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February 28, 2005

It's birthday time!

It is birthday time in our household as our youngest reaches his 8th birthday. S loves any celebration, and even more so if it involves him receiving presents and being the centre of attention! He's been on our case for a digital camera for months.... today you can't wipe the smile from his face.

His proudest achievement on his birthday? He's now the same age as his sister - "twins," he says. And will be so for another three months. On the way to school he measured himself against the head rest and proudly announced how much he had grown.

S has come a long way from a very rocky start. I went to bed last night remembering the circumstances of his birth, the events of which are clearly imprinted in my brain.

So, at the age of 8, S is now 30 times his birthweight. Some achievement, huh? I'm not there yet (and hope I don't get to be!)

Posted by gary at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2005

A Generous Orthodoxy

It is one of the quirks of living in Australia that it takes some time before certain books reach our sandy shores, while others never quite get through immigration. I have recommended a number of books by Brian McLaren to other pastors and church leaders - particuarly A New Kind of Christian and The Story We Find Ourselves In, as they address pertinent challenges of church leadership and ministry in Australia. Unfortunately to gain access to these books in Australia requires importation. It was a pleasant surprise then, in the last week, to receive a copy of A Generous Orthodoxy, McLaren's most recent work.

It is interesting to read the level of controversy pertaining to these works, and to note how different topics raise the temperature of the debate in the US as compared to Australia. While one does not necessarily agree with everything McLaren writes, he is bold in addressing real issues facing the church as it moves further and further from the average person's mind as they face life's challenges.

The relationship of the Western Church to its context is a growing challenge, one which appears much more on the radar of the average Australian church leader than seems to be in the US. McLaren identifies key issues at the heart of this, and provides some intersting food for conversation. They make for easy reading and meaty dialogue.

I also noted that the third instalment in the New Kind of Christian trilogy is slated for imminent release in the US. But not Australia.

In the meantime, I am enjoying my first dips into A Generous Orthodoxy.

Posted by gary at 10:01 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2005

Futures Thinking

Spent a few hours this afternoon in some engaging 'futures thinking'. This always energises me and underlines how much we are both people of the future, and people of the past, as a dual level of interaction takes place.

For centuries society has operated on the assumption that the future can be taken for granted. But with the increasing pace of change, we need to be much more aware of what is happening within the society around us.

At some levels the term 'futures thinking' is a misnomer, as it is not merely a matter of reading the tea-leaves, but reflecting on existing trends and discerning where they might take us. Perhaps if we had done this more as a society - and even more so as a church - we wouldn't find ourselves in so many of the prevailing predicaments.

Jesus told his disciples that "the kingdom is breaking in upon them". It is this kingdom which is our future, and if we are to be part of it, we need to be much more reflective about its future shape, and how that compares with where we are heading now.

There aren't definitive answers, but we can clarify what is important to hold on to in the midst of it all.

I like the image employed by Leonard Sweet in "Soul Tsunami", where he reflects on the tidal wave of change engulfing the church. He invites his readers to consider ways that we might surf the waves of change rather than be swamped by them. In some senses, this is an apt analogy of futures thinking.

Posted by gary at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2005

Buildings

It was Winston Churchill who once said "We build our buildings and then our buildings build us", and this is never more apparent than in the church. We have inherited buildings designed for a form of community and a style of worship which no longer adequately adapts to the culture of our times. The way we are seated, the elevation and separation of leaders, the placement of musicians, the symbols and icons employed... all speak a powerful message to the congregation and places a powerful limitation on the ways in which we interact as a community.

At The Eighth Day, we are confronting this challenge in a very practical way. The original church building, constructed in the 19th century, was demolished in 1962. It was, at the time, the oldest church building in the area: built of bluestone. The cost of upkeep was becoming too much, and a council overlay meant it could well be demolished to construct a freeway. The church met in a local house until the present building was constructed in 1989. But now we are bulging at the seams.

