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Showing posts from 2008

2008 is Over

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So what of 2008. Here are some thoughts.

1. Person of the year: Like everyone I have read, I go for Barrack Obama! He was the focus of the year. His defeat of Hillary Clinton and then of John McCain to lead the greatest nation on earth and in a sense have power over us all, was astonishing. His charisma is phenomenal, his speaking inspired, his presence powerful. I hope he can live up to the hype, one suspects, no one can.

2. Disappointment of the year: Sarah Palin to me is this person. She started with such high hopes, but she was clearly the wrong person for the wrong time. She seems a neat lady, a full-on Christian, but that is not enough in politics. One has to have a certain gravitas and wisdom to go with the passion and compassion; she lacked a little of both to me. She may come back more mature and be a political player in the future however.

3. Kiwi Person of the Year: John Key. He is no Obama, but he took the political scene here by storm. He won well and has shown great charact…

Christmas 2008

It is truly stunning that God became flesh.

Who would have thought, the one who set the universe in motion, shaped it, selected planet earth in the milky way, filled it with glorious flora and fauna, placed his image bearers on it, granted them dominion, worked for their salvation despite their failings, would become flesh? Not just, a body (soma), but sarx, one with the creation.

He, the Creator of all things, became a part of his creation, to save it. He did not despise matter or the human body. He entwined himself completely with humanity, his DNA forged into Mary's ovum, and became a zygote, a foetus, an embryo and then the child Jesus.

And he did not enter the world as one might expect as a king, a man of power and glory, but as a powerless child of controversial circumstances in a humble Jewish home. What a story!

And who was it that recognised him? Not Caesar, or Herod. The Angels of course did, as they heralded his entry into his world. It was the humble shepherds, ironically …

The Black Caps

In light of the absence of anything decent to contribute to the world, I will make a few comments on the Black Caps that I need to get off my chest.

I really don't get the selection of the Black Caps for the first test against the Windies beginning in Dunedin tomorrow. Here are some questions. 1) Why drop an opener who has just scored 83 against Australia in a test in Australia? That is a disgrace to me. Sure, Redmond has not done that well. But he has shown good promise in England despite not performing in the test. He appeared to come of age in that innings. So why drop him? Of course, it may be because his name is Redmond, remember Rodney? 2) Why drop NZ's best opening quick for the last 10 years, Chris Martin? I don't get this. Over 140 test wickets, bowled well in Australia, if not quite at full tilt yet. Surely, a couple of tests on NZ green wickets against the hapless Windies are just what he needed to go past 150 test wickets. Wierd! 3) Why drop NZ's exciting ne…

Tribute to Stuart Lange

For anyone who is interested, I have attached my tribute to Rev Stuart Lange here. He is a legend! It was fun to roast him....

A Tribute to Stuart Lange, No Longer Vice Principal Community of Laidlaw… But still church history lecturer… so not a good bye, but my way of Saying Thanks to you for your years as VP Community…

Stuart Lange, not Langey; or Longey; or not langgggg.. but Lange! Or, as I like to put it, S.lang… Slang… for good reason.
Stuart Lange, history prof, a man who truly embodies his subject; the quintessential historical prof…
Slightly eccentric, crooked smile, hooked and bent nose… you know he has a crook elbow too, took the dog for a walk, hit the chain, smashed the elbow… Of course the dog was unharmed…
No Surprise, a lover of animals, each year looking after the animals at the Massey Christmas drive through, donkeys, lamas… etc…
Then there is his Einsteinlich hair… kind of a wild man of Southland look… in fact… Stuart Lange
A face a cartoonist would die for!
The nemesis o…

The Problem of a Christian Party

How would it be possible for a Christian party to get traction in NZ now? I really have my doubts that it could even if there were the will.

It would require all the Christians to work together, which seems impossible. Look at the current situation with 4 parties, 3 of whom polled beneath Legalise Cannabis and the Bill and Ben party!

Even then, it would require getting 5% of NZer's to agree to vote for them and/or get an electorate seat or two. Getting 5% seems an aweful long way off when the combined vote was 2.8%!

Peter Dunne may get another crack in the future, but he was close to losing this time. Can he pull off another one? Plus, he can't go on forever.

