School Chaplains get the thumbs up

school.jpgAustralia’s first ever national research findings on chaplaincy in Australian government schools have just been released and the results are very positive.

According to the 688 principals who participated in the national study, chaplains in their government schools were helping to build the sense of community in the school , support the school ethos and were assisting the integration of those who were considered potentially ‘at risk’ students.

A couple of days ago on my morning radio programme I spoke to Fiona Pitkin, Head of Chaplaincy Services for YouthCare in Western Australia. Fiona explained more about the work of chaplains in Australian schools.

You can hear what she had to say by clicking the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

Did you have a chaplain at your school? What do you think of the idea of having chaplains in governemnt schools? Have you seen the beenfits of chaplains in your life or in the life of your children? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment in the comments section of this post.


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John Piper and Television

piper.jpgJohn Piper seems to be beating himself up about an answer he gave at Advance ’09. While I don’t see the problem, I’m glad he decided to explain his position more clearly.

His post, Why I Don’t Have a Television and Rarely Go to Movies, is a thoughtful explanation of why he is very cautious of trivial entertainment for entertainment’s sake. He tackles the issue I touched on in my recent post, Get Naked for Success. He talks about preachers trying to remain relevant by immersing themselves in popular culture through the latest movies.

There are, perhaps, a few extraordinary men who can watch action-packed, suspenseful, sexually explicit films and come away more godly. But there are not many. And I am certainly not one of them.

I’d have to say that I’m not one of them either.

I love Piper’s explanation of why nudity in films is not acceptable.

I have a high tolerance for violence, high tolerance for bad language, and zero tolerance for nudity. There is a reason for these differences. The violence is make-believe. They don’t really mean those bad words. But that lady is really naked, and I am really watching. And somewhere she has a brokenhearted father.

I’ll put it bluntly. The only nude female body a guy should ever lay his eyes on is his wife’s. The few exceptions include doctors, morticians, and fathers changing diapers. “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1). What the eyes see really matters. “Everyone who looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Better to gouge your eye than go to hell (verse 29).

Whether we like to admit it or not, John Piper is right.

It’s not just sex and nudity in flims and on TV that bother Piper.

But leave sex aside (as if that were possible for fifteen minutes on TV). It’s the unremitting triviality that makes television so deadly. What we desperately need is help to enlarge our capacities to be moved by the immeasurable glories of Christ. Television takes us almost constantly in the opposite direction, lowering, shrinking, and deadening our capacities for worshiping Christ.

Even if you’re not a Christian, you’d have to admit that a lot of television tends to glorify the trivial and that can’t be good for any of us who want to enlarge our vision of the world and what we’re capable of achieving with the precious life we’ve been given.

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A million reasons to smile

compassion.gifSomething amazing happened last month. Something that proves that the problem is not too big to be tackled.

Compassion is currently serving over one million sponsored children. Over a million children now have hope for a better future. When you put the current million together with all those who have been through Compassion programmes over the past 57 years, you’re talking about a significant effort in changing the world one child at a time.

The one-millionth child, Fellow Blewussi Kpodo, is 8 years old and lives in Togo with his father, two older sisters and one younger brother.

Fellow’s sponsor is one than the world’s strongest women, Jang Mi-Ran, a long time Compassion supporter and Olympic gold medalist weight lifter from Korea.

You can find out more about the millionth sposorship at the Compassion Blog.

Last week on my morning radio programme I talked to DJ Konz from Compassion Australia about the milestone. You can hear the interview by clicking the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

We talked about the fact that the sponsor of the millionth Compassion child is from South Korea, the country where Compassion began its work. That country has seen such significant change over the last 57 years that people there are now able to help others.

The fact that the child being sponsored is from Togo is also significant. Togo is the most recent country to join the growing list of nations where Compassion works.

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Mad Church Disease

mad_church_disease.jpgHow is it that a place that is supposed to be safe, a place that brings healing, can cause so much pain for so many?

Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic by Anne Jackson seeks to not only answer that question but to deliver the healing that can be lacking from many churches.

My short review is simply ‘buy this book’ but I suppose I should say a little more than that.

I was thrilled when I got my copy of Mad Church Disease in the mail a few weeks back. I’d read so much about the book at Anne’s blog and finally I could find out for myself whether it would live up to all the ‘hype’. After spending some time over my recent holiday reading the book my answer is an emphatic YES!

Mad Church Disease is aimed at those who work in churches, not just pastors, but all those involved in church work as a paid employee or volunteer worker, however, I would suggest that the target audience is too small. This isn’t just a book for those working in a church but for anyone who works or has worked in any kind of ministry position. It may help you understand what you’ve been through or what you’re currently experiencing. Even better, it’ll help you to move on and become healthier spiritually, physically and relationally.

I’d also suggest that it’s a book that shouldn’t only be read by those who feel that circumstances are getting on top of them but by all those who work in a church or ministry. If you’re battling burnout or you want to be aware of the early warning signs of burnout before they get the chance do some serious damage, read this book and make sure you sit down with a pen and paper for the evaluation sections at the end of each chapter.

Mad Church Disease isn’t a ‘heavy read’ and you should be able to read through it fairly quickly. However, if you want the full benefit of reading the book, you’ll need to take your time over each chapter to absorb what Anne has written and more importantly to answer the sometimes tough questions she asks. It’s also helpful to read the short interviews that Anne carried out with various pastors and church workers. The interviews help to provide clear examples of what the book is all about and to add extra, often well known, voices to the actions that Anne suggests will help in conquering Mad Church Disease.

