Peter Pilt’s Seven Thoughts about the Sydney Siege


Today the nation of Australia has awoken to the sad news that people have been killed and injured as the siege in Martin Place ended at 2:10am. This blog contains seven thoughts about the siege.

First I will share what has now become an iconic image from the siege. Most of the major Australian Newspapers have carried this image on their front page.

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Firstly the details as we know of them this morning.

  • 16 hours after self styled Iranian Muslim Cleric Man Monis walked into the Lindt Cafe and took 17 hostages, police have stormed the cafe.
  • 2 hostages have been killed, a 38 year old woman and 34 year old man.
  • 4 hostages were injured.
  • A policeman has been shot in the face.
  • Man Monis, the hostage taker, has also been killed.
  • Man Monis was well known to the police, he faced court accused of the murder of his former wife and another time for sexual assault. Monis also wrote letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed overseas taunting them. He was currently on bail. Apparently when he faced court he refused to stand for a female magistrate.
  • No explosives were found in the cafe as was first reported early in the siege.
  • Abbott commends the courage and bravery of the police.
  • The National Security Committee of Cabinet will meet shortly to review the situation.
  • The picture that is attached to the Morning News Wrap today has become the iconic image across the world with most of Australian Newspapers carrying it on their front page.
  • Leaders around the nation and around the world are offering their prayers and messages of support.
  • The flag that was used in the siege was not the IS flag but was a flag well known to be used by Islamist groups.
  • Police do not believe that this was a well co-ordinated and organised terror attack but rather a lone wolf attack.
  • Sydney CBD is still closed to traffic and people.
  • Images on the TV right now of people leaving flowers at Martin Place and openly weeping.

Seven Thoughts

1) Our nation’s leaders have made comment after comment that this will not change us. I understand the perspective but I hope it changes us but not for the worse. What if this was a sad incident that changes the fabric of our society for the better.  A Facebook friend of mine Linda Burns posted this story earlier today and it resonated with my thoughts.

Taken from another FB page my son shared with me & I thought it well said.
I just caught a train home through the central Sydney line. The mood was very different to my usual Monday afternoon trip home. Less people were looking down at their phones. As you walked past complete strangers they gave you a little nod and a smile. As I got off at central station I saw two grown men in suits run into each other, they obviously knew one and other. They gave each other a manly hug and asked “how ya goin?”… they both responded with “Yeah… shit day but good, I’m going good mate.” I realised on my trip home that terrorism WILL NEVER work in Australia. We are not scared. We are not terrorised. We are gravely concerned about our brothers and sisters in that coffee shop. But you will not win. You will never be able to tear apart this nation. Why? Because we have a weapon stronger than yours.
Stronger than your religious beliefs, stronger than your hatred, stronger than your pathetic fear mongering, stronger than your misguided violence, stronger than you. We are Australians and we have a secret weapon you will never have or understand…mateship. We are a nation of mates who will never be broken by the actions of a cowardice few.
What I realised on the way home was that in your attempt to scare our nation you have galvanised our mateship.
You failed.

What if we as a nation became better mates?

Yesterday as the siege was unfolding I was conducting a funeral on the Gold Coast. At the end of the funeral I talked about the fact that at a funeral we speak so well of the dead person but often in life we fail to express our love and affection for the people in our world. I challenged the attendees to become more expressive of their love and appreciation for those around them.

Maybe we could return to good old fashion courtesy and manners to people we don’t even know. A hello or a good morning to the person we buy coffee from. A good afternoon to the petrol console operator. A friendly greeting to our fellow shoppers.

I hope that as we are united in our grief this morning, we look around at our common humanity and become a friendlier nation. I hope that what was meant to divide us, unites us.

I hope that this Christmas it’s less about getting the latest iPhone and more about the time we spend with love ones.

I hope we feel a tremendous sense of gratitude for the message of hope that Christmas is.

2) Calling now for all Muslims to be sent home and extremist views on Asylum seekers etc etc has no place in the post siege discussion. Reality is that as a Christian one of the things I love about Australia is that I have religious freedom. I can go to church, any church that I want. I can use a hymn book or I can go to a Hillsong style church. Our freedoms are awesome. As part of that religious freedom, I can also attend a Mosque and believe the Qu’ran. Freedom is only freedom if indeed there is choice:- And there is in Australia and that’s awesome. Now as a Christian I am not saying all ways lead to God or Heaven. Rather I would love to see all Australians choose a relationship with Jesus, the key word here is choose. What makes us humans is the gift that God gave us of choice.

