Wednesday, August 31, 2011

debating has taken over my life.

Year 5 debating. It's serious stuff.

We spent weeks preparing for this, our first debate. We were the affirmative team, arguing that we should not keep pets. Our puppy has been on edge all month as we've walked round the house talking about our plans to eliminate pet ownership in Australia. Many of us have spoken passionately about how wrong it is to domesticate animals, how it is unnatural, unhealthy and unfair to them and how it encourages us to view animals as toys rather than living creatures with rights and dignity. We had thought up a long list of good arguments that the negative team could throw at us. We had well thought out rebuttals to them all.

Thing didn't go quite as we expected. Our second speaker (who is brilliant in a perfectionistic way) was thrown by the fact that their first speaker didn't really make any points. He fell apart when he realised he couldn't provide any rebuttal, even though two rebuttal points were expected of him. With cuddles and affirming words he made it through his speech. Their second speaker spoke quite well, arguing that pets are fun. We hadn't thought of that... but our third speaker managed to cobble something together.

All a good learning experience. Joel did really well. It was hard work teaching him his speech. (Took half a pack of mint slice biscuits to achieve it.) This morning it wasn't looking good. Late this afternoon we decided to ditch the full script palm cards (since he couldn't really read them anyway) and made cards with a few words and lots of arrows and pictures. This worked. He got the 4 minute speech probably 80% word perfect and the rest he ad-libbed with style. I've always thought of Joel as quiet and unshowy. But he likes a stage as much as I do.

One debate down, three to go.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ukulollo - Nightswimming

Looking for songs for my kids to play on uke.

Anything that I can convince them is cool...

I'm bored with what we're currently doing - Cold Play, Green Day...

Ideas? So far they've learnt C, F, G, Am, D, Bb, Em, E7.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

post-piper lyric

Don't know if I like it yet. Note the 'or'll'.

[yet to be titled]

1. Come sun or rain
Come morning washed with joy or tears
come bliss or pain
Lord you are here, no fears remain

You are our Lord,
We need no more

Water for the parched and thirsty
Manna for the hungry soul.

2. I need no wealth
The lord of all looks after me
God is enough
for all that I am, or'll ever be

You are our Lord
We need no more

3. Years roll to years
and crash as waves upon the shore
dreams disappear
sink into sand to rise no more

Still you are Lord
We need no more

sar 2011

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a new contraction


= Or will.

Can I use it in a song? It's no worse than heav'n.

ministry / life balance

I've got no idea what this even means.

I don't know what to put in the 'ministry' category and what to put in the 'life' category.

And I don't specialise in balance in anything.

Clearly I need to go to the ministry wives evening this week where we learn about getting the balance right between ministry and life.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Piper on the love of God

"Most modern people can scarcely imagine an alternate understanding of feeling loved other than feeling made much of. If you don't make much of me you are not loving me. 
But when you apply this definition of love to God, it weakens his worth, undermines his goodness, and steals our final satisfaction. If the enjoyment of God himself is not the final and best gift of love, then God is not the greatest treasure, his self giving is not the highest mercy, the gospel is not the good news that sinners may enjoy their Maker, Christ did not suffer to bring us to God, and our souls must look beyond him for satisfaction.  
This distortion of divine love into an endorsement of self-admiration is subtle. It creeps into our most religious acts. We claim to be praising God because of his love for us. But if his love for us is at bottom his making much of us, who is really being praised? We are willing to be God-centered, it seems, as long as God is man-centered. We are willing to boast in the cross as long as the cross is a witness to our worth. Who then is our pride and joy?"

From God is the Gospel, pp12-13.

Grrr. Bad dog!

It certainly was you.

I don't care if your paws get wet. Go outside!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Piper in brisbane

An excellent night with Colin Buchanan and John Piper. If you missed it, Nathan has written a thorough description.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

piper piper piper

Surprisingly excited about the piper thing tomorrow.

Looks like we'll sell out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

one of my favourite songs ever.

I read alone

My kids are performing this at the book week assembly tomorrow.

