Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
My sister came home to visit from Australia, where she is doing an "art evangelism" YWAM course.
But then Grandma died, age 93.
I got food poisoning and, that night, replaced sleep with vomiting.
The next day I replaced being awake with sleeping (so wasted I couldn't even drink).
Then I had the funeral where people said, "You look terrible" for a multiplicity of reasons.
Then my sister left again, back to stupid ol' Perth.
Then I had another day recovering from the food poisoning (at least I could eat and drink now!) where I felt like a diabetic; whenever I stopped eating and keeping my bloodsugar levels up I started to feel like I had just downed two beers.
Then I went to the airport and waited a million years for a delayed flight for girl who I had never met before.
But now I'm feeling better... seriously :)
Thursday, November 24, 2005
The issue of the "right to die" of an individual is a big one.
Should a person be able to kill themselves before they are physically unable to end their own life at a time chosen by themself?
Should a person be able to have another kill them, should they be physically incapable of the task, when they have decided that their quality of life is low enough?
Should a relative or a medical professional be able to kill another person (be it relative or patient) if this person decides that the other person is no longer living with enough quality of life?
Should a Doctor be able to kill a patient with a low-quality life, even if the patient is unable to indicate their wishes on the matter (i.e. in a coma, a vegetative state or even, possibly, suffering from loss of motor function and speech while conscious)?
My Grandmother is very sick and could die anytime. For a while there it felt like the resthome wasn't providing her with enough care (food, drink etc). It felt like as she was slipping away they were letting her slip faster by not feeding her the food she couldn't feed herself. I know that I would be angry if I felt that I was attending the funeral of a relative that had been starved to death by the resthome that we were paying thousands of dollars to so they could provide her with the loving care we weren't able to personally provide.
In recent days they have began to take better care of her. But it makes me wonder. Grandma almost certainly would gladly embrace slipping away in the night, should she be given the option to elect her own time of death?
But as far as what this guy says, I think it is the silliest thing I have heard in a long time. To Allan's reaction against this article, Mark says:
"SO you're not a proponent of Ecclesiastes 3:2 then?
I don't think that there's anything particularly holy about wanting to live forever. Shouldn't we as christians be yearning to join God in heaven?"
Ecclesiastes 3:2?! "A time to kill and a time to heal"?? Give me a break. There are so many things wrong with proof texting that verse to support euthanasia it just isn't funny. The debate aside, that method isn't going to win any points.
As far as yearning to join God in heaven goes, that sounds like some kind of fatalistic, nihilistic, afterlife-mentality approach to living that throws out the value of now for the sake of the value of the hereafter.
As Paul would say (the cousin not the apostle), your Eschatology affects your present Theology. I would hazard a guess that Mark, if not atheist, was a premillennial Calvinist who was looking forward to Creation being burnt up, the depraved non-elect being burnt alive and flying away to paradise to forget all about this awful existence.
I think we need to consider this issue carefully and also think about why we believe what we do. What we believe about God, humans, creation, salvation and other facets of theology will inform our behaviour down to the everyday, practical level.
If we don't think about it properly and don't have a strong foundation to our thoughts - tested by scrutiny, opposition and dialogue - then our thinking will probably just go to the Byrds.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Hat tip: Franky Baby
You Passed 8th Grade Science
Congratulations, you got 7/8 correct!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
Go ahead and talk about Agrarian Lifestyles, Feminism or whatnot, I don't care.
I know you mean well ("...for the sake of their souls").
Just show some respect, for Christ's sake and your own.
I agree that people are going a bit far at times, but so are you.
Current Mood, Wearied :\
Sunday, November 13, 2005
That way whenever I feel like being distracted, I can come a write a thought down. But those thoughts are about my studies, so I'm actually being cunning and not letting myself be distracted at all.
I highly encourage any comments, because I learn through dialogue and any input will enrich my knowledge.
○ ○ ○ ○
1) The permanency of heaven and hell. -- Is Heaven 'fixed' and is Hell 'fixed'? Some people try to argue for a temporary stay for the inhabitants of Hell. If the location of our eternal destiny is a product of a judgement, and not a personal quality, then isn't the length of stay also determined by the Judge?
2) The perfection of the Christ. -- Was it impossible for Jesus to sin? That is, was it actually, physically an impossibility or was it just that he chose not to - despite the temptation? Why I ask is because if Christ couldn't sin (were it impossible) then we can't really relate to Christ, can we? Isn't it far more righteous to think that He struggled through the temptations, which were genuine, and - empowered by the Spirit - eventually overcame them? Surely if Jesus didn't have the possibility to sin it would make Him a superman, a god-ling, and not a man at all.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
because I was not a homosexual.
Then they came for the Labour supporters, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Labour supporter.
Then they came for the liberals, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a liberal.
Then they came for the women, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a woman.
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
This is my own blog-based adaptation from the famous poem by Martin Niemoller (explanation here):
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
I think his is a message that reaches out to black people & white people.
I think it reaches out to the disabled & the able-bodied.
I think it reaches out to females & males.
And, at this hour, it reaches across the wide ocean to France.
[Here is the transcript. On my sidebar you can hear it from the man himself (or go here)]
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
By Iain McMahon.
God's love, a perfect love, shows us how we should love others too.
God's lovingkindness can reach out to us no matter how far away we feel we might be. Because of an embrace that is big enough to take in the whole universe, we can never fall away from the gentle touch of God.
As Psalm 139 says, "9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." Even Oceans Away, we can never be separated from the love of God - a love that crosses any distance.
