All posts tagged: courage

Good News for Weaklings

There’s a fine line between recklessness and courage. Often the defining factor is whether the mission succeeds. When it does, we get our hero, our courageous trailblazer. When it doesn’t, the action might still be called courageous but the consequences linked to the risk are a hard burden. And sometimes we call such people reckless. I wondered if Jonathan was reckless or courageous when I read of his attack on the Philistines. Within the context of a war pitted against Jonathan’s side, the Israelites, we read in the Bible of his fearless conquest. “One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man bearing his armour, “come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.” (1 Samuel 14:1) This verse fails to mention that his father was actually the king. So Jonathon, all cocksure and brimming with youthful enthusiasm, hiked to the Philistines’ outpost with his armour-bearer bringing up the rear. However fierce a warrior Jonathon was, I couldn’t imagine the two presented a quake-in-your-boots picture. After …

Are You a Vashti Feminist or an Esther Feminist (or neither)?

Friday is International Women’s Day, an occasion to peer back through history and say, “Gosh, we’ve come a long way!” I guess it’s a day to say thanks fellas, for letting us vote, wear trousers and earn a decent wage. You’re so good to us (sorry, I couldn’t resist). But it’s also worth considering what feminism means, now that we’ve got a woman as PM, not to mention Governor General and our own Premier (tick), women can serve in frontline combat roles (tick), and workplaces are being encouraged to provide flexible work arrangements so that mum can carry on with her career (tick). We’ve got it good in Australia – still lots to be done in places like India, the spate of horrific rape-murder cases being the most chilling kind of reminder. But what is feminism? What’s it mean to you? We’re not likely to agree on this one, probably because women’s liberation in Australia is no longer about tangible imperatives like the right to vote and access to a fair pay. Today it’s about …

“His Friends Said He’d Fail if He Tried…”

In John Mayer’s latest album there’s a fantastical tune about a man who tinkers in his basement. That’s not the incredible bit. He was building himself a submarine from bits and bobs and finally launched it into the tide to open the hatch days later in Tokyo. “With the will to work hard and a library card, He took a homemade, fan blade, one-man submarine ride.” It’s not true. The song’s called Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967 and, while no such man crops up in history books, countless men and women have done what this fictional character did in Mr Mayer’s imaginings. They accomplished the impossible. “His wife told his kids he was crazy, And his friends said he’d fail if he tried…” Success stories spring from those who dare to question the status quo. I watched a sad documentary recently called The Truth About Child Brides, focusing in particular on the illegal but prolific custom of marrying girls off as young as six in countries like India. The girls, usually married to adult …