The smaller parties have built themselves, in the main, off disaffected mainline party MP's (Anderton, Dunne, Peters) who have pulled the plug on the parties and gone alone. Are there others who could come out of the mainstream to work with Dunne and the other Christians? They would have to be high profile, safe seat peop…

Election 2008: Is it Fair?

Another thought on the election has come to me.

Ask yourself, is this electoral system fair when a party gets 4.21% of the vote and gets no members of parliament while parties with less votes gets members.

Two parties with less than 1% of the vote now have members of parliament i.e. (0.89 [United Future]; 0.93 [Anderton]). Maori and Act have five members of parliament (2.24 [Maori]; 3.72 ]Act]). Yet neither did as well as NZ First but NZ First is not in parliament at all.

It seems to me that the system is flawed. Sure, those that got one, Rodney Hide and the Maori's won electoral seats, and one can argue that as a result they deserve their places. But I think there is a problem here. NZ First deserve on a proportional representation basis to have more in parliament than all of these parties.

Is the system fair? Then again, life's tough in politics.

Election 2008: How Close Was It!

The election was a closer run thing than people think. I got onto the electorate calculator and did some sums.

The current arrangement on the basis of election night is as follows:

The right included National 59; Act 5; United Future 1. All up, 65.
The left included Labour 43; Green 8; Maori 5; Anderton 1. All up, 57.

Now that looks nice and clearcut.

But think about this. If NZ First party had got 5% of the vote, which is only .79% more than they polled, and National had goe 44.66 instead of the 45.45 they did get, it would look like this (using the Election calculator (http://www.elections.org.nz/calculator/):

The right including National 55; Acts 5; United Future 1. All up, 61.
The left including Labour 41; Green 8; NZ First 6; Anderton 1; Maori 5. All up 62!

According to this analysis, this would have given Labour the chance of leading the nation with the other 4 leftist parties.

Alternatively Maori would have supported the right which would have given the right 66 and the left 57. Indeed,…

Clark, Peter, Greens

I have to pay tribute to Helen Clark. She is despised by many Christians for her morality and the social engineering of the last 9 years. And there is much to concern us with the liberalisation of marriage, sexuality, prostitution and other laws. I am deeply concerned at the shifts in NZ culture over the last years as we move away from the Judeo-Christian ethic. However, she is not alone in holding these values. Both national and labour have been involved in the liberalisation of these things and earlier issues such as abortion, the greatest social issue of our day.

I think the other side of Helen Clark that we have to acknowledge is her greatness as a leader. She has led through a period of MMP and held together government against great odds. She knew where she was going and what she wanted to do and she carried out. She worked with others and kept governments together with the art of strong leadership with compromise and team leading. She was a strong leader who was prepared to make …

The Futility of the 'Christian Parties'

So the results are in for the 2008 election. As it was looking throughout the campaign, National are in control of the country and the reign of Helen is over after 9 years. Well done John Key. He has a tough job, the economy is not in a good state and so, leading this nation, blown hither and thither on the winds of the world powers will be a challenge. Here's hoping that they can manage the economy well through this time and that they can build a stronger NZ.

What really interested me was the performance of the 'Christian' parties.

Here is a little table comparing their election night performances (these are not final, but the scene will not change that much):


National Party 951,145 45.45
Labour Party 706,666 33.77
Green Party 134,622 6.43
ACT New Zealand 77,843 3.72
Mäori Party 46,894 2.24
Jim Anderton's Progressive 19,536 0.93
United Future 18,629 0.89
New Zealand First Party 88,072 4.21
Kiwi Party 11,659 0.56
The Bill and Ben Party 10,738 0.51
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 7…

NZ News

What is it with the NZ television news?

I was watching El Jazeera news the other day on Triangle, just having a coffee and flicked on the box, you know how it is. The news was out that in Pakistan 1500 people had been killed in a raid on a town. 1500! That is half the number killed in the Twin Towers attack in 2001 and that dominated TV for a month or so, not to mention how it has dominated the world since as the US have sought to stop terrorism. Here we have the deaths of 1500 people and I have seen no mention on NZ TV. If it has been mentioned, and it may have because I haven't watched all the news of late, it was brief. I would have thought that this would have warranted leading the news??