"Time spent away..."
In the book of Nehemiah, in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel and others, God calls out, "return to me." God's patience is eternal and the grace of God is freely given no matter how long we spend away. For God, there is never a reason not to wait. The story of the prodigal son paints the picture of a heavenly Father who will run and embrace us on the happy day of our return.
Oceans Away by Season Pass sings of the humble attempt of one man to love another with the same depth as the God who first loved him.
Season Pass is Matt Chapman (I know him through BCNZ) and Evan Cooper, original members and songwriters of the band Detour 180.
Check out their website here.
You can hear them on Rhema, ((LifeFM)) or buy their CD.
38"You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.'
39"But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
40"If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
41"Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
42"Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
43"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.'
44"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47"If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
A bad soldier kills another because they enjoy it.
That person is sick.
A bad pacifist avoids combat because they lack the courage of any conviction.
That person is a coward.
A true soldier is willing to give his life for the liberties of his country.
That person is worthy of respect.
A true pacifist is willing to give is life for the liberties of all humanity.
"12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command." (John 15, vv12-14)
That man is Christ.
"He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." (2 Corinthians 5, verse 15)
I want to be like Him.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
So, why am I an Anabaptist and what exactly is that anyway? Good question.
An anusual thing to realise is that Anabaptism goes back far enough that it is neither Protestant nor Catholic, as such. I like this because even though I may mostly swing the Protestant direction, I am extremely fond and sympathetic of the Catholic Tradition (and I must admit I like the theological depth and beauty of their Sunday Mass).
Remember, as with many Christian Traditions, there will be certain features of Anabaptism that are completely compatible or even identical with features of other Traditions. Think yourself lucky, it's nice to know the rest of you are right in at least SOME places :P
The first thing that I love about Anabaptism, the Radical Reformers, is that they stress Ethics and not just Doctrine. For the geeks, they encourage Orthopraxy as well as Orthodoxy. For the theologians, they stress Ethical Christocentrism and not just Doctrinal Christocentrism (more on that a little later).
Chris Marshall, a well known ex-BCNZ scholar, who received the International Community Justice Award (presented by Princess Anne) in 2004, has influenced me somewhat in the area of Anabaptism, ethics, peace and justice. He is one of the contributors to the book Engaging Anabaptism: Conversations with a Radical Tradition (this link goes to a Mennonite publishing house, good books there). Read it, buy it, get it out of the library. It's a series of very easy, very readable autobiographical testimonies of people who have be touched or influenced by Anabaptism and what it means to them. The same article that Chris has in that book can be read here online as a Reality Magazine article.
Chris has this to say about a Mennonite (Anabaptist) Community in London, and it really resonated with me:
Many things [were special], but the one that stands out was its wholistic, integrative theology. Here was a church that held together many of the concerns we had come to believe were integral to Christian faith, but which in our experience Christians so often set against each other:
joyful worship... ...with sensitivity to pain;
thoughtful biblical teaching... ...with openness to the Spirit;
evangelism... ...with social commitment;
scholarship... ...with spirituality;
ethical seriousness... ...with humility and gentleness;
Christian community... ...with an acceptance of people's individuality;
enjoyment of cultural activities... ...with nonconformity to the world.
These things are often seen as mutually exclusive; Christians split asunder what God has joined together. The London Mennonite community modelled a natural and attractive integration of them.
Take your time to think about those carefully, each of those pair provides some thoughtful reflection. Think about some examples of each or maybe situations where you feel the pair has been divided in an unhelpful manner.
The main points that I support in Anabaptism? (again fleshed out well by Chris)
• The Centrality of Jesus - Anabaptism insists on a radical devotion to Jesus ethically and not just doctrinally. It is NOT ENOUGH to just think lovely thoughts about Jesus (even, I might add, think that he is Lord) without backing that up in practice by following his commands in your life. Jesus becomes the central norm for determining how we should live & how we should interpret scripture.
• The Essence of Christianity is Discipleship - Following Christ is key. What we preach, how we live and what we die for should be Christ - birth, teachings, life, ministry, death, resurrection & ascension - and this in turn should feed into others in community with us. This community should demonstrate practical and moral distinctives and not just ideological conformity. Anabaptist Christianity isn't about warming a pew or keeping to yourself.
• An Ethic of Peace and Non-Violence - Anabaptists are known world-wide for their devotion to the progression of social justice issues as well as peace and ethics. In the first few centuries of the early church, nonviolence was an important distinctive. In time, this element was lost. In the 16th Century, Anabaptists were even killed for not killing others. Non-violence was seen as a significant way to imitate Christ. Through my own studies, I see in Christ a man who was given the position, power, authority and social support to start a violent uprising in his favour and yet meekly chose to die, tortured upon a piece of wood that named him cursed because of it. More people have died this century that across the entirety of human history combined. Something has to change. I'll begin with me.
• The Church as a Visible Believing Community - Voluntary membership, the nominal need not apply. Believer's baptism, the believer chooses to die with Christ that they may rise with Him. Separation from the world, because the social order based on violence and coercion is alien to the gospel (I still, however, think we need to be IN the world... just not OF it). Dedication despite suffering, because nonconformity isn't always popular. Radical congregationalism, building a church with servant leadership that doesn't rely on clergy nor heirarchy (every believer - male, female, young or old - holds the keys to mission, ministry and discernment).