3) Having said the above point I do think we need to look at what elements in our society  are leading to an environment that is conducive to the radicalisation of young Muslims.

4) We also need to look at the bail system that allows a man with a string of convictions, who is well known to the police as a radical, to walk the streets carrying firearms. I think of the murder of Jill Meagher in Melbourne by a man who was on bail. This system needs an overhaul.

5) It was good to see the leaders of the Australian Muslim Community coming out and strongly condemning the attack yesterday. Extremists don’t represent all of the Muslim Community: however at times I have been frustrated at the silence of Islamic leaders when extremist or radicalised behaviours are witnessed. For instance, the silence of Muslim leaders as a significant number of Australian young men have gone to Iraq and Syria to fight with ISIL has made a very loud statement. So good for them on coming out strongly yesterday.

6) I was saddened to see the behaviour of some of the crowd watching the siege. Some sat there drinking beer like they were at a footy match: whilst people’s lives hung in the balance. Others were taking selfies. Clearly some people need to think about the gravity of the situation before acting with such abandon.

Go home...Two men take a selfie in the street while watching events. Photo: Supplied.Disgusting...Women take a selfie in the street while watching events. Photo: TwitterDisgraceful... People drinking in the street while watching events. Photo: Twitter

7) In the biblical book of James there is the observation that the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man or woman avails much. Now is the time to be praying. We need to be praying for the families of the hostages killed. We need to be praying for the hostages. We need to be be praying for Sydney. We need to be praying for Nation. We need to praying for the Muslim Community.

This is my prayer:

To the One True God of Heaven, Elohim,

Our nation hurts this morning. Presence yourself with us and bring comfort to those who mourn, healing to those injured and peace to those who now fear. Allow the tragic events of the last 24 hours to change us as a nation for the better. May your message of hope eternal through the birth of Jesus in a manger, become a strong thematic for everyone over this Christmas season. Almighty God we pray for wisdom for our Civic, State and Federal leaders. Guide them over this next period of time as they think and strategise the way forward. We hold up to you the Muslim Community in Australia: they esteem Jesus as a prophet, may they also know him as their saviour.

Bless Australia and her people in the name of Jesus Christ

 

Amen.

 

 



Categories: Current Affairs, Morning News Wrap., Political Commentary or Thoughts, Social Justice Issues

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17 replies

  1. a way of living this world is[are] going to see more seen, enough during 2 ww fanatics which where ones normal people as it says once upon a time that brings us back where did it start islam or christianity??
    i just started to read the quaran, very interested how it started, was it the behaviour pattern of that time of the existing church????? did mohamed see the troubles existing at that time or was it intereverence ??? to me all i can see is that the spiritual world are in conflict [war] one good thing GOD is in charge after thought and as many moslems [good]?? may well follow a confusing sort kind of christian belief

  2. “3) Having said the above point I do think we need to look at what elements in our society are leading to an environment that is conducive to the radicalisation of young Muslims.” Perhaps he just read the Koran?

  3. well said … it feels like we’re in a bubble of unbelief that this horrendous thing has happened … but it has happened & as a nation we WILL be changed forever. As a Christian in our society i am believing it will be for the betterment of our country.
    Mates looking out for mates.
    Women lifting 1 another up instead of tearing them down
    Teenagers respecting authority & being happy & well adjusted citizens of our great country.
    children speaking well of 1 another & loving their family & friends 🙂
    Dads being true fathers ..full of integrity & generosity …. mother’s teaching other mothers how to be amazing mothers 🙂

    Ultimately, we as a whole would grow to judge less , accept more , be optimistic instead of pessimistic …..have a giving heart for those around us … even if it’s only to shine a nice smile while passing each other on the street ❤ Love each other as Christ so loves us 🙂

  4. First thing topmmorrow

  5. Very well said thank you Brother in Christ!

  6. Thank you for sharing this caring, carefully and sensitively written perspective, Peter. I was getting tired of media commentators taking upon themselves to act as the moral compass for all of us, and thinking “gee, now would be a good time for Christian pastors to speak up”. I find I agree with every word you have written. Thanks again.