This creates a challenge. Do we extend? Rent or buy another property? I have to admit I dislike dealing with such issues, an aversion reflected in Churchill's comment. We are aware of the subtle shift which takes place from care about people to care about property. While we can also positively create a new space which provides new opportunities, we will also unwittingly shape our community. Will it be for good or ill?

Church buildings... are they a blessing, a curse, or both?

Posted by gary at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2005

The Shaping of Things to Come

Our continued explorations about the shape of church in the present and into the future must lead us to ask fresh questions about theological themes: ecclesiology and christology are but two key challenges. Frost and Hirsch's book bearing this name raises questions we dare not ignore, but fails to address key questions of ecclesiology. Dare I suggest that it echoes a new form of christendom - rather than the demise of christendom - inasmuch as it suggests that there is one future shape, rather than many?

It may well be that trying to reshape the church by imposing different structures is akin to grabbing a dog by its tail. The shape of community flows out of the people gathered in community, and the purpose they share in common. We build structures around these things to keep the important aspects strong.

It really doesn't matter if you have a powerpoint, meet in a cafe, light candles, or sing hymns. There are other things more important, more fundamental about the cultures we create in our faith communities. Let me suggest a few discussion-starters...

The future shape of the church needs take into account (amongst other things):

People's increased levels of education and insight: Whereas historically the minister was the most educated (both theologically and otherwise) member of the church, it may not be true now.

People's desire to have greater input into the shaping of their futures: Empowerment in the context of community is important - not by force, but through giving people freedom and opportunity to contribute.

Time pressures: To expect people to 'be there' every Sunday at a certain time is unrealistic in this time-fluid culture.

The church's traditional focus on Sunday: Christianity in particular and spirituality in general has never been about what people do in a building for an hour or so on a Sunday. Jesus' focus was on the whole of life.

We continue to wrestle with this, both in the reality of what we do as a community, and in the ways we evaluate what we do. It is still tempting to run the ruler over Sunday as the only measure...

Posted by gary at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2005

Life in the Fast Lane

It was a scorcher today in Melbourne, so when the kids arrived home from school we ventured to the local swimming pool. It is part of the pool scene now that lanes are marked off for lap swimmers, and this pool was no different. Lanes display a sign for "Fast" "Medium" or "Slow" lap swimmers.

It was quite amusing then to watch our eldest son having sprint races up the pool with another young boy in the slow lane, while the swimmer in the medium lane out-paced the one in the fast lane.

Is there something wrong with the signs, or our perspective of ourselves?

Posted by gary at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2005

The Simpsons: There's Something About Marrying

Rev Homer Simpson conducts a wedding

In the latest episode of the Simpsons, shown in the US this past weekend, Homer becomes a marriage celebrant so that he can perform the wedding of a same-sex couple. Springfield changed its laws in relation to marriage in order to boost tourism. The episode was the subject of much speculation - as to which character was "coming out", and I won't reveal it here... you'll have to read the extended entry!

Conservative groups have echoed their ongoing complaints in relation to appropriate role models on television, but one has to look a little more skeptically at this episode: the matter of using gay marriage in an exploitative way, and whether the character in question underlines negative stereotypes of being gay, being just two of those drawn into focus.

Without having seen the episode, it's a bit hard to comment, but given the brilliance with which The Simpsons cuts through to give insightful cultural critique, it is likely to challenge some mainstream thinking on both sides of the argument.

WARNING! Reading the extended entry will reveal the Simpsons character who "comes out".

Patty Bouvier, Marge's sister is the one who declares her homosexuality.

If you want to read a little more click here

Posted by gary at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2005

Autumn

It's not yet autumn in Melbourne, but this quote gave me some food to chew on as it approaches:

"I think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep... Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go." - May Sarton, Journal of Solitude

Posted by gary at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2005

Review: Hotel Rwanda

We look back at the Holocaust when more than 6 million Jews were exterminated by the Nazis over the course of a few years and say it could never happen again. We believe that our media presence will make it impossible. Yet nearly one million Tutsis were slain by the Hutus in Rwanda in a period of a few months in 1994. And it did not happen unknowningly. The West stood by - even withdrew from the country - in order for it to happen.

