ESSAY: ALMOST A MONTH SINCE THE FIRST OF TWO DEVASTATING EARTHQUAKES IN NEPAL, THE LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN

 

NepalWithin a few days of the first Nepal earthquake of 25th April, I found myself with World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello in a small mountain village called Paslang, close to the epicentre of the quake.

The village was in ruins, piles of rocks bearing no resemblance to the homes they were.

     It was not long before our attention was directed to a young man by the name of Bhoj Kumar Thapa who was picking through the rubble wearing a cap that said “I love Nepal”.

     Bhoj, 30, is a soldier. On the day of the earthquake, it took him 12 hours to return to his village. It was dark when he arrived and he picked his way through the rocks by torchlight to the place where his wife Sushila was found dead. Sushila, 26, was eight months pregnant.

     As we sat on the rocks together, talking quietly, his friends one by one coming to sit by his side, he said he felt lost, “like I was in another world”, and that something within him had also died. He hoped that time would give him a way to move on.

     STUART RINTOUL, of World Vision Australia, writes of how, in the midst of grief and amazing stories of survival, the long, slow and painful process of rebuilding Nepal has only just started... |  more... |

 

 

 

NEWS REPORTS...

20th May, 2015

DIRECTOR MARTIN SCORSESE REVEALS PERSECUTION OF JAPANESE CHRISTIANS IN NEW MOVIE

Renowned movie director Martin Scorsese has released initial details of his forthcoming movie Silence, about the persecution of Japanese Christians in the 17th century, and God’s perceived silence in suffering.

Starring Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Adam Driver and Ciarán Hinds, it is based on the celebrated 1966 historical novel of the same name by Japanese Christian writer Shusaku Endo.

It tells the story of two Portuguese Jesuits who travel to Japan to investigate the well being of a fellow priest. Speaking at a press conference in Taiwan, where he has been filming the movie, Scorsese told journalists that he wanted to make the movie for many years.

MARTIN ROTH, of BosNewsLife, reports... |  more... |



THE DAILY STATISTIC:

25th May, 2015

Number of people executed around Palmyra, Syria, by followers of the so-called Islamic State between 16th and 24th May, 2015:

217

Source: Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

For more of The Statistic... |  more... |

NEWS...

• Pakistan: Court charges 106 suspects over torching of Christian couple... |  more... |

• Australia: Australian Christian Lobby calls for national plebiscite on same-sex marriage... |  more... |

• World: Gap between rich and poor widening in OECD countries, says report... |  more... |

• Burundi: Growing humanitarian crisis... |  more... |

• South Sudan: Children as young as seven raped, killed or recruited as soldiers in series of attacks, says UNICEF... |  more... |

• US: Call for president to appoint special envoy for religious minorities... |  more... |

| MORE NEWS...|

 


MOMENTS

25th May, 2015

VOTED: Ireland, to legalise same-sex marriage, becoming the first nation to do so by popular vote with a 62 per cent yes vote and voter turnout of 60 per cent.

22nd May, 2015

RETIRED: David Letterman, host of the CBS Late Show in the US, after 33 years.

21st May, 2015

FOUND?: The first known image of playwright William Shakespeare created during his lifetime; in an 1598 book by pioneering botanist John Gerard, according to UK botanist and historian Mark Griffiths.

FOR MORE OF MOMENTS... |  more... |

 

19th May, 2015

WORLDVIEW: 'LIBYA IS A COUNTRY WHERE CHRISTIANS SHOULDN'T COME' - REPORT DETAILS ABUSE FACED BY MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES IN THE NORTH AFRICAN NATION

Amid the growing crisis in the Mediterranean Sea where more than 5,000 refugees have died in the past 18 months, an Amnesty International report has detailed the abuse faced by foreign nationals in Libya, credited as a key driver in pushing people to attempt the sea route from north Africa to Europe.

     The report, Libya is full of cruelty: Stories of abduction, sexual violence and abuse from migrants and refugees, is based on the testimonies of 70 people collected in Italy and Tunisia earlier this year. It found that migrants and refugees in Libya, where there remain ongoing conflicts between armed groups and two parallel governments, "are increasingly exploited and forced to work without pay, physically assaulted and robbed in their homes or in the streets".

