Sunday, December 16, 2007

What kind of evangelical are you?

Well, considering I'm an Anglican, I think they got it right. Not that i'm high church by Anglican standards, but compared to fundamentalist evangelicals i'm probably off their page!

What Kind of Evangelical Are You
created with
You scored as High Church Nomad

You were raised as some kind of evangelical, but you've started to appreciate other forms of Christian piety. Specifically, you're starting to think that Roman Catholics aren't as crazy as you once thought they were. You probably won't end up going home to Rome, but Canterbury has piqued your interest.

High Church Nomad


Moderate Evangelical


Evangelical Presbyterian


Fightin' Fundy




Reformed Baptist


Conservative Evangelical


Presby - Old School


Christmas meme

h/t Suzanne

1.What is your favorite Christmas carol?
Well I love lots, most of the “biggies” have a special verse or line hidden in there somewhere, but I think my all-time favourite would have to be “Hark the Herald Angels sing” (even though when I was a little I thought the herald angels had something to do with the Sydney Morning Herald, our local newspaper). Verses 2 &3 still touch some incredibly deep place inside me.

2.What is your favorite secular Christmas song?
How secular do I have to be? Santa songs do nothing for me, and winter/snow ones even less since, Aussie born and bred, I’ve only ever known Christmas in summer. There are some great Aussie carols (and some silly ones, like the 3 drovers who hear the angels sing) but they still mention Jesus, one way or another. If I’m allowed to have something that’s not a carol but not all that secular, I’d probably settle for Do you hear what I hear?

3.What is your favorite Christmas movie?
Sorry, I hardly know any Christmas movies. This may be a cultural difference, with a summer Christmas we’re out going to carols by candlelight and stuff like that, there aren’t even all that many “Christmas” movies on tv.

4.What is your favorite Christmas memory growing up?.
As a teenager in the church youth group I would go carol singing Christmas Eve. We’d sing as we walked the streets, wishing everyone we saw a “Merry Christmas”. We’d stop at the homes of some of the youth group parents, sing them several carols and earn ourselves some refreshments, then be back at the church in good time for the 11:30pm service, It worked out so that virtually our first act on christmas morning was to take communion.

5.Do you shop early or are you a late shopper?
Medium. I start early december, and aim to be done by a week before christmas (which is when schools break up for the summer holidays, and the shops get REALLY full) then a few days off before I have to worry about the food.

6.Is your tree real or artificial?
Artificial. Real trees don’t last long in summer conditions, and we like to follow the English tradition of putting up our tree at the beginning of Advent and taking it down 5th January (end of the 12 days of Christmas)

7.Do you still put tinsel on your tree?
Still? I’m missing something here. Not traditional tinsel, and not lights either, just lots of ornaments (mainly angels and reindeer and a few stars)

8.Do you read the Christmas story every year on Christmas day?
Is this an American tradition? No, but we go to church.

9.Would you consider yourself to be a Grinch?
Last time I looked I didn’t have green fur.

10.Are you more like Scrooge or Father Christmas?
My problem is figuring out how much I can give people without embarrassing them. Giving presents is so much fun!

11.Do you make homemade gifts for friends and family?
My life is a craft-free zone.

12.What was the worst Christmas present you ever received?
A carpet-sweeper, and I won’t embarrass my husband by telling the whole story.

13.What was your favorite Christmas present ever?
When I was 8 I got this huge parcel. Inside were over 20 books. I was ecstatic! (But then I still feel like Christmas every time a box arrives from Amazon. Which probably tells you a lot about me – but yes, I survived a lonely and rather abusive childhood by escaping into books)

14.On the average how many presents do you buy for each of your kids?
Who’s counting?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jesus the Skandalon

His birth was a scandal. Imagine the whispers and innuendos in Nazareth: little pious Mary, of all girls, to wind up pregnant before she was married. And Joseph seemed to be having some problems with it himself. Did this mean he wasn't the father? It was probably a good idea to get right away to Bethlehem for the birth. Then no one could count the months.

He was attended by outcasts -- shepherds and Gentiles. He spent his earliest years being raised in a foreign land, the land of Israel's slavery (how symbolic is that?), instead of spending all his formative years in the Holy Land, Eretz Israel.

He hung out with all the wrong people. he let that rebel, that critic of kins, John the Baptist, baptize him. He couldn't even get respectable rabbinical students to be his disciples, instead he collected a bunch of riff-raff to follow him , including some fishermen and even, unbelievably, a tax collector. He did not show proper respect for the religious authorities: he called the temple a den of thieves and had a lot of vile names for the pharisees. He touched lepers, and bleeding women, he healed on the sabbath. he spoke to samaritans (politely!) and even one on one with women he wasn't related to. And for all his disreputable ways, he seemed to think he was God. Even his family thought he'd lost it at one point. And there were far too many miracles -- showy stuff with demons and storms and interrupting funerals!

Then, as if He hadn't offended enough people, he had to go and die shamefully, painfully, like a criminal, in the exact way the Law said was accursed. And he didn't even have the decency to stay shame-faced in the tomb! Everything about him was inherently offensive to the well-bred and self-righteous. The way he treated the really bad people, you'd have to conclude he didn't take sin seriously enough. The way he contradicted some of the traditions of the rabbis you'd think he was a bit of a liberal...

You have to wonder how Christianity ever got mistaken for the religion of respectable people!

And, by the way, no one ever, ever took sin more seriously than Jesus did!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Came across this prayer by Thomas merton. it seems a good fit with where I'm at right now.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

- Thomas Merton

Christmas thought

Maybe everyone else already knew this, and I'm just the last to catch on, but it occurred to me the other day that all those people we place in our Nativity scenes would have been ineligible to go to the temple and worship God. The shepherds as a profession were considered ritually iunclean and were banned from temple and synagogue. Mary would never have got further than the Court of Women at the best of times and now, having just given birth to a male child, she was ritually unclean for 40 days. Joseph presumably had helped her through her labour (if they couldn't find a room, I don't like their chances of finding a midwife) and so, having been in physical contact with her, he was unclean as well. And yes, we know the wise men (of indeterminate number) didn't turn up till some time after the event, but they're part of the story. And they were Gentiles. They would never have got past the outermost court of the temple.

But unto those who could not come to God, a child was born and a Son was given. And His name was Immanuel, God with us.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Choir of hard knocks

My daughter gave me the DVD of this for my birthday, and now I've finished college I have time to start watching it. incredibly moving.

To recap: Opera singer and choirmaster Jonathon Welch had the idea to form a choir from the down and outs of melbourne. No singing auditions were required, the only qualification was to be homeless or disadvantaged in some way. Hence most of the choir members have serious problems with drugs, alcohol etc. But here, in this choir they are given value. Jonathon is a natural with these people; he doesn't condescend or patronise them. He insists on a few basic rules, like treating each other with respect, then he simply loves them and responds to them as they are. We see him crying at some of their auditions for solo parts (ok, I was crying too), hugging them and encouraging them. There was a special on Channel 2 the other night showing them being brought to perform at the Sydney Opera House. I defy any normal person to have dry eyes when a young woman gets up and sings a solo about "the two of us" with her young daughter, and then announce to the crowd that she's been clean for 3 days and this is the first time in her life she's ever sung sober!

And then you see those faces, across which life has written things that you and I can only imagine in our nightmares, and there is light and hope there, and they are singing the words of Leonard Cohen's hallelujah:

And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

That's grace. Beyond our theological differences and quibbles, that's the heart of it for everyone of us. Dare we imagine that, because our lives are more comfortable and our sins are more genteel, we are any less broken than they? We will not be singing our Hallelujahs one day because we got it more right than anyone else, but because God in His mercy has come among us, as Jesus, and lifted us out of the gutter and set a new song upon our lips. May we, too, have tears of wonder in our eyes.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Another favourite -- the Dove descending

This one is a short extract (one section) from T S Eliot's longer poem "Little Gidding" (One of his "Four Quartets"). Who else but a poet of Eliot's skill would have both the audacity and sublimity to combine the pentecostal descent of the Holy Spirit with the firebombing of London in WWII?
read and be stunned ..

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre—
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.

Check it out

(drum roll)

Today it gives me great pleasure to introduce a new blogger to the world (or that tiny proportion of the world that ever reads my blog!)

check out

Of course, I'm a tad biased, because this particular blogger is very near and dear to me.But she IS a very special person, despite the handicap of being my daughter!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Favourite -- The Sparrow's Skull

From time to time, as well as my own writing, I want to include some bits of other people's work which is especially dear to me.Today, a poem I love, by Ruth Pitter, who was a friend of C S Lewis, and a poet who deserves much more recognition than she has. The final stanza is one I return to again and again as a source of courage and faith.


Memento Mori Written at the Fall of France

The kingdoms fall in sequence, like the waves on the shore.
All save divine and desperate hopes go down, they are no more.
Solitary is our place, the castle in the sea,
And I muse on those I have loved, and on those who have loved me.

I gather up my loves, and keep them all warm,
While above our heads blows the bitter storm:
The blessed natural loves, of life-supporting flame,
And those whose name is Wonder, which have no other name.

The skull is in my hand, the minute cup of bone,
And I remember her, the tame, the loving one,
Who came in at the window, and seemed to have a mind
More towards sorrowful man than to those of her own kind.

She came for a long time, but at length she grew old;
And on her death-day she came, so feeble and so bold;
And all day, as if knowing what the day would bring,
She waited by the window, with her head beneath her wing.

And I will keep the skull, for in the hollow here
Lodged the minute brain that had outgrown a fear;
Transcended an old terror, and found a new love,
and entered a strange life, a world it was not of.

