Rob Buckingham's Blog

Blame Your Parents

“It’s not MY fault – it’s someone else’s.” 

“I can’t help it – this is the way I’ve always been!”

Ever heard these statements?  Ever said them yourself?

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Australia’s First Saint?

There has been much celebration in the past few days as Pope Benedict XVI in St Peter’s Square in Rome canonized Sister Mary MacKillop. Saint Mary MacKillop of the Cross is Australia’s first Roman Catholic Saint.  I’m thrilled for Australian Catholics as they have something to celebrate as members of a church that has received much bad press in recent years – especially because of paedophile priests and accusations of child sexual abuse and it’s cover-up by some church officials.  Interestingly, Sister Mary was excommunicated for a period of five months in 1871 for exposing an Irish paedophile priest’s abuse of a child.

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The Power of One

Whenever there’s a disaster somewhere in the world we often hear a pronouncement from a Christian leader that this disaster is the judgment of God because of the sinfulness of people.

For example, Hurricane Katrina was said to be God’s punishment of New Orleans’ Gay Mardi Gras.   The events of 9/11 were said to be God’s judgment on "the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians" who had tried to transform America into a secular society. A Christian evangelist claimed the earthquake in Haiti was God's punishment for a legendary pact with the devil.  Closer to home the events of Black Saturday were said to be the God’s displeasure with the Victorian Government’s abortion legislation. And five years ago a church minister caused anger after he compared the Asian tsunami to Noah’s flood and claimed it was an act of God to punish “pleasure seekers” who broke the Sabbath.

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Q&A On Victoria The Fairer State

In the lead up to the state election, Bayside Church Senior Minister Rob Buckingham will be part of an expert panel discussion on 14 October to answer whether Victoria is a ‘fairer’ place. Moderated by ABC Radio Presenter Jon Faine, […]

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Koran Burning

Burning the Koran is the latest example to hit the news of unchristian Christianity!  A Florida pastor last week announced that he would stage a Koran burning day (on the ninth anniversary of 9/11) as a protest over the proposed building of an Islamic Cultural Centre near the World Trade Centre site.

It is my personal opinion that building an Islamic Cultural Centre so close to the area where thousands of people lost their lives because of the action of Muslim extremists is insensitive and inappropriate.  But to threaten to burn the Muslims’ Holy Book is also insensitive, inappropriate and flies in the face of Jesus’ teaching – especially the Golden Rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).

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Bayside Assists Pakistan

Bayside Church has raised $21,500 for the flood situation in Pakistan and all money will directly be donated to World Vision's aid response.   World Vision's Conny Lenneberg recently returned from Pakistan and shared her experience at Bayside Church. She described the situation […]

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Pakistan Floods – You Can Help

World Vision’s Conny Lenneberg will be a special guest at Bayside Church on Saturday 11 September at the 6pm service to share on her experience in Pakistan. Ms Lenneberg has just returned from Pakistan which has experienced terrible floods.  More […]

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Facebook Foul-ups

It never ceases to amaze me what some people post on social networking sites like Facebook – as if the rest of the world can’t see!

Even some people at Bayside Church have made statements or posted pictures that have surprised me for two reasons.  The first reason is for the lack of wisdom displayed and the second is because the post reveals a behaviour or character issue that is inconsistent with the person’s Christian confession.

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We’re All Doomed

In the news this week there’s been the ongoing debate about Earth’s limited resources and particularly how much oil is left.  Some say that we only have 20 to 30 years before oil runs out.  Others say we still have 75% of the oil reserves still untouched.

Whoever is right one thing is for sure – we live on a finite planet with finite resources that will one day be used up.  Of course some resources can be recycled, but others cannot. So once they’re gone – they’re gone!  The question then must be raised: Can people survive on this planet once key resources have been exhausted?

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There are no losers

We live in an age where political correctness has gone crazy and where everyone has to win or get a prize.  Having only one winner just wouldn’t be “fair”, and we might end up hurting people’s delicate feelings.  This was typified on a Disney sitcom I was watching a while ago with my kids where the one of the characters said, “There are no losers, only winners – and people who are not them!”

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Atheists are full of hot air

I love atheists!  I used to be one until I had a radical Christian conversion in my late teens and early 20s.  As a former atheist I still have a great deal of compassion towards those who describe themselves in this way.