Hotel Rwanda is a powerful movie. The true story of how one man did what he could in the face of an immense surging tide of genocide. The movie is not gory, but is certainly confronting. If this is the results of Western democracies at work - and it is a story which has echoes in other places - then we ought to be very concerned.

A film I would highly recommend.

Posted by gary at 07:54 PM | Comments (1)

February 19, 2005

Football's back!

Football returned to the forefront of Melbourne this weekend. Unfortunately my team continued where it left off last year. There were some signs of encouragement as Richmond actually got into a winning position before blowing it. After 14 losses to end last season, I am not sure whether I can be a little more optimistic for the coming season.

But something tells me I can book my September holidays without too much worry again this year.

Posted by gary at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2005

Heaven and Hell

You don't often hear reflection on these two ancient theological concepts in contemporary Australian church life - at least within the mainstream. One might pontificate on all the reasons why this might be so, but I would like to focus in on the futuristic notion often attached to thinking and proclamation through recent decades. When the church spoke of heaven and hell, it was usually framed within the question "What would happen to you when you die?"

Perhaps in bygone eras it could ignore the living hell which was many people's reality, but with the advent of news technology which spans the globe, we become acutely aware of the straitened circumstances many face, whether it be at a personal level, a communal level, even a national or continental level. In this context the idea of heaven as a future reward didn't seem to mitigate the living hell which many endure, nor did a future hell - with pitchforks and barbecues abounding - seem to be too high a price to pay for the pleasures of this life, particularly if it seemed that all one's mates were going to be there.

Jesus didn't seem to postpone either heaven or hell.

The Lord's prayer asks us to pray "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven..." In other words, part of the church's mission was to see heaven incarnated on earth (an eerie echo of Jesus' own life and mission).

There are still (too) many christians who believe that the only thing that matters is what happens after we're dead, and therefore pay no mind to the damage we do to other communities (we do tend to get up in arms when our own community is implicated), or to the creation as a whole. Why bother with Kyoto when we'll be in heaven? That sort of callous disregard for our fellow human beings seems to echo the religious attitudes which made Jesus angry.

Of course we are not God and cannot impose or enforce heaven. But then, neither did Jesus. The challenge is to bring heaven on earth without force, so that we might see more of earth in heaven. Jesus' attitude of service, of sacrifice and of surrender (sorry for the alliteration - still a preacher at heart!) doesn't hold much popularity in the messages of of the gospel, but are the example we need to try to depict - not just to show others, but first and foremost to incarnate the kingdom on earth.

Heaven can wait? No it can't! We have to begin incarnating it today.

Posted by gary at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

What a pleasant surprise in this morning's mail to receive two complementary tickets to an advance screening of Hotel Rwanda. I have read a couple of reviews of this film in the last ten days and was really keen to see it when it is released on February 24. Now I not only get to see it for free, but I get to see it this weekend!

Hotel Rwanda.jpg

In case you haven't heard of it, the film is set in Rwanda during the time of the genocide, in which over one million people were killed in less than a hundred days - mostly Tutsis at the hands of Hutus. The film is based on the true story of a Hutu Hotel manager who saved many Tutsi lives.

I'll let you know my reaction to the film.

Posted by gary at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2005

Computers and Church Growth

The editorial in the December 2004 edition of Christian Computing magazine reports statistics that show 97% of churches that read CCM record a growth in membership by conversion, over against the national average of less than 50% of churches. The editor goes on to deduce that "these churches must be seeking to use technology tools to expand their ministry". Interesting conclusion.