Even so, dread God! even so my Lord!
The fire is at my feet, and at my breast the sword:
and I must gather up my soul, and clap my wings, and flee
Into the heart of terror, to find myself in thee.

--Ruth Pitter

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

White Ribbon Day

I was asked to do a blog post in response to white ribbon day which is taking a stand against violence against women. This is a cause i am delighted to support, and I invite anyone else who is interested to also blog on the subject. This is what I wrote:

She walks in fear. He has cast a long shadow over her life, and she can see no prospect of light. The light went out the first time he hurt her, when the hands that had caressed and held her first turned into slamming fists. She learned, with acid pain, how swiftly fear and pain can destroy the fantasy she had mistaken for love. She carries her heart like a crushing stone inside her, confused and guilty, and finds it hard to keep hold of the reality that it is he, not she, who violated and destroyed love.

He does not hit her often. This confuses her too. If he were wildly, frequently violent, she thinks she would know what to do. Her physical survival would be at stake, she would have clear reason to leave him and the terrible ambivalence would be over. Yet even to say that it would be simpler if it were worse sounds like some perverted heresy. After all, whatever she has heard some people say, she doesn’t want to be hit. She doesn’t ask for it, and finds no security in his macho control. She is a woman, not a child, she never asked for anyone to do her thinking for her, or supply external discipline to help her to conform.

Yet self-doubt lingers. What if, in some unfathomable way, she is provoking him? What if she really is the failure, impossible to live with and impossible to please, that he has told her she is? Who can she turn to? She has internalised his condemnation for so long, she believes the whole world would condemn her: a woman who exasperates her own husband to the point of lashing out. On the bad days she suspects that even God condemns her; on the good days she remembers that He is supposed to be on the side of the hurting and oppressed. Her shame runs deep, deeper and more permanent than any bruise, it has stained the very colour of her soul.

She walks in fear. She has been taught it is her duty to submit, and she has really tried. But she cannot turn her brain off, or deny her own principles, and this is what has got her into trouble. Nothing enrages him like being questioned, but how can she not question when his orders make no sense? How is she supposed to conform when the demands keep changing, the goalposts keep shifting? How can she be the ‘perfect Christian wife’ when she is a human being with a desire to understand, not a pre-programmed robot? She has lost all confidence in her own judgement and doubts her social abilities (and all their friends are his choice anyway, she doesn’t feel close to anyone). Sometimes she almost hates him, so smug, so self-righteous, while she carries all the pain, but that just makes her feel guiltier. What sort of wife doesn’t love a husband who is faithful, a ‘good provider’ and well-liked by the rest of the world?

She walks her days as an automaton, afraid to think, afraid to truly be. She withdraws from life, she does not have the emotional energy to engage with risk, laughter or tears. She swallows her dreams with the same dull terror with which she has learned to swallow the retorts that would upset him. At night she lies alone in bed, two inches from his warm body, alone, cold and desperate, and tries to remember a reason, other than fear, for getting up the next day ... and the next … and the next …

And she wonders if that overused word “love” is just another terrible lie ..

Here I am!

After quite a hiatus, I'm back and ready to blog again. college is over, for good! After 6 years of p/t study, I have finally fulfilled all righteousness in terms of degree requirements, and, assuming I passed my last assignment and exam (and I fully expect to) it's all over bar the graduation ceremony (March 29th next year). I think I'm still walking round in a daze, on some visceral level I never thought I'd actually get this far. For those who don't know, I was a dropout from uni in my youth (at least partly to do with abuse issues)and I never quite believed that one day I'd actually make it through a course of study and get that degree. I really believe that this degree was God's idea, not mine, and I'm waiting with some anticipation to see what He wants me to do with it.

I've also changed the name of my blog; "From the Pickle jar" sounded a bit too domesticated for me. I'm still going through a belated adolescence and trying to work out who I am, but i'm sure I'm not the earth-mother type. Spend far too much time with my head in the clouds for that!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Out of the swamp

Another from the files: the struggle for integrity, the struggle to get rid of the junk that was put on me by others, the struggle for truth in the inmost parts, the struggle to get rid of all those nauseating layers that come between me an the waiting Love of God. if I may try to redeem an analogy that's usually used in a VERY different context, trying to experience God's love with all my layers on is a little like showering in a raincoat! One tries to walk truthfully, and then finds that the untruth was a part of one's own self. (sigh)
The wild goose was the Celtic symbol of the Holy Spirit.

I have not walked in the swamplands, in the secret hidden places
Where the plants close over brackish streams,
The swarming things flicker in the shadows;
Breath catches on decay.

This is not where the wild goose flies
High in the lonely heavens, stretched to the limits of my span,
Cutting the cold, clean air
With the sorrows of the spirit.

This is the no go zone,
Spawning with a life I do not know,
Bloodsuckers, crawling things, tiny particles of nightmare,
Banned from the waking day,
They have made them a habitation,
Parasites that thrive on my discarded flesh and bone.

Here the blood throbs thickly, and swift, pale thought is difficult;
Dark deities I do not own come here to proselytise
Making demands in a gibberish to which I have no key;
I do not know what converts they have made
Amongst the disowned of myself,
Or what dark beliefs engage them.
I have no desire to roll in stinking mud,
Or betray myself for the shudder of a kiss.

I would go as the wind goes, bitter but so clean,
Scoured from the nightmare host, skeletal but singing.
In a clear, herb-scented fantasy where my gleaming bones can fly
Reduced to ethereal whispers, the safe-place of the mind.

Who was it welded this soft flesh to me,
So that there is no escape from the foetid, scorned encounter
In the undertow of the wastelands, where the angels do not go?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

That "woman" thang again ..

Pickles are peacable creatures really (ok the question of whether a pickle is a creature can be discussed at some more philosophical moment) .. after all, we don't like sharp knives or any suggestion of slicing or chopping, but in spite of our general squishiness we do have principles and things we are even prepared to go to the chopping block for, even at the risk of a sandwich! And for me, one of those issues is being allowed to preach and teach as a woman. I can respect people who genuinely and thoughtfully interpret the bibledifferently, as long as they can respect the biblical validity of MY position, what wears me down and out is those simply use a couple of fairly obscure verses, without proper exegetical consideration, and without looking at the bigger picture of what the bible, and the Kingdom of God, is all about, and condemn women like me as "sinful", "unbiblical" etc for honest disagreement on this issue. sometimes it just feels liker misogynistic abuse all over again.

Anyway, the subject came up on codepoke's blog, in reference to yet another group of Christians who can overlook their differences on all sorts of divisive theological issues, but are united in their condemnation of us presumptuous women! (sigh) This is part of my response:

My own denomination (Anglican, Sydney diocese) has announced that it is a sin for a woman to preach, and a sin for a man to let her. That hurts. my own minister asks me to preach regularly, in fact the whole congregation, even people who used to be a bit iffy about women preaching, are very supportive of me, but it still hurts to have God's calling on my life called "sin". it hurts to know that my sharing from the word of God, preaching truths that none of them would disagree with, is more offensive to them than someone preaching things which in reformation times would have been regarded as a different gospel! i have heard arguments back and forth about those 2 verses of Paul's on which the entire anti-women exegesis depends, and many of the alternative interpretations make good sense to me .. surely even the most conservative should be able to concede that there is some grey area there (just like there is, say, on baptism, or church government) These days I tell people who ask that I am bypassing the endless arguments on those disputed verses, and i simply take my mandate to preach, as a woman, from Jesus having told a woman to go and tell the male disciples that he had risen from the dead! (definitely new teaching)

But I get very tired knowing that every time I step out in obedience to God I come under the condemnation of men. I have also been known to say to friends that the only qualification I lack for ordination is one of those magic Y chromosomes. Still, i know the Lord has called me along this path for His purposes, and my job is to wait on Him and do whatever comes to hand for Him. but hey, you have no idea how much the encouragements along the way mean to me ..

Am I really that threatening to men?

Friday, September 28, 2007

No one will write a poem for me ..

Hot off the press, from a germ of an idea. NO, no one has ever written me a love poem .... except God!
if anyone doesn't know, an epithalamion is a marriage poem

No one will write a poem for me.
My loves are prose who work with patient fingers
To weave a life from solid practicals.
They feel no need to sing my secret song.

No star-shine summons them, no unicorns
Leap from the hedge of fear to lead across
The tired old wastelands to the faerie place,
With moonlight on their trembling, piercing horn.
No strange birds sing in tongues of sheer delight
To break the heart. No honeyed apples fall
Laced with strange magic to enchant the sense.
For them no waterfall becomes a bridge
To the dear country where love sings in tune.

My heart, crack-lipped and croaking, sings alone.

Yet not alone, no wandering minstrel I,
No patch-bedraggled seeker of the stars
Limned with strange glamour to bedazzle fools.

I am beloved in another world
Where this whole earth, dulled, darkened and afraid,
Is a mere simile, similitude..
Therefore I walk in midst of metaphor
Seeking the harmony of offered words
In the One Word once spoken into time.
Therefore I know one love, dear lasting love,
Who writes love letters in the thunderstorm,
Skywrites with rainbows his desire for me
Drops notes with falling petals, laughs his rhymes
Across each new-thrust blade of rain-fresh grass.

And there is more: his epithalamion
Written to me in letters of shed blood
Delivered to me in this wine, this bread:
Here is my poem, my lover and my food.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The washerwoman

Just a picture-poem I wrote some years ago in my struggles, or is it??

The slap of water on the stones;
the blows of life against my bones.

