Our national shame

The gap between the health of Indigenous Australians and the rest of our population is a scandal.

It’s great to see that the government has started to take the welfare of Indigenous Australians seriously but a lot more needs to be done.

Oxfam Australia is making a difference through their Close the Gap campaign.

It’s hard to believe but impossible to deny that Indigenous Australians live nearly 20 years less than other Australians. In 21st century Australia this is plainly unacceptable.

While most women in Australia can expect to live to an average age of 82 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women can expect to live to only 64.8 years. The situation is even worse for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men whose life expectancy is only 59.4 years.

We should not accept that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders end up in hospitals at twice the rate of other Australians. Nor is it fair that while most Australians can look forward to long healthy lives with access to some of the best healthcare facilities in the world, Indigenous Australians can expect to die at much higher rates of heart disease, cancer, and kidney failure, to name a few diseases.

It’s sad but true that Indigenous Australians have not shared in the health gains enjoyed by other Australians over the last twenty years. Yet it is inconceivable that a country as wealthy as Australia cannot solve a health crisis affecting less then three per cent of its population.

If you’d like to see a change you can visit the Close the Gap website and discover a lot more information with a range of ways to get involved in making a difference.

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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Father Bob and The Chaser

Father Bob has written a brilliant post called The Chaser Treatment, likening the early church to The Chaser team.

He talks about challenging institutions and calling them to account. He reckons that’s what The Chaser boys do and that’s what New Testament Christianity was about. He likens the guys to the early prophets.

Christians were countercultural. Not that we were looking for trouble. It just had the knack of finding us. We were the unlucky grist for the political will. We were rounded up regularly as the โ€œusual suspectsโ€.

But, the Roman politicians fell in love with us, because we could read and write and administer (we learned all that in the ghetto) and invited us to run the Roman public service, to be the clerks/clerics, the public service.

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. We fell for that trick. Now we needed reminding of who we were meant to be, the servants of all, not what we had become, the servant of the Roman government.

Can I encourage you to read Bob’s post and think through the points he raises?

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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When bins go bad

It might be Spring here in Perth but we had some quite wet and windy conditions yesterday. As I was cycling to work this morning I noticed a fence had come down in a local street.

Squally winds like that cause all kinds of objects to act out of character.

I was looking out of the window while I was at work yesterday and spotted a couple of bins next door. They were beside each other, next to the curb at the edge of the footpath.

Suddenly the yellow lidded bin moved backwards about half a metre, turned slightly, then rushed forwards, knocking the green lidded bin over into the street. The yellow lidded bin was still upright on the curbside. It looked very premeditated and vindictive.

I really wish I was videoing the incident. I know that it was just the wind pushing things around but it was very funny to watch. Though I must admit that there’s no way Iโ€™m going to trust that yellow lidded bin ever again.

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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Show me the money

Does God want you to be rich? Is the kind of prosperity that Jesus promises in the Bible all about financial wealth?

Prosperity gospel is sweeping the world with many people claiming that financial wealth is an important indicator of God’s blessing.

Where does this gospel come from? Were Jesus and his disciples rich as many prosperity gospel followers claim? Are we being unfaithful to God’s call on our lives if we don’t have everything we desire in this world?

My regular Wednesday morning guest on 98.5 Sonshine FM is Ross Clifford who is the Principal of Morling College in New South Wales and current President of the Baptist Union of Australia. Each week we chat about a range of issues relating to spirituality and belief.

Today we talked about prosperity gospel and the way that it is not only sweeping through prosperous western countries but poor nations throughout Africa. Did you know that some prosperity gospel televangelists are taking more money out of poor regions in Africa than they are putting back in to care for the starving?

What is God’s call on our lives? Should we be amassing personal wealth? Should we be serving others with the rich blessings God gives us?

You can listen to our conversation through the media player below.



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Schizophrenia

We might hear the term schizophrenia relatively often but do we really know what it’s all about?
Is it a disease or a personality disorder? How many people suffer from schizophrenia? What are the symptoms that indicate schizophrenia? Are there certain ‘triggers’ that can cause the development of schizophrenia?

One of my regular radio guests, Psychologist/Counsellor Genevieve Milnes M.App.Psych, MA (Couns), B.Ed, B.Div, from the Belmont Counselling Clinic, joined me again today during my morning programme on 98.5 Sonshine FM.

We started a discussion on schizophrenia today. We’ll be looking at the subject over the next few weeks as we move towards discussing treatment methods and the steps that people need to take to regain their mental health. We’ll also look at what to do if you know someone with schizophrenia and what you can do to help.

If you’d like to hear the first part of our series you can click on the media player below.



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