Collective Shout: crossed off list

Every year Collective Shout publishes a list of companies NOT to buy from this Christmas

You’re about to be bombarded. Bombarded with junk mail, TV, radio and outdoor advertising all competing for your Christmas dollar. Before you purchase gifts for your friends and loved ones, lets remember those brands that have excelled in sexploitation this year, the brands and companies that do not deserve your hard earned money. Cross ’em off your Xmas list! For our third year running (see lists from 2010 and 2011) we are making it easier for you to make ethical decisions rejecting of companies which have not demonstrated corporate social responsibility.

As a first this year, we’ve added a positive alternative: Toward the Stars, an inspiring on-line global marketplace for products for girls. And we’re hoping to be able to add our first major corporate to sign on to our Corporate Social Responsibility Pledge. (Watch this space!)

See the list here. Happy responsible shopping!

God redeems the despised things

At church we’re coming to the end of a 14 week sermon series in Levitcus and Numbers. I’ll admit that I was not particularly looking forward to 3 months in these Old Testament books but I’ve loved the way we have been constantly pointed to Jesus. I have been (once again) amazed at what Jesus achieved for us on the cross.

Today’s sermon was from Numbers 21

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

I was especially struck by this thought from the sermon:

A few chapters earlier (Num 11:6) the people had complained about the manna God gave them to eat. They took what should have been hope of life (food in the middle of the desert) and made it detestable. In chapter 21 God takes what is detestable (a snake) and turns it into hope of life.

Then this from John 3:

14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

Once again, God takes what looks detestable and turns it into the ultimate hope for life everlasting.

Teen Sex by the book

A few months ago Dr Patricia Weerakoon visited our church to talk to parents about talking to their kids about sex and sexuality. Patricia has teamed up with Fervr and launched a new book – Teen Sex By The Book. In keeping with her style this book is an honest (ans at times explicit!) discussion about sex, culture and the countercultural way the Bible calls us to live. It’s written for teens but is also a must read for parents, youth workers and anyone who works with teens.

Here is Patricia talking about one of the many issues addressed in the book – is sexting really sex?

Get the book & see more videos here. says rape is for laughs

I happened to stumble upon this entry on today

Just in case you’ve somehow missed this, ‘lol’ is the internet/sms abbreviation of ‘laugh out loud’. So apparently getting laughs is the one good reason to rape.

Where to start with this?? I looked up urban dictionary’s terms of service. The ‘user conduct’ section includes the following

User Conduct

  1. Users may not post Content (as defined below) that:
    1. is unlawful, threatening, libelous or defamatory;
    2. violates any party’s intellectual property; or
    3. is detrimental to the quality or intended spirit of the Website.
  2. Examples of unacceptable Content or behavior on the Website include:
    1. abuse, harassment, threats of violence, flaming, intimidation of any person or organization, or any other threatening behavior;
    2. engaging in or contributing to any illegal activity or activity that violates others’ rights;
(emphasis mine)
Of course the terms of service also include this –
3. The Company has the right, but not the obligation, to limit or revoke the use privileges or editor account of anyone who posts unacceptable Content.
4. At any time, the Company can refuse to allow a posting or remove a posting at its sole discretion. However, Urban Dictionary is not obligated to restrict or monitor submissions in any way, or to block users who submit inappropriate content.

This leaves me wondering what exactly is the point of stipulating user conduct if you then free yourself from any obligation to hold people to that conduct?

Yet, I have given urbandictionary the benefit of the doubt, and emailed them about this entry. I am desperately hoping that they will recognise the extremely serious, destructive and illegal nature of this statement and remove it from their website. Hoping for a positive response from them.

emails can be sent to

the problem with music …

… it’s so distracting!

So, right now I should be studying. And I was just a few minutes ago. As I study I like some music in the playing in the background so I love the shuffle button on itunes. It makes me happy. But sometimes a particular song will come on that completely distracts me from what I’m trying to learn (currently a history of Catholicism in Australia). Monday it was Adele. Her voice is just so incredible that as soon as she started playing I couldn’t concentrate on study. Today it’s this song.

