Monday, June 30, 2008

spy life colours

I've been mucking around with the colour scheme for my kids club flyer. Any preferences? (Sorry about the dreadful resolution. Click on the image to see a slightly clearer version.)

Does know anything about uploading homemade graphics to blogger? (Ben?) At the moment I'm making my picture, converting it to a bitmap, saving the bitmap, then putting it into blogger. Is there any way to avoid the whole bitmap business?

Friday, June 27, 2008

spy life

changed it already.

Agent Life

My friend and I are writing a program for a kids club we're running in December. We've written a couple before and have always planned to package them up and sell/give them away to other churches but have never managed this well. By the time we've run the program, we're so sick of it that we don't want to think about it again.

We're planning on doing things differently this year. We want it all packaged up, formatted, pdf'ed etc before we run it, so that we don't have to feel guilty afterwards.

I started work on it today. It may change many times in the next couple of months. We're wanting a spy theme... Slap stick style, get smart, inspector gadgetty drama... Spy crafts - fingerprint removal, booby traps, secret codes, invisible ink, scavenger hunts....Bible stuff from John's gospel. I'm thinking of structuring the teaching around 3 of the 'I am' statements.

1. I am the bread of life
Story: Feeding 5000 (John 6)
Memory Verse: Jn 6:35 Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (or maybe just the first bit)
Main Point : Jesus makes food for his friends! (That will do for the 3-4 year olds) But he actually has something much better to give us.

2. I am the resurrection and the life
Story: Raising Lazarus (John 11)
Memory Verse: John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies"

3. I am the good shepherd
Story: Shepherd illustration and Cross
Memory Verse: John 10:11 Jesus said "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."

The big point will be that Jesus gives us life. Unlike food - which only gives us life for a little while. Better than what he did for Lazarus - who would die again anyway. Jesus gives us eternal life. And he does it by laying down his life for us. (I need to get this logic tighter.)

Anyone taught this stuff to kids before?

I've done a rough flyer idea. Not so happy with it. The browns are a bit dull, it's too boyish, and the title is lame. Anyone got a better idea? I'd like the 'life' theme in somewhere. Would 'spy life' be any better?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

For female readers

Following on from my Mills and Boon experience (see here and here), I've written a post about women, desire and sexual sin. I'd rather not put it up on my page for general reading but would like to discuss the topic with any women who are interested.

If you are interested, let me know. Send me a facebook message. If you can't find me leave a comment on this post and I'll work something out (just reluctant to post my email address).

Robert Jewett: Reasons for Romans

I didn't have to work on Friday so I went to some lectures at the Queensland Theological College. Visiting Professor Robert Jewett presented a day seminar on 'Reasons for Romans'. It was very interesting.

Prof. RJ thinks that Romans is a situational letter drumming up support for Paul's mission to Spain. He argues that the epistle centers around the ideas of glory and shame, with social prejudice being the top thing on Paul's mind. The Spaniards were seen by Romans as barbarians, a shameful race of people. In ministering to them, Paul couldn't follow his usual evangelistic strategy of starting in the synagogue with the God fearers, because there weren't any God fearers in Spain. So Paul had to convince the Romans to help him out. There were many Spaniards living in Rome - if they could be converted and used as a stepping stone to the rest of Spain the country could be reached in that way. Problem was that the Xns in Rome had no time for barbarians. So Paul had to teach them about the welcome to all that's present in the gospel.

Anyone heard this stuff before? I hadn't. Theologically, Professor Jewett is a good few steps further to the left than me. I don't agree with many things he said - he really downplayed the importance of the jew-gentile thing. Social prejudice is the bigger issue. The problem with the law is not that it can't save, but that it creates distinctions between people and increases boasting and covetousness - I envy you because you have a better law status than me. And he had a completely different interpretation of Romans 7...

Anyway, was an interesting thing to go to. I'd like to think more about the glory/shame motif in Romans.

Monday, June 23, 2008

proverbs 31 woman's work?