     "Religious minorities, in particular Christian migrants and refugees, are at highest risk of abuses, including abductions, torture and other ill-treatment and unlawful killings, from armed groups that seek to enforce their own interpretation of Islamic law and have been responsible for serious human rights abuses," it said, noting that they also faced "widespread discrimination and persecution" from their employers, criminal groups and in immigration detention centres.

     DAVID ADAMS reports on a new report detailing the abuse of migrants and refugees - particularly religious minorities including Christians - in Libya...  |  more... |

SIGHT SOAPBOX

MANY DOING IT TOUGH THIS WINTER

21st May, 2015

A growing number of our neighbours will face a lonely winter this year with as many as seven per cent, or 1.5 million Australians predicted to be considered isolated or very isolated this year.

     ROBERT TICKNER, chief executive of Red Cross Australia, appeals for people to dig deep for some of Australia's most vulnerable this winter...  |  more... |

THE SIGHT SOAPBOX...  |  more... |


To have Your Say on the Sight Soapbox, send submissions to editor@sightmagazine.com.au

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Church steepleWe've created a page where you'll find a range of resources tailored specifically to help churches in their mission of sharing the Gospel with their communities whether that's in Australia or anywhere around the world.

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SIGHT'S CHURCH RESOURCES PAGE... | more...|

 

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MYANMAR: HUMANITARIAN AND AID GROUPS PLEAD FOR UN SECRETARY-GENERAL TO NEGOTIATE ACCESS TO ROHINGYA CAMPS

 

Christian Solidarity Worldwide is among group of more than 25 international humanitarian aid and advocacy organisations who have written an open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging the international community to take steps to address the humanitarian crisis facing the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar.

     The letter, which was published yesterday, urges Mr Ban to use his personal influence to urge the government of Myanmar (also known as Burma) to allow increased access for aid to Rakhine State (also known as Arakan).

     The organisations - which also includes Refugees International, the US Campaign for Burma and the Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Network - say that humanitarian access to temporary camps where at least 140,000 Rohingya have lived since fleeing their homes following "horrific violence" in June and October 2012 is "severely limited" thanks to the policies of the government and their "failure to ensure a secure environment for the delivery of aid".

     "At least 80,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar by boat, facing an extremely precarious fate at sea because of the desperate situation they face in their own country," they write.

     Against the backdrop of the current refugee crisis taking place off the coast of South-East Asian nations, DAVID ADAMS reports on urgent calls for international humanitarian access to be granted to camps in Myanmar housing the Rohingya people... |  more... |

 

 

SYRIA: COLLATERAL DAMAGE? SIXTY-THREE CHURCHES HIT IN CIVIL WAR, SAYS REPORT

 

Sixty-three churches have been damaged or destroyed so far during four years of civil war in Syria, says the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
      In a comprehensive 21-page report, first published in Arabic on 7th May and now in English, the rights group, known for being anti-government, launches a withering attack on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces, claiming they were responsible for almost two thirds of the attacks.

     The SNHR blames opposition forces for 14 and Islamic extremist groups for seven (IS, six; Al-Nusra Front, one). Two are unattributed; the remaining 40 are blamed on the “ruthless” al-Assad regime.

     The report, Targeting Christian Places of Worship in Syria, took five months to compile, says the SNHR, which claims it verified each of its photos and videos that were provided by locals or obtained from social media. However, the group acknowledges it “might not have been able to document all incidents”.

     The World Watch Monitor reports on the findings of a new report examining the targeting of Christian worship sites in Syria... |  more... |

 

 

REMOTE MINISTRY: THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND GETS A FRESH START ON NORFOLK ISLAND

 

David Fell and familyIt’s a challenging time on Norfolk Island, a hilly dot in the Pacific Ocean some 1,400 kilometres east of Brisbane. Home to slightly more than 2,000 people, it was hard hit by the global financial crisis and now its unique status as Australia’s only self-governing off-shore territory looks certain to be changed as a bill makes its way through Federal Parliament which will see the island's parliament replaced by a council.

     For Anglican minister Rev David Fell, it’s a good time to be on the island. He and his wife Crystal moved with their three young children to the island a few months ago, the first permanent Church of England (as the Anglican Church is called on the island) minister to be located there since 2010.

