Author Archives: Ashley Thompson

Shadows from an ugly past: The rise of racism in post-apartheid South Africa

South African flag. Graphic by Holly Jewell.

White South Africans continue to leave their home country in droves, many unwilling to share their stories as the pain of leaving lingers on. Ashley Thompson talks with three South Africans about how they have been affected by escalating tensions in the post-apartheid nation. As first-hand observations of race-based university protests fill my Facebook newsfeed with statements like “cloudy with ...

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When script meets scripture

Easter in the words of the Hollywood sign. Graphic: Holly Jewell

Blatantly biblical or subtly current—Easter themes of sacrificial love, redemption and resurrection are being told and retold in modern cinema. Ashley Thompson explores. Undertones, analogies and parables—not all Biblical retellings of the Easter story are as obvious as The Passion of the Christ (2004) or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005). In fact, if evangelism is the goal, ...

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Juggling for wells

The Lakes College student and Uniting Church member Conor Kikkert juggling. Photo: Ashley Thompson

Redcliffe Uniting Church’s Conor Kikkert can juggle in one hand while solving a Rubik’s Cube in the other; but it’s not this talent alone that has garnered him national media attention.  Ashley Thompson writes. You may have been surprised last November to find Conor, a conscientious and unassuming 12-year-old, busking at the Redcliffe markets and outside his school, The Lakes ...

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‘Somebody notice me’: Inside a world of pain

Peter Adams and his family.

For every death by suicide, Lifeline estimates that every day as many as 30 people make an attempt, and 250 make suicide plans. Ashley Thompson speaks with Christians affected by, and called to care for, those living with suicidal thoughts. Trigger warning: What follows is a retelling of people affected by suicide and/or involved in crisis support. If you should ...

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Keeping the faith in public office

Dr Scott Stephens at the Faith and Public Office panel discussion

Last month, Christian political practitioners and academics gathered to unpack the presence of faith in public office. Ashley Thompson reports. To what extent should people that hold high public office constrain the expression of their personal faith and its inevitable influence over the performance of their public duties? Toowong Uniting Church member and director of Emmanuel College’s Centre for the ...

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Suter gets the ball rolling on reform

Over 80 Uniting Church members across four presbyteries came to engage with Suter's scenarios.

Last month over 80 church members from across four presbyteries within the Queensland Synod gathered to discuss the outcomes of Dr Keith Suter’s thesis “Does the Uniting Church in Australia have a future?” Ashley Thompson reports. Since its release last year, Dr Keith Suter’s four possible scenarios for the Uniting Church’s future has received mixed reviews, causing fear in some ...

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Jesus feminists: Storming the old boys’ club

Rev Kaye Ronalds as Rosie the Riveter. Photo by Holly Jewell.

The dreaded “F” word: bra burnings and angry women are so last century yet the stigma around feminism remains. Ashley Thompson speaks with four Christian women reclaiming feminist values for ministry and mission. Simply put, feminism is a stand for the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. It is the belief that men and women should have equal ...

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North Queensland camp creates counter-cultural community

Participants at the North Queensland Presbytery kids’ campout. Photo was supplied.

Last month, 15 leaders of North Queensland Presbytery’s annual kids’ campout embarked on the mission to create a counter-cultural camp community. Ashley Thompson reports. Children from congregations as far and wide as Ingham, Charters Towers, Townsville and Burdekin gathered for the North Queensland Presbytery annual kids’ campout in August. Organised by volunteers from local congregations, 15 adults gave up their ...

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Edge 2015: Invert your thinking

UnitingCare Queensland director of mission Colleen Geyer (left) with Edge 2015 guest speaker Vicki Webster (right). Photo by Ashley Thompson.

Last month UnitingCare Queensland’s Edge Innovation Festival set out to challenge the preconceived ideas of UnitingCare Queensland staff. Ashley Thompson reports. Created with the objective to “turn your thinking upside down”, Edge is a festival of free events designed to inspire Uniting Church service groups including: UnitingCare Community, UnitingCare Health, Blue Care and the UnitingCare Group Office. Not unlike the ...

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It’s OK to be sad

Joy (left) and Sadness (right) in the 2015 animation feature Inside Out. Photo by Disney Pixar.

SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains spoilers for the Disney Pixar animation Inside Out. Disney Pixar’s latest animation feature Inside Out offers purpose to all personified emotions, addressing the guilt and shame of Sadness. Ashley Thompson writes. Critically acclaimed for offering a “strikingly intricate and satisfying conceptualisation of a pre-teen’s psyche”, Director Pete Docter’s candy-coloured visual bonanza Inside Out explores ...

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