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Showing posts from 2015

My Claim to Royalty

Last week I learned something interesting about myself. It turns out that my whanau on my mum’s side, is descended from royalty. And some serious royalty. I have a royal whakapapa (genealogy).
It all goes back forty generations to a certain Rollo (Hrólfr, Rou(f)). While his origins are fiercely disputed between Norwegian and Danish historians, he was clearly a Norse Viking, and the first duke of Normandy (c. 846–932).
In the family line he is followed by five dukes of Normandy, William I (Longsword), Richard I, II, III, and Robert I. These reigned Normandy in what is now Northern France from 911 to 1066 when the Duke of Normandy, William, conquered England—the Battle of Hastings. I am thus a descendant of William the Conqueror, otherwise known as “William the Bastard”—not because he was a nasty piece of work, although I am sure he was, but because he was illegitimate. He reigned until 100.
After him in my family line comes Henry I also known as Henry Beaulerc (reigned 1100–1135), E…

What is a Kiwi?

What is a Kiwi? Well, according to the freedictionary.com it is “Any of several flightless birds of the genus Apteryx native to New Zealand, having vestigial wings and a long slender bill. Also called apteryx.” This led me to look up vestigial wings, which are apparently things on the body that have lost most or all of their ancestral function; in the case of the Kiwi, the ability to fly.

The dictionary also lists a Kiwifruit as a Kiwi. It is interesting in the light of this blog post that originally the Kiwifruit was Chinese. It originated from north, central, and eastern China and was commonly called the Chinese Gooseberry. It spread to NZ from China in the early 20th century. So, the Kiwifruit which has become a quintessential kiwi icon is an immigrant from China. Interesting.

The dictionary gives another meaning, and this is the meaning that interests me: a Kiwi is “a New Zealander.” Now in popular NZ culture, the term “Kiwi” is not quite used as the Dictionary suggests. Usually,…

A Trip to the Mall

I was wandering around the Mall yesterday, in a kind of "I've just ridden 100k" haze, as is usual on a Saturday afternoon. As I wandered the Mall intent on hunting, killing, and bagging a couple of long-sleeve T Shirts I got a bit of a shock. There was a kid running around the Mall with a toy machine gun. He was darting back and forth through the crowd shooting away at anyone he saw, sound effect and all.

The first thing that I felt was real shock at seeing a kid with a gun like this. I wondered why I felt this. After all, there was a time when I wouldn't have batted an eyelid, having grown up playing goodies and baddies, cowboys and Indians. I think it is because you just don't see this sort of thing anymore. At least in NZ, running around in public with any kind of gun is kind of frowned upon. Dare I say, for good reason.

Then I thought it is because I am influenced by the PC police. Have I gone a bit silly stopping kids having fun. Then I realised that this i…

The Strange Case of Lecretia Seales

Let me first express my sadness over the death of Lecretia Seales. She was clearly a fine women who contributed greatly to society and then showed immense courage not only in facing a terminal illness, but with taking legal action concerning the end of her life. Whatever one thinks of the cause, her bravery is amazing. I know what it is like to lose loved ones way too early, and my condolences go out to all concerned. Nothing in this blog is personal to her, may the Lord bless all those connected.
With that said, and not wishing to speak ill in any way of her, I find the whole thing strange. Her case began on Monday 25 May. Her desire was that her doctor could help her die, but then not face charges for doing so. The case lasted two days, until Wednesday 27May. The judge Justin David Collins reserved his ruling but stated he would work through the Queen’s Birthday Weekend to come to a ruling. Clearly, there was a good possibility that she would die very soon anyway. As it turned out,…

Manny vs. Floyd – What a load of . . .

Today is the day of the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Now, I am a great lover of almost all things sport but I have to say I find the whole thing appalling.
First, the amounts of money involved are ridiculous. The two fighters will split $300m US which is around $400m NZ. Celebrities are competing for ringside seats which are going for $351,000 UD, not much under half a million dollars NZ. It is a just a load of celebrity nonsense with Rory McIlroy arranging his tee off at a professional tournament to be there, and a whole range of overly paid so-called celebs – including the likes of Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robert De Niro, Michael J. Fox, Will Smith and many others there. This, in a week when Nepal was devastated by an earthquake in which over 6000 people have died. I say, can the fight, take the money, and send it to Nepal.
Second, this is all to watch a boxing fight. I love sport, but boxing (and other head attacking sports) is nuts. It’s al…

Are Jihadists Muslims?

A great debate going on at the moment is whether the Jihadists such as those from Al Qaeda and ISIL, or the independents such as Man Monis are Muslims or not. Some claim they are Muslims, and others argue they are not, as they violate Islam. 
Looking from the outside in, it would seem to me that the answer is decidedly that these people are Muslims. A Muslim holds to the six articles of faith—belief in Allah, angels, the prophets, the revelations of Allah especially in the Qur’an, judgment, and the will of Allah. A Muslim lives out of the five pillars which affirm the exclusivity of Allah and Muhammad as his messenger, the five-fold prayer ritual, almsgiving, Ramadan fasting, and pilgrimage (see http://www.gotquestions.org/Islam.html#ixzz3OwYp6Igj). 
It would seem to me from what I have heard and observed about the Jihadists of various persuasions, that they would uphold these with great discipline – indeed many of them believe they hold to them as all Muslims should. Further, they d…

The spirit or the Spirit

I am somewhat perplexed at the way many contemporary Christian writers whose works I am reading who are longer using a capitalised S in their references to the Spirit. One that does this rather surprisingly is N. T. Wright, for example in his recent tome on Paul where he constantly refers to the Spirit as spirit. One of my colleagues at Laidlaw recently published a book and followed the same pattern. Why are these writers doing this? I am intrigued. What does this say about their view of the Trinity? Or am I missing something? Is there a nuance here I have not discerned such as sometimes they capitalize and sometimes they don’t? If there is, it is interesting because when God is mentioned whether it be as Lord, the Almighty, etc, most use the capital. Similarly, when Jesus is mentioned by name or as Christ, or Lord, or even Saviour, most use the capital. I must say I don’t like this new trend, I find it irritating and cuts at the heart of belief in the Trinity.

Do Not Sit in the Seat of Mockers

Don’t get me wrong as you read this. I deplore the recent terrorism in France (and Australia, Nigeria, etc). It is tragic and unacceptable; it is evil. It is the very thing Jesus came to call humanity away from. My heart goes out to the French nation for what they and the rest of the world are facing.
Yet, I have to admit to being uncomfortable with the whole rhetoric around freedom of speech that seems to lie at the heart of the western narrative of response. Freedom of speech is great, as long as the free are singing your tune. How far does freedom of speech take us when it includes the “right” to mock anyone for their race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion, etc.? We may like freedom of speech, but it haves consequences.
One of the reasons that these terrorists are rising up, whether it be North Korean hackers, or Jihadists in Sydney or France, is the flippantness of the west. Freedom of speech supposedly means you can mock Muhammad (or any other religion and political sys…