My 2 hours in Detention

I havent blogged since January this year and its been a real challenge to take the time to reflect and put into words anything that I thought was worth writing about. Well this week I had the opportunity to do something that i have been wanting to do for about twelve months, something that I knew would not only be eye-opening but would potentially change my life. I spent two hours at the Melbourne Immigration Transit accommodation centre, otherwise known as a Detention centre for Asylum seekers.

For readers not in Australia, the issue of asylum seekers arriving on our doorstep, especially those who have made the choice to travel by boat has been an on going politcial storm for awhile now. My intention is to not make this blog entry all about how much i hate what the Australian Government is doing/not doing and point the finger in anger at all the human rights violations taking place as there is enough of that already.(I might leave that for another entry but for now my Little rant is over;-))

I said earlier that i have been keen to visit asylum seekers in detention for quite some time. I am in my second year at university doing a degree in International Community Developement and during this time i have been working out what i want kind of work/vocation i would like to be involved in when i finished my study. Outside of uni i have had t to expectnumerous encounters with people who had fled their countries because of conflict, arrived here by boat and spent time in detention. Every time i would walk away really impacted by their stories. 

On the way to the detention centre i was really anxious, i realised that no amount of preperation could actually prepare me for what i was walking into. Yes it sounds dramatic in a way, but the people who i had met out in the community who had unfortunatley been locked up both here in australa and abroad spoke of a deep deprerssion and the struggle coming to terms with their freedom, especially with the rest of the their family on the other side of the globe or the memories of oppression always at the front of their minds. How much more intense would it be on the inside?

Well it was intense and extreemly confronting but it didnt take long before i was reminded of a couple of things. 1. The visit was never about me and 2.They are not boat people(many refer to them as that) I have my freedom and all the privilidges that come with it…and i take it for granted as well. I can leave my house whenever i want and have visitors at any time. I know where my family is(well most of the time) but im certainly not worried for their saftey and even though there was a time in my life when i was displaced..well i think you get the picture.

What an honour it was to meet these men!. All of them had been through hell(&some more than others still are)to get to Australia and now live day to day having no idea what the future holds for them. Missing their wives and kids or knowing that family memebers are missing and are not in a postion to do anything but wait. Yes their stories are sad but the i saw a spark in many of their eyes that said something very different. STRENGTH. I may be able to visit them regularly and give them encouragement and hope(and thats exactly what they need) but i have no doubt in my mind that spending time with them will mean no more standing on the sidelines.

Have you ever been to a detention centre or refugee camp, met any asylum seekers or been one yourself? If so i would love to read about your perspective. Feel free to leave a comment and thanks for reading

More than a 3 letter word

I have been thinking a lot latley, probably to much which is why i havent blogged in awhile. I had in my head that each blog had to be long, detailed and profound which made it really tough to sit and just write because of all the stuff that i have been keen to write about.

The word why gets thrown around a lot. Kids ask why all the time, its part of their curiousity and adults often ask why because they want more detail..trying to work out whats for them or clearing things up kind of thing. I have been thinking about a different kind of Why.

I have found that its really helpful to remember why i am doing the things im doing. University, following Jesus Christ and even blogging. It is when i forget the why that i feel like throwing my hands in the air and say “why bother”. So im really thankful to be reminded every so often to dont let go of the why because it can be a bit like fuel.

Nothing new or profound here but i rekon everyone has a why in their life that drives them..sometimes we need to pull into the pitstop and be refreshed. i hope you find some encouragement from reading this.

Just in time

In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. Here, Will Salas finds himself accused of murder and on the run with a hostage – a connection that becomes an important part of the way against the system.–IMDB

Well i finally went and watched the movie “In time” last night and i really enjoyed it. I didnt know to much about the story but from what i was told i was a little curious. Obove is the blurb from the IMDB wesite and i will try not to give to much away but that will be a challenge as i want to share with you what impacted me the most abou the movie.(so if you havent seen it i hope you will want to go after reading this) I am a massive fan of movies and though there are plenty of crappy flicks out there, there are plenty more that have awesome thought provoking stories. I think this is one of them.

Apart from the action and the relationship between the two main charecters there is another story going on, one that i found confronting because i think its happening all around the world today and because i need to make a choice and respond to what i see and hear. In the movie everyone has a certain amount of time but its not distributed fairly. Those that are wealthy and live on the right side of town of course have more time than those who live in poorer conditions.  Time to the wealthy is of no concern because they have plenty of it and everyone else spends all their time just getting by. There is evidence of injutice but no one really has the time to stand and fight for their right to live so everyone continues to live in a system that is broken.

The main charecter(Justin Timberlake) is given a gift that he never expected from a man who has given up hope and who’s last words were “Dont waste my time”-My favourite line in the movie. Will salas clearly see’s that there is a need for someone to be a voice for those who are just surviving, and a thorn in the side to those who are living  and benifiting from the system that has become dehumanising and oppressive.

I have just finished my first year at university(studying international community development) and even though im thankful that i survived(JUST) and now have a chance to relax, there are many quetions that im left with that at some stage i will need to answer. In time has made sure that the four month break ahead of me wont just be about switching my brain off and im looking forward to the chance to work through some of the stuff that has been raised during the last two semesters.

