Sunday, April 30, 2006

another quote

This one from Catherine Clark Kroeger (at )
I love how this strikes at the very root of the concept that the root of all godly relationships is hierarchy!

It is quite true that the Bible says the husband is the head of the woman, but the language of the New Testament (Greek) did not ordinarily use the word in a metaphorical sense to designate someone who was chief or boss. “The gentiles desire to lord it over you, but among my disciples it shall not be so” (Mark 10:42–45). We must remember that Christ left no clearly designated leader among his band of followers, nor was it God’s original intent to give Israel a king. Jesus apparently felt that a servant-master relationship was destructive of intimacy; for he said, “I no longer call you servants, because the servant does not know what his or her master is going to do. Rather, I call you friends” (John 15:15). Christ is indeed called head of the church; but a careful study of the passages on this subject reveal that the term evokes images of close relationship, of moving impulses, and unity within the body.

My Hidden talent??

Another blogthings quiz (they're dangerously addictive)
Not sure how they got this from my choosing a picture, but here goes:
Your Hidden Talent
You are a great communicator. You have a real way with words.You're never at a loss to explain what you mean or how you feel.People find it easy to empathize with you, no matter what your situation.When you're up, you make everyone happy. But when you're down, everyone suffers.

Toxic religion

came across this list elsewhere, and felt it was worth repeating. It lists 8 signs of an unhealthy religiosity (as opposed to warm, God-centred spirituality). Something for us all to think about:
A religious spirit views God as a cold, harsh, distant taskmaster rather than an approachable, loving Father. When we base our relationship with God on our ability to perform spiritual duties, we deny the power of grace. God does not love us because we pray, read our Bibles, attend church or witness, yet millions of Christians think God is mad if they don’t perform these and other duties perfectly.
A religious spirit places emphasis on doing outward things to show others that God accepts him. We deceive ourselves into believing that we can win God’s approval through a religious dress code, certain spiritual disciplines, particular music styles or even doctrinal positions.
A religious spirit develops traditions and formulas to accomplish spiritual goals. We trust in our liturgies, denominational policies or man-made programs to obtain results that only God alone can give.
A religious spirit becomes joyless, cynical and hypercritical. This can turn a home or a church completely sour. Then, whenever genuine joy and love are expressed, this becomes a threat to those who have lost the simplicity of true faith.
A religious spirit becomes prideful and isolated, thinking that his righteousness is special and that he cannot associate with other believers who have different standards.
A religious spirit develops a harsh, judgmental attitude toward sinners, yet those who ingest this poison typically struggle with sinful habits that they cannot admit to anyone else.
A religious spirit rejects progressive revelation and refuses to embrace change. This is why many churches become irrelevant to society. They become so focused on what God did 50 years ago that they become stuck in a time warp—and cannot move forward when the Holy Spirit begins to speak in new ways.
A religious spirit persecutes those who disagree with his self-righteous views and becomes angry whenever the message of grace threatens to undermine his religiosity. An angry religious person will use gossip and slander to assassinate other peoples’ character and may even use violence to prove his point.

It's dangerously easy, isn't it, to point the finger at this spirit in those who have hurt us. But I must always be aware of the other 3 fingers pointing back at me

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

They didn't have this option!!!

Your Blog Should Be Purple
You're an expressive, offbeat blogger who tends to write about anything and everything.You tend to set blogging trends, and you're the most likely to write your own meme or survey.You are a bit distant though. Your blog is all about you - not what anyone else has to say.
What Color Should Your Blog or Journal Be?

how extroverted am I?

well, somewhere right in the middle, according to Myers-Briggs. According to blogthings:

Your Extroversion Profile:
Cheerfulness: High
Sociability: High
Activity Level: Medium
Excitement Seeking: Medium
Friendliness: Medium
Assertiveness: Low

What colour green am I?

Ok, why would anyone ask that question???

You Are Olive Green
You are the most real of all the green shades. You're always true to yourself.For you, authenticity and honesty are very important... both in others and yourself.You are grounded and secure. It takes a lot to shake you.People see you as dependable, probably the most dependable person they know.
What Color Green Are You?

what time of day am I?

