Do Christians need to be offended?

St Matthews in the City has brought out its yearly ‘controversial’ billboard and some Christians in NZ, and around the world, are outraged…but my question is “should Christian’s get offended?” and furthermore, “Does God need Christians to get their panties in a bunch, to ‘defend’ him?”

In my opinion the short answer is ‘No!’

Just for clarity the billboard is somewhat ambiguous as to whether it’s calling Jesus gay, or just cheekily stating that after a birth you ‘come out’ of your mother (too much detail?)

Christians are called to ‘love their neighbour as themselves, and love their God with everything they have.’ That’s it, that’s the core basics of a Christian faith.

Offence is something that maybe we cannot control, it boils up and overtakes us…but then we make an intentional choice as to what to do with that offence, my suggestion to Christians is before you jump up and down, before you rip down the billboard, before you slam those that put the billboard up just think of those four little initials WWJD? Or if you’d prefer WWGD?

If you come to the conclusion that God would jump up and down, get his panties in a bunch, and tear down that billboard or slam those who put it up…then you follow a different God than I read about in the bible.

Honestly people, how does what can only be described, based on numbers, as a fringe movement in the Anglican church effect your faith, your life, your relationship with your God…or anything else in your life?

Enjoy the season, love you neighbour, don’t be afraid of people trying purposely to generate controversial conversation, love your God and chill-lax.

The Royal Prank Call…Where to from here?

I am looking at the story about DJs at the centre of the royal prank call trying to figure the whole thing out.

It seems that like many radio announcers in the past they made a call, which got to a place it shouldn’t have, they took the piss, it was cleared by not only management, but the company lawyers, and the call went to air.

The process wouldn’t have gotten a second look other than two factors…it was about the future Queen and her unborn child, and someone involved with the call has now killed themselves.

I am terribly upset for the family of Jacintha Saldanha, her friends and colleagues, it is a situation that must be unbearable. I also feel, albeit not on the same level, sorry for the announcers who basically did their jobs, were cleared by management, and now have death threats and the world wanting their blood.

It seems to be a ‘there but for the grace of God‘ situation that many of us, who have done this kind of thing, could have been put in.

Here is an example of a crank call I made in 2005/06 when I got the Grosvenor of the Reserve Bank out of an important meeting to ask him how the changing of the size of the silver coins was going to impact my ‘takeaway and spacies‘ business over summer.

I got to a place I shouldn’t have, if the person who answered the phone and put me through was the subject of some kind of disciplinary action I would have probably made news…but that didn’t happen.

I am interested in seeing if there is any kind of history of suicide attempts or depression in Ms. Saldanha’s life as this situation on it’s own, where she didn’t give out any information and she wasn’t going to be disciplined in any way, leads me to think that perhaps this story is yet to be told in its entirety.

NZ Celebrities engage in the Marriage Equality debate

A list of pretty high profile New Zealanders have lent their names, faces and opinions to a campaign supporting marriage equality.

In the 90 seconds you see…
Tamati Coffey (TV Presenter) and his partner Tim Smith
Anika Moa, Hollie Smith, Boh Runga (Musicians)
Rachel Hunter (NZ’s Got Talent Judge/Supermodel)
Brooke Howard Smith (TV Presenter) his partner Amber Peebles (Radio DJ)
Nigel Latta (Psychologist)
Danyon Loader (Olympian)
Jason Kerrison (Musician)
Jason Fa’afoi (TV Presenter) and his partner Anna and their son Charlie
Pearl McGlashan (Actress)
Ali Campbell (Musician)
Alison Mau (TV Presenter)
Orene Ai’I (Rugby Player)
Dame Cath Tizard (Former Governor General)
Mike King (Talkback host/Comedian)
Oliver Driver (Actor/Presenter)
Richie Hardcore (DJ)
Turumakina Duley (Tattoo Artist)
Amy Usherwood (Actress)
Nick Dwyer (Radio DJ)

But the person I want to mention is Nigel Latta, this is what he says near the beginning of the video.

“See I thought we lived in a free country, I thought my kids were growing up in a place where everyone has the same rights.”

I’d be interested in your thoughts on this, please feel free to respectfully engage in this conversation in the comments below.

Eric Hartsburg to get tattoo of Romney/Ryan logo removed

You’ve probably seen this story, the man in Michigan who received $15,000 to get a Romney/Ryan logo tattooed on his face. He had said in numerous interviews that he would be keeping it for life but it appears he has gotten cold feet and wants the monstrosity removed.

