Over the last few months I have been creating a collection of memes combining a passage from God’s Word and a famous movie line and putting them next to each other. Sometimes one just provided a humourous commentary on the other, but now and then the movie line helped flesh out some of the meaning of the bible passage.
Either way, even if it was just for a laugh, I enjoyed making them and thought I’d put all 70 of them up here for you to look through.
Tell me your favourites in the comments section, and if you like any in particular, feel free to save the image and post it on your social media, just using the hashtag #HollyWord. And if you want, you can also include the link to this page so that people can enjoy the others I have created: https://simoncamilleri.com/hollyword
On the back of “Pride Month” and with the latest controversy involving the Manly Sea Eagles Football Club jersey, the rainbow is a prominent and popular symbol in today’s society.
This symbol of LGBTI+ pride has been around literally as long as I have been alive. Back in 1978, at the request of the first openly gay politician in California, Harvey Milk, the gay artist and drag queen Gilbert Baker designed the first rainbow flag. Baker explained, “Our job as gay people was to come out, to be visible, to live in the truth, as I say, to get out of the lie. A flag really fit that mission, because that’s a way of proclaiming your visibility or saying, ‘This is who I am!’”
The flag’s original eight colours were not accidental. Baker meant for each colour to symbolise something of their own. Hot pink was for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit.
As a graphic designer and someone who likes a bit or marketing, I’ve got to say, it was an inspired choice. The rainbow is vibrant and happy and full of diversity. It has “every colour of the rainbow” and it communicates that same message – everyone is welcome and all our differences just make the world more beautiful. From a marketing perspective, it’s brilliant.
It’s no wonder then that this symbol has only grown stronger over the last 44 years. Now corporations use it to show that they are one of the “good guys”, restaurants use it to show their support for LGBTI rights, and as we’ve seen this week, Rugby teams incorporate it into their uniforms to express their values. As Manly coach Des Hasler explained, “The intent of the rainbow colour application of our jersey was to represent diversity and inclusion for all, utilising the symbolic colours of pride to embrace all groups who feel marginalised, face discrimination and have a suppressed share of voice. The jersey intent was to support the advocacy and human rights pertaining to gender, race culture, ability and LGBTQ movements.”
So the symbol of the rainbow may mean different things to different groups. For some it is a public expression of loyalty, for others it is about compassion and solidarity with various marginalised groups and for others it may be just about supporting inclusivity in general.
Scott Penn, the owner of the Manly Sea Eagles recently told the Herald from New York of their choice to use the rainbow on their jerseys, “It was never just about pride. It was about saying we want everyone in the game and making them feel they can get involved.”
Despite this claim, many people naturally can’t divorce the symbol of the rainbow flag from its intended origin. It is, and will always be, a symbol of gay pride. It represents being proud of and celebrating sexual diversity outside of heterosexual desire and sexual activity. And “pride” is the word that is specifically used to reject any sense of shame or guilt or sin associated with homosexual sex.
This is why Christians have a problem with the rainbow symbol. The Bible teaches that sex is God’s good gift to humanity and that God has told us how and with whom it should be expressed. God also teaches us how it should not be expressed and this includes any sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman. This is why homosexual sex is consistently condemned throughout Scripture as sinful and why Christians who are committed to faithfulness to God’s Word, can not endorse, let alone celebrate it.
It doesn’t mean Christians should hate or reject or not show compassion or kindness to those who experience same-sex attraction. Not at all. Hatred and a lack of kindness is also condemned in Scripture. But neither can we ignore God’s Word on these topics and our love for people compells us to be honest about sin. As possibly the most famous bible passage on love states: “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6)
For many Christians, the rainbow symbol is an expression of delighting in something that God calls evil, and to do so would actually be a rejection of the greatest of Christ’s commands – to love.
This is most likely why those seven Manly rugby players could not in good conscience wear the new jersey with the rainbow symbol. Maybe the owner of the club is being honest when he says “It was never just about pride.” but it’s definitely partly about pride. And Christians should never be proud of sexual sin, either our own or someone else’s.
It is difficult though. As I have said, the rainbow means different things for different people. A Christian may say “I can’t wear the rainbow because if I did, that for me would be unloving” and all the world will hear is “hate hate hate”. As Jackie O recently commented on her popular KIIS FM breakfast radio show: “You hate gays that much that you won’t wear a rainbow.” For many people, to refuse to wear the rainbow is a symbol of lovelessness.
It reminds me of that episode of Seinfield where Kramer refuses to wear the AIDS ribbon.
Christians do not want to communicate hate. We do not want to communicate rejection or a lack of inclusivity in sport or a whole range of fields. But we also don’t want to communicate that God does not care about sexual sin. Or indeed that we take pride in it.
