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Archive for January, 2009

A national pastime

Hurrah! My first post as a married woman!

And can I just say here now much I’ve been enjoying the past few weeks. I’ve taken a real shine to the ‘new wifey’ thing, that is, sleeping in until 9am (ok, it’s not that late, but for a former dairy farmer it’s positively scandalous), drinking an obscene amount of tea (and if I may add – a kiss and a cup of tea by your bed is a lovely way to start the day), and getting used to my new surname. Of course, marriage is not all ‘smiles and chocolate’ – for one thing, you no longer have the monopoly on your doona, and will probably wake up in the middle of the night to find it has mysteriously disappeared. In such situations it’s usually best to wait it out, no doubt it will have miraculously re-appeared by morning.

I could go on and on about the joys of married life, but that would distract me from the general point of writing this entry, which is twofold:
– To write something that will hopefully make sense and have some significance for some aspect of everyday life
– To provide some light reading material for Joel, who has been nagging me to update

So with this in mind, here goes:

Whinging. It’s a national pastime. And, being a proud, dinki-di, true blue Aussie, it really would be remiss of me not to engage in an activity that is so quintessentially Australian. Whether it’s the weather, the government, politicians, our cricket team (or all of the above with great fervor if you’re an Aussie farmer), Australians complain about everything under the sun. We are known the world over for thumbing our nose at ‘the man’, whoever that may be – whether it’s an institution, a corporation, or a government that we elected merely weeks earlier (although really, in the case of Kevin 07 – Recession 08 – Depression 09, we only have ourselves to blame).

Anyways, my ever-patient husband witnessed this first hand in me the other day. I was getting frustrated with the enrolment process in JCU. You would think that a ‘world-class’ university that presumably has the means to employ at least one moderately-skilled IT guy would be able to create a system that makes sense. But alas, it isn’t so. JCU takes an existing enrolment system that seems to work relatively smoothly, and decides to create another program (e-student) in which when you click on subjects you want to enroll in you’re not actually *enrolling* in them, oh no, you’re merely creating a ‘potential enrolment list’. And when you finally do have your list compiled (which takes forever, seeing as you have to add one subject at a time), you have a list that reads as follows:

SP3 (Study Period 3) MD5010
SP1 (Study Period 1) MD5020
SP2 (Study Period 2) MD5030

Needless to say I was thoroughly confused.

Anyways, I was going on and on about how ‘stupid’ this whole system is, and Keags said to me: ‘Well, instead of complaining about it like everyone else, why don’t you actually write in to JCU so they know there’s something you’re not happy about so they can fix it?’

To which I replied something along the lines of:

‘Yeah…well…it’s a stupid system. Stupid university, everyone’s so stupid…’

Surprisingly, I *didn’t* win our argument (even though my reasoning *clearly* made more sense than his), but it did get me thinking about my attitude towards ‘worldly authorities’ and how much I complain about life in general.

So let’s go the source of wisdom. What does the Bible say about worldly authorities?
Romans 13:1-3:
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

All worldly authorities, such as the government, Queensland Health and JCU have been established by God himself. Therefore when we complain about these we rally against God and his sovereign right to establish worldly authorities in accordance with his plan. We may not see the immediate benefits of humble submission (in fact we may be downright angry about some of the apparently unjust or irritating restraints that such organizations place on us), however, as redeemed children of God who seek to glorify him in everything we do, we must ‘clothe ourselves’ in humility (1 Pet 5) as pride and self-righteousness is ultimately contrary to the gospel of grace under which we stand.

And complaining?

Philippians 2:14-16:
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.

We are to ‘stand out’ in a ‘crooked and depraved generation’ (like every other generation of humans that ever lived), as people who are different, who seek to imitate a divine character that is so different from our fallen human nature. It is perfectly human to complain and grumble about our world. But our tendency to grumble ultimately boils down to a heart desire as humans for the fulfillment of ‘my needs’ and all things ‘self’ – my needs, my comfort and my happiness are of the highest importance and the world has failed me if these are not being constantly met. It’s just age old human selfishness.

We as Christians are called not to be ‘human’ in our attitudes, but to take on the nature of our creator, who made himself nothing, taking on the nature of a servant and was obedient to death on a cross for our salvation. The very fact that our creator humbled himself in such an extraordinary way should in turn humble us to lead lives that are about more than mere self-preservation and personal satisfaction.

Indeed, perhaps we all need to be a tad less patriotic and forsake this celebrated Aussie tradition for the sake of our God.

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