An Obadiah Slope column
Not glad: The Gladys Berejiklian texts with her erstwhile partner Daryl Maguire revealled by the NSW ICAC inquiry which found them both guilty of various shades of corruption, also serve as an example of the assertion of male privilege,
Consider this exchange via text. (Language warning)
BEREJIKLIAN: Because you know what I tell you, because normally you’re the boss and it’s hard when we have to switch it around. That’s the truth.
MAGUIRE: Yeh but I am the boss, even when you’re the Premier.
BEREJIKLIAN: I know. So therefore it’s hard when I had to switch it around.
MAGUIRE: Glad even when you are the Premier I am the boss alright.
BEREJIKLIAN: Yes I know.
MAGUIRE: You are at my table eating my food that’s fine right you’ve just got to calm down you just came over like, oh ******, why are you sitting there no f*** off but.
BEREJIKLIAN: I’m sorry I apologise.
MAGUIRE: That’s alright you don’t need to apologise I’m just telling you an observation that’s all.
Complementarian or otherwise, should a Christian be happy with the idea that the man is the ‘boss”. The humiliation involved in requiring someone who was at the time Premier of NSW to call her partner “boss” is shocking to Obadiah.
And then, in another exchange, is an example of the supposed female duty of always making sure the man always looks good – which has been asserted by some Christians as Biblical.
To Obadiah, this lived example is tawdry.
BEREJIKLIAN: No but Hokis, [an Armenian term of affection] if I did something bad, I need to perhaps.
MAGUIRE: Well you were just over the top over the top right and you just don’t need to be so mean that’s all.
BEREJIKLIAN: Okay I’m sorry.
MAGUIRE: You just appeared mean.
BEREJIKLIAN: Do you know why because I forget that I need to look like I’m you impress me in front of like I forget that.
MAGUIRE: No you should I impress, I impress a lot of people why aren’t you impressed in front of people you should be.
BEREJIKLIAN: That’s what I mean I forget that I’m meant to be with you know, technically the Premier so, you know. I get that.
MAGUIRE: Hmm anyway.
Can Obadiah suggest that Christians should not need their partner to send out the vibe that they are impressed by you?
Obadiah is happy for the former premier that she is not subjected to Maguire’s treatment any longer. It is too close to coercive control for comfort.
Uniting future: when Academic Keith Suter did a Phd on the future of the Uniting Church one scenario he offered was of the church shrinking and the welfare organisations it has bestowed on the nation growing, with the welfare orgs becoming bigger than the church. A short video of Suter’s “secular welfare” scenario is here.
According to figures posted by Wesley Mission CEO Stu Cameron we have got to the middle stage where the church and welfare agencies are the same size, roughly. Here are his statistics – and his call for the church to renew itself with a gospel focus.
“I’ve been reading a report that explores the future of the Uniting Church. It contains some sobering statistics.
“In 2013 there were 2078 Uniting Church congregations across our nation.
“In 2023, there’s estimated to be 1672, a drop of almost 25% in ten years.
“In 2013 the median sized congregation was 35.
“In 2023, it’s 28 – again a drop of almost 25% in 10 years.
“Across the Uniting Church’s vast array of community services agencies, more than 50,000 people are employed. That’s likely around the same number, if not more, than the the number of people in Sunday worship in Uniting Church congregations each weekend.
“The number of community service locations, 1634, is just 38 fewer than the number of congregations we have.
“Why am I sharing all this? Well, facts are your friends – even the ones that cause you to wince, more – to grieve and lament.
“Along the way we’ve lost our gospel moorings. We must again tether ourselves to Christ, and him crucified and risen. We must face the future with repentant hearts, humility, hope and courage. Our eyes have to be fixed (again) on Jesus – who is our only hope. Proclaiming his gospel and calling people to repentance, faith and discipleship should always be our heartbeat.
“The time for reform and renewal is now. If God can make dry bones dance, he can blow revival through any faith tradition, including the Uniting Church. Come Holy Spirit!
“For those of us part of other Christian traditions, these sobering stats should never be cause for cheap shots and sneering stereotypes, but I hope, for humble reflection and a catalyst to pray – for us, and for all of God’s church.”
Another source for working out the size of the Uniting Church, giving a figure of 63,000 attenders each Sunday, was reported by The Other Cheek here. Obadiah got there by multiplying a NSW/ACT attenders figure by three as NSW/ACT has very close to a third of the population of Australia. But religious attendance is strong in NSW generally, so that may be an overestimate.
Tay tay: Here’s one church that has read its inner-city congregation well.
Clarified – actually obscured – some some language