• • • •
So, you see, Anabaptism has many rich facets to it. Some of them will be compatible with many who read this. Other aspects may be acceptable even if you don't fully agree yourself (such as the complete dedication to non-violence / pacifism, per se). Other bits you might disgree with.
Even so, I hope you see what the Anabaptist Tradition means to me and what it can achieve in the world, our communities, churches and hearts.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Now that I'm older, people tell me what a Conservative (or, specifically, a Fundamentalist) is, and I don't identify with that either.
So where do I fit?
I feel like I'm turning into Paul, I can use big words to describe myself now ;)
That makes me a Historic Premillennial**, Progressive Evangelical, Mennonite (Anabaptist) Christian pacifist with feminist*** convictions.
How's THAT for putting myself in a box.
Granted, these labels are only as true as I understand their meanings and nuances. But I'm sure they'll be useful to others for categorizing me the next time they don't want to consider what I'm saying :P
You might be wondering where my denomination fits in, just so that I can add another label. I put Anabaptist since that is a worthy subset of people in my eyes, but I'm still thinking about that one. I don't really know enough about any of the denominations right now and I haven't found a faith community that I'm fully settled into as yet. All things in His time!
Anyway, in NZ we don't have any Mennonite communities, so I guess I'll have to settle in a "mainstream" church as a matter of convenience.
Somebody recently told me teasingly that an Anglican church would be flexible enough to contain me. We shall see.
As somebody really fantastic said a long time ago, "Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh", or, I AM WHAT I AM (Exodus 3:13-15).
Thing is, the Hebrew can also mean I AM BECOMING WHAT I AM BECOMING.
** not dispensational, tho perhaps a little convinced by the amillennial view
*** a.k.a. egalitarianism, from the french word egalité meaning 'equality'. Think counter-culturally challenging Class, Caste and Hierarchy a la Romans 2:11 and Galatians 3:26-29
"Calling for a renewal of an evangelical center to the church of Jesus Christ, a center characterized by a 'generous orthodoxy.'"
"It is time to ask how theology ought to be done in a postmodern era and to envision a rapprochement between theologians of the left and right."
"My own vision of what might be propitious for our day, split as we are, not so much into denominations as into schools of thought, is that we need a kind of generous orthodoxy which would have in it an element of liberalism—a voice like the Christian Century—and an element of evangelicalism—the voice of Christianity Today. I don't know if there is a voice between those two, as a matter of fact. If there is, I would like to pursue it."
"I will also say that if the sort of research program represented by postliberalism has a real future as a communal enterprise of the church, it's more likely to be carried on by evangelicals than anyone else."
...Get over it (and make a difference!).
Introducing, Generous Orthodoxy!
Six organisations (and more around the world)...
Seven churches (and more around the world)...
Six other websites...
52 Blogs (and more in their Blog-O-sphere)...
Ever increasing numbers of articles and essays...
Ever increasing numbers of contributors' books (67 and counting)...
One evangelical, academic Think Tank Blog (with 37 Scholars (Professors and Doctoral students, including Steve Taylor) contributing world-wide)!
One blogger I found by googling makes this comment:
The purpose of the site and the weblog will be to promote a progressive or postconservative evangelical identity. Steve says that many, many people identify as evangelicals but do not identify with the theological and/or political conservatism that dominates media representations of U.S. evangelicalism.
Monday, October 31, 2005
Who is that sexy boy??
Okay, maybe not that sexy, but it's me. At a party. Look, I have a bottle in my hand and a smile on my face... oh the peaceful moments in life...
Well, parties sure beat studying!
It's the 19th Birthday party of a friend from BCNZ called Josh. It feels weird going to a person's sub-twentieth birthday these days, but then BCNZ attracts all sorts ;)
I gave Josh a funny present - it was wrapped so nicely with metallic silver paper, silver ribbon around both sides, a silver ribbon-flower thingy and a tiny card in a little silver envelope... it looked like a wedding present. Inside was a box of one dozen Dunkin Donuts :D
The wrapping cost more than the Donuts!
To see more thrilling photos, check them out on Charlotte's Blog (or click on the photo to be taken to the specific post). Charlotte is another friend from BCNZ.
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well... with my soul...
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well... with my soul...
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
He lives--oh, the bliss of this glorious thought;
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Oh my soul.
It is well... with my soul...
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
And, Lord, haste the day when our faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trumpet shall sound, and the Lord shall descend;
Even so, it is well with my soul.
It is well... with my soul...
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
~~Horatio Gates Spafford 
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
~~Helen H. Lemmel 
Saturday, October 29, 2005
I'm a little busy at the moment and life has been distracting me in various ways.
I'll go through a couple of things:
I'm not going to India because I had wondered whether I should go this year (if I was doing a Masters next year I might want to have some time to work over the break rather than give all three months to India). It turned out that a situation arose where I felt it was appropriate to donate a certain amount of money to help. That made it a little harder to reach my goal, but that's okay since I can always go somewhere another time. The world will still be waiting.
I haven't been blogging because I'm behind assignments in a couple of subjects' worth of essays. I think my brain fell out of my ear in the holidays and I haven't managed to find it yet. I've just had more essential things to take my time up with.
I would say things are going well, but I'm not sure they are. I can't tell. I think I'll need to survive another month, look back, take a deep breath and let you know then. It'll be holidays then, too... oh man, holidays...
I work at Voice of the Martyrs, and that is going well generally. That adds to my workload a bit, since it takes time out of study and also makes me have to worry about real world work-issues ;)
On the plus side, I'm hoping to start an MTS next year (if they let me in) and I'll probably pursue studies in the area of Feminism and also Peace & Justice Studies.
