Friday, April 30, 2010

Andrew's blog has moved... here.  It seems that blogger is no longer good enough. 

I'd make the move too if I could handle change.  But I can't.

Cosette and Eponine

The Soprano Will Always Get The Man

Eponine smiles as she sinks, safe from harm
She is finally wrapped in her longed for one's arms.
And Marius, once decided and firm,
Finds that he now is divided and torn.

The sky or the sea? The day or the night?
The chocolaty rich or the strawberry bright?
The gods, they look on and they smile smugly sure
The alto? The soprano? They've been here before.

"It's sad," they lament, "but she'll just have to go.
Her rich, mellow tones are too deep and too low.
Her eyes are too dark, her dress is too tight,
And the green that she wears shows her soul is not right.

"But Cosette, sweet Cosette! When she sings it's a ray
Of sunlight that brightens the darkest of days.
Oh Marius, come! See her wind caressed curls!
Surely you do agree, she's the pick of the girls!"

And the tenor, of course, can't resist her blonde hair
And her trills give him thrills. Oh come on, that's not fair!
A man can't foresee that a voice now so bright
Will soon turn to screaching from morning till night.

Marius, soon you'll regret what you've done.
Your flower will droop when brought in from the sun.
But come, the song's written, the script must be read
And a heartbroken alto is better off dead.

So die Eponine!  This embrace is the best
that someone like you can ever expect.
It's the way of the world that no matter how thin
Her soul or her art, the soprano will win.

sar 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

20 foods Micah (age 6) likes

He listed them in this order.  Note the things not on the list.  He was struggling to find 20 foods that he likes.  If it's not on the list, chances are he doesn't like it.

1. Pizza
2. Muesli
3. Eclipse Sugar Free Mints
4. Naan Bread
5. Pasta (White)
6. White Bread
7. Dried Apricots
8. Carrots
9. Cucumber
10. Tomato
11. Eggs
12. Cheese
13. Rice Crackers
14. Pistachio Nuts
15. Ice Blocks
16. Chips
17. Fish
18. Sausages
19. Pikelets and Pancakes
20. Ice cream

Muesli is a recent discovery.  He eats it for breakfast and afternoon tea.

I survived

We wrote stories.  Some were way too autobiographical.  I know the texture of several home situations.

what I'd rather be doing today

Most things.

I'm working on a poem called The Soprano Always Gets The Man. It is fun. I'd like to finish it sometime soon.

today I am walking into...

... the pit of hell.

If only the call to a rainbow-y field of ponies had come 20 minutes sooner.

Hoping to survive.  In the pit, time is different to normal time.  You think you've been there for 6 hours and find that only 3 minutes have passed.  I will come out an old lady, withered and bitter.  That is, if I come out at all.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

a few before-work thoughts on ministry wife stuff

I was chatting with ministry friends last night. A few things came together in my thinking. No time to process the thoughts into a paragraph... So, a list!

1. Ministry is best done where you are in life. Eg. If you are in the little kid phase, it's easiest if your day to day ministry is to mums and little kids. If you try to have some other ministry as your big thing (eg. speaking or 1-1 with singles) you will probably get frustrated that you can't do your 'ministry'.

2. Ministering predominantly to those in the same life-phase will mean you don't particularly minister to others. Oh well. Someone else will need to pick this up.

3. Your kids, your responsibility. Your husband has a full-time job. During his work hours, he should work uninterrupted. The two of you need to negotiate what these hours are. The benefit of church jobs is that there is often flexibility - but it's easy to wrongly take advantage of this and be lazy or committed to things you can't really do.

4. Training others to do stuff is a gift that some have more than others. This doesn't excuse those who don't have that particular gift, but...

5. (This one is for everyone) Don't ever speak of 'they'. 'They should do this. They should do that.' They is this mysterious other. Replace the 'they' with 'I', go speak to the person who you think should be doing the job, or shut down the thought directly because it is a whingey and horrible one.

6. Godly life is not for the faint hearted.  Why expect it to be easy?  The battle with sin, the devil and the world is fierce.  And bad stuff happens.  Expect it.  Expect failures and disappointments and sin and just get on with it when these things happen.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

pride comes before...

... three bars of wrong notes.

Zara, my little RE singer was performing 'Close Every Door' beautifully. I was proud of her and was also starting to feel a little proud of myself for engineering it all. I wondered if the deputy principal was there to witness our RE triumph... I looked around. Noticed Zara's grandma crying... Then !!! Lost my place (it is a ridiculously easy song) and played the wrong chords for three whole bars. Zara kept going like the champion she is.

Divine judgment I think.

Monday, April 26, 2010

2 years old today!

This blog has been going for 5.8% of my life. Feels significant...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

1 Samuel 13 (+ 1 Sam 7) kids talk

God's people wanted a King just like all the other countries had [VISUAL 1]. They wanted someone who was mighty and scarry, who could lead Israel out in battle and defeat their enemies. Trouble is, Israel already had a king. Mightier and scarier than any other king. God. They didn't need anyone else.

Let me tell you about how God, Israel king, protected them.

[VISUAL 2] The Philistines were Israel's worst enemy. They were big and tough and they lived right next door to Israel. They were forever coming up in battle against God's people. Israel would manage to drive them out, but sooner than you'd think possible, they'd come back again. Once, the situation looked particularly grim. The Philistines had a way bigger army. They were coming closer and closer and Israel was quaking with fear. What could they do?

There was only one sensible thing they could do. They prayed and asked their king (God) to rescue them. Samuel the prophet took a lamb and offered it as a burnt offering to God [VISUAL 3]. Do you think God would answer?

Yes, he did.

While Samuel was still offering the sacrifice, the Lord thundered from heaven with such a loud thunder against the Philistines [VISUAL 4], that their huge army was thrown into a panic and Israel easily defeated them. Just like that.

God was Israel's king. They didn't need another. [VISUAL 1] But as I told you last week, an invisible God didn't seem good enough to Israel. They wanted a king they could see. A king just like all the other countries had.

It wasn't good thing for them to ask for, but God gave them just what they wanted. A king big and impressive. Strong and scarey looking. Handsome and huge. Cross between a movie star and an overpaid Storm player...

Saul.  [VISUAL 5]

A king for Israel, just like all the other countries had.

Samuel the prophet said, “Even though you have sinned by asking for a king, I will keep on praying for you and I will keep on teaching you what is good and right. But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. If you keep on doing evil, both you and your king will be swept away.”

Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel for forty-two years. Saul was strong and he led Israel victorious in many battles, but he didn't fear the LORD and he didn't serve him faithfully with all his heart. Saul was a king just like all the other countries had. A king who liked to be boss. A king who didn't care much for God's way of doing things. A king that God would sweep away.

Let me tell you what happened.  [VISUAL 2]

Once again the Philistines had gathered to fight against Israel. But more of them than ever before. Three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and more soldiers than grains of sand on the sea shore. Or so it seemed. When the people of Israel saw how bad the situation was, they hid in caves and some even ran away to other countries. Saul remained with his army and they were all quaking with fear.

What should they do? Pray? Good idea. They... almost did that.

Someone remembered about how God had saved them that last time with the big thunder. Wouldn't it be great if God would do that again! So they sent for Samuel so he could come and offer another sacrifice to God. Samuel sent word back that he was on the way, and that they should wait for him. Samuel was God's prophet and it was his job to offer sacrifices and to pray to God for the people.

So Saul's army waited for Samuel. Meanwhile, the Philistines were getting closer. They waited some more and some more... but Samuel still hadn't come.

After a while, Saul got sick of waiting. Who's in charge here? He asked himself. Who's king? Samuel or me? It's just a couple of animals. I'll kill them and burn them myself then we can go and get on with winning the battle.

Was that right? No. Offering sacrifices was Samuel's job. Not Saul's. Saul had made the mistake of thinking that he could decide what is right and wrong in Israel. He thought he didn't need to listen to God's prophet. 

[VISUAL 6] So that's what Saul did. He killed the animals and burnt them up... and expected that doing that would be like a magic trick that would make God help them.

Just as he was finishing, Samuel arrived. Do you think he was happy? No.

"You fool!" Samuel said. "You have not kept the command the LORD gave you. If you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. Your son would have become king after you, then his son after that, then his son after that. But now that will not happen. You have not served the Lord with all your heart. The LORD has will find a man after his own heart and appoint him leader instead of you.” [VISUAL 7]
Israel did not win that battle against the Philistines.  Many, many of God's people were killed.  A king like the other countries had was not a good king for God's people.  Even though King Saul was big and strong and handsome, God swept him away just like that because he didn't remember that God was Israel's real king.  Next time we'll meet the new leader that God's chosen for his people.  Do you think he'll be better than Saul?  We'll have to wait and see.

VISUAL 2 - This picture, clear perspex over the top

VISUAL 3 - Use the picture from visual 2.  Stick a picture of a lamb onto it (under perspex) and paint red orange and yellow flames onto the wood (on the perspex) to make it look like the lamb is being sacrificed in the fire.

VISUAL 4 - Onto visual 3, paint bolts of lightening in the sky to represent God thundering from heaven

VISUAL 6 - Put a new piece of perspex over visual 2.  Add an animal (maybe chop it up first with scissors for effect!) and put it into the fire.  Add flames red, orange and yellow paint.

VISUAL 7 - Onto visual 6, draw a crown in the sky with a sad/angry face on it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

egyptian boy!

This is for RE.  We're doing the Joseph narratives.  This week Joseph finds himself a slave in Potipher's house.  Then in prison.

Potipher will wear this.  His wife will wear one with a little matching top (I tried to make it modest-ish).  Joseph will continue to wear his coat (even though it never really made it to Egypt) to help us keep track of which kid is acting Joseph.  My little actors are changing each week.  We have 200 kids to get through and everyone wants a turn! 

Last week I had a little girl up front helping me sing.  You know how it is.  You ask someone to 'help' and have very low expectations.  But this girl really could sing.  She was amazing.  This week she is singing 'Close Every Door' for us.  We've been practicing and are both quite excited about it! 

I bought the polyester thread.

It was so so cheap.  $2.99 for 3 long rolls.  The cotton stuff cost $2.49 for one tiny roll.  Surely I made the right choice!?!

Um.  No. 

Three Egyptian costumes should have taken an hour to make.  The thread keeps going stupid.  I've made one little Egyptian skirt (stopping every 10cm to unclog the machine.)  On costume #2, half a seam has taken me 40 minutes.  I could hand sew faster than this.  I've given up for now.

Am I doing something wrong or should polyester thread come with a warning?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Party Time!

My blog turns 2 on Monday. 

Anyone been reading from the start?

at home boxing circuit


life lesson #24

If your kids spill cornflakes and milk over everything and they clean it up with a tea-towel, they shouldn't put the tea-towel in with the dirty clothes because it may not be noticed for 24 hours.

After 24 hours it will start to call out.

Our house stinks

Don't know why.

No extreme uncleanliness on our part.  Has something died somewhere?

If you were thinking of coming around, don't.  (Invite us over instead for a week or two.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

2 things I like

1. Being a Mum
2. Being a teacher

This year I've been sitting in on Joel's art lessons.  I'd quite like to take art lessons myself, but can't justify the expense or time right now.  But watching a good teacher do her thing with kids is the next best thing to learning myself.  I now know stuff about several artists and I kind of know how to approach the task of painting. 

I was booked up to teach the same class yesterday and today.  This afternoon I had a couple of hours to do any art project I liked with them.  So I got organised last night and reproduced one of Joel's art lessons.  I taught the kids about Edvard Munch and we copied the Scream.  It was heaps of fun and I got paid for it.

(Joel's pic)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

now I've seen it all...

... a toddler in a pram holding a portable dvd player.  He was out for a walk with his mum.  Was he looking at the birds, the trees, the aeroplanes?  No!  He was watching a movie!

a sign of an over-long meeting

things I hate #634

Wet lunches.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

coat of many colours

I'm quite pleased with it.  Surely a good thing to have in your children's ministry resources!

It's a little small for Andrew.  I made it to fit a 10 year old.  It's light green and blue behind.  Just 4 rectangles lined and sewn together.  The gold is meant to go around the middle.

While I was making it, I pondered Romans 8:28 and Genesis 50:20 which will be our key verses for the unit. 
 These verses ring true for our experience teaching RE this year.  At the beginning of the year we found out that, for all the wrong reasons, we had to teach RE in assembly style.  Andrew and I were quite unhappy about it, seeing it (rightly) as an attempt to stop us teaching the bible effectively to the kids.

But for the kids that we are teaching (unhappily, not the others), it has probably turned out for the best.  God knew that I was getting bored with RE and the new format (and some freedom to teach my own stuff) has made me energized again.  We are using the Education Department's bible readings (which, over the 7 years covers much of the bible!) and, because of the assembly format, don't need to stuff around with craft or worksheets or anything.  Basically, we can walk in, sing songs, teach verses, and tell stories for the whole half hour.  The kids are enjoying it and learning heaps. 


...that the bible has so many fantastic stories.

This term we are teaching the Joseph narratives to our RE kids. Tonight I am pretending I can sew. Every RE teacher needs to be able to produce a coat of many colours when needed!

it ends tonight

I have this song on my ipod. The kids listen to it often. Hopefully they don't realise how nasty it is.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

doctor who is back

You really should watch it if you haven't already.

7.30 tonight (or whenever on iview)

1 Samuel 8-9 kids' talk

Andrew is preaching through 2 Samuel at the moment, and I'm using the kids' time to go over some 1 Samuel stuff.  Here's today's effort.  I had a last minute crisis of confidence over my application (should it have been more Jesus-y?) but ran with it anyway cause I had nothing else.  I also took some license with the story.  Probably a step further than I'd normally go, but...  I drew my pictures on A2 paper and coloured them with chalkey pastel things.  So fast.  I wish I'd discovered them years ago.  As effective as paint, but much less effort.  I copied the Saul picture from here.

It's hard to be different. It's no fun when you stand out. When you wear your uniform on a free dress day. When you have a healthy lunch and everyone else has junk food. When you try to do things that Jesus likes when everyone else is doing whatever they like...

God's people didn't like being different either. They'd been living in God's land for a while when they started to notice that they weren't the same as the countries around about them. They had all these funny rules they had to follow. They didn't worship idols like everyone else did and they didn't have a king. Not a king that you could see, anyway.

God, of course, knew that his people were different and that's the way he wanted it. He was their king. He was looking after them. He was loving them in a way that he didn't love any other country...

But God's people didn't see it like that. They were only afraid of looking silly in front of the other countries. God's people wanted to be the same as everyone else.

“It's not fair,” they grumbled. “Why do we always have to be the odd country out. All the other countries get to have a king. Why not us?”

“Yeah,” said someone. “Egypt has one. Philistia has one. Amon has one. Even Moab has one. Everyone apart from poor-old-backward Israel has a king.” And they grumbled and grumbled.

“Kings are just the best.” someone said. “They're strong and brave and they have great palaces and wear splendid clothes. They lead their armies out to battle looking really fierce. You remember that king from Edom last week? With all the armor and the chariot? Scared the pants off us. We beat him, of course... But gee it would be great if we could have a king.”

The talk of kings spread all through Israel and eventually the elders of the people went to see Samuel the prophet. “All the other countries have kings,” they said. “Appoint a king for us so that we can be like them.”

When Samuel heard what they wanted, he became sad. Didn't Israel know that they did have a king? God was their king. He ruled over them. He went out with them in battle. God looked after them and made them win. Couldn't they see that?

Samuel prayed to God. He asked God what he should do. God said, “In asking for a king, they have rejected me. I am their king. But, if they want a king just like all the other countries, then give them one. Give them a king just like the other countries have.”

And that's what Samuel did. He chose a king for God's people who looked as impressive and scary as the kings of Edom or Egypt or Ammon.

His name was Saul.

And he was quite something.

In all Israel there was not a man better looking than Saul. So handsome. And big. He stood a head higher than everyone else. He was the kind of man who looked fierce in battle, who could stand at the front of an army and scare his enemies away. Somewhere in between a movie star and and a rugby league player, Saul was a king just like the kings of the other countries.

Do you think he was a good king for God's people to have? No. Next week I'll tell you some things he did.

It is really hard being different. God's people Israel weren't brave enough to stand up and say to themselves and the other countries - “We have a king. God is our king. He loves us and looks after us and we will do what he says even if we get laughed at.”
We have a king.  Jesus.  We can't see Jesus, but if we follow him we will be different to our friends who don't know him.  It's not much fun to stand out, but I wonder if we can have more courage than the Israelites.  I wonder if we can be brave and do things that Jesus likes even when it makes us look different.

'everything's hotter in Queensland'

This is classic.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm good with this

I. It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.

II. After God had made all other creatures, He created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after His own image; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter IV, Of Creation.
Just saying.


I am...

... a perfectionistic control freak* and life would be easier if I wasn't.  Does it really matter as much as I think it does?

Yes it does!

*not with everything


... I have worked very very hard.

What have I got to show for it?  A fatter bank account (from teaching 8.30-3.00) and 2 levels (reader and early reader) of completed Sunday School booklets on Romans (3.30-9.00).  I still need to do the pre-reader booklets, but I've hit the wall.

Teaching takes less energy than Sunday School curriculum writing and is significantly more lucrative but it doesn't give me smart looking desktop publishing to gloat over.  Which, of course, is why I do the Sunday School stuff...


...Micah's class today!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

new moon

I bought New Moon on dvd.  I'm hoping to watch it with friends on Friday night.  Trouble is, everyone is too godly to admit that they want to see it.

But I know.  While I'm watching it with the 2 friends who were not afraid to say yes, the rest of you will be ducking off to the video shop, hiring it, and watching it with the blinds shut all by your miserable selves!


I was booked to work this morning, but it was cancelled at the last minute.  So with my bonus couple of hours I did the shopping, loaded the slow cooker for pumpkin soup, and made 3 pies.  I got a bit carried away with left over pastry.

why friendship is costly in your late thirties

Just about every 35-45 year old woman that I've had a significant conversation with this year seems to have talked about loneliness and the apparent impossibility of finding a good friend.  I've felt these things myself too, and have been reflecting on them.  Why is this stage of life so isolating for so many?

Andrew and I chatted last night.  Here's what we came up with.

When you are in your twenties, you are fun to be around.  You have energy, you are still idealistic, you've not stuffed up too badly yet, you don't have that many responsibilities at work or at home (compared to what's coming!), your kids are still cute (if you have them, if you don't there is still hope that you will sometime), and your personality ticks can be largely ignored.  Furthermore, friendship groups are still fluid and people are 'shopping' for friends.

By the time you've moved to your mid thirties, friendship groups appear to be settled.  They aren't really - within apparent friendship groups there is heaps of dissatisfaction and loneliness - but admitting someone else of that age takes patience and a welcoming heart and long term effort.  Because life is complicated and busy.

People are no longer single units but a package deal.  They come with a spouse (who you may not like) and children (that your kids may not like).  They are not carefree.  There are significant work and family responsibilities.  Time is valuable.  Issues which may have been emerging earlier are now full blown and painful.  Infertility.  Health problems.  Sin that could previously be overlooked has now bloomed in full flower.  Personality ticks are no longer disguised by the attraction of youth.  Anxiety has become debilitating because there are actually things to worry over.

Because of the difficulties of friendships, in this stage of life people realise that when it comes down to it, family is the primary thing.  But, as a friend put it, the late thirties and forties can be 'the bottom of the U' for a marriage.  So we despair.

Have I painted it too black?  Probably.

But what's the solution?  Cultivating friendships with younger people?

No.  Overlooking faults where possible, working on sin in yourself, and putting in effort.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

6 things I'm thinking about right now

1. Normal loneliness, isolation and despair
2. Ambition in Paul's writings.  Romans 15:20 cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 
3. Ambition, women, and the church.
4. 'Desire for husband' in Genesis 3
5. Sunday School material on Romans that I'm editing at the moment.
6. How I'm going to fill my kids' lunch boxes tomorrow. (The cupboards are bare.)

Monday, April 12, 2010


If something interesting doesn't show up on someone's blog in the next five minutes, I'll .... I'll .... I'll... just have to find something else to do!

naplan boycott


last day of school holidays

A great day.  Friends over for breakfast.  Friends over for dinner.  Ikea adventure in the middle.

Ten reasons why your church plant should be denominational

Writing this post officially pushes me into mid life.  And yes, I've only told one side of the story.  But anyway...

Ten reasons why your church plant should be denominational

1.  Denominations are like families.  When a new child enters the family, it shares the parent's DNA and surname.  Except in disfunctional situations, the grown children remain a part of the family through adulthood.  The church that a baptist church begets will be genetically baptist.  A presbyterian church will give birth to another presbyterian church. For a parent church to encourage its daughter congregation to disown its heritage and name and become independant is a sign of disfunction.  It is a very loud vote of no confidence in the denomination from the parent church and others are right to hear it as such.

2.  Denominations provide a structure in which older ministers can guide younger ministers.  This doesn't always work, but is very nice when it does.

3.  Denominations are a way of acknowledging that churches do not exist independently of each other.  Things like good quality theological education does not happen for free.  Churches group together to form bible colleges.  We owe a lot to the Sydney Anglicans for paying for much of our theological education.  Yes, we paid fees, but these wouldn't have come close to covering the cost of the library books we used, the unit we stayed in, the buildings we learnt in, the lecturers we learnt from...  Most likely, your independent church isn't actually independent at all.

4.  Denominations are a way of humbly acknowledging that we didn't make it up.  Our doctrines, our understanding of the bible, our pastoral skills, our way of running church services have all been handed down to us from others.  Denominations put tags on particular traditions and stop some potential ministerial arrogance.  (Perhaps for this reason, independent churches can tend to be more personality driven...)

5.  Denominational churches are more stable than independent churches.  There are clear process for dealing with issues and (while annoying) these are actually useful to have.  There are allocated people outside the local church to help if things get tricky.  Financial and theological accountability (though often poorly done) are available through denominational structures.

6.  Theoretically, denominations should be better at defining the bounds of orthodoxy and stamping out heresy than independent churches.  (Practically I'm not sure.)

7.  Denominational churches have fewer financial decisions to make.  Many churches struggle to know how to spend that left over 10% of income.  Denominations take away the burden of this decision (by taking the cash!)

8.  Denominations are a way of showing that we need and want each other.  I'm doing my thing over here, but I care about what you are doing over there.

9.  Denominations (should) co-ordinate our efforts in carrying out Jesus' big mission.  If I know others are ministering in Mt. Isa, I'll be better able to focus on what I'm doing in my patch.

10.  Denominations often come with cash and buildings.  Not to be overlooked...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

creating crisis

This is gold!  Just what I needed to read.  Works in well with Nathan's ideas of just getting on with it.

Everybody wants to be your comforter. The whole idea of church life, they seem to think, is to find out what's hurting and pray for that. Nothing makes them light up more than to hear that you're feeling down, or you have some back pain, or your job is boring. It gives them something to "intercede" about!

I hope I'm not sounding too awfully cynical here. I certainly do appreciate prayer, but I think we're training ourselves to be perpetual spiritual invalids, rather than forgetting ourselves and getting involved in the mission of God in the world around us.
(h/t: Nicole)

Meme: Five things in my wardrobe that I wouldn't be without.

The only thing sillier than taking cooking advice from me would be coming to me for fashion advice.  I hate clothes shopping and I look sloppy most of the time.  But I'd like to start a meme.  And I'm in the mood for shallow.  So girls...

Five things in my wardrobe that I wouldn't be without.

1. Red dresses
2. Brown skirts
3. A zip up hoody that I can stuff in my bag in preparation for the cooler climate of the coffee shop.
4. Black gym clothes (Get any other colour and you'll regret it.  Try explaining to the shoe salesman that you really like the running shoes he wants to sell you, but you can't buy them because they are orange and your gym clothes are pink.)
5. 7/8ths length jeans



Title your post- Meme: Five things in my wardrobe that I wouldn't be without. 
Tell us who linked you.
List your 5 wardrobe items.
Paste these rules at the bottom.
Tag 2 or 3 others to join in the fun!

I tag Ali and Nicole.

shallow shallow shallow

Lots of things make me happy.  A new project, a poem, a new tune for a lyric, friends, blog love, a good discussion, a new idea...

But there is a certain, (shallow) kind of satisfaction that only a red dress brings.  In the shops, orange and pink might seem like worthy alternatives, but once you get them home, they never really cut it.  They are red pretenders.  I want the real thing.

I currently have 4 red dresses in circulation.  Ideally, I'd have one for every day of the week.  But... as two are going-out dresses, such a wardrobe achievement is a long way off.  The other night I bought my first winter-ish red dress.  With back tights and skivvy it could potentially be worn all year round.  What more would I need for a full and complete life?


...between 'is this all there is?' and 'life holds quite a lot, actually.'

So should I get out the tea-cups for a pity party or put on a nice red dress (I have a new one!) and be happy?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

down the coast

S..l...o....w     i....n......t.......e........r.........n..........e...........t.

five things that are hard

1. Laundry
2. Paying money to have your dishwasher fixed
3. The last third of a project
4. Keeping the bitter out of sad
5. Caring more than others

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

twist brisbane

5th June.
Mitchelton Presbyterian Church.

Register here.

We've sent brochures out to lots of churches now.  If you think your church should have received some, ask your minister and leave a comment here if you haven't gotten them.

A Pity. We Were Such a Good Invention

They amputated
Your thighs off my hips.
As far as I'm concerned
They are all surgeons. All of them.

They dismantled us
Each from the other.
As far as I'm concerned
They are all engineers. All of them.

A pity. We were such a good
And loving invention.
An aeroplane made from a man and wife.
Wings and everything.
We hovered a little above the earth.

We even flew a little.

Yehuda Amichai
(Translated by Assia Gutmann)

more on sin

The sin discussion is continuing.  Nathan has posted on sin and righteousness.  It's well worth a read if you haven't read it already.  I'll respond to it when I have time.  I'll also respond to Stuart's long asked question of the biblical backing for my platonist positions when I can.  Last night I started mapping them out.  My easiest answer at this stage is that it's the vibe of the whole bible, it's Mabo etc.

In the meantime, here's a few thoughts on the current discussion.
1.  I have heaps of sympathy for Nathan's position.  Just getting on with the task of preaching the gospel and not dwelling overly on sin is, I think, the best way of living in this world.  Sin will pollute all of our actions.  We should repent as we can and press on doing the things that God says are good to do. 

[I've spent a bit of time over the years reading puritan prayers (from the Valley of Vision book) but after I've prayed a few of them I usually step back and think that too much of that stuff is actually unhelpful.  I know that I'm a miserable sinner.  Finding a thousand different ways to express that to God and myself doesn't make me any more forgiven.]

2.  My view which looks to the new creation as the place where desires will be met and demands patience in the meantime, probably needs a couple of clarifications.
a.) I came up with this idea in the context of my ongoing struggle with sin.  What do we do with desires (like ambition etc) that won't go away?  How do we, year in, year out, deal with our ever-present sins?  Never fully getting the things that we (part sinfully, part rightly) crave? 
b.) I see self denial and resisting temptation as a part of Christian suffering.  It is part of our groaning (Romans 8) for the new creation. 
c.) Our groaning is not futile.  Like the pains of labor, they will deliver something.

Monday, April 5, 2010

on sin

Last night, a conversation opened up about fighting sin and resisting temptation.  Fascinating and useful stuff.  Kutz pushed his 3-man position (read about it here and here), I pushed my desire for the new creation position, and Nathan offered his own sin is inevitable so just get on with it position (which I'm sure he'll blog on soon).

Nathan's very valid criticism of my position is that I've done a Keller and tried to make all sin fit under one heading.  Such a thing can be done - Keller has shown us that if you define and redefine particular sins and colour them in in a certain way, they all look like idolatry.  I've done the same, but squashed and squeezed so that all sinful desires are redefined as desires in some way for the new creation.  It can be helpful, but it's a stretch.

The other criticism of my position was that of whether our desires will actually be fulfilled in the new creation or whether we'll be changed so that our desires will change.  I expect my desires to be filled. I imagine that when I'm with God and his people I'll have these ah-ha moments of 'When I thought I wanted x, I didn't realise that what I actually wanted was this!' (And I'll be thinking about some element of life in the new creation.) But that might be C.S.Lewis and Plato more than it is the bible.

The problem with most of our models is the difficulty in maintaining our utter sinfulness while allowing that the spirit does actually make a difference.  Real progress in godliness is what's expected of us (1 John 1).

There was lots of great clarification along the way.  John had a habit of referring to the bible, which gave us a bit of a jolt.  This is systematics we're doing!  Vibe over text! Andrew pointed out that the bible has lots of ways of describing sin and talking about our fight against it, so no one model is probably going to capture it.

Your thoughts?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Is it because I'm a presbyterian or because I'm a kill joy (are these synonymous?) but I just don't get into religious holy days.  Easter doesn't do much for me, nor Christmas.  Yes, I know they are a great opportunity for gospel preaching etc etc, but I'd love a long weekend about now. 

As a family we don't do much to celebrate easter.  No special parties or anything.  Andrew had a few hours off yesterday afternoon, but it's been a busy week and there's church again tomorrow.  We keep on with our normal family bible readings (Matthew at the moment), but won't be up to the cricifixion/resurrection chapters for another week or two.  Oh well.  We do go to church an extra time, so I guess that's something.

If your family makes Easter a significant time, I think that's fantastic. I really do. Celebrating is an excellent thing to do.  We don't.

what does healthy mean?

I was just googling around for ideas for an anzac slice kind of recipe.  One recipe, which had heaps of butter, sugar, honey and chocolate in it, attracted this comment:

"Great healthy family snack, I used melted mars bar for the topping."

I think our definitions of 'healthy' may be somewhat different!

Andrew on refugees

Andrew isn't capable of a full on rant.  If he was, this post would have been much more aggressive.  This is one issue he feels particularly passionate about.  Much more passionate than I do (though I agree with all he says.)  I think his post is lacking the words 'stupid' and 'dumb'.  If you like those words, read on.
  • It is a cop out to say this is a very difficult issue and different christians have different opinions about it.  And stupid.  It's not that difficult.  We are to be merciful and welcoming.  These people have mostly (90%) come from horrible situations.  They have come to us for refuge.  We should shelter them!  This means we should treat them well on arrive.  Not move them from place to place, trying to avoid responsibility.  We should process them quickly and help them to settle into Australia.  We should be careful that our words about them are loving and kind, assuming the best.
  • It is dumb that we find it easier to be compassionate about unborn babies than about refugees.  How would christians feel if people started talking about how 'all these unwanted children, are invading our country!'
  • I wonder if underneath all the talk of 'difficult situation blah blah blah' what it comes down to is that a high standard of living and a white Australia is more important to us than justice and mercy.

songs on godly living

Jocelyn is after some.  Anyone know any?

Congregational songs on godly living are really hard to find because they are really hard to write.  Grown ups hate being told what to do (kids are used to it!) and preachy-ness generally makes for a bad song anyway.  I've tried many times, but most have been way too awful to send to Philip for a tune.  But here are a few suggestions:

Be Thou My Vision
May the Mind
Take My Life
1 Cor 13 (Rob Smith)
(but they are the three obvious ones)

These ones are a bit more tangential...
We belong to the day
Let Your Kingdom Come
Grace Unmeasured
We Are His People

Hopefully our new song will be finished soon.  It's our best attempt so far at a song on godly living.  At some stage we were thinking of re-releasing Nothing Else Matters as an adult song.  You could try that.

Anyone else have ideas?

Friday, April 2, 2010

happy easter!

I have an unhealthy relationship with pepsi-max

And now I have a headache.

I've been using it as an alternative to sleep for the last week. But now we've run out and I've decided not to buy any more.

I'm feeling snappy and foul and it's my own fault. The headache is my punishment.

Andrew is making me have panadol as a way of serving those around me. I'd prefer to just sit it out.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


You are so slippery.
A newborn in the bath.

My body quaked
to give you birth. Pain,

a moment of sensual pleasure,
and you fall

into that deep pool
of things past.

sar 2010


Sunday school over for the year.

Last night's talk prepared and delivered.

No songwriting to do for the next 10 days at least.

Schools are on holidays so no work.

Nothing to do at all!

Except grocery shopping and cooking and laundry and cleaning the house and two kids talks for church this weekend...

Hmm. I have an idea for a poem. I think I'll work on that.

new thoughts (for me) on death from John 11

[Sorry, I know I could have summarized my ideas into a few sentences.  I couldn't be bothered.  This is a section of my talk from last night.  It came after the bit where I told the story.  The headings were just put in now for your benefit!]

1. The elephant in the room.

Jesus' words to Martha 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live even if they die.” Well Martha said she believed it before, but now she's got proof. Jesus can pull people from death to life. If he raised Lazarus today, what will he do tomorrow? Is this the beginning of a new age where we don't have to worry about sickness or aging or dying? Have tombs and graves become the things of yesterday? Lazarus is alive so everything's changed now! Or has it?

I told this story to the children at our church in the middle of last year. It was a few days after little Abby died. ... When I got to the end of the story and talked about how Jesus is stronger than death and how he's powerful enough to give us life even if we die... I remember the look on 9 year old Emily's face. She was so attached to her sister. It was heartbreaking. Jesus can raise the dead. Please, Jesus. Do it now. Bring Abby back to life!

Jesus is the resurrection and the life, he proved that to Martha. But since then, billions and billions of people have died. And they've stayed dead. So what's the point?

2. Death as necessary for now.

This miracle that Jesus did, it's a sign. He didn't just do it for the sake of Lazarus, or because it makes a cool story to tell. He did to point to something else. In a way, this miracle was just a teaser to get us ready for the real thing.

Lazarus was raised back to life, but not forever. He may have gone on to live another 60 years, but he's dead now. And Abby? Even if Jesus had raised her last year, eventually she'd still die.

As we all will.

What Jesus was actually committed to, was making a permanent solution to death. Not just stringing out our lives for a little longer, but fixing the death problem all together. And that's what this miracle is about.

Death is a tragic part of our world, but for now, it's necessary.

Think about the bad vampires in Twilight. Mythical characters who live forever. What do they do? They kill people. And because they are immortal, they just go on killing more and more people. They can't be stopped. They're imaginary, but what about real people? Adolf Hitler. How would it be if someone like him lived forever? You see, death is a natural limiting force on the harm we can do. If our lives were without end can you imaging how much damage even normal people like me might cause? I might look okay on the outside, but inside ambition and greed and pride and selfishness are brewing. If time and physical strength weren't against me, imagine what I'd be capable of. All the little hurts that I cause would escalate into big hurts. And it's the same with all of us.

So long as sin is in the world, death will be too. It's a blunt instrument but it limits the harm we might do. Kind of like an interest rate rise. Rate rises hit rich and poor alike, but overall, they do make our society spend less money. Sometimes the good die young (before they've had a chance to cause too much trouble!) and sometimes the worst people live till a ripe old age. Death hits indiscriminately, but it curbs our natural inclination towards evil.

But Jesus has done something so that this small sign he gave with Lazarus, this small foretaste of what we all long for, can become a permanent reality for us. He's done something so that his words 'I am the resurrection and the life” can have ultimate meaning. And the thing that he's done is died to take away the problem of sin altogether...