Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Greatest Nuclear Threat?

There is a deal of concern expressed about the dangers of countries getting hold of nuclear weapons. Coupled with increasing interest in nuclear energy in Australia - widely regarded as a safer and carbon-reducing form of power generation (itself a point subject to intense debate), news of the death of an Iranian Nuclear Scientist ought to give us all pause for thought. The scientist died from poisoning with uranium hexafluoride gas at a uranium conversion facility. Such accidents raise concerns about the possibilities of another Chernobyl.
It could well be argued that there are few redeeming features for nuclear fuel, and all of them are outweighed by the potential downside. While we continue to invest energy, resources, money, and time into nuclear and oil-based energies, the renewable energy option continues to suffer - along with the entire planet - from neglect.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Suffering which perfects?

The passage in Hebrews which speaks of Jesus "having been perfected by suffering" (Heb 2:10) has always been somewhat problematic... "Why is it that Jesus needed to be made perfect in the first place?" was one question it brought to mind. Yet I wonder whether that is the question the author seeks to address in this passage.

In popular thought suffering is rarely regarded as something worth embracing, or of intrinsic value. Popular Western thought regards suffering as something to be avoided at all costs, viewing it as of little innate value. We justify therapeutic cloning, stem cell research, and many other technological advances on the basis that they reduce suffering. What then of the One of whom it is said that the author of salvation as perfected through suffering?

Clearly suffering is not something which is alien to the character of God. Hebrews indicates that Jesus suffered as we do, yet was in no way diminished by that suffering. On the contrary, it indicates that his suffering was an essential aspect of his work of salvation. Through his suffering came salvation for us all. By his suffering we are redeemed, opened to the life of God through His Spirit. This is not to suggest that all suffering is redemptive, nor that all suffering should be embraced. Neither is it to indicate that we ignore the possibility of reducing suffering. Rather, here we are invited to embrace the possibility of redemptive suffering... the knowledge that some of life's hardest lessons - emerging from our deepest suffering - bring us something of great value.

I have read numerous autobiographies in which the writer has outlined a moment of deep grief in their life which has helped them to refocus and appreciate important aspects of life that were lost. Setting aside the penchant towards hagiography, there is truth in the fact that suffering sometimes brings us to face the deeper questions of life and discover something of the eternal once again.

Monday, July 09, 2007

There's No Place for Hell in a Catholic School

A local Catholic school has relented after initially refusing to enrol a student in their prep class whose surname was Hell. The school was (apparently) concerned the boy would be teased. Hell could not ultimately be vanquished and now inhabits its hallowed halls!