The other day Challies posted about how 21st century women can emulate the Proverbs 31 woman by starting small, home based businesses. Here are a few examples of what women he knows are doing: Now I don't think that any of these things are bad to do. If it's your thing, go for it. But really. Is that what Proverbs 31 is talking about? It seems to me that the Proverbs 31 woman's work is not just a hobby turned into a business. She's buying and selling fields and using her profits to finance farming ventures. We're told she didn't neglect her family but hers is no more a home-based business than her husband's was.

Mrs. Proverbs 31 had to get up early and get her family organised so she could go out and do her thing. I don't think that running a home based craft businesses is any closer to Proverbs 31 territory than dentistry or teaching or shopkeeping. What do you think? Am I right or am I just trying to justify my own work outside our home (and my hate of craft)?

The only good thing about a school fete...

... is that you get to buy homemade pickles.

Tomato Relish.


Thanks to whoever made it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What Women Want

Based on my extensive reading of escapist female literate (many Jane Austen and a couple of Mills and Boon) I thought I'd compile a description of Mr Perfect.

Mr. Perfect is:

1. Competent. At work he goes from strength to strength. Mr. Perfect's competency at work often causes him to be wealthy, but his wealth is secondary. We women (apparently) lust after guys who are seriously good at what they do. Whatever that might be. M&B heroes are also extremely competent in other arenas of life.

2. Confident. In his dealings with people and particularly with women, Mr. Perfect is no pushover. He is clearly in control. He is the initiator, the first to express his feelings. He can tell her off if he needs to. He won't be manipulated by her. In M&B this finds expression in an often aggressive sexuality* - which she seems to like! Hmmm.

3. Consumed with passion. His feelings for her are out of his control. He loves her beyond reason. He can't sleep or work properly, so taken is he with her...

4. Fixable. Mr. Perfect has one flaw. He's shy, brash, proud, or unsociable. But this isn't a permanent thing. One kiss from Miss. Right will fix all!

Girls have I captured him? Guys do you live up to this list?

Clearly, a problem with this kind of hero is that he doesn't exist. Andrew (my husband) says it's hard for single women to understand just how incompetent and insecure men really are. Married women know the struggles of their own husbands - Andrew assures me that feelings of incompetence and insecurity are problems for men generally. So that's the first two down. With number three, long term no-one is going to be so madly, passionately in love that they can't function. Hopefully, anyway. With number four, most character flaws are with us long term. By God's grace they can be softened, but we women can't fix our men.

Girls, Mr. Competent, Confident, Passionate and Fixable does not exist! So why do we want him to? (More coming sometime. Throw me a comment in the meantime!)

* Agressive, yet gentle at the same time. Work that one out!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Boots in the Bedroom: M&B vs. Jane Austen

Let me say from the outset that paperback novels aren't my poison. Mr. Knightly or Mr. Darcy will do me much more long term harm than any Mr. Mills and Boon Hunk ever could, but still, it's far from edifying reading.

At this stage for me, there is a natural limiting factor for M&B. I read one this afternoon and afterwards felt as I would if I'd gobbled a whole packet of banana lollies. One more page and I'd be sick. But as with lollies, if I kept on, my palette would get used to it and soon I'd be able to handle and even want more. I have no natural limit with Jane Austen. I can read the same novel many times over and then another and then another and feel no worse. Meanwhile, my grip on reality may have slipped away...

But Mills and Boon and Jane Austen are not the same. Sorry Ben. They're just not.

Today I bought 3 Mills and Boon romances: Scandals and Secrets, A Man For Mum, and Boots In The Bedroom. My surpassing godliness caused me to avoid buying the books marked 'sexy romances' so this discussion will be limited to the softer M&B novels*. This afternoon I read Boots In The Bedroom because it was the shortest. Let me tell you about it.

Gina is a well off and very attractive 28yo computer programmer from Sydney. She unwillingly travels to a remote property in rural Queensland to install computer equipment and design software. While there, she stays with Ultra Hunk Parish Some-one-or-other. For the first seven chapters they don't get along, but at the same time are drawn to eachother in an inexplicable and uncontrollable physical passion... In chapters eight through to fifteen, they have sex. Over and over again. And again. And again. (It's exhausting.) He loves her but she's not willing to say she loves him, even though he takes her to the highest heaven over and over again, and again and again and get the idea. She gets in a plane to fly home, realises that she loves him after all, gets out of the plane and then they... (you guessed it!). In the epilogue we find that she stays there forever, they have a baby and they go on having fantastic sex.

