Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Mission of God's People

The Langham Partnership is currently promoting an online course taught by their international director, Chris Wright.  It looks really interesting.  It's called "The Mission of God's People" and considers the work 'regular' Christians (who aren't missionaries) are called by God to do.  Some similar issues are looked at in Why You're Here by John G. Stackhouse Jr. (recently reviewed by Martin on this blog).

(I couldn't get the promotional video to embed, but clicking on the image will take you to a page where you can play it!)

If that sounds interesting to you, read more about it (or sign up) here.  It's a self-paced course with 15 modules that you can do whenever suits you.  It costs US$120 (or US$100 if you sign up by 3/8/18) and that gives you access to the material for a year.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Bear Cam

In recent days I have been very much enjoying watching bear cam - a live stream of Brooks Falls in Alaska where brown bears are eating their fill of leaping salmon.  It's stunning!
Eight bears fishing the main falls yesterday.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Buying fish for human rights: tinned tuna, sardines and mackerel

This is the second post of a series on buying fish for human rights.  The other post completed so far covers salmon.

Last year I blogged about how Martin and I try to shop in ways that support human rights.  We do that by:
  1. Preferentially buying things produced in low income countries;
  2. Buying things produced under the best labour conditions available;
  3. Trying not to buy things produced by child or forced labour.
The reasons behind these principles are explained in more detail here.

Unlike salmon, the fish I'm considering here are mostly deepwater fish caught offshore or on the high seas, although some sardines are caught on-shore.  Deepwater fisheries provide ideal conditions for forced labour as the fishing boats are often at sea for very long periods of time and workers can't get away.  Slavery, harsh beatings, rape and even murder are disturbingly common on such boats.  In addition, much of this fish is canned in countries where labour laws are poorly policed: child and forced labour occur frequently in fish processing factories.  You can't even be confident that tinned fish caught in New Zealand waters is caught and processed without such abuses: there are no fish canneries in New Zealand so all our fish is canned overseas, and there have been a number of cases of slavery on deep sea fishing vessels operating in New Zealand waters.

If you want to buy tinned tuna, sardines and mackerel without supporting such things, I have good news!  After extensive research I have identified companies selling tinned tuna and sardines in New Zealand that are taking these issues seriously and from whom you can buy in confidence :-)

Here's how you can buy tinned tuna sardines and mackerel whilst supporting the human rights of those who produce it:
  1. To buy tinned tuna, sardines and mackerel that provides employment to people in low income countries, you should buy tuna and mackerel rather than sardines (which are generally caught and canned in higher income countries);
  2. To buy such fish produced under the best labour conditions available, you  should buy from Sealord;
  3. To avoid supporting child or slave labour, you should buy brands from as high as possible on the following table:
Download as a pdf to take with you when you shop.
Read-on to learn why I came to these conclusions.

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Holiday in Te Aroha

Martin and I spent last week on holiday in Te Aroha with his aunty and uncle.

The two of us in Martin's aunty and uncle's front garden

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Shari'a courts in New Zealand

I frequently hear people arguing against Muslim immigration as it will lead to Shari'a courts being established in New Zealand.  After all, they say, such courts already operate in parts of the UK and/or Australia.

When such people talk about Shari'a courts, it seems they are thinking of the kind of courts operated by the Taleban or ISIS - courts which hand out sentences such as stoning for adultery.  If that's what comes to mind, I can understand why people don't want that here.

However, is that what really happens in the UK or Australia?  Does a court really sentence a woman to stoning or a man to have his hand cut off and it is done?  I seriously doubt it: those things are serious crimes under UK and Australian law and would certainly attract substantial notice.

Monday, June 11, 2018

A visit from a possum

Our garden's a wasteland at the moment - mostly neglect, but also a number of plants have been eaten right down to the ground.  We think this fellow (and one or more companions/rivals) are the culprits for that:

possum on the fence out our kitchen window last week
So we borrowed a trap off a friend, and on Friday morning woke up to this:

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Why You're Here: Ethics for the Real World

Recently I won a copy of Why You're Here: Ethics for the Real World (John G. Stackhouse, Jr.) on Goodreads.  Martin found it really exciting and has written the following review of it.