If I could speak with Abby Stein

Abby Stein was born Yisroel Stein in New York City. She was a boy her first twenty years of her ultra-Orthodox Jewish life living among the Haredi community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She will be visiting Australia and speaking at the Jewish LGBT+ World Conference to be held in Sydney from 21-24 March next week. I would like to sit with her. I would like to hear more of her story. I would like to share with her some of my journey as well. If I could speak with her, here are some of the topics which might come up.

I like your perspective on tolerance and celebration. You are quoted in the Australian Jewish News (15 March 2019, page 11) "My motto over the past year has been about moving from tolerance to celebration... I think tolerance is great when it comes to dairy. Lactose intolerant, that's what tolerance is for. But tolerance is not for people; people you celebrate!" I've never liked using tolerance in how we relate to one another. Sometimes we tolerate misbehav…

Censorship (Michael Jackson, Amazon, Michael Brown, Professor Catherine Strong)

The documentary "Leaving Neverland" went live this week and the reaction online and in the radio stations went ballistic.  The ABC in Australia's comments are here. In this report, they cite the bias of the director/ producers in that none of the Jackson estate is represented. The report reminds us that one of the two accusers had a very different story to tell under oath not long ago. And the report shows the kickback of many of Jackson's faithful via social media. No surprise there.
Australian Damien Shields, the author of a book about Jackson's artistic process and a longtime fan who has come out against the documentary, said the MJ supporters felt motivated to protect the star's legacy.
"I've heard a lot of people say that the Michael Jackson fans are biased, and they don't see anything other than Michael is not guilty, and that they don't raise any points other than all the things that they believe exonerate him. And that's true,"…

Colleagues in ministry

Last month we conducted a colloquium, and this month began as many of our colleagues in ministry returned to their homes after a conference in which we participated in suburban Melbourne. At each, I was blessed to be part of something bigger, knowing full well that the work we conduct in the harvest fields of the Lord is but a sampler of so much of what He is doing to accomplish His plan. But at each of these gatherings, one for a single day, and the other over several days, I was challenged and informed of that once again.

The picture of the jigsaw puzzle reminds me, that is, it puts into my mind once again, that a part may well represent the whole, but it is NOT the entire whole. That one puzzle piece on the left when held in my hand is the representative. If I hold it up and have a look of curiosity on my face, you might think, "Bob needs to find his place" or "Bob is trying to finish something of a puzzle" or "Bob stole a puzzle piece off Larry's card…

Reviewing the situation

Ron Moody sang the retrospective, "Reviewing the Situation" in the movie of the Broadway show, "Oliver." He played Fagin, a British Charles Dickens character, a master thief, and mentor to the Artful Dodger and young Oliver Twist. There is no mention in the movie that Fagin is a Jew. That's a positive for us.

Last week the universities of Louisiana State (LSU) and Kentucky played a basketball game. For most of the world, it was irrelevant, but the two teams were both on a roll, and the clash lived up to all high expectations.

LSU, up by two points, fouled Kentucky’s Keldon Johnson with six seconds left in the game. Johnson, who was 3-of-7 from the foul line up to that point, calmly sank both free throws to tie the score.
LSU had the ball and one final chance. Junior Skylar Mays drove to the basket and missed a layup, but teammate Kavell Bigby-Williams was there for the tip-in. End of game.

Except that there was controversy. Seems that the tip-in should have be…

The Untold Story

Intrigue is the word for wondering about things yet untold. It causes us to linger longer than we should, eavesdropping on private conversations at the next table in the food court. Intrigue makes us wonder what would happen if that man and that woman actually linked up and created a stir. The dictionary tells me it's about secrecy and conspiracy. It involves trickery and maneuvering and could even include tickling one's fancy. I heard from a friend that in the 12-step world of the sexaholics, the word "intrigue" has special meaning—defined as lusting, flirting or taking a sexual interest in someone.

There is a certain intrigue when the cinema shows previews as well. We wonder about the drama, and fill in the blanks. I may know the general genre of a movie, but the order of things is not so set. I call this intrigue, and the movie producers have me guessing, whether it's Ruth Bader Ginsburg or the latest Toy Story movie. 

Last weekend my wife and I visited our loca…

Harlot in our midst

The Great Harlot Called Tolerance  Written by Guest Author:  Danielle Kohen
Do not be misled.  Grace is not the same as tolerance.  In no way does God have the ability to tolerate sin. By his great mercy and grace, he has made a way for us to be reconciled to him through his son, Jesus. There is no other way. Yes, the Harlot of Revelation has a name, and her name is Tolerance.  She has already begun to charm and seduce the masses.  So many adoring fans watch on the sidelines and cheer, the media splashes headlines around world news, and the world leaders are both intrigued and fantasising about what they can do with her. Regaled in splendour and false beauty, all marvel at her.

She is here now, on the world stage for all to see. She is a one-world religion of “tolerance”.  She speaks grand words and claims to know how to unite the world through shared love and tolerance of religion.

Yet she is guilty of more crimes against humanity in history than anyone. How many martyrs murdered? How ma…

Jewish people and the Church: A colloquium and workshop

THIS Saturday the 9th of February here in Sydney's east, a group of thoughtful people will gather to discuss and workshop the ideas that this title engenders. And you are invited to participate.
What about the church would make Jewish people want to join? What about Jewish people causes the church to be apprehensive or reluctant or nervous about sharing what they believe? What about the history of anti-Semitism? Could a Jewish person be a member of the church and still be a good Jew? When we say "the Jewish community," what do we mean? And how can that be filled by most evangelical (read: individualistic) churches in Sydney?

These are but some of the topics we will discuss and address in the 5+ hours together this Saturday.

All the information to register is here.  Meeting at Church in the Marketplace, just 100 metres from the bus and train interchange.

Saturday 9:30 a.m. (morning tea and registration)/ Bookstalls open.
              10:00 a.m.. Session 0:  A panel of Ch…