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Showing posts from 2009

Am I bad?

We all wonder how we will react when one of those moments in life comes along. I had one last night. I picked up the girls from the airport after a trip to Timaru. It was midnight when we drove into the car park of our church, which adjoins our house. As we were getting out of the car, my daughter Annie heard a noise coming from the church. I thought, 'not again!' You see, the church has been burgled twice recently and I wondered if it was nos 3. I ran into the church, unlocked it, only to come upon a burglar. It was nos 3. He did a runner, heading to the foyer of the church. I raced after him and had him cornered.

Now this was the moment when I could be hero or zero. I should have hit him with one of my famous crash tackles, well famous 20 years ago when donning the orange and green of Pakuranga. I did chase him and did grapple with him. He had a crow bar thing, which I wrestled off him. But then he broke free and headed for the door at the other end of the church. He was to…

Catch a Tiger By the Tail 2

Well well. Good start Tiger. He has given up golf for a little while. This sounds like a man who is serious. There is another rumour out there that he spent up to $60,000 a weekend and was supplied with numerous women for his pleasure. It sounds like ancient Rome. An athlete of huge renown on and off the field!

Still, it is a good start to put his wife and family first (at last), and seek help. I am sure the notion of "sexual addiction" will now emerge. It is hard to know what to make of sexual addiction. Some write it off as an excuse for lust. Others acknowledge it as an illness. I would imagine that it is truly an issue for some. Anything can become an addiction if we allow it to flourish in our lives and take over. Things like eating and sex are so basic to being human, that undoubtedly they can overtake us.

We Christian men have to watch this seriously (and some women I presume). We are all prone to sexual desire. Sexual desire is not a wrong thing, it is a gift of the …

Catch a Tiger by the Tail

I have to say something. Tiger, Tiger, Tiger! What were you thinking? Well, he wasn't of course. Had he been thinking, he would not have done what he has done. He has allowed desire to over ride his brain.

The truth is that Tiger Woods will continue on. He might lose his marriage and a bag of money. But, he will probably go on and become the greatest golfer of all time with the most majors. Most of his sponsors will likely stay with him. He will manage the PR to ensure minimum damage to his brand. He will go on Oprah, he will claim sex addiction, he will engender compassion for his problems. He will possibly even come out smelling of roses. I have heard for example, some saying that he seems human now. He is like us all!

Well the truth is, he is not like us all. Yes, he is human; yes we are all prone to failure as I indeed am. But to have God knows how many affairs with a beautiful wife and kids a home, is not something many of us have done, nor would we contemplate doing it.

So …

Harry Potter and the Gospel

For the last week I have been given orders by the doc to take a week off. I crashed last Saturday, had stomach problems, was rather emotional (unusual for me), and was utterly knackered. Doc said, you are showing signs of stress, take a week completely off. So I have. And I feel a lot better for it.


Anywho, one of the perks of such an arrangement is that you have to fill your time. My kids have hassled me for years to finish reading Harry Potter, having got to the first part of Book 4 years ago. So, over the last four days I have raced through books four to seven.

It has inspired me to blog…

The first thing to say is that it is GOOD! It is, to put it mildly, brilliant! I can see why kids and many adults love it. For me in my youth it was the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. I loved those books and still love them! Great as those books are, begrudgingly I admit that Potter is even better. Narnia is a bit piecemeal, with the Magician’s Nephew great, the Lion the Witch the Wardrobe stunning …

The Crisis that is NZ Political Leadership

In my mind, NZ political leadership is under the microscope. First, we have the business of MP's housing expenses. MP's like deputy PM Bill English were exposed for rorting the system. Then, we have the problem of travel expenses with MP's like Chris Carter, Roger Douglas, Hone Harawira and Rodney Hide. These MP's and others have been exposed for taking spouses and partners on trips and turning them into junkets. The whole things smacks of corruption, even if it supposedly legitimised. Finally, we have the problem of Hone Harawira's email.
This email speaks of "white man bull****"; "white mother *******" who "have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries". It describes the rules of government expenses as "puritanical bull****."  He defends his right to take his wife with him on the basis of her years of support. Those of us who know our history, know that Maori have suffered greatly through colonisation. Howeve…

All Blacks Starting to Look Good

Having flogged Graham Henry and his team for he last 2 years, I am getting really encouraged about the direction they are taking. They lost the last world cup in my view, because they had the wrong game plan for the top level. They continued to believe NZ could outrun every other nation with pace and flair. When they hit the finals stage of the World Cup, that style did not work. They lost an arm wrestle with France.