You can check it out yourself if you want: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2008/10/2008102663817338879.html.

I am increasingly of the view that we need to be independent ferrets for the news of the world and not trust rather than relying on the NZ news bulletins. We as a nation are very i…

Judgementalism of the Church

There is another thing that is bugging me which I must get off my chest.

I recently read a blog in which a number of people engaged in some rather harsh criticism of Laidlaw College, its direction, its past and its decision making.

I have to say that I was not surprised but deeply saddened by much of what I read (not all). What I read there stands in continuity with something that is to me, an outstanding feature of contemporary western Christianity. That is, people of God who assume the right and authority (on what basis I am not sure) who stand in judgement over churches, Christian organisations and other Christian workers. I hear it continually of the church. Pentecostals abuse the mainstream church. Christian theologians slam contemporary worship, the emerging church, tradition etc. Micro-church advocates slam the mega church and churches devoted to growth.

I am appalled by the continuous criticism given out by critics, theologians, pastors, lay people etc of others. I wonder, what g…

Who Needs Dan?

As to my earlier blog bemoaning Dan Carter not playing. I heard a rep from the NZRFU on Scoreboard ZB yesterday stating it was Dan and the Canterbury union's choice, not the NZRFU. That being said, I withdraw that earlier comment criticising them. As it was, Canterbury did not need him, slogging out a good win, just.

Nice to see Hosea Gear in the AB's, he deserved it.

That being said, he should have played. Go the Kiwis! Go the Silver Ferns! Go the Phoenix!

United and National

Interesting! According to the Herald Peter Dunne has gone into 'bed' with national (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz-election-2008/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501799&objectid=10539486). This means a vote for UnitedFuture is a vote for the right. It is great that Dunne has clarified which direction he will go in. This makes UnitedFuture a viable option for those who are uncomfortable with Labour and with national but with right leaning preferences. On the other hand, it helps those who want to support the left and Labour to make sure that they don't vote for UnitedFuture. My suspicion is that a number of Christians will go this way, liking the morality of UnitedFuture. The only danger here is the question of whether UnitedFuture get the numbers or an electorate seat to get anyone in. If not, the vote is lost in the wilderness. However, the election is certainly becoming clearer in terms of what the implications of a vote are.

So,
To add to my earlier blog:
A vote for UnitedFuture i…

Dan Carter and NPC Final

So why is Dan Carter not playing in the final of the NPC tonight?

The way that NZ rugby players are wrapped in cotton wool is weird. It is a privilege to play rugby professionally and they should play! Get him out there.

The NZ rugby union shows its lack of understanding of the professional sports world. Older professional leagues like the Premier League, NRL, AFL etc do not do this. Their people play for their pay. The NRL is a long season with more physical toll than rugby, of that I am sure. Yet, week in week out they front. The Heineken cup and other British rugby leagues are tough and their players play. The last world cup saw England and France make the semi's and England the final with supposedly weaker teams with players who played. NZ lost the last world cup because their players did not play.

The sponsors need him to play. The fans need him to play. The TV magnates who support the ediface need him to play. He should play. He should, 'go to work, the work for which he is…

Election Dilemma

Mmmmm. Who to vote for? It seems an easy election for Christians to vote in doesn't it. We have had labour for 9 years and they have continued to dismantle NZ's Judeo-Christian ethical basis... well, what might be called Judeo-Christian??? Anyway, they have had a social policy that has reframed marriage allowing same-sex unions (not marriage directly, but in guise); they have gone against the desires of most NZer's to smack; they have allowed prostitution to be legal etc etc. So, it is time for a change. Simple really, vote to get them out if you believe in God's Word.

Well, I wish it was that simple. To me, while these things are biggies and concern me to differing degrees, there is the matter of economics. Jesus had more to say about money than any ethical issue, social or otherwise. I won't go over the data, you can read it... start with Luke's Gospel and pop into Matt 5-6; 25. Then there is James epistle, 1 Jn 3:16-17, Acts 2-4 and other passages which reite…

Where have you been?

An interview:
I. Viewer: Hi DrMarkK, I see your last blog entry was Aug 19. So where have you been?

