Tag Archive: voice


Salam Fest 2019 Artist Panel: Hanifa Deen award winning author, visual artist Ms Saffaa and Asia Hassan, creative director of ASIYAM clothing.

“A quality you forget about migrants is that you need a heart big enough to love two countries… you cannot choose between two children. We should want people to come here with hearts this big.”

Hanfia Deen

“In 2016, an image I had drawn went viral: I am my own guardian.
I didn’t want it to… I’m an accidental activist.”

Ms Saffaa

“I was visiting a detention centre, it was over Christmas and they had a Santa come in to give out presents as a human gesture. The Santa was calling out children’s numbers not their names and someone said to him, “Use their names” and he replied, “I don’t know them”.

Hanifa Deen

“There are three different kinds of Muslims who live in Australia and research indicates you can roughly break them into these kinds of categories: about a third are orthodox and they pray 5 times daily, another 1/3 fast during Ramadan and go to the mosque occasionally and another third are what we would call Muslims of the heart.”

Hanifa Deen

“I think it’s important to dispel myths about Muslim women.
Just the way that I exist asserts a different way of being Muslim.
There are 1.6 billion ways.”

Ms Safaa

“I started my own fashion label because when I was growing up I felt like my clothing bought me no joy and no particular effort went into making it, so I made my own. A learning was realising that my product is not going to appeal to everyone and it never will. It’s only really for those Muslim woman who dress like I do.”

Asia Hassan

“Muslims are not used to being a minority population
they aren’t in the country that they come from.”

Hanifa Deen

“Identity is not a singular thing but made up of many parts I’m Muslim, Australian, and a woman. We must accept people as individuals.”

Asia Hassan

“Asked where come from, sometimes I play a game with people and tell them “I’m from the desert, guess which one” and they start guessing the names of different countries and I say, “Further south, further… eventually I tell them I grew up near Kalgoorlie.”

 Hanifa Deen

“I know that “I’m a gift to the Earth.”
I’m confident and happy in the room…
I bring my positivity with me and
can share it with others.”

Asia Hassan

“It’s not my job to educate or make people better.
I exist comfortably within myself and
exude goodness in the world.”

Ms Safaa

Any advice?

“Know why and who you are before you go into battle.
Have empathy for others and move on.
Be true to yourself.”

Asia Hassan

“Don’t take permission from anyone.”

Ms Safaa

“Make alliances… you are not alone.”

Hanifa Deen

Indigenous Land Struggle

MASIL land struggle

‘To those who say, “But I didn’t take your land” I reply, “Are we going to be honorable ancestors?”‘

MASIL is a historic exchange between Indigenous Mapuche activists in Chile/Argentina and Aboriginal activists in Australia.

The goals of the MASIL Project are:

  • To establish face to face contact and dialogue and build links between Indigenous communities protecting their lands.
  • To document all the work that is carried out and
  • To produce a documentary of approximately 60 minutes duration, for distribution in Australia and internationally.

 

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The Children’s March is organised by a group of parents, children, artists and activists working together for a better future for refugees and asylum seekers. It will be at 11am Sunday October 21 and will begin at Birrarung Marr (by the river, behind Federation Square), Melbourne Australia.

The Children’s March for Children on Nauru is an all ages, family friendly protest to say to our government – enough! It will be a peaceful, safe and inclusive event to bring children and young people together to call for the release of the almost a hundred children still left in indefinite detention on Nauru.

 

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that that all children have the right to live a full life. We call on the Australian government to end mandatory detention and offshore processing of all refugees and asylum seekers.

Solidarity is extended to all communities that are persecuted because of where they come from or the colour of their skin. We acknowledge the founding racism that connects Indigenous incarceration and the incarceration of refugees.

 

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dare to
Oh why, then oh why can’t I?

 

Highlights from the Institute for Spiritual Studies Spring Symposium  – 22 September 2018 at St Peter’s, Eastern Hill.

 

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice”

– Martin Luther King Jr, Letter from a Birmingham Jail

 

Rod Bower Institute for Spiritual Studies 2018

The church is seen as in collusion with the state to uphold ‘order’, but order cannot triumph over justice.
– Rod Bower

 

Robin Whittaker Institute for Spiritual Studies 2018

Coptic Christians in Egypt prevented from practicing their faith, being caught with a bible in North Korea and being sent to a work camp… these Christians are being persecuted. In Australia, Christians are not being persecuted. In fact, those identifying as LGBTIQ+ experience more violence and more harm for their beliefs, noting of course that those are not discrete groups. Some of those who spoke up within conservative Christian organisations did lose their jobs during the plebiscite. The persecution for beliefs was occurring within the Church.

– Robin Whittaker

 

We have freedom of belief and manifest those beliefs as actions. Our actions might conflict with someone else’s.  It comes down to our idea of God.  Or that question: “What would Jesus do?” God offers us relational freedom.  We are each of us free to choose God or not. If we choose yes, that belief is relational. Our belief requires a relationship with God but also with and between other people. Whether they believe what you do or not. The same freedom offered to us, freedom from power and sin and death, we should offer to others. It’s freedom for justice and for all humanity.

– Robin Whittaker

 

God is revealed at the point we give up our power and give up our position.  We should care more about that…  align with the powerless.

– Robin Whittaker

 

PANEL Q&A: Christianity in the Public Sphere

Q&A panel Institute for Spiritual Studies 2018

We carry the Christian message in how we think. It doesn’t need to be explicitly “Christian” eg. instead of using the term ‘good stewardship’ you might say ‘responsible use of resources’… same thing, different language.

– Stephen Duckett

 

Any metric needs the context of the values you are trying to promote. Christians in the public domain need to argue ALWAYS that economics is not the only metric that should be used as measure.

