Tag Archive: reconciliation


Lay your burdens down child

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At the beach this week I found myself writing a bit of a song of lament and solace but can see it having several applications perhaps as prayer of confession of self, powers and politics.

Lay your burdens down, burdens down, burdens down child x2

Chorus
I will come to you, come to you, come to you child x2
I will lift you up, lift you up, lift you up child x2

Let your tears fall down, tears fall down, tears fall down child x2

Variations
Lay your:  troubles/darkness/heartbreak/sorrow… down
Lay: what scares you/what’s hurting/what’s broken… down
Lay your: body/spirit/hunger/weapons… down
Lay your: anger/sadness/hatred… down
Lay your: power/whiteness/stigma/baggage…down

 

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On the weekend of 24-25 September Whitley College hosted a conference called Constitutions and Treaties: Law, Justice, Spirituality – these are notes from session 1 of 9. We acknowledge that this gathering, listening and learning occurred of the land of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nations and offer our respects to their elders past and present, and all visiting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island visitors present.

 

Purpose: How to get somewhere

Constitutions: Tell us what to do and how to get there

Why?: Need to ask, where are these taking us to? What are we going to do with it?

The German word grundnorm (basic norm) combines big + what is normal.

American Constitution says: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal…” this is a basic norm of their constitution and yet there was slavery at the time.  What is constitutional for one group is not for others.

Is constitutional recognition worth fighting for in the Australian context?

If you are given a legal personality this gives you a legal identity/makes you an entity (you can transact).  Constitutional recognition would give Aboriginal people legal personality.

Here we use a Westminster/Western model of constitution – a link back to the UK. White men put the document together – it represented their idea of society then and for the future.  Section 128 allows for the constitution to be changed (function for change provided for in its creation).

What are the founding values and guiding principles?

Cooper vs. Stuart Crown gave 40 acres then wanted to take 7 acres back – appealed to the Privy Council in the UK.  Land that was not “cultivated” was considered not claimed.

Aboriginal people are currently mentioned in only 2 sections of the Constitution. For the purposes of counting in the Census they will have a value of “0” (zero) and in the Exclusion Clause which allows for Parliament to make laws specific to race (applying to anyone not white). This is legalised discrimination. The law makers had the view that Aboriginal people would disappear – either by dying off or being bred out… we are still here!

Following WW2 there was a movement to say collectively we cannot allow for the extermination of an entire people.  Some human values are UNIVERSAL regardless of what some countries and governments might do.  UN developed International law which includes a convention against racial discrimination “No legal or moral authority for laws based on race”.  Australian law has vetoed land purchase in Queensland, High COurt MABO decision recognised Native title in 1992 > Aboriginal people exist.  There is a fundamental clash between the constitution and the law – it is at odds with itself and it needs to be synchronised.

How are we getting there? What will we do when we get there?

I want to see… language, law, culture, spirituality, kindness, interconnectedness to land and animals, respect for neighbours, storytelling and learning… survive.

Recognising is the first step.  We can’t have a conversation if you can’t see me.

The State of Victoria is looking into making a treaty.Section 109 of the Constitution allows for laws that are inconsistent but if it comes to a ruling Federal law would prevail. If the vehicle we take is a treaty – what is in it? protecting/including what?

When applying law there is a sense that we should be able to go back to the original ‘intent’ of the law (read it in context) – it is a legal fiction that we can know or that we do know what that is. “Democracy” when it arrived was for landed white men, then all white men, white men and white women, now voters (excluding prisoners)… what democracy means has changed over time.

 

Te Tiriti O Waitangi and Pakeha-Maori Conversations: What Hope for Change? – Maria Bargh

Strong Spirit in Community Development – Grant Paulson

Repentance and Treaty? – Ray Minniecon

Primal Faith and Ancient Treaty: Precedents on the Abraham Trail – Norm Habel

What might the Australian Church look like in the face of the sovereignty of the First Peoples? – Chris Budden

A Paradoxical Hospitality – Robert Hoskin and Naomi Wolfe

Aboriginal sources and Aboriginal sovereignty – Joanna Cruickshank

Pulling together the threads – Mark Brett

 

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On the weekend of 24-25 September Whitley College hosted a conference called Constitutions and Treaties: Law, Justice, Spirituality – these are notes from session 2 of 9. We acknowledge that this gathering, listening and learning occurred of the land of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nations and offer our respects to their elders past and present, and all visiting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island visitors present.

