12.2.03

This is my last post till next Tuesday, Aussie time. I've been offered the chance of a few days up the coast. A very unexpected and welcome surprise as things have been stressful here. I'm minding my 2 year old grandaughter tomorrow and going from there to Forster. The place is right near the beach and I am very grateful to be able to get away. See you later. You mighn't recognise me then. I hope to be slightly tanned and certainly more relaxed.

|

Shane Warne, Australia's spin wonder has been sent home from South Africa because of a positive drug test. He has vowed to clear his name and says he took a diuretic pill his mother gave him! Now either he is lying and the diuretic was to mask something else, or he is incredibly stupid. Someone called him naive. I don't see how that can be. These men are professionals and make their living from playing cricket. They earn a lot of money. They surely know the dangers involved in just taking something someone gives them. It may in fact be a relatively harmless drug for most people. Not for professional athletes who must regard everything with suspicion. Samantha Riley took a headache tablet her coach gave her, not knowing it had a prohibited substance in it. Warne hasn't exhibited naivety in other behaviour, although he has certainly done some pretty stupid things.

|

Many plaudits here for the two cricketers from Zimbabwe who are wearing black armbands in the World Cup for the death of their beloved country under Mugabe. They, along with their families, face real danger because of this courageous stand.

|

11.2.03

I've just been skimming through my local paper and seen many advertisements from small shops, all cashing in on the Valentine's Day possibilities. There's much I could say about the day itself, its origins and its modern rise to fame.. It was bad enough when the major sponsors appeared to be just Hallmark and the local florists' association. That goes into the "how to trade on a person's guilt" or "here are some unsubstantiated promises for you" type of thing. There was plenty of that. Outweighing this, however, was the heavy emphasis on love as basically just associated with sex.

There were advertisements for accommodation, complete with spa and champagne and chocolates. Lingerie figured highly in the ads too. Lots of ads for restaurants, many of which featured text full of double meanings. There was an ad for a recipe book. The reviewer noted that it was full of "sexy bons mots." The Good Living section of the paper featured recipes under the heading of "Love Bites."

I'm no prude or wowser out to spoil fun for other people. I'm no gnostic either, separating the physical and spiritual realms. I do however, think that this is a very onesided view of love. There is a lot more to love than sex. There needs to be a balance, as there needs to be a balance in all aspects of life. And this is not to mention that sex should be reserved for marriage, something which is often not adhered to even by Christians.

The euphoria of those who are into casual encounters, or sometimes even more serious liaisons, often falls apart at the first sign of trouble. Any sleep deprived parent of a baby or young child can tell you that sex is often far from their mind and yet, a loving act can lift the spirit. A cup of coffee, getting the washing off the line, taking the baby for a walk are all acts of love. Love is being a support in trouble. Love is unselfish. Love is sacrificial. Just as with God's love, we see love by what it produces. Marriage, the sanctioned place for sex, where we can rightly speak of "making love," is based on love. "For better, for worse" through thick and thin. I know far more about the "thin" in the last ten or twelve years than I want to. I don't often delve into the depths of my own heart as I am not sure I want to confront what I think may be there.

However, I am sure of this: those who fall for the line being pushed in these advertisements will find themselves deceived and short changed.

|

10.2.03

and now for something different ( a second time)
Not sure what has happened. Both these links work if I use my address bar, but not from blogger. Cut and paste if you wish.
www.404lounge.net

oneword.invisibleland.tv

Blogger ate the last part of the post below and has eaten a [ around the edit function. I can't fix it, so will try again.
Tired of those 404 errors? Have a look here. True to form, some of the links will give 404 errors, but the rest are a bit of fun.

Write for 60 seconds on the Word of the Day.

|

And now for something different.
Tired of those 404Errors? Have a look here. True to form, the 404 message will come up on quite a few of the links, but the rest are a bit of fun.

And a different sort of fun. Write for 60 seconds on the

|

9.2.03

For those of you who have been following the Enneagram results over at Darren's living-room, here is a link to an Online test based on Jung - Myers-Briggs typology. I find that in the Enneagram, I am usually an investigator and sometimes a reformer. Myer-Briggs always gives the same result, both when I've done these free tests and when I've had a test administered by someone trained in the area. I'm INTJ. What about you?

|

And while I'm grumbling, here's another one. Hopefully then, I'll have got things out of my system.

I spent last week away at a camp, teaching very basic rules of exegesis. I used as an example of bad exegesis a sermon I once heard. Here the pastor equated "leaving one's first love" with not doing communion "properly" as it was done in the first century. He reached this conclusion like this: Communion is sometimes refered to as "lovefeasts" in the NT. Always in the plural when used like this. The verses in Revelation use it in the singular and there is obviously no reference to communion.