  • What kind of structures can i see that abuse peoples human rights
  • Can i see people oppressing others so that they gain something from this abuse
  • Do i in anyway treat people as if i have more rights than they do
  • What am i willing to do to see change take place and will i be an advocate for those who are stuck

Yes this movie is a little far-fetched, but in reality the poor and oppressed struggle while many others live with much more that they will ever need. Those of us that not only live comfortably but have the time are face with many choices but lots of responsibilty. Like the main charecter in the movie, i have been given a gift-TIME, and though it would be easy to waste it on things that dont matter i want to instead use it to encourage and allow others to not just survive but to live.

Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts in reponse to what i have written or have seen the movie, please feel free to leave a comment

 

 

 

Why Bother?-Read it and find out

“The Bible is..as necessary to spiritual life as breath is to natural life. There is nothing more essential to our lives than the Word of God”–Jack Hayford

During my 13 years of being a christian i have been involved in a number of Bible studies, but latley i have been thinking a lot about how much time i actually spend studying the Bible.  I have always believed that this book is very powerful and has the ability to change lives. However when it comes down to it i often treat it like any other book. The Bible is unlike any other book in history. If this is the case then i must treat it very differently to all the other books.

Is doing a bible study the same as studying the bible, and how many of us who call ourselves christians actually intentionally spend time reading, meditiating and applying the word to our lives? Is it enough just to read a few lines here and there and never actually pick up a commentary or concordance, make notes about what God is saying in scripture and to our lives today and eventially equip ourselves with the words that we so often say come from the creator of the universe?  I would say No and No.

There was a time when i thought that deep committed Bible study was only for Pastors, missionaries and hardcore well known Christian theologians of the past and today. It takes time to sit, tune out from the rest of the world and explore what God is saying in the old and new testament. Who has the time or energy to do that kind of study anyway? I certianly didnt, so instead i spent time reading books about the bible which is much easier but i wonder how much i benifited in the end. I dont doubt there are normal everyday Christians out there who actually invest a lot of time in getting the most out of this book that has impacted their lives, but i wonder how many people are missing out because they are to busy to slow down, dont think it’s for them or find it a bit of a painful exersise.

There are many verses in the Bible that tell us how powerful scripture is and how it can be used in many areas of our lives. It is a gift from God to us where he reveals his nature, his story, our story and his response to a fallen world. Most of us have heard of the Bible impacting indaviduals and communities, some have experienced awesome peace and others answers to challenging questions or circumstances in their lives. I think it would be safe to say that all Christians at some point in their lives have been confronted with the power of the word of God. One peace of scripture that i really like is Hebrews 4:12. If it is true(and i believe it is) and the Word is Living, Active,Sharper than any Double-Edged Sword, Penetrating and is able to Judge then wow, we are really priviledged to have such a book and should actually be really keen to open its pages everyday and for more than just a moment.

As i write this i am thinking of how i will approach my own Study of the Bible. I want to take it seriously and i believe all Christians should. We are told in the obove scripture that it is Living and Active. If we really want to live and be active followers of Jesus Christ isnt it our responsibility to do more than just leave our Bibles on a shelf? Im not sure how long my exuses like i dont have the time, it’s to hard to understand or i just cant be bothered will work, but i do know that every time i put it off i am missing out on what God has to say.

If you are a christian and any of what i have written is true for you then maybe its time for a change. I encourage you to get started on a serious study of Gods word. If you already do, i think that is awesome and i hope your sharing what you have learnt with others. And if your reading this and you wouldnt call yourself a christian or you have never really even picked up a bible then i hope you will because God wants to show you so much. Start with the Gospels.

Jesus said in the book of matthew chapter 4 verses 4 “It is written, man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment.

 

You have the right to remain silent

We often see on the news and read in the papers how peoples human rights are violated, actually i would go as far to say thats mostly what we see in the news these days, and the issue probably doesnt have as much effect on us as it should anymore. Whether it be people dying from hunger, others who are displaced because of fear and violence or children used for things no child should ever experience, we are constantly bombarded with images of things happening a world away. It would be easy to sit back and think “well thats not my problem, thats so far away and i have my own stuff to deal with or im happy to give some cash to a cause and my bit is done”. No, i think there is no escaping when it comes to human rights-distance is irrelevant, its not just about physical violence, a dictator abusing power or even minding your own business.

 To be honest, i havent really ever given much thought about human rights.(apart from my right to things like good public transport and not to wait in line for longer than 3 minutes) One of my subjects at Uni this semester has forced me to start thinking more…and it hurts. We have looked at the history of human rights, how the Universal Declaration of human rights came about, what it means to have a right and touched on how the rights of different people have been violated over time. Every week one Question would be answered only to have many more Questions to pop up in my mind. One of the biggest convictions i have had during this time is that so often i am more concerned with my human rights and are my needs being met that the rights of others are always somewhere at the bottom of the list of things. So are we more consumed with our own rights that we often forget the many humans around us and their basic rights?