I wonder whether it is more an indication of the type of thinking which takes place in such churches rather than the use of technology per se. People who use computers as a regular part of their life are much more likely to be up-to-date with contemporary trends and more likely to utilise the sort of matrix thinking (as opposed to linear thinking) which computers and technology command.

Pikka Himanen, in his book "The Hacker Ethic" explores the culture which is associated with concentrated computer use, noting different ways of perceiving truth, different ways of determining what is right, and different approaches to challenges. The computer generation tends to see obstacles as challenges rather than barriers, are more likely to be adaptable and flexible in approach, and therefore more likely to engage in shared thinking rather than hierarchical notions of authority and truth. Perhaps this approach to engagement might explain the link above, rather than merely employing a powerpoint in a church service, or an Excel spreadsheet in the offic accounting.

Posted by gary at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2005

The Job Interview

This is one worth passing on...

The job interview went extremely well, but the applicant had an unfortunate tic which caused the interviewer to hesitate in offering the job. A salesman with such a tic was of dubious value. Aware of the problem, the applicant drew his attention to it: "I know I have a problem with my eye. It winks involuntarily, but I can fix it."

With that, the young man reached into his pocket and emptied the contents onto the desk in front of him: eight condoms and a packet of aspirin.

"I'm sorry," said the interviewer, "We cannot tolerate a culture of sexual promiscuity in our work environment."

"No," said the applicant, "it's not what it appears. The aspirin will stop the tic, but have you ever tried to ask a chemist for aspirin while you are winking?"

Posted by gary at 07:00 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2005

Celebrity Millionaire

Shane Warne the first winner of the million-dollar prize in Australia's 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire'? While it might be tempting to think that Warnie is not only talented on the cricket field, he was in fact partnered by Quiz King Dr Trevor Sauer. Which only goes to show that it isn't what you know but who you know that counts most. Perhaps Warnie should have been listening to more 60s music... his charitable foundation would be $500,000 richer if he had known the answer to this question:

Which song was the first of a string of number 1 hits for the Supremes?

a. Baby Love b. Stop! In the Name of Love c. Where did our love go? d. You can't hurry love

Warnie and Trev passed on the question... Click on the link below to check whether you answered correctly...

The correct answer is:

c. Where did our love go?

Posted by gary at 10:15 PM | Comments (2)

February 13, 2005

Floods cause a fall in the river level

Exploring around Victoria's Surf Coast on the weekend caught us by surprise: after the recent heavy rains which have inundated both Melbourne and the Coast, we were astounded to find a dramatic drop in the river level in Torquay. It did not take us long to find the cause.

Spring Creek broadens out into a small lake (I'm being generous) near its mouth, and often does not flow into the sea. The sand build up at its mouth creates a largely stagnant billabong where it should empty into the sea. Only once in recent years have I seen it breached: a small rivulet only a matter of centimetres wide and of less than ankle depth ran across the sands to the sea. Not this weekend. A fast flowing stream, still less than a metre deep and a couple of metres wide, emptied into the sea. Although there had been no rain in the week since we had last seen it, the surge of water from upstream had cleared the mouth of the river. The beach has been significantly reshaped by the consequent flow.

Our attention was drawn to it by the much dropped level of the river a hundred metres or so upstream. The flood plains of the previous week were gone. The high tide now journeyed some way inland, entering the previously stagnant billabong and dumping seaweed much further up the beach, which itself was much less steep than before.

Cleansing storms. Unpleasant. Turbulent. Threatening. But cleansing.

Maybe the hard times in our life have potential to bring a similar cleansing in the aftermath of the turbulence.

Posted by gary at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2005

Naming Your Child

It seems that Victorian parents have been finding children's names at the local shopping precinct. The 1990s recorded a surge in the number of children bearing the names of multinational company logos: Lexus, Pepsi, Nike, Chanel and Versace, for example. While the phenomenon is not new - witness the emergence of Mercedes as a name in the 1930s, and the number of Lisa's emerging after Elvis married - the trend towards a global consumer culture has meant people calling their children after popular consumer items, including Mars and Sony.