 

Overview

  • connections and alliances in the 1800s
  • implications of Te Tiriti (The Treaty) today
  • the need for constitutional change
  • the role of Pakeha as allies

 

Waitangi Tribunal Northland Enquiry Part 1, Te Paparahi o Te Raki: “Māori did not cede sovereignty to the British Crown in 1840…”

1826 – Ships built at the Te Horeke shipyard,  1830 sailed to Sydney and seized because they had no flag… Māori start seeking symbols of sovereignty…

1831 – Māori petition sent from Nga Puhi to King William IV.

1833 – Busby responds with “friendship and alliance” between Nu Tireni and Great Britain.

1826 – Ships built at the Te Horeke shipyard,  1830 sailed to Sydney and seized because they had no flag… Māori start seeking symbols of sovereignty…

1835 – Declaration of Independence and get a flag.

1836 – King formally acknowledges this.

1837 – Captain Hobson arrives, sent by Lord Normanby to acquire sovereignty.

Most Māori signed the Māori version of the Te Tiriti (500+), around 40 signed the English version. Where a treaty is created with indigenous peoples and is later in contention:

  • decision is made against the drafter
  • preference is given to the indigenous version

The Treaty sets out that:

  1. The Queen looks after Britons
  2. Māori look after Māori
  3. Māori have equal citizen rights with British

verbally – assurance of religious freedom was included.

There were wars through 1850s, 1860s and 1870s – New Zealand had the highest British military presence in the world at that time.

Need for constitutional changes:

ONGOING BREACHES Crown is recidivist – inherent in the systemic power of the institution.

There are 7 designated Māori seats in the NZ Parliament. This recognises the self-sovereignty of Māori as set out in Te Tiriti as providing for equal governance (rather than a minority preferencing which would assume e.g. Pacific Island people should have seats also). The number of seats is determined by the number of voters on the Māori Electoral roll.

Provision is made for a similar determination at a local government level – only two of 78 local authorities are/have set up Māori constituencies/wards.  Mayor Andrew Judd of New Plymouth lost his seat over advocating on this issue.

Anglican Church in New Zealand provides a model of three tikanga (systems of governance) – Māori, Pākehāand Pasifika – sharing equal authority but working in partnership. Each group meets in their own “house” then in the treaty house and make decisions by consensus.

There is a Kingitanga movement and also an Independent Constitutional Transformation Working Group – Matike Mai Aotearoa.

Need the ways of being yourself ‘self-determination’ – elections, processes, representation and also mutual spaces to meet and decide things together.

 

 

 

 

 

On the weekend of 24-25 September Whitley College hosted a conference called Constitutions and Treaties: Law, Justice, Spirituality – these are notes from session 4 of 9. We acknowledge that this gathering, listening and learning occurred of the land of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nations and offer our respects to their elders past and present, and all visiting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island visitors present.

Knowledge puffs up (self), love builds up (others) – Ray’s Dad… and 1 Cor 8:1

What do we know we know? What do we know we don’t know?

 

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On the weekend of 24-25 September Whitley College hosted a conference called Constitutions and Treaties: Law, Justice, Spirituality – these are notes from session 5 of 9. We acknowledge that this gathering, listening and learning occurred of the land of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nations and offer our respects to their elders past and present, and all visiting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island visitors present.

 

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Need to recognise culture AND faith.  Deal was made with me and with the land.  Parity not vassal treaty. Joshua violated the treaty.

What if churches dared to take the lead and make an apology – a sacred apology?

Primal is the one we share. Abraham recognised the Creator Spirit… El Elyon – Maker of Sea and Sky. Abraham made a treaty with the indigenous people of Canaan.

 

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Doing the BCM Restorative Justice unit, here’s a link to one of the articles.

“This theology of radical inclusion was disconcerting to both Jewish ethnocentrism and Hellenistic ideologies of superiority.  In Greco-Roman antiquity the cultural, economic and political enmity between Jew and Gentile was profound. These two communities were institutionally and historically alienated—not unlike the modern legacy of racial apartheid or the protracted struggle between Israelis and Palestinians or Protestant Loyalists and Catholic Republicans in Northern Ireland. But Paul refused to abide by the social divisions around him, instead trying to build bridges called churches.”

So here I sit with:

  • who is reconciliation to be accomplished by?
  • what do we refuse to abide by?
  • who/where are the bridge builders? (or alternative societies being modelled)?
  • what are we called to be fools for?

Making Space

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Christop Booth sharing a workshop on making a cup of tea -“at the Indigenous Hospitality House we’ve found that sharing tea can help to make space for the stranger and can be an opportunity for reconciliation”.

Make a cup of tea…

What are your associations?

What do we know about its origins and history?