I want to study a little bit of Feminism because I think that I'll have a good perspective to add to it. Why?
• I'm male (therefore none of my conclusions will be anti-male)
• I'm happy with "the church" (therefore I'm not coming from a reactionary position of pain)
• I'm Evangelical (therefore my response will be as biblical as I can manage)
• I'm passionate about my faith (therefore my response will be Christian and not post-christian)
I also believe that, as with any indigenizing/cross-cultural effort (in this case, cross-gender), it takes the 'locals' to do the final work. I think that if males want to understand how they relate to evangelical feminism and how it relates to them, they'd probably rather hear it from another man.
I'm also hoping to be involved in a group that is trying to start an Institution for the coordination of Peace Studies so that people don't have to leave NZ shores to get a good education in that area.
When I'm feeling more philosophical and less phrenic I'll get back to you with some ponderings.
p.s. what do you think of my new Hitchhiker's Guide miniplayer?
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
|Iain is a |
Iain is best described as a:
That is, he exhibits a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believes in economic fairness
Link: The Politics Test
There are only 40 people registered on Blogger.com who wrote 'The Bible' in their profile's good-book list. Myself included, naturally ;)
Oh, hmm, that's interesting. Frank included it too but he doesn't show up on the list. Curious... i guess God doesn't count him for some reason. The Rapture, anyone? :P
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
As you know I'm going to India in December. Well, I'm not.
Yes, you heard it here first, folks. The India trip has been indefinately postponed until further notice.
Instead, my plan of attack will probably be to do an MTS next year at BCNZ. I'll be able to get Student Allowance since I won't be income tested on my parents after my 25th Birthday on December the 15th. What I will also do is work for some of the summer so that I don't have to increase my Student Loan to any higher, teetering heights.
The reason why I say "some of" the summer and not all of the summer is because I plan to take a holiday down in Christchurch to feel out the territory and experience some Cuz-Love. I'll probably get a good fix of my Paul-time and ingratiate myself into the sewing circle of Christchurch favourites such as Sharyn. I'll get to buy John that burger I promised him during elections, too.
I'm actually talking to Paul now on Skype and he's explaining a few things to me about potential Masters papers that I could take, either in Auckland or ChCh. Things are still up in the air about where I'll be based next year, but I don't have to answer all of my questions at once.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Ones like, "Would you rather die by baseball bat or being run over by a horse?"
I sure do.
I particularly hate it when that same question resurfaces years later in the form of the New Zealand General Election.
To be extremely Frank, Frankly speaking, I pretty much dislike every "viable" voting option at this point, to be quite Frank.
My thinking is very torn. My heart sways away from the minor parties at times, thinking that perhaps they don't do enough (with the exception of Jim Anderton :P) or achieve enough 'voting worth' as they make too many of their concessions in forming the next Government.
At times I dislike the idea of voting for the two big parties, due to my fear of things like a Brashean Strategic Deficit (giving fearsome slash-n-burn power) looming over the horizon and of course my eternal dislike of Helen.
Frankly, if I had to compile a preferred PM list, it would be empty.
About one week ago my choices were either National (large party choice) or UFNZ/Progressive (small party choices). Yes, I admit I only originally gave Progressive a look because Paul pointed me in their direction.
In terms of my possible National vote, I asked myself, is hating Helen enough?
Looking at the New Zealand Political landscape gave me pause for thought (compared to my own Ghandi-like status :D)... enough to cause me to go to a couple of websites and compare some party policies once and for all.
So perhaps the high-flying Greens wouldn't be so bad after all... except for the fact that I could probably replicate the practical outworking of their policies well enough by voting for other parties without suffering from any of their hangovers, erm, hangups.
Maybe Progressive? Then again, a current Parliamentary share of two seats doesn't inspire much confidence. If Jimmy can work magic like that, surely he'd be better working it under the auspices of an existing party? Maybe the United Progressive Outdoors Future New Zealand Party. Then again, he'd have to have a pretty big arm-wrestle with Mr Hero-Haircut himself for the place of top Dawg.
UFNZ? For some reason, I just sense a loss of integrity. Good on some levels, but if somebody is going to try and take my vote specifically as a Christian, then they sure as "hell" better make sure that they act accordingly. I mean, who expects reprobate to act any different? But the man of God should live transparently.
Ok, so what about my old potential... National. Well, after consideration of policy I actually realise that I can't vote for them in good conscience. I mean, I just don't agree with the actual way that they want to go about doing things. There isn't much to it. They aren't spawns of Satan or anything, I just make different choices. So I'll have to agree to disagree and vote elsewhere. Besides, hating Helen isn't really enough reason to actually vote for National.
That only leaves...
Monday, September 12, 2005
Gone are the days when MPs needed to actually speak to their constituents in person.
Here are the days of superbly funny ads by Nats mocking Labour.
Here is Labours attempt to reverse mock. Pretty funny.
Gone By Lunchtime
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Weekly wage of an NZ Worker doing a 40 hour week at minimum wage . . . $380
Weekly wage of a man from Guiyu, China, who searches for scraps of things such as gold and copper by dipping waste circuit boards in acid . . . $14.70
The percent of the World's rich that the above NZ Beneficiary fits in . . . top 13%, richer than 5.2 Billion others.
The percent of the World's rich that the above NZ Worker fits in . . . top 11.8%, richer than 5.3 Billion others.