  7. “one of the things I love about Australia is that I have religious freedom. I can go to church, any church that I want. I can use a hymn book or I can go to a Hillsong style church. Our freedoms are awesome.”

    You had me till there Peter but then you say:

    “As part of that religious freedom, I can also attend a Mosque and believe the Qu’ran.”

    So, time for a “Gallagher” question:

    If your children decided to steal cars and use your garage to strip them and store the parts till they could fence them would you support them in this? If you’re going to be (what I think is) consistant then I’d expect you to say “Yes”.

    See it’s the same awesome God who says “you shall not steal” who firstly said “you worship Me, only me” (or words to that affect).

    I see things being on two levels. At the first level I believe we have a responsibility to worship God and God alone. At the second level what we have is the freedom of HOW we worship Him be it “hymn book or … Hillsong style” but there is not a choise in as to WHO (just as I have a responsibility obey Him in what else I can/cannot do, but the freedom in how I do/don’t do these things).

    True because we have a choise we “can also attend a Mosque and believe the Qu’ran” but that choise is of one enslaved, one who is a slave to sin (at least partially).

    🙂 …adg

    • So why did God put two trees in the Garden then? Maybe it was because choice without options is not choice. Maybe God wanted man to have the power to choose to worship him and then make that choice out of love and devotion for God: not because it was mandated or there was no other choice. Australia is awesome because there are two trees in the garden….Clearly Adrian you would redesign the Garden of Eden…..

      • Not sure how your answer relates to the question Peter.

        There were actually many trees in the garden (Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Gen 2:9) Peter and although two are named here it’s only one that gets a special mention in the command “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Gen 2:16-17).

        The “tree of life” seems to be something that will be around forever, something we will eat of forever, and somehow helps us live forever (On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.(Rev 22:2) Behold, the man … might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Gen 3:22) )

        Show me if it’s there Peter, but nowhere in Genesis do I see man having to choose between the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in fact it’s quiet clear that Adam and Eve could have eaten of the tree of life after sinning and it was because of this that “the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden” (see Gen 3:22-24).

        So back to the original question.

        You said “one of the things I love about Australia is that I have religious freedom. … As part of that religious freedom, I can … attend a Mosque and believe the Qu’ran.”

        I suspect God isn’t quiet so thrilled about it having said “I am the Lord your God … You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol … You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Deut 5:6-10)

        In His prayer Jesus prayed “lead us not into temptation” and in Matt 18:7 He says “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” A mosque (and any other pagan temple) is a place of sin and a temptation to people to sin, a stumbling block. Yes we have to make choices (and I’m not sure how choices comes into this discussion) and if there is a stumbling block then we have to choose what to do about it, however it’s called a stumbling block because some will stumble over it. Given that there are enough “natural” stumbling blocks wouldn’t it be better if even more stumbling block weren’t introduced in the first place?

        ——–

        And not to forget the original question, if it’s (apparently) OK to break the first commandment is it equally OK to break the eighth?

        …adg

      • I think Adrian has a point Peter. Many times in the OT God specifically commanded the execution of people (men, women and children) for worshipping other gods. Perhaps freedom of religion is a new age PC lefty philosophy, and we need to go back to the good old totalitarian regime of death instigated by god in the old testament?

      • Tom, your comment shows little understanding of the era of grace that we now live in which was started by the birth of Christ. So Merry Christmas.

      • Tom, Tom, Tom ….

        statements like “new age PC lefty philosophy”, never goes down well. But …

        I decided to again look up the meaning of grace and found these two:
        o- “it signifies the unmerited operation of God in the heart of man”
        o- “it denotes something much more dynamic—the wholly generous act of God” (http://www.bible-researcher.com/grace.html)

        and noted the words “unmerited” and “generous act”. This leads to the questions “What is merited?” and “Why is God’s act generous?” I think we can answer that from Nahum 1.

        1 The oracle of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

        2 A jealous and avenging God is the Lord;
        The Lord is avenging and wrathful.
        The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries,
        And He reserves wrath for His enemies.

