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Last night, while avoiding doing the things I should be doing, I was flicking around youtube and came upon a US television drama based on the life and death of Matthew Shepard; the Matthew Shepard Story (warning this is a pretty disturbing movie). In 1998 Matthew was 21 when he was lured into a remote part of Wyoming, tied to a cattle fence, beaten unconscious, and left to die. He died a few days later in hospital. The movie portrays the events leading up-to the death of Matthew and his parent’s anguish as they have to face the sentancing hearing of one of the boys who killed their son. A boy who showed no mercy to Matthew begged Matthew’s parents to show him mercy and not request the death penalty. The movie, as I pre-warned is disturbing, not only for it’s immediate content but also because it reveals the dark side of humanity which enables such a crime to occur.
Regardless of one’s personal beliefs, attitudes, religious affiliation, you have to ask how can humanity be so cruel to one of it’s own kind. The movie shows how powerful hate and prejudice can be, but it also shows how true compassion can be learnt, even amidst great heartache and loss.
I find myself still processing this movie. I remember hearing of the death of Matthew back in 98. Though I don’t think I took much to heart about it. Though seeing this movie the senseless violence that exists in the world, all too iconic in events like the killing of Matthew, the killings of Port Arthur, the shootings at Columbine, the tragedy of 9/11 (the list could go on), seems to have snuck in my cynical exterior and left me wondering – will we survive ourselves.
I know some call it a crutch, irrelevant, or antiquated, but I have to say my faith perhaps is the one thing that gets me through these kinds of senseless acts of violence and terror. My faith offers a way of hope. Christ stood, even at the door of death, for tolerance, peace, compassion, mercy, and justice for all. I believe that if we can open our ears, hearts, and minds to really take in the message of Christ that there is hope for the world. The challenge for us all I guess is to discover how we can take in that message and how we can live it out.
The Anglican Church in Australia’s Appellate Tribunal has handed down it’s decision regarding the constitutional legality of the consecration of woman Bishops. In a 4-3 vote it was held that those who had adopted a 1992 Church law allowing the ordination of woman priests were able to constitutionally admit women to the office of Bishop. Though this did not apply to the position of (regional) assistant Bishops.
This decision will surely be welcomed by some and not others. It is going to be interesting to see this is played out for both sides. I can almost hear the cogs turning in the minds of some as to how they will take up this battle, how it may be used to fuel already raging fires of talk of fracturing of the Communion (or more bleakly – schism).
Will this decision be the proverbial ‘straw’ needed by some when the Communion has had little chance to heal from the current fractures over the ordination of an openly gay Bishop in the Episcopal Church (USA). Or is it so bleak, the optimist in me sees an opportunity to finally lay to rest an argument and pave the way for a Church that will moved into the future as a more open and welcoming Church, one more closer in the Spirit Christ’s desire for all to come to God in faith, love, hope, acceptance and tolerance.
Of course another part of me looks outside the Communion and wonders the impact this will have on already strained relationships with other members of ‘the one holy catholic and apostolic church’ which already sees Anglicanism as a schismatic church at best and nothing more than an ‘ecclesial community’ at worst.
Coming from a previous church background where these questions are simply not relevant (the head of the church has been both a woman and a man, it’s ministers are both men and women) I find it had to comprehend the expansive energy which has been (is being) poured into the long standing debate and the wounds it seems to mark and leave to fester. This aspect of me wonders what could be achieved if we used the same amount of energy to begin tackling more important issues such as spreading the good news and making a reality the Kingdom of God in the hear and now.
Imagine, what the ‘the universal’, the ‘one holy catholic and apostolic church’ could achieve if we all united and faced the issues of poverty, war, environment together. If we stopped bickering for long enough to see that we are united by one God whose message was so simple a poor misguided rich man could understand… love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind… and if we did that we’d also love our neighbours as ourselves. If we did that wouldn’t there be less war, less poverty, and couldn’t we save ourselves from destruction? Does it really matter who leads us, a woman or a man.
I just discovered I can import posts from my previous blog on blogspot – so there are a few articles from blogger in the 2006 early 2007 archives… if you are that excited. Oh, and as I get moments of boredom I check youtube for video clips of my favourite (classic) songs. You can view them on the tab “Favourite Songs” (duh!). Most of them soppy ones, but meaningful nonetheless – one day, might tell you why! Enjoy.
Howard’s plan is short sighted and a bandaid solution to a long term problem. He fails to address the real issues of the decline in the nursing profession which will not be fixed by his plans. He fails to appreciate how the 170 000 000 could better used to support existing training of nurses which could both improve nursing training and be part of a long term solution to the nursing shortage. He fails to appreciate the potential for creating a two tiered nursing profession, the likes of which society and the profession are only now beginning to put behind them.
And on a personal note I am outraged at the implication in his statement about the poor quality of nursing training in it’s present form. I have been apologising for being a uni trained nurses since I graduated… I have cared for people when all that was between them and death was me… and I have held the hands of people whose life was at its end. I have done it well and I owe it all the quality of training I received at uni. Fix the problem Howard, don’t fish for votes.