DrMarkK: Good question. I have been snowed under and work and have been in a rut, lost interest in blogging to be honest, too much on, loss of interest in life etc... it happens.

I. Viewer: Are you back bigger and better then?

DrMarkK: Bigger for sure. I have put on weight. You see, I like the red wine, and can't help eating a bowl of ice cream every evening watching reality TV shows like Survivor, Top Chef etc. I am a compulsive ice cream and reality show nut.

I. Viewer: As one who has followed your lack of progress over the years, I wonder why a bottom-class academic is watching such pivel on TV? (Is that how you spell Pivel?) Surely, you should be reading, studying, thinking, praying and if you watch TV, watch doco's and high quality TV like Coronation Street?

DrMarkK: Well I do watch the latter; it is not high class, but Emma likes it and I am married to her (and happily). Well, …

Nick Willis is Legende!

Nick Willis rocks my world. Fantastic performance. 3rd in an Olympic middle distance event for a white boy from Lower Hutt in today's athletic scene with the dominance of the east Africans in the sport is an astonishing effort. He ran a cool race, trusted himself, waited and came through. He lost the first two and couldn't challenge them for gold, but hey, that can come in London!

Rightly he gives God the glory. God is into running cause he made us to run. He made us to fly and Nick can fly. God sure smiles when Nick runs because Nick does it for him. He is no atheist or agnostic who blindly ignores that there must be a God behind this amazing world, the wonders of humanity made in his image and of course Jesus! So he is onto it. He deserves it. Fantastic.

I know Nick personally. He is an utter inspiration to my kids who all run and are pretty good. One or all of them hope to be running at London or beyond with him in the future.

Steve his brother deserves a mention. Awesome job …

Mahe, the Twins!

Woohoo. What a performance from the Evers-Swindells! They are leg's. Mahe too. What a performance. Magnificent effort. In the traditions of Ron Elvidge and Bert Sutcliffe, fantastic. They make us proud to be Kiwi! Too much to hope for that Rob would do it. Oh well, you can't have it all. Fantastic Kiwis. Hats off to Georgina and Caroline ES... THE BEST!

Religion and Politics

I see there is a poll running in the NZ Herald which asks readers to vote on whether churches or other religious organisations have a legitimate part to play in elections. As I write the poll is running 74% against this.

My initial reaction is to say, get lost! Who says that religious groups don't have a part to play? The principle of democracy is that anyone in the nation can have a part to play. Any group or organisation can participate in the political system. Whether we like it or not, politics is open to all the people and we should, like all people, be in!

It shows that NZ is beset with a dualistic mindset. Religion and politics must be separated! This is a hoax of course. Authentic faith affects all of life and is not just a private vertical spiritual matter. True faith is about all of life and so true Christians will be deeply involved with involvement in the politcal sphere to see it reflecting the glory of God.

This is a stunning result really and shows that we have to work…

Cosmission 2

The logic of cosmission starts at creation. God, Father, Son and Spirit, created the world (Gen 1:1-2; Jn 1:1-2; Col 1:16; Heb 1:1-3). He formed it and filled it with glorious vegetation and animal life. The process is disputed by 6-day literalists, old-earth creationists and theistic evolutionists and is not the point of this blog, but all authentic Christians agree: God created the heavens and the earth. He placed humanity in this world, male and female, in his image (Gen 1:27). This means, capable of relationship, creative, emotive, volitional and alive. The male and females are to become one, marrying and propogating the human race filling the earth, forming families of love and truth. Humanity was given 'ownership' in the sense of 'stewardship' for this world, the task of governing it and caring for it (Gen 1:28; 2:7).


This creation mandate lies at the heart of cosmission. The 'big picture' of humanity is utilising the wonderful gifts of God in creation and…

Reflections on a Trip To England

I am recently back from a trip to England and Wales for a conference. It was my first trip to Europe or GB and it was sensational. This is kind of a few comments and questions on the place and my experiences.