While most names gravitated exclusively to one gender, there were the occasional variations, including a male Nike, a female Sony, and a split for Lexus, according to birth statistics.

Speaks a lot about where we find the source of identity.

Posted by gary at 09:31 PM | Comments (1)

February 11, 2005

Public Theology?

The emergence of "public theology" is a consequential development of the marginalisation of the church from culture, such that the church now has to argue a place for theological reflection within both professional and public deliberations on social and ethical issues. It is born of the notion that the technical language of theology is not relevant, or too nuanced, to be of any general benefit. Theology, by definition, is the viewpoint of a marginalised and narrow viewpoint which no longer holds place in the mainstream marketplace of the West.

If we view theology as a technical language to be spoken, such a perspective has particular validity. I would argue, on the other hand, that theology's roots is not so much in a language as related to a way of seeing. In that sense, theology has as much relevance in the broader market of ideas as any other technical field.

The challenge for public theologians is two-fold:
1. To justify a place in the public dialogue
2. To find language which connects with that dialogue, yet still articulates the values and ideas which are apprehended from theological reflection.

It is not good enough to simply demand that others adopt the language and perspective which the church holds. We are a particular subculture with our own symbolism, imagery and technical language. It is incumbent upon the church to examine the symbolism, imagery and technical language of the broader community and its subcultures in order to find points of connection and points of entry.

Why is it the church's responsibility?
a. We are largely marginalised and treated with suspicion for having a narrow agenda. We need to demonstrate our willingness to dialogue.
b. It is part of our mission: to share the gospel with the world, we need to do the work which makes it accessible.
c. It is our heritage: evidenced in the ministry of Jesus and Paul, who borrowed, reshaped and redefined many images of their time.

But there is an underlying premise in the term "Public Theology" which disturbs me. It implies a private theology, and suggests a dualism which is not present in the gospel. The kingdom of God has a place in every sphere of life: from the bedroom to the boardroom, from the private garden to the public park, from the family to the stranger. Theology must have relevance and relativity to every aspect of life. Theology in the public space must grow out of and feed back into theology in other places.

We need to learn a new language so that we might express some old realities in means which all can access.

Posted by gary at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2005

When we are ruled by fear

Even the simplest act is brought under suspicion.

Posted by gary at 01:07 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2005

To think theologically

What does it mean to think theologically? What does it mean to have a christian perspective? For some the answer is intrinsically linked to the language and symbolism employed. Unless key words and phrases (or biblical references) are littered through an articulation of the perspective, it lacks any theological or christian insight.

I would argue that, rather than words, phrases and images, it is more akin to a lens through which one looks. When I think theologically, I ask a question such as "Where is God in this?", or "How does this reveal something of the eternal?". A christian perspective might be viewed through the life, teaching, death and/or resurrection of Jesus.

In some senses, every expression of perspective implies a theological grid through which the situation is read, just as - for me - my view of life and the world is shaped by being a Westerner. Although I seek to understand the life of an African or Asian, or even for that matter a European or American, I do so through the eyes of a Westerner, and an Australian one at that.

Part of the spiritual journey then seems to be related to understanding what shapes our perspectives on what we see: to know where we sit and how it shapes the view that we get. Such a description underlines the need for the perspectives of others, and indeed the "Other".

What do you think?

Posted by gary at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2005

How to Divorce your Partner

Fall in love with him/her in an internet romance

Posted by gary at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

How to avoid the Death Penalty

Simply want to have your death penalty carried out...

It seems that Michael Ross hates being on death row (where he has been for 10 years) and wants his execution to be undertaken without delay. It is this, in part, which makes a U.S. judge want to hear more about his mental capacity, and has resulted in his scheduled execution being put on hold. In the U.S. mental illness prevents the death penalty, so Michael Ross might have to want to live in order for the state to execute him.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/01/24/connecticut.execution.ap/

Ross would be the first person executed in New England in 45 years.

