07 February 2009

Hotheads (Setanta, weather, Jews and Muslims, Economic crisis)


It's hot out there. And it's heating up, too. Sydney is set for record temps today and this weekend, and Melbourne continues the heat wave that almost knocked many out of the Australian (tennis) Open a week ago. Adelaide high today 41 and Melbourne 44. Buckle your seat belts and run to the library and museum and cinema.

Pictured is Setanta O'hAilpin who ripped into his teammate Cameron Cloke on Friday. It's not the first time O'hAilpin (sic) has been sat down for such behaviour.

Cloke has a black eye and a bruised jaw, and probably won't mention the effect of the groin kick by O'hAilpin either. Cain Ackland experienced O'hAilpin's rage in June 2007 being the brunt of another attack. And on a teammate. Shocking. The question has to be asked, "Is this hothead worth all the bother to the Blues?"

In the Middle East, things seem calm (not true), but here at home, Australian Muslims are "seething with anger" at what they perceive as the Australian Government's one-sided treatment of last month's Israeli incursion into Gaza, a Melbourne leader said yesterday.

Ramzi Elsayed, president of the Islamic Council of Victoria, said he had never seen the community so hurt or aggrieved, especially after acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Israel was responding to Hamas aggression after Hamas broke the ceasefire.

"It's as though they think one Jewish life is worth 100 Palestinians," he said. "Enough's enough. It's time to call the facts as they are. Israel broke the ceasefire on 4 November."

Responding to a Jewish threat to sever ties with Australia's Muslims if the president of its peak body did not withdraw a comparison between Gaza and the Holocaust, Mr Elsayed said a cooling-off period was inevitable anyway. This is reported in the Melbourne Age by Barney Zwartz.

"There's going to be some open wounds which will take time to heal. Tension and hatred has built as never before in the Middle East, and that's the danger in Australia."

The economic downturn has turned into a crisis and now an economic meltdown, no doubt a metaphor used in Aussie summer as the heat index rises and rage seems the only option for some. Wednesday the NAB in Neutral Bay was vandalized and contents taken from the ATM. The ABC reported yesterday that when the temperature rises, so does rage and anger. Agro is the watchword of the heated.

John Huxley, Paul Bibby and Malcolm Knox reported in the Sydney Morning Herald today about Craig Roberts. His answers seem timely and deserve to be heard.

Craig Roberts is the Neutral Bay Anglican minister of St Augustine's Church.

But just like the community's self-funded retirees and young unit-dwellers, its majority of "comfortable" well-to-do residents have been hurt by the [economic] crisis.

Just how badly was brought home to him when he officiated at the funeral of a local financial manager, one of two depressed young men to have committed suicide recently. "It was terribly emotional," he says.

Despite this week's recession package, Roberts fears the situation will worsen. A former financier, he speaks a language fallen high-flyers understand. He chastens them for linking their sense of self-worth to their net asset position. He advises them to extend "internal investment horizons" beyond the next deal, the next bonus, to the eternal.

He urges them to spend time with their children, instead of showering them with in-ground pools, Xboxes and Nike runners.

Not a bad thought, Craig. And for hotheads to cool down, a dose of godliness and God Himself is the right call. It puts the heat wave in perspective and calms aching hearts.

Isaiah the prophet wrote about this:
For Thou hast been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall. Like heat in drought, Thou dost subdue the uproar of aliens; Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced. (Isaiah 25.4-5)

Let's get it right with God and no matter what comes at us, fists, weather, economic woes... we can handle it all, in faith and calm.

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