The percent of the World's rich that the above Chinese man fits in . . . top 67%, richer than 2 Billion others (who must earn less than NZ$700 a year).
16Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
17"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."
18"Which ones?" the man inquired.
Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother,'
and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'"
20"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
21Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"
26Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
I need to change my mentality & approach towards academic and theological discussions. I think, perhaps, that sometimes I am too... 'robust'.
1 Tim 1
3As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4nor to
devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies
rather than God's work—which is by faith. 5The goal of this command is love,
which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6Some
have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. 7They want to be
teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what
they so confidently affirm.
1 Tim 3
8Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere . . . They
must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.
1 Tim 6
3If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound
instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4he is conceited and
understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels
about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and
constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth
and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
20Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.
Jude 1I want people to know me as a guy who has a good time, who keeps hold of his faith strongly, but who is marked by gentleness.
8 . . . these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject
authority and slander celestial beings. 9But even the archangel Michael, when he
was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a
slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" 10Yet these
men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things
they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very
things that destroy them.
I don't want anyone to suffer under the lashes of my passion or convictions.
Brothers and sisters out there in the Blog-O-sphere, please accept my apology for any fervent words that might have caused offense.
Monday, August 29, 2005
I've done the ultimate thing: I have the entire bible in MP3 format; I also have a portable MP3 player.
Between the two I'm now able to hear the Scriptures as I eat, walk, drive and play.
Sound like a bit too much? Well, since doing BCNZ and particularly my preaching courses I've been driven to understand the Scriptures deeper and deeper.
How can I get them into me? I never take enough time out to sit down and read a good whack of them, but ealier tonight I managed to listen to Matthew, Philemon, Titus, Hebrews and James.
Man, this is so awesome I just get all excited everytime I see somebody at BCNZ to tell it to.
Think that I'm crazy? Yeah well, you can get lost :P
I'll just go finish loading the OT onto this little puppy and then maybe I'll veg out on my bed and listen to Genesis.
The Listener's MP3 Bible, narrated by Max McLean, choose from NIV (7 CDs) or ESV (4 CDs).
75 hours of audio. Costs US$50.
Examples of Max's lilting timbre: Exodus 3 (Biblegateway's NIV audio), Proverbs 1 (Max's site)
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Friday, August 19, 2005
I lay there on the floor, face down, frustrated. Thoughts about life boiled through my head. Sometimes I think too much, sometimes other people don't think enough.
I needed to get something out... but what?
This is what I wrote:
A letter to all thinking people
Look around you at the world. Is something missing?
Is something askew? Does the future that you
plan for yourself look different than your
parents' lives? Does it look the same?
Where do you live?
What do you do?
You rise, work and come home. You have paid
for this home, those children, this life. You have
paid for it in dollars; you have paid for it
in work-hours: you have paid with your life.
You live to work and work to live... only to
keep doing it over and over and over again.
But why? What do you live for? Do you tell yourself
that your reasons for living actually fit into the gaps between
work; those gaps where you watch TV, eat, commute in rush-hour traffic
or spend in an evening with friends?
Is that what you want - a life of the gaps? A life
spent watching somebody else's soap opera or making reruns
of your own day in and day out?
Am I insane? Am I wrong, or do you feel the disease too?
Do you feel the illness keeping us all asleep? Even the
most productive worker ends up giving his life's
produce to his employer: his own life grinding around
and around like a cog going nowhere.
You may have your family christmases, your
movies, your custom-built houses, your sex,
your friends, your trappings and distractions,
but where do they take you?
Don't they just pull the veil further over your eyes,
each piece like another slow blink of a
drugged person succumbing to sleep?
Please! One of us is wrong! What if, in some
terrifying way, the truth rests with my words?
Step away from your life for a moment. Lay aside
how they tell you to live, ignore the lifelong rituals
that your parents' layered upon themselves.
Be free, think, consider:
What do you really live for?
What good does your life bring, when all is
said and done?
If you could do anything you wanted in life, changing
your past, how would you do it differently?
I urge you to consider these things carefully. Does
your life's choices appear the way they are
simply because you didn't think it possible to
step outside the box completely?
But who makes your box? Who is your jailer?
There are a million people like you, people who
you try to resemble in the need to be "normal" - but aren't
you all just taking the lead from each other? Who
made anyone be like that in the first place and
why can't YOU change the pattern?
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10)
"The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head" (Matthew 8:20)
Monday, August 15, 2005
Hey young believer/unbeliever (Hey)
Black lung fever (Hey)
Transmit receiver (Hey)
Backed up deceiver (Hey)
Well I don't like it either (Hey)
We're all presidents for the (Hey)
Black lung fever (Hey)
About three weeks ago I got sick. A sniffle. That ran it's course and I started to pick up a little cough. No problem, I always have my Asthma flare up when I get sick.
Being back at BCNZ as I was, just as I was getting better I got infected with something else. That makes two sicknesses in about two weeks. More serious this time, so I got some antibiotics from the Doctor. That started to clear it up but my cough was getting worse so I got some meds for that.
Then the meds stopped being able to help my cough very well, so I had it amped up in dosage. It turned out that I was still sick, too, so the Doc put me on a second course of a different kind of antibiotics - a more serious-type one this time.
Then... whoops, I catch something else as I'm getting better. Ack! Three in three weeks. My cough was pretty bad by then, and only getting worse. My medical history is an extremely colourful one (like lobar pneumonia involving hospitalisation three times already) not to mention my low immuno-globulin levels. Needless to say, the cough getting worse every day was a pretty bad thing so I went to the hospital. Now I don't usually go to the hospital, that's usually a little more extreme than visiting the GP. But at this stage with my general inability to breathe I decided it was probably the best thing to do.