So...
1. How is it that you can be out in the England sun for 6 hours in the height of their summer and not get sunburnt. Quite seriously in NZ, you can do 30 mins in the sun and get burnt worse than I did in 6 hours. I saw one sunhat in 3 days of walking through the streets of London! What is that about?
2. English people ride bikes all over the place. I saw this in Cambridge in particular. But few wear helmets! In NZ we have to wear them and you are kind of frowned upon if you don't wear one.
3. Speed! Rush! I was stunned at the pace of life in England that seemed to increase nearer London in particular. I drove from west Wales to Cambridge via the M4, M25 and M11. I drove about 65-70mph (app. 110-120km) and had to stick to the inside lane watching people fly past me at pace. S…

Cosmission

I have been thinking of a word to describe mission as I now understand it. The word I would like to coin in 'cosmission'. I am not sure if it is a new word? Anyhow, it comes from 'cosmos' (Gk: kosmos) suggesting all of creation, the world; and 'mission' from 'missio' with the notion of 'being sent'. Thus, sent to the whole world lies at the heart of this new word cosmission.

I like it, because I think it grasps the notion of God's mission. I am increasingly persuaded that God's mission is to the whole planet and not just the saving of people from eternal destruction to eternal life. Certainly it is the latter and I am passionate about evangelism and conversion. This is the heart of the mission for me.

But cosmission grasps the notion of God's big mission, to restore his world, to see human relationships and society based on his character and love, community as we see in the Trinity and heavenly community. Cosmission means restoration o…

No Criticism says Henry

I heard Graham Henry claim on TV3 last night that he has not heard any criticism in Christchurch. Well I am sure he doesn't read this, but here is some;

Dear Graham,
Until last year I was your greatest fan. I believed you to be one of the truly great coaches of all time and modern era. I forgave your Lions loss as I think you were on a hiding to nothing.

However, you lost the plot last year!

I criticise your coaching for these reasons:
1. You should not have taken the AB's out of the Super 14 in 2007.
2. You should have retained the same combination through 2008 apart from one or two of the weaker opponents to enforce combinations and match hardness.
3. You should have organised some pre-World Cup matches in Europe against the big guns in preparation.
4. You should have played the A team throughout the World Cup.
5. You should have picked Mauger, Jack, Howlett in the 22 for the quarter final.
6. You should have resigned on return from the World Cup.
7. You should not continue your futile…

Why Rotation is Wrong

The latest AB selection illustrates why the AB's struggle when the heat is on. The switch of Smith and Kahui, the addition of Thompson for Kaino and the addition of Wolf are all mistakes to me. Here we had the opportunity to cement a combination. Nonu and Smith have been in and out over the years and the chance was there to have a third match in a row to continue to develop confidence and combinations. Yet, Henry makes the change again. I think this is wrong. They should have stuck to the A team. Why:
1. It disrupts combinations at a time when these people are all growing in confidence and getting into the rhythm of playing.
2. There is no need for rotation. Injuries are certain to come to players and rotation will come around naturally and there is no need to do this.
3. The interchange rules mean that players can be rotated during games when games are won while retaining combinations.
4. Rotation means that people get caps too easily. This cheapens the AB jersey and enhances the pub…

Things worth dying for 6: The Spirit has come and lives within us

Christians agree that the Spirit is the third person of the trinity and that the Spirit indwells believers. However, they differ on their view of the Spirit. The common ground is that the one God is expressed in three eternal persons including the Spirit. They believe that the Spirit was active in creation, and that the Spirit is involved in the animation of all natural life, sustaining creation and providence. They believe that the Spirit is at work in conversion, convicting of sin (Jn 16:8-11). They differ on the role of the Spirit in conversion. Some believe that the Spirit causes a person to be saved through irresistable grace. Some believe that this is God's sovereign choice alone and human response is not a factor in conversion. Some believe the Spirit works in the sense of 'prevenient grace' causing all to have the opportunity to be saved. However, human freedom or volition means that some resist the Spirit and salvation and are not reconciled to God.


Some believe th…

I don't care

Rattue's column in the herald is right on the button (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=476&objectid=10513842). He has put into words what I feel. I was asked by my father-in-law who I thought would win in the Irish-NZ test this weekend and I said I don't care. This stunned me. Why? Because it is the first time in my 46 year life that I don't care who wins. Why don't I care? I don't care because I realise that this tests means diddly squat. Why? Because it is not a world cup game and the only chance of redemption for this All Black team and Graham Henry and his cronnies is the world cup.

