Wednesday, 19 March 2014


Great Southern Land

Convict, migrant, traveller, itinerant,
Tramps of fortune, traversing
the latitudes of hope, they came
South, to that far-flung strip of empire -
Terra Australis, came with fear and aspirations
Slaking the heart‑thirst of the dispossessed ‑
To reach a destination.

In the window of the corner store
I see the troubled eyes of Mister Han

Onward still they journeyed forth
Crossed hazy plateaux, mallee plain
Fenced with split rails, harnessed rivers
Wrote the songs and told the stories.
Walked along the shoreline, searching, always seeking
Far horizons and the deep waters
of their passing.

I pass by the city park
Dark figures sit like statues in the shadows

And we were there, the migrant children
Adrift on the Indian Ocean,
Woken in the night to scan a far horizon’s
tiny line of light that was
Fremantle beckoning
Woken again on a sunny dawn, beholding
Giant spans of steel above, the Bridge embracing us,
As we sailed into Circular Quay.

Nomad tribe, we endlessly pursue
a strip of bitumen
Make pilgrimages to ancestral lands
Swarm and scatter on the golden dunes
Sit in curbside cafes, read the news
in foreign print, yet call this "home"
Summon memories of far away and dream
of places yet to be.

A stranger passing by a corner store,
I see my own reflection

Jo Collett

Where were you born? Have you ever stopped to consider the difference that place of birth has? 
Maybe you've had a look at one of those statistical synopses about how the world would look as a village of 100 people. You can check one out at

I am literate, have a tertiary education, have adequate nutrition and access to drinking water and own a computer. I have access to medical care, power and sanitation. In addition I live in a country which is not experiencing war or civil unrest, and in which I can attend church and worship as a Christian publicly. I am very blessed. I am very much aware that if I were born in Somalia or Iraq or Mexico my life would be very different.

God places us, when we are born, in a time and a place. I often consider now the strength of character which my parents demonstrated when they were in their early fifties, to uproot their life and travel across the world to begin  a new life in Australia. My parents were what was known as "Five pound Poms"- migrants recruited by the Australian government to swell the Australian workforce in the fifties and sixties (children accompanied their parents free of charge). My parents had little in the way of money or possessions, but they had a tremendous work ethic.They made many sacrifices of different kinds to provide their children with what they considered to be a better life. The lines in the above poem are quite true- my father woke us up in the early hours to see the lights of Fremantle in the distance, my first glimpse of Australia, and woke us early again to see our entrance to Sydney Harbour. He knew the significance of such moments which became precious memories.

When I left England, I left behind my toys, pets, school friends and extended family. I had to learn new cultural practises, eat different foods, study a different school curriculum and live in a series of different houses.I love living in this beautiful country of Australia. I'm an Australian citizen and have a wonderful Aussie husband and children.

So it is when we become Christians. We leave behind our old ways of living and thinking and enter into a different and much more wonderful life. We are adopted into a new family. Our family is not only the Christian brothers and sisters in our local church, but also our brothers and sisters throughout the world. We may have to learn a little of new cultural practises when it comes to attending church. There is a bit of "Christianese" that goes with the territory, but don't be put off by big words. The gospel was made for everyone to understand.

As Christians we know that our time here is limited, and that our eternal home is with Christ. He tells us in His word, the Bible, that He has gone before us and is preparing a home for us in Heaven, and will return and take us home. How awesome will be our first sight of Him!

In a sense too, we may need to leave some things behind when we become Christians. Being a Christian sometimes reshapes our priorities and values.In many ways we are aliens in the culture in which we live. And we all become missionaries, either by crossing the oceans to witness to others who do not yet belong to Christ, or by crossing the room in our own lands.

Sydney Harbour Bridge from ferry

Ferry entering Circular Quay


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Isms, Names and the love of Godly things.....

I love the things of God. I love to study His word and learn more of His ways, and read and study topics on Christian matters. This year I’ve delved a little more into the topics of Calvinism and some opinions on the end times. I’ve so far studied enough of both topics to decide that I’m not a Calvinist, and that I need to do more study on Revelation to work out whether I’m in favour of pre-millenialism, post millenialism, or any kind of millenialism.

Do these things matter? Yes and no. There are many other topics on which Christians will have differing opinions, and will use Bible verses to justify their position- the ordination of women; preference for unmarried missionaries and ministers; infant baptism; long hair on men and remarriage after divorce are a few more examples.

In the course of examining Revelation and the millennium, I recently watched a YouTube clip entitled “An evening of Eschatology” with John Piper and Doug Wilson, Sam Storms and Jim Hamilton- all notable theologians with extensive academic training. It’s an interesting watch, not only for the subject matter, but also to note that these men had very different viewpoints on the same subject. The discussion became a little heated at times, but demonstrated that Christians can interpret the Bible in different ways, yet be respectful towards each other. They concluded with emphasising the love, grace, prayer and mutual love of Christ that they shared. The discussion can be accessed at

When I disagree with a practice in a church, or with the viewpoint of a passage of scripture that another Christian has, I find that those things challenge me to study the area more deeply and to question my own thoughts about the issue. Sometimes if we have been in a particular church for a long time, we fail to realise that there even are other viewpoints elsewhere. I was saved in, and for many years attended churches where there were women pastors. Then for several years I attended a church where there were no women pastors, or deaconesses. During the years I attended that church I studied and thought more about women in ministry than I had done in all my previous years of church attendance put together.    

One thing I try to be careful of is to be wary of following a person and that person’s interpretations of scripture. We always need to go directly to the Bible and pray to God to reveal Scripture to us through His Holy Spirit. Commentaries and other study tools are of course often very useful, but we need to consider what is written in the Bible as distinct to what humans have made of it. I don’t want to define myself as a Wesleyan, or a Calvinist or Franciscan (possibly, being a woman, I may not be eligible for the latter...). I don’t want to own a Bible with Joyce Meyer’s name on the cover, much as I enjoy some of Joyce’s teachings. The more that one reads and studies the work of human theologians, the more one realises that you will not agree with everything that they say, and that is a good thing. If you agreed with everything they say, you wouldn’t be doing much thinking for yourself. And don’t think that because a person has been to Bible College or has a degree, everything they say or print will be correct. Some theologians can be blinded to truth and some laity or unschooled may be given insight and anointing. God is not always a respecter of persons. Some bible colleges do not teach that Satan is a real, distinct entity. Some do not teach that creation occurred in seven literal days. I disagree with both these perspectives.

Divisions in the church over theology have in past centuries resulted in church splits and entire new denominations being formed, disunity which causes the enemies of God to point the finger and accuse Christians of not being able to agree amongst themselves. We are to be aware of this and to keep in mind the fundamental truths of the gospel message and the great commission to the church to take the gospel to all peoples. This is why Paul admonishes the Corinthian church:
“One of you says “I follow Paul” another “I follow Apollos” another “I follow Cephas”; still another “I follow Christ.”
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptised into the name of Paul?”

I wouldn’t want anyone to read this blog and just agree with me on anything concerning scripture without praying for wisdom, reading their Bible and other sources and thinking about what they themselves believe the Holy Spirit is saying to their own heart and mind. (Then you can agree with me....just joking!)  We are all fallen, fallible humans, albeit as Christians saved ones whose minds and hearts are being transformed into the likeness of our glorious Saviour Jesus. What a joy it is to realise our understanding of God is deepening and growing in our Christian walk. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 12:12
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”