After waiting in Waitakere hostpital for hours the Doctor finally saw me. Before he had checked me out at all he told me that I was probably just unable to use my asthma inhalers properly. Well, I've taken them for years and I have had professionals tell me my techinque is good, but even so I knew that my general breathing and lung situation was a little worse than just asthma (I can kind of mentally track the position of the problem in my chest).
So I insisted on a chest x-ray, which I think he wasn't going to do, and the wise Doctor looked at it briefly before telling me that I was fine and that I just needed to use my inhalers properly. Funny how that was his decision before he had checked me up. I might mention that he didn't do many physical checks on me except for a brief use of the stethoscope, nor did he even watch my technique with the asthma inhaler. Oh, and he didn't really ask many questions about my medical history.
So he turfed me on my ear. At least he gave me a "spacer" to deal with my mythical inhaler-incompetence (oh, except I had to ask him for it, he just tried to finish the consultation).
The next day came around, that's yesterday. I had run home to my parents with my tail between my legs as soon as the weekend came around, but yesterday evening they had gone out to dinner. My chest was congested and my breathing was very difficult. Suddenly things changed around in there and I started to have a big coughing fit and was very short of breath. Alone, all I could do was go and take some spare medicine that we had lying around that dealt with my breathing and hope that it didn't get any worse.
Soon after, I went to North Shore hospital (I wasn't going back to Waitakere). I saw a Doctor there who went through my medical history in extensive detail. Ironically, he then used the exact same chest x-ray that the last Doctor had taken and decided that there was probably a problem with my lower left lung. He checked me out with heaps of physical tests (not just a cursory listen like the previous Doc) and decided that, yes, I did in fact have something like pneumonia. He wasn't willing to identify it exactly, but he WAS willing to agree that I was sick and treat me for it.
So I'm not in top shape right now but I'm not crazy and I am being medicated for the correct problem, and that's a good thing.
p.s. I don't have a black lung, that's just a song that I thought was funny
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Well, I'm adding some counter balance by stretching my reading in a more intentional direction.
I re-discovered Christian Classics Ethereal Library, which is a website of online classics that have become public material.
I have set myself the task of reading their entire "recommended" list. Currently I'm reading my first choice, "Orthodoxy" by Chesterton. It's pretty great so far!
The aim of all this is to hone myself in a decisive manner by entertaining myself with productive and beneficial activities rather than just spending all my time at the PC shooting virtual people.
The following is a list with descriptions straight from the website, not my own words:
The Confessions of St. Augustine -- The most popular work of the man who more than any other shaped western civilization. The first 10 chapters constitute a spiritual autobiography and some spiritual and philosophical reflections; the last three chapters are a reflection on the creation story of Genesis 1.
Pilgrim's Progress -- A spiritual allegory. Of books written in English, one of the all-time most popular.
G. K. Chesterton
Orthodoxy -- Chesterton's writing reminds me of C.S. Lewis, but a little more colorful, a little more quirky. This book is an apology for the Christian world-view.
Religious Affections -- "What is the nature of true religion? . . . [What are] the distinguishing notes of that virtue and holiness that is acceptable in the sight of God?" In this classic work by America's greatest theologian and philosopher, Edwards considers the nature of revival and the genuine work of the Holy Spirit. Don't read this book if you want to keep worshipping your idols.
Autobiography of George Fox -- This is a fascinating journal of the exploits of the founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers). It is also very illuminating about the political and religious state of seventeenth century England -- for example, Fox lives through the commonwealth period, meets Cromwell, and prophesies his downfall after he treats Quakers badly.
St. Ignatius of Loyola
The Spiritual Exercises Spiritual exercises arranged into 4 weeks, by the founder of the Jesuits.
St. John of the Cross
Ascent of Mount Carmel
Dark Night of the Soul -- The writings of St. John of the Cross are unsurpassed for mystical theology. The "dark night" is a must-read for anyone seriously concerned about growing spiritually.
Thomas à Kempis
The Imitation of Christ -- This book is said to have been published in more editions than any other, apart from the Bible, with 6000 appearing by the turn of this century. This little devotional book is simply written but immensely moving. Highly recommended.
A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life -- This is one of two or three books that greatly influenced the young J. Wesley.
The Practice of the Presence of God -- In this little collection of letters and reflections, Brother Lawrence encourages us to be continually in God's presence.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
I don't think we believe what we believe, half the time.
First I thought I had to be a good Christian and follow Jesus as my moral example.. my measuring stick.. my inspiration.
Then they told me that I was saved, by the grace of God, in faith.
Once my errors had been rectified I set about conforming to the image of Our Lord.
I attended Church on Sundays - two services each week!
I did my morning devotions.
I said my evening prayers.
I made sure I knew heaps of Bible verses.
I talked to all my friends about Jesus.
Some of them didn't really go to church all that often though.
They didn't really have much of a devotional life.
They couldn't bring themselves to pray alot.
Obviously, they weren't well up with the scriptures.
In fact, they really could be doing a lot better than that, now that I think about it.
I'll make sure I give them some more pointers next time I see them.
Thank God I'm saved by faith.
I already have my own opinion, as you might imagine, and yet I'm keen to raise some discussion in this general area. The comments on my previous post reminded me about this thought, but I figured it deserved it's own post.