The thing about ‘The Rose’ is that we have history. When I was 14 I started singing lessons and this was one of the first songs I was taught. Around the same time my uncle was in hospital dying. One day we went to visit him and he asked my mum if she could go to his house and find his copy of The Rose. It was his favourite song and he wanted to listen to it. Obviously we found him a tape to listen to, but that day I sat next to him and sang it for him. No music. Just a girl singing to her uncle. With every other patient in the room (and their visitors) listening. Simultaneously one of the most embarrassing and amazing moments in my life.

But now I just can’t stop loving the song.

Surprised by grief

It crept silently upon me from behind, disarming me in an instant, sweeping and swamping my emotional world. A sudden, perplexing grief I’d neither courted nor coaxed with negative thoughts, disaffected grumbling, hidden resentments nor murmuring discontent.

I’d not invited it, encouraged it, nurtured it, nor desired it. But, there it was…

This overwhelming sense of loss at never having, knowing, nurturing, or tenderly loving in the Lord, my own children…
Inexplicably and without warning, there it was.
It wasn’t that at that moment, or in the days and weeks that followed I didn’t ‘know with absolute certainty God’s love for me, or have an unswerving confidence in his sovereignty, or a trusting belief he’d not withheld anything good from me. I did.
Likewise, it wasn’t that I didn’t ‘feel’ with a heartfelt assurance my heavenly Father’s love for me, compassion for me, that he wanted only the best for me. Not once did I ‘emotionally doubt’ that he was intimately engaged and tenderly attuned to me, to all I was thinking, feeling & experiencing. All this I knew. All this I was confident of. All this I was comforted by – deeply so. And yet, there it was…
But, I also knew that for a single person to acknowledge such a grief, or express such a grief was not without its complications. Complications of perception, validation and acceptability…what do I mean?
Read Sarie’s beautifully honest post here.

More from Lady Gaga: Judas

Whatever you think of Lady Gaga, her videos are certainly spectacular. Her new song Judas is no exception.

Obviously lots of biblical imagery here. Over at Pop Culture Christ Joel tell us what he thinks she is doing with this mash of Bible stories.

See, this song is not about Jesus, Judas or any other Biblical figure. It’s a song about betrayal and an unhealthy relationship. The imagery skirts around the real issues and in some ways acts as a smoke screen for what is really going on. The woman at the heart of this song is a woman betrayed by the man she loves. He sleeps around on her and she knows it. And she keeps coming back to him. Her self-esteem has been devalued to such an extent that she doesn’t feel she is worthy of a loving relationship. Her “Judas” has manipulated her and abused her emotionally. She is the victim of an abusive and destructive relationship. She wants to love the virtuous “Jesus” but “Judas is the demon [she clings] to”. She is trapped in a relationship where she is not truly loved but has been fooled into thinking that she doesn’t deserve better. She believes that she is beyond repentance and he is more than happy to perpetuate this lie.

Read this whole article here.

How the gospel shapes my life as a single woman

Katie writes …

I don’t know what your circumstance is but I’m almost positive that if you’re single you’ve been on the receiving end of someone who is married taking pity on you in some way (I don’t believe that this is ever intentional). Most people argue that it is the world’s media & culture that has caused us to feel that being single is a type of incompleteness – which is definitely true, but I also think that the church has been involved… controversial I know!

I agree. Read her article here. It’s a good read.

‘Pornland’ author Gail Dines in Sydney

On 24th May, Collective Shout is co-hosting an event, giving you the chance to hear from a world expert on porn and it’s affect on society as it becomes absorbing into pop culture. Come and meet Gail and hear what she has to say.

See the P*rnland Invitation for details. RSVP to Collective Shout 

It’s really all about topless girls

I spotted this Supre ad on a bus tonight

Here’s a closer look (from their website) 

You probably can’t see it but in the ad on the bus, on the bottom left it says ‘It’s all about jeggings”.

Let’s leave aside that jeggings are possibly the worst thing to happen to fashion ever, why isn’t this girl wearing a top?!?!?!? Seems like it’s actually all about a topless girl. A girl sexualised for the sake of selling pants.

And I say ‘girl’ quite purposefully – she is very young. If this picture was found on the computer of a middle-aged man wouldn’t we call it child porn? But driving around the city on the back of a bus it’s just good advertising right?

This biggest concern is that Supre’s main target is teenaged girls. Advertising like this teaches them that sex is currency and woman & girls are nothing more than objects. Way to go Supre.

Supre can be contacted here—FAQ/Contact-Us.aspx – please get on board and tell them this is not acceptable.