So in the end all we can do is try to be clear. We do not wear the jersey. We do not put up the rainbow flag. We do not bow the knee to the golden statue. But we also do our best to communicate that we do love and value and welcome all people no matter who they are. And we don’t just communicate that love through a nice tweet or a Facebook post. We demonstrate love in real and practical ways. We show hospitality. We speak kindly. We offer practical help. And even if we are hated for our beliefs or our refusal to wear a rainbow, we return that hate with love.
As John writes: “Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:13-18)
Anyone notice that there was nothing particular “Christian” about Jordan Peterson’s advice to Christian Churches?
He suggested not to waste time getting distracted by peripheral issues, but then presented another non-gospel issue (encouraging men) that he suggests we put our attention to.
It was a bit like a super long Yelp review telling a restaurant that they need to get nicer lighting in their bathroom.
Like, good advice, but not really what the restaurant is actually focused on. And did you need a 10 minute video to make that point?
In the end, it’s fine to listen to if you’ve got a spare 10 minutes. He makes some good points. But he relates to the church as purely a social institution. Christ and him crucified is not mentioned. The gospel is not mentioned. God is not even mentioned. Souls are mentioned, but who knows what he actually means by that word? He’s probably not talking about one’s eternal destiny.
So take it as an interesting secular observation. Not as a prophet telling the Body of Christ how we need to repent and return to what we should really be on about.
If you want a better version of that, I’d read Christ’s “Message to the Christian Churches” in Revelation 2-3.
Imagine you were a government that hated lizards. You thought they were creepy and slimy and you imagined they carried lots of lizard diseases that infected every little crack of society that they were in.
You wouldn’t just come out and ban lizards. That would seem too harsh. That might be unpopular. After all, some people in parliament (who you need the support of) don’t have a problem with lizards. Not to mention the lizard owners in the general public who you want to vote for you.
So you don’t exactly ban lizards. Instead, you talk about the dangers of dinosaurs. You talk about how dinosaurs can eat babies and how they can squash people and are a great threat to society. And who can disagree with you? What type of baby-hating monster would want dinosaurs free to roam the streets?
And then you propose legislation that will bring safety back to the land, vanquish the dinosaurs and provide protection to all. Well, all except those people harboring dinosaurs.
The media calls it the “Dino Ban”. Catchy title. Who could argue with it being a good thing to introduce? Clearly, only those who want to see dinosaurs terrorising the neighbourhood. That’s not YOU is it? I thought not. You want to ban dinosaurs too don’t you?? I thought so.
And then the legislation gets released, and some people actually read it.
And some of those people notice that the legislation defines a “dinosaur” as any scaly, reptilian member of the of the Lacertidae family.
And some of those people speak up and say that this legislation is way too broad and effectively would ban all lizards, altogether.
But the fear of dinosaurs is now too great…
And the pressure to ban them too strong…
So the “Dino Ban” legislation gets passed with very little opposition.
And the little boy who raises his hand and says “Hey, aren’t dinosaurs extinct?” is called a bigot.
If you aren’t aware, Victoria has recently introduced a law banning “practices that seek to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity”.
The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has updated its website to describe what is allowed and what is illegal. It is rather scary stuff. But more than that, at times it is just plain confusing.
This is not a good thing. If we are to properly assess this legislation and decide how best to respond as Christians, we need at the very least to understand it.
So I thought I would email the Human Rights Commission to get some clarity.
The following is what I wrote.
To whom it may concern,
I am finding it difficult to navigate what is or isn’t considered a “change or suppression” practice based on the information on the humanrights.vic.gov.au website.
I was wondering if you could please provide clarity on a couple of issues.
The Definition of “Suppression”
I have not been able to find a clear definition of what it means to “suppress” one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The closest I was able to find was in the factsheet where this question was proposed: “Can I run a support group designed to help people not act on their same-sex attraction?”The implication is that to “suppress” one’s sexual orientation, is to “not act on” one’s sexual attraction.This understanding seems to be backed up by other places on the website where talk of being celibate or not engaging in a same-sex relationship is also deemed a “suppression”.I really want to make sure I am understanding this correctly, so I thought I would ask a few clarifying questions:
Is “to not act on one’s sexual attraction” a good definition of “suppression” of one’s sexual attraction?
Consequently, is it a “suppression practice” to instruct an individual directly that they should or must not act on their same-sex attraction?
Or to put it another way, is it a “Suppression Practice” to instruct an individual that to act on their same-sex attraction would be a sin (an act condemned by God or needing repentance from)?
Or to put it a third way, is it a “Suppression Practice” to instruct an individual that the ONLY context in which they can act on any form of sexuality is within heterosexual marriage and the only alternative is celibacy?
If a religious leader is actually supportive of same-sex marriage, but instructs an individual that they must not act on their same-sex attraction until they get married, is this a “suppression practice”? Especially if it means they are required to remain celibate for the rest of their life if they do not find a partner to marry.
