Friday, April 27, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Today I found the super creepy Thank God I... site. It's a site looking for writers to tell their inspirational stories, which will eventually go in to "the most Inspirational & Influential book series on the planet!" Which all sounds pretty normal until you see what some of the creepy story titles that they want stories for. Here are a selected few of my favourites...
Thank God My Husband Cheated On Me
Thank God I Had An Abortion
Thank God I was A Teen Mom
Thank God I Was Raised By Two Dads
Thank God I Am A Battered Spouse
Thank God I Was Physically Abused
Thank God I Am Poor
Thank God My Father Left Me
Thank God I Was An Orphan
Thank God I Had A Miscarriage
Thank God I Was Sexually Molested (yes this really is a title)
Thank God I Can't Conceive Children
Thank God My Parents Divorced
Thank God I Am A Bitch
Thank God My Child Has ADD/ADHD
Thank God I Was Incested
Thank God I Had An Affair
Thank God I Went To Jail/Prison
Thank God I Was Emotionally Abused
Thank God My Girlfriend Left Me
Thank God I Masturbate
Thank God I Went Bankrupt
Thank God My Mom Died
Thank God I Am Divorced
Thank God I Have Genital Herpes
Thank God I Don't Have Orgasms
Thank God I Went Broke
Thank God I Had Acne
Thank God I Have A Dysfunctional Family
Thank God I Was Scammed
Thank God I Was Homeless
Thank God I Was Raped
Thank God I Married A Workaholic
Thank God I Have Erectile Dysfunction
Thank God I Am A Drug Addict
Thank God I Married An Alcoholic
Thank God I Am A Sex Addict
Thank God I Have Cancer
Thank God I Am A Gambling Addict
Thank God I Married A Porn Addict
Thank God I Am A Stripper
Thank God I Am A Prescription Drug Addict
Thank God I Am The Child Of An Alcoholic/Addict
Thank God I Have A Small Penis
Thank God I Married A Control Freak
Thank God I Am A Prostitute
Thank God I Am Suicidal
Thank God I Am Fat
Thank God I Have Small Breasts
Thank God I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Chronic Pain / Chronic Illness
Thank God I Am Physically Disabled
Thank God I Am Depressed
Thank God I Am A Hypochondriac
Thank God I Am A Schizophrenic
Thank God I Am Anorexic and/or Bulimic
Thank God I Have A Speech Impediment
Thank God I Had A Heart Attack
Thank God I Am Bald
Thank God My Husband Died
Thank God I Have Anxiety/Panic Attacks
Thank God My Baby Died
Thank God I Died (I think they may find it hard to find a writer for this one)
Thank God My Soul Mate Died
Thank God I Am Dying
Thank God my parents sold me as a child sex slave at the age of four where after a year I had all my limbs cut off on the first day of each month for four months and then was boiled alive in a vat of oil and sold as pork dumplings to unwitting customers at a dodgy fast food shop.
And none of them are made up (except for the last one).
Monday, April 23, 2007
There are two perspectives necessary to understand this issue, one cultural and historical and the other exegetical. In the old King James Version, the English word “hell” actually was used to translate two different words and two very different concepts. One term was the word gehenna, (e.g., Matt 5:22). This was adapted from the name of a valley to the south of the Temple in Jerusalem where the city garbage was burned, the “Valley of Hinnom.” Because of the perpetual fires, and also because there had been idols to the Canaanite god Molech erected there to which were offered human sacrifices (2 Kings 23:10), ge hinnom (“valley of Hinnom” in Hebrew) became a symbol for the judgment of God. The fires also came to symbolize that punishment and destruction, and became the more common way to conceptualize “hell” in later Christian tradition.
Another term, and one more relevant to our topic, is the Greek term Hades (e.g., Matt 11:23). This term comes from Greek mythology in which it was the abode of the dead. It was used to translate into Greek the Hebrew concept of Sheol. While in the Old Testament this term was not mythological, it was a metaphorical way to talk about what happened to people when they died. Sheol was simply the place where dead people go. It was almost synonymous with death and especially “grave,” and indeed is used that way in several Old Testament passages, e.g., Psa 49:14: Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; straight to the grave they descend, and their form shall waste away; Sheol shall be their home.
In other words, Sheol or Hades was a poetic way to say, “they died and were buried.” It is in this sense that the phrase in the Apostles’ Creed is used, using the ambiguous word “hell” in English, when the more precise idea of Hades actually lies behind the statement. “He descended into hell” then becomes nothing more than a statement that Jesus died and was placed in the tomb, the grave. In Hebrew concepts, they would say he descended into Sheol, that is, was lowered into the grave, or that he slept with the fathers, that is, was placed in a family tomb. It is in that context that the affirmation of the resurrection is so powerful.
So what do we do about the images of "hellish" fire in the New Testament? Well, given what we know about our eternally burning rubbish tip this fire does not have to equate to eternal suffering in a lake of fire, it more likely means that what ever goes in there (at whatever time) dies instantly, like the rubbish tip.