It goes like this. Rugby have chosen to make the world cup the only thing that matters. NZ has played into this totally. Everything for four years will now go to finding a team that can be unbeaten over 4 weeks in 2011. By this rugby structure, what was the pearl of the game, international rugby, is now merely a time to build for this. This means that it is inevitab…

Disgrace

The Black Caps loss to England this morning is the worst performance I have ever seen from a NZ team. They got themselves through a brilliant Ross Taylor innings with help from Mills and How into a great position. Vettori bowled beautifully to knock England over. A team with a lead of 170 or so should never be lose on a turning track. To capitulate as they did in the second innings was a disgrace. It was a stunning performance. The performances of Taylor, Oram and McCullum is not appropriate for that level. Taylor can be forgiven. The others needed to bat with some test sense. They only needed to bat sensibly as they did in the first innings and they would have batted England out of the game.

Having said that, they should have been able to bowl England out on that track. I am a great fan of Vettori but he failed. Mills, Oram, O'Brien and Martin should have locked up one end and Dan should have bowled England out on a turning pitch with variable bounce. It is a long time since he bo…

South African Rugby Common Sense

I hear today that the South Africans have decided that they will pick players from the European rugby competition. I think this is a huge decision. I think it is bold and common sense in a professional world. I think we need to join them in this, but not quite yet. What we need to do down here in NZ is get the Super competition and test program sorted and then we will be in a position to open the door. We need to have a Super program that runs from Feb until June, double round. This is the professional program. We need to open it up to private backing to increase the wealth in the program. We need to set in place very good regulations so that the AB's can have the players they want for their program. We need to let players play anywhere in the world and be available for the World Cup. It will weaken NZ rugby to an extent but who cares. The tests between world cups mean nothing, the last world cup proves it. We need to go the way of soccer. Our best players will get better playing …

Survivor Micronesia

Interesting program Survivor. I admit I love it. I love it because I imagine myself playing it and would love the challenge. I love it because of the psychology of the program. This one was unique in many ways with the girls banding together to get rid of the guys one by one and then battle it out. They were helped by two competitors being knocked out through injury including crowd favourite James. Two competitors were utterly blind-sided and sent home with immunity idols in their bags unplayed. Mad! Then Erik handed over immunity to one of the girls to show his commitment to her; only for the girls to vote him out. He was both naive and mad!

The final showdown came down to the Parv and Amanda. I would have liked Amanda to win but she blew it in the final speeches failing to impress with her speeches. On the other hand Parvati demonstrated that she had played the better the game and deserved to win.

The Fans vs Favourite format was inspired. The Fans were never going to win though as mo…

Porn? Ok or not?

Christians and porn: OK or not OK?
Copyright: DrMarkK
The purpose of this brief discussion is to enquire as to whether there is a problem with a Christian (usually a male), or anybody for that matter, engaging with porn; whether it be through movies, internet, magazine or other source.

Some would argue that it is not a problem as it is just another form of entertainment, does not involve actual adulterous relationships and is about visual experience and fantasy.

I would argue strongly that this libertine approach is flawed at a number of points and that if we understand God, Christ, humanity and biblical revelation accurately, we would take the position that porn and engaging in porn is dehumanizing and a sin against self, others and God.

1. Porn and adultery
Jesus in Mt 5 says this of adultery:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes yo…

Things Worth Dying for 5: Jesus death and resurrection is our salvation

The heart of Christianity is the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is through the death and resurrection that we are saved. In some mysterious way that transcends our ability to explain, this death of a man saves those who will believe in Jesus.

There are many ways of understanding this. It is a reconciliation of God and humanity. It is the justification of humanity, in which those who believe in Jesus are declared righteous before God, not on the basis of their merit or goodness in any way, but because Jesus has taken their punishment and their separation from God on their behalf. It is a propitiation in which the wrath of God is averted. It is an expiation in which those who believe are cleansed of sin. He is our representative, standing in the place of humanity as God the man and we are saved "in Christ". He is our substitute, dying on the cross in our place, taking our punishment. It is our adoption, in which we are adopted as the children of God. It is our regeneration…