     “(W)e’re here at a really key time, I think, to do Christian ministry and I think this is a time when the Gospel will shine and speak loudly into people’s lives...” says Rev Fell, speaking to Sight by phone recently. “We don’t know the future, God knows (but) whatever happens...we’re happy to be here.”

     While he'd never set foot there until earlier this year, Rev Fell, who previously served as an assistant minister at St Matthew’s Church in Manly, did have a connection to the island prior to his arrival – his parents-in-law had previously worked here as teachers and remembered their time on the island fondly.

     DAVID ADAMS talks to Norfolk Island's new Church of England chaplain, Rev David Fell... |  more... |

 

 

AUSTRALIAN BUDGET REACTION: REFUGEE AND HUMANITARIAN AID ADVOCATES SAY "MEAN- SPIRITED" AND "SHORT-SIGHTED" BUDGET FAILS TO RESPOND TO WORLD'S HUMANITARIAN CRISES

 

Updated, 3pm, 13th May, 2015

BudgetRefugee and humanitarian aid advocates have labelled this year's Federal Budget as "mean-spirited" and "short-sighted" for what they see as its failure to respond to the world's growing humanitarian crises.

     Paul Power, chief executive of the Refugee Council of Australia, says cuts in the overseas aid budget and a failure to reverse cuts made in 2013 to the refugee and humanitarian program budget would show Australia was "indifferent" to humanitarian crises unfolding in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

     "This Budget is mean-spirited to the world's refugees, it continues to demonise asylum seekers who are Australia's responsibility, it will inflame tensions with the region and continues to undermine our global reputation as a generous global citizen."

     As anticipated, funding to Australia's overseas aid budget was reduced by a further $1 billion, totalling $11.3 billion in cuts since the election of the Abbott Government.

     And while that sees aid to Asia significantly reduced and that to Africa slashed, the RCOA point out that it has not been reduced to Nauru, Papua New Guinea or Cambodia - all nations involved in Australia's program of sending asylum seekers and refugees offshore.

     DAVID ADAMS reports on reaction from refugee and humanitarian advocacy groups to Tuesday's Federal Budget... |  more... |

 

ESSAY:THE COMFORTABLE NATION THAT WOULDN'T

   The Little Engine That Could is a wonderful story of a small, and struggling, train engine (enchantingly alive as things so often are in children's stories) pushing the limits of its capacity and endurance to succeed despite its own small size and the odds stacked against it.

     (A recent story I came across) of homeless and unemployed people in Victoria pooling together what little they have to help those who are suffering or seeking to help in response to Nepal's recent earthquakes reminds me of that little engine that could. Little to their names, the odds stacked against them in so many ways, and yet they found a way to reach for resources they barely have for themselves in order to help others.

     BEN THURLEY, national coordinator of Micah Challenge, reflects on the impact of the cuts made to Australia's foreign aid budget over the past few years... |  more... |

 

ESSAY: AN UNFAIR BUDGET FOR THE WORLD'S POOREST PEOPLE

In his Federal Budget speech on Tuesday night, The Treasurer, Joe Hockey claimed that "this budget is responsible, measured and fair". But there doesn’t seem to be anything very fair for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people in the Federal Government’s decision to go ahead with a $1 billion cut to the 2015 Australian aid budget.

     More than 10,000 Australians have emailed Mr Hockey in the past few weeks asking for a fair allocation of funding for Australian aid - but instead the government announced the 2015 Budget would implement 40 per cent cuts in our aid to countries throughout Asia, including Indonesia (except Nepal and Cambodia) and a staggering 70 per cent cut to aid to Africa. While aid in the Pacific was protected, Australia’s immediate region will bear the lion’s share of the devastating cuts in Asia.

     TIM COSTELLO, chief executive of World Vision Australia, gives his view of Tuesday night's Federal Budget... |  more... |

FOR MORE FEATURES... | more...|

 

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REGULAR COLUMNS

 

MY MISSION: CONNECTING FOR CHANGE - WAYS OF RECOGNISING AND CONNECTING WITH GOD'S DIVINE PURPOSES

Talking"Have you noticed any signs of spiritual awakening in this part of the country?" That was a question I asked a road worker who was directing traffic at a construction site. He responded by saying, “What do you mean?” I replied, “Have you noticed how many people these days are coming to an awareness of their need for the Lord?” The road worker said: “I don’t know about anybody else, but I know I need the Lord.”