Is there something absurd about this line of thinking, or is it just me?

Posted by gary at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

Cleansing Rain

It may be the middle of summer here in Melbourne, but we have recorded about 25% of our average annual rainfall over the past week. Rivers are rising, beaches are being transformed... and closed. With so much rainwater entering the river system, a huge amount of debris is being washed into the water and reaching the beaches. As a result, there were 24 beaches closed yesterday because of pollution concerns. The cleansing rain has, in fact, brought society's dross to the forefront: the litter on our streets washed into the storm water drains, down into the rivers and out into the bay.

When new movements commence, this is always the pattern: the rising tide catches up the refuse and pushes it along at the front. When we decide to get our weight under control, we find ourselves more focussed on the foods we want to avoid; smokers feel that stronger craving; bad habits we are trying to change seem much stronger in their pull. If we judge it on the initial phase, we are liable to give up in despair, and perhaps even end up feeling worse about ourselves.

When winter is drawing to an end, we take to our roses with the secateurs. The immediate result bears uncanny resemblance to dead twigs poking out of the ground. But now, as summer is in full swing, these same plants are in full bloom, their glory on display.

Whether it be diets, habit changes, changes in family routines, or new movements in spirituality, we ought be careful about evaluating success in the early stages. Nature's patterns give us insights into the human pattern.

Posted by gary at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2005

To Be Human

Over the past two weeks we have been reflecting in "Sacred Space" on what it is to be human, talking of potential, and growth, particularly as it relates to being "fully human". But last night we had a question from out of left field: "Should we always be trying to improve?"

The thought has its roots in the corporate culture which expects you to be continually developing skills, often on your own time. To be satisfied with where you are seems almost sacreligious in this self-actualised world. There are so many self-help books and seminars that to question this culture is bordering on sacrilege. But the question remains... Should we be forever seeking to improve?

Our discussion began as we considered Paul's injunction to the Corinthians about excelling in faith, knowledge, love, etc... and spent time pondering the areas we might consider being stretched in 2005. Coupling this reflection with Tiepolo's image of Christ leading Peter, James and John up the mountain (See this week's image of the week), we pondered those aspects of ourselves which make us baulk at the bid to climb a mountain.

At the end of it all, the question was raised. Many professions are requiring people to work ever longer hours, with further 'personal development' to be undertaken outside of work, so that there is less time for the very fabric of life: family, friends, leisure, recreation. It brought our discussion back a full turn to the question once more "what does it mean to be human"?

We intend to return to this afresh next Sunday evening. Do you have any thoughts to throw in?

Posted by gary at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2005

Sometimes losing is winning

German boxer Max Schmeling died on Wednesday at the age of 99. Schmeling famously knocked out Joe Louis in a bout in 1936, which made him the darling of the Nazi regime. Schmeling refused to join the party but remained subject of much propaganda until a rematch in 1938 which Schmeling lost in a first round KO.

Schmeling himself declared in 1975 that he was, in hindsight, "almost happy" to have lost the second bout because of the way he would have been feted by the Nazis and inculcated into their cause. Schmeling, for his own part, did much which would have alienated the Nazi agenda, hiding two Jewish boys in 1938, maintaining a Jewish-American manager, and after the war supporting Louis financially, as they maintained an ongoing friendship.

A boxer with integrity and compassion... and a bout which, though lost, was a win.

Posted by gary at 08:25 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2005

Emerging Church???

While I am sympathetic to the aims of the emerging church movement, and firmly in tune with the rationale which drives it, I continue to ponder the paradox of it all. The rubric under which it organises itself "Emerging Church" suggests that it is the new institution growing up to replace the old, which seems strange when it is the institutional aspect of church which is its greatest impetus. There is also an implicit suggestion that there is one model.