What constantly amazes me with atheists however is their preoccupation with God.  Take John Dawkins as an example. Dawkins is constantly writing books and articles trying to prove the non-existence of God.  If God doesn’t exist then why waste all this time and energy?

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Leaders Behaving Badly

Yesterday, Melbourne radio announcer Steve Price was interviewing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.  It was a typical political interview – short direct questions and longer-than-need-be indirect answers.  One question asked for Mr. Rudd’s comments on journalist David Marr's article in this month's Quarterly Essay, which described the Prime Minister as a "politician with rage at his core".  This is no surprise as our PM’s anger has been the subject of a number of reports during his term in office.  So, it was a fair question.  The answer was as follows:

“Your listeners, I think, are much less concerned about all of that …what they’re on about is: are we going to keep the economy strong?  What am I going to do to fix their hospital system? … When’s the new National Curriculum come in?  And, guess what, we have a strong record of achievement in all of those areas.”

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Capital Punishment

Capital punishment has been forever abolished in Australia by the recent passing of The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Torture Prohibition and Death Penalty Abolition) Bill. Even though no Australian State or Territory has the death penalty, this law ensures none can ever reintroduce it.  As a Christian I fully support this move by the Australian Parliament – even though some parts of the Bible endorse the use of the death penalty especially for first-degree murder (see Genesis 9:6; 6:5,6; Exodus 21:12-29; Romans 13:1-4).  

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Uganda’s Anti-Gay Legislation

The New York Times reports on the link between some anti-gay American Christians and a bill in Uganda that would make homosexuality punishable by death.

In March last year, Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Don Schmierer shared their "wisdom" on homosexuality with thousands at a conference in Kampala, Uganda. Specifically, the men told the audience how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how 'the gay movement is an evil institution' whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”

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No Cost Environmental Care

“I care for the environment – as long as it doesn’t cost me anything.”  That seems to just about sum up what many Aussies currently feel about environmental care.

According to market research company Australia Scan, Australians are becoming increasingly disinterested in the environment.  This is for a number of reasons including the seemingly endless debate over emissions trading and the impact of the Black Saturday bushfires that resulted largely from a failure to systematically back burn large areas of bush land (trees are more important than people apparently).

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The Atheist Agenda

Well, they’ve come and gone from what was described as the world’s biggest atheist conference. Author Melanie Phillips described it as 2,500 hardcore believers in the absence of religion [giving] a hero's welcome to the high priest of belief in unbelief, Richard Dawkins.

It’s interesting to me that Richard Dawkins, who has made a career out of telling everyone how much more tolerant the world would be if only religion were obliterated, demonstrated huge intolerance in some of his remarks.  He referred to the Pope as a Nazi, and described Family First senator Steve Fielding as “more stupid than an earthworm.” Oh, I see, we are to be tolerant but only towards those who agree with us!

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The Atheists are Coming!

The Global Atheist Convention is coming to Melbourne in March.  The theme is “The Rise of Atheism” and amongst the long list of speakers is world-renowned author Richard Dawkins whose book The God Delusion has been an international best seller.

I read The God Delusion a year or two ago and Dawkins makes some very good points.  However, his stated purpose in writing the book did not work on me – “If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down” (Page 5).  It didn’t work because I used to be an atheist and for the past 32 years, I have been a Christian.  I feel that I have a certain qualification to compare the two and Christianity comes up trumps every time!

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Let’s Just Ignore The Poor

Let’s just ignore the poor! Recently Sacred Heart Mission Chief Executive Michael Perusco asked Opposition Leader Tony Abbott whether a government under his direction would continue with the Rudd government's goal of halving homelessness by 2020. His answer was no.

In justifying his stance, Abbott quoted from the Gospel of Matthew: ''The poor will always be with us,'' and referred to the fact there is little a government can do for people who choose to be homeless.

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Joyce Dumps Aid – At What Cost?

I usually like what the Shadow Finance Minister Barnaby Joyce has to say.  I find him refreshingly different, honestand ready to speak out on issues that don’t always tow the party line.

I guess his comments last week about Australia’s foreign aid certainly fit that description.  The only difference is that this time I find myself disagreeing with him in a big way. Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra, Senator Joyce suggested that aid to the third world should instead be spent on reducing food costs in Australia.

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The Problem of Suffering (2)

If God is all-powerful why doesn’t he stop evil and suffering in the world?  This question is best answered by one of Jesus’ famous stories:

"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' 'An enemy did this,' he replied.The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"

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