     Well, that brief exchange opened up an opportunity for me to share the Gospel with the man and discover his eagerness to hear more about Jesus and what it means to know and follow Him. God had obviously prepared the man’s heart. I explained more about what it means to believe, confess and call on the Lord, from Romans 10. I sensed that the Holy Spirit was dealing with his heart, so I suggested that we include the Lord in our conversation and encouraged him to call on the Lord and confess his faith in Him, which he did.

     In an article first published on ASSIST News Service, JERRY WILES, president emeritus of Living Water International and member of the leadership team of the International Orality Network, writes about how God is moving through a back to basics approach to sharing the Gospel...  | more... |

 

THIS LIFE: WHEN YOU CHOOSE TO FORGIVE

Upset she had cheated my son out of $30, I didn’t want to forgive her. I was also mad at myself because I had been used in the process. I guess it’s because I trust too much, trust others to do unto me as I would do unto them. However, I failed to remember not all people are trustworthy.

     My son had agreed to purchase two items through an online site where people buy, sell and trade merchandise. Because the seller lived in a community closer to me, and because my son works odd hours sometimes, he asked me to contact her, set up a time to meet and pay for the merchandise. I agreed.

     We met nearby in a public place where we made the exchange. Because I trusted that my son and this woman had made the deal, and he knew what he was getting, I got into my vehicle without checking the merchandise. Placing them in the cup holder beside me, I noticed a small part had fallen off one of the items. Picking it up, I discovered the part could not have broken off just by my handling it. It had been broken when she handed it to me.

      In an article first published by ASSIST News Service, CAROL ROUND tells of an incident in which she was able to choose the path of forgiveness... | more... |

 

LIFESTORY: ELENA DE PORRAS - CHRISTIAN HEROINE - WITH MORE THAN 1000 GIRLS AND WOMEN RESCUED FROM THE MEAN STREETS OF JUAREZ, MEXICO

Elena de PorrasThe Mexican hotel where 80-year-old Elena de Porras waged the most intense spiritual battle of her life in 1976 is gone, but memories of the Holy Spirit's profound presence and the words she uttered in response to the warfare one life-changing day still flood her mind.

     So do the names and faces of the 1,032 women whose lives are the spoils of the victorious warfare de Porras waged on her knees in prayer and through a prophetic declaration that day in Juarez almost 40 years ago.

     Trophies of God's grace, the women are committed followers of Jesus Christ today, living productive alcohol- and drug-free lives as quilt makers, computer operators, cosmetologists and bakers, thanks to de Porras and Reto a la Juventud, a Bible-based rehabilitation center located in one of the world's most dangerous cities.

     Miraculous donations of land and money paved the way for Reto to move from two apartments it had rented since 1977 into a modern, dormitory-style building and chapel for 50 girls in 2000.

     In an article first published by ASSIST News Service, STEVE REES looks at the amazing life of Elena de Porras and the work God has lead her to in helping some of Mexico's most vulnerable... | more... |

 

THE WORD: WANTON - SEX WITHOUT SHAME

Samson and DelilahWhy did Samson darken Delilah’s door the first time? Beauty? Sex? Manhood? Why did he come back again and again when it became public knowledge he was lying with a Philistine prostitute?

     When did he lose common sense? Her toying with him was nothing more than ruses to flush out the secret of his strength but a reckless arrogance seems to have taken hold of him as he thought he was the one playing with her.

     Samson’s ‘I don’t care’ blasé attitude is worth pondering in the context of the Greek word aselgeia, used nine times in the New Testament.

     In older English versions of the Bible aselgeia was translated lascivious, licentious, wanton and filthy. More recently lewdness, carousing, debauchery, indecency, prolificacy and sexual obsession have found currency.
     Predominantly we are talking about sex with little or no restraint but other vices can be linked to its central meaning.