And the long toil, each day’s drear drudgery
Labour of weariness, with no respite,
Through the winters of foul mud and the summers of too little,
when I long for the cool comfort
the caress of sweet, sweet water
To my dry throat and my barren life, and my hands forever empty.

When the rains come, they come in vain
My beds are dry with too much pain..

And nothing is ever clean, not clean enough.
The stains go down to the cloth and through my fingers
Into my heart, and no washing can ever release me.
I am a thing of filth, until my soul
Finds refuge in the water, and a bird lights on my finger,
And the old pollution sweeps away downstream.

And I shall clean a covering for my children,
And the dirt shall not pass on to another generation.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Critic (via Ratatouille)

Went and watched Ratatouille with my daughter this afternoon. It was the usual dose of good Pixar fun, but one thing that was said in the movie really caught my attention. I went hunting on the net, and managed to find the proper quote:

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

How often do we take on the "easy" role of being the critic of someone else's work, theology or service, rather than doing the hard yards of actually getting out there and doing what we really believe?

Monday, September 24, 2007


Something different -- a short, short story I wrote some years ago

“Where’d they come from?”
“What for?”
“A gift, I suppose.”
“What’s she want to go giving us gifts for, all of a sudden?”
“She grows them, you know.”
“That’s no reason to go giving them away.”
They sat, one either side of the table, and contemplated the bowl of apricots. It was a focal point of brightness in the dingy room. Once, forty years ago, this kitchen had been her pride and joy with its bright linoleum and its modern, practical, red and white formica table. But the floor had been dulled by the long defeat of years to the colour of tropical mud, and the battered table had acquired the same cheap air as a hundred sleazy cafes. The pot plants on the windowsill had withered (she never remembered to water them any more) and only one of the light bulbs was working (he had been meaning to change the other one for the last two weeks.) The Holland blinds were drawn against the heat of the afternoon sun, and the room smelt of tea that had been left brewing too long, and the beer glass that had not yet been washed up from his lunch. Surreptitiously, each leant a little closer to smell the rich sweetness of the fruit. It was the smell of memory.
“Jessie used to love apricots when she was little”
“Did she?”
“Oh, you remember, George. She used to raid the fruit bowl and the boys were always complaining because she hadn’t left any for their lunches.”
“I remember they were always complaining. Those ones would complain about anything.”
“Including their father?”
“Cheekiest kids around.”
“Not half as cheeky as the Travis kids.”
“They were terrors, those ones. Needed a man’s hand, of course.”
“Of course,” she answered, but he knew she was really laughing at him, and glared at her suspiciously.
“Then again,” she added, when she felt he had glared his fill, “Jessie wasn’t the only one in the family who loved apricots.”
“What do you mean?”
“Remember Bellbird Ridge?”
He looked at her blankly for a moment, then his face creased into laughter. “You,” he said, “you and old Bob’s apricot tree! I remember something else too, ”and he shook his finger at her till a blush crept over her tired skin and she giggled, “I remember a girl who couldn’t sneak off to me in the night like we planned because she was so sick afterwards!”
The word girl brought it all back to him. She hadn’t been the only one who was sick, so to speak. While the other guys were playing the field and boasting of conquests which nobody could quite disprove, he had been sick with longing for Em Stevens, the girl from Sydney with her clear soft skin and copper hair. She had been the prettiest thing to come in their direction ever, and he still remembered the awe that had kept him tongue-tied with wonder on their wedding day, the awe that this marvellous person had actually chosen to marry him!
Forty years did hard things to a woman. The copper in her hair had changed to silver, and long years of work and weather had hardened her skin and spotted it with age. Her body had grown sturdy that had once been sapling-slender, and her beautiful eyes had taken refuge behind glasses years ago. Yet she was still quick to smile and always ready to laugh, and she still baked the best scones he had ever tasted. He found himself looking at her as if, after forty years of day in, day out familiarity, he was seeing her for the first time. She caught his eye as he looked her up and down, and he knew that she knew what he was thinking. For a moment he wanted to retreat to the safety of surliness, then, with a rush of feeling that surprised him, he decided he didn’t care.
She read his face with the same long-practised skill that she could demonstrate in interpreting a knitting pattern or a recipe, and was glad that her glasses hid the unexpected misting of her tears. Moved by a sudden impulse, she rose to her feet, proceeded to the window and tugged at the Holland blind. It shot up abruptly, and a stream of bright sunlight flowed into the room, cascading down upon the bowl of apricots. For a long, silent moment they contemplated the rich fullness of them - the swelling globules of orange gold sitting full, round and opulent in the shocking glory of the light. Dust motes danced up and down the sunbeam with the intricate, ceaseless grace of Jacob’s angels going up and down the ladder to heaven, and with the same sense of heavy purpose borne with wonderful lightness. It was as if God dwelt at both ends of the beam.
They shook their heads and looked at one another, each wondering how he or she came to be thinking of God at all when it wasn’t Sunday and they weren’t in church. There was something deeply uncomfortable and vaguely shocking about the notion of God Himself coming into their kitchen. It wasn’t His proper place. There was a tinge of fear in their eyes as they involuntarily sought each other, needing a human ally against this terrifying irregularity.
“It’s only sunlight,” he said, deliberately dismissive.
She was not so easily convinced. Her eyes lingered on the shaft of sun, and the dancing dust, and the apricots glowing quietly in the full splendour of the light. Her eyes softened, and she felt the welling prickle of tears. She knew he would see her crying as a weakness in her argument, but she was too moved by wonder to care. The tears could do what they liked. She thought of trees, and the mysterious way they drew life from the very stuff of earth, how the sap carried the mystery from the deep place of the roots, up though the trunk to the tips of the branches, where it burgeoned forth as fruit. She thought of the sun, nothing but a ball of burning gases, or so she had been taught, yet somehow the thing that all living and being depended on. It seemed to her then that nothing was mere or only, that just beyond their tight brick walls and their carefully pulled down blinds, the whole universe pulsed with terrible life, waiting to break in upon them the moment their defences should falter. Why should her kitchen be immune?
“It’s the glory of God,” she amazed herself by saying.
He wanted to laugh at her, to mock all such fancies as absurdity, but when he focussed his eyes on this blazing wonder in their midst, he couldn’t do it. “I am no stranger to miracles,” he thought, with a sudden surge of awe. He thought back across the long years of his marriage to his wedding night, to their first kiss (under the willows down by Jimmy’s creek), to the time when he had first taken her tentative hand in his and, after an agonising second, had felt her soft fingers trusting curl around his own. He was such a plain, ordinary guy, and all these years she had stayed by his side and given to him and kept on giving! They had never been rich, but they had always had enough for the glad things of life, the birthday cakes and children’s treats and something to share with the neighbours when times were hard. It suddenly seemed to him a crime that he had lived all these years amongst such bounty and never been thankful.
He became aware of his old gardening hat which he hadn’t bothered to remove when he came into the kitchen. Such courtesies had slipped from his life a long time ago. Now it seemed horribly out of place, and he tugged it from his head with an impatient gesture, and bowed his head. Would Em laugh?
She did not laugh, merely smiled softly to herself in wonder. She reached across the table and took his hand. Their eyes met and held across the apricots. “Yes,” he said, “the glory of God has come down to our kitchen.”
Simultaneously they reached out, picked up an apricot and each handed it to the other. A phrase from a lifetime of church going flitted across her memory and she repeated it aloud, “From His mercy have we all received.”

Love and a Green frog

Was teaching (can't exactly call it preaching -- way too informal for a "proper" sermon) in church on sunday night on parayer, and wanted to get across the idea that if something is real to our own hearts, we should pray about it, however "silly" we might think it looks in the light of eternity. Yes, in God's eyes this issue or that may be nothing but a phantasm born of our confusion, but if it has power to affect us, then He is concerned because He cares about us. That's just what a loving parent does. I thought of an incident which, for me, illustrated exactly what i meant.

When my son was about 3 he woke up one night, in the coldest part of the wee small hours, totally convinced there was a green frog in his bed! (I have no idea where that notion came from) Now, before I even walked into the room, I knew 100% certainly that there was no frog there. my child was not in any danger of any kind. BUT, he believed he was! (Yeah, some scary frog!!) So, of course, just as you would, i got up in the cold and unmade all his bed (and then remade it) just to prove there was no frog there. Then my little boy felt safe, and was able to lie down and go back to sleep in confidence. it was worth the trouble to me, not because the frog was worth the effort, but because my child was.

That's how it is with our heavenly Father too.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wisdom after my hiatus

Ok, perhaps a mis;leading title, but all shall be made clear (I hope!)

Firstly, the hiatus. No particular dramatic reason for the break in blogging, I just needed a break. Sometimes you just run dry for a while, and it's good to step back from a particular activity and live life (which is a full time effort in itself) until one feels replenished. Today I do, so I'm back!

second, wisdom. Not mine (only the hiatus, which is beginning to sound like some exotic pet is mine), but apocryphal wisdom. Literally. from Ecclesiasticus, in the Apocrypha. I am not very familiar with the Apocrypha (something I must remedy) but I came across this quote from chapter 4, which really struck me personally. How often have I been led to believe that "being a doormat to a fool" was the path of virtue, even holiness?

