Monday, July 18, 2011

Dalai Lama Dilemma

Hey guys, got an interesting situation for you here:
Cooking show Masterchef is really popular here in Australia, and season 3 is well underway, with the final 6 contestants battling it out. The challenges are getting bigger each week, including cooking for the UN headquarters in NY and most recently for the Dalai Lama while he was visitng Australia.
However what caught the headlines was contestant Kate not calling him 'Your Holiness.'
A lot of criticism in the media - my minister and his family actually know her family, and it seems she has also felt a backlash in the show too.
Link is below, but I've copied the article too.

MasterChef mum snubs 'holy man'
The Daily Telegraph July 14, 2011 6:10PM

HERE'S one for Dicko and his Can Of Worms: should a Christian show respect to the Dalai Lama by calling him 'Your Holiness' even if they don't believe in Buddhism?
That was the religious test facing MasterChef mum Kate Bracks, who refused to acknowledge the religious leader by his formal title when he was the guest star of this Sunday night's episode.

The 36-year-old Christian from Orange, in regional NSW, was the only contestant who felt "uncomfortable" with the protocol, addressing him only as "Dalai."

His appearance created an emotion-charged challenge for the other five competitors, who all spoke of his "energy," "aura" and "amazing spirit."

But Bracks told The Daily Telegraph on set in Melbourne last month she did not "see the Dalai as a holy man."

"My belief is that God is the only one that is perfectly holy. So in terms of everybody calling him 'Your Holiness' that was probably the only aspect of the challenge I was uncomfortable with ... calling him that, so I didn't. I just called him Dalai Lama."

Interestingly, Baptist minister Tim Costello and Uniting Church minister Bill Crews, who joined the Dalai Lama for the lunch service, happily called him "Your Holiness."

While "privileged" to be part of the challenge, Bracks said "to get down to the nuts and bolts, I don't see any difference if I'd cooked for (rival) Alana."

She questioned whether a Christian leader would have been "received so well" on TV, adding "... probably not."

From what I've heard the Dalai Lama doesn't mind what people call him and doesn't insist on being called 'Your Holiness' (but his minders do.) As the example of perfect enlightenment he is not supposed to have attachment to earthly things anyway. He is the leader of the delug branch of buddhism and seen as the reincarnated leader.

What I find interesting here are a few points:
  • People do not think it is a good enough reason if someones religious views conflict with calling him by that title. Why is it buddhist sensibilities are given superiority?

  • Many people in Western society, while they are not buddhist feel the Dalai Lama is a holy man or deserves reverence, even though they do not believe in the religious beliefs that ascribe these qualities. Other religious leaders are not ascribed this respect. I find this interesting because to me, if I am not a buddhist and I do not belief he is perfection or reincarnated then he is just another a relgious leader. He either is who they say he is, or he's not. Like many other religious and national leaders he is kind, intelligent and not without wisdom. A nice guy for the most part. I think there is a move in western society to embracing a vague form of buddhism that allows us to pick and choose.

  • The Christian leaders called him Your Holiness. I feel this is an example of politically correct compromise?

    So what do you guys think?
    Would you call the Dalai Lama 'Your Holiness?' Do you think it acceptable to decline using the term due to religious beliefs? Who do you think the Dalai Lama is? And do you think Western society favour buddhism as a vague notion of spirituality while rejecting the inconvenience of properly following it?
  • New Blog: 'Housewife Mishaps'

    Hey folks - have started a new blog called 'Housewife Mishaps' for funny stories, anecdotes and observations of domestic life and my journey as a wife :)

    Find it at:

    Feel free to stop on by and say hi xx

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Our Wedding

    After a comment by Susanne I thought I might post some more details about my wedding, which was on November 27 2010!!

    We got engaged soon after Hubby became Christian, because religion had been the dealbreaker for us, so soon after accepting Christ hubby propsed to me in mid-June. We knew we wanted to get married as soon as possible, because we had desperately wanted to get marry beforehand. We filled put the Notice of Intention to Marry paperwork straight away, as that needs to be filled out 30 days before ther wedding.

    As I wrote about last year Hubby went home to UAE to tell his parents that we were marrying and most of all to tell them of his conversion. It was risky and we didn't know whether he could be imprisoned, executed or deported for leaving Islam, whch is illegal in UAE and Sudan, where he has citizenship.

