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Showing posts from April, 2009

International Days... who says?

Apologies for what you will read... it is me ranting... but this has got under my skin.

I heard on Breakfast this morning that today is 'International Noise Awareness Day.' Yesterday I heard something as pathetic being promoted. Every time I hear such things I say to myself, 'who the .... says so?'

So I googled international days. It seems that the UN, UNESCO, WHO etc all have decided that there are international days to be celebrated around the world. There are international decades and years.

For example at http://www.un.org.au/Page.aspx?element=16&category=1 theoretically Jan 27 was the 'International Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Holocaust.' That is fair enough. There are days for 'social justice', 'mother language day', 'women's day', 'international day for the elimination of racial discrimination', 'world meteorological day', 'remembrance of the victims of slavery and transatlantic slave trade …

We Not Me Confession: A Hypocrites Dilemma

I have a confession to make. I am a theorist on the 'we not me' question. It goes like this. I now theoretically fully agree with the notion that Christianity is a 'we' sport, that I should live for community, embrace community, be committed to hanging with the 'unhangable', be community orientated in my thinking. Yes, yes, yes. But sadly the truth is that I deeply struggle with it. Perhaps it is the introversion of middle age hitting me? Or is it, as I suspect, the struggle of most westerners. You see, we have been raised to be individualistic, to be private, to question, to internalise, to think 'me' not 'we'. It is the same with materialism; I despise it, but am a keen participant. I am not good at it however and so am not rich. But I want to be! I deny it, but I am a bald faced liar. Every day, without fail, more times than I admit, I think about money and what I 'need' it for. It is the same with community. I cherish 'me' ti…

Paul, the Novel

Back! Gulf Harbour is a hole by the way. Little boxies on the hillside, 'little boxes made of ticky-tackey... and they all look just the same.' Still, it was cheap and we had fun.

Anywho, I read 'Paul, A Novel' by Walter Wangerin Jr. It is one of those books I am not sure what to do with. On the one hand he is to be congratulated for writing it. Well done, writing books is not easy. Such books can bring the text alive, help unbelievers get a grip on things. He did a good job in some ways. He moved back and forth across characters, brought out Paul's high view of women, linked into the social background especially Seneca, Nero's advisor. But on the whole I struggled with it. Why?

For a start he does not begin with Paul's early years in Tarsus. Scholars downplay this dimension of his upbringing. It was there that he would have learnt Torah, learnt the Greco-Roman culture etc. He could have done some going back perhaps? He also failed to really account for thos…

Away!

Four days away with Emma... woohoo... better behave ourselves. Not too much wine... Keown, out.

SANZAR

Does NZ rugby need SANZAR? Good question. Not sure they do. For me, it would work a lot better with NZ playing Australia and maybe the Pacific nations. There would be a loss of revenue but the travel in the Super 14 is totally outrageous. I say, let it go, and form a new thing with Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Japan. The AB's can play a couple of tests off shore to make the money that's needed. There would be a new level of interest in rugby if that happened. Bring back some tours. Cut South Africa free. Do it!

'We not me' Again

Now that is interesting. I googled 'we not me' and found that there is a group called 'we not me movement' http://www.wenotme.us/. There is no indication that they are Christian, but they are onto it.

The question that revolves in my mind is, 'how can we break free from our me obsession?' The problem is, I live in my mind and see the world through my eyes, I feel the world through my senses etc. I am locked in. That movie 'Being John Malkovich' explores this idea. If only we can get inside the minds of others. The truth is, we wouldn't want to, we would experience their internal dialogue, and probably go mad!

Seems to me we need to become great listeners, we need to engage people deeply in relationships and then seek to understand their world and how they see it. I think the truth is I talk to much and listen too little, always have and probably always will.

As an economic unit who must produce to keep the system going, how does one break free for the …

'We not me'

Although it is a gross generalisation and I am sure there are many exceptions, it seems clear to me that the church in the west is now about 'me' and not about 'we.' The individualism which blights western thinking and civilisation has beset the church.

Church has become another place to consume to satisfy a need. We go to restaurants and cafes to satisfy our need for food. We go to movies, sports games, watch the box, surf the net and more to satisfy our desire for enjoyment and entertainment. We go to shops to satisfy our wants and needs, to buy the things to make our lives great. We are a me-driven society. We are consumers. We are materialists. We pick and choose from the many options open to us almost completely from a 'me-centred' perspective.

Our law favours the me over the we, unlike many other nations, where the 'we' drives legislation. Our education system is designed for independent thought, we are obsessed with personal freedom, we hate to be …

Veitch and the Importance of Character

I have just read the Herald article on the frantic search for Tony Veitch last night (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10567358&pnum=2). Not good! I pray for him that he can find himself in the wake of this fiasco and be restored. What gets me is how we have a glorious example of the importance of character over charisma. I think it is fair to say that, whether you like him or not, Tony is one of the most brilliant broadcasters we have. He is dynamic, articulate with the gift of the gab. I listened to him for a few years on Radio Sport and while he did not have the depth of Martin Devlin, he was quite dynamic. He looks great on TV. He speaks a million miles an hour. He is a great interviewer. All in all, he's got the goods. He's about as good as it gets in terms of talent.

Yet this episode reveals how deeply flawed he is in terms character. He is clearly cracking under the pressure. Kicking a person in the back, even as a one off, reveals a …

The Pattern of Christ' Death, Our Pattern

I have just finished working through the so-called 'Christ-hymn' of Phil 2:6-11. Awesome piece of Scripture. It has to be one of the most difficult pieces of the Bible too. Scholars debate it deeply.

They question whether it originally existed as a hymn sung in the early church. If so, what are its origins? Did it emerge from some Jewish or Hellenistic Christian? Is it influenced by some Hellenistic or other religious idea? Is Jesus here being contrasted with Adam, with Wisdom, with Satan, with a dying and rising god, with the emperor; or, is he supreme above all? Was it written by Paul or some other earlier Christian? Should we interpret it against the backdrop of what we think its origins are? Should we interpret it as Paul's work, and do so against the backdrop of the unity and mission problem in Philippians?

Then, there is the structure of the hymn. There are possible chiasms, couplets, links (e.g. form of God/servant), dependent clauses, participles and more. Then there…

Easter 2009

I have had the most memorable Easter I can remember. I went to Motutapu Easter Camp and had the privilege of being camp speaker. What a joy.

I spoke on the theme 'what is God up to on planet earth' sharing how God yearns for relationship with every human being and invites them into that relationship. This was the intention of creation, that he would live forever with humanity in a glorious world, that they would live in harmony, that they would enjoy the freedom of living in this world using creation and caring for it.

However, this relationship was ruptured through the Fall at which time humanity rebelled against God, choosing to eat of the fruit of the tree of choice. This separated them from God and caused the human heart to be broken, their image bearing to be marred, community to be broken and creation itself ruptured. It is as if a virus has been downloaded into the mainframe of creation.

Yet God was not satisfied to leave it there. Driven by love, he determined to save us …