This tune. Imagine 2 ukuleles (one lead, one rhythm) played by very able year 7 boys and a 10 year old girl vocalist with gorgeous phrasing and inflections.

I Read Alone

I read my book alone
I sit alone, but I'm not on my own
Within my mind has grown
a thousand friends for me
While I read alone

Nothing is as it seems
The library is a room of living dreams
In every corner gleams
Adventures ripe for me
While I read alone

I read alone
I read a...

My shadow's the only part of me that's left here
My mind, my heart, my soul are in these pages
Why must I leave my book and do my homework?
Why can't I read alone?

I know each word, each line
I've read this book so many times it's mine
Come rain or come sunshine
Who cares? I have my book and I read alone

[Repeat Chorus etc.]

feeling flat and yuck.

Remind me to not be a narcissistic control freak micro-manager who flattens anyone they perceive to be a threat.

Forgive me, God, for the times when I have been.

If I were the type to use my blog as a rant station against narcissistic, control freak, micro-managers who need to stomp on the initiative of others...

...then there would be a blog post here.

But I'm not.

So there's not.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


We're doing Daniel in RE for the next 6 weeks. We're going to get the kids to act it out like we did with the Joseph stories last year. Of course we need costumes. So tonight I made 6 calico tunics*. I still need to make gold belts to go with them. They will be for Daniel and his friends and the kings other advisors. I've bought a beautiful piece of shiny purple stretchy fabric that will be a cape for King Nebucanezzer (and his successors). He'll wear it with a red satin tunic underneath and a gold belt and crown. I'll have Micah model them tomorrow afternoon and take some pictures.

* Hem two rectangles. Cut a vertical line a quarter of the way down one and hem both sides of that line. Sew the rectangles together at the top leaving a head whole. Tunic!

The Host - Stephanie Meyer

Unlike Twilight, The Host claims to be an adult novel. I'm unconvinced. What's the difference between YA fiction and adult fiction anyway? All the main (human) characters in The Host were young (17-26), it had a naive I'm going to be in love with this person for all eternity attitude to romance (a bit hard for anyone over 30 to swallow), and a happy ending where everyone got everything they wanted.

The premise was kind of interesting. Earth has been taken over by these alien 'soul' things that live inside humans (usually) displacing the human soul. The story is about Wanderer (an alien soul) who is put inside a girl called Melanie who never quite disappears. Much of the book's 600 pages is Wanderer's inner monologue or Wanderer and Melanie's inner dialogue. There is lengthy. reflection. on. every. single. thing. I wanted a red pen. I think I could have reduced it to 300 pages.

The Host's Wanderer is remarkably similar to Twilight's Bella. Both have never really felt they fitted in (a big YA theme). Both are painfully unselfish, continually looking for ways to sacrifice themselves for those they love. Both are obsessively maternal. Both are introverts who find it hard (apparently) to express themselves to those around them. Both are drawn into relationships where they get physically hurt (not abuse, of course. Just...) Neither have too much in the way of personality. The only real difference between Wanda and Bella seems to be that Wanda is good at sport and Bella is clumsy. I think soccer or running are mentioned four or five times...

Another similarity between the Host and Twilight is the theme of eternal youth and heath. Stephanie Meyer seems to have an obsession with it. Like vampires, the alien souls are immortal. The human life is way too short.

Look, it wasn't a bad read. I enjoyed it in the same way as I'd enjoy eating a whole packet of musk sticks or banana lollies. Kind of compelling at the time, but I felt a little junked out when it was finished. I could't bring myself to read the bonus chapters at the end where we get to experience the story from someone else's point of view. SM's writing style has perhaps improved a little since Twilight (not quite so many adjectives) but I think I prefer vampires to tiny silver soul creatures. If there's a sequel, I'm not keen to read it. There is meant to be a movie getting made. I can't imagine that it would be any good.

Anyone else?

Andrew is happy.

Beer, pizza and iview.

Sorry for the silence.