You Are Midnight
You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.
What Time Of Day Are You?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

what kind of weather am I

You Are Sunshine
Soothing and calmYou are often held up by others as the idealBut too much of you, and they'll get burned
You are best known for: your warmth Your dominant state: connecting
What Type of Weather Are You?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

What age

Just did the What ageare you quiz (thanks Suzanne!) at
According to the quiz, I'm really 18! Well, Ive always said i still feel 17 on the inside, so i guess one year is a pretty good margin for error! hey, who wants to grow up before they have to?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I'm no pollyanna, and, truth to tell, never liked the book. Her "glad game" always seemed irritatingly shallow, rather than profoundly praiseful. It dishonours the reality that we do suffer in this world, that things are sometimes a struggle and we need to feel our feelings in order to get past them, not bury them under fake plastic smiles and insincere "Praise the Lords". nevertheless, there is a place for genuine thanksgiving (based on reality, not rationalisation), in fact, biblically it is commanded. So I thought it wouldn't hurt this morning (which may well appear as afternoon on the blog's dating, such are the joys of time zones) if I made a random list of things I am genuinely thankful for. After all, it's only 2 days here till good Friday, and surely wonder, awe and thanksgiving is the attitude with which we should approach the entire Easter story? So here is my list, deliberately focused not on the woders of salvation (read Ephesians 1 for that list!) but the ordinary earthly pleasures that are also God's good gift
Things I am Thankful for
sunshine and clear skies
good friends (few, but precious)
the wonder of being able to live in a beautiful place
the night sky
my kids
good books, and that people made the effort to write them
a second chance at tertiary education
the pleasure of words
the rainbow lorrikeets in my backyard
modern medicine, enabling me to stay functioning with a bad back
good teachers
computers and the internet
bare feet walking on soft grass
the ability to learn and go on learning
other people's creativity
good food

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Egalitarianism ...

.. is the belief that men and women are equal before God, and equally called to engage in His work in His world and His church, according to their individual giftings and circumstances. Some call it Christian feminism. It is the opposite to complementarianism, whose battlecry is the rather perplexing "equal but different", taking literally the interpretation of a couple of bible passages that woould suggest that women are called to have subservient role in the church and the home, simply by virtue of having 2 X chromosomes. To say this they are very selective in their interpretation of the relative passages, applying a different hermeneutic to the one they apply to parallel passages on issues like masters and servants, and ignoring the cultural context, the examples of women in leadership, Jesus' own behaviour towards women, and, I believe, the fundamental character of God. If you read their articles you are left with the picture of a God whose principle concern is hierarchy and rigid order (and we won't mention misogyny!) rather than the God of the Bible, who is love, who pours His grace out on the world, and who is passionate about justice and takes the side of the oppressed and needy, and who issues the same call to holiness to men and women alike. Here is not the place to explore the theology of the various bible passages, my 2 favourite sites for that are and

My concern is that the battle is ongoing, it is bad enough to have endured all this abuse from the church myself, when I see my daughter, 30 years younger, being made to suffer the same cruel, casual dismissal of who she essentially is from the very people who should be doing the most to support the God-given worth of every human being, it sickens my heart. Injustice is still injustice, whatever fancy theological terms we dress it up in. I'm not scholar enough to dispute the meaning of the greek in the disputed passages, for that I would refer people to articles in the above websites, I simply go straight to the fact that the Risen lord, on the first Easter Sunday, commissioned women to go and tell the good news to the male disciples (and he expected the men to listen!) wasn't that women teaching men?

Monday, April 10, 2006

and some on prayer ..

Prayer pulls the rope down below and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly; others give only an occasional jerk at the rope. But he who communicates with heaven is the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously with all his might. Charles Spurgeon

When I am praying the most eloquently, I am getting the least accomplished in my prayer life. But when I stop getting eloquent and give God less theology and shut up and just gaze upward and wait for God to speak to my heart He speaks with such power that I have to grab a pencil and a notebook and take notes on what God is saying to my heart." -A. W. Tozer

a quote

Found on a Celtic website, I love it!

'The whole world ought to be regarded as the visible part of a universal and continuing sacrament, and all man's activities as a sacramental, divine communion.'
Dumitru Staniloae

Friday, April 07, 2006

via crucis -- third posting

Fugitive my memory – hiding while revealing.
Wisps of fog and whispers
Undermine old patterns
Give evidence in snatches
And snatch away the facts.

Where is my archaeologist
To weave story from these fragments?
See the tooth-marks in the bones,
Know the scat of the hyenas.
Which of these stones were merely ever stones,
And which crude weapons to subdue the soul?
When I picnic among ruins
Are the ruins really mine?

Generic is the house
Where the children have been silenced
(Here is no continuing city)
But the scars are all my own.

This rose my rose
How sweet it grows
My own heart’s blood
Makes red this rose ..

Constantly you add stones to my soil
Yourself protective overhang, to block the soft rain’s falling
To block the light from heaven
Be shelter, stifle me ..
You drain all the nutrition
Because your need is greater …

This rose my rose
How sweet it grows
My own heart’s blood
Makes red this rose ..