The issue of Heterosexual Suppression
If it is a “suppression practice” to instruct an individual that they must not act on their sexuality outside of marriage, is it also deemed a suppression practice to instruct someone to not act on their opposite-sex attraction within the same parameters? As with my last question, especially if it means they are required to remain celibate for the rest of their life if they do not find a partner to marry.
Are there any ways that a heterosexual orientation can be deemed being “suppressed” under this legislation? Are there any protections for heterosexuals from harmful suppression practices?
Personal agency over personal identity
I have also found it difficult to understand some of the statements around “gender identity”.The website defines it this way: “Gender identity is someone’s personal sense of being female, male, a blend of both or neither.” and the legislation itself similarly defines it this way: “Gender identity means a person’s gender-related identity, which may or may not correspond with their designated sex at birth, and includes the personal sense of the body (whether this involves medical intervention or not) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech, mannerisms, names and personal references.”These definitions describe gender identity as one’s “personal sense” of one’s gender or body.
My question is, if this is the definition of gender identity, how can the Human Rights website claim that such a sense CAN NOT change, even if one wants it to?If it is one’s personal sense of self, doesn’t that automatically mean that it is a personal matter? It’s one’s own identity, not anyone else’s. Doesn’t it mean they should be allowed to have agency over their sense of self if they wish to change it? In fact, the very fact that one may wish to change it (which is acknowledged on the website) suggests that one’s own “personal sense” is fluid and on a spectrum that can indeed change.
If people do have personal agency over their personal sense of self, on what basis it is illegal for adults to be prevented from seeking to grow or transition or change into what they believe is their “true self”. Who is to tell them what is or isn’t their true self?
The website states: “The way someone describes their sexual orientation and gender is completely up to them. Everyone deserves to be surrounded by people who understand and support them.” and yet it also states that you specifically cannot support someone who wants to change their gender identity. How is that not a contradiction? Either it is “completely up to them” to describe their “personal sense” of gender and their body or it is not. Either “everyone deserves to be surrounded by people who understand and support them” or they don’t.
My second question on this issue is, with the definition of gender identity being as stated, how can it be claimed that “There is no evidence that…gender identity can be changed.” ?
There are many testimonies of people whose “personal sense of being female, male, a blend of both or neither” has changed over their life. Many trans people acknowledge a certain point in their life in which they came to understand that how they had previously thought of themselves was not their true self. They may have thought of themselves as a boy and over time changed in their personal sense of self. We know that our identity is fluid and develops grows and changes. There are even those who identify as gender fluid and would say that on one day their personal sense of self is one day and on another their personal sense of self is different. Lastly, there are those who de-transition or change their personal sense of gender later in life. With all of these examples, I don’t know how the claim that “There is no evidence that…gender identity can be changed.” can be maintained.
Thank you for considering these questions, and I do appreciate you taking the time to respond. I very much want to understand this legislation and for it not to be misunderstood or mischaracterized. Please contact me if anything I’ve written does not make sense.
I will keep you informed if they respond to this email.
If you don’t know this about me, one of the artforms I have loved to explore over the last 20 years is something called “Biblical Storytelling”. Basically, it is committing to memory large sections of Scripture (usually narrative texts) and performing them with the dramatic passion that they deserve!
This Easter I am preparing a performance of John 17-20. Four epic chapters covering Jesus’ arrest, trial death and resurrection from John’s gospel.
I am offering this performance to churches in Victoria, Australia and so if you know of any churches that might be interested in booking a performance, please pass it on.
It probably will go for around 45 minutes and could be done either as part of a larger service or as a stand-alone performance (maybe with accompanying songs or gospel talk).
My fee would be $400.
At present, I am looking for bookings on Good Friday, Easter Saturday & Easter Sunday (morning and evening).
If this is something your church might be interested in, please get someone to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or fill in the form below:
What does Biblical Storytelling look like?
If you have never seen me perform biblical storytelling or you can’t imagine how one person just reciting the bible could keep people’s attention, then check out these videos below:
If you have booked Simon you can download these graphic elements to help you advertise your event:
Have you heard from some people on social media that there are hundreds of deaths from the covid vaccines in Australia?
To set the facts out right from the start… It’s not true. There have been only nine.
But, here is where this misinformation comes from.
Misreading the TGA
Often, people point to the DAEN (Database of Adverse Event Notifications) report released weekly by Australia’s TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration). In the report, it states how many number of cases there were “where death was a reported outcome”. For the latest report that number is 556.
Understandably, people read that and at first presume that means that there were 556 deaths from the covid vaccine.
This then gets passed on and circulated without question and eventually it even ends up on official politcal party websites (such as THIS from Clive Palmer and the United Australia Party), further giving seeming credibility to the idea.