     LLOYD HARKNESS looks at the concept of wantonness in the Bible... | more... |

 

OPEN BOOK - HUNCHES ABOUT JESUS: JESUS' CONFIRMATION FOR THE WITNESSES

DeparturesDid you notice how Jesus supported the women when they tried to pass on what they had seen and heard? This was just before Jesus commissioned His disciples to spread the Gospel. It is like Him saying to them: "I understand your tradition that says women can't be legitimate witnesses. But that tradition is now finished! It is over. Stop pretending that it isn't! I'm fully in charge. Listen to me!"
     Jesus commanded them to start believing, to accept what His Father has done by raising Him from the dead! They are to stop using something God has made, whether the person is a male or a female, as an excuse! We are given no reason to go on a power trip! We are to stop manipulating! As the angel had said: "You are not to be alarmed!" It was a simple, direct command.
      Jesus tells them their task, and ours. It is to develop our God-given new life. He told us everything we need to know so we can live lives that tell the good news. Salvation lifts judgment. It removes condemnation. To believe is to receive the gift of forgiveness.

      BRUCE C WEARNE looks at a passage in Mark's Gospel in which Jesus appeared to the 11...  | more... |

FOR THIS AND MORE OF OUR REGULAR COLUMNS, GO TO OUR REGULARS PAGE here

 

IN HIS HANDS...

16th October, 2014
VenezuelaThis is the story of a very ordinary person with no claims to any special attributes or exceptional virtues but who is bursting inside to tell what the Lord has done for her.

I am recounting this with a heart full of deep gratitude. I am humbled by the fact that a spiritual being, maybe a guardian angel or the hands of the almighty God, saved me from serious harm on two occasions. I have remained silent for too long and it would dishonour and diminish the work of our Lord if I did not tell the story.

     I was 12-years-old, living in Caracas in Venezuela, when I joined the girl scouts, and remember vividly my first excursion. Armed with all the required scout “gear” - including a medium size machete - we set out to conquer Mount Avila, a 2,740 metre high mountain. In 1977, when this excursion took place there were no such things as mobile phones or GPS equipment.

     TANIA NEALE tells of two occasions in which she credits God with saving her life... | more...|

FOR MORE OF MYSTORY... | more...|

Looking to encourage or inspire others or simply share how meeting God has changed your life? We're looking for your story - perhaps the inspiring story of how you came to know Jesus or an incident in your life in which you saw God's hand at work. MyStory - an addition to our existing LifeStory column - is a new regular feature where we'll publish your story for the benefit of others. Simply write your story in 200 words or less and email it to editor@sightmagazine.com.au and we'll post it here under our MyStory banner. We're looking forward to hearing from you!

 


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REVIEWS

 

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HOMICIDE MONITOR

Homicide MonitorDescribed as an "online interactive data visualisation tool", this website does one thing and does it very well: present country-specific homicide data via an easy-to-use graphic interface. Simply click on any nation on the spinning globe and the data for that nation - homicide numbers, rates per 100,000 people and other pertinant information such as gender and ages of victims as well as weapon-types used - comes up on the screen (well, almost any nation - there are a number on the map for which no data is available). Based on information primarily drawn from UN documents, the countries can be browsed through with reference to a color key

      DAVID ADAMS finds a useful online tool for understanding homicide around the world... | more... |

 

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A CONFRONTING LOOK AT THE LIFE OF A 'PEOPLE SMUGGLER'

The People SmugglerA powerful insight into the world of asylum seekers and people smugglers, this book tells the true story of Ali Al Jenabi, an Iraqi whose was targeted by the regime of Saddam Hussein. Having himself been imprisoned and tortured, Al Jenabi fled to Iran and eventually ended up in Indonesia where he become a people smuggler helping people in situations not unlike his own make their way by boat to Australia – a role which led him to be described as the “Oskar Schindler of Asia” in a Darwin court, all in a bid to ensure the safety of his own family.

     DAVID ADAMS takes a quick look at Robin de Crespigny's The People Smuggler...  | more... |

NEW! THE BOOK REPORT

25th May, 2015

It's Library and Information Week and the Australian Library and Information Association has released a series of lists of the most borrowed library books for the first quarter of 2015.