One of the themes that Anne returns to a number of times is the act of owning up to the part we’ve played in bringing us to where we are today. We can’t allow ourselves to only lay blame at the feet of others who have hurt us. If we’re totally honest we know that we need to confess our part in the madness before we can move on.

I’ll admit that some of the behind the scenes savagery Anne reveals from some churches boggled my mind. How can people treat one another like that? Though from what she has to say in the book, the kind of issues she highlights won’t come as any surprise to many readers.

Why does it seem as though when another believer hurts us, the pain we experience is exponentially greater than if we are hurt by someone who doesn’t share the same faith?

I wish I had the answer to that question, but I don’t. All I know is that it’s true, and the pain can be paralyzing. – Anne Jackson – Mad Church Disease

You’ll find the clear message that comes through the book is it doesn’t have to be like this. You can work in Christian ministry and not only survive but thrive. You can fulfil the calling that God has put on your life and stay healthy.

I’m glad to say that I’m not exhibiting any of the symptoms of Mad Church Disease but I still found the book valuable in calling me back to a greater focus on the place of faith, spirituality and God in my life. Jesus is wanting to draw closer to me. I need reminders like the ones in Mad Church Disease that I need to draw closer to him and to rely on his strength if I’m to avoid the traps that have tripped up so many.

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Christian Carnival 274

christian_carnival_lion.jpgThe carnival is back in town and we’ve had another great response this week. It’s always wonderful to see some first timers joining the carnival as well as some of the regulars at their thought provoking best.

The weekly Christian Carnival is an opportunity for Christian blog writers to share their best posts from the previous week. The topic of the post doesn’t necessarily have to focus on Christianity but it must reflect a Christian worldview, and the writer must be Christian to qualify.

As always it’s a real honour to be able to present such a diverse range of great posts.

Please take the time to read through each post … it’s worth it. You might also like to link to this week’s carnival so that your blog readers can enjoy the variety of styles and thought.

andriel was first in this week posting A Coming One-World Religious System over at

Annette at Fish and Cans presents a post titled True Woman – a lasting kindness.

Have you wondered about how God does and doesn’t use money? Read what FMF has to say in the post How God Uses and Doesn’t Use Money posted at Free Money Finance.

Yvette Nietzen posted about Having a ready mind at her blog Fresh Wind Ministries.

What’s on at the movies? Shot presents Conservative Movie Reviews | at

Head over to at Fathom Deep: Sounding the Depths of God to read Tiffany Partin‘s post Ladybug and the Great Doodlebug Relocation Project.

According to the Parable of the Talents, we have a responsibility to wisely use the money with which we have been entrusted. With that in mind, ChristianPF asks a tough question. Are you a good steward of God’s money? That post is at Money in the Bible | Christian Personal Finance Blog.

april rose presents like a scarlet letter posted at little april rose.

Dave Quinn wants to article is to encourage Christians with the surety that we carry the same story and power that Peter and John displayed in Acts 4. We carry the story and the power is a powerful read at The PASSION Blog.

Gabe Lopez has written Potential Essentials and posted it at

“I think Solzhenitsyn’s editors have read him carelessly, and have convicted him of a superficial and satanic defense of war and government that he was mocking in the mouth of one of his characters, an Orthodox priest.” That’s what David Gross has to say in his post, Reading Solzhenitsyn at The Picket Line.

Martin Roth presents an exclusive interview with a prominent online Christian dating service that is completely free. – interview with Christian Counseling Services is posted at Christian Counseling Services.

Ken Brown has been, “Thinking about my “terrible two” year old daughter, Jesus’ parables, and justice.” Find out how it all fits together at A Gracious Father or an Unjust Judge? posted at C. Orthodoxy.

Diane R presents a very short post on what Jesus would really do if He walked the earth today asking, What Would Jesus Really Do? over at Crossroads: Where Faith and Inquiry Meet.
Barry Wallace’s pastor’s wife participated in a panel interview on the topic of infertility and adoption. Barry has written Adoption and Infertility: An interview with my pastor’s wife posted at who am i?.

Richard H. Anderson presents The Word of God in Song posted at dokeo kago grapho soi kratistos Theophilos. Richard is wondering if Luther was the first person to use music as a teaching device for religious instruction and/or the first person to use music as a teaching device for any purpose. Richard would appreciate your knowledge or thoughts on the matter.

A Sower presents Anticipation posted at A Sower’s Heart, asking, “Are we like children?”

Shannon Christman has written a post that is not specifically about Christianity, but which raises some questions that Christians should consider in A Child’s Best Friends: The Wonderpets? at The Minority Thinker.

How should we think about parenting responsibilities in terms of the principles that underlie the biblical Sabbath? Jeremy Pierce asks the question and provides some guidance in Parental Responsibilities and the Sabbath posted at Parableman.

At Light Along the Journey John has penned a parable about disappointment, acceptance, & walking with God in his post A Road Trip With Jesus.
michelle presents Joel 2:25-26 posted at Thoughts and Confessions of a Girl Who Loves Jesus….

And finally, Rey presents You Believe That ‘Cause… posted at The Bible Archive, saying the post goes over the genetic fallacy and offering some examples of how it’s been used.

If you’re a Christian and you missed out this week, how about choosing something to contribute for next week’s edition? It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, just a post that outlines your point of view or is designed to get others thinking. Being part of the carnival could be a great way to gain a little extra traffic at your blog.

The easiest way to get involved is to submit your article through the Blog Carnival Submission Form. Otherwise, you can email the submission address.

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to spread the word.

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