25 September 2017



2016
> The Hope of Christmas
> COMPASSION BREAKS DOWN BARRIERS

2015
> Northern Presbytery Moderator Christmas letter
> ANZAC DAWN REFLECTION
> Freedom of Speech or License to Stereotype?

2014
> Advent Hope and Interns
> 200 Years of New Zealand Christmas
> Prayer of the General Assembly 2014
> The Legal High Trade
> REFLECTION ON A JOURNEY
> Giving up for Lent - A Challenge from our Children

2013
> Christmas in the Graveyard
> FAREWELLS
> Mrs Hunters' Tea Party [Hunters Corner named ]
> PERSPECTIVE
> RISKS - HELP US GROW IN FAITH
> EMBRACING DIFFERENCE
> DOING OUR WORK
> 150years – We are part of this community

2012
> The Gift of Many People - Seven Years On.
> The Golden Rule - Don’t Do or Do?
> WATER, WIND and FIRE
> COUNCIL FOR WORLD MISSION at ST JOHNS
> Signs of Spring
> YOUNG, MESSED UP AND ON THE GAME
> REAL WORLD - AND THE HUNGER GAMES
> The Journey to the Cross - An Easter meditation
> Can Jesus Heal Cancer
> CHRISTIAN HERITAGE in PAPATOETOE

2011
> LIGHT ON THE HILL
> LOOKING FORWARD
> GOOD WORDS
> ALCOPOPS and EXCESS DRINKING
> COMPASSION in ACTION
> Christchurch Reports
> Shattered Illusions, Faithful journeys.
> EARTHQUAKE
> The Windows, Images of Faith - Opening Day

2010
> THE CITY CAN NEVER BE THE SAME
> "The Hope that Comes from Faith"
> SPARKING SPARKIES
> ADVERTISING A NON-GOD!

2009
> PRAYING FOR THE COMMUNITY
> DATES THAT COULD DESTROY
> MERCY, JUSTICE AND LIVING IN GOD'S WORLD
> Warmth in the Frost
> GENEROUS GIVING
> Hunter's Corner - A Dilemma of Publiic Space.
> Easter customs to tell the Story
> Our Mother Tongue God is too Small
> Tragedy at Fox Glacier

2008
> THE BIRTH STORIES OF JESUS
> CONNECTING WITH - FAMILIES IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD
> WELL If you want it Quiet ......
> Finding Pearls
> Of Winter fuel and things
> Disaster and Relief Work
> Prayer on hearing the News
> Conflict of Interest
> Practical Christian in the community.
> Who are these Christians?

2007
> We still keep singing the Christmas carols
> Getting our pirorities
> Travelling
> Spring flowers shout that life is not dead.!
> Focusing on the task
> Change
> Real Families
> Water - Source of conflict
> Prayer

2006
> Violence and Children
> Faith and Reason
> PEACETIME AND HOPE
> Playdough and PC
> Violence to Children
> Climbing Everest
> Celebrating the Good things
> THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF JUDAS
> Focusing on the Essential
> Living with other Faiths
> SuperVolcanoes and other worrying things

2005
> Advent - Saving the Earth Saving its Peoples
> Halloween - The time of the Saints
> Responding to Terror
> Time of Winter
> Noah - a Story of Conservation
> Off the Tracks
> Moving On and Looking Back
> Tsunami Prayers

2004
> Upside Down Christmas
> From Assembly - Dean Drayton address
> In the Community
> Weaving together the threads
> 150 years of History revisited
> July - Faithfulness
> Getting 150 years in perspective -
> Passion -The Film
> Letter From Niue

2003
> Christmas hope
> Maintenance and Mission
> Annual reports June 2002- June 2003
> Who will come to the Party?
> Time to Change
> Unity is Strength
> Prostitution Laws
> Gone Fishing


Minister's Minutes
July 2006

Violence to Children

Dear All

Once again violence to children is in the news. We have poured time , money expertise and services into helping families and children to give the opportunity for every child to grown well and healthy, yet once again defenceless babies are murdered.

The film “Once were Warriors” was shown a few years ago and is a classic picture of part of our society which we prefer to ignore. Although it used Maori families in its story line, the scenes depicted could have occurred in any group in this country. Violence is endemic in our lives and some commentators point to the Bible itself as glorifying violence, especially in the stories of battles and power struggles in the Hebrew scriptures and even in the crucifixion of Jesus. Certainly Roman culture was violent, tough and cruel in it treatment of all but the elite and mass executions were an outcome of that attitude to human life.
Where people are expendable, we find there is violence. If one group is considered able to be disposed of then there is a fear and a need to ensure that we are not part of the disposable group.

Children have always been fragile in society. Not able to speak for themselves, needing care and nurturing, they can be put down, repressed, hidden, hit and even killed without those doing it being at risk of retaliation by the child. Guiding a child to learn to be part of society and to live and grow well developing their God given gifts, being able to relate to others and consider the needs of others is the responsibility of the older generation. However, the lines can get blurred when people claim this responsibility as a right to use a child to fulfil ones own needs, conform to ones own wishes and be used as a tool for ones own gratification becomes blurred unless there is a clear understanding that every person has worth.

Jesus was quite clear about human worth. Everyone is valuable in the sight of God, including the perpetrators of .violence. Children, who were non persons in law as babies and toddlers, [girls to the age of 4 and Boy to the age of two in Greek law] and lesser persons [often along with women and slaves and non-property owning men] were welcomed by Jesus when even the disciples were shooing them away.

It is amazing that some who claim to be followers of Jesus, keep quoting passages from the Old Testament to justify violence against children. Jesus told people to move on from considering children as chattels and value them. When parents quote their right to treat their children as they determine, that is in direct conflict to the Christian understanding of valuing people, and seeing children as gifts from God and parents have a duty, a responsibility rather than a right, to nurture that child and raise that child to know goodness and trust and love as best they can.

I guess we all make mistakes, but to quote from Proverbs “Spare the rod and spoil the child” as a justification to beat a child [in some cases regularly as part of their upbringing] is simply not an option. It is merely teaching a child to respond with violence to situations. Also, although we have to acknowledge that there is a considerable body of advice in the Bible that we would not want to replicate - especially in a world where it's recognised that discipline and brutality are notoriously difficult to distinguish in family as well as public life, we also must read the scriptures as a whole and with care and not just accept interpretations from the cultures through the ages. I have been horrified to find some fundamentalist groups having discussions in the name of Christ about what to use to hit a small child with – it is frightening.
Brueggemann in his Theology of the Old Testament (Augsburg, 1997, p.683) refers to Proverbs13:24 and 22:15 (cf 23:13) and points out that the Hebrew word for the rod of discipline /(musar)/ "here is not to be understood as an instrument of abuse. It is, rather, an instrument of guidance and protection, as the term “rod” is used in Psalm 23:4 with reference to the guidance and protection a shepherd gives to sheep. Israel does not flinch from nurture of a certain kind, which it accepted as a primary responsibility. That nurture, in the mode of wisdom, however, is not characteristically direct and coercive; it is inviting and playful, as much so as the 'family sayings' that make connections but draw no direct imperatives or conclusions. Such nurture and admonition induct the young person into the life-world of the family, to piece together in imaginative ways this life-world from the elements given by the parental generation."
Jesus calls us into the way of peace and love. He went to a cross to show that violence does not have the last word, not matter how seductive its immediate results often seem to be. It is only when human hearts and lives are changed that real change will happen and it is our task to live this way along with all others who follow Christ that there may be life for all...
May God bless you in your journey


Rev. Margaret Anne Low

 


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