Why you would ever do this is beyond me, but this morning I had the chance to catch up with Eric to get his reasons, his story and his political insights

The War on Christmas

Daily Show War on ChristmasEvery year in America there is a ‘War on Christmas’ as sold by Fox News.

Is it so…or is it an exaggeration?

Oh, and while we are here…don’t be concerned about people using the phrase ‘Happy Holidays’…it’s an appropriate way of covering what we call the holiday period that starts about Christmas and ends in the New Year rather than saying “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”…not so sinister ah?

And one more thing, please this year…show some holiday spirit and don’t believe the hype you’ll hear some on talkback stations that Christmas is being banned in places like kindergartens. What normally follows those ignorant statements is someone then blaming a minority for the changes. If…and I do say if…this happens anywhere the likely scenario is that some pen-pusher bureaucrat decided independently that someone may be offended so they make the move, when they needn’t.

Check out The Daily Show’s take on the War on Christmas from last night…

Part One

Part Two

Russell Brand and the Westboro Baptist Church

Russell Brand recently had the Westboro Baptist Church as his guests. If you don’t know who they are then you should check out the Louis Theroux documentaries The Most Hated Family in America and the follow up America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis.

Check out Russell’s interaction with them…

It reminded me of the time I interviewed Shirley Phelps Roper, one of the heads at the church, about their beliefs and life in general.

Any thoughts about their theology?

The first to forecast the winner in the 2014 election was speaking with my parents on Thursday and the subject of John Key and David Shearer came up, I quickly said that ‘Labour will win the next election’ which was met with a few chuckles…but mostly fear from the lifelong National supporters, however I think they will.

The polls of recent times have seen the rise of ‘the left block‘ and like in Australia the left, for the foreseeable future, will be a Labour/Green alliance. It culminated on Sunday night with TVNZ’s last poll of 2012 having the left block ahead of National. From their analysis TVNZ says…

If those were election results, Labour would hold 45 seats out of parliament’s 120.

When combined with the Greens’ 17 seats, the centre-left would have 62, enough to form a government without relying on any of the minor parties.

I heard a political commentator say a couple of weeks ago that if just 1% more of the Labour base had turned out at the last election, then Labour would have won. If that is the case and the trend towards the left block building and staying between 45% and 50%…then it’s a done deal. Labour will be the next government and David Shearer will be our next Prime Minister. There have been some questions around the February vote to move away from Shearer and towards Cunliffe, this won’t happen…unless Labour has a death wish.

Cunliffe is liked by many in the left of Labour, but not the centrists and not the public. Going with David Cunliffe would gift the next election to National.

Parties win elections when they appear to the public of NZ to be pragmatic and centrist. John Key used those exact words to describe himself and his vision when the media quizzed him over the potential inclusion of Sir Roger Douglas in 2008 to allay the fears of a far-right governing style. Mr Key said…

“If ACT are hell bent on following a radical right-wing agenda and won’t fit in with a moderate pragmatic agenda then we can’t work with them. They’re ruling themselves out if that’s what they are doing,”

The unions and far-left of Labour like David Cunliffe, the centre sits more comfortably with David Shearer. Labour needs to be seen by the public as centre-left at the next election, with Cunliffe they will not be.

It’s also interesting to see political parties, once elected, then move towards what I would call their ‘natural position’ politically. In 1999 NZ removed what had become a far-right National government and brought in what was then a fairly centre-left moderate Labour. Over the following 9 years Labour moved with their policy and practice, further to the left until the public of NZ again removed what many describe as a far-left government, which worked as we had a moderate, pragmatic, centre-right National under John Key which has since started moving more to the right. So the plan for Labour is that they need to remain as close to the centre as possible, then when NZ freak out over a user-pays, asset-selling, big business far-right government we will toss them out and bring in the moderate centre-left, David Shearer, Labour led party along with their new ‘best buds’ in the Greens and we have a change of leadership.

So let’s be the first to state this officially and publicly (more than just over the dinner table to my parents) that in 2014 National will still be the biggest single party, but will be in the opposition seats as the left block takes the seats of power with David Shearer as the Prime Minister and Russell Norman and Metiria Turei holding some significant ministerial portfolios.

Pastor Stands up for Gay Rights in America

A Pastor recently in America used a clever ‘ruse’ to get a point across about the churches attitude towards ‘social issues’ over the ages.

These arguments have been used to keep the vote from women, slaves, to stop racial integration, to fight to make homosexuality legal, to stop Same Sex Marriage and the list goes on.

One wonders if in 50 years from now you’ll hear a clever Pastor using quotes from religious people today fighting to keep marriage heterosexual, replacing then with their social battle, and again use exactly the same arguments.