Bookmarked Shihad’s Jon Toogood reveals how love and the Christchurch attack made him rethink his staunch atheism (ABC News)

Jon Toogood built a career as frontman for the New Zealand rock band Shihad, infusing stadium-sized songs with his avowed atheism. But when he fell in love with a Muslim woman, he didn’t expect to wrestle with his identity and beliefs — and things he never saw coming.

Really enjoyed this podcast/article reflecting upon Jon Toogood’s conversion to Islam.

It was interesting to go back and relisten to The General Electric again with this in mind.

As a side note, I am intrigued to know how much swearing their was in his music thesis.

Replied to Good thoughts, good words, good deeds (

What if we were to nurture the good in any faith we have, be it a faith in God, a faith in humanity, or faith in ourselves to be loving, thoughtful, and kind. We are put on this earth for a relatively short time, how can we maximize the good that we do while we are here?

Great message David. This reminds me of a tale I saw posted on Twitter:

Bookmarked How Hillsong and other Pentecostal megachurches are redefining religion in Australia – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) (
  • Pentecostal churches are growing, while other Christian denominations are declining
  • The denomination began in Los Angeles in the early 1900s before arriving in Australia
  • Modern Pentecostals in Australia often embrace ‘prosperity doctrine’
Stephen Stockwell and Ruby Jones discusses the rise of Pentecostal churches, such as Hillsong. The popularity relates to the use contemporary music, the promise of the holy spirit and the hope of prosperity. It would seem that unlike more traditional movements, Pentecostal churches continually adjust with the time, such as a tech incubator. Pentecostalism grew from small churches in Los Angeles in the early 1900s and spread to Australia in 1920s. Although the tie between politics and religion is nothing new, Scott Morrison is the first Pentecostal leader.
Liked On Facing Hate (Reflecting Allowed)

I empathize with the Muslims who died in New Zealand both as Muslim who used to live as a religious minority in a Christian country and as Muslim in a Muslim majority country where extremists threaten other religious minorities.

So what do we do? As educators, as citizens, as parents, I believe strongly in promoting empathy, resisting “othering” and promoting a contextual, historical and intersectional understanding of social justice, and this can be an approach to digital citizenship, as I wrote a few years ago. And we need to “know the other” and keep expanding and deepening those ties and bridges.

Bookmarked January – Balinese Hinduism by Chris (

I spent nearly five week in Bali over the December/January period, so Balinese Hinduism seems like an obvious place to start. As part of Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country, Bali is a religious outlier with nearly 85% of the island’s population identifying as Hindu. Its version of Hinduism is a little different to that traditionally found in India, which is polytheistic (believing in many gods), and it has quite a different feel to the other Muslim parts of Indonesia. Balinese Hinduism claims to be monotheistic, with only one god, although it seems to me that in practice this is not always the case, based on so many different statues I saw everywhere. There were statues of Vishnu and Ganesha and many, many others that I didn’t recognise, so I’m not totally sure how the monotheistic thing applies.

In the first post of a new series looking at different beliefs, Chris Betcher reflects on his time spent in Bali their practice of Hinduism. This is more than Betcher’s attempt to write a Wikipedia page, instead he is open about the different customs and his particular experiences. In some ways this reminds me of John Safran’s documentary series, John Safran vs. God. I look forward to following this series throughout the year.