I've been busy reading a book. 'The Host' by Stephanie Meyer. I've also just made 6 tunics for RE on Tuesday. Regular posting about to resume...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

And even more anon love

Thenk you very much

Seems a shame not to accept any of these comments, but I know that as soon as I do, Anon's less desirable friends will join the party.

More praise from anon

Simply wish to say your article is as amazing. The clearness in your post is just nice and i could assume youre an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the rewarding work.

I did some research and it seems that anon hangs out a lot with Coach Bags (who has commented here before) and S_*e_**x Videos. I love the way anon engages with the topic of Church Planting.

tips for would be hoax bombers

- don't use your credit card to buy the baseball bat you'll use in your attack
- don't use your credit card to buy a lanyard and a memory stick that you'll attach to your victim
- don't drive in your own car to the places you'll check for an email
- try to avoid cctv cameras
- don't save draft files of your instruction letter on the memory stick that you attach to your victim. When you delete them, they are still there.
- don't use the memory stick in your own computer, as the owner of the computer you used will come up on the files
- go to busy internet cafes to check your email, not quiet places where the store owners will remember you

Story here. The guy they've got is pleading not guilty.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wisdom from tonight's pump soundtrack

When love becomes a lie,
It's time to say goodbye.
When love becomes a lie,
Don't waste your tears,
Just say goodbye. (song here)

Let mercy come
and wash away
what I've done. (song here)

Wow, thanks Anon!

Just got this comment for moderation on my post Church Planting Frustrations.

Ive been meaning to read this and just never got a chance. Its an issue that Im very interested in, I just started reading and Im glad I did. Youre a wonderful blogger, 1 of the most effective that Ive seen. This weblog undoubtedly has some facts on topic that I just wasnt aware of. Thanks for bringing this stuff to light.

Monday, August 15, 2011

scary dragon song for my preps

I’m a dragon, see my claws
feel my fire, hear my roars
I’m a dragon, you’re my prey
And I might eat you up today!

sar 2011


I went on a bus the other day. It didn't feel very hygienic.

5 things that make me happy

1. Ukuleles on a compulsory school booklist.
2. Ekka holidays - Wednesday and Thursday this week.
3. Not going to the Ekka.
4. Finding a part for each prep kid in my prep musical.
5. Singing 'Old Sinner Man' and 'Drunken Sailor' together.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

LXX issues

Do I need to assume that Jesus had the LXX foremost in his mind?

Would he have been familiar with the Hebrew?

I want to argue that John 8:58 is an Exodus 'I AM' reference.

58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”

That 'I am' is ego eimi.

Carson is telling me that it's not a reference to Exodus 3 because Ex 3 in the LXX reads 'I am (Ego eime) the existent one (ho on). Tell them the existent one (ho on) has sent you.' If Jesus was referring to the I AM of Exodus 3, he'd have used ho on instead of ego eime

Carson then argues that the John 8:58 'I am' is a reference to Isaiah 40. Ex 3 / Is 40 makes very little difference to the take home message... but Is 40 is much harder to package up in a Sunday School lesson. 

Can I defy Carson and take it as a reference to Exodus 3?

Help me out guys. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

So. Jane Eyre.

Visually fantastic

Beautiful music.

I didn't mind the way they structured the film - flashbacks etc.

I can handle the fact that Rochester was better looking than St. John.

I can handle the fact that Rochester finished the movie with two hands.

I can handle that some of my favourite bits were left out.

But you can't leave God out of Jane Eyre without really messing with the story. Jane's faith is so central to her character. Her decision to leave Rochester makes no sense without faith.

Why why why?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


What Would Jane Do?

re-reading Jane Eyre in preparation for tomorrow.

Haven't read it fully since July, so it's time I did.

I am queen.

(Of my kitchen, at least.)

I have a roast in the oven.

I have done the shopping for dinner tomorrow night (we'll have 2 extras) AND for another night after that.

Feeling pretty amazing.

I'm told that some people live like this all the time. Not sure how they stay humble.

Going to see this tomorrow.