20 WATCH YOUR CHANCE and defend yourself against wrong, and do not be over- modest in your own cause; 21 for there is a modesty that leads to sin, as well as a modesty that brings honour and favour. 22 Do not be untrue to yourself in deference to another, or so diffident that you fail in your duty. 24 Never remain silent when a word might put things right, for wisdom shows itself by speech, and a man's education must find expression in words. 25 Do not argue against the truth, but have a proper sense of your own ignorance. 26 Never be ashamed to admit your mistakes, nor try to swim against the current. 27 Do not let yourself be a doormat to a fool or curry favour with the powerful. 28 Fight to the death for truth, and the Lord God will fight on your side.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


This is the woman who stands on the brink of escaping from abuse, but the confusion in her own heart holds her back. She is not convinced she can choose to be free. Maybe a sense of duty holds her back, or a sense of shame .. maybe she can't believe that she would ever be wanted or received anywhere else .. they may be invisible chains, but they are very powerful ones ..

From here, beyond the glass, I see
The gladness on the other side.
Their eyes meet, and their laughter rings.
Their hearts are always open wide.

Out here it is a lonely place.
The wind blows sharp and rather cold.
All meaningless the words blow past,
And only robot arms enfold.

Rain drizzles down half-heartedly,
And all is unrelenting grey --
At least black night would show the stars,
But this is neither night nor day.

The stunted shrubs, the bare-shaved grass
The trees that never fruit or flower,
A taint, like burning, on the air
The acrid stink of hope turned sour.

There is a door, but how shall I,
All uninvited, walk within?
And how would they receive me there
Who was not born to be their kin.

And what of those who hold me here,
Who grip my heart in duty’s name?
Can I desert them for that light
Or would that be my final shame?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Blog rating

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Apparently I haven't said anything scary or challenging .. :)

Welcome back me!

Ok, well I'm glad to be back, so I'll welcome myself! We went on holidays to Victoria, the great Ocean Road to be exact, and came back through Ballarat and Bendigo (old Gold-mining towns). OK, it probably takes a special kind of silliness to go south in winter (this IS the Southern hemisphere!!) and yep, it was cold!. Along the coast there was wind chill, inland we got to see falling snow for the first time in our lives (it was cold, it was scary to drive in, and it was absolutely stunningly beautiful, flakes drifting softly down like a blessing enfolding the earth) And yes, there will be photos when this busy procrastinator gets round to editing them!! But I'm home, the laundry's caught up, the sun is shining, I learned things while I was away, and my daughter's reading the final Harry Potter book right now and will give it to me when she finishes. And one other blessing: can you imagine what joy it was, in this drought-stricken land, to travel the length of the Sydney/Melbourne highway and see everything wet and green. God is so good His broken foolish people!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Nicodemus 2

More thoughts on Nicodemus and his conundrum ..

Where is life? Can it be found
In the ways our fathers trod?
Tried and true and safe and sound
Surely is the place of God?

Here is law and here is more
Piety and sacrifice
Temple and tradition close
All we need, no room for Christ.

Thick the walls that we have wrought
Thus to make ourselves secure
Whilst the rising spirit-wind
Beats against our shuttered door.

We are reasonable men
We have studied, we have learned
Every angle on the law --
This one thing we’ve not discerned.

This one thing: how can it be
Life could come another way?
This is life and all we have
Each pronouncement to obey.

We have built and we are strong
God must bless our righteous cause
In our ways we honour Him:
We who nearly keep His laws.

Why then doubt and why dismay?
Why this creeping midnight fear
Which compels these questions now?
And why bring the questions here?

I had thought that thus I lived
Heaven’s ways upon the earth
But it seems I lived in vain,
Do not live until a birth!

Guest Post -- Social Justice

My daughter is a Social Work student, presently doing hert final placement before graduation, She has adegree in Linguistics. These are some thoughts she wrote about social justice, man's vs God's. Enjoy ..

“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream!” Amos 5:24.
Social justice on its own is a drug, which everyone around me wants and needs and thinks will fix everything wrong in the world. But social justice is insufficient to solve the problems of the world, a high ideal of universal tolerance and equality and peace. But – I don’t know how to say this – God’s social justice is enough. His mercy, His commands to feed the hungry and give to the poor, His ideal of an interdependent community – that is enough, because it is real. And bounded. Secular social justice has no lines, no absolutes, in a sense. If social justice can accept euthanasia, abortion, stem cell research and the like – all in the name of the progress of humanity – then there is no justice in it. For justice will not exploit the weakest and most vulnerable of all. Social justice is like a mighty flood that overpowers everything, levelling the rich and the poor alike. It ends in Marxism. But God’s social justice has boundaries, so it is a mighty river, flowing in the right paths so that it beings life, not destruction. ¬

God’s social justice is a strong thing. Righteousness is not weak, nor is grace shallow. Equality and dignity and compassion are right because we are all the fallen creations of the Holy God, not from a vague humanistic ideal. I read the Bible so clearly: worship God alone, and love one another. That was the heart-cry of the prophets. The two go hand in hand, but social workers don’t follow the first, and the church often fails to practice the second. God cares about the poor and the needy, and He hates the exploitation of the widow and the alien. His compassion burns as His holiness does; unquenched and unquenchable despite our words and systems and lack of action.

I am a social worker, just as I am a linguist. As a linguist, I probe deep, looking for the meaning beyond the label. And as a social worker, I reach broadly, accepting and helping all people as they are. And as a Christian, I am both. The cross intersects, and I reach both out and up. Grace received and grace given. Heart and mind working together for the glory of God. Integrity is wholeness. Wholeness of being and wholeness of purpose. Singlehearteness: the hallmark of the pilgrim.

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8.


I have to preach on John 3:1-8 in a few weeks, so Nicodemus is on my mind at the moment ..


In the night we know our blindness
Yet we have no light.

Moth-like we seek the little light that fits our comfort
And demand we do not burn:
A well-established theology should reinforce our bunkers.

All he wants is reassurance.
All he gets is God.
Can he build an institution to control the wind?

This life has its modicum of comfort,
Its easy ways, its power and prestige
Why make things messy with talk of something more?

To fit back inside the womb you must give up all your growing
Surrender acquisitions, be utterly alone,
Utterly dependent.
You must learn the way to go backwards,
To undo all your becoming,
And you cannot choose your name:
The old identity stripped away
In the rush of blood that heralds life.

And the teachers of Israel do not know this.
They have not become small in God.
Even earthly things are shut
They have never seen the way of the wind
They have no clue that it blows a new direction.
Above all else the temple must be tidy
The teaching orthodox,
The income stream reliable:
And God must do exactly what He always did.

Except He never did.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Like as a Lover

I have always believed (well, at least for the last 20+ years)that the Bible tells the story of the ultimate love affair .. the one between jesus and His bride -- us. He sought us through incredible tribulation, laid down His life so that we could be His, and the culmination of all history is the wedding between the Lamb and the Bride. Whatever that may mean, it speaks of love beyond our comprehension fulfilled in a way that will totally satisfy everything we were created to be. He is the lover who will never fail us or forsake us, to whom we can never say "You don't understand!" His compassion is infinite, and infinitely personal, He is faithful through the millennia to a bride who scarcely knows how to love Him, and has often been unfaithful, and He has already demonstrated that He loves us more than His own life. What can Mills and Boon offer compared to this?

Like as a lover, thinking on her own,
With heart joy-trembling and with shining face,
So should I likewise glow with wondering awe
When thinking on Your grace.

Nor all the writers of wild romances
Could dream of such a love as You've shown me:
Out of the ivory palaces to come,
And die on Calvary.

From all eternity You sought Your bride,
With love that counted death small price to pay
For Your own chosen one. With Your own blood
You washed my sins away.

Poor, sick and soiled, I lay there by the road;
Nor any passer-by took thought for me.
But you, the King, stooped down in wondrous love,
My sacrifice to be.

Spotless I'll stand, made whole and fair at last;
Yours, only Yours for all eternity:
Cleansed from unfaithfulness. I love You, Lord
Because You first loved me.

The Prodigal

At journey's end I falter. The long road
They name repentance is a weary climb
Out of the pigsty to my Father's house;
But He has waited for me all the time.

See, his arms stretched, but are they stretched for me?
Surely that tender smile upon His face
Is for another? No, I cannot go
And risk refusal of that yearned embrace.

But, while I stand, ashamed and hesitant,
He has come down to meet me where I am,
Leading me on the last steps to my home
Off'ring, for fatted calf, a slain lamb.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Empty Tomb

This poem I wrote today. it has been rattling round in my head since my final lacture on Luke last week when our lecturer said that he had visited Israel, and found there was some dispute about the site of Jesus' tomb, but it was of no importance, since the whole point is that He isn't there!!


This is the nothingness
Which holds all hope in being.

The reversal is reversed
In the place of death’s destruction
Where being is restored.

The place is unmarked,
There is no lingering
He is not here.

The borrowed grave
Returned to the ordinary
And the kingdom is unshakable.

It is too easy
To make a parable
From this positive negation
And too hard
To dance its truth.

For here, reality
Burning with the joy that lights a billion stars
Rests on what is not there.

We too, find rest
Acknowledging our nothingness
And holding to the promise
That can never die.


Semester is over! I don't go back to college till the beginning of August, for what should be my final semester. last semester's subjects were Luke exegesis and Book of last essay went in yesterday: 2,500 words on the use of the OT in Revelation. Next semester will be Christology and Reformation History.
On break now till 9/7 (we Aussies write our dates with the day first, then the month) then away with my husband on holidays till 19/7 then another week and a half break till i go back. Hmm .. doesn't sound very long when you break it down like that...

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Gospels as Photography.