– Stephen Duckett

 

All theology is political e.g. gender… Our theology will inform down the line… ethics, values, school curriculum.  Our theology has to be right and we have to be able to critique and correct what it means.

– Robin Whittaker

 

Question: I assume the panel share values. But what about Christianity’s values on asylum seekers, LGBTIQ+… Christians are finding ourselves on opposite sides. Yet asking for privilege on the basis of Christian faith… but don’t we hold fundamental Christian truths in common?

What are the first order theological claims?
Perhaps the Trinity, Jesus… second-order… transfiguration.
Christians have always been on opposite sides.
Conservative voices speak loudest.
Things not first-order have been made first order…
a test case for whether you’re a Christian…
goes back to Paul on circumcision,
a battle for the heart of Christianity.

– Robin Whittaker

There are some issues where those of us on the panel probably believe differently. Identity politics and virtue signalling happen on both sides of every debate. we need to be able to handle difference and have conversations about them, not make a shibboleth out of them, make them tribal distinctions.  Tone and posture are critical for engagement to be possible.

– Gordon Preece

 

Question: The church seem to speak when they should shut up and are silent when they should speak up… why is the institutional church self-marginalising in society and against the will of God?

It’s that dance between order and justice and how these things dance with one another.  I’d like to be where the UCA got. To live and stay together as loving and gracious human beings. I hope Anglicans could get to that point. It models to the world hope that we can live together as people who can disagree.

– Rod Bower

 

 

Reaching for Mercy Greenbelt 2018 Proost Talitha Fraser

“Here is poetry arising from the beautiful souls of poets you have passed on the street, never knowing they carried words that must be spoken… the poems are at times angry howls of protest or cries of lament, at other times they are saturated with hope.”

What makes a poem spiritual/Christian and therefore worthy of inclusion in this anthology? This is not an easy question to answer, at least in part because poetic spirituality is not a familiar part of our dominant religious culture. I have found it helpful to read the poetry written by the Sufi poets- Attar, Rumi, Sanai etc. They write poems that are not about instruction or impartation of theological truth (although they might achieve both) neither are they always about ‘God’ at all- rather they are written by people seeking truth, beauty and honesty. Sometimes they tip over into mysticism, as if what they are writing has gone beyond even their own understanding. Poetry like this creates open spaces for our spirituality to adventure; we feel it as much as we understand it…we just ‘know’ it when we read it. The poem soars inside us.

…So here we are. The starting page of a new book. A book full of people reaching for mercy.

Chris Goan

It has been a privilege over the past year to work with Chris Goan the curator of Proosts’ Poetry Collection Vol. 2 “Reaching for Mercy” and to travel to the UK for it’s launch at the Greenbelt Festival. Chris has a way of seeing people and holding space for how they see the world that’s captured and collated in this lovely collection by 8 editors and over a 100 contributors from all over the world… it’s not just “pretty” poetry, it’s protest too. Across all the themes: truth, wild, resisting, lament, hope, post truth, everyone is welcome, whole… there is a poignant paradox of sure hope and disbelieving grief in responding to the way the world is.  I think this collection speaks to our times. I hope it speaks to you.

 

Our model at events is to read one of our own poems and one by another contributor as a way of bringing that broader community of beautiful ordinary souls together. These are the pieces I read at Greenbelt…

God, did you see the news today?

God, did you see the news today?
We’re killing one another.
We’re killing in places killing has gone on so long we don’t know how to stop…
We’re killing next door.
We’re killing one another.

God, did you see the news today?
We’re laying waste to the world
to consume, consume, consume
an appetite “stuff” cannot sate.
Our elders know. Our elders tell us.
We ignore their wisdom.

God, did you see the news today?
People are saying hateful, hurtful things
what is right, what is wrong
what is holy, what is profane
…as if we know. As if we could know.

God, did you see the news today?
Were you there when we turned the boats away?
We are denying people food, electricity, sanitation, shelter, medical care…
We are denying people their basic human rights.

People are grieved and weary.
Longing for a world that is different
but not knowing where to start.
Not knowing how to start.
All victims, variously blind.

I’m not pointing fingers, I’m raising my hand.
I need Your help. We need Your help.

Amen.

 

And I was also very proud to read this piece written by my sister Abby. It felt significant to feel like I was representing some voice of Australia and New Zealand all the way around the world. It includes language and it includes my family. It speaks to home, belonging and identity… thanks for your work and words Mana Wahine… x

 

My Truth belongs to me
Abby Wendy

My Truth belongs to me. I will hold it tight, hold it close.
I will bury it deep.
My truth is a tūrangawaewae for the roots of my heart.
I will water it.
My truth is a nesting place for my wairua.

My truth is reflected in ten thousand random moments.
I am shining like the sun in the secret power of my own unique truth.

My truth requires no scientific proof – I believe it.
My truth requires no majority support – I believe it.

If I whisper my truth in your ear, will you stand with me? Would you trample the roots of my heart, buried deep, in my sacred place of belonging? Where will my spirit rest, if my truth becomes ash?

I will hold it tight, hold it close.
I will bury it deep.
My Truth belongs to me.

 



Copies of this book are available from Proost, if you know me it might be worth waiting as I’ll likely do a bulk order to Australia and you can get one from me directly if that’s easier… If you haven’t heard of it, Proost is a small publishing outlet aimed at gathering together resources from the creative edges of Church. Proost have lots of interesting stuff on their site – animations, songs, Easter and Advent resources, books… so have a look around while you’re there!

Who am I?

autumn leaves in sunshine

Who am I?
Who is anyone?
To know what feeds
Your soul-hungers
deepest need?
The monk reads
The sower seeds
The mother feeds
The workers deeds
The calling leads…

Follow the calling.

Talitha Fraser

 

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