The Old Testament talks many times about Elohim, Adonai and YHWH (unless you're using KJV :P).
When you hear the name YHWH, what does your mind invoke?
Do you think, "The Father"? Do you think, "The Trinity?"
Equally, when in church you hear the name GOD, what does your mind invoke?
Do you think, "The Father"? Do you think, "The Trinity?"
I would say that many Christians think and speak of the Spirit, Jesus and God, when in fact they mean the Father.
I would also say that when ever we mention one member of the godhead in any given situation we cannot disconnect the other two. Sounds simple and logical, but we don't really apply this all that often.
In the Hebrew text, the name of God is considered so sacred, it is hidden, and meant to be unspoken. The most accepted transliteration of the name of God is YHWH.
I kept reading.
The Jehovah's Witnesses use the more pronounceable version "Yahweh".
And that's when I knew I was listening to an idiot.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
In the previous post, Alan, a much loved friend and man after my own heart, asserted that metrosexuals (although, he may not have meant that term? It is my presumption) would do well to remove their earrings.
My maternally-challenged clone, Paul, stated that perhaps Jesus might, in this day and age, don earrings - and what would be wrong with that?
What indeed? Is that likely? Be in no doubt that humanity has shaped Christ after their own image for the last 2000 years and will continue to do so. Artwork abounds throughout the ages, twisting Christ and framing these impressions of Our Lord into forms most beauteous in the eye of the artisan.
Maybe we don't like the idea of a Christ that wears earrings. Maybe we don't like the idea of a Christ who might be tattooed. Maybe we don't like the idea of an African Christ. Maybe we don't like the idea of an Asian Christ. Maybe we don't like the idea of a feminine Christ. Maybe we don't like the idea of a fat Christ.
Who are we to make those decisions? Who are we to say that Christ cannot meet people where they are, relating to them as 100% human at whatever level they're at or body-image that they have?
When you or I meet Christ one day, he will ask us why we didn't help him. He'll ask why we didn't help him when we saw the Asian struggling to be understood. He'll ask us why we didn't help him when we saw the homeless man shivering under Grafton Bridge. He'll ask us why we didn't help him when we saw the woman squirming in her seat from the lewd comments of the other passengers on the Bus.
We see Christ every day, we walk past Christ every day. If we only see Christ in other people who are just like us, then we are only loving images of ourselves.
So I bring to you Janet McKenzie's painting, "Jesus of the People" (click for larger image, I hope).
Caption from here:
Jesus Christ is dominantly represented as a white, European male. Grant says non-European women, such as African American women are "twice removed from the image of God" . . . This image "Jesus of the People" by Janet McKenzie
portrays Jesus as relatively androgynous and as black.
If you are uncomfortable with this image, as with many possible images of Christ, then it begs the question, "Why?"
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
In the US they call it the "missional church"
In the UK they call it the "emerging missional church"
Here, they call it the "emerging church".
It's about living life relevantly to everyone, including those people who would feel more at home if their cellgroup was held weekly outside a Ponsonby Cafe around communal coffee.
It's about finding a message and offering a life in Christ that fits for those people who might have too many earrings or too many tattoos to sit in your average pew.
It's about learning how to speak to those people who "listen with their eyes and think with their emotions" (Ravi Zacharias).
Emerging church isn't about discarding all forms of the past; in fact, emerging church is also about expressing itself in forms whereby it reintegrates contemplative uses of traditional liturgy, weaving it through artform and around contemporary worship, until you get an approach to God that accepts the good from many different streams of 'sacred'.
That being said, this next chart was very telling. What do you think about it? I found it while reading "360-degree Preaching" by M. Quicke, who quoted from the book, "Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World", by R.E. Webber.
PARADIGMS OF CHURCH HISTORY.
Ancient: Mystery, Community, Symbol
Modern: Reason, Systematic & Analytical, Verbal, Individualistic
Postmodern: Mystery, Community, Symbol
It's the ultimate ego trip to always consider that you are taking your religion back to what is pure and right, but Quicke reckons this guy might have noticed something quite important.
Quicke says that Webber, "pleads for a rediscovery of core elements - mystery, community and symbol - in order for the missional church to be effective today."
I think he might have something. Not all of the advances that the Church has made in the shadow of PoMo has been bad. I think that the emerging church reflects just this, the need to grasp in tension these core elements: mystery - the type found in experiencing God, the source of Truth - with symbol - both the cipher and the 'carrier' of truths - within the bounds of our faith community.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Yes, it's "Orisinal", the Japanese answer to spare time.
There are a whole tonne of incredibly G-Rated games here, some bordering on the downright bizarre but others providing a fairly fun time.
If pastel colours and fuzzy cartoon animals gliding through peaceful skies aren't your cup of tea, then take a gander at Orisinal's action-packed Trailer for their website and maybe you'll think again.
I mean, come on, who can deny the obvious attraction of "Bum bum koala" or "Bungee Bear".
Actually, Bum Bum Koala is terrible.
But some are good: Bungee Bear (here) is kinda relaxing, same with Among the Clouds (here).
Don't forget to try the insanely rediculous catch-shots-of-the-flying-saucer-on-handycam game, The Truth is Up There (here).
It's addictive - searching through all their games is, I mean. Some are just terrible, while others have a peculiar attractiveness about their simplicity and their peacefulness (Oh, except Swordsman, but I won't mention that). You could almost have a nap to some of their backing tunes.
