15.10.03

Let's accept everyone. All inclusive ordination.

|

14.10.03

I saw today that Richard has linked to George Bush's blog. It seems that contrary to popular opinion, John Howard has a sense of humour. His blog appeals to many Australians with its laconic humour. (Actually rumour has it that it's written by a ghost writer.)

|

we don't learn, do we
Some years ago, when I was studying agriculture, we used to spend a week travelling the state and inspecting different farms. We had spent the afternoon at a piggery just outside one of our largest country towns, so were glad to have a shower at the camping ground before looking for a meal. Several of the guys had changed into wool polo neck jumpers, and a sports coat and trousers. Very "rah-rah" clothing, seeing as this is World Cup time. We were refused entry to the local Returned Soldiers Club "because the men did not have a collar and tie." And this happened not so very long ago. We later ate Chinese provided by a cafe owner who opened after his normal times as he recognised a good business deal when he saw one.

At the weekend, Ireland was playing at an oval at Gosford, a central coast town a bit over an hour north of Sydney. Hungry and thirsty Irish supporters tried to get into the local club. "Where was their identification?" "No problem," they replied producing Irish passports and driving licenses. The club refused to accept these, and they were out on their noses. Really great public relations and poor business sense as well.

|

For a few hours yesterday, Sydney Harbour was home to two adult humpback whales and a younger calf. Then they left, heading south to the Antarctic for our summer. It was an unusual sight, the three of them under our Bridge and outside the Opera House. National Parks and Wildlife officers patrolled in boats to ensure the public was kept at a distance. Then the whales retreated through the heads and turned south.

|

12.10.03

The Rugby World Cup is being played all over Australia for the next six weeks. I saw in the TV guide that Scotland was playing Japan at Townsville in the Dairy Farmers Stadium. Dairy Farmers? Not the liquid I would associate with Rugby.

|

I've just returned from a weekend in the Blue Mountains. Here are some more photos. Had a great time although it was much colder than I was expecting at this time of year. Weather was great, food good and company wonderful. My friend and I met an old friend whom we haven't seen since his ordination some years ago. His first parish was many hours from here, but he now pastors a parish with three churches in the mountains.

We went to one of the churches thinking he would be there. Unfortunately, he was coming only for a congregational meeting as he was preaching at one of the other churches first. This congregation was small, much too small for the church. The welcome was warm and the person taking the service was very friendly and open with that candour and warmth found in many country people. The sermon was heartwarming, even if I prefer more meat. Our friend, who was not expecting us, slipped in at the end and stood behind us for the final hymn. It was very good to catch up. We used to do lots of work for Scripture Union with him. What a surprise when we turned around. Lots of talking.

Have you ever sung Just as I am, without one plea as an opening hymn? We did today.

|

Bali - Australia remembers
Today is the first anniversary of the terrorist bombing in Bali in which 202 people were killed. Eighty eight of them were Australians, some still in their early teens, on holiday with their parents. I grieve the loss of the potential in these and I grieve the atmosphere which brought it about. I think the event changed Australians, at least a large proportion of us. We have had little experience of war, I'm a baby boomer myself and my Dad was in World War II. We've been through campaigns in Vietnam, a sorry mistake on our government's part. We've sent peacemakers all over the world, how ironic is that. Bali struck home because it was close to home, for many the overseas trip they had been eagerly anticipating. It has made us as a nation more apprehensive. More attention is paid here in Sydney to securtiy. This cuts across much of what we used to feel was our carefree way of life.

However, the survivors and families of Bali speak of finding strength in another part of life here - the solidarity which we feel as a nation, the old fashioned expression of mateship. When the ceremonies are over and life has to go on, it will be values such as this which help us.

|