Friday, April 20, 2007
We came here to encourage but most of all the reality is that some of those students who were shot are in hell today and I wanted to come and let the other students know that (we didn't, they didn't) some went to hell but they didn't have to go to hell that we have a choice that we can say yes to Jesus because he is the only way to heaven.
Although the Bible only records Jesus weeping at the death of Lazarus, does this woman really think he would have got around to some kind of fire and brimstone preaching if he didn't raise Lazarus from the dead.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Where as a lot of Xns (myself included) might concern ourselves with how we can do church right or better I don't think Jesus could care less. Having recently read through Mark, listened through Mark and read The Existential Jesus, it has struck me that Jesus was pretty much not at all interested in church or temple life.
Mark's Chapter 11 in particular stood out for me. This is where Jesus curses the fig tree, turns the tables in the temple (which is importantly on a mountain) and tells his disciples "if you say to this mountain, "Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you." It struck me that while Xns frustrated with the church talk of reformation Jesus talked about destruction.
So what about Peter and Paul and all that church stuff. Is it necessary? Were they just working from the temple model that they were already familiar with but just relocated into houses? Is it possible that in the same way God let Israel have a King even though their was a better way that God has let us have church?
For a while I have been a little tired of the way some Xns talk about how they model their brand of church on Acts in some way or another. As if everything would be just dandy if the church could be exactly like the church in Acts, perhaps in the same way Israel thought everything would be just dandy if they could have a king who was just like David. It seems to me that almost everything the disciples did in establishing church has very little in common with Jesus. Jesus was always on the run, he'd leave 5,000 or 4,000 eager potential converts to go to solitary places. He was always clashing with church people and their way of doing things. If I'm crap at doing church does that mean I've got more in common with Jesus? Jesus did not talk about church instead he talked about the Kingdom of God.
I think I'd like to focus on that for a while.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
This is what I wrote to them
I am writing to ask that you please tell me about the conditions under which your name brand products are made. I realise that much of the manufacturing process maybe outsourced to other companies but as it is who I am buying the product from I believe it is your responsibility to know how your product is made.
I would like to purchase all my products from companies that pay the employees of the producing companies a fair price and helps them gains the necessary skills and knowledge to develop their skills and work their way out of poverty. Also, I would like to buy from companies that have a neutral affect on the environment. If these things are not achievable I would at least like to purchase products from the industry leader in these matters.
If you can please write to me and let me know about these matters, including endorsements from any well recognised NGOs. That would be much appreciated.
I realise that implementing some of these things may result in an increase in the final cost of the item. I am more than happy to pay this.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
- Ship Song - Nick Cave: First time I saw made me realise that good music was being played in the 80's (all my friends were listening to Bon Jovis' Slippery when wet) and the little children like cherubs floating around Nick Cave at his piano was just mesmorising.
- Here it Goes - OK GO: Yes I know you've all seen it but it's still the best budget video ever made.
- Sweet Child of mine - Guns 'n' Roses: They were the Moses of Grunge. They paved the way for everyone else to go into the promised land but failed to get their themselves.
- So Real - Jeff Buckley: This was the first song Jeff Buckley song I heard that made me stand up and take notice of Jeff Buckley. And, the monkeys on and the bike is great
- Ghost of Texas Ladies man - Concrete Blonde: Just because it has the line "Ecto plasmic lover from the other side" and I can still see Johnette Napolitano's bass line crawling across my bedroom ceiling
- Television Drug of the Nation - The Disposable Heroes of Hipocracy: This is the song that turned me on to rap
- Hide your love away - The Beatles: One of the few Beatles song that has a proper video
- Sues Last ride - The Dirty Three: I first heard the Dirty three live on Triple J and thought it was Neil young. Then I saw them perform just after the horse stories album in between a Blondie cover band and Scatterbrain (remeber "Don't call me dude"?). They were amazing, I've been a fan ever since.
- Underground - Ben Folds Five: After too much grungy guitar this song was such a breath of fresh air. It was like Billy Joel's bastard son had learned to rock
- To Bring you my love - PJ Harvey: I had to have on PJ Song
- 77% - The Herd: Australian accents and great political rap at a time when American rap seemed to be all abut bitches and money.
- Get Free - The Vines: In 1997 (I think) a friend handed me a demo tape of a band who wanted to play support with my band. The song on the tape was great and they played support for for us. Years later I saw them play support with You Am I, I said hello to Craig and congratulated him on a great set and he remembered me as the guy with the homemade red guitar. Little did I know that just two weeks later NME would be calling them the best thing in rock since Nirvana. And I even handed them back the demon tape so they wouldn't have to go to the expense of making another one. D'oh!
- Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana: Like everyone else who had to grow up listening to Rick Astley and Jason Donavon this song was
- Mark of Cain - LMA: a beautiful ballad disguised as heavy rock.
- Thursday - Morphine: Like Ben Folds great to hear a no guitar band.
- Fake Plastic Trees- Radiohead: Still can't remember what was more surprising the silliness of the name of the song of the beauty of the music.