Who owns the weeds? You claim that they are mine
I do not recognise their mutant forms
Are these my monsters grown leafy green
Returned to me to strangle mine own heart?
Or alien sowing come unrecognised
From one who comes to steal, kill and destroy?

This rose my rose
How sweet it grows
My own heart’s blood
Makes red this rose ..

And yet this life
Makes dead this rose.

Silver the rain that washes
On the just and the unjust
We stand and shiver
We drink and live
With our mud-splashed legs
And our slick wet hair
The just and the unjust
Here made clean
Together thirsty
Together washed
Together needy
Together cold

May your mercy fall
In its silver light
And our rainbow hearts
All become as white.

May we own our need
May we own our pain
In Your soaking grace
Become one again.

I have loved the moon’s high calling
I have loved the light of day
I have loved the night’s soft falling
I have walked the twilight way.

I have heard the songs of angels
In the tears of my own kind
Though to tears and wounds and hunger
I am all too often blind.

Sharp the word that cleaves through birdsong
Making rainbows in the air
But the hand that lifts a brother
Is a hand that’s raised in prayer.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

via crucis -- second posting

here are the next 3 segments:

This parody that parrots me
This plastic mockery of life
Turned on the axis of a lie
Ah for the Barbie model wife!

Ah the sheer casing! Ah the curves
Ooh! ah! The childish, girly voice!
Ah for the trained domestic ways!
Is this what makes a man rejoice?

No challenge here, no burning swords!
The comfort that a man requires
Is laid on like a smothering grave
To lull to death his true desires.

Here there be wolves
In the quiet domestic parlours, teeth hidden in the teacups,
All strawberry jam a metaphor of blood:
“Come, sit my dear.
What do you want to be?
How quaint! How funny!”
(That would be waste, a luscious thing like you!)
“You’ll learn better!”
“won’t she?
Isn’t it strange they get these big ideas!”

Yes, I can see that telltale mat of hair
Can smell the rancid breath of carnivores:
The poisoned wind that blights the budding soul
Reducing hope’s bright flower to withered stalk
Stealing the very air we need to breathe.

Glove the sharp claws! Tinkle your saucers sweetly;
Let your soft words weave
A nuance of seduction round the planned assault
You justified 10 paragraphs ago
The while we thought you talked of something else.

At least torn souls don’t bleed upon the carpet…

I have bled upon the carpet,
I have bled upon the stairs.
In the cold, clean silent moonlight
There is blood upon my prayers.

Many waters will not cleanse them
They are stains no eye can see
But my house of life is filthy
With their vast impurity.

Let me open all the windows
Let me dare unlock the doors
Let the light of God shine fiercely
On my dirty, trembling floors.

Whose the guilt of this besmirching:
Is it his or is it mine?
Is there mending in a marriage
When the water turns to wine?

Must this frail house be demolished
Ere the temple can be built?
Is the whole foundation rotten
Or will water wash out guilt?

things I can live without

I must have caught some sort of list bug lately (better that than the flu, which one starts to think of now these Sydney autumn mornings are getting chilly -- down to 11C yesterday morning, Brrr --) This time I thought I'd write a list of things I could live without, ie things I either don't like or don't have, or are completely irrelevant to my life or (in some cases) I think the world would be better off without. Don't take it personally if something you love is on my list, I'm only banning it from my world, not yours

camera phones (what's the logic in taking photos with a phone?)
mosquitos (does anyone want them?)
ditto flies
beige clothes
bikinis (self-explanatory at my age!)
earthquakes and tsunamis
whisky (don't drink it or cook with it)
tofu (pickles are carnivorous)
fatty, greasy meat (ugh!)
barley sugar
pornography (or anything that reduces women to sex objects)
nuclear and/or biological weapons
in fact most weapons (though, humanity being what it is, they'd judt re-invent them)
reality tv (especially the ones that set people up for immoral or abusive behaviour)
boiled vegetables (a la my mother)
all nasty diseases
onions (they upset my stomach)
junk phone calls from estate agents, unheard-of phone companies and strange financial institutions
irregular verbs in languages I've tried to learn
attempted manipulation by politicians (can we get rid of politicians too?)
media stories with no facts in them
patriarchy (I can always dream)

maybe I'm just a grumpy old woman

Monday, April 03, 2006

via crucis -- first posting

I am presently working on a long poem, which is really a collection of many,many short poems, multiple facets spiralling around a complex subject. because it is composed of many indepent (but mutually dependent pieces) i can post it in bits as i go along. here is the first bit, segments 1->4

Here, in the forest, darkness enfolds me
Paths all meander, nothing is straight
Twisting and turning, sunlight and shadow
Limping the slow tracks, learning to wait.

Here there are dangers, lions and tigers
Bears that will crush me, butcherbird’s song
Hope and despairing, feelings past bearing
Seeking my home down paths right and wrong.

