DAVE FAGG

Posts from the “Comment” Category

The ISIS Adventure 2: Hardship and Encounter

Posted on December 14, 2015

Leaving the Shire Justin Duckworth, Anglican bishop and a good friend of Praxis (who I work for), loves to speak to young adults of the adventure of following Jesus. The first requirement for the adventure, drawing on Lord of the Rings, is that ‘you have to leave the Shire’. The hobbits must encounter danger, risk and the unknown to have an adventure. I think this is true of all people, and is germane to young people who are attracted to groups like ISIS. When young adults join ISIS or extreme nationalist groups like the United Patriots Front (UPF), political and security leaders call this ‘radicalisation’, pejoratively. But let’s reclaim this word. The tradition of Christianity that inspired me in young adulthood is ‘radical discipleship’. In other…

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The ISIS Adventure 1: Exclusion and Ennui

Posted on December 9, 2015

As a high school teacher, I accompanied a group of young men from my school to John Marsden’s writing camp in rural Victoria. Marsden is a famous Australian writer, best known for his Tomorrow… series in which young adults, with their high school certificates still hot off the press, wage guerrilla warfare against invaders of Australia. At first glance, John Marsden is avuncular and to the adolescent eye, decrepit. But he had these young guys, from a rough part of town, writing enthusiastically. I could only envy his ability to connect young people with their artful hearts, and I frantically recorded his methods so to copy in my own classroom. In short, I gained much respect for his understanding of young people’s motivations. In his book…

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Working with the dead

Posted on April 14, 2015

…The mind is broken by the thousand calling voices it is always too late to answer, and that is why it yearns for some hard task, lifelong, longer than life, to concentrate it and to make it whole. (Wendell Berry, “This Day”, 1987: I)   In ‘Without weapon or tool‘, I wrote about ‘calling’ and ‘purpose’ as the two factors that define our distinctive ‘work’. Instead of being consumed with our role and the activities that describe it (the ‘thousand calling voices’), we can connect deeply with our work as something distinctively personal and purposeful.   There is a downside to this: our culture constantly pushes any personal thing to an individualist expression. This becomes all about MY calling, MY work, MY purpose in…

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Gentrification and Justice

Posted on May 13, 2013

Last year, friends of ours missed out on a house at auction – it went for $10K more than they could afford. Snapped up by a motivated bidder, it could be bulldozed for units, rented out or made over and re-sold. This is happening more and more in Long Gully. With cute miners’ cottages and an ageing population headed for the grave or the nearest nursing home (currently expanding as we speak), young families, singles and investors will fight among themselves to grab the bargains. It’s even made the local news. This trend raises serious questions for me and the others here in our little Christian community, who bought houses to commit to Long Gully. Are we simply an enclave of the middle-class within a poor…

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