Wednesday, March 26, 2008

To Vote or Not to Vote

So along came my letter - "apparent failure to vote" in the Federal election - well it wasn't apparent - I didn't vote. They wanted to slap me with a $20 fine (scary!) or they said if I had a valid and sufficient reason then they wouldn't fine me. Of course religious expression is a valid and sufficient reason - although apparently it is difficult to prove. Here is my letter: Whatdoya think?

11th March 2008


Peter Glover
Divisional Returning Officer
HOLT
PO Box 597
Dandenong Vic, 3176


Dear Peter

I am writing to you to express my reasons for not voting in the Federal election. These reasons are based upon my religious convictions of being a disciple of Jesus Christ, following his teachings, his lifestyle and his actions. These are difficult teachings and not easy to live out, nevertheless I try to do so and this leads me to a life in community with one another, volunteering in my neighbourhood, sharing meals with the hungry, homes with the homeless and personal time with the socially isolated. I attempt to integrate these acts of kindness into a fullness of life that includes many beautiful things such as cricket, footy, camping, movies and gardening.

From what I’ve come to understand of Jesus and the Scriptures, is that it wasn’t God’s plan for humans to rule over other humans (see 1 Samuel 8:1-22, John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11, 2 Cor 4.4 and Luke 4:5-7). In fact, the Scriptures I follow suggest that God alone should be our supreme power, our Lord, our Prime Minister. Jesus came to usher in the Kingdom of God where God is the sole ruler. Any form of Government that doesn’t rely on God as the sole ruler is one in which I cannot belong too, participate in; give my consent or even vote for. As followers of Jesus, we are to pledge allegiance to God and declare freedom from all other powers.

As you know, Australia governs through democracy, which is meant to be ‘government by the people for the people’. Even if this form of governance were governed according to this principle, which it is not, it still fails to place God as the head. Instead it is a human ruler, a prime minister and his/her cabinet. This ruler, who is graciously voted in by the people then proceeds to act for the next three years unhindered, often using violent methods, waging wars, killing people, damaging our home the earth, failing to adequately care for the most marginalized and poor people in our society and so on. It is unfortunate that the Australian Government doesn’t acknowledge God as its head, and instead chooses to elect humans to rule over us.

This is not to say that God cannot use governments to achieve law and order and the fullness of the Kingdom of God. God uses governments despite their corruptness, despite their violence, despite their human failings. I think this has been shown to be true with some of what we’ve seen with the Rudd Government. Yet, already there are failings already creeping into the Rudd Government such as the dredging of the Port Phillip Bay and troops in Afghanistan, proposed nuclear waste dumps, unaffordable housing etc.

Greg Boyd, a professor of theology and senior minister of Woodland Hills Church says “It follows that Kingdom people should place no more trust in governments than Jesus did – which was none. If a government's laws happen to be consistent with the rule of God, we obey them. If they’re not, we follow the example of Jesus and disobey them” (
www.gregboyd.blogspot.com). While Vernard Eller in Christian Anarchy states we are not to fight the government or attempt to convert the government, least we use the same forms of violence and oppression (unconscious or consciously) that all human governments adopt.

Thus, I see it as my Christian duty to not vote or participate Australia’s system of government that fails to acknowledge God as sole ruler, instead placing humans to rule over other humans. I am happy to discuss these convictions further with you if necessary, acknowledging that I too am human and have not resolved them completely. Feel free to phone or email me (contact details are below). I look forward to your response.

Yours Sincerely


Simon Reeves

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Palm Sunday 2008


Palm sunday is this Sunday! Come along and share in a day where the Kingdom of God is embodied. Together we can both embody what it is to live as nonviolent people and also protest against the violent wars carried out around the world, supported by our Governments and our taxes. Remember Silence = Permission. Evil is allowed to occur when good people remain silent. Lets not remain silent!

Palm sunday peace service
& rally



16 march 2008 (THIS SUNDAY)
On the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq





1.15 Ecumenical Service
of Prayer and Reflection
Wesley Uniting Church, Lonsdale Street

'bring your banners, your palm leaves, your instruments,
your yearnings for action for peace’

2 p.m. Palm Sunday Rally & March
for peace and Nuclear Disarmament


Stop the wars
in Iraq & Afghanistan!
No Uranium Mining.

Blessed is the one
who comes in the Name of the Lord
Hosanna in the Highest!!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Prayer of Allegance...kinda?

I wrote this prayer when trying to imagine what I would say if I was to begin each and every day with a prayer of allegiance to God and in doing so dennounce all other allegiances that is demanded of us each and every day!

Let me know what you think...any additions, subtractions...

PRAYER

I/We remember you Jesus
Your body and your blood
Your life and your peaceful sacrifice
Your ways that work slowly, humanly, peacefully, not inhumanly, violently, forcibly like the empire
In remembering you I/We seek to :

Follow the way of Jesus, knowing it leads to the Cross

Love God and declare our/my allegiance to God and God alone

Care for our/my family

Stand with the poor, the exploited, the oppressed, the victimized, the marginalized, the hurting, the sad, the lonely

Be responsible for the earth

Stand in the way of wars and violence

Love my/our enemies, praying for those who persecute us

Reject affluence, lust and ‘power over’

To watch where the Father is at work and join in this great activity, rather than doing my/our own thing

Be merciful and forgive others even if it takes a billion go’s

Cultivating meekness, a gentle strength and to never ever resort to any form of violence to anyone or anything

Always to have faith beyond human eyes and be strong when fighting against the powers of injustice

Be faithful to God, not successful

Do small things with great love

Be generous and never refuse anyone who wants to borrow from me/us

Never speak unkindly about anyone

Contribute towards Community life

To try and live out the Kingdom of God here and now