While they are only physically intimate for the second half of the book the writer goes to lengths to explain the force of their attraction from their first meeting. The first half of the book is largely descriptions of the physical effect they have on eachother. No details are left to the imagination. It's kind of sweet how we have a paragraph from his point of view - what she looks like, what he feels, what he'd like to do to her, followed immediately by a similar paragraph from her point of view.

I was going to give you a few choice quotes, but I won't. I think my blog is already at risk of being flagged by what I've written so far. If you'd like to read Boots, with your spouse's permission I'll send it to you and you can read it for yourself.

At this point I should give a brief summary of a Jane Austen novel. I won't because I can't be bothered. Everyone has read one anyway. Ben, basically the difference between JA and M&B is that well over half a M&B novel is spent describing sex. I don't think the figure's that high in Jane Austen. In M&B the girl and boy characters and threads of plot are just there to provide a framework in which sex can happen. Not so in JA. Is that enough?

Well, that's basically it. I'd like to do a couple more posts on M&B now that I've taken the trouble to read one. Perhaps on why women consume them, why they appeal to so many, and what that tells us about ourselves. Any other ideas?

* given what this novel was like, I shudder to think what would be inside a 'sexy' romance!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vanishing Point

Ben's blog is just the best. If you don't read it, you should.

His recent posts on Sunday night Austen have been hilarious. Totally inaccurate, of course, but so funny! Ben claims that Jane Austen novels are just dressed up Mills and Boone. Over the next few days I hope to blog some M&B analysis to see if this is correct.

Stay tuned!

Pastor's Wives Sing Out!

This is not really my experience, but classic anyway!

[thanks kate!]

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I feel happy

The washing basket is almost empty (thanks honey!).

The house is tidy.

The floors are vacuumed and mopped.

The bathroom door can be shut.

My children are clean and on the way to bed.

Lunches for the week are made.

There is food in the house.

What more could I ask for on a Sunday night?

Friday, June 13, 2008

my day

Today I taught primary music at THAT school.

Kids tend to play up for supply teachers. Kids tend to play up for music teachers. Kids at THAT school tend to play up. Put these three facts together and you can understand how I was feeling as I went to work this morning.

But, praise God, 80% of the day was fantastic. I taught 2 prep music classes and 2 and a half hours of year 3 music. Was great fun. Rhythmic stuff- ta, te-te etc. I impressed them with my (very poor) drumming skills, lovely lycra, the three bears rhyme... All good!

But. I also helped out in a regular year 4 classroom for an hour. Very concerning. The kids were, well, behaviourally challenged. The teacher was on the verge of a nervous breakdown (as I would have been if I had hung around for much longer). All very horrible. Five kids out of twenty out and out refused to do anything. Two kids swore at us constantly. We had one other kid who liked to push his desk over. Two others who wanted to beat eachother up. Another who cried the whole time...

I talked to the teacher at lunch time. She is feeling defeated. Every day she has to turn up to that. I'd be surprised if she lasts the year. I told her she should be given a bonus just for turning up. She laughed bitterly and said that she'll probably be getting a pay cut - if the idea of 'outcomes' based pay gets through.

The idea of 'outcomes' based teachers pay is fine if you can customise the outcomes for each situation. In that particular class, a good outcome would be for everyone to survive the day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

come holy god: evolution of a song part 4

A couple of weeks ago I blogged on the progress of a song here, here, and here. I never thought it had much potential. I showed it to Philip (my tune writer) on the weekend. It took him about 15 seconds to agree with me.

Oh well.

