24.7.04

Greek drama festival
I had a wonderful day yesterday at the Greek Drama Festival at Macquarie Uni. This is held annually and it's always great fun. Eleven schools took part, a couple for the first time. I'm sure they would have learnt a lot by participating. Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes were represented. Students gave an excerpt from a Greek play and had 20-25 minutes to place their excerpt in the play, show they understood the play etc and show the role of the chorus. They are allowed to use some costume and minimal props.

The students all seemed to have a wonderful day. Each school supported every other school, unlike eisteddfods where the competition is fairly cutthroat.

Teachers and adult audience members had a wonderful lunch at the Univerity's Staff Club, where there was good food, some wine and a lot of talk and laughter. A good day overall.

Yet again, many of the principal actors showed an understanding of emotions and situation which they had never experienced. All of them could have given Brad Pitt as Achilles a run for his money as far as acting was concerned. Then again, I don't think acting is Brad Pitt's stronpoint!

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23.7.04

copyright?
No, it's not Intel inside.

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21.7.04

Nicholas Kristof, in the New York Timesquoting some choice writing* from the latest in the Left Behind series, queries the philosophy behind best selling books gleefully celebrating religious intolerance and violence against infidels.

* "carefully avoiding the splayed and filleted bodies of men and women and horses." And more.

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the flower in the garden

This is written in response to an entry by Bobbie at emerging sideways.

Like anj I too see a rose. I see not any rose, but a particular one, set firmly in my memory. I see in my mind’s eye the tiny weatherboard cottage in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney which my parents bought from old family friends. Three rooms wide, built in the early 1900s, with a front and back verandah and a bathroom downstairs, added in the 1970s.

Across a chicken wire trellis on the front verandah grew an old-fashioned rose. It faced due west and its best blooms came when the sun was strong, scorching more delicate modern flowers. In the summer and late autumn, it would be covered with masses of flowers which gave way to rosy-red rosehips in the winter and then more tight buds in spring. Sometimes the fungus which afflicts many roses here would blight the rose and there would be fewer blooms than usual. Sometimes the climber grew strongly and there were many flowers overcoming the blight.

Some of these buds were too tight. They stayed closed, self-centred, shut against the strong, cold, south-westerly winds to which the house was exposed. When spring came, they were unable to open, unable to fulfil their promise. Others however turned their face to the warmth and light, disregarding the last attempts of winter to spoil them.

Petal after petal unfolded and stretched out to the warmth and light. No longer turned in on itself, the flower was there for all to see in its beauty. The flowers revelled in the sunshine and produced not only beauty, but a fragrance which could be smelt from the street. Disregarding the thorns we would give the rose an impromptu prune as we picked bunches to bring the beauty inside.

There have been many times, particularly in the last ten years or so that I could identify with this rose. There has been a fungus, a blight which has caused me to turn inwards. I have closed myself up tightly to protect myself from trouble outside, from rejection and more. I have resolutely refused to open and so, in some instances, some areas have borne no fruit, no beauty, but have withered and drooped.

Where I have turned my face to the light and warmth, there has been an unfurling of the petals. Slowly each petal of the bud has opened, peeled back, until finally the true beauty of the rose is shown. I feel the touch of the Spirit as the rose feels the caress of the sun. What has been hidden inside, virtually useless, is revealed in beauty which blesses those who come in contact. I still have thorns and need careful handling, but my blooms may be picked to bring beauty and fruit.

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18.7.04

Here's something else related to the post below.

23 million people may be affected by floods in various areas. And we worry about the All Blacks retaining the Bledisloe Cup?

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Why is it that so little has been heard of this appalling tragedy. It seems that, like so many other tragedies in the third world, this one is not particularly newsworthy. I had to actually do a search in the Herald to find anything in today's edition. Floods in Bangladesh, war and famine and drought in Africa, ferry disasters in the Philippines...all come and go very quickly. In contrast, news of western countries seems to attract much more attention. The deaths of seven people over eighteen months ago in a train accident in Sydney still make the news regularly. All deaths are tragic, but we seem interested only in those close to home or close in culture to us.

I watched the news last night in horror and grief as heartbroken parents cremated the already burnt bodies of their children in India. There was a rider at the beginning of the segment warning that some of the footage may be disturbing. I was amazed when someone who was watching with me asked at the end what was supposed to have been disturbing. Are we so desensitised to the suffering of others?

Are these lives worth any less than ours? I remember the Old Testament prophets railing against Israel for their injustices to the poor. A true fast is to remember the poor, says the writer of Isaiah. It seems that God has always been on the side of the downtrodden and oppressed.

What can I do? I feel guilty that I too often do nothing. True, I can pray. I can and do give to those agencies which seem to be able to deliver donations to those who need them. I can write and speak to help bring recognition that these are fellow human beings.

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