Monday, June 20, 2005

Fainting for a Cause

I've just been over to some of mission directors place for dinner - yummy pumpkin soup and very yummy chocolate pudding ... just right for a cold winter night. They are a couple who I have heaps of respect for - as I do for many of our directors. It is a real privilege to walk beside the people who direct, and are involved in, the missions that I'm responsible for; so many of them are such ace people and I really do have the utmost respect for them on many levels.

Tonight these guys told me what at one level is most definately not a funny story - but on another level is quite funny. They were sharing about Scripture Union and about mission at their church earlier in the year and just as they started sharing someone in the congregation fainted. What do you do? Keep going? Draw even more peoples attention to the person? Quite an awkward situation really. Makes you think what they said to cause someone to faint!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Queen's Birthday Long Weekend

A lovely weekend of many delights - and some sadness and grief too.

Starting with the sadness and grief - George, a pretty special guy at the church I worked at for a few years died on Friday. He's had a good life - 95 years of it, but will be sadly missed and St Thomas' and Puckle St, Moonee Ponds won't be the same without him. He was one of the people that I missed the most when I left St Thomas' a year ago, I had tears in my eyes when he was saying farewell to me and the few occasions I have seen him since have been qutie special. Definately someone with a heart for God and who encouaraged me both in my walk with God and on the path of ordination. There were definately times when his and my difference in age and perspective showed but it was very obvious that we were on about the same thing and that expression was what the difference was. He has lived through times that I only know something of by story and has lived through, and be gracious towards, enormous changes around him. One of my strongest memories of George will be the times when after my preaching he commented on my use of "I reckon ..." or "I think ..." and tell me that I needed to present things more strongly in my sermons - we had a little joke going about that. Goodbye George ... indeed, as we prayed the prayers in the Anglican prayerbook last night at the communion service I am regularly part, I was very thankful for this faithful departed one.

There has been other grief in the lives of friends and people in my community this week - which I can't really talk about ... but let me just say that my heart aches for others pain.

Friends from interstate have been a part of this weekend. Chris O, who I used to live with and Paul, who is also a good friend have been down from Newcastle, and I got to spend Friday with them, lovely relaxed day and great to see them. Also, Dave and Kel were down from Sydney and I got to catch up with them this morning. Lovely to see people from that part of my world.

I have spent time with a range of Melbourne friends an family this weekend too. Friday night, Trish and I organised a dinner party with a 7 Solace people at Camille and my house - very fun. Saturday night was a 21st which I popped up to briefly - for someone who has been coming around to our fortnightly Tuesday dinners where we explore our spiritual journeys a bit more. Sunday was the normal Sunday olace gathering, then jazz in the St Paul's, Fairfield church building where I got hang with good friends and others, then Bible reading with Gail and Tracy, then St Paul's evening service, then out with Dad for dinner! And today, I got to hang out with Mark who I work with and his wife Yvonne and daughters Esther and Jasmine. Loads of people in all of that!

Food has also been a big part of the weekend. On Friday night, Trish, Camille and I cooked a vegetarian curry, and we had cookies and cream ce-cream with Strawberries for dessert. As well as that some great red and white wine was enjoyed, as well as a Red Hill Estate Boytritis (others also finished the night with a Baileys, I refrained!). On Saturday, my housemate decided to try making rice pudding which we both love and we have been eating it ever since - most satisfactory! She made two different recipes and we have decided that we like Stephanie Alexander's more than Jamie Oliver's! Yesterday, we had the cafe next to St Paul's, Alfio's cater for the jazz afternoon and I had a lovely rigatoni, and then last night Dad and I went to Vegetarian Orgasm for dinner and I had a lovely Thai Stir-Fry after having samosas and spring rolls for entree. And today ... I had yummy soup for lunch, with homemade sun-dired tomato and olive bread. So my taste buds and stomach have had a very satisfactory weekend ... although I think I must be getting used to it, as I type my stomach is letting me know it's presence and asking me what I'm going to give it for dinner. Having had my work dinner appointment cancelled, I now need to answer that question myself, rather than telling my stomach that it will get what it is given!

Alongside all of that , I have continued reading both a book on Postmodern Children's Ministry and Join Me - thoroughly enjoying them both and have been thinking/praying about/priocessing many things which I may or may not write about it in some other posts. But for now I will leave you with the prayers based from some of Julian of Norwich that I am praying with my Anglican Prayer Beads that we made at our latest spiritual traditions night, seem quite an appropriate way to end and bring together all that the last few days have been in action, thought and prayer:

God of all goodness, give me yourself
For you are enough for me,
And if I can't ask for anything less that is to your glory,
and if I ask for anything less, I shall still be in want, for only in you have I all.

All is well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Here is a poem that I have read in various places in Cyberspace ... but when I read it today on Jonny Baker's blog I was reminded of wanting to post it myself. Indeed, risks and freedom are intricately related.

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feeling is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd, is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But the risk must be taken, because the
greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing,
has nothing and is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he
simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave,
he has forfeited freedom.

Parable of the Sower

This morning at Solace we looked at the Parable of the Sower - in fact we were invited to put all the sermons we'd ever heard about it out of heads and to read it for what it was and think about what it was about.

A few things fascinated me:

In Mark 4 - the passage we were looking at (haven't checked the others yet) - in the recording of the parable there is no mention in the Greek of seeds. It is just(kind of ... my tenses in Greek aren't necessarily up to scratch - but the idea is that seed is not mentioned) - The one who sows went out to sow. ... some feel among ... other fell among. Some listeners would have heard "seed" but those listening carefully would have heard that it wasn't there and wodnered about that.

Also - So often we think about what the sower sows as "the word" ... and think of that as "the message", "the news about Jesus" ... maybe the kingdom. And none of those are wrong necessarily. But it really hit me this morning that verse 14 in Mark 4 says: "The sowers sows the word" ... that word for "word" is the same word as in John 1 when Jesus is refered to as the Word. So have a think (and read) about the parable of the sower if the "word" that is sown is Jesus.
Interesting ...


Just want to say that I have finally finished my team budget for work - phew ... it's been a long process and no doubt will continue to be as the business manager comes back to me as he tries to do the same process with the whole organisations budget.

It's been a learning experience and one where I've really realised that actually once again it's one of those things that really you need to learn to do by doing.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


I've been meaning to send this poem to a friend for a few days ... but then decided that others might also enjoy it ... so I thought I'd post it here :)


by the wheel of the car
driving me to the next

by the tearing tensions
of demanding opposing
compartments of my life

by the fall
from the pedestal
on which I chose to stand

by disappointment
of those who thought me
strong and sure

by the impermeable silence
unseen waves of mute resistance
from life denying loss

by words of bitterness
and hatred
spewed from a dark
and unimagined
place within

by angry taunts
of those who would not hear
my fear full words

the glass-like
clarity of vision
into a thousand jagged
frosty fragments
splintering the ground

as bread is broken
broken to be shared
among us

to be healed

by Jean Clark
in “Be Our Freedom Lord”.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Losing your faith?

Here is a quote from Maggi Dawn's blog ... that sums up a truth that I know so deeply ... and one that I reckon we don't allow space for often enough:

"The experience of losing your faith, or of having lost it, is an experience that in the long run belongs to faith; or at least it can belong to faith if faith is still valuable to you, and it must be or you would not have written me about this. I don't know how the kind of faith required of a Christian living in the 20th century can be at all if it is not grounded on this experience that you are having right now of unbelief. "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief" is the most natural and most human and most agonizing prayer in the gospels, and I think it is the foundation prayer of faith."
Flannery O'Connor