My daughter came up with an interesting analogy the other day: comparing the gospel writers and their "differences" to our family when we go out somewhere. My husband and I are both keen digital photographers, but notoriously "different" in our approaches: he takes the classic shots, knows all the technical stuff, I go for whatever beautiful or quirky thing catches my eye. When we've been on a holiday, say, you can look at our photos and there'll be enough common ground to figure out we've been to the same place, but we "took" many different things, and even when it was the same thing, we rarely saw it the same way. Isn't it the same with these four "portraits" of the life and ministry of Jesus? Each of them (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) have taken their set of snapshots (under the direction of the Holy Spirit, but that's a different issue)and present us with their unique slideshow. Certain principles hold true of family photographers, and I suspect they hold true of the Gospel writers too:
*The most important things, everybody will photograph
*Individuals have different ideas of what's important/beautiful
*we "frame" our shots differently
*we take them from different angles (apart from artistic considerations, no two of us are occupying the same bit of ground at the same time)
* we don't always take our photos at the same time

Any other thoughts?

Memory must not hold me

This one actually has a date on it -- May 01. About leaving the hurts of the past behind ..

Memory must not hold me.
I shall not assent to darkness, though it tear me limb from limb.
Fear has been strength.
I have held to determination
Through the tears and through the tossings
I have seen the moon reject me
And I know that stars can scream.

Let the wheel stop turning.

Let there be a new creation
Let me love without blind terror
Let me wear another armour
Then my stubborn dispossession
Let my very weeping testify
The victory of light --
Lest I live a falsehood.

Truth is not a captive.

She sings above the whirlwind
Her hush cuts through the clamour.
Though she bears a thousand children,
They must all wear the same face
(Can this be my own?)
She speaks till closed ears open
Like the grass she shall return
Though we cut her down with passion
She is ever at the roots.
And the very rain from heaven
Shall water her regrowth.

I shall dare to trust.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Anticipating Healing

Just another little poem from my files .. a fragment of a thought. We are broken, weary children, besmirched by the journey, but one day we will reach journey's end, and Cjhrist will take us in His arms, and there will be no shame left. Not only will our sin and shame be washed away, but we ourselves will be washed, transformed by unimaginable grace into something lovely beyond our present understanding ..

I do not have to hide for shame of being me
When all the past is gone, I shall be wholly free
I scarce can hold the thought -- how beautiful I’ll be!

I shall embrace the sky, and the song of the wild birds’ flight
I’ll gaze straight at the sun, and have no fear of night
But swim the tossing seas, and drink their salt delight.

Out of their hidden corners, the little creatures creep
Joining in great glad freedom the end of frozen sleep
As the dark night was dreadful, so is rejoicing deep.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Grace from Argentina

My daughter showed me this, I think it's wonderful:

God, bless to us our bread,
And give bread to those who are hungry,
And hunger for justice to those who are fed.
God, bless to us our bread.

--- grace from Argentina

The Lord's Prayer in Songs

This is Codepoke's meme, to find a song for each line of the Lord's prayer:

Our Father which art in Heaven
[Father, I adore You]
Hallowed be Thy Name
[Everything cries Holy, by Robin Mark]
Thy kingdom come
[This Kingdom by Geoff Bullock]
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
[Take my life and let it be]
Give us this day our daily bread
[Bread of heaven on Thee we feed]
Forgive us our debts
[Rock of Ages ]
as we forgive our debtors
[Brother let me be your servant]
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
[On Christ the Solid Rock I stand]
For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory
[can't choose between Worthy is the Lamb or
My Tribute -- Andrae crouch]

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Personal policies

Another meme. What are some of the implicit "rules" I live by? (And as soon as I post these I'll think of a dozen more important ones)

1. Always say thank you
2. NEVER compromise on issues of integrity
3. Never keep people waiting
4. Criticise the behaviour, but never the person (e.g. “I don’t like it when you do that” NEVER “You’re a @@@@@”)
5. Take things slowly when you first get up
6. People are much more important than things. Prioritise my time and energy accordingly
7. Always carry migraine medication etc with me if going out more than briefly
8. Never let the petrol tank get below ¼ full (why do all the males in my life think it’s a virtue to let it go as low as possible before they fill it?)
9. Always have more than one book at a time you’re reading (dunno why, I just do)
10. McDonalds is not real food
11. Don’t give up on people (yeah I’ve carried that one too far, and let some people hurt me too many times but I’d still rather err on the side of too much grace)
12. When things get bad, buy flowers!
13. never run out of chocolate (or anything else if I can help it, I tend to keep spare everything)
14. Try not to believe all the negative messages I carry from the past
15. Remember that the sun is still giving life to the earth even when hidden by clouds.
16. God is bigger than either my theology or my expectations. Always leave room for Him to do it His way.
17. Don’t try to organise me, I prefer “creative chaos”
18. Don’t have too many things on a “to do list”. Preferably, don’t have a “to do list” , but I acknowledge that sometimes life demands it.

To an Abuser

This was written, some years ago, to someone who hurt me very much, as a way of processing some of the poisonous things he had spoken into me ..

No, even now, it seems, I cannot despise you;
Now, with your sin laid bare, my pain stacked high,
Still, there’s no hate, no anger, only pity
You were the loser, since you would not die.

You were the one who drowned in the bitter waters
Of your own lies, and would not be set free:
Driven to flee the truth of your own anguish,
You tipped your acid shame all over me,

Scarring my soul, burning my dreams with terror,
Darking my light and chaining me to pain
Bidding me walk the path that made you righteous
Striking a bargain pitiless and vain.

Naming me sinner for the sin you carried
Since I would not conform to your dark need;
I bore the blame, and you walked free and blameless
You stole my innocence with desperate greed.

You stand accused, but how can I accuse you?
You are my brother still – how small a price
I paid for you, compared to my redemption –
My freedom cost the bitter death of Christ!

Day Seven -- Rest

And on the 7th day God rested ..
This was probably the easiest symbolism of all to work out -- in Him we find rest.

Under the shadow of Your wings
Here I shall rest entire;
Loved into being by Yourself,
Child of Your own desire.

Here I am wanted. Here I come
Home to Your lovely grace;
Still You receive me, take me in,
Welcome shines from Your face.

You are my shelter. Outside You
Fierce tempests rage and tear;
But I may curl against Your breast,
There is no shaking there.

Here is my peace that cannot pass,
Here my security:
In the still centre of the world,
Where You have hold of me

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

We are the broken people ..

My daughter was telling me about something she watched on tv last night (while I was at college) -- about someone who started a choir for homeless people. She spoke of one man who came along, off thew streets, and when asked what he would like to sing, said 'Silent Night'. They were she said, like broken people playing with holy things. I said that sounded like the first line of a poem, so with her assistance, i wrote it:

We are the broken people
Who play with holy things;
We speak our sacred phrases,
And think our words give wings.
Have mercy on us Father,
Pull out the poisoned stings.

We are the broken people,
Poor clods of dust and mud.
Pour out your grace, and melt us
Within its quickening flood;
Deliver from pretension,
And make us flesh and blood.

We are the broken people,
And yet we bear Your name;
By Your own invitation
We make this trembling claim:
Though soiled and torn and foolish
We will not be the same.

We are the broken people
Indwelt by Heaven’s King,
Confused and worn and weary,
Lost in our suffering,
We reach and clutch Your garment
And thus hold everything.

Five reasons I blog

Another meme .. this one is going to make me think .. ouch!

1. Somewhere to put my poetry etc

2. a kind of random personal scrapbook

3. a great way to make new, like-minded friends

4. a creative challenge

5. umm .. because I enjoy reading other people's blogs and it doesn't feel right to have a one-sided relationship ..

Why do YOU blog?

Day six -- In The Image of God

On the Sixth day, God created man -- in His own image. In a very real sense, all my pilgrim journey is towards becoming more like Jesus. And here we enter deep mystery -- on one hand it is all His doing, His transforming, sanctifying Spirit at work in the deep places of my being, on another level I am actively involved "working out my own salvation with fear and trembling" This poem talks about my side of the journey:

Kaleidoscopic images beswirl
My dazzled mind with their confusing song:
A thousand different words for who I am;
And, sometimes, I think all of them are wrong.

The criticisms that would press me down
Into distorted shape, and twist my way
Back in upon itself in bitter fear:
Lord, give me grace to cast them all away.

The words of praise that lifted folly high
And, in their glamour, bid me aim astray;
Deceptions built upon the pride of flesh:
Lord, give me grace to cast them all away

The failures of the past that lick around
My stumbling feet, and turn them into clay,
Ready to fall again, and never rise:
Lord, give me grace to cast them all away.

The fears that strip my soul from all defence
And on my naked, writhing yearnings flay,
Persuading me that daring is to die:
Lord, give me grace to cast them all away.

Give me to cast all images away,
Till I behold one thing alone is true:
The calling of Your word into my life
That summons me to rise and be like You.

The Heart of the Matter

A great quote from John Piper:"

The critical question for our generation - for every generation - is this:

If you could have heaven,

with no sickness
with all the friends you ever had on earth
all the food you ever liked
all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed
all the natural beauties you ever saw
all the physical pleasures you ever tasted
no human conflict
no natural disasters
------------------------could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?"

From God is the Gospel - John Piper

Monday, May 21, 2007

Seven random things

Ok, Suzanne has tagged me for this, and I have to think of 7 random things about myself. (presumably not ones I've said before). let's see ..

1. I hate tea and coffee. Don't drink them at all. I'm hypersensitive to caffeine and I don't like hot drinks. Never have. there's always water ..

2. I've got a "thing" about pelicans. they're my favourite creatures. Nothing gives me a lift like seeing a pelican. Sometimes I see them on my way to college, they like to perch on the lightpoles on the bridge across the George's River.

3. Have I mentioned I'm a very huggy person? I grew up in a 'no touch' household -- I have no memory of ever being touched by my father, and my mother would only hug or kiss us to manipulate us.