Beyond excited.

bridge building

Nathan has been attending a high achiever's program at a high school for the last few months. He's been in the science stream and they've done various things - extracting dna from strawberries, making goo, designing roller coasters... They also had to work in pairs to build a bridge. It needed to be able to hold the maximum weight while weighing the least. Nathan and his partner's bridge won. It weighed in at 45g and collapsed under 7.5kg. We were all surprised.

UPDATE: Apparently they didn't win overall. The winner from the other science HA class beat them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

RE Quiz. How many can you answer?

Who am I?

1. I am a king of Judah. I spent most of my reign getting rid of the idols in Jerusalem. My son was not like me.
a. Solomon
b. Hezekiah
c. Joash
d. Jehoachin

2. I was a servant of Solomon and became the first king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
a. Hezekiah
b. Jehoachin
c. Jeroboam
d. Mannasseh

3. I am known for my wisdom even though I made some very unwise choices.
a. Solomon
b. Hezekiah
c. Joash
d. Jehoachin

4. I am king of Judah. My evil grandmother tried to kill me
a. Manasseh
b. Hezekiah
c. Joash
d. Jehoachin

5. I surrendered to Babylon
a. Solomon
b. Rehoboam
c. Joash
d. Jehoachin

6. I said "My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.'" and I refused to follow the advice of my older advisors.
a. Rehoboam
b. Jeroboam
c. Ahab
d. Manasseh

7. I really wanted Naboth's vineyard.
a. Rehoboam
b. Jeroboam
c. Ahab
d. Manasseh

8. I was the worst king that Judah ever had.
a. Rehoboam
b. Jeroboam
c. Ahab
d. Manasseh

9. Which king defeated the the Northern kingdom of Israel and threatened king Hezekiah in the south?
a. King Nebuchanezzer
b. King Sennacherib
c. King Herod
d. King Xerxes

10. Which country did this king come from?
a. Babylon
b. Moab
c. Assyria
d. Israel

11. Which king defeat King Jehoachin and took Judah into exile?
a. King Nebuchanezzer
b. King Sennacherib
c. King Herod
d. King Xerxes

12. Which country did this king come from?
a. Babylon
b. Moab
c. Assyria
d. Israel

13. Apart from Jesus, which king was best?
a. Manasseh
b. Hezekiah
c. Joash
d. Solomon

14. What was the name of the one woman who ruled Judah?
a. Queen Athaliah
b. Queen Jezebel
c. Queen Mary
d. Queen of Sheba

Monday, August 8, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

dinner time fun

I love having older kids. Here's what we did after dinner tonight.

1. An impromptu debate - that houses should not have doors.
Chairperson - Micah (who is keen to be a speaker next time)
Affirmative : 1. Simone 2. Andrew 3. Simone
Negative : 1. Joel 2. Nathan 3. Joel

The affirmative argued that the purpose of doors is to separate people from each other and that this is bad for society and bad for individuals.

The negative argued that doors are useful for safely (keeping wild beasts out etc) and to protect us from the weather.

The affirmative rebutted the negative team, arguing that there are other ways of protecting ourselves against wild beasts (we could build a mote or get a guard dog) and that we should embrace the weather that God sends rather than hiding ourselves from it.

The negative team offered the rebuttal that a mote is a door by another name and that if we thought we should 'embrace the weather God sends' we should also do away with walls and roofs.

The chair was undecided about who won the debate, but agreed that points should be taken from the affirmative team because their third speaker offered no new arguments (she had run out!)

2. Watched the Gruen Transfer Pitch that Australia should invade New Zealand.
Most of us liked the second pitch best. "New Zealand. 100% there for the taking. 100% Ours"

Good times.

school chaplains...

... are like motherhood and apple pie.

Friday, August 5, 2011

email love

I'm after it at the moment.

Last night I sent out lots of emails about Bob Kauflin's visit to Brisbane. I think it will be a really good event* and I want lots of people to come. But I feel like a spammer.

Receiving email love (a 'thanks, looks great, I'll spread the word' type reply) makes me feel all warm and gooey and less like an obnoxious spammer.