     To see what the most borrowed adult fiction titles were head to our new column in the Sight Bookshop...   | more... |

 

WATCH

SCREEN SHORT: AVENGERS LATEST HAS ACTION APLENTY BUT FAILS TO WOW

AvengersThe latest in the growing and interconnected series of Marvel superhero films, Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn’t wow in the way some of the others have – yes, we love you, Guardians of the Galaxy. And if you haven’t been following the series assiduously, it starts off a little incomprehensibly before eventually settling into something of a standard format – the ‘good’ guys, aka the Avengers, battle it out with the ‘bad’ guy. In this case the latter is Ultron, a computer program (voiced by James Spader) who gains consciousness (thanks, of course, to the mischievous meddlings of Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr)) and decides that in order to make the world perfect, he has to rid it of humanity (yes, you have seen this before - remember 2004's I, Robot?).

     DAVID ADAMS looks at the latest Avengers film, Age of Ultron...  | more... |

 

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CONCERT: THIRD DAY LIVE UP TO EXPECTATIONS AS THEY 'MAKE A DIFFERENCE'

First the bad news. Third Day's Mark Lee, it seems, is a Collingwood supporter (something that, as he discovered, divides an audience pretty quickly when in the AFL heartland of Melbourne).

     The good news, on the other hand, is that this concert was a delight. Consummate professionals, Third Day claim to be a band that are at their best on stage - and last night's concert at Festival Hall was no exception.

     Part rock concert, and as you'd expect from Third Day, part worship service, the band pulled out some old favorites as well as newer hits, the latter including numbers off their 2012 release Miracle and their shortly to be released Lead Us Back: Songs of Worship (their first worship album for 12 years).

      DAVID ADAMS was among those who enjoyed Third Day's Melbourne show...  | more... |

ALBUM REVIEW: MIRACLE KICKS OFF WITH ENERGY BUT DOESN'T PLAY A GREAT SECOND HALF

MiracleWith 11 studio albums and over 10 million(!) albums sold, countless awards, and multiple world tours, Third Day are one of the truly mega acts of Christian music. Hit play on a Third Day CD and you know you’re going to get confident strong music. Miracle is no exception.

     Opening with Hit Me Like A Bomb, Miracle gets off to a strong and energetic rock start - Australian listeners will likely recognise some Powder Finger-like similarities. But the album does then take a bit of an unexpected turn into contemporary acoustic pop with Kicking And Screaming and the worshipful Your Love Is Like A River. Neither of these songs are bad, they just sound a bit out of place after such a strong opening track.

     Up next is the title track I Need A Miracle which is drawn from a true story of a young man who drove into the woods to end his own life only to hear a ‘miracle’ song that made him change his mind. The story within this song is moving, and is testament to the power of music and how God can use it to speak deeply into the lives of people.

      Yes, Third Day are in Australia and about to release a new album. In the meantime, ROBBIE TOWNSEND takes a look at their last, Miracle...  | more... |

UnitedSoundbite21st May, 2015

THE TCM UPDATE: UNITED WINS AT BILLBOARD, AND, CURTAIN FALLS AT EASTERFEST

To hear CAM WANT with this week's edition of The TCM Update, simply click on the link... | more... |

 

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A HELPING HAND TO FIND THE RIGHT BOOK FOR YOU; AND, GETTING A COLLECTIVE VIEW (WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS)...

BlinkistEach year thousands of books are published on leadership, entrepreneurship, science and a range of other nonfiction topics. But how do you know which ones are right for you? And who has time to read them all? Enter Blinkist. For a small subscription per month, Blinkist will give you access to their summaries of over 400 books with more added each month. The summaries highlight the major points in each book and provide a link to the e-book if you decide to purchase it.

      ALAN TAYLOR on a couple of apps that make life just that little bit easier... | more... |

FOR THIS AND MORE OF WEBSITES, FILMS, BOOKS, COMICS AND MUSIC, GO TO OUR REVIEWS PAGE here


LIFESTYLE

 

SEE YOU THERE! SIGHT'S TRAVEL DEALS COLUMN

15th May, 2015

Daydream IslandQueensland's Daydream Island Resort, located in the Whitsundays at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, is offering 20 per cent off a three day twin share package.

