For my northern Canadian friends!Very early January morning. Looking southeast. By mid-morning, the sky will be an intense blue,much deeper and clearer than the blue you can see through the gum tree.


Looking north from my back deck where I practically live all summer. Early morning, inner west, Sydney, Australia.



Now for a little light relief. (Bene, I saw your comment at connexions about my choosing words carefully. Perhaps I could have been a bit more careful in "light relief.")

Link from Phil Baker.


One billion dollars in aid for Indonesia. That is $50 for every single person here. Our country is large, but in comparison with many others in the region, our population is very small. An initiative I can actually agree with from the federal government. Quite a change.



There was a time of prayer yesterday at church for the tsunami victims. Some individual private prayer and then a prayer by the leader.

I was horrified as I listened to him. His prayer didn't once mention just aid, or getting aid to where it was needed, or comfort, or protection, or any of the many other things so desperately needed.

He prayed that the churches would seize this opportunity for evangelism while people were upset and wondering what would happen to them. He didn't quite say it aloud, but implied that it was a good time to strike because they were vulnerable.

Surely this is a part of the problem. While few buildings would have withstood the force of the water entirely, many of the areas affected were poverty stricken. Dwellings were for the most part flimsy. There is little or no infrastructure in the areas and few medical facilities. Where was the church and what was being done before the tsunami? Generalisations here, as I do know of some working, but nevertheless mostly true.

For heaven's sake, these are people in desperate need. They are not objects to be grabbed or buttonholed and told what vile sinners they are for God to do this to them. I wondered how this leader would have felt if placed in similar circumstances, if he was used purely as an object.

There has been a tremendous outpouring of gifts from ordinary peopple all over the world. Wonderful,keep it coming. Those affected are going to need much help for a long time to come. They are part of humanity in general, but seem to have become people in particular for many of us.

And I truly hope that if any go there purely to notch up conversions on their belts, that they are denied access.