4. I am a hoarder. my husband is not. I'll let you fill in the rest of the story...

5. I have a light brown birthmark on my upper right thigh. Roughly oval. You had no idea, did you?

6. I went to all-girls' schools from 3rd class right through (yes, we have some single sex state schools here). I had 2 younger sisters, and my cousins were female, so were the girls next door. I grew up literally not knowing any boys until I joined the church youth group at age 15.

7. My favourite snack for a quick lunch or something is left over plain cooked pasta with lots of parmesan cheese put in the microwave till the cheeses melts.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Personal practice of prayer

Something I had to prepare for a tutorial a couple of years ago: some notes on my personal paractice of prayer in answer to some basic questions. maybe they're questions you'd like to think about too ..

Of course there are a couple of things I might add now, but I'll save that for another time

Praying with others in likeminded pursuit of God
Also, prayer ministry in church or elsewhere
Better at listening than talking
WHY? Thrive on the encouragement of others
Love doing personal ministry – I just get so excited when I see God at work in other people’s lives

REGULAR – TIME? Whenever .. I try to discipline myself to keep tuning myself back in to God and consciously connect to Him

PLACE? Shower, car, walking, sitting at computer, lying awake in bed, being moved to pray for strangers in the street

POSITION? Sitting, standing, lying down.
Have been known to dance in the shower, but that was probably a mistake
Have learned to always keep eyes open when driving

No good at long solitary blocks of time
Distractions of an over-active imagination
Because I can’t figure out the QT thing, lack of scriptural impetus into prayer
Sometimes feel confused about what is prayer and what isn’t
Sometimes out of touch with own needs and feelings

Trying to work on making myself pick up a bible more.

Day 5 -- Into New realms

day 5, the creation of birds and fish, really stretched my mind to come up with an analogy. but when I did I knew it was something terribly important to me, and central to my faith journey. Birds and fish are creatures that inhabit the sky and the water -- places that are not my natural element. But walking by faith compels me out of my comfort zone into those places where the breathing is hard and painful. We tend to think of that sort of "stepping out by faith" as something that happens to superhero missionary types, i contend that it happens in the dailiness of life, whenever I choose to respond with love, rather than self-protection, whenever I choose obedience when disobedience would be so much easier, i am walking that strange, hard path ..

Not in the comfort zone,
Not in the easy place:
Pushed to the edge of fear
By Your compelling grace.

Out of the meadows green,
Where I would lushly stay:
By that hard stony path
You call the narrow way.

Up through the mountains sharp,
Into the bitter cold.
Tears in the frozen night
Whisper of fears untold.

Still, still, You urge me on
Past precipice and bluff,
Over the edge of maps,
While my flesh screams, “Enough!”

By the high eagle-road,
Where breath is thin and spare,
Because I thirst for You,
I will still crawl and dare.

Faith has carved out a path
Straight to the heart of You
And, since this is Your will,
No other way will do.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Clash of the Kingdoms

I don't normally post my academic assignments here, most of them are of no interest except to the lecturers who assign them, but this tute paper I had to write on the Clash of the Kingdoms in Luke's gospel, is of a more general nature than most. (Though it's a huge topic to try and cover in a mere 1,000 words). So, with a couple of modifications ..

Throughout Luke’s gospel we can trace the conflict between two opposing kingdoms: on the one hand the kingdoms of man, exemplified by the Roman government and the Jewish religious leaders, and, on the other hand, the Kingdom of God, taught, demonstrated, inaugurated, and, ultimately embodied in Jesus Himself. This overturning of the human status quo is foreshadowed in the promise of two humanly impossible births, declared in the song of Mary, made visible in the ministry and teaching of Jesus, reaches its climax on the cross and its triumphant denouement in the resurrection. It is a conflict that began long before Luke’s gospel, when humanity rejected the authority of God, and will reach its magnificent conclusion when the “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ” .

Jesus taught the kingdom

Jesus came as the king, the Davidic messiah, but he did not bring a political kingdom. His kingship was not designed to glorify Israel, but to glorify God. It was dynamic, not geographical. (Green, Mcknight and Marshall, 1992, p.420). He would be the King who would rule by serving, and conquer through His death.

In Luke 4:18-19 He declared the agenda of His kingdom: freedom, healing and restoration; and in 4:43 He announced that the proclamation of the Kingdom was the purpose of His ministry

In 6:17 – 49 He sets forth the principles of His kingdom: a reversal of the world’s values and privileges, an ethic of radical love, and the clear declaration that membership of the Kingdom depends on a response of personal obedience, not simply Israelite birth. It is not enough to conform to some interpretation of the letter of the law, personal transformation is required in order to conform to the spirit of the Law. Luke’s version of this “sermon” stresses the sociological aspects of the kingdom as well as its spiritual dimension.

There is a reiterated demand for repentance (e.g. 13:3, 5; 15:7), implying that membership of the Kingdom was not already theirs, and they must fundamentally change in order to be part of it.

The coming of the Kingdom is something to be prayed for (11:2), and its members are not to prioritise the concerns of this world, but trust in their Father’s provision (12:31; 13:18).

And Jesus taught the kingdom through parables. Many of Jesus’ parables were deliberately countercultural as far as expectations of the Kingdom went; they were stories with a deliberate “twist in the tail”, to get past the defences of His hearers’ presuppositions, and provoke a reaction: faith from those who were willing to hear and believe, wrath from those who were offended. The “Good Samaritan”, for example, both proclaimed the grace and mercy which are characteristic of the Kingdom, and challenged their expectations of its exclusive Jewishness. This message is repeated in the parable of the Great Banquet, which stresses that membership of the Kingdom is by response to God’s invitation in Jesus, not a birthright. The parable of the Sower indicates that it is not enough to hear the word of God, there must also be a fruitful response (and the “mysteries of the Kingdom” are revealed only to disciples). The parable of the Mustard Seed illustrates the paradoxical nature of the Kingdom: it starts out small, humble, almost invisible, but there will be no stopping its growth, in the end it will actually be far mightier than the earthly Kingdom they had envisaged. It is the “yeast” (13:20-21) which will ultimately permeate and transform the cosmos. The little flock is not to fear, it is to them that the Kingdom has been given (12:32)

The Kingdom is not outward and visible, as they had anticipated, but rather, “within you” (17:20-21). It is something both immediate and apocalyptic (Green et al, 1992, p.428), as shown for example, in the parable of the talents, where the “currency” of the Kingdom is being given out now for a future accounting.

Jesus Demonstrated the kingdom

Jesus, whose words and deeds were one, not only explained the Kingdom in His teaching, but demonstrated it by His actions. His ministry, just as he had declared in 4: 18-19, was about healing the blind, releasing the oppressed, (e.g. the woman who had been bound for 18 years, 13:10-17) and bringing the good news of the kingdom to the poor, who were often excluded under the Pharisaic system because they did not have the means to keep all the ritual law. His miracles of healing were a demonstration of the grace and compassion of God, His deliverance ministry showed His power over the Kingdom of Satan, and His raising of the dead prefigured the reversal of the very fall itself. He was willing to touch the unclean (lepers, haemorrhaging woman, dead people), and suffered no loss of holiness. His nature miracles (e.g. calming of the storm), displayed that dominion over creation which Adam had forfeited. He sent the disciples out (9:2) specifically to preach the kingdom and heal the sick. And He welcomed the “least of these” – children, women, gentiles, tax collectors, the poor and despised -- into His presence and His fellowship.

Man opposed the Kingdom

The Jewish authorities were threatened by Jesus, and the nature of the Kingdom He proclaimed. They preferred their own version, which afforded them “holiness” and privilege. They recognised the claim to Deity underlying His words and actions: e.g. He forgave sins (5:21), and accepted the hosannas of the Jerusalem crowd. He also threatened their self-justifying definitions of holiness: He mixed with “sinners” without fear they would pollute Him (5:30), he healed on the Sabbath (6:2), allowed a sinful woman to touch Him (7:36), condemned their practices (11: 39 ff). His kingdom and theirs were incompatible, and in the end they moved from skirmishing to plotting to kill Him. It was on the issue of the Kingdom that He was charged before Pilate, i.e. that He was setting up as a king in rivalry to Caesar, and the crowd chose Barabbas in His place. On the cross they nailed His “charge sheet”: ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’. And on the cross the dying thief asked to be received into His Kingdom.


The Kingdom of God, which is the reign of Christ (Elwell, 2001, p. 657), is in direct opposition to the illusory autonomy of sinful man. Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom, demonstrated the Kingdom and was the Kingdom; for that His opponents crucified Him, thus serving, by the sovereignty of God, to give Him a Kingdom which shall endure forever.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Day Four -- glimpses of glory

The fourth day was the creation of the sun and moon. What could that possibly symbolise for a personal spiritual journey? this one, and the next, were the ones I really had to ponder. but what do the sun and moon appear to us as? Brightness, warmth, dazzlement to bright to look upon.. and the moon is the gentler reflection of the blazing sun, more suited to our little human sight. And as we go on, doesn't God encourage us with glimpses of Himself, His glory and wonder, in all kinds of unexpected ways and places? It may be directly suprenatural revelation; for most of us, far more often, it is things like the beauty of this world that makes us catch our breath with awe, or those human moments that pierce our hearts, or the words of His word, leaping off the page to light a fire in our spirits. ..

Let each new morning rise in alleluia song!
Let everything on the earth be glad to know its Lord!
Made for His glory, let it joy to give Him praise!
Made to adore Him, let it name Him as adored!