Have we placed the cart before the horse? Is our goal to design a new institutional framework for church in the 21st century? Or is the framework something which grows up to support an existing dynamic? Ought we be aiming at community first and structure second?

Which prompts the question: how do we build community? Do we build it by setting an agenda and asking people to respond, or by seeking to add vitality to something which is already present? Community is not some vacuous notion or expression - it always grows within a context.

When I read the gospels through these lenses, I see Jesus adding vitality to images of life which were already exigent. "A sower goes out to sow" is a depiction of life for a first century Jew. Jesus gives the action symbolic meaning in relation to God and His kingdom. It is not an isolated incident.

And while Jesus intentionally called a small number to be with him, there was a much larger community which gathered. It almost appears as a byproduct. People were intrigued and entranced by what they heard and saw. (I know the gospels comment on people's response to his teaching, but also look at how much they respond to what they were seeing: was community part of this also?)

Christian faith is a communal expression, so it follows that the better sense of community that emerges, the better expression of christian spirituality.

The question then becomes, not how do we do "emerging church" but how do we build better christian community?

Or am I making an artificial distinction?

Posted by gary at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2005

Super Bowl Champions

The battle will be on this weekend in Jacksonville Florida for the title of Super Bowl XXXIX Champions, but will the real winners be the ones on the field or off it?

The official superbowl web site offers an opportunity to vote for the classic superbowl commercial of all time. Pepsi has bought into the act big time with its Super Bowl Concert series. And there are myriad links to purchase Super Bowl merchandise. Heck, they are even trotting out some NFL greats to sing in a special commercial!

In addition, networks have been sifting through commercials to ensure it is all 'squeaky clean', even deleting one which has an ordained clergyman getting excited over a new car (because it offended some people), at the same time ensuring that there is no "wardrobe malfunction" repeat of Justin Timberlake and LaToya Jackson in 2004 - Paul MacCartney will see to that! The half-time entertainment is as important as the game itself.

And I still haven't mentioned who's playing!

So who will be the Super Bowl XXXIX champions? Aside from the Patriots on the field over the Eagles, there will be more than a few people celebrating their wins!

BTW, how many Super Bowl Champions of the last decade can you remember? I'll bet you can remember last year's half time 'malfunction' though!

Posted by gary at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2005

Melbourne Weather

The fabled Melbourne weather has been at work again. Tuesday's top was 36 C, while yesterday's maximum reached only 12.9 C, and was accompanied by record rainfalls of over 120mm for the day. In 24 hours we went from air conditioners to heaters, from shorts to jackets.

We arrived at school this morning to be told that it had been cancelled - a tree had brought down power lines, leaving the school without power, so no classes.

Following on from last week's electrical storm on the Surf Coast, which itself was at the end of a 37 C day, we have experienced some wonderful extremes of weather.

I suppose that's why it's said of Melbourne, "If you don't like the weather, just wait ten minutes..."

Posted by gary at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2005

Which Literature Classic are you?

The name of the rose
Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose. You are a
mystery novel dealing with theology, especially
with catholic vs liberal issues. You search
wisdom and knowledge endlessly, feeling that
learning is essential in life.


Which literature classic are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by gary at 01:47 PM | Comments (1)

February 01, 2005

Being John Malkovich

Still returning from time to time to ponder last night's movie. I can see why the movie created such a furore among critics, raising many interesting questions of identity and personality. It was certainly a movie which provoked strong feeling, even if people had difficulty articulating their response.

Posted by gary at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

The alternate path...

I decided to take a different road on my way to Kilvington this morning. Turned out to be a long way for a short cut! However, it was great to break up the journey, to see new things, to be surprised at outcomes (yes, it did require a few adjustments).

While routine can be liberating (consider the training routines of elite athletes), they can also be stifling, or cut us off from seeing and experiencing other beautiful things. While it might have been quicker to go the usual route, the change was refreshing.

Posted by gary at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

September 2011
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