Ultimate Fighting and Bear-Baiting

Yep. It was short lived. (see post below)

Andrew and I have been discussing with Jo whether Ultimate Fighting is okay. I know Craig is into it. I'd never watch it - but I don't have a huge feeling that it's wrong. Stupid? Yes. Wrong? Maybe not.
In an email, Jo offered this:
"I think it was CS Lewis who said approvingly of the Puritans that they objected to bear-baiting not because the bear got hurt, but because people enjoyed watching the bear get hurt."
 Is there a difference between bear-baiting and fighting?  I think so.  Anyone else got an opinion?

I have nothing to say

Those who know me will know what a strange thing this is.

Perhaps it's because I'm tired from twist. Entirely self inflicted. I didn't need to stay up so late gossiping with S and P.

Perhaps it's because I'd like to write a review of 'Come hear the angels sing' but can't because I'd be too biased (in both directions). Come on Craig - where's the review?

Perhaps it's because I've been discussing with my sister-in-law whether Mark Driscoll's love of ultimate fighting is neutral, positive, or negative and can't be bothered reproducing all the arguments here.

Maybe it's because real life relationships with my husband, kids and friends are more fun than online time wasting. (But, dear reader, I do value you!)

Whatever it is, I imagine it'll be short lived.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

twist was fantastic

... I'll write more on why when I wake up!

Friday, June 6, 2008

sexist and racist

This morning I got a call from 'that' school. I went in fear and trepidation.

But the day wasn't too bad. I've had worse. Much worse.

A couple of things that I wish today's adolescents could be taught:

1.) A comment is not sexist simply because it is direct towards a person with a sex.

2.) A comment is not racist simply because it is directed towards a person with a race.

I've been accused of being sexist and racist many times lately. I am 'racist' because I ask an Anglo boy to pick up his litter at lunch time. 'Sexist' because I ask a mixed group to work quietly in class. I don't think the kids have any idea what the terms mean.

Now there are other accusations they could direct towards me that may be more accurate. Tyrannical? Maybe. Sexist or racist? No.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Praize to teh Ceiling Cat

Praize to teh Ceiling Cat, teh almighty, teh king ov creashun!
Oh mah soul, praize him srsly, for him iz ur health an salvashun!
All ye hoo hear, nao to his houz go;
Praize him in happeh adorsahun.

Praize too teh Ceiling Cat, hoo ovar all things iz so amayzinly kewl,

Covrs yu undr him pawz, yea, so mield sustaineth!
Has yu not seen how yu desirez ever has been
Granted in wut him ordaineth?

Praize too teh Ceiling Cat, hoo has skerdly, amayzinly, made yu;

Helth has givd an, when heedlesly fallin, has stayd yu.
Wut ned or grief evr has faild ov relief?
Pawz ov him mercy did shade yu.

Praize too teh Ceiling Cat, hoo doez prospr ur sleep and defend yu;

Surely him goodnes an mercy him evryday attend yu.
Pondr anew wut teh Almighty Ceiling Cat can do,
If wif him luv befrend yu.

Praize too teh Ceiling Cat, hoo, when storm dem fyght r wagin,

Hoo, when teh windz madly around yu r ragin,
Biddeth dem stop, turneth dem fury too piece,
Storm an waters eaes.

Praize too teh Ceiling Cat, hoo, when darknes ov teh Basement Cat iz aboundin,

Hoo, when teh godless do triumf, all virtoo stoppin,
Sheds him light, eatd teh horrors ov nite,
Kittehs wif him merci surroundin.

Praize too teh Ceiling Cat, oh let all dat iz in me adore him!

All dat iz life an breath, come nao wif praisez before him.
Let teh amen sound frum his peeps agin,
Gladly for yez we adore him.
Love it!

Anyone for snakes and ladders?

Love this.

boring boring boring

I'm sorry that this blog has been so boring for the last couple of days. Who wants to see pictures of dead Scottish ministers? Not me. (The collar alone makes me anxious...)

I'd give you something more interesting but I have nothing.

Today I dripped exit mould all over my new shirt and ruined it.

Tomorrow I've got playgroup and I've run out of ideas.

I don't want to go to work on Friday because my year 10 Maths class on Monday was a mess.

