10.5.03

I thought I'd seen everything there could be associated with this stuff. Now there's interactive software to interact with the books! Left Behind - Interpreting the Signs Is it too much to think that he is giving away all the profits? After all, you can't take it with you and the end is near, according to him.

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9.5.03

As I was in a bus today, I had plenty of time to look around at what I passed. We drove past a church noticeboard which really offended me.

Churches here can subscribe to a monthly poster for their noticeboards. This is usually a line drawing, cartoon style, and a caption. Today's said Use daily to prevent truth decay. Next to the caption was the picture of a squeezed toothpaste tube, labelled "Jesus." I can see the message intended, but other feelings overcame me when I saw it.

This comparison offends me. Jesus is NOT a half-squeezed tube of paste. He is the Son of God. There is so much I could write about who he is, and why he deserves our worship, that I cannot even start.

"Truth decay" is a fairly poor play on words. It's a phrase which has been around for many years, and it, to me, has lost any punch and originality it might once have had. The phrase is not even a take on any current advertisements.

The drawing is bland, banal and unattractive. More than unattractive, it was ugly. It was totally out of place with its background of an attractive nineteenth century, sandstone church. I could not find anything in it which I thought would attract anyone to follow its injunction or to want to find out more about Jesus.

It seems to me, and I hope I'm wrong, that the blandness, banality and unattractiveness of the poster simply mirrored much of today's Christianity. We are content with second best. We do not follow after excellence. We are happy to plod along with mediocrity. Bach composed a new piece of music each week for many years and taught it to the choir as a means of praising God. We still have the music and play much of it. How much of what is done today would last hundreds of years and still be fresh?

I don't write many posts such as this. My blog's name Shalom weighs heavily upon me at times. But true wholeness also encompasses integrity and I really feel the need to speak against this contentment with mediocrity. I also recognise that many times I am part of the problem and I feel uncomfortable in offering any criticism. God declared creation to be good. We have been gifted with imagination and creativity. Let's use them.




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Karen And Irene have been discussing romance lately. I found a shop today which might interest them. "The Romance Shop" in Chatswood, probably somewhat more accessible to Karen than Irene. Its windows advertised writers I have never heard of.

Actually, I don't really think either would be interested in the shop. I'm inclined to agree with them that this genre plays to selfish "feel good" emotions at the expense of others. As has been pointed out, such selfishness conflicts with the idea of love seeking the good of others, or one other if we are talking about marriage.

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7.5.03

I have held off commenting on the furore surrounding the Asutralian Governor Generl, Peter Hollingworth. I feel some pity for the man whose wife has just had an operation for breast cancer. the calls for his resignation grow.

When he was first appointed, I was pleased, as I had admired his work anong Melbourne's poor with the Brotherhood of St Lawrence. He had big shoes to fill. His predecessor, Sir William Deane, a devout Catholic, was much admired for his work as Governor General. There was criticism over the appointment of an archbishop to the post.

Some months ago allegations were made that Hollingworth knew of sexuall offences against minors by some priests. This week a report into this matter by the Brisbane diocese has been made public. In addition to the innuendo which was made some time ago suggesting the young girl was more at fault than the middleaged man, it has become apparent that in another matter, teh archbishop knew of serious offences against young boys by another priest. He did not report these. He seems to have been able to justify himself in different areas. One priest was "too close to retiring age' and it would be awkward for him and his family were he to be sacked!

I know that as a trained teacher, I am required by law to report any suspicion of child abuse. this also applies to ministers of religion and doctors. That is in this state and I imagine in others too. Certainly a moral obligation to ensure that the offender is investigated remains. Hollingworth did nothing.

As Governor General, he has done nothing to warrant sacking. However, his position is becoming increasingly untenable.

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Another session at rhe conference was taken by Dr Ken Parry who has been associated with the uni's dig at Zayton (Quangzhou) in south China. He had photos of many tombstones from the Mongol period, 1272-1368. the Nestorian Christian commuity which dates in China from the seventh century, show Buddhist influences in their work. Many of the stones had crosses, reminiscent of Celtic crosses. Almost invariably, they sat on a lotus flower. Some had eastern style umbrellas or pagodas over the cross, denoting importance. In others, the cross ws flanked by winged figures, some with eastern expressions on the face. Many of these had long plaits or curls extending down their backs. Similar have been found in India from much the same period. This suggests that the early Christians came to Zayton from northern China and Central Asia. I found this whole topic fascinating.

You can find more about these early Chinese Christians and the research being done here

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Last Saturday I attended this conference at Macquarie University . Each session had several options for attendance. I know next to nothing about much archaeology, so wasn't sure how much I would enjoy the conference. I had a great time. The keynote speaker, Dr Michael Trainor from Flinders Uni in Adelaide was particularly interesting. He is organising a joint effort by theologians, Bible scholars and archaeologists to the site of ancient Colossae.

An ex-priest, he spoke with pastoral concerns in mind as well as academic suggestions. He is concerned that we need to have an attitude of openness and humility in the search for truth and cultural meaning. What is the point of finding truth and not allowing it to impact our lives was his conclusion.

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I'm still catching my breath after minding two littlies for most of yesterday. The baby does not consider that sleeping is an option for her when she is out, so I spent a large part of yesterday amusing or holding her until she could hold out no longer and suddenly fell asleep on my shoulder.

Andrew, the four year old , was funny. I have some large shells. Some weeks ago my son told him that if he listened carefully, he would hear the sea if the shell was held to his ear. Yesterday he could hear a lot of things. Hhe heard a boy running into the water. He heard the dolphins,his favourites, being happy as they dived. He heard a very large wave..."Look out grandma, it will get you!" It was lovely to watch him.

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6.5.03

Entries have been few and far between lately. I was out both days of the weekend from early till late. I have been minding grandchildren because daughter-in-law has not been well. I hope things will settle down from this afternoon. Husband will be away for five days interstate from tomorrow, so I may have some time to myself and only my own schedule to consider.

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Australia's version of the skunk!

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