All posts tagged: legacy

Putting the Brakes on Generational Cycles

There’s a statistic I recall from one of those lose-weight-quick, boot-camp-style television shows that shocked me: obese parents are 80 per cent more likely to have obese children. The show was about breaking cycles of obesity in families. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at that figure (the numerical one). We see similar patterns perpetuated in other nasties – abuse, divorce, poverty, alcoholism and so on. Parents who unwittingly pass bad habits onto their children. “I’m gonna be like you, dad, you know I’m gonna be like you,” Harry Chapin sings in that ‘70s hit, Cat’s in the Cradle. We know from experience that parents don’t intentionally set out to bestow their weaknesses on their children. We want the best for our kids. Yet the cycles continue. It’s what the Bible calls a curse: a generational curse. One of the Ten Commandments has some pretty stern words on the matter. “…I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of …

God Doesn’t Wear Camouflage

ANZAC Day is arguably the most spiritual day of the year. For many Australians, listening to a bugle call during a dawn service will be their most spiritual experience. The dew underfoot. The huddle of community. The warming rum. The dark. And the long unwavering notes of The Last Post that peal into the reverent air. We stand there in the throng and remember the savagery of war, the sacrifice for our freedom and the scars our country bears, acknowledged on the breasts of generation after generation. It’s a church service for war, sacrifice and tragedy. What I love are the stories that surface of men and women of faith who served our country. As they served, God served their needs – in the trenches, on hospital stretchers, in their darkest hours. This year The Bible Society has released a book and website that tells profound true stories of service men and women who relied on God through the grisly bits. They all died – some during and some after the respective battles. Most were …

You Won’t Believe How This Million-Dollar Enterprise Began…

If you were a fly on the wall of the Madwheels workshop, you would be forgiven for thinking it was all about the cars. Tools and parts are propped against walls, fluoros throw stark light on greasy workbenches and blokes in pairs or trios are bowed over the guts of vehicles that have seen better days. “People think it’s all about the cars – it’s not. We’re all about people,” one of the Madwheels founders explains. He doesn’t want to be named, but he does want people to know that Madwheels this month celebrates its 10-year anniversary and its existence brings glory to God. God who cares about people (less so about cars). Madwheels is a workshop with a twofold purpose: restoring cars to loan or give to people in need; and providing a safe place where young people wanting more than academic learning or are at risk of disengagement can work alongside volunteers and skilled mechanics, receiving restoration of a different kind through support, encouragement, education and positive role models. Back in your fly …

“I Want to Live the Kind of Life He Lived” (A Daughter To Her Dad)

Loved ones come and loved ones go. It is a reality of life that there comes an end point. Whether they meet death fresh-faced with barely a day to their name or as a sage with decades of experience and wisdom, one point remains true: life is precious. Here, Christine bravely lays bare her grief in homage to her dad who died a few months back; a man whose 82 years were lived with the kind of dignity and faith that has left the sweet kiss of legacy on those who remain. Another This Little Life story… “The hymn beautifully expressed what had been on our hearts during the 12 weeks of our dearly loved father’s hospital stay. When peace like a river flows all through my life, When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot you have taught me to say: It is well, it is well with my soul. It was evening as the family gathered one last time to farewell Pieter, our Dad and Opa. I got the call just after …

Write Your Own Obituary

You are flicking through the paper when you stumble across a story with your name in the headline – it’s your own obituary.  There in black and white is your life story, a weighing-up of your achievements and legacy. This was the reality for Alfred Nobel. When his brother Ludvig passed away while visiting Cannes in 1888, a French newspaper erroneously printed that Alfred had died.  He opened the paper to find out what had been written about his brother only to find an account of his own life, describing him as the inventor of dynamite. “Le marchand de la mort est mort,” the obituary stated (The merchant of death is dead).  “Dr Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday,” the article continued. I think it would be safe to say that Alfred was shocked and disappointed with what he read that day about his contribution to mankind. Faced with this unique situation, he recognised an opportunity to rewrite his own legacy – the …

A Tribute to Fathers

Da was a teenager when his father died of illness as a result of the war. His dad fought in the war and came back altered by the war, like so many who served our country. So it was that my grandfather – Da as he is affectionately known in my family – became a father himself without a strong father figure to draw on. Isn’t that the story of so many? For one reason or another, the “absent father” is a very real non-character in the modern Australia we know. And yet, I feel certain that Da had many fathers. Father in the crudest definition is about biology, of sperm ownership and DNA. But in truth, a father is more about meaning and influence, of legacy and love. Yesterday we celebrated fathers and, by extension, grandfathers, step-fathers, great-grandfathers, fathers-in-law, forefathers, foster-fathers, adoptive-fathers and God-fathers. To this we should add what I will call ‘gap-fathers’ – those beloved men who stand in the gap when there’s no dad around, for whatever reason. God is everyone’s …

The Church in Tasmania Stands for Life, Liberty and Legacy

BIG day today! Mega. I had the privilege of joining with Tasmania’s church leaders to present The Salamanca Declaration to the Honourable Mr Michael Polley MHA, Speaker of the House of Representatives, on the steps of parliament. What’s the big deal, you ask? This statement unites the churches of Tasmania, representing more than 170,000 people of faith, to affirm the classical Christian values of life, liberty and legacy. At a time when these values are under relentless attack, that’s significant! Here’s the summarised version of The Salamanca Declaration: {Life} All human life is precious and the sanctity of life should be upheld regardless of race, gender, age, religion or stage of development because every human being is endowed by our Creator with equal and inherent dignity. {Liberty} Every person has the right to worship God individually and in a faith community. The worshipper has this liberty as a God-given freedom. It entails freedom of conscience, and freedom to speak, gather, worship and generally act in accordance with the beliefs of their faith community. Those with religious …