        *** now that’s what we merit but then God says:

        3 The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
        *** but straight away returns to

        And the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.
        In whirlwind and storm is His way,
        And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.

        4 He rebukes the sea and makes it dry;
        He dries up all the rivers.
        Bashan and Carmel wither;
        The blossoms of Lebanon wither.

        5 Mountains quake because of Him
        And the hills dissolve;
        Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence,
        The world and all the inhabitants in it.

        6 Who can stand before His indignation?
        Who can endure the burning of His anger?
        His wrath is poured out like fire
        And the rocks are broken up by Him.

        *** but now adds
        7 The Lord is good,
        A stronghold in the day of trouble,
        And He knows those who take refuge in Him.

        *** then returns to
        8 But with an overflowing flood
        He will make a complete end of its site,
        And will pursue His enemies into darkness.

        9 Whatever you devise against the Lord,
        He will make a complete end of it.
        Distress will not rise up twice.
        10 Like tangled thorns,
        And like those who are drunken with their drink,
        They are consumed
        As stubble completely withered.
        11 From you has gone forth
        One who plotted evil against the Lord,
        A wicked counselor.

        12 Thus says the Lord,

        “Though they are at full strength and likewise many,
        Even so, they will be cut off and pass away.
        Though I have afflicted you,
        I will afflict you no longer.

        13 “So now, I will break his yoke bar from upon you,
        And I will tear off your shackles.”

        14 The Lord has issued a command concerning you:
        “Your name will no longer be perpetuated.
        I will cut off idol and image
        From the house of your gods.
        I will prepare your grave,
        For you are contemptible.”

        *** but ends the chapter with those beautiful words
        15 Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news,
        Who announces peace!
        Celebrate your feasts, O Judah;
        Pay your vows.
        For never again will the wicked one pass through you;
        He is cut off completely.

        Ever since Adam sinned all you and I (and Peter) have deserved is God’s wrath. Instead we have His grace. And as you can see from the above it was always there.

        Unlike what I see in church today Tom (but then maybe I’m just blinkered and miss it) God first took time (and a lot of it) to explain how evil sin was, how He hated it, how we could do nothing about it and exactly what we deserved because of it, and then through the death and resurrection of Jesus we see two things, the magnitude of His grace and just how much it cost God to give us that grace.

        In at least two places in the Bible we are told that God doesn’t change so He has always been a God of grace and will always be a God of wrath. Here’s another nice quote “While the Bible is a unified book, there are differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament. In many ways, they are complementary. The Old Testament is foundational; the New Testament builds on that foundation with further revelation from God. … The Old Testament shows the wrath of God against sin (with glimpses of His grace); the New Testament shows the grace of God toward sinners (with glimpses of His wrath)” (http://www.gotquestions.org/difference-old-new-testaments.html).

        John 3:35-36:
        The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

        We need to know about the grace of God so that we can come to Him for forgiveness, but we also need to know about the wrath of God so that we understand why we need to do that, we need to know the what will happen if we don’t (if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire).

        I only got in here (and maybe I should have stayed out of it) because Peter said “Our freedoms are awesome. As part of that religious freedom, I can also attend a Mosque and believe the Qu’ran.” Well “freedom” according to one definition is “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants” but (IMO) this is God’s universe and he hasn’t given us the “right to act, speak, or think as (we) want” but the responsibility to “act, speak, (and) think as (God) wants” us to. Maybe this is because the first Christian question I remember being asked was “Are you free?” and I wasn’t. To me true freedom, Christian freedom, is freedom FROM sin, not freedom TO sin.

        {that Tom is how I see things today. Maybe I’ll change my opinion one day. One thing I love about God though Tom/Peter is that sometimes He does a Sir Joh Bjelke-Peterson on me, He says “don’t you worry about that” 🙂 There are so many things going on and I “worry” about some and take them to Him and He says “I know” and I’ve just got to leave it with Him. I love my God}

        Have a Very Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year.

  8. If we had NO RELIGION AND PRIESTS – AND – NO POLITICS AND POLITICIANS – IT WOULD BE PEACE ON EARTH !
    PRIESTS AND POLITICIANS ARE THE AGITATORS IN EVERY WAR !

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