Letters to the editor – May 2018

Too big a gamble

Recently some AFL football clubs announced they were reconsidering their acceptance of income from pokies. Perhaps our church could do the same.

The Community Support Fund (CSF) was established to distribute part of the Victorian government’s gaming revenue ‘to projects that benefit communities’. From 2015-17, Uniting (Care) agencies received over $5.7m from the CSF for the provision of alcohol and other drug-related services!

The value of these services is not questioned. However, there is an ethical question about their source of funding.

Our synod, particularly through the former JIM unit, has advocated consistently for harm reduction from gambling, and is to be commended for doing so. However, the credibility of such advocacy is compromised when the service arm of the same church accepts money derived wholly, and explicitly, from gambling.

At present such agencies are adhering to a 2005 Synod resolution. The time has come for us to revisit that resolution – to set a date from which the Uniting Church, and its agencies (and schools) no longer accept funds from the CSF.

The 2005 Synod resolution may need to be rescinded and replaced. This would need to be managed carefully, so that, if possible, the continuation of the relevant services could be negotiated. At the same time, our church ought to advocate for meaningful tax reform, so that services for the common good are appropriately resourced from the common purse.

I believe others agree that our church could do more to challenge the destructive social impact of gambling. If there is someone who is likely to be attending the 2019 Synod, and who would be willing to collaborate on an alternative Synod resolution, please contact me within the next couple of weeks on

maxwelln1@outlook.com.

Looking on the bright side, we do have time.

Yours in Christ,

Max Wright
Parkdale, VIC

 

Called to sacrifice

I go along with the letter in the February Crosslight by Alan Ray, “Property and Progress”, and have ordered Rev Dr Michael Owen’s book Property and Progress of a Pilgrim People. I feel he may clarify my thoughts.

It seems that after many years of good pastoral care and oversight, good programs, activities, meeting after meeting, paperwork etc, there is no continuing  growth, where people  have a personal relationship with Jesus. New folk are not coming, even from other churches, and questions are being asked.

We seem to be busy with meetings,  paperwork, executive moves programs etc and forget Who and What it is about ( John 11.25-26 Col 2.9), a personal  relationship with an eternal consequence.

Money and managerialism are not the answer.

This is my suggestion… let’s forget about the continuation of struggling parishes.

We don’t have to have a nervous breakdown if a church closes. Instead let’s do the social gospel that the Uniting Church boasts of. Just think what thousands of dollars could do in dirt-poor Nicaragua (Bible Society project).

We have this treasure, (John11 25.26, Col 2.9) and we can sacrifice the continuance of our loved denominational church, and help with thousands of dollars towards great causes.

Instead of meetings, why not talk about how our money can help those without homes in Launceston?

I personally would not feel overstressed to fit into another fellowship (if my own church closed), so some folk in Africa or Nicaragua could have more help and care.

One may have to give up what may feel comfortable over many years, but maybe it’s an answer to sacrifice our comfort.

Jane Harris
South Launceston, TAS

 

Not a joke

Generally I enjoy the ABC comedy show Mad as Hell. But it occasionally uses blasphemy such as on 7 March and 11 April this year.

If Mad as Hell or any comedy show or act cut out blaspheming, such as using Jesus Christ as a swear word, it would be just as funny but not offend Christians.

Blaspheming in this or any show helps make this seem more acceptable in daily discourse. This contributes to developing a less sensitive society, which does not respect all people.

I’ve complained (politely) to the ABC several times but they responded saying this was considered acceptable public behaviour. I’ve written to The Age saying that blasphemous language offending any faith should not be used, but they haven’t considered it important enough to publish. However, if many people such as readers of this newspaper wrote to the ABC and newspapers saying that they found blasphemy offensive it might make an impact.

Marguerite Marshall
Eltham, VIC

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