Orisinal is the Eastern version of an executive stress-ball.
p.s. I dare you to get to the Bottom of the Sea, here.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
So while you're surfing the Net or reading my posts, you can listen to my music too
That means you can have The Total Iain Experience (tm)
I'll meet you in DI's Chillout ;)
Thursday, July 21, 2005
What do you all think?
EDIT: Oh... my Dad is now hosting my better original version of the file here.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
It starts in...
AMERICA, where Corporations with multinational reach and international resources find the need to create products to sell to rich American consumers. Cost is key, naturally, and so they outsource their factory-level production to...
TAIWAN, where a cheap labour force is in abundance. These workers are willing and able to do it at low pay, which suits the Corporations just fine. An added fact is that Taiwan receives enough business at higher wages than even poorer nearby countries, so it attracts many immigrant workers from...
PHILIPPINES, because at home their wages can be dirt-low and working conditions can be very bad. But people from here have high hopes, and even at these conditions they answered positively in a survey about their own economic status, security and place in society. In fact, these bottom-rate, underpaid workers rated themselves better in terms of their lot in life and their job situation then an equivalent survey of workers from...
AMERICA, where Corporations with...
Monday, July 11, 2005
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Here's my results:
I think it probably stereotyped me based on my conflict-based responses. I feel so marginalised by their violent and oppressive metanarrative ^_^
Friday, July 01, 2005
The scurrilous "redistribution" of votes.
I've made a comment that pretty much says it all on Big News, here, but I want room to get some conversation about it on my own Blog.
Essentially, small-party Candidates such as Bernie Ogilvy will come along to a meeting and tell you (as he did me) via a flashy slide-show presentation, with pie-charts and everything, that if you vote for a party that doesn't cross the 5% threshold, then the satanic Labour Party will steal your vote and use it to recruit nasty people like the Apathetic Watchman himself, Ashraf Choudry (the guy who didn't stop the Prostitution Reform Bill from coming through).
This simply isn't true.
It is, however, 'close enough'; but intentional misuse of statistics for Party gain is still a lie. Tsk tsk, Mr Ogilvy.
What DOES happen is that Parliament is divided up among the Parties that cross the threshold, according to the relative proportion of Party votes which they have received from the original election.
What happens is that people say, (hypothetical example about to occur) "Wait a moment... but if Labour had 40% of New Zealand's vote during the country-wide election, how come they get 50% of Parliament? Uh oh, my vote must have been stolen by Labour". Well, if 20% of the country voted across Parties that never cross the threshold, then Labour's election Proportion of Party votes IS 50% of the remaining 80% used to comprise Parliament, which is why they get half the seats.
There are no shifted votes, if you count Labour as having "40% of 100%" or "50% of 80%", they reach the same number of seats in Parliament. Think about it.
What Bernie does, and others using the same scare-tactic, is tell you that if you were thinking of voting for a small party, you'd better consolidate all your votes on THEIR PARTY, or else you'll somehow lose the seats in Parliament that your votes represent. But, of course, they don't represent seats... that right is reserved for the Party-votes on those that cross the threshold... your votes represent the democratic opinion of a New Zealander - and ALL of those balloted opinions are counted.
Allow me a brief parody of faulty statistics used on the Local MP voting system:
"Did you know that if you vote for an MP and that person doesn't get in, then your valuable vote is redistributed to an MP that YOU didn't vote for?!
Chris Carter, MP for Te Atatu, received more votes than Tau Henare in the 2002 General Elections.
Chris Carter finished the elections with only a margin of 12, 932 - far less than 100% support!
After crossing the threshold of first place, EVERY SINGLE VOTE that had been given to Tau Henare and other candidates for Te Atatu was redistributed to Chris Carter making him 100% the MP for Te Atatu.
If you don't want your vote to be redistributed and go to Chris Carter in the next election, then everybody MUST VOTE HENARE. If you don't, your wasted vote will be given to a homosexual Labour MP."
What will we do with all these lying Politicians? Thank goodness we have Sarah Ulmer and McDonalds to usher in a new Utopia.
It can't end like that! One more book! Chapter? Page?
I've just finished reading this book that was recommended to me by the fantabulous Sharyn & Simona. It's good. It made me laugh, get angry, not-quite-cry... all that kind of stuff.
Worth reading. But man oh man did I hate reaching that last chapter. I dreaded the finish so much that my heart leaped in my chest when I realised the slim number of pages in my right hand.
Incidentally, I have no idea whether this lady is Christian or not, but I had a huge number of God moments while reading this book.
It certainly was a moving book.
Pathos, it's a good thing.
It's called "Even When" by the CCM band Seven Places, off their album, "Hear Us Say Jesus".
This week, I prayed, one time
My phone, it rang, I put You on the other line
And now my thoughts they drift around
My knees remain unacquainted with the ground
Unless my faith is put to the test and I am forced to bow
Although I'm in this flesh it doesn't mean You shouldn't have the best from me, From me
Even when my eyes are dry
Even when my soul is tired
Even when my hands are heavy, I will lift them up to You
It's not about how I feel, oh Lord I am here for You
I exist for you
I close my eyes but all I see
Is a background of black, bouncy squiggly lines
And this week's mistakes coming back to mind but
I will lift my voice and make a joyful sound
Forget about me, I only get me down
Although I cannot see it doesn't mean I shouldn't sing to You,
You've given me Your life and have held mine together yet I find
Excuses to slouch in my pew
But when glory divine
Is sitting in my very presence, the least that I can do
Is give my all to You,
Give my all to You
Now THAT is worship.