    As the date approached I wanted to desperately to marry - I was terrified he could be killed before we married. Isn't it odd? Of course the most important issue was his safety, but we were aware that this was the worst case scenario, and I wanted to go into the situation knowing he was my husband. Legally also, I knew as a fiancee I had no rights. We wanted so badly to live together, if only for a day, as a married couple before he left, as we didn't live together before marriage.

    I even asked our minister if he would consider a "religious" wedding ceremony only.

    Many Muslims in Australia have a religious ceremony, which makes them married in the eyes of Islam, seperate to the legal marriage. As we couldn't get legally married yet I asked my minister to consider a marrying us according to the Christian rites but without filling out all the paperwork that fills the legal side. I don't think it's ever been done before in mainstream Christian circles before but our minister considered it and agreed it was biblicaly ok and he felt able to do it.

    We ended up deciding against it, because we wanted to give his parents the chance to attend the wedding or at least show them respect by telling them we planned to marry, rather than informing them we already had.

    As I wrote about previously his parents did not accept either his conversion or our marriage, but I'm glad we at least gave the chance.

    More than that, the hardship we have been through, including facing the idea we may not see each other again in some ways was a blessing in disguise. Having had to fight to be together, having faced losing each other has always gave us perspective. Having had to work so hard before our marriage and in the first year or so of our marriage and overcome it we are well prepared to meet the challenges of our married life.

    So with 5 months to go I began planning out wedding! Because the marriage was so much more important than the wedding for us I didn't loose focus in the planning part! I got stuck straight into dress shopping as it was luckily sale season and I knew this could be tricky! Luckiyl for me I found a wedding dress (brand new) on sale from $1400 reduced to $290!!! It was embroidered with pearls with are my birthstone and a theme for the wedding.
    Reception venue was a venue not too far from my home and the church - maybe 15 minutes or so from the suburbs but actually in the country, and in an area where I grew up.

    I loved finding a venue that wasn't just a hotel room, or a fancy venue in the middle of the city as is often the case. I wanted somewhere that blended harmoniously into its surrounds and had atmosphere and somehow related to us as a couple. Luckily our venue met all these requirements.
    Ceremony was at my wonderful church - walked down the isle to Pachabels Canon in D played on piano and violin (congregation members) and walked out to the traditional from music played on our church organ.

    During the signing of the register I had the piece "Your Hands are Cold" (played in Pride and Prejudice movie) which is the most beautiful piano score and Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite literary works.

    Colour scheme was pearl, pale pink and champagne colours :)

    We tried to bring in some arab touches - our centrepieces were arab-style lanterns from

    Emirates, our music at the reception was mixed arabic and western, our programs had arabic symbols, our place cards had the guests name is english and arabic.

    I also surprised hubby by learning my vows in Arabic (he didn't know!!)

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    be-LATE-ed blogging..

    How do I start this post? My laptop keys are rusty, my fingers creak and ache with the unfamiliar feel of typing and my brain flickers feebly and with the attemots to string a sentence together. Yes, dear friends it has been a shamefully long time since I have written!
    I don't really know where to start so I will keep it short and simple - sorry but this will not an entertaining post...

    I have now been married 7 months or so to my darling husband. I have been job hunting after finishing post-graduate studies last year, and working as a waitress in the mean time. Habi has been working as a waitor too.
    We are awaiting for the outcome of Habi's application for asylum in Australia, which will grant him permanent residency (a whole other blog topic!)

    In general things are good - as some of you may know the we had our fair share of problems but we have faced them together and things are improving.

    Financially our situation has improved - his father had stopped all finanical support and he had been left with outstanding study fees of about $4000, plus rent, return airfare and other costs, but we managed to pay it all off and the remaining $5000 for him to complete his units. It was a huge milestone when he went back to study a few weeks ago, and made us both so happy, and so aware for how God has provided for us!

    Things have also improved marginally with hubby's family. His family had not spoken to him for a year, with the exception from a few relgious emails criticizing Christianity from his brother and the occaisonal text message saying "how are you" from his sister. When he replied, she did not text back. He continues to text his parents (they don't answer his calls) without response, but his sister has actuallyspoken to him on the phone for the first time! And his other sister has sent a text message, which is very encouraging.

    We have wonderful support from our church community, in the Anglican church we attend, the wider christian community and the arabic community especially. It's wonderful for hubby to have other "MBB"s (Muslim Background Believers)to support him, as they have all faced similiar situations.