Soft springing grass, and ocean wave, and dancing breeze
Worship in wonder, know Him as the God who’s here:
See how His love shines forth in every burning star,
See how His mercy cradles and directs each sphere!

See how His mercy cradles and directs me too!
See how He loves me, leads me and appoints my way
Faithful my Father, guiding me towards Himself ..
See how His mercies are renewed to me each day!

And, though this flesh must wait till the transforming hour
To be with Him, my shield and sun and my delight;
Yet He is with me, my heart His abiding-place,
I see my Lord, although it is by faith not sight.

I see His glory, though but faintly and afar.
I see His glory – overwhelmed with love and awe!
I see His glory in the world that he has made
And worship Christ, the end I was created for..

Friday, May 11, 2007

Day Three -- Growth

The third day of creation was the day when God made the plants. this was one of the easiest equivalences to work out, plants are symbolic of growth, and Jesus' own parables are full of plant analogies. The kingdom of heaven, after all, is like the mustard seed that grows into a great tree ..

Not to remain intense, in-turned entire
Not to be static, unresolved and small
Not to remain the thing which I began
But, by becoming, to embrace it all.

I would be whole, I would rise up and sing
Into the morning with a voice made new
I would go forth with laughter into life
I would become and grow, myself outdo.

The seed waits
Imagining a fuller self ..

Maybe a flower, petal-perfect, lovely:
As pure as Eden’s morning in its curve of grace,
As soft as wistfulness, dressed like a jewel ..

Or maybe tree: aspiring, stretching, reaching ..
Shelter and strength and nurturance and shade;
Roots running down to hold the earth in place ..

Or fragrant bush, or fruit, or waving grass,
Resolute cactus or imperial fern …
Seeds have ambitions …

And yet .. ambition cannot make seeds grow,
Nor all self-vaunting effort make one shoot to sprout;
And, while it clings to life, the seed abides alone.

Yet, dare to die, and green and living tendrils rise
Up from the dust of hopes laid down and self laid by;
Mercy, sheer mercy, thrusts forth leaves toward the sky ..

This, reckless then, go down, down to the place
Of all surrender
Let the dew of heaven fall
Let self be changed,
Let Life in all its fullness be
Living in me!

Another meme

I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

I'll skip the tagging bit, always thought playing tag got a bit rough :-)

Food: I'm a sweet tooth. Chocolate, fruit, tiramisu -- these foods talk my language.I was brought up on bland, English style cooking, and never liked it much.I enjoy learning new cuisines. I only cook with recipes when i want to learn something new, or for really special occasions.Otherwise I regard recipe books more as inspirational reading rather than instruction manuals. hmm .. does that make me a kitchen liberal?

Family: One husband, one son, one daughter, one daughter-in-law. very precious to me. none of our extended family live further than 20 minutes drive away, but I'm not close to any of them. Even as a child I regarded my friends as my real family. To be honest I don't really know what it would feel like to experience real love from parents or siblings. I am dutiful towards extended family, but find them very stressful to have any dealings with.

Exercise: What's that? No, I do try to walk a bit, it's hard with back problems, and having the temperament of a couch potato and the coordination of a limp stick of celery doesn't help.At school sport was the one subject I hated as much as sewing. I just don't get it.

Profession: I dropped out of uni to get married, spent 2 years working in a clerical job, and retired the moment my husband graduated (the government office I worked in was a nasty place -- I got on OK with people, but they were always having fights with each other, and no one was trustworthy. I brought up my kids (doing stuff like Sunday School teaching and writing on the side -- I have a whole unpublished novel on my computer) And then, at age 47, went back to Bible college to work on my theology degree part time. I'm hoping to finish at the end of the year, and I'm waiting, with a sense of curious anticipation, to see what doors God opens then. my passion is preaching, teaching and praying with people, my denomination doesn't ordain women.

Obsession: Umm .. I'm not a very obsessive person. Does chocolate count? or poetry? Or going to the theatre? I'm very into hugs ..

Faith: The centre of my life. I became a christian at 16 (March 15th, 1971 -- do your own maths!)And the story of how I got there and where I've been since, and the hard places I've been with Jesus, particularly working through abuse issues, is the story of my whole life. Church-wise i was raised Anglican, married a Presbyterian, spent 20 years with the Prezzies, 3 disastrous years in a house church and am now back in an Anglican church. I became a christian in a church that didn't preach the gospel, got the gift of tongues in an anti-charismatic church, studied theology in a church that doesn't encourage women to teach .. What's next? (I don't think I'm very good at that conformity thing either.

Ailments: back problems (3 discs in a row with major problems) are my biggie, probably dating back to when I was knocked down by a car as a teenager. I get migraines instead of getting angry, and I've inherited the high blood pressure of both my parents (but one tablet a day seems to keep it good) And, at 52, it's still only the very smallest print I need glasses for. My cholesterol and blood sugar are good. (Despite the chocolate, i really eat pretty lhealthy -- lots of salads and lean meat)

Games: Computer ones are a good way to relax, or to keep one part of my mind occupied so the rest of it can nut through stuff. I hate strategy games, i have a very unstrategic mind. Chess is as mysterious to me as reverse parking! OTOH I'm really good at games that require you to think on the run rather than strategise. And I love word games.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Day Two -- separation

On the second day of creation the waters were separated from the "expanse". it was a day of division and boundaries. What does that equate to? Step 2, for me, was seeking holiness, obedience to God, separating myself from sin. And of course, (and I can still remember the moment when I finally understood -- but that's another story)in the process, learning I could not manufacture my own righteousness, even though I was seeking to follow Jesus as my Lord, and had to depend on His forgiveness, and his making me righteous.

Sword-sharp the penetration of Your truth
Cleaves my own self from the long-nourished lie
Of my sufficiency; and my pierced heart
Leaks its despair, though all its springs are dry.

This, the unbearable, must now be borne.
This, the unutterable, must be proclaimed
Reverberant, to bring my house of cards
Tumbling to ruins, desperate and ashamed.

There is nowhere to look, no way to climb
Out of the depths of all I must confess:
The dreadful realisation of my sin
In the clear light of Your pure holiness.

How can I stay the thing that I am not?
How can I be the good that You require?
There is no reconciling, no way home
One thing I am; another I aspire.

One thing I am, but not this hopeless wrong;
One thing I am; but not thus to remain.
For You, Yourself, became what I have been,
That I might thus, through You, all good attain.

For You, Yourself came down – down to the pit –
Down to the last lost darkness, thick as tar;
Transmuting hopelessness to certainty
I shall, be holy, since You holy are.

Therefore, I separate me from the murk
Of falsehood, and all foolish false desire;
To will Your will alone, to learn to love,
Turning from sin Your beauty to acquire.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Day One --Light

Some years ago I did a creative project for college. (I could have written an essay instead of course, but this was much more fun) What I chose to do was base it on the seven days of creation, making each day symbolic of a step in my spiritual journey. For each day I assembled a photo, a group of bible verses that moved from the physical symbol to the thing I had made it symbolic of. Then I wrote a poem about it. Over the next few days, I'll post the poems, with a short explanation of each.

Day One was the creation of Light. For me that stood for conversion, for the moment (well, it was a moment for me, some people have more gradual experiences) when my eyes were opened, and I saw Jesus as my Lord and my God. He is, after all, the Light of the World.

Darkness within myself
In the bewildering storm;
Nowhere a beacon light,
Nowhere is safe and warm.

Lies – shouted, screaming lies –
Pursue me night and day
How shall I find the truth?
How shall I know the way?

Nothing is as it seems.
Nothing is real or whole.
Nothing I am makes sense.
Nothing connects my soul.

Life is a twice-told tale
(I’ve heard it all before).
Dreariness screams inside:
A ceaseless silent roar.

Where is the centre found?
Have I a destiny?
Is my lone pain for nought?
Could there be love for me?

In this lost, silent place,
(Nothing to hope or know)
Your glory reaches me,
Sets my whole life aglow!

Light, light as warm as love,
Lifts me into embrace;
All I desired or dreamed
Given to me by grace!

Here is my hope, my dawn.
Here is my midday sun.
Here is my guiding star.
All light in You made one.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Ok .. I'm in a meme-y mood tonight

SCATTERGORIES... Rules: Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following...They MUST be real places, names, things...NOTHING made up! You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question...


Name: Lynne (ok, that one was easy)

1. Famous singer/band: LARRY NORMAN (this one nearly stumped me .. geesh!)
2. 4 letter word: LUMP
3. Street name: LETITIA (2 streets away)
4. Color: LAVENDER
5. Gifts/present: LIQUORICE (well my FIL loves it, I don't)
6. Vehicle: LIMOUSINE
7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: LEAD PENCILS
8. Boy Name: LUCAS
9. Girl Name: LOUISE
11. Drink: LEMONADE (if I can't think of something more exciting)
12. Occupation: LEADLIGHTING (someone must do it)
13. Flower: LUPIN
14. Celebrity: C S LEWIS (well, I'd rather have a writer than a film star!)
15. Magazine: LOOK AND LEARN (well, I used to get it when I was a kid)
16. U.S. City: LOS ANGELES
17. Pro Sports Teams: This one I'll have to leave blank. I could make one up. How about leaping lambs? liposucted ladies?
18. Something Found in the Kitchen: LEMON SQUEEZER (sure I'm missing something obvious)
19. Reason for Being Late for Work: LIGHTNING STRIKE(?)
20. Something you throw away: LEFTOVERS (that outlived their welcome)
21. Things You Shout: LOOK!
22. Cartoon Character: LINUS (in Peanuts)
23. Animal: LEOPARD
24. Favorite Thing To Do: LIVE (kinda helps you do all the rest)

The promise in the Resurrection

Sing joy to every rock and stream!
Joy to the swelling, ebbing tide!
Let all creation celebrate,
This day the curse was put aside.