     FOR DETAILS OF OUR LATEST DEAL, HEAD TO OUR SEE YOU THERE PAGE... | more...|

 

TRENDSPOTTER: FEELING STRESSED? JUST ADD COLOR

PencilsIt may have once been the case that coloring books were something you left behind in your childhood - much like Matchbox cars or games of hopscotch. Not any more. A growing number of adults are rejoining the ranks of the 'colorer-inners' as publishers rush to release an increasing range of coloring books aimed specifically at a more mature audience. Among them is Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford's much sought-after Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book, which, filled with intricate pictures of the natural world just waiting for you to add color, has reportedly sold more than 1.5 million copies around the world (her sequel, Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book, is also doing well). Coloring books - and yes, the adult ones tend to be far more intricate than those aimed at kids - are being touted as a way to relieve stress and help people take time out in the midst of a busy world - in particular the ever present demands of 'always on' technology.

     DAVID ADAMS looks at the rise in popularity of coloring books - for adults... | more...|

 

KNOW IT ALL: CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

Barbed wireCapital punishment has been in the spotlight over the past few months in Australia and other countries around the world following the executions of eight people, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, in Indonesia late last month. Here's some facts about the death penalty around the world...

     • In 2014, Amnesty International reported more than 607 executions were carried out in 22 countries - the number of executions was down 22 per cent on the previous year but the number of countries remained the same.

     • Among the top executing nations in 2014 were China (number unknown but believed to be more than 1,000 - some estimates put the number at at least 3,000), Iran (at least 289), Saudi Arabia (at least 90), Iraq (at least 61) and the US (35). (Figures for North Korea are not available).

     • Methods of execution used last year include beheading, hanging, lethal injection and shooting. Executions were carried out in public in Saudi Arabia (the only country that uses beheading as a method of execution) and Iran.

    DAVID ADAMS looks at some of facts concerning the use of the death penalty around the world...  | more...|

 

ORIGINS: HUBBLE MARKS 25 YEARS OF SPACE EXPLORATION

HubbleThe world's most well-known space observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, celebrates 25 years this month. But its history goes back far longer.

     The idea of a space telescope has been around for a long time - it was first proposed as far back as the 1920s.

     American astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer, Jr, again proposed the idea for a space observatory in a paper published in 1946 and it was his advocacy which helped to lead NASA to approve a proposal for a large space telescope in 1969.

     The project continued to gain momentum in the 1970s and the European Space Agency joined with NASA in developing the project with the US Congress approving funding for it in 1977.

    DAVID ADAMS takes a look at where it started for the Hubble Space Telescope...  | more...|

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20/20

 

WORDPLAY CHALLENGE #6

This wordcloud represents the words contained in a oft-quoted passage from the Bible (with the more frequently used words shown in larger type). The challenge for you is to identify the passage - which book and chapter does it come from... | more... |

 

THE BIG PICTURE: GOD IS COLOUR BLIND

May poster
There’s a Facebook video of a dog eating a bone. The problem is the dog’s left paw. It keeps creeping up to the dog’s head where it’s eating the bone. So, naturally the dog growls and snarls at the paw to warn it off. And occasionally, because the paw won’t listen, the dog attacks and savages it. Which is a shock because, well, it hurts. Chastened, the dog then goes back to gnawing its bone. Really, the dog has a kind of blindness. It can’t ‘see’ that its own paw isn’t an external threat.
      And racism is just like this. In fact, so threatened is the racist by a person that looks different that he or she is ‘blind’ to the striking similarities and common humanity that we all share. And the threatened racist is more vicious than any dog. ‘Look at their ugly faces!’ he snarls. ‘You know they can’t be trusted don’t you?’ he barks. And, ‘Of course, they’re an inferior breed’.

     To see Outreach Media's May poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

THE WEEKLY SNAPSHOT

     24th April, 2015

   The smoke plume from the Calbuco Volcano. Taken by JEFF SCHMALTZ (LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response at NASA Goddard)

In Sight's Weekly Snapshot, we'll endeavour to publish an image from somewhere around the globe every week. To see this image in a larger scale and for details of how you can submit images, follow the link...  | more... |

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RELAUNCHED! SIGHT BOOKSHOP

Bookshelf

We've relaunched the Sight Bookshop - you can also buy our Christmas cards and other items we release there.

The bookshop is now open. Click HERE to go there...

 

NEW! THE SIGHT BOOKCLUB

The Songs of Jesse AdamsThroughout the year, we'll be reading a series of books and then joining in a discussion about it - both among others within your church or small group and the wider Sight community.

For April-May, 2015, we're reading Peter McKinnon's novel, The Songs of Jesse Adams. To register your group (and receive our discussion notes via email) and for more details about how the club works, head here...

 

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THEY SAID IT

 

 

"A crime is a crime is a crime. If you go abroad to break Australian law, if you go abroad to kill innocent people in the name of misguided fundamental extremism, if you go abroad to be an Islamist killer, well we are hardly going to welcome you back into this country."

- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, in comments referring to Australians who have joined Islamic State and then, remorseful, find they want to return to Australia (as quoted on SMH on 19th May, 2015).

 

"What apparently happened is the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force."

- US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, speaking after IS forces took the city of Ramadi in Iraq last week (as quoted on the BBC on 25th May, 2015

For more of They Said It, follow the link...  more...

 

 

THIS WEEK ON THE WEB

 

 

25th May, 2015

Ethiopian Jews, who recently clashed with police in Israel, suffer from the highest poverty rate among the Jews in Israel, and suffer much higher levels of police stop-search, arrests and incarceration, according to YOSSI MEKELBERG, professor of international relations at Regent's University London and associate fellow, Middle East and North Africa programme, at Chatham House. You can read his article - The plight of Ethiopian Jews in Israel - looking at the background of Ethiopian Jews, in an article published by the BBC here...


For previous 'This week on the web'... | more... |

Sight now has a Pinterest page where you can see some of our images. To see it, head here...

 

 

MUSINGS   

 

 

SOLDIER ON...

22nd May, 2015

PAUL CLARK

PillI'm not a big fan of those 'take this tablet and keep working' adverts. I say that as I type with a big pile of tissues next to my desk.
Maybe we get sick for a reason. Maybe we've been over doing it. Maybe, just maybe, we need to listen to our bodies, take some time off to rest and recreate.

If our car was only firing on three cylinders - would we turn the stereo up and keep driving?

Musings is a regularly updated, column featuring short snippets reflecting on daily life from a Christian perspective...  | more... |

 

 

THE WORD EXPLAINED

 

 Wordle

Scapegoat

Wanton

Son of David


| more... |

 

 

BLOGS

 


NEW "NATIONS" DECLARED IN THE BALKANS; "SLOW TV"; AND, WRITE AND ESSAY TO SNAG A HOME...

A new self-declared micro-state has appeared on the borders of Slovenia and Croatia. The Kingdom of Enclava is just 93 square metres in size and was proclaimed by "Polish tourist K Wrona", apparently after it was found the space wasn't recognised as part of either nation. Thousands have reportedly applied for honorary citizenship in the new nation (which at the time of writing, numbers 134 citizens) which has five official languages including English, Polish, Croatian, Slovenian and Chinese.

DAVID ADAMS writes about the odder side of life... | more... |


SHROUD OF TURIN GOES ON PUBLIC DISPLAY FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2010...
The fabled Shroud of Turin - which some believe bears the image of Jesus Christ and others say is a medieval forgery - has gone on display in the Italian city whose name it bears.

The 4.4 metre long linen cloth, which bears the image of a crucified man and was last publicly seen in 2010, is on show in a free exhibition in the city's cathedral until 24th June.

DAVID ADAMS reports... | more... |


CHRISTIAN GENERAL RECALLED IN JERUSALEM EXHIBITION...
The World War I British officer who gave the order to lay down arms in 1918 is the subject of a year-long exhibition in Jerusalem opening this week.

On the 50th anniversary of his death, Lt Gen Sir William Dobbie's life is being celebrated at Christ Church, an Anglican community with strong links to the family and located within the ancient walls of the Old City.

CHARLES GARDNER, of ASSIST News Service, reports...  | more... |


AN END...AND A NEW BEGINNING...

What's on my mind?... Thanks for asking, Facebook.
Time to say goodbye to Just Been Thinking after many years, stops and starts. Thank you for your attention over the years, readers. Thank you for your endless commitment, encouragement and patience, David Adams- editor extraordinaire.
And now...I migrate back across to sightmagazine.com.au to begin a Coach Column, sharing insights in the area of human behaviour and life design.
 The final instalment in ANN WOJCZUK's blog about 'life, the universe and possibly everything'...
  | more... |

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