    Well I'm off - hope you are all well xx

    P.S Keep an eye out for my new blog, which shall be the more lighthearted vignettes and anecdotes of a new wife :)

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    I've missed you all!

    I just logged on (at work) because I am ashamed to say it has been months and months. Things have been (and still are) completely nuts.
    Two jobs. Full-time post grad study. Planning a wedding. Visa issues with Habi. Job interviews. Family drama (Habi). Volunteer work. Church commitments.
    'Nuff said!
    I'm afraid I don't have time to write properly my darlings but I shall do soon.
    So basic update: It has been a very trying and difficult time for both of us, but we are both very happy. Habi is growing daily in his work with the Lord and we are blessed to have some wonderful people upholding us both. We will be married in 23 days (!!!!!!!)
    during which time I will finally be done with uni, and we will have a break after months of intense work. Can't wait!
    And then Habi's first Christmas!! It is all too joyous and exciting to even contemplate and when I do I feel like running around screaming and jumping!
    Hope you are all well and happy - May God bless you all!
    Much love

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    Getting Married!

    well I am back from a blogging hiatus! I have missed you all.. things have just been so hectic!
    Firstly I am now (officially) enagaged to be married to my Habi, S. (I should probably explain "Hobi" means "my love" in Arabic.)
    I'm sure this is no surprise to most of you :)
    The wedding will be on November 27th - soon! This is for a number of reasons - firstly after all we've been through we just want to be married. In fact we were going to elope for a while but then decided to do it "properly." I am finishing my post-grad studies this semster and God willing will be starting a new job next semester. It may well mean I am posted to a rural area and I won't have leave for some time. That plus crazy hours means I would have little time to plan a wedding and may be hours and hours (or even interstate) from my hometown and wedding place and even then I would only have a spare weekend to get married, have my wedding night and then drive/fly back! No thanks!
    So - given that we don't want to wait over a year to get married we decided to get stuck into it and plan a small nice little wedding for the end of the year :)

    So far I have the dress, veil, shoes, rings venue and church stuff sorted amongst other things.. but I still have a lot to go!

    The next four months are going to be insane.. as well as full-time study and my casual job waitressing, I have to plan a wedding, apply for jobs, fit in FOUR WEEKS full-time work experience and I am on the production team for a local newspaper.
    So please keep me in your prayers because it will be A LOT of work... I am praying I can keep on top of it all!
    Consequently blogging will be scant - so if I'm not 'around' that's why! :)

    Hope you are all well, God bless!

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Living in sin...

    After a question posted on my blog I just thought I’d clarify something. Habi and I are NOT in a de facto relationship/living together/having sex.
    I have been seeing him a lot especially the last few weeks because of everything we are going through. Normally I would see him every two/three days.
    Also when I write about him I sometimes write stuff that has happened to him but that I was not there for. When I tell a story I narrate it as he has told me.
    Often he stays at my house on Saturday night so our family can go to church together in the morning as he lives quite a while away from our neighbourhood. He sleeps in a separate bed and my family has no problem with it, nor our pastor. I also sleep at his house sometimes.
    When I say ‘our car’ that is because we co-own it. About 4/5 months ago I wanted to get a car and S/Habi’s car was a write-off. He lives a few minutes from uni and it was just as easy to take the bus and whenever he travelled further away (to a friends house, to a gathering) etc it was with me more often than not. Also the main transport issue was with us as we lived far away. So he suggested to me that since he also needed a car on occiason but not enough to warrant buying one, that we buy a car together so that we would be able to afford a better car with our pooled resources. Including our car my household has 3 cars and both of his flatmates have cars.
    Lastly I know it may seem weird, especially as many of my fellow bloggers are older and from other countries but here we have a large tight-knit group. We are always crashing on each others sofa’s visiting each other til late at night, having all-night study sessions etc. Many of us are international students and not all of us have cars. Religious gatherings (like iftar and suhur in Ramadan), birthdays, studying are all very communal. It is common to have a whole bunch of people in the house, some watching tv, others on their laptops, some cooking, someone sleeping in the bedroom and with people coming and going, either to go to uni to study (we have 24 hour labs), to pick up some fresh clothes or whatever. Some of these people are religious (christian, muslim, hindu etc) and some of the girls are hijabi – it really doesn’t matter. We accommodate accordingly.
    It may seem odd to some people but really we are like one big family. I have slept at the same place as S many times – at one point 8 members of the group were renting one huge house so it was always full! And this didn’t change when we fell in love.