Death owned his kingdom. Long and deep
The shadowed years piled up their pain.
But this day death himself is dead
And Life has overthrown his reign.

Sing clouds, sing stars; do not hold back
One atom of the praise that’s due!
For He who died to conquer death,
Has promised to make all things new.

Interview moment

Overheard, a radio interview with Adrian Plass:
Interviewer :Does God have a sense of humour? What does God find funny?
Adrian Plass (pauses for a moment, then looks interviewer in the eye) You!

Word Association

Here's another meme -- instant word association for each of these categories:

Yourself: a pickle
Your partner: non-pickle
Your hair: brown
Your Mother: manipulative
Your Father: harsh
Your Favorite Item: computer
Your dream last night: weird
Your Favorite Drink: water
Your Dream Car: mine
Your Dream Home: this one
The Room You Are In: study
Your Ex: non-existent
Your fear: worms
Where you Want to be in Ten Years? fulfilled
Who you hung out with last night: husband
What You're Not: efficient, pragmatic
Muffins: raspberry and chocolate
One of Your Wish List Items: ministry role
Time: evening
The Last Thing You Did: help husband find cheese (you did ask)
What You Are Wearing: navy pants, maroon shirt, blue cardigan
Your favorite weather: balmy
Your Favorite Book: Narnia series (ask me tomorrow, I'll pick something different)
Last thing you ate?: chocolate
Your Life: yearning
Your mood: bored, restless
Your Best Friends: understand
What are you thinking about right now?: my best friends (see previous question!)
Your car: Rav 4
What are you doing at the moment: answering silly questions!
Your summer: hot (huh?)
Relationship status: long married
What is on your tv?: husband is watching news
What is the weather like: too dark to see
When is the last time you laughed: now

Friday, April 27, 2007


Your mercy pierces me, O amazing God
Lightning flash, through my ego’s last defences,
Silent thunder of my tears.

I drown in the torrents
Of a love I cannot understand
Learning a new breathing.

You wash away
The feeble excuses,
The crippling words of blame,
The barren years
When promises were stopped.

Now in the clouds
I see the rainbow of your constant care
Your covenant of wonder wraps me round
In glory I do not yet understand.

And my parched heart opens
Thirsty .. drinking ..
Nourishing your planting:
You, in me.

Emmaus and communion

I started writing this just after Easter as a few thoughts on the Emmaus story. I left it half-written and came back to it today. Somehow, in the interim, it transmuted into some thoughts on how we, too, know Him in the breaking of the bread (a part of the story we sometimes don't quite know what to do with)


You are known in the breaking of the bread.
You are known in the breaking of my heart.
In the breaking of the morning,
And the falling of the night
I will praise your name.

Two walked slowly, mired with grief
And the road that left Jerusalem was now their sorrowed way
For the daylight turns to darkness when deep hope is crucified
And black pain danced around them, but its mocking voice
Fell on dead ears, the soul-reft are too numb.

With downcast eyes, they never saw the stranger
Till He fell in by the way, making conversation
Almost too hard to speak.
Is there no release,
From the whirligig of pressure, the requirement to respond?
How could it be
That their whole world had crumbled right away
While this man walked in steadfast ignorance?

Lord that I might know you
In the place where every understanding shatters,
In the death of hope, in the tears of silence,
Here let me still believe you understand ..
You took the cup that we might take the cup
And drink the sweetness of transfigured gall

How do you tell
The breaking of a life, hope’s slaughterhouse,
That hideous hell: redemption gone awry?
How do you speak
In civil tones the rank unspeakable?

Such a strange man!
Into raw pain He spoke theology
(Having first made them speak their pain to Him)
He told them of the scriptures as they walked
Weaving a different pattern with His words,
Salvation that was not as they supposed
A saviour who must suffer to redeem
A dying that was planned before all life ..

Lord, that I might see Your resurrection
In each day’s dying, never let mere words
Blind me to the transcendent Son of God
Here, by my side, with scars upon His hands,
Offering still Himself in place of me .

With numb politeness, yet with burning hearts,
Bleeding, confused, yet strangely satisfied,
They hung on words that washed right over them
And then at journey’s end, they asked Him in:
Their journey was begun.

In the breaking of the bread, he broke their hearts
With wonder.
He gave thanks, and filled despair
With bright thanksgiving.
To their opened eyes
He vanished from their sight, but is not gone
Nor ever, ever shall be gone again
In whom dominion rests forever more.

In this place of appointing give the broken bread
To broken hearts, to broken lives, today.
And lift us into thanks, who are your own
By holiness made whole,
To learn to love,
And sing the resurrection laughter song.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


O Christ, the Saviour of the world!
O Christ our life, o Christ our light!
The word of truth on which we rest,
The Father shown to our sight!

You are the light by which we steer.
You are the life in which we grow;
The whole of knowledge, truth complete,
Through Whom, alone, our God we know.

Grant us to see, Grant us to live.
Grant us to know You, show our need,
That we might rest on you alone,
The Saviour of the world, indeed.

The messy heirs to the kingdom

Below is an illustration I did use in my last sermon. The passage I was preaching on was Mark 3:31-35 on Who is Jesus'family. I started by explaining that when Jesus defined who was in and who was out of His family He was actually saying who was in and out of His kingdom. Flesh and blood, lineage from Abraham, doesn't do it. You must be reborn "from above" (John 3) and adopted into His family. I used ben hur as a type of Roman adoption. Then we looked at some verses from Romans8 and Ephesians 1 on the benefits of being His adopted child. Then I brought in this illustration:

Watchman Nee tells about a new convert who came in deep distress to see him. "No matter how much I pray, no matter how hard I try, I simply cannot seem to be faithful to my Lord. I think I'm losing my salvation." Nee said, "Do you see this dog here? He is my dog. He is house-trained; he never makes a mess; he is obedient; he is a pure delight to me. Out in the kitchen I have a son, a baby son. He makes a mess, he throws his food around, he fouls his clothes, he is a total mess. But who is going to inherit my kingdom? Not my dog; my son is my heir. You are Jesus Christ's heir because it is for you that He died." We are Christ's heirs, not through our perfection but by means of His grace.

From there i finished by talking about how, if we are members of His family, we should be demonstrating the family likeness, ie love. Love is an action. Love is servanthood. if we are loving we will be involved in the messy work of digging up and weeding while Christ produces the fruit of the Spirit in us. Or we can stay clean and comfortable and just be plastic flowers!

One of those meme things

Getting To Know You...
35 questions about me

• What is your occupation? Housewife/ theology student.
• What color are your socks right now? Right now I’m barefoot. I only wear socks in winter.
• What are you listening to right now? The blessed sound of rain – our garden is getting soaked. Unfortunately not much of this rain is falling in the catchment areas for the dams. Australia’s drought is a major crisis.
• What was the last thing that you ate? Chocolate.
• Can you drive a manual car? I learned on one, and never knew what gear I was supposed to be in. haven’t driven one for nearly 30 years
• If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Deep violet.
• Last person you spoke to on the phone? One of the guys from our church who rang up wanting to speak to my husband.
• How old are you today? 52, but who’s counting?.
• Favorite drink? Mostly I drink water (the stuff that comes out the tap) But I love a small port or something like Bailey’s occasionally in the evenings
• What is your favorite sport to watch? I loathe sport apart from stuff like the Olympics and the occasional cricket match
• Have you ever dyed your hair? Yep, since I started to go grey in my early thirties. I still think of myself as a brunette
• Pets? Only goldfish
• Favorite food? Probably Italian if I had to name a category. But for a single dish, our local Indian restaurant makes a butter chicken that totally satisfies my tastebuds.
• What was the last movie you watched? Umm .. it’s been a while .. probably the last James Bond one (with my husband of course)
• What was the last book you read? Ruth Park’s 2 volume autobiography: Fence Around the Cuckoo + Fishing in the Styx
• What do you do to vent anger? Cry. Write poetry. I’m not good at getting in touch with anger. It was a forbidden emotion in my childhood
• What was your favourite toy as a child? I spent all my time reading. But Baby Sam, a black rubber doll (fearfully non-PC!!!) was the friend I took to bed and couldn’t live without.
• What is your favourite, fall or spring? I love them both. The only bad thing about autumn is that it means winter’s coming
• Hugs or kisses? I’m a hugger, it means a lot to me. But nothing's wrong with kissing either!
• Cherries or blueberries? Cherries are up there with mangoes
• Living arrangements? A house on a quarter acre block, with just my husband now the kids are all grown up
• When was the last time you cried? yesterday
• What's on the floor of your closet? Clothes that fell off their hangers
• Who is the friend you have had the longest? I have nobody from waaay back. Why is a long story, largely circumstantial
• What did you do last night? Washed my hair. Computer stuff. husband was out.
• Favorite smells? Cinnamon, fresh bread. flowers
• What inspires you? Courage. Compassion. Most of all, Jesus
• What are you afraid of? A wasted life. Boredom. rejection
• Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? Not a burger person
• Favorite dog breed? Not a dog person, always nervous around dogs
• Number of keys on your key ring? four
• Number of years at current job? Housewife? 29 years since I quit the paid workforce
• Favourite day of the week? No particular day. I don’t live a sufficiently routine life for that to apply!
• How many states/countries have you lived in? I’ve lived in the one area of Sydney all my life, in 2 different suburbs.
• Favorite holidays? Christmas and Easter. They’re the ones that mean something to me.