Im shocked when i take a look at what the human rights are that were put together back in 1948. Not because so many since then have had their rights violated but because its happening here in my own backyard in so many ways that it feels like its just normal part of our society that people go without. I hope you who read this, especially those who havent,  will have a look at the all the articles listed on the Declaration of human rights. Areas i see in which peoples are being violated that are close to him are childrens rights. Even before a child is born a parent/parents have a massive responsibility to see that their child is born into a safe environment where they can grow, feel safe and have a education that will encourage their gifts but this isnt happening and the impact it is having on our young people is really sad. Those seeking asylum from persecution in other countries. What can i say about this issue..Australia is guilty of being involved in violating the rights of those people seeking asylum. Unfortunatly the words asylum seeker now leaves a bad taste in our mouths when it should cause us to stand up and be a voice and offer a safe place. The right to equal pay for equal work. The rights of woman, especially in the work place have come a long way but you dont need to be a female to know that much work needs to be done to see woman being treated equally. When i think of all the woman who are mothers and manage a household and everything that comes a long with it im amazed..and even more amazed that they dont get paid for he role they play. Well i could go on and on about things in our own backyard that need attention but when you stop and think about it you will see that human rights affect us all.

Yes i have the right to remain silent and just get on with my life but unfortunalty i dont think thats going to happen as education is all fun and games until you see the need to apply the things you learn. I dont have to be a parent, a woman or  someone seeking asylum to stand up and support or be a voice for them. Is it time for all of us to stop protectng our own rights so much that other people are being left behind in the process? Just because rights cant be enforced does it mean that we should put this issue in the too hard basket and continue turning a blind eye and a deaf ear?

Im interested to hear your thoughst on the subject so please feel free to leave a comment and thanks for dropping by

Whats the BIG issue??

I have been aware of the issue for years but havent really paid attention. Often it is when im focused on getting somewhere i notice or hear the big issue being advertised but i usually just keep on walking. Once or twice i have stopped long enough just to exchange money and grab a copy, and then im off again.  Who are these people standing on street corners and in busy malls trying to get my attention, and whats so big that i should stop and give them any attention?

The Big Issue is an independent current affairs and entertainment magazine sold in towns and cities throughout Australia(and other parts of the world) by people experiencing homelessness and or long term unemployment. It provides an opportunity for vendors to positively change their lives by earning an income and interacting with the mainstream community. Vendors keep half the cover price of every magazine they sell.

While waiting for a tram today a guy wearing the bright big issue vest sat next to me so i decided to buy a copy of the magazine, and as he was handing it over i thought i would take it a little further and ask how things were going for him. Twenty minutes later i walked away feeling educated and privildged to hear his story. Its amazing what can happen in such a short time.

He has been selling the big issue for 2 years. Its helps him pay the rent and empowers him to keep moving forward. I cant remember his name but i remember his story. He loves interacting with his regular customers, spends time reading the magazine cover to cover as it helps him to remember where he has been and where he wants to go and he has big dreams. He laughed as he shared with me his stories of other vendors who are real charecters and the kind of people that he meets. Once he was a carpenter and had his own business and he lost everything…he has been saving to make a comeback. I was impressed and it certianly has challenged the way i will see and treat all vendors of the big issue

The BIG ISSUE is that it is easy to walk through the day and forget that there are others who are sharing our space, people with stories, indaviduals who are trying to make ends meet, families who are oppressed and the list goes on. Its nice to know that those who sell this magazine will make money, but its not just about the cash as it also gives them a purpose. I think that when we slow down and take the time to hear other peoples stories its another way of investing in them, and thats worth more than a couple of dollars

Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction—-John f. Kennedy

 

A Bubble in the Busyness

I was in the city today and finally got to actually see someone holding a Free Hugs sign, and of course i went over and gave a hug to the 3 huggers who were not afraid to give them out to total strangers. Talk about a open crowd!

A friend and i decided to hang around for a while as we wanted to watch the reactions of people passing by. I thought it was both refreshing and sad to watch. Im probably not the only one who cannot remember the names of these charecters but im pretty sure that all those people who stopped and embraced them will remember the hug.

It was refreshing because they were so enthusiastic about what they were doing. It was like they created a bubble in the busyness where people could just stop and relax for a moment. You could see on the faces of those that took up the offer that they needed a break and a hug and it was obvious they walked away different. But i was also shocked at the small amount of people who refused to stop for a hug and others who hesitated for ages before they finally recieved their free gift.

As i watched i wanted to know just how powerful one sign could be, because from where i was standing it looked like a magnet(and after 10 minutes of trying to talk myself out of it) i approached the huggers and asked if i could have a go. I was sooo nervous but soon people from all directions were were wanting their free hug. It was a pretty cool experiance.

There is no deep MSG here, but im pretty sure that all of us need to slow down at times and pay attention to the people and things around us. We often blame life and say its to busy and before you know it, even hugs become alien to us.

Oh yeah, and If you havent held a Free hugs sign in a busy place before then find the opportunity to do it. The sign really is powerful, you will put smiles on peoples faces and it gives you a lot to think about.