What I am seeing is that they are now starting to play the right game to win the tough ones. To win the big ones the All Blacks won't win with the free flowing game that we are used to. The fitness of the modern players and the rules mean that it is a kicking, forward and defence game. They thus need a ruthless, uncompromising pack that plays 80 minutes game after game relentlessly. They need to win the breakdown and have great set pieces. They need an inside back combination that can control the game. They need brilliant destructive defence. They need a great kicking…

Destiny

So, what should we make of the Destiny phenomenon in the news this week? There is a lot of talk about them being a cult (see Garth George in http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10605962). The first thing we have to do is define "cult". According to Webster there are five meanings of cult: 1) Formal religious veneration: worship; 2) A system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents; 3) A religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also: its body of adherents; 4) A system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator; 5) A great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b: the object of such devotion c: a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion. Clearly, the one in in mind is meaning 3), a religion seen as unorthodox or spurious. The question is this then, is Tamaki's church dri…

Hermaphrodite? What is the Right Response?

There is a great deal of interest in Caster Semenya, the person who won the 800m at the recent world champs. Word is out that she is an hermaphrodite or 'intersex' as some call it. This means she has both male and female reproductive organs. In some animal groups like slugs, creatures do not have separate sexes and they reproduce with both partners acting as 'male' or 'female.' The term is drawn from the Greek god Hermaphrotus, the son of Hermes and Aphrodite. In the case of Caster, what should happen? What is the right response to this situation?

First, on a human level, Caster should be afforded complete integrity. She (using this for want of a better term) should be respected. She is human, made in the image of God, and to be shown grace and love. This has already been violated with her situation all over the public eye. Mind you in this world, this is unavoidable. The IAAF is naive if they think that the situation would not break. It would have been better t…

NZ Morality

The results of a very interesting study have just been released. The study has interviewed 750 NZers on their morality. The question was this: 'I'm going to read you a list of issues. Regardless of whether or not you think it should be legal, for each one, please tell me whether you personally believe that in general it is morally acceptable or morally wrong. How about...?' The margin of error for the sample size of 750 for a 50% figure at the ‘95% confidence level’ is ± 3.6%.

The results are fascinating. Asked whether certain things were morally acceptable here is a list of the outcomes:
Divorce:81% (Men 78%/Women 83%)
Sex Between and Unmarried Man and Woman: 77% (Men 79%/ Women 75%)
Having a Baby Outside of Marriage: 71%
Medical Research Using Stem Cells Obtained From Human Embryos: 63% (Men 69%/Women 57%)
Homosexual Relations: 61% (Men 53%/Women 69%)
Doctor Assisted Suicide: 55%
Abortion: 55% (Men 54%/Women 56%)
Gambling: 52% (Men 61%/Women 43%)
Medical Testing on Animals: 52% (M…

Smacking and Maori Seats; National Hubris!

Man Oh Man I am stunned at John Key and National after the smacking legislation was pulled out of the ballot at parliament yesterday. Here was a chance to do something really good. The new legislation seeks to define smacking, what is appropriate, what is not? I think it is a great idea. This is where the philosophical debate lies. What is violence toward a child? When is a smack legitimate, if it ever is? Etc. Yet with utter contempt John Key simply wrote it off. I am stunned at his attitude.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of this, he throws contempt on NZ. He shows he is no better as a leader than Helen Clark, who despite her many strengths, imposed her social liberalism on NZ despite NZ not liking it. It is to a large degree middle NZ's fault; we sit passively in our lazo-boys and girls and watch TV and do not get involved. We are apathetic and passive. Yet, I am certain NZ is not happy. They are not happy with legalised prostitution. They are uncomfortable about the number of a…

What's the Story

This blog relates to my world at Laidlaw College. At College we love now to talk about the Bible as 'one story' starting at creation, centred on Christ, and ending in the renewed earth. This was a great idea when it really started to take off because it pulled together the disparate parts of the Bible into one flowing narrative. This is good. It is important. It is one important element in biblical interpretation.

The problem is with the term 'story.' I am so sick of it! Everytime I hear it I groan. A few years ago the same thing happened with the word 'journey.' So, I have been thinking. How else can we say it. Here are some ideas: a narrative; an epic; a symphony; a drama; a saga; an account; a chronicle; a tale; a record; a history; a movie. So people of God, try and be creative. I am not sure all these work as well as the other, but surely we can speak in different ways.

There is another problem with 'story'. I tested this with a few friends recently …

Theosis

A friend also asked me about Theosis. Theosis is that idea that humans on becoming one with Christ are in some sense deified or divinised and so become God themselves.

This is a tricky question and for me it is not so much important to define our relationship with God as to set limits.

The first limit is that we as the created can never cross the line to become god's or God. We are humans, created in God's image, and even in our completely transformed states as eternal beings, will be dependent on God and not God.