When we reflect on any every day activity, we might consider…

  • how do we want to change the world?
  • how does this activity connect me to people/world/environment/others we will never meet
  • how might I bring sacred/imbue meaning to the activity

 

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Facilitated by Mehrin Almassi from the Indigenous Hospitality House, in this bible study series we will seek to make connections between the story of the nation of Israel told in Lamentations and our own national story. We will look to see whether this book may help us to address our shared histories of displacement and endeavour to distill how we might move forward as a nation in light of the biblical example.

Connection to Place

What role does a sense of place play for each of us?
What is our connection to the environment?
What is our relationship with the land?

Are there any natural places which hold significance for you? If so, how do those places make you feel?
What happens to us when we are in a place which is significant to us?
What happens when we are unable to be in places which are significant to us?

Read Lamentations 2.

What can we understand of the Israelites’ connection to place through this narrative?
How connected do they seem to their places of significance?
what impact does not being able to access their important places have on them?

Listen to Kev Carmody’s song  This Land Is Mine.

How might the biblical account help us to appreciate the experiences of the First Peoples of this land?
In what ways might we help promote reconnection with land/place/environment for indigenous peoples? For ourselves?
How might this reconnection relate to indigenous people’s experience of God? How might it relate to our experience of God?

 

Yesterday I attended the book launch of “The Jihad of Jesus” by Dave Andrews… that’s a title that’ll get your attention…

I feel it takes a little explanation so I’m going to take the liberty of including Dave’s Preface here so that he is introducing the material in his own words…

“I do not write this an an expert. I am not.

I do not write this as a specialist. I am not.

I simply write this as a Christian, in conversation with Muslim friends, seeking to find a way we can struggle for love and justice that is true to the best of our traditions.

I am writing this for Christians who are concerned about the way Jesus has been (mis)represented by well-known crusading combative pastors, like Mark Driscoll.

I am writing this for Muslims who are concerned about the way jihad has been (mis)represented by well known militant extremist preachers, like Abubakar Shekau.

And I am writing this for people who subscribe to neither religion, but watch with horror, as Christians and Muslims slaughter one another in the name of God.

For many people jihad and Jesus are totally contradictory, mutually exclusive options.  You must choose the one or the other.  You cannot have both.  Given our present situation, Muslims would tend to choose jihad, Christians would tend to choose Jesus.

But it is my contention that – rightly understood -you can’t have one without the other.  in spite of the fact this may seem heresy to Muslims and/or Christians, I contend you cannot rightly pursue jihad without Jesus, or rightly pursue Jesus without jihad.

Reza Aslan’s book Zealot sets forth the case that Jesus was not simply a pious spiritual teacher, but actually a radical messianic activist. Of this there is no doubt.  Both Muslims and Christians believe Jesus was the Masih or the Messiah.  The debate is about what his radical messianic activism meant in the context of his time and what his radical messianic activism means in the context of the violence and counter-violence in our time.

If, as some would argue, Reza Aslan is right, Jesus could be a model for violent jihad.  But if, as I argue, Ahmad Shawqi is right, Jesus would be a model of nonviolent jihad: as

Kindness, chivalry an humilty were born on the day Jesus was born.  No threat, no tyranny, no revenge, no sword, no raids, no bloodshed did he use to call to the new faith.

The Jihad of Jesus is the sacred nonviolent struggle for justice.”

Dave Andrews, Bribane 2015

http://www.jihadofjesus.com

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Nora (short, coloured, Muslim, woman) speaks first which is an important signal I think – the medium is the message.  She and her family build their home in a new development and meet with the neighbours regarding fence options and collectively decide not to have them but have the children stay, play, eat together… different religions, different cultures… five months later 9/11 happened.  She said “The fences will go up now” and they didn’t. Not until many years later when the family was to move.  They were known and, known, they were accepted.  Muslims make up 2.2% of the population in Australia (2011 census) – not likely to meet one but the culture of fear is being fed.  Nora felt called to speak out but Christians wouldn’t listen – “You won’t be accepted if you don’t remove your scarf”, serving her pork and giving her copies of the bible… someone suggested she meet Dave and she didn’t want to, this books captures 7+ years of the shared conversations that followed.

Dave (yes… tall, white, Christian, male) speaks second.  We believe in the same Abrahamic God- need to start where we agree and then explore other areas.  When 9/11 happened, Dave went to his local mosque and said “I’m sorry, they’re going to try and make it them and us (set us against each other) may I come in and join you in prayer as an act of solidarity?”

He gave Nora a copy of this books manuscript and has included her comments in footnotes where she has disagreed with him – minority/dissenting voice included.

Steps forward:

(Buy and read this book I reckon’!)

  • talk about it
  • live it out yourself
  • tell stories
  • invite others in
  • celebrate the wins