It took 8 hours to receive some email love from last night's session.

Feeling it now.

Oh, and I am actually pretty excited about the twists this year. You should all come. I'll be doing the Brisbane evening, then flying to Sydney to catch those ones too. Good times.

* There's lots of big christian events on at the moment. If I could only pick one to go to, this would be it. But don't tell anyone that I said that.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Arguments for RE in school

A friend just wrote asking for ideas on how to argue for the benefits of RE at a P&C meeting that's coming up.

Here's how I responded. Anyone got other ideas?

I think you need to be really confident going in to the meeting that you are not doing anything wrong. Have a look here. Notice that we are actually allowed to teach kids for up to an hour a week! RE is not something that the P&C has anything to do with. We have a right to be in the school teaching. Parents are free to remove their children. 
Also notice that the school can't run classes during RE time. The non RE kids need to be occupied with something, but they can't be doing any work that the RE kids would be disadvantaged by not doing.  
[Principal's should] monitor school activities offered to students not attending religious instruction so students who attend religious instruction do not experience educational disadvantage
Of course, you shouldn't go in there all angry. Just be aware of the legislation and be confident that you can't be kicked out. 
If I was to go and talk to the P&C about what we do, I'd say something like... 
- I can't speak for the other religions who teach RE at x school. Just Christian RE. 
- Christianity has been a significant shaping force in our culture. Our legal system is based on Christian values. Our literature is full of allusions to biblical stories. It makes sense that our kids have a basic biblical literacy. It will help them better understand our culture and, more specifically, it will help them as they study history and english in the coming years.   
- In RE, we talk about some of the big issues in life - sometimes things that parents feel ill-equipped to discuss with their kids. In difficult times, parents often feel very thankful that their kids have talked about death and grief and guilt and forgiveness at RE.
- The way I teach is really just to tell stories. In a way, there's nothing particularly 'religious' about it - except that the stories are from the bible. Like in any study of literature, as we reflect on the characters (who are very real!) the kids learn about human nature - our strengths and our weaknesses. I tell the stories in the best way that I can - modelling good story telling techniques. I also put the stories in their historical contexts. The children often really enjoy the snippets of history and geography that they pick up.
- We're not looking to increase our church membership or anything through teaching RE. What we want is to give the kids enough knowledge so that when the time comes for them to chose a religion (or not) they'll know what christianity has to offer and they'll know the kind of questions they should ask of any other faiths that they're interested in.  
- Most kids we teach find RE really fun. They work hard most of the day. RE is something that they look forward to.

This is a good song and all, but...

...I've listened to it 10 times today. And played it on uke about 50.

Okay kids, just one more time. Am, C, G, D.

Can I stop?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

7 ages of love

I enjoy these 7 ages documentaries.

This one was a bit concerning. Glad there was one happy ending.

Not sure how I'd go if I were single again. Can't imagine constructing a list...

I need a priest to declare me clean.

I've had an itchy head since I discovered head lice in Nathan's hair last week.

I've used a treatment shampoo and combed through three times.

No evidence of lice.

But I'm still itchy.

I could spend a fortune trying to eradicate these psychological nits.

Holy water?

Dear LinkedIn

I have no interest in you.

Please stop sending me emails.



It's hard to induct school leaders

(library monitors, class eco-captains etc) without a member of the clergy present.

Lucky Andrew is free.

Monday, August 1, 2011

True Colours

On of my year 7s is singing this at our leader's induction ceremony on Wednesday morning. The song ticks all the boxes for such an event:
- parents will know it and get gooey nostalgic feelings
- it says something kind of usefulish for the occasion - courage, you know I'll be there for you, blah, blah
- it can be sung just with piano accompaniment
- I like it (I'd never have admitted it as a child)
- it is cool because it was on glee

I'm pretty excited about it. I love working with kids who sing well. Our principal pretends to be organised and planned, but she's really as spur of the moment as me. She asked this morning if I could pull something together. Of course I said yes. If she had asked me two weeks ago I'd have hesitated.