- Kool Thing - Sonic Youth: I fist heard this song in the Hal Hartley film "Simple men". The coolest and weirdest dance routine in a film ever. I would love it if rage could play that instead of the real clip. When I did see the clip I was convinced I needed to join a band with a female bass player
- Everybody Hurts - REM: A beautiful powerful video
- Jesus Built my Hotrod - Ministry: This clip always seemed to be on when I first started watching rage and the song always reminds of Rage. At first I thought it was just weird noise now I like it.
- Killing in the name of - Rage Against The Machine: This song just blew my head off. So much power, passion and energy.
I'll hold off till the end before entering becasue I know I'll change my mind. Let me know if you think I've missed anything.
Monday, April 09, 2007
This was the introduction to what was happening that we used.
Welcome to “The Space”.
(An introduction for beginners)
This is God’s space
This is a space to connect
When we open the space please walk in and make yourself comfortable.
After opening in prayer the reading for this week will be presented.
You will then have an opportunity to reflect, exploring connections with God, life, etc.
To do this you have a journal and around the space there are a number of ‘stations’. The ‘stations’ are tools designed to help you reflect on the readings or just reflect on life. There will also be questions on the wall to prompt you if you need.
You are free to try all or none of them.
Following this you will have a chance to offer your thoughts and reflections to God.
We will close in prayer.
You are free to do anything or nothing.
The ‘station’ sessions will last about 45min.
All that we ask is that you are silent for duration of ‘The Space’
(so as not to disturb others)
There will be plenty of time to catch up and yak over a good coffee afterwards
1) We moved into the (sacred) Space with journals and sat down - we had gathered in another room.
2) We lit a candle to signify God's presence with us and said this opening prayer...
This is your space
This is God’s space
This is a space to connect
We give thanks for places of simplicity and peace. Let us find such a place within ourselves.
We give thanks for places of refuge and beauty. Let us find such a place within ourselves.
We give thanks for places of nature’s truth and freedom, of joy, inspiration and renewal, places where all creatures may find acceptance and belonging.
God help us to live slowly; To move simply; To look softly; To allow emptiness; To let the heart create for us.
God help us to change. To change ourselves and to change our world. To know the need for it. To deal with the pain of it. To feel the joy of it. To undertake the journey without understanding the destination. The art of gentle revolution.
3) Then the reading John 13:1-17 was read.
4) Then and 4 wondering questions appeared under the reading on the screen to help people reflect. These questions were...
a. I wonder how Jesus felt washing Judas’ feet (who would later betray Jesus)
b. I wonder how Jesus knew it was his time
c. I wonder how it would feel to be one of the disciples or servants present
d. I wonder what modern day equivalents of foot washing are
5) Then we connected and reflected by using our journals, the stations around us and wondering questions. With Taize music in the background. The stations were...
a. Foot washing
b. Egg drawing
c. Book Corner
d. Hammer and Cross
e. Magnetic poetry
f. Sand sculpture
g. Crucifix pictures
i. Wire sculpting
j. Bread and Wine
k. Play Dough
l. Pray for the world
m. Miracle maker DVD
n. Choc egg give away
o. Soaking Couch
(details are what really make the stations but this gives you an idea)
6) Then we cam back together and offered our thoughts and reflections to God
7) Then we closed with the prayer of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy;
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
8) Then we either moved move out of the space for coffee and chat or stay to talk about what happened for us.
For me I discovered the importance of the wondering questions in the whole thing. In reflecting on the foot washing passage I asked myself would I draw the line at washing the feet of someone who would betray me? I wondered what modern day equivalents of foot washing would be. Having the opportunity to sit with the passage for a while I thought that foot washing probably has more to do with status than getting your hands dirty. I started thinking what are things that I could do that are "beneath me" status wise, but doing them would free me up to live more simply and give me more time to do more acts of love and kindness. My thoughts were...
- Live in a "bad" suburb
- Driving a daggy car
- Staying in a lower paid job
- Wearing unfashionable (cheaper clothes)
- Performing duties at work that are "below " my job description at work
- Doing things for free for the neighbours (not that I charge at the moment I just don't really offer)
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
My initial thought was the most likely scenario is that there is no hotel booking and even if there is that these people would not have the money for the hotel and then we'd be looking for emergency accommodation.
So what to do?
Well, we called the hotel, they did have a booking. We drove them to the hotel and they did have money, in fact they argued over who was going to pay for it. The plastic bags in the shopping trolley contained shopping bags full of groceries. Which we fetched from the car to the hotel.
The whole episode was a gentle reminder of why "Do not judge" is so important. I totally judged these people straight off and it was clear many had done before me. All they wanted was someone to call them a taxi. Fortunately my friends and I gave them the simple courtesy of merely believing what they were saying and everything was solved. It doesn't hurt to believe what people tell you, no matter how outrageous what they say seems. The worst that can happen is that they tell you something that's not true and they walk away feeling like they can tell you anything and you'll still listen.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Although it's not a particularly major theme of the book (so far) Jesus' relationship with the church I've found particularly fascinating. It has got me thinking if this is what Jesus thought of the church in his day how might he see a role for church today. Maybe what happened in Acts is not the perfect model that many seem to claim. Maybe it has flaws too like King David's reign before it. I can feel a "churchless Jesus" post coming soon.