Thursday, December 17, 2009

Song sung for Barwon by Shobie Luff

This is the song that Shobie sang for Barwon at his dedication. It is such an amazing song. And Shob's sang this to Barwon in such an intimate and beautiful way. As soon as Shob's began singing Barwon looked up and watched. Thanks Shob's for chosing a great song and singing it wonderfully.

Xavier Rudd – Messages

So now come sit down
Will you talk with me now
Let me see through your eyes
As if we wander the night
We are biding our time
As these histories unwind
For these changes we will confront

But please take care
Don't get tangled up down there
When you talk from your soul
I feel these things we know
For the trees that we see
Can not forever breathe
And neither can we, alone

You know some people they just won't understand
no I just won't understand
These things
Thank you for your message but I don't understand
no I just won't understand
These things

For this sacred land
It has seen many hands
Its been green and gold
Now its fragile and old
And those too greedy to see
Just won't believe
the changes we must confront

So speak to all
Of the things you are sure
And if you love this land
Hold it in the palm of your hand
'Cause the way that it shines
May just dwindle with time
With the changes it might confront

You know some people they just won't understand
no I just won't understand
These things
Thank you for your message but I don't understand
no I just won't understand
These things

So hold nice and close
Once you get to your soul
So that when it is cold
You won't feel so alone
'Cause the roads that you take
May just crumble and break
With the changes you will confront

With the times that we share
We may heal and repair
Each day that we live
We see what we can give
Well I know you are strong
May your journey be long
And now I wish you the best of luck
Well I know you are strong
May your journey be long
And now I wish you the best of luck.

You know some people they just won't understand
no I just won't understand
These things
Thank you for your message but I don't understand
no I just won't understand
These things

Little Barwon's Dedication and Naming Ceremony

Kaylene and I were thrilled to see so many of our wonderful community of Family and Friends here on this day to witness our dedication of and to Barwon and presentation of his name.

It was held in the beautiful Australian bushland regions of the Yarra River (Jumping Creek) up near Warrendyte.

Here is a short outline of our ceremony which was led by our good friend Joel McKerrow. Joel led the ceremony in an amazing way bringing our attention to care for the most vunerable (our young), attention to our communities responsibilties in raising children and the importance of elders, drawing connections to the care of creation and the acknowledgement as Barwon arriving to join God's wonderful creation here on this earth as a son of God.

WELCOME/OPENING SPIEL (inc. Welcome to country)/ land acknowledgement

SONG: Shobie Luff – Xavier Rudd ‘Message’ (See next post for the words to this unbelievable song!)

In our society grandparents and elders are not given the opportunity to contribute nearly as much as they used too, often being placed in homes away from other generations, especially babies and children. Barwon is the first Grandchild on both sides and is lucky enough to be blessed with 6 doting grandparents and 2 great grandmothers. Simon and Kaylene believe that we have a lot to learn from the elders in our lives, and have invited Barwon’s Grandparents to present him with a gift that draws upon their wisdom and life experiences.

Raymond and Kaye (nan and pa)
Glennis and Rob (Granma and granpa)
Will and Harley (Papa Billy and Nana Harls)

SCRIPTURE PASSAGE: Isaiah 58 (selected) - Andrew Reeves
Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;

If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
The LORD will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.


Reading from Kahlil Gibran The Prophet

• Simon and Kaylene:

Earth representing God’s creation
Do you recognize Barwon as God’s creation and that Barwon is now part of the rest of humankind, an equal child of God, caretaker of the earth and all its living creatures?

Water representing life
Do you promise to be Barwon’s primary care givers; to love him, look after him and never harm him?

Leaves representing uniqueness
Do you acknowledge that Barwon is his own person, a son of God and not yours to own? Do you promise to guide him into finding his true self and God within him, putting aside all personal desires and dreams for his life?

Stone to represent unwavering support
Will you support him through whatever he chooses, and take him to soccer practice, even if you think he would make a great ruckman for Geelong or Carlton?