If you have been mislead by this claim going around, I understand. We trust claims when they sound official and espcially when they are supposedly backed up by the country’s offical reporting agency.
But this is not what the report is saying.
The fact is, whenever someone died within a timeframe that is close to their vaccination, their death gets reported to the TGA. Hundreds of these reports come in, but each one gets carefully assessed to see if the vaccine contributed in any way to the death. After they make their assessment, they publish both sets of data. The number or initial reports and the number of actual cases where the death was caused by the vaccine.
A Birthday Cake Illustration
Think of it like this. If you were asked to find every single death that occured in the week following after the deceased person had eaten birthday cake, you might find hundreds of such cases. Let’s say you found 556.
Then, they investigate each case and discover that out of the 556, 2 were poisoned by the cake, 3 had an allergic reaction to one of the cakes ingredience and a further 4 choked on it. The other 556 were just people who died, because humans are mortal, with no connection to the birthday cake. So 556 reports of death and 9 confirmed deaths by birthday cake.
Now imagine you released both those numbers to the public and people took the chart that reported the 535 cases of death that occured after eating birthday cake and made the claim that the official “Birthday Cake Death Toll” was 556! This would be reporting the death number in your report correctly, but interpreting what it means completely wrong.
It would be especially incorrect if people didn’t even mention how you had also published the actual confirmed death toll from birthday cake as 9.
This is exactly what is happening with the TGA’s report on covid vaccine deaths.
This is how the TGA themselves explain it
If you think I am misinterpreting the data, this is it from the TGA themselves:
“Large scale vaccination means that coincidentally some people will experience a new illness or die within a few days or weeks of vaccination. The TGA reviews all deaths reported in people who have been vaccinated. As the number of vaccinated people has increased, so has reporting of fatal events with a coincidental association with vaccination. This does not indicate a link between vaccination and the fatalities reported. Review of individual reports and patterns of reporting does not suggest the vaccines played a role in these deaths.
Since the beginning of the vaccine rollout to 19 September 2021, approximately 24.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given.So far, the TGA has found that 9 reports of deaths were linked to immunisation from 556 reports received and reviewed.
The overwhelming majority of deaths reported to the TGA following vaccination occurred in people aged 65 years and older. The deaths linked to immunisation occurred after the first dose of Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) – 8 were TTS cases and one was a case of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP).”
Catch that? 556 reports. 9 deaths from the vaccine.
The misinformation that there have been hundreds of deaths caused by the vaccine is all the more persuasive to people because it uses a misreading of a true and official TGA report. But it is so important that we understand what these reports are actually showing and how to read them.
The TGA is also very aware that people have misinterpret and misued the data they provide:
“We are aware of false claims that have been circulating based on misinterpretation of information published in the DAEN. Reports are entered into the database without being assessed to determine if they are caused by the vaccine. We encourage people to report suspected side effects, even if there is only a small chance that the vaccine caused them. For this reason, publication of a report in the DAEN does not mean that the vaccine caused the adverse event, but simply reflects the observations of the person who reported the event.
In some states and territories, the reporting of specific events, such as death, that occur closely following a vaccination is mandatory for health professionals. For this reason, the number of adverse events and deaths reported in the DAEN is not an indication of the safety of the vaccines. Expert review and investigation are needed to determine which events were caused by the vaccine. The outcomes of our analysis of adverse event reports are communicated in this report each week.”
And just in case you think I took the TGA out of context, you can read the above quotes HERE.
The big message we can actually interpret from the TGA report is just how ridiculously safe the vaccines actually are. Think of it. 9 deaths in around 26,130,313 doses of vaccine so far in Australia! That’s a 1 in 3 miliion, or 0.00003% chance of dying from the vaccine based on Australian statistics. Don’t believe anyone who tries to exaggerate the risk or tell you the lie that “more people die from the vaccines than from covid”.
The other thing this report shows is how much our health system is actually committed to transparency. Despite all the claims of cover-ups and conspiracy and data being swept under the carpet, if that were the case, then they are doing a terrible job at hiding the information. On the TGA website, they list every single reported side effect and death of every medicine in Australia. It’s crazy transparency.
But with that exhaustive amount of data, it is understandble that the interpretation can easily be lost in translation by those who are afraid of the vaccines and will gravitate to anything that might confirm their fears (not to mention others who are deliberately trying to undermine vaccines).
PLEASE, if you have been fooled by this misinformation, do not receive any judgment from this article. Just treat it as a learning experience and look twice next time. Always check the source of the information you are being given and have a healthy level of skepticism in our institutions, but not an unhealthy level.
If you know people who might find this article helpful, please share this information and if you see people suggesting there have been hundreds of deaths from the vaccines in Australia, please lovingly and patiently help them see what the TGA report actually says.