest revelation that men (horrors!) shouldn't sit beside unaccompanied children on passenger planes. (Not just shouldn't, in fact, are not allowed to.) What I can't understand is how this decision could have come about....weren't there any men involved in making it and why did they kowtow to whoever thought it was a good idea?
A friend of mine, Pat, (for Patricia) whom I bounce ideas off a good deal, replied to my comment above:
"I can't imagine who was involved in that decision by the airlines. I strongly doubt that the decision could have been made by women alone, because the majorityof airline executives are men. It would be lawyers, I suspect, trying to out-guess possible future lawsuits. It seems to me that if airlines are willing to carry unaccompanied children (for profit), then they are in loco parentis for the duration of the flight, and should accept and carry out the responsibility which they have willingly undertaken, by exercising parent-like direct supervision. Clearly, they don't bloody feel like it. So they try to sidestep liability by parking the kids wherever, and then inconveniencing and insulting other paying passengers. I don't think anyone 'kowtowed'; I suspect the decision-makers thought what they were doing was jolly good business practice. I think this policy is - what word should I use, now? It's beyond my ability to sum up in a single adjective. Pathetic, irrational, cruel, stupid, hurtful, pointless, and most likely ineffective, for starters. This morning's ODT says the policy has been in place 'for years' (I doubt that) and is in line with 'the best international practice' (I doubt that, too), or words to that effect. I think it stinks, I think the airlines are trying frantically to put a positive spin on it, and I hope they don't succeed. They sure as hell don't convince me.
Now then. I can't say fairer than that. Tell you what: I reckon air-freight companies must have facilities for transporting dangerous wildlife, like lions and other big cats, right? They must have cargo holds with strong cages built in - room to move around and lie down, and with space for adequate food and water supplies, but properly locked up and SECURE. Obviously, that's where men should be required to travel, eh? Or maybe the entire aircraft ought to be gender-segregated."

Singaporean Execution

I must be a hard-hearted person, I think, but I’m finding it very difficult to understand why there was such an outpouring of sympathy for the young Australian man, Nguyen Tuong Van, who has just been executed in Singapore, why people were saying, ‘This is barbaric,’ and why they were condemning the Singaporeans for hanging people.
The bloke was carrying drugs, knowingly. He knew the risks. There is no secret about the Singaporean attitude to drug-smuggling. However high-minded his motives, he was doing wrong. It would have been just as illegal if he was bringing them into Australia.
Yes, it is sad that he ended up this way, but what about all those who would have suffered from the effects of the drugs he was smuggling if they’d actually got through customs? They don’t seem to have been considered in this case at all.