On the other hand, the other limit is that cannot simply say that we are human as we are now. We are swept up into Christ at salvation, and the Spirit inhabits us. We are thus drawn up into the Community of the Godhead (perichoresis). The mutual indwelling of Christ, Spirit and us means that we are now in some sense drawn into God. At our transformation we become eternal beings, forever a part of God's being in some sense.

For me, as long as theologians and people ar…

What saves us?

A friend sent me an email the other day. He asked me, "what does it mean to be saved?" Ultimately it is an easy question. Being saved is 'being with the Lord forever.' It is eternal life with Christ. Christians dispute whether this will be 'in heaven' (as in another dimension separate from this creation, a new heaven and earth); or on this earth restored. I think the balance of biblical data favours the latter, we will live with God forever on this world restored and renewed (e.g. Rom 8:19-23).

However, there are many questions. First, how does salvation begin? Paul hammers the point, salvation is by grace through faith. That is, the work of Christ in his life, death and resurrection, has won salvation. He has fulfilled the requirements of the law. He has died a vicarious sacrifice for humanity. He has risen from the dead. His work saves us. He offers us salvation.

For our part, we have to respond to this. The most common NT term to summarise response is '…

Maori Seats on Council

Have the government made the right decision concerning Maori seats on the new Auckland Super-council? On the one hand, I agree with Rodney Hide, Leighton Smith on Newstalk ZB and national who have ruled them out. Their logic is sound. There should be no ethnic or other group that gets favoured treatment. This is sound democratic logic. In this way of thinking, there should be no favoured groups. Let the people decide. This is similiar to right wing capitalistic free market views, let the market dictate. So, at one level, they are correct. There should not be seats for Maori, PI, Asian, European, Christian, Muslim; or any other group.

But is it as simple as this? While the Treaty of Waitangi is a minefield and difficult to interpret, what I think we can say with confidence, is that it means that Pakeha NZers (the State + other immigrants) have a responsibility under the Treaty to ensure that Maori are given some degree of priority and a say within NZ. This means I suppose, that while Ma…

Go the All Blacks

Go the All Blacks. They were a different team last night in the test in Sydney. They still made too many mistakes, the backs are still not playing fluidly, and the mistake rate is too high. But their defense and the pressure they exerted was superb. Kieran Read is the man at nos 8. Dan Carter was great not only at first five, but in his ability to lead the AB's around the park. The lineout was a great improvement. The scrum is not what it was but still dominated. The AB's won the breakdown.

My view of the game was that the AB's could have won by more. The Wallabies defended superbly and got the rub of the green. But it was the AB's who pressured the Wallabies. They are not a great side to me, especially without Sterling Mortlock. Their backs are talented but green. Their forwards are triers but lack the sort of power that can dominate the Blacks or Boks.

So, well done Graham H and the team. I suspect that they are starting to peak. I am still concerned about the wings. I…

Democracy on Trial

The overwhelming result of the smacking referendum should make the government respond. 88%% is a resounding rejection of the current legislation and a statement that NZer’s, right or wrong, believe that they should be able to smack their child. It does not endorse beating a child, but a smack given in love for good discipline. For me, this now puts the government on trial. Both Labour and National tried it on with NZ in their determination to push the legislation through despite it being clear to all that could see that the majority of NZers rejected it. It is possible that this was the decisive factor that stopped the left of NZ politics being reelected. National threw their lot in with this at the time. Now they are on trial. This result is a clear signal from mainstream NZ that they want a change. How they respond could define whether the Key-led government will be a multi-term government or whether it will a one or maybe two term government. If they themselves believe in the democ…

7's and Golf and Olympics

Should 7's and golf get admission to the 2016 Olympics?

To me the answer is an unambiguous, no! There are multiple reasons 7's should not be there. First, it is not the top flight of rugby. It is a derivation sport played by the next tier of players and not the top players. So the best players in the world will not be there. Second, it is not truly a sport played by both genders. It is a novelty sport mainly played by men. I really can't believe it is in the Olympics. Having said that, NZ might win a gold medal, so it is good for us! Mind you, soccer should not be there either. It is an U23 event and the best players are not there. There are enough rugby and soccer tournaments without this.

Golf should not be there. The pinnacle of golf are the 4 majors and that is that. Winning an Olympic gold may excite some players but ultimately, it will become a second rate event. It should not be there.

Just what should and should not be there is an interesting question. The summer spor…

AB's Vs Aust 18 July 2

So I got it right on the button. Don't always!

The All Blacks looked pretty shaky for 20 minutes but after that it was back to business. The All Blacks pressured the Wallabies when it counted.

