Tuesday, September 30, 2008


If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Well, let's think of some possibilities --
X-ray vision might be fun .. but I'd hate to see through everyone's clothes. most of us wear them for a reason.

Flying? All my best dreams involved being gravity defying, but in real life there wouldn't be so much point. Besides, I'd keep bumping my head on the ceiling!

Invisibility? There have been times in my life when I felt invisible. It wasn't much fun.

Cleaning things up with a click of my fingers, a la Mary Poppins? well, yep, that would be useful. But I sure don't want the big thing in my life to be about housework!

You know what I would choose?
To really, really understand people .. to be able to get inside their hearts and really know what they're feeling and why, and, even more, to understand enough how to speak words of real healing into their lives...

What would you choose? Something I haven't even thought of?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Twisted thought

Hmm .. whenever I comment on someone else's blog I get that little phrase from Blogger "your comment has been saved".

Are they trying to tell me something about the unregenerate nature of my comments?
Or have they checked it (how?) to see that it qualifies as a genuine born-again comment?

the concept of salvation by blogger is definitely a worry .. ;-)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Really feeling for R P's grieving family tonight ..

It’s right to grieve.
Christ’s tears at Lazarus’ tomb
Blaze through the sodden lie that all is well:
The arching, vast material untruth.

All is not well.
Here sorrow, loss and pain,
Unfinished lives, words lost, a touch withheld,
The sorry outflow of a muddled life –
A muddied life that’s never wholly clean.

All is not well.
This body born for death
Carries decay within its very life,
Wearing away with mortal weariness
The blood’s perpetual rush : down, down to death.

All is not well.
This is the land of grief
Where promises grow bankrupt and stars fall,
And faith transmutes to courage to survive,
Or just keep breathing. Night is very dark
And bitterness lasts longer than the night,
The lights go out, the air is growing cold.

All is not well.
Then grieve your holy tears
And let the light perpetual shine on them
And shine on you.
Go kneel in utter grief
Prostrate before the barrenness of time
And own despair
And own He has been there.

There is no answer from that garden tomb
Except its emptiness.
That is enough
Enough and more.
Enough and everything.

In Memoriam

This morning I received the painful news of the death of a former assistant pastor of our church, now ordained and working in rural Victoria. There are some difficult cicumstances surrounding thesituation, and he leaves behind a wife a nd 3 teenage daughters. Please pray for them


Father, take your scattered children
Broken in their lonely pain
As they wander in the tempest
Bring them back to you again.

Who can carry, who can bear it,
Life in all its dreadful weight?
Heart’s transgression, hope’s long failure:
Cruel defeat in fullest spate.

Who can bear the weight of knowing
Who we are and how we break
Dust to dust the flesh returning
Every atom, every ache.

Dust to dust, to loss, to sorrow
Yet your silver trumpet-note
Swells and shears across Hell’s darkness
For your love is not remote.

Fold them in the love of Jesus
Death and hell are silenced there
Tears are wiped and sins forgiven
In the mystery of prayer.

Hold them, fold them, Father take them
Where locked grief finds full release
Human agony outreaching
Touched, upheld by heaven’s peace

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thoughts on "The Inklings"

I have just finished reading “The Inklings” by Humphrey Carpenter, a biographical account of the group of Oxford Christian friends that met together, centred on Tolkien, Lewis and Charles Williams. I am, as anyone who knows me well knows, a long-time lover of the works of Tolkien and Lewis: I fell in love with Narnia as a child, and fell in love with Jesus as represented by Aslan, connecting to Him in a way I could never connect to the rather boring figure in my Sunday School lessons. Later I read, and loved the space trilogy, and as a brand new Christian in my teens I devoured his theological works, starting with Mere Christianity. Although there are issues where I definitely part company with Lewis (purgatory, the role of women, his position on creation/evolution etc – on the last I am more conservative than this man of my grandparents generation) he shaped my foundational thinking in many ways, making me very much an Anglican, albeit a different type in some particulars. And then Tolkien – I enjoyed the Hobbit, but it was just another book for the most part (and I read everything I could get my hands on) – it was LOTR that won my heart and captured my imagination with its imagery of absolute courage and humility and devotionlived out in the context of things that truly were high and wonderful. Charles Williams? I tried reading one of his books once, but I didn’t really get it, it was like reading a poem whose imagery compels your attention, but you don’t have a clue what it’s about, or why it matters so much.

