10.1.04

BeneDiction has replied to a comment I left in the post about -47celsius in Canada and has asked the same question of me. How do we cope in the summer. Admittedly, the 47 celsius at White Cliffs here a few days ago is not the norm for all the state. However, it does get hot here and was over 40 in sydney a few days ago.

I am fortunate that I live only a few miles from the harbour. I also live on a hill facing east. Almost every aftrnoon we get a sea breeze here which is very pleasant. I open the back of the house and let the breeze in. However, this doesn't work on humid days such as today or especially in February. Ceiling fans are a wonderful invention and we have aircon in the bedroom so we can sleep. My son's whole house is airconditioned but this is not the norm here. I study the weather carefully, just as our northern friends do. If it promises to be extra hot, I open the house at night. We have bars on our lower windows, an unfortunate necessity in this area but it does mean I can leave the windows open. In the morning, I gradually close windows and blinds with the movement of the sun and heat.

Like Bene, I find that natural fibres are the best for clothes. Lots of cotton although on the beach rash suits are now worn by most children to aid the fight against skin cancer. Broadbrimmed hats, sunnies and "Slip, Slap, Slop" as the Cancer Council slogan goes. Slip on long sleeves, slap on a hat, slop on the sunscreen. We often spend the evening on the harbour foreshores in the breeze. Those further away sit on the verandah in the shade with a cool drink or in front of a fan. Sydney is humid because we are on the coast. I don't find the dry heat of inland too bad to cope with. I can remember mountain climbing at Orange when the temperature was only 32 celsius. The locals found it very hot, but to me it was dry and quite reasonable.

January is holiday time here and Sydney is in holiday mode. This makes the heat more bearable. In fact heat means holidays. People flock to the beach or take ferries on the harbour.The Sydney Festival is on with many open air, night time performances. Symphony under the stars, open air jazz concerts, outdoor opera etc draw thousands with their wine coolers and picnic baskets.

February is perhaps the worst month as it is not only hot but excessively humid. That is really energy sapping. I can remember lening against the board one afternoon when I was teaching. When I moved, there was a damp outline of my body, much like the chalk outlines drawn by police around crime victims. I didn't do that again in a hurry.

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Jon talks about what he calls "strategic friendships." I've been bothered for a while myself about what is known as friendship evangelism. It's been shown that strong personal relationships are a vital part of evangelism, but my query has always been about the validity of such relationships, if the friendship is set up solely for the purpose of evangelism.

This was brought home to me strongly the other night when listening to my husband pray. I really try not to criticise such things, but sometimes something pokes out so far I have to notice it.

We have a friend who used to regularly accompany us when we had a holiday place in the country. He stayed with us many times and always listened when we read the Bible and prayed with our sons. He rarely said anything about such things that I know of. Since his marriage and the birth of his children we have somewhat lost contact, although I used to see him when I visited a particular church. It was obvious to me that he had become a christian in the intervening years and I used to listen to him pray.

My husband has been trying to contact him by phone lately but he has been unavailable. Not surprising at this time of the year in Australia. Most people have holidays. So my husband was praying that he could re-establish his friendship so that he "could bring him to ask Christ into his heart." We don't bring people to Christ - God draws them to himself.

At the close of his prayer, I reminded him that this person was now a christian. "Oh," was his reply. "Well, now I won't have to chase him up." He had forgotten what I had told him some years ago. Surely, if a person is a friend, then he is a friend. To me, if friendships have an ulterior purpose, however worthy, then somehow the whole thing seems false to me. A friendship is a friendship. One of the spinoffs of a true friendship may be the opportunities to speak about Christ, but a friendship formed solely for that purpose does not seem right to me.

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9.1.04

One anagram for Britney Spears:Presbyterians

From Column 8 this morning.

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7.1.04

Speaking about Kim Clijsters at the Hopman Cup in Perth, ninemsn had this to say:
She was forced to withdraw from the much-anticipated mixed doubles match against her new finance Lleyton Hewitt to the disappointment of a record crowd at the Burswood Dome. ( My emphasis.)

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6.1.04

Chris McGillion, the religious affairs writer for the Sydney Morning Herald, reports today on a survey of web use in the USA. Over 126 million people, more than a third of all connected to the net, have used the web to access religious or spiritual data. That is a lot of people. Now of course, that begs the question - what is religious or spiritual data? It does not seem to be defined in the survey, so it may have been upto the respondents to include whatever they liked. 40% of users had looked for political information and almost 66% had searched for medical data.

There was also a small but significant number who accessed the net daily for religious information. Some suggested that this was a result of terrorist attacks on US citizens. While the number increased after 11/9, it has continued to increase. Age has a bearing too. People in the bracket 30-49 years were more interested than those in 18-29 year bracket. Statistics were spread across a range of socio-economic backgrounds. Length of time connected to teh net apparently increased the time spent on religious sites.

The survey suggested that religion related access will continue to grow. The article itself asked if the church is prepared for such a growth. This too is an open-ended question and is not qualified in the article. The last point raised was that of autonomy. Anyone can put anything up. Are we prepared for that also and what use will people make of the information they access? Blogs were not mentioned in the Herald's article at all.

Survey report can be found at Pew Research Centre of Washington

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