Author: Dave Andrews

Burra Din or the Big Day

Long-term Westender contributor Dave Andrews reminisces about an unusual Christmas celebration. In India, Christmas is called Burra Din or the Big Day. How do you celebrate a Big Day like Christmas in a country like India?  We lived in India for twelve years, doing community development work with marginalised people in New Delhi. And I will always remember one year sitting around, drinking chai with friends, and discussing how we would do Christmas.   We were living in a multi-faith community at the time. With a dozen Protestants, half‑a‑dozen Catholics, a few Orthodox, a bunch of Hindus, a couple of...

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Calming The Troubled Waters Of Concern

Dave Andrews looks at the unwritten laws of a civilised society. Tonight I’m off to a meeting hosted by a friend on Sunshine Coast to speak with a group of concerned citizens about how Christians and Muslims can live in peace. Given the heightened state of anxiety about the hostility bubbling underneath the surface of our country that irrupted in recent times on the Coast into protests and counter-protests, it is a conversation that we need to have with one another. We need to remember, that contrary to the impression of impending doom that the merchants of terror and...

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Lest We Forget Our Soldiers

An ANZAC Day Reflection by Dave Andrews  We need to celebrate courage and comradeship wherever we find it. Wherever we find it among our soldiers in combat we need to celebrate it loud and clear. But if we choose to celebrate ANZAC day, we need to do it with extreme caution, lest we forget that our celebration of those legends can be used to victimize succeeding generations of soldiers. A well-known Aussie Vietnam Vet who died recently was Bill ‘Kookaburra’ Coolburra. As a 19-year-old indigenous volunteer, Bill was among the first Australian combat troops into Vietnam. He was a...

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A Role Model For Scott Morison?

Asa Jennings was born in Upstate New York, USA on September 20, 1877. Very little is known about Asa’s childhood. And, according to Giles Milton, Asa grew up to be a very unremarkable adult. Giles said Asa was a ‘shy individual, five feet tall and diminutive of build, he wore large glasses and had an uncommonly large mouth’. And ‘when he smiled he looked like a frog’. In spite of his shyness Asa studied to become a pastor and was ordained as a Methodist minister. Even then it was said of him, that as he was a ‘hunchback’ –...

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Here I Stand, As A Non-Muslim, With Muslims.

I know what can happen in a country when a majority turns against a minority. I was living in India in 1984 when two Sikh bodyguards assassinated the Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, and the majority Hindu community turned against the minority Sikh community in Delhi, whom they judged guilty by association. And within 48 hours up to 5,000 innocent Sikhs were slaughtered. For more than twelve years my wife Ange and I and our two children lived in the cosmopolitan city of Delhi. The imperial splendour of Rajpath is superb. The quiet beauty of Lodhi Gardens is...

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