• To Barwon’s community of family and friends gathered today:
(If you are willing to make this commitment today please respond with ‘we will’)

Do you, as Barwon’s Aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents, promise to love, support, guide and nurture Barwon along his life’s journey?

Do you, as Barwon’s Aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents, promise to support and encourage Kaylene and Simon on their journey as parents?



NAME MEANING: Simon and Kaylene

Barwon means River and is an indigenous name to symbolize our respect, concern for and desire to learn from the all indigenous people of this land…that their identity, language, culture and deep wisdom are past down to the children of this country.

River, symbolizing a reconnection to land and creation. A connection we as people have severed for profit and greed, at the loss not just to us but our future children who may not share the same earth that we now know. The name Barwon for us represents the hope of new life for this earth and those of us who share it together. Hope that flows like living water.

Isaiah, well he’s a kick arse Old Testament prophet whose words still ring truth today! Together we have our little river prophet and Kaylene and I are truly blessed to be given this responsibility to care for and love this little (or should I say big) one!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


From Richard Rohr's Daily Meditations

Question of the Day:
What enabled John the Baptizer to surrender?

John the Baptist is the prophet who rejects the system without apology, eats the harsh food of that choice, and wears the clothes of rejection.
Like our native peoples here in New Mexico, he goes on his vision quest into the desert where he faces his aloneness, boredom and naked self. He returns with a message, a clarity, a sureness of heart that reveals a totally surrendered man.
First he listens long and self-forgetfully; then he speaks, acts and accepts the consequences. Transformed people transform people, and John’s little offbeat ritual down by the riverside (outside of the temple where his father served) has become for us the very symbol of Christian transformation. And Jesus went along with it!"

Australian church denounces cluster bomb financing | Ekklesia

An Australian church leader has strongly criticised one of the country's largest financial institutions for providing financial support to an international firm that manufactures cluster bombs - writes Kim Cain.

The Uniting Church in Australia has claimed that in 2007, the Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) provided a $US37.5 million line of credit to Lockheed Martin, a company that produces cluster bombs despite an international convention banning their manufacture, trade and use.

Mark Zirnsak, director of justice and international mission of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, said the ANZ has a policy that it will not directly fund the production of cluster munitions or landmines, but continues to provide finance to companies engaged in such activities.

"The ANZ is trying to have its cake and eat it. They don't want to be seen to be to facilitating the production of cluster munitions, but they still want to profit from being able to provide loans to companies involved in producing these dodgy weapons," Zirnsak said.

He claimed the ANZ was the only major Australian bank involved in supporting the making of cluster bombs.

The Uniting Church is Australia’s third largest denomination, and is a shareholder in ANZ. The church claims come as the Australian parliament is to consider a recommendation which calls for the prohibition of Australian investment in companies that manufacture cluster bombs.

Zirnsak said he has just discovered that the bank made the loan to Lockheed Martin back in 2007. At that time he was negotiating with the company to disinvest in businesses involved in the manufacture of cluster bombs or land-mines. "At no point did the ANZ disclose that it was in the process of providing such finance as an on-going activity," Zirnsak said.

He told Ecumenical News International that the church would continue to challenge ANZ on the issue and let the wider Australian public know of ANZ’s activities.

"We cannot understand why the bank would continue to invest in such companies with this level of commitment, and which could potentially embarrass them here and internationally when there are so many other excellent investments that they could make," Zirnsak noted.

An ANZ spokesperson was reported by Melbourne's Age newspaper as saying "the bank's defence policy explicitly prohibited directly financing 'controversial weapons', but the policy allowed general financing of the defence industry".

However Zirnsak said, "The reality is that to provide finance to one part of a company still frees up funds for all the activities the company is involved in. The ANZ cannot pretend that its hands are clean."

A cluster bomb contains multiple small explosives designed to break open in mid-air, releasing the explosives over a wide area.

