27.3.04

The post below had scarcely been published when I received quite a few emails from different people about it. Some of them suggested what I should do with the post, others were more personal. As we had a family gathering here last night, I was unable to address them then, but spent time concocting various clever but veiled replies which I could post here this morning. My thoughts were reinforced when I did some further reading and was disgusted at some of what I read.

This morning I feel differently. I feel that responding would place me at the same level as many of the comments I read. While I hope that I could express myself better than some of the muck-raking, mudslinging barbs I read, I want to also answer Dean Peter's plea in his cache at blogs4God the other day. Some commenters seemed to have not seen this cache or to have chosen to disregard Dean's plea for unity.

All of us read through filters of our experience and preferences. We write the same way. Part of good exegesis is recognising this and working around this. What is written by one person may well not be read in the same way as the author intended. Those who write and those who read need to remember this.

Later... Thanks to Dean for the link to his cache. I was in a hurry the other day and couldn't find it quickly.

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26.3.04

I was saddened a couple of days ago when I read Richard's post and followed his link to the original article. Since then, there have been many comments left from differing viewpoints. I hesitated to comment at the time, I'm only small fry here, nowhere near Josh Claybourn's status, but I feel I need to say something. I found his comments disturbing and unsettling. To many this man was the epitome of evil. I have no problems in believing that he orchestrated many acts of evil and terror. However, to make what seems like a flippant comment as he lay dead, grates on my feelings . I am trying hard not to judge the act by which he died. Whether I agree with it or not is beside the point here. It has happened.

I am saddened that it certainly appears that a Christian is gloating over the death of this man. And gloating in a very ugly manner, or so it seems to many of us. Such jesting and gloating serves to arouse sympathy for the deceased and to demean the jester.

This morning Bene Diction also raises the matter. Again there are many comments left on that blog. I felt I could no longer stay silent, that I should have spoken out days ago.

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25.3.04

addressing the issue
I thought I'd touch base with you all again. Basically, we need to address the issue. Literally, here is an awesome list in terms of plain English. It's not rocket science to be able to think outside the box and to be honest with you, I hear what you are saying about this matter. It's a real value added matter. Absolutely!

Ouch! What NOT to say.

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23.3.04

want to be a jackaroo?
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, our national broadcaster, is auditioning for a new show along the lines of Frontier house. It will be set in a sheep station in western new South Wales and succesful applicants will run the station for over three months as if it were 1860. This was a time of money and gold. Jobs were plentiful. They are looking for families, stationhands, a governess.

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22.3.04

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Childhood treasures
Childhood treasures? Now that's a wide ranging topic indeed. There is just so much I could write about.

What about the little picture I have hidden away in a drawer? Beautifully framed, it shows a little Dutch girl watering brightly coloured tulips. It's made from different coloured foils. Or perhaps it is the brooch given me by a royalist grandmother. It is a small book which opens to show small photos of the Queen. Certainly not my style now, in many ways. Here's a bunch of old school photos, all of us looking straight at the camera, eyes ahead and a fixed expression on our faces.

These and many more such things are indeed childhood treasures. But they raise something much more precious - memories.

Moments in my grandmother's bed with her in the early morning when she bribed me with sixpence if I could lie still for just five minutes without wriggling. Now I have my own grandaughter wriggling next to me. Days at the Royal Easter Show with the same grandmother as we sat up in the grandstand watching the displays by the mounted police as we ate liquorice from our showbags.

I can see me standing on the bridge over the creek at the beach playing Pooh sticks with my brother and sister and can feel the hot sand as we crossed it to our favourite rock. Pineapple juice Paddle Pops dripped down our chins in the heat at morning tea time.

A precious treasure is the sight of my dad swinging the billy can in a circle to settle the tealeaves for mornng tea as we went on picnics in the mountains. His family came from over the mountains and he had a wealth of local knowledge of both characters and places that were wonderful for us as children. We relived his childhood as we went picking blackberries in February or pushed aside treeferns to look at waterfalls.

Dad was a teacher and I attended the school where he taught. He would sometimes work back doing marking or preparation. I would play outside while I waited for him. I would play catchings, throwing my ball against the high wall of the old main building. When I returned to the school for its centenary, this wall was nowhere near as tall as I remember it being. Very strange. Sometimes I would help the cleaner dust the desks and sweep classroom floors. However a love of housework certainly wasn't something that was fostered by that memory! We would walk home, about twenty minutes walk, occasionally stopping at the park for a swing. The foot path wasn't sealed and had weeds growing along the edge. When the paspalum seeds were ripe, we had to avoid them as they left sticky marks on our bare legs.

Some of these childhood treasures are brighter than others. They are taken out and dusted regularly. Others hide at the back of the drawer of memories which I have stashed away in my mind. All are treasures, along with many others.

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I'm in the southern hemisphere, so these questions are not really relevant to me at this time, but here goes.

1. Do you get a spring break?
We have a long weekend, public holiday in October. We also have school holidays and Good Friday and Easter Monday as a public holiday here in Australia.

2. Some of us are pretty casual about spring cleaning. Others go to it with a lot of gusto. Which are you?
Spring cleaning? I'm still trying to keep up with the autumn cobwebs here!

3. Is planting flowers or a vegetable garden on the agenda?
I'm several days late planting sweet pea seeds here. Traditionally, St Patrick's Day is the day to plant them. I have broad beans to plant and I'd like to get some more bulbs in as well as some pansies. My summer tomatoes need ripping out although the cucmbers and aubergines are still fruiting.

4. Do you suffer from allergies and do they get worse in the spring?
I sneeze any time of the year, ten to fifteen times in a row. I'm no worse in spring.

5.How will you celebrate Easter this year?
Jesus' resurrection is the lynch pin of my faith. Without it, my faith would have little meaning. In one sense I celebrate this every day, but Good Friday and Eaaster Day are times for deeper meditation on the cross and resurrection.

I'm am not into Easter gifts to each other nor am I in favour of Easter cards full of bunnies holding eggs or even sweetly sentimental, so called "religious" motifs.


From Jeanne

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21.3.04

The mangroves amongst which I played as a child are vital to the health and rejuvenation of the Parramatta River near where I live. They have been returning to the river shores as the river becomes healthier and in turn they help many organisms to survive. Not all however, are happy with the new growth along the foreshores. Some people whose houses are on the river front have complained that the trees block their waterviews.

Councils have had to put in place measures to stop the mangroves from being cut down. These don't always work and some weeks ago, the local paper covered the story of a large mangrove being cut down on one of the foreshores of Drummoyne. I drove past the place tonight. Where the mangrove had been, there was now a very large white notice board, at least as large, if not bigger, than the original tree. In extremely large, bold, black letters was the slogan,"Report tree vandalism." A council phone number was also there.

I know which I would rather look at, given the choice of a tree or such a sign.

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