Kaino was great in defence. Richie and Rodney S were remarkable after their break. Jimmy Cowan kicked excellently and Weepu added value. Franks looks a better prop than Tialata. The two other youngters in the pack, Isaac Ross and Kieran Read are real finds. So, the future still looks good. Stephen Donald started rough but played really well. As I suspected the Australian outside backs struggled under pressure in the last quarter, inexperience caught them out.

The scrum was great, the AB's were great at breadown but the lineout remains a problem.

But, the greatest thing of all was the spirit. I was concerned that the spirit was down in the side and that in the earlier games, they had relational problems. But, they really dug deep and showed the values that make the AB's so hard to beat. T…

AB's Vs Aust 18 July

So it is half an hour before kick off and this one could go eiter way. The Aussies have some advantages. They have a great inside backs combo, strong in the midfield. They have great loosies, a superior line out and a great coach. They are a big chance. The AB's in some ways are ripe for the picking with poor form, an unsettled inside back combo, no Ali Williams and some players without match time... but...

I kind of think the scene is set for a Kiwi victory. They have their backs to the wall with heavy criticism and NZ are tough when this happens. They are playing at Eden Park and they have not lost for 23 years here. They have Captain Richie back with Rodney S, Andrew H and a few others. So, they are a different unit that played the Italians. The Aussies have some problems too. They have a pretty inexperienced back three and in the conditions they will get tonight in the wind and a bit of rain, may struggle and make some mistakes. The AB's pack also play best when they are un…

Lessons From the Death of Michael Jackson

What do we as Christians make of the life and death of Michael Jackson? The first thing I would say is that he was surely one of the most brilliant performers of history. I have never seen someone who could sing and dance like him. As one who could create brilliant songs with dramatic and creative performances he is unrivalled. He was a great performer.


Yet his life and death bring out a whole lot of things. First, it should tell us that we need to take care as parents how we seek to cultivate and/or handle brilliance? His life was corrupted irrevocably by a father who pushed him mercilessly seemingly to fulfil his own dreams. I have such mixed feelings when I see footage of him as a child performer. Yes, he was brilliant, but what sort of childhood was it? He never recovered being pushed where no child should be forced to go; despite the apparent glory! Here's a lesson to us parents. We have to find the balance between encouragement and urging them on, and pushing them too hard an…

NZ's Most Trusted

I watched with interest the TV One news story the other day on Breakfast where they announced who the most trusted New Zealanders were. I heard that Willie Apiata had won and that the majority of the top ten were sportspeople. This set me off. I thought, what? What does this say about our values? We value sport more than anything. A guy who does a great feat in a war is someone that people trust. I thought, trust in what sense? In a war, yes, Willie is the man. Or is he? I don't know him. He might have just been the man of a moment and really the rest of the time who knows? But, should I trust him with my money? With my kids? With a secret I don't want anyone else to know? Mmmmm.

The Evers-Swindell twins came in 2nd/3rd. Now they are great athletes, they appear to be lovely girls. But, are they to be trusted? I have no idea. How is it that John Kirwan makes it on. He was despised in his day as an arrogant Auckland tosser. I played against him, and that description was no comple…

When is a killing murder?

What the heck! How is it that you can go around to your former girl friend with a knife, stab her mercilessly 216x.

Clayton Robert Weatherston is on trial for allegedly doing this to Sophie Elliot in Dunedin in 2008. Supposedly he stabbed her 216 times with the knife. She had stab wounds to both eyes, her genitals, breasts, left cheek, left temple, left ear, the left side of the neck and 45 stab wounds to the front of her throat. He cut off the tip of her nose! That is utterly disgusting and my heart goes out to her and her family for what they have gone through.

He admits he killed her but claims 'partial defence of provocation' and claims it is manslaughter. Apparently he admited the killing immediately in a calm tone. Allegedly he told the office he killed her and mutilated her for 'the emotional pain that she has caused me over the past year.' It is alleged that he believed she had cost him a chance at a permanent lecturer's position at Otago University.

Supposedl…

Open Entry for Maori to Uni?

I see Pita Sharples is advocating that Maori should get open entry into university (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10579221). Now, I am fully committed to seeing all NZers become well educated and am deeply concerned at the educational progress of Maori who consistently underachieve as compared with other ethnic groups. However, this can only be described as daft! Universities stand on their international reputation. We simply can't drop standards to let people in, no matter what their ethnicity. I am not sure that this would help anyway except in a few cases. Most who come in through the back door will not have the necessary academic ability to get through. It will lead to a deeper sense of failure and be counterproductive. I am sure there will be the odd student who would make it through this process. However, they have other ways they can do this. They can go back to school as a mature student or enrol in night classes etc. There are other pat…