All posts tagged: compassion

Australia Shows Poor Form in Supporting the Poor

One billion dollars. I find it hard to get my head around that figure when most transactions in my household are less than three figures. In case you’re right now trying to count how many zeros come after the one in 1 billion – it’s nine. One billion dollars is a ten-figure quantity. When I (logically) asked my four-year-old what he could buy for $1 billion, he said, “A Stegosaurus. A big one. And a plant.” I don’t doubt that. If a paleontologist stumbled on the last living Stegosaurus and wanted to make some cash, maybe $1 billion would be a reasonable price tag (perhaps they’d throw in the plant for free). A T-Rex fossil affectionately known as Sue sold back in 1997 for a record $8.36 million. Can’t say I was much enlightened (or surprised) by my son’s response. He has ODD… Obsessive Dinosaur Disorder. He’s a prehistoric fanatic, and they tell me it’s a phase… So, I turned to Google and found an image of the sum. One billion dollars in $100 notes …

The God of ALWAYS and NEVER

“Always” and “never” are adverbs most at home in the angst of an argument. “You NEVER help with the chores!” “You’re ALWAYS nagging!” Perhaps you’re incredibly civilised and don’t partake in domestic mud slinging, but for those of us who do, “always” and “never” conversations are commonplace. “Why do you ALWAYS say that?” “Why is it that you NEVER make time for me, but you have no end of time for your friends?” Aside from the fact that such statements are pretty much “always” untrue, they’re also pretty much “never” useful. They also demonstrate our humanity; the fact that we’re imperfect beings yearning for perfection. We are trying to fill our ALWAYS and NEVER desires with flawed people. Square peg, round hole. In reality, I can only trust the “always” and “never” conversations of one being. God. “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you,” he promises (Hebrews 13:5). “I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” Jesus affirms again in Matthew 28:20. These are promises that no man …

Can You Teach Compassion?

My almost-four-year-old has a sponsor child with the grandiose name of Giovanni. Giovanni Gonzalez Velasquez. He’s from Mexico and is the same age, which was strategic. I want them to grow up together. I want my privileged, white, Anglo, middle class boy to be aware that his lot is not the status quo. That just as he had no control over the fact he was born into a family rated in the top 10 per cent of the world’s wealth (Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook, 2014), Giovanni had no control over the fact he was born into poverty. I know. These are grand concepts for a toddler, but that’s the great thing about sponsoring a child – it’s a journey. Here are two boys who will learn about each other and themselves during that impressionable conduit to adulthood. Giovanni’s photo is propped beside my son’s bed and we talk about him, explain the differences in culture as well as the similarities in interests, and we pray for him; for health, safety, provision, family and faith. …

This Story is Designed to Burst Your Bubble

How’s your bubble today? Isn’t it lovely and shiny in here, brightly coloured and comfortable. Marvellous to float like this with all the things we hold dear bundled within the orb of our existence.  Wonderful to navigate this bubble beyond the prickly outside where some have no such skin of protection. Such a lovely bubble – see I’ll show you – I’ll shine a bit of its rainbow light on your face. Not too much now, or you might want it for yourself. I’ll just sit on a cushion, stick my fingers in my ears, squeeze my eyes shut, take a nap and wake up when all the nastiness out there is over. Life in a bubble sure is swell. Wait… do people really live like this? If there’s one thing I’ve learnt through the horrific genocide being played out on our television screens, news feeds, newspapers and whatever other way we gather information – it’s that “yes!” people really do live like this. Bubble people are happy to ignore the greater reality and they …