I fly to Sydney on Saturday for twist (arrive 7.30am) but don't know how I'll get to Paramatta by start time.

Anything else to whinge about? Not right now, but I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

tag line jokes

Hey Guys.

I'm posting a joke each day below the title on my blog page. You'll need to come out of feedburner or google land and actually visit my site if you want to read them. It's a cheap attempt to get more hits on my counter.

No promises about the quality of the jokes.

With much affection, of course!

s. xo

trace the rainbow through the rain


O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

George Matheson (1842-1906)

And this from a blind man!

Favourite Hymn Writers 1: George Matheson

George Matheson (1842-1906) was a Scottish (Presbyterian!) Minister and hymn writer. He was a very good preacher and able pastor, though almost completely blind. He grew up a Calvinist but was greatly influenced by liberal German theology. His hymns, though, are great. My favourite is 'Make Me A Captive, Lord'. I love how it speaks about the apparent contradictions of faith: I am more free when enslaved to Christ, more myself when I submit my will to him, stronger when in weakness I depend on him.

Make Me A Captive, Lord

Make me a captive, Lord,
And then I shall be free.
Force me to render up my sword,
And I shall conqueror be.
I sink in life’s alarms
When by myself I stand;
Imprison me within Thine arms,
And strong shall be my hand.

My heart is weak and poor
Until it master find;
It has no spring of action sure,
It varies with the wind.
It cannot freely move
Till Thou has wrought its chain;
Enslave it with Thy matchless love,
And deathless it shall reign.

My power is faint and low
Till I have learned to serve;
It lacks the needed fire to glow,
It lacks the breeze to nerve.
It cannot drive the world
Until itself be driven;
Its flag can only be unfurled
When Thou shalt breathe from heaven.

My will is not my own
Till Thou hast made it Thine;
If it would reach a monarch’s throne,
It must its crown resign.
It only stands unbent
Amid the clashing strife,
When on Thy bosom it has leant,
And found in Thee its life.

George Matheson

UPDATE: If you want to know more about GM, look here.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Just wondering...

...are there any Austen/Bronte novels where the heroine has brothers?

In all of the stories I can think of, the heroine is either an only child or in an all girl family.

Except in Sense and Sensibility where the girls have a half brother (I think?) and Wuthering Heights... but that doesn't count because Catherine Senior is not a heroine (Catherine Junior may be - but she's an only child anyway).

Looking forward to Emma tonight!

Calvin on...

Is it a female thing to want some understanding of the home life of a theologian before dipping too deeply into his work? Maybe. I'm going to be reading some Calvin over the next few months so I started tonight by looking at a few of his personal letters in this book. Here are some gems.

Calvin on a husband's love for his wife... (pre-marriage)

"It is a thing against nature that any one should not love his wife, for God has ordained marriage in order that two may be made one person—a result which, certainly, no other alliance can bring about."

Calvin on choosing a wife... (pre-marriage)
"I am none of those insane lovers who, when once smitten with the fine figure of a woman, embrace also her faults. This only is the beauty which allures me, if she be chaste, obliging, not fastidious, economical, patient, and careful for my health."

Calvin on the death of his infant son...
“The Lord has dealt us a severe blow in taking from us our infant son; but it is our Father who knows what is best for his children…God has given me a little son, and taken him away; but I have myriads of children in the whole Christian world.”

Calvin on the death of his wife...

"Although the death of my wife has been exceedingly painful to me, yet I subdue my grief as well as I can. Friends, also, are earnest in their duty to me. It might be wished, indeed, that they could profit me and themselves more; yet one can scarcely say how much I am supported by their attentions. But you know well enough how tender, or rather soft, my mind is. Had not a powerful self-control, therefore, been vouchsafed to me, I could not have borne up so long. And truly mine is no common source of grief. I have been bereaved of the best companion of my life, of one who, had it been so ordered, would not only have been the willing sharer of my exile and poverty, but even of my death. During her life she was the faithful helper of my ministry.

Calvin on life after the death of his wife...
"My wife, a woman of rare qualities, died a year and a half ago, and I have now willingly chosen to lead a solitary life."