Lewis is the centre of the book, and rightly so, for he was the centre of the group, the one whose enormous gift for friendship held the whole thing together. I have read other biographies of Lewis, but this was different because it was less interested in the isolated facts of his life and more in seeing him through the lens of his relationships with others. Fascinating, but left me pondering a couple of things:

1. The misogyny of these people. Oh, they weren’t anti-women in any nasty patriarchalist sense, and much can be explained simply in terms of their being the products of their particular time and culture, where academia was still very much a boys’ club, but still .. They took for granted that intellectually stimulating rich and fulfilling world of male conversation was precisely where females didn’t belong. Ok, that’s going to get up my personal bristles, because my best friends (mainly male, I must confess) have always been precisely the sort of people with whom I can talk for hours in exactly that way, and the men I have had the most trouble relating to are those who feel awkward with a woman whose conversation isn’t all domestic and girly. To be fair, I have no idea that anyone at the time felt excluded in that sort of way, but it conjured up memories for me of all the times I have felt brushed aside and excluded from what interested me most precisely because I was a woman. So maybe it’s more my issue than theirs ..
2. The apologetics are dated, the works of imagination don’t date. Not that Lewis isn’t still worth reading, and his continuing sales attest to that, but the parts of his writing that are most defensive and argumentative have worn the poorest, whereas, even in his non-fiction, the parts where the poet breaks through stay undimmed, for instance that beautiful sermon, “The Weight of Glory”, whose last part still moves me incredibly every time I read it and helps me treat my fellow human beings with a little more reverence. But then, I have a theory (based on the not-so-weighty evidence of my personal reactions!!) that head-stuff, valuable and important though it is, (and I’m not knocking or demoting it) needs to be constantly refreshed not to grow stale and same-old, whereas heart stuff keeps its freshness from a deeper spring.

What do you think ..

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rejoice in the Lord ..

Let Him be to you as a star is to the darkness
Let Him be to you as a hand stretched holding yours
Let Him be to you as a blanket to the shivering
Love comes gently.

Let Him be to you as the wind that shakes the dead leaves
Let Him be to you as the medicine you need
Let him be to you as the challenge you must answer
Love calls firmly.

Let Him be to you as the partner of your dancing
Let Him be to you as the rhythm driving song
Let Him be to you as the plummeting of gannets
Love laughs wildly

Be Thou My Vision

a lovely version of one of my favourites

Friday, September 12, 2008

And Spring Shall Come

Spring has been a little late arriving this year:

And Spring shall come.
Surely, as His promise, though it be delayed;
With the fragrance of flowers
And the miracle of blossom
Dry wood brings forth beauty
And our sleep is put aside.

Surely Spring shall come.
Faithful is His promise, though the night is long.
Love shall greet the barren,
And the frozen heart
Thaws to sing His melody again
The night is put aside.

This, our Spring shall come.
He, Himself our promise, though our faith is small
Wonder of His radiance in a world re-made
All our tears
Wiped by His hands in star-stopped tenderness
And death is put aside.

The Empty Ones

Not sure where this one suddenly came from, but it's a terrible picture ..

They dance the dance of loneliness
The ones with bitter eyes
They smile the grin of circling sharks
Whose teeth are pointed lies
Where truth’s too sharp for clumsy hands
They simply improvise.

They walk beneath the blessed sun
And do not feel its light
Sharp through the shadows of the heart
In gloried hardness smite
They only moan and close their eyes
And seek the old respite.

They run from pain, but pain pursues
And will not give them peace
They seek the darkness like a friend
But find no true release
Only the dreams to nightmare bent
Till even dreams must cease.

Even their hearts to stone have turned
Only the ache remains
Shell of the things that might have been
Forge of their chosen chains
Love poisoned into dead desire,
Wisdom become inane.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Psalm of an Abused Woman

I have watched the sands sinking
Through the hourglass of life
And my own hope drained away.
Betrayal that goes to the bone:
Heart knit to heart now bleeding
Haemorrhaging faith.

I have felt the waves wash over me, the salt of soul’s destruction,
While your words beat against my ears
No longer tuned to you,
But hearing just the buzz-saw as you sliced me up.
I have felt my very limbs go limp:
Muscle melt against muscle with no force to hold them up,
While the poison of condemnation
Turns all strength to sickness.

I know myself as nothing,
And go down into the dark.

But the light shines in the darkness
And the darkness has not overcome it.
And He who became nothing
Is here where you cannot go.
Saviour, Lover, Deliverer ..
He cherishes my tomorrows
Which you had ground down to dust.

I shall awake in His likeness
Fully, