Un-married – There’s no Such Thing

Posted: 25 September 2011

It was recently reported that Hollywood actress Liz Hurley had been granted a divorce from her husband, Arun Nayar. The report stated that the divorce was number 17 on a list of 28 couples being granted “quickie divorces” that day. We have become so used to our near 50% divorce rate, and celebrities who have made divorce and remarriage an art form, that sometimes it needs to be stated quite clearly: divorce makes a mockery of marriage and it actually makes no sense.

Divorce is an unnatural reality that has been sold as a normal and necessary part of life. I must emphasise here that this is not a criticism of any person who has sought a divorce but rather a brief consideration of the concept of divorce. Marriage, the commitment of one man and one woman united as husband and wife, is as old as humanity. Marriage is not the invention or the property of Church or State. The Church, following Christ, raised marriage to the level of a Sacrament. The State, desiring good social cohesion, regulates marriage. Neither can control what marriage is. Marriage can no more be adjusted to unite two men than it could be adjusted to exclude fidelity from the vows. What makes marriage something is that it is not everything, it has parameters. Read the rest of this entry »

Love, not Hate

Posted: 23 September 2011

It seems that everywhere I look there are people who are going out of their way to annoy me! People who insist on driving at 70km even though the limit is 90km. People who have personal phone conversations on the train. People who chew with their mouths open. The list could take up this entire column! There are situations, however, that are beyond ‘annoying’, situations that can affect us in serious ways.

I was recently speaking to some friends who run a franchise business and the franchise director is really making life very difficult for them, to an extent that it is affecting their ability to run their business. The director tells lies, is obnoxious and rude. More than just affecting business, though, when we encounter people like this it can adversely affect our happiness. We begin to boil on the inside, it consumes us at work and at home, we begin to hate the person and are led into personal sadness and depression. These sorts of situations will play out for all of us in different ways through our lives but how can we respond? Read the rest of this entry »

Greatest Gift for Children is Brothers and Sisters

Posted: 23 September 2011

Why is it that everyone does what everyone else does? Yes, we all carry iPhones and drink Coca Cola but what I find most intriguing is why everyone stops at two children? Why is Mum, Dad, Johnny and Jenny considered the perfect sized family in advertising and in reality? It is no great revelation to note that the current total fertility rate in Australia is around 1.9 children per woman compared to the 3.4 children that was the case only fifty years ago.

We are not even replacing ourselves anymore.

The most obvious reason for this significant drop would have to be the introduction of the contraceptive pill in 1960. The main function of ‘the pill’ is to disturb a woman’s normal cycle of fertility by confusing her body into thinking it is pregnant thus suppressing ovulation. (If ovulation does occur the pill’s second line of defence is to make the mother’s womb inhospitable to the newly created embryo and the little guy is eventually flushed out, most often without anyone knowing). Read the rest of this entry »

Smoking and ‘Safe Sex’ – The Great Hypocrisy

Posted: 22 September 2011

Last month, the Federal Government unveiled draft legislation to introduce plain packaging laws for cigarettes. Health minister Nicola Roxon was unequivocal in her determination to put the final nail in the coffin of the tobacco industry.

Showing off the new compulsory olive green packaging with the vivid images of clogged arteries, cancerous gums and gangrene-infected feet, the minister declared, “We are going to ensure that in Australia there are no remaining avenues for tobacco companies to market and promote their products, particularly to young people. Gone are the days when people can pretend that cigarettes are glamorous.”

I have never smoked, have never had any desire to smoke and nothing frustrates me more than walking down the street and breathing in the secondhand smoke of the person puffing away in front of me, but this latest legislation push does cause me to wonder about the haphazard approach that federal policy takes to the health of its citizens. Read the rest of this entry »

Choosing Religion, Buffet-style

Posted: 22 September 2011

I recently went away to a monastery for a time of silent retreat. As there were a few other people staying at the same time, there were brief conversations shared during meals.

On one of the evenings we were having dinner, Darren, who had just arrived for a “getaway”, was proceeding to tell us a little about himself. Darren was a young man in his mid-30s, the sort of guy you would not want to get on the wrong side of, well built with tattoos down both arms but a genuinely kind man. He was sharing how he was fascinated by different religions and loved to learn about what different faiths believe.

One of my fellow retreatants asked Darren what religion he was, to which he replied that he was a “Buddhist Jew”. Now, of course, there is no official religion of Jewish Buddhists and I would be willing to wager that Darren was officially neither a Jew nor a Buddhist. It was far more likely that his name was scribed into the baptismal register of the local Protestant denomination as a child but that he was not actively raised in any faith. Read the rest of this entry »

Software, Music, Movies: To Copy…or Not?

Posted: 22 September 2011

Last week I reached the conclusion that in order to save a life of regular chiropractic visits, I could no longer carry around my large, heavy laptop, so I bought a new netbook (a mini laptop). I was telling my housemate that the netbook came with a simple version of Microsoft Word and Excel and that I would probably need to buy the full version in the future. His immediate suggestion was that I could get a copy of a friend’s full version to save me buying one. It did make me think … would that be ok? Could I just ask a tech savvy friend to upgrade my computer at no cost?

To say that media piracy is a large industry would be an understatement. Five years ago, media piracy was estimated to be worth over $50 billion per year and that was when most of it was through CDs and DVDs. With the growth of online file sharing, all that is needed now is an internet connection. With the ease that a person can now obtain free copies of the latest software or movie it does not seem like media piracy is coming to an end anytime soon. I have heard it said, though, that media piracy is a victimless crime and some go even further to claim that such corporations deserve to lose sales because they are greedy and charge the public too much for their products. Read the rest of this entry »

Bucks Parties: An Opportunity for Men to Step Up

Posted: 22 September 2011

My good friend (let’s call him Tom) got married recently and in preparation for this joyous occasion the customary buck’s party was organised.

We were informed that this particular event was to be held in two parts: The day events would include a round of golf, lunch and a game of bowling; the night event would include a selection of more ‘adult’ activities.

While golf and bowling are rather tame activities in and of themselves, they did involve Tom being dressed in a blonde wig, a frilly pink dress and being obliged to carry around a life size, blow up doll all day.

To add to the excitement, during the travel to the various destinations, the hired mini van had been well equipped with a number of sexualised games and activities for both the groom-to-be and his fellow travellers. Read the rest of this entry »

When Life is Like an iPod

Posted: 22 September 2011

As I write this I am sitting on a train and the girl next to me is listening to her iPod. She is flicking through her playlist to find a song that she likes, however it seems that just because she starts a song does not mean she will finish it. Some songs get ten seconds of play time, some get a minute, but it seems she is not satisfied with the level of enjoyment she is receiving from her playlist (which I assume is made up of songs she herself selected).

This inability to be satisfied is not limited to this young lady, nor is it limited to iPods. This is an age which has a general inability to commit, but perhaps more to the point; this is an age that must be continually entertained.

Commercial radio believes that any piece of music needs to be three minutes or less for fear that we will not ‘commit’ to the song; one day cricket is becoming increasingly popular at the expense of test matches which require several days of investment; the TV remote control reminds us that there might always be something better on the next channel. The problem is that when the highest value in one’s life is immediate gratification, we lose the ability to persevere. After all, why spend the afternoon cooking over a hot stove when we can simply reheat a frozen meal in the microwave? Life, however, is not a microwave, nor is it an iPod or a remote control. Life will not always entertain. There will be times that are joyous and there will be times that are difficult. Life will not always give, so that we can simply lie back and receive. Read the rest of this entry »