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.