[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Last Tuesday on the 27th October Chris, Johnny and I headed to the Pine Gap US Military Spy Base 20kms outside of Alice Springs. This was my first visit to Pine Gap and the experience was more significant than I expected. Kaylene, Barwon and I only had a couple of weeks in Alice Springs and when Chris asked me what I would like to do whilst here, I mentioned that I had heard much about this Spy Base and would like to pay a low key visit, just to have a look etc. Chris suggested it might be interesting to do reading from the Gospel of Mark whilst there (as we are keen followers of the Gospel of Mark) as often the place and context you read Scripture profoundly influences the message. This I thought would be a great experience but also quite low key. It turns out that you can’t do low key at Pine Gap.

We found the unmarked turn off quite easily from Stuart Highway as Johnny had attended a couple of the protests in previous years. We drove along Hatt Road in the empty darkness around 8pm, outside of Alice Springs which is in the heart of Australia’s Outback and Wilderness, 1500kms from a Capital City, heading to a site known as one of the world’s largest ECHELON ground stations, home away from home to the US National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency and a place where missiles and other weapons are guided to their destinations in places such as Iraq to harm, kill and destroy. Needless to say I felt a deep sensation of heading into the surreal, which was ironic as, on one hand we were entering the vicinity of what is largely an invisible piece of our society, yet on the other hand is a place that is deathly real.

As we got deeper in we passed two signs indicating we were approaching the Joint Defence Space Facility and should turn around now. We’d never seen such signs before on a public road and wondered about their legal status. We drove on; surely they were just warnings for lost tourists? Surely we had a right to look at a facility built in the country we live? As we approached the last bend we came in view of the entrance to Pine Gap. Lights flooded the road and illuminated the huge wire fences that were only shadowed by the enormous gates and security measures (bit like Jurassic Park really…the theme music stuck in my head for days after). We pulled up underneath a third sign about 100 metres from the gates that indicated if we passed this point we could be imprisoned for 7 years, which wasn’t in my list of things to do in Alice Springs.

As we turned off the engine someone asked if we had a plan, to which we all said ‘nope’. But we did have some Bibles and we got out and sat in the back of the Ute tray, Aussie style, underneath what I’d like to say was the beautiful night sky, but instead it was the scores of security lights burning wastefully into the night. No sooner had we got comfy, looked at one another and comprehended where we were, we heard an alarm and noticed the gates opening slowly to an Australian Federal Police vehicle. “Is this for us?” we asked. Surely not, we were not even close to their ‘prohibited land’ and hardly causing a threat as three blokes with a bible sitting in the back of a Ute. But you guessed it; this was our welcome to Pine Gap. I didn’t expect a cuppa, but things weren’t looking up on our arrival at Pine Gap.

Two officers hopped out of the vehicle and enquired about our business at Pine Gap. Apparently reading the Bible is not the business of Pine Gap and it is actually prohibited, and we were asked to leave the vicinity. We politely questioned the police as to why we were required to move on when we were sitting here peacefully and not even wanting to enter the secured area? We were informed that the even the vicinity of the secure area was out of bounds (sounds like we’re in school now). We asked then where could we go for our bible study? They responded that we shouldn’t be anywhere on the 5kms of Hatt Rd at all. Not looking to get arrested we discontinued our questions and agreed to leave. However, they wanted to take down our drivers license details. Why one of us asked? They responded “to get checked”. We asked, “checked for what?” They said to get checked. So I guess they’ll be ‘checked’.

While they examined and noted our beautiful license photos we took the initiative to do our Gospel reading of Mark 13 real fast. They then searched our vehicle and took its details down and thanked us for our cooperation. We said no worries and hoped that we had made their night a little bit more interesting. As we got into our Ute and they got into their massive 4wd Federal Police Vehicle fully decked out I asked in humour if they would like to swap vehicles, which only got me a blank look. Fine. Time to leave ‘the vicinity’ of Pine Gap.

When we returned home we spent some time reflecting on our experience and marvelled at the appropriateness of the reading of Mark 13 (which was found and read under extreme pressure!). We remarked similarities of the disciples stating sarcastically in verse 1 ‘Look Teacher what large stones and large buildings’ and the huge temple of war on our left. We noted the irony of the ‘signs’ (v4) as we sat underneath one threatening to take away 7 years of our life. We read the constant urgings of Jesus to ‘be aware (but not alarmed [wait that’s John Howard])’, to watch out, to stay awake in this time of wars and rumours of wars. To stay awake is a repeated discipleship metaphor for Marks Gospel and incredibly relevant for us as we sit in a country that has been in perpetual war for the last 8 years. We also reflected on Jesus’ warning to his disciples ‘you will be handed over to councils, beaten in synagogues and stand before governors and kings’ (v9) while we stood before the Australian Federal Police and were searched, questioned and our behaviour reported to ‘higher authorities’. However, verse 14 hit us like a ton of bricks and as Chris read it in the midst of the police reporting our presence we turned to look at Pine Gap – ‘But when you see the desolating sacrilege setup where it ought not to be…flee to the mountains’ (except it was dark and we couldn’t see the mountains!) Interestingly, one can see pine gap from the nearby mountains, and also be far enough away as to not elicit the attendance of the Feds.

After setting out for a simple look at Pine Gap and a quiet Bible Study our encounter made us aware that we had experienced something significant. To go to such a place as Pine Gap, to open up the Bible where it is not allowed, to challenge the culture of war with Scripture gave us a little taste of the prophets of old and also the prophets of new such as Martin Luther King. And for once in our life we didn’t fall asleep during a bible study! Maybe more bible studies and church meetings should be held in the places where God’s love has been made criminal, illegal and even traitorous. Where the threat of arrest is imminent and the message of Jesus Christ to not harm one another, to love our enemies, to forgive one another and lay down our lives has been forgotten.

Note : Pictures not our own

Friday, July 31, 2009

Hiroshima Day 2009

Hiroshima Day Prayer Vigil (South East Melbourne)
August 6th
at Lockheed Martin Australia
208 Princess Highway, Dandenong

If you'd like please bring musical instruments and/or a reflection to share

Lockheed Martin were approached to participate in the vigil but management declined the invitation and its employees told that it would not look good for career advancement if they were to attend. LHM informed us that police will be present despite our peaceful, open and transparent nonviolent actions. LHM remain undisclosed about their activities in side their highly secure building in Dandenong, maintaining its on a need to know basis and we don't need to know.

Why we chose to remember Hiroshima Day :

Aug 6 is one of the most important dates for us to remember in human history. On this day the humans committed the worst ever act of human violence. On this day we remember not only those who suffered but those who perpetrated this horrendous act of violence. And we remember both, because we have the capacity to be both. We could suffer the result of a nuclear attack by any one of the 25,000 nukes still in existence (2500 on hair trigger alert). And anyone of us are capable of committing the worst act of violence, of pushing a button causing the deaths of thousands. We must remember that violence doesn't lie with any particular people group, but within each of our hearts and if we can disarm our own hearts, we will disarm the world. Thus we vigil to stay awake in a culture of violence, to make sure that we remain committed to peace, not violence and hatred.

Why we chose to vilgil outside Lockheed Martin Australia in Dandenong :

Violence is all around us, in our suburbs. LHM is the worlds no1. weapons manufactor and defence contractor. Responsible for equiping the 'warfighter' through missiles, fighter jets, weapon systems etc (see for a full catologue of weapons you can purchase) in all regions of conflict around the world but particulary used by the superpowers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine - where millions of people have been killed and continue to do so while we read this email. LHM is responsible for promoting, providing and profiteering from mini-Hiroshimas all around the world.

Links worth reading