JULIE Robinson (Letters 16/2) says in most churches ‘nothing much happens’, and the only Jesus people recognise is ‘the fair-haired, fair-skinned Californian one’.
Mother Teresa said that Jesus comes to us in distressing disguise, and she didn’t have fair-haired, fair-skinned Californians in mind but those in need: the poor, the marginalised, the sick, the hungry, the lonely, migrants and refugees.
There’s plenty of evidence of religiously inspired, simple and radical Christianity serving Jesus in disguise: the Salvos, the Samaritans, Vinnies, Mercy Services, those who minister to migrants, refugees and seafarers, and the men roll up their sleeves just as much as the women.
While ‘nothing much happens’ in church for Julie Robinson, many believers see the face of God in everything: the lowly appearance of bread, and the distressing disguise of the poor and needy.
The churches sometimes deserve the flak they get. After all, they consist of sinners as well as saints. But society would be poorer without them.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
THERE’S A FAMED PRECEDENT
BARNABY Joyce could have saved himself a lot of heartache between he and Vikki (and the media) last week. Joyce could have swatted the whole thing aside by claiming Vikki’s conception as an “immaculate” one and the future birth to be a “virgin birth”.
This happened around 2000 years ago without question and without quibble. There seems no reason that this can’t happen again. To add a touch of flair, the babe can be laid in an animal feed trough for publicity opportunities. If the issue is a boy, the circumcision ceremony can be performed on the 8th day. It’s hard to know though, if the boy will become a “chippie” or if he will follow his father into Federal Politics.
Les Field, Wickham
THE GOOD DOCTOR’S EXAMPLE
JULIE Robinson (Letters 16/2) takes the point of view that churches have largely become clubs for highly educated wealthy people. If this picture is right there is something radically wrong, but I have found the opposite to be true. When travelling I have called in on various churches of different denominations and have always received a welcome. At the church I attend, members of the community drop in requesting food and are always treated well and looked after. Jesus made it clear that people in church have two particularly important functions. One is to sacrificially do good in the community.
Some years ago Dr Michael Babbage was the eye specialist at Royal Newcastle Hospital. He became aware that many people in Yemen were blind because there was no-one to perform cataract surgery. Knowing that there were many surgeons in Newcastle who could take his place, he resigned and worked for a pittance in Yemen. His whole motivation was his relationship with the Lord Jesus. I am aware of at least six doctors who are currently working without pay in underprivileged countries.
The second function of Christians is to make known the wonderful new life which is available in Jesus.
There is no need for young people to damage their brains by regularly getting drunk, trying to find a purpose in life.
Quite often they are caught up with peer pressure and simply want to fit in with what other young people are doing. They need to be given the opportunity to decide instead to find a joy and purpose in life which is vastly superior.
Ron Gibbins, Waratah
PYRRHIC VICTORIES AHEAD
SADLY Jenny Henderson (Short Takes, 20/2) there is little room for loyalty in pro sport. Teams need to win to attract sponsorship dollars. And very few, if any, players will put team loyalty before a bigger pay packet at a more successful club.
The Knights had to import some experience and speed, but having grown up hating the way silvertail teams have tried to buy premierships, I’m uncomfortable with the number of players we've bought.
We will win a lot more games this season, but to this old diehard, the wins just won’t be as enjoyable.
Dave McTaggart, Edgeworth
AN EARLY START ON PLAN B
I AM very unhappy with the new bus timetables and the service provided by Keolis Downer. I decided to attend the protest meeting at Belmont 16s on Monday (“Bus anger at boiling point”, Herald, 20/2) starting at 6pm. My plan B, as the ads advise, was to have something to eat and drink after the event and therefore catch the bus to the event instead of driving.
I used the Newcastle Transport trip planner, which told me to catch the 4.34pm bus from Speers Point to arrive 69 minutes later. Worse still, the only bus available coming home was the 5.24 am bus the next morning. There is no bus in or out of Speers Point after 6.30 pm every day. Needless to say, I drove my car. It took 13 minutes and I only drank water as a result. The meeting was inspirational. Please attend the rally at Gregson Park, Hamilton on Sunday March 18 at 10.30am. We must let them know to fix our buses, now.
John Morris, Speers Point
WE NEED A REGIONAL SYSTEM
THE bus timetable public meeting at Belmont 16s on Monday evening was packed to overflowing with irate citizens angry at the mess that is the privatised bus timetable for the Lower Hunter that started in January.
Speaker after speaker pointed out how their lives as students, workers, people with disabilities and senior citizens have been greatly disadvantaged by the cuts in services and the incredible increase in travel time.
All of this again underlines that the Hunter needs a regional plan with a public transport system that coordinates transport between urban centres and has a mix of types of transport that maximises public patronage and gets people out of their cars.
This new privatised bus service by the state government is the exact opposite of the regional plan needed. This meeting totally rejected the state government’s plans on Hunter transport.
Stephen Dewar, Toronto
IF IT AIN’T BROKEN...
DARIN Welsh (Short Takes 16/2): these lockout laws have been a success but the lord mayor seems to want to change it, why? I believe the hoteliers are putting heat on. Newcastle was the first to try this. It worked.