What would you? Have my yesterdays
Won no reprieve?
Is your glass half-empty,
Even when I top it with my blood?
Can you not refrain
From the way of the vacuum, consuming me?
I am not your flooring
To be trodden, nor your TV
Turned on to entertain you
Then turned off again?

Behold I live :
I bleed, breathe, walk perspire,
Think, feel; have arms, have heart
Have life like you
(Perhaps I have more life
Than you do, being less afraid of death)

I can become.
I am not set in stone
Nor any yesterday shall limit me
From limitless hereafter.
I shall laugh
For warm glad miracle of resurrection,
and awed to silence by a shifted stone:
and stone hearts break
and stones are turned to bread
in this cold desert you have pushed me to.

The wine is poured
And the world turns
And the thirsty come
And are organised
In bitter queues
With faces washed
And sterile hands
And leaking souls
While the deacons drink
In the banquet house
To regurgitate
To a world in need
All the sour slops
That remain from greed.

And the fountain springs
And the blood outpoured
Flows abundantly
From her wounded Lord.

I will walk the way of the silent heart
In the hour of cold moon waning
Put off the taught and charming pomp
All panoply disdaining.
Spread my plucked wings towards the dawn
Embrace my lodestar’s shining
Quench my spare thirst with little dews
For one pure river pining
Go with the wild goose’ lonely call
Soft where the shadows linger
Give all I am for one clear word
Writ by love’s blazing finger.

The other side

Having written my "accomplishments" post (and yes, I could add to it, but I feel I should wait longer and come up with a completely new second list) I now want to, perversely, do the complete opposite and write a list of things i can't do -- NOT the traumatic, ego-destroying failures that would make it a "beat-myself-up" exercise, but the silly, quirky things that are not me, that help define what I am by naming some of the things i am not (and in some cases don't even want to be or do) a kind of "Donkey's Delight" celebration of simply being human
(and, for anyone who isn't familiar with it, I've included underneath a copy of C S Lewis' poem "Donkey's delight" an old favourite of mine which I think is self-explanatory -- th humility which sets us free has to involve that quality of affectionate laughter -- remember that saint francis called the body "Brother Ass"
Herewith, the Pickle's can't list:

wiggle my ears
have a sense of direction (ok, yeah, it might be handy!!)
naturally curly hair
any kind of athleticism
dancing (with grace or rhythm)
sleep well
do jigsaws (I'll stick to crosswords thanks)
any kind of craft
programme the VCR (can anyone over 30?)
handy(wo)man skills (I do know which end of a hammer is the handle, but after that it's all theoretical)
change a tyre, or the oil in my car
keep a straight face
do cartwheels
remember phone numbers (too busy remembering poetry, and hopefully Hebrew verbs)
read my husband's writing
drive long distances (back problems)
curl my tongue
eat cabbage, or other yucky veggies
control my very visual imagination
dig the garden (again, my back)
anything that involves salesmanship or promotion
say no to anyone with sad eyes
remember where I put my glasses ... (yeah, I know)

Donkey's Delight - cs lewis
Ten mortal months i courteda girl with bright hair,
unswerving in my service
as the old lovers were
almost she had learned to call me
her dear love. but then,
one moment changed the omens,
she was cold again
for carelessly, unfairly,
with one glance of his eyes
a gay, light-hearted sailor
bore away the prize,
unbought, which i had sought with
many gifts and sighs

In stern disdain i turned to
the Muses' service then,
To seek how the unspeakable
could be fixed by a pen,
Not to flinch though the ink that
I must use, they said,
was my dearest blood, nearest
my heart, the richest red.
I obeyed them, i made them
many a costly lay,
Til carelessly, unfairly,
A boy passed that way
Who set ringing with his singing
All the fields and lanes;
They gave him their favour,
lost were all my pains.

Then I passed to a master
who is higher in repute,
Trusting to find justice
at the world's root.
With rigid fast and vigil,
silence, and shirt of hair,
the narrow way to paridise
I walked with care.
But carelessly, unfairly,
at the eleventh hour there came,
reckless and feckless,without a single claim,
a dare-devil, a ne'er do-well
who smelled of shag and gin;
Before me (and far warmer
was his welcome) he went in.

I stood still in the chill
of the Great Morning,
Aghast. Then at last
--Oh, I was late in learning--
I repented, I entered
Into the excellent joke,
The absurdity. My burden
Rolled off as I broke
Into laughter; and soon after
I had found my own level;
With Balaam's ass daily
Out at grass I revel,
Now playing, now braying
Over the meadows of light,
Our soaring, creaking gloria,
Our donkey's delight.