Showing posts from June, 2010

A Thought on Leadership Patterns

As I have been working on a new project on Mark's Gospel, I have noted something in the OT which rings true. Israel after entering the land functioned with a kind of limited democracy, without a king, with 12 Tribes sharing power, the ark moving from tribe to tribe. Yet, as we read Judges the whole thing disintergrated. Israel went into a cycle of sin - despair- deliverance - peace - sin again. Leaders rose up who would bring salvation, yet as the narrative flows they fall deeper and deeper into self destruction through idolatry and sin. The leadership system of the Judges failed completely.

They thus cried out for a king, a kind of leadership system with one ruler. He was meant to be compassionate and good as is YHWH while preserving Israel's purity and fidelity to the covenant. Yet over time the monarchy disintergrated, Israel split, went down the tubes, and was in complete despair. The monarchy too failed.

Then they returned from exile and leadership fell into the hands of …

Reflections on Travels Through Ireland - Wales - England

We leave England tomorrow. This has been the 'family' phase of the trip. We have stayed with family in Dublin, Cork, Wexford, Carmarthen, Cardiff and East Grinstead (south of London). We have been overwhelmed with hospitality; food, drink, sights, the works.

Ireland is in an interesting phase in its history economically and spiritually. They experienced a massive boom after entering the EU. however, the locals believe that they completely overcooked the whole thing. People investing wildly, banks backing any and every investment. What goes up, must come down! Once the economic boom ended, Ireland have crashed. There are few investments, businesses are under pressure, many have closed, unemployment is up, and they are very pessimistic. Whereas they delighted in being in the EU, they now are wondering. They are now expected to give assistance to poorer countries and they are not really able to. The problem for Ireland is that they don't really have any economic edge. Farmer…


What a first full day in Patmos. We set out to see the cave of apokylipsis (revelation) where John and his disciple Prochorus (traditionally one of the 70 in Luke 10 and 7 deacons in Acts 6) lived for about 5 years after being exiled by Domitian from Ephesus. Certainly is feasible. Domitian was big in Ephesus with a temple dedicated to him and the Imperial Cult big there at the time. The cave clearly has legendary elements like a nook in the wall where he supposely laid his head and another where he supposedly put his hand to lever himself up. There is also a three fold crack in the roof from where God traditionally spoke. All this aside, it is not out of the question that John was there. For me it is far more likely than the house we visited in Ephesus was Mary's house. The house is about 7km up a hill from the site. Mary would have been about 80-100 at the time and so it is very unlikely she would have lived there.

We visited the Monastery of St John the theologian. Wonderful p…

Reflections on Turkey

My experience of Turkey had some positives. We met many nice people, the hotels were very good in the main, and people were very helpful and friendly in getting around by bus, train or other means. The public transport is great and very very cheap.

However, it is over-priced which surprised us. We expected cheaper food etc, it was cheaper than NZ or Greece, but a meal out was still expensive. A Turkish lira is about the same as and Kiwi dollar and things were similarly priced in the main.

We did not enjoy the cities aside from the sites. Istanbul was chaos. Izmir was described by a travel agent in NZ as a toxic waste dump and they were not wrong. We saw one ‘river’ which was green polluted goo. Disgusting. You can see the photo on my facebook page. The men were appalling in both Izmir and Istanbul, eyeing Emma up continually. She had a terrible experience of a guy offering to show her the way back to the hotel but he had a plan B in mind. Emma got away but was shaken up. Clearly man…

Turkey and Israel

It has been fascinating being in Turkey as the event with the humanitarian aid ship has played out. Here in Dikili the hotel has no English channels so every now and then we flick on the TV and have a look at what is going on. It is wall to wall 24/7 Israel. There are crowds on the streets especially in Istanbul and Ankara going off screaming, throwing stuff at defence forces, wanting to attack the Israelite embassies etc, trashing pictures of Israeli leaders and more. I said in an earlier blog that there is a veneer of secularism here; this has unlocked the Islamic and national pride. These people are really upset!

What this will do is tip the balance in the middle east. Turkey have allied with the USA and have been Israel's friends in the region. This is coming to an end I think. One local suggested Turkey will get a new govt and that govt will ally with Iran and Iraq. The price of petrol here is ridiculously high too, and this will then drop as they get the benefit. There is a …


Gallipoli was a learning curve for me. I have never really been that interested in it up until now - to my shame! It was great to be there and get a lesson on what it was all about. As I understand it, the Allies tried to land on the Agean side of the peninsula so that they could overthrow the Turkish (Ottoman) forces, clear the Peninsula, and allow the English fleet to sail unopposed up the Dardanelle Straight and into Istanbul. From there forces could go through the Bospherous into the Black Sea and work with the Russians to create another front for the war. It was expected that the Turks would lie down easily being greatly weakened and having just experienced defeat in the Balkans and Africa. However, they did not do so. The ANZACS landed in the wrong place, they made some progress initially, but effectively got shut down for 9 months by the Turks who dug in on the hills. I hadn't realised how the French were involved as well.

10,000 French died, 2,700 Kiwis, 8,700 Aussies, 21…

Istanbul Reflections

What a city! I thought Hong Kong, Athens and Rome would have prepared me for Istanbul. They hadn’t. The traffic is outrageous. The crowds are huge. The haggling and hawking is relentless. It made Rome and Athens seem like country towns. There is little evidence of effective public transport. It is a mega-city in relentless growth mode, where does such growth end?

One senses distaste for Europeans but the economy needs us. It is a symbiotic relationship – they need our money, we enjoy their country and history

The overall impression to me was that I was in another city where its golden days were based on all that opposes the gospel. Its history is intensely religious, political and military, Constantine established it as his centre and Christianity in Constantinople was from the first, irrevocably intertwined with politics and military might. It was a corrupted form of the faith which reigned until the Crusades and its fall. It was then dominated by the Ottomans and Islam. Mosques rep…