The hubbub on the ‘Food Regulation Bill’

I have to be honest, this is a new ‘issue’ for me, I only really first heard about it last week so am pretty green on the whole thing. I am going to investigate it over the next few weeks and will come back to you, but these are my initial thoughts and explanations to you about the Food Bill (160-2) 2010.

There is concern amongst some that the implementation of this bill with result in regulators turning up to places like farmers markets to ‘regulate’ what is going on. Those that oppose it say it will “seriously impede initiatives like community gardens, food co-ops, heritage seed banks, farmers markets, bake sales, and roadside fruit & vegetable stalls.” Those that support it say it won’t.

There is a petition here for people to sign who are opposed to the bill, but I gotta say you should only sign it if you have done the work to understand this issue fully and not believed the apparent rhetoric coming from either side of the debate.

Those who are in support of the bill are saying that it will make our food ‘point of sales’ safer and cleaner, companies that are putting millions of dollars into developing new seed technology are also in support of the bill as it gives them more security around their patented product.

I have to say one of the more balanced articles I have read is from then Green Party MP Sue Kedgley where amongst other things Ms. Kedgley addressed the concern of small time vegetable operators being captured in this legislation unwittingly by saying that the authorities that will be responsible for implementing the law “will be able to exempt entire categories of groups, such as those engaged in bartering or selling direct to consumers at Farmers Markets from coverage of the bill, and this is their intention.

Isn’t that the end of the conversation?

Maybe not, and here is why.

I have been listening to the rhetoric for the past week…and if you replaced “private citizens with veggie gardens” with the word “parents” then what you’ve got is the anti-smacking bill ‘debate’ all over again. Where people were concerned about the technical possibility of what the law could do, and ignoring the reality of how it will be implemented.

All those parents getting thrown in jail for touching their children’s shoulders hasn’t happened has it?

Sue Kedgley seems to be saying there are some gaps in this legislation that need to be addressed, and it’s likely they will.

However in saying all this I’ll come back to the point that these are just my first meanderings on this issue and I am happy to hear more from you as to what I’ve missed, and what I have right (if anything).

What the eff is a Christian anyways?

I often hear people say to me, “I thought you were a Christian.” to which my stock reply is, “It depends what you mean by ‘Christian'”. People see me in advertising like this and get confused sometimes by my position on various issues. That’s fine by me, I never claimed to fit easily into anyone’s box.

The word ‘Christian’ these days is relative, by that I mean to you it probably means something entirely different as to what it means to me, or to anyone else. Do this as a little experiment…close your eyes and picture a ‘Christian’! Who do you see? What do they look like? What do they sound like? What do they say? Do you like them? Are you going to give them a chance? Do they have anything to say? What are they wearing? Who do they vote?

As you can see once you start burrowing down into details there could be a myriad of answers for those questions, in other words it is very hard to pigeon hole what exactly a Christian is…or is it?

If you ask the man-on-the-street they would probably define a Christian as someone who ‘hates the gays, loves smacking his kids and votes for National or ACT.’ Now these are my words and are purposefully exaggerated for effect but there will be many people who actually think that.

The reason I always reply, “It depends what you mean by ‘Christian.'” is because of that reason. In 2012 there are words that have been defined by their contoversary and by the media, Christian is one of them, just check out FOX News…Muslim is another, so is Feminism, Gay and a host of other words. Words that now have been defined as something that they may not be.

What is a Christian? Well according to some its a group of people who protest funerals of soldiers in America holding up signs saying ‘God hates fags!’ to others it’s the belief that the more money you have, the more God loves you, still others believe that to be a real Christian you must discipline your children with ‘a rod’. The word has been hi-jacked by some with an agenda but also been defined by some who use the word inaccurately. Some people who claim the word for themselves may talk the talk, but certainly don’t walk the walk. Other don’t ever say a word…but their ‘walk’ is what best defines what is means to be a Christian.

Today is the three year anniversary of the death of Sonny Fai. A humble ‘Christian’ man who gave up his life to save his little brother. In the bible (you know that irrelevant old dusty book full of inaccuracies and contridictions) it says this, “And here is how to measure it — the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.” I have no idea if Sonny Fai was a Christian…or a christian…or a ‘Christian’ but he walked the walk.

So what does it mean to be a ‘Christian’, well that dusty old book gives us an idea again.

Matthew 22

34-36When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”

37-40Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

To translate. These two ideas are what the whole Christian faith hang on, they are what a ‘Christian’ needs to try to do to be a Christian. Love God, and love other people…everything in the Christian faith hangs from these two ideas.

Maybe the reason that it seems so simple, but historically it’s been so difficult is that making it simple is threatening to those in the church. Think about it, if all you need to do to be ‘in the club’ is love God and love other people then everyone can get in. It doesn’t say you have to do anything. Just love.

So I look forward to seeing all the alcoholic, drug taking, gay, feminist, fornicating, adulterers in heaven…with all those ‘Christians’ …should be an interesting party ah?

Oh, so when someone in the future asks me if I am a Christian….I’ll probably say, “it depends what you mean by that.”