I heard another today, in my own house. I had already been abused for my views on Iraq. Surprisingly, my 84 year old mother-in-law, who thinks the sun shines out of her son who can do no wrong, backed me up. She then went on to say that all her life she had voted Liberal but she didn't know what to do in any future election. My husband jumped into the gap. He mentioned the parable of the sheep and the goats where the goats were sent to the left and to hell and the sheep were sent to the right. This, he said was a clear indication of what an Australian should vote. First off, the parable has absolutely nothing to do with any form of voting and not every detail in a parable is to be allegorised any how. Voting in first century Palestine? It's the broad picture which is important.

He insisted that the left meant Labor (political left) and the right meant Liberal. Absolutely nothing I could say made any difference and I was just getting more and more abuse, so I stopped. I find it highly unlikely (sarcasm) that this parable has been sitting there in Matthew for 2000 years or so, just so that voters in Australia would know they would go to hell if they voted Labor. Even mentioning other Christians who were in the Labor movement or who were labor supporters would not change his view. Goats went left and left meant hell.

|

Lots of interesting ideas here at signposts. I'm going to come back for a better look tomorrow. Link from Darren.

|

A few gripes today. I thought I'd blog them and see if others have problems with them, or if there is something wrong with the way I am looking at things.

|

Am I the only person who is bothered, and yes, annoyed, by this sort of thing?

I am increasingly disturbed by the tendency of many churches to accept as a preacher anyone who is floating through the city. Often these people are invited to preach without anyone having heard them first. Sure, a real gem can be found sometimes. Sometimes is the word. Very often they know they will have a collection taken for them and won't be back for a long while. They usually ask for some money and often accommodation for a while. The early church also had a problem with this and the Didache has sugggestions for dealing with them. I was once listening to a Pentecostal man speaking at a Bible College. He described these people as "wandering, mendicant, Pentecostal friars."

It's not only this practice which bothers me. I see an increasing tendency to give place to the well-known or to those with a dramatic testimony to tell. Next week we are to hear a man from the USA preach. He belonged to a wellknown group inciting racial hatred and had risen through its ranks to a position of power. He became a christian after attending a largely black church and now travels the world preaching reconciliation. We are all called upon to be ministers of the message of reconciliation. We are all sinners.

However, it is the dramatic which engages peoples' attention, not the story of the gentle man down the street who realised that while he hadn't murdered or raped, he was still guilty in God's eyes. I can see that some people may come to hear a "name." What I also see is that many times these meetings are not really promoted to outsiders.

My husband is the state president of a group which puts out two magazines. One is an Australasian version, the other comes from the states. Both are full of testimonies. Again there is nothing from "ordinary" people. They are all dramatic, painting their lives in the blackest of colours where Paul just calls himself the "chief of sinners" and moves on. After conversion, they all seem to have lived lives where there were absolutely no problems. They changed immediately, every aspect of their behaviour was now totally in line with God's will. They had no problems at all, ever. Talk about triumphalism

Reading the New Testament presents a different picture. Paul has a theology of the cross. He would not even boast of being caught up to heaven. We have gone the opposite way. Unless a person is well known or perhaps a sporting star, we do not pay attention to what is said. We have our heroes, as does the world. We seem to ignore Scripture. The first few chapters in 1 Corinthians are conveniently forgotten. It does not say there are no wise, no famous among God's people. It says few. We have inverted the values of Scripture. We have forgotten that though he were rich beyond all telling, all for love's sake became he poor.

|

According to the data from the last census, the district where my church is situated has the highest proportion of people who call themselves artist/musician/dancers etc of any district in the country. We have a good creative arts group and some very good musicians. In fact this small church has a large group of people talented in these fields. They are now looking into even more ways to use the group, not only in church meetings, but also outside. We've had a few jazz nights in a cafe which were well received.

Many of the group are students or graduates of Wesley Institute for Ministry and the Arts.

|

As we drove to church this morning, I noticed a bus shelter advertisement for LG fridges. Big stainless steel things with a TV screen on the door. Ad said, "Now you can surf the net, make phone calls and watch TV all from your fridge." What??? Apart from cost and repairs, if I'm in the kitchen cooking, I don't want to be doing any of those things.

Now...if the fridge had iris recognition and wouldn't open except to authorised personnel, I can certainly see a demand by families with teenage boys. I can remember feeding three ever-hungry, ever-growing teenage boys and never being sure just what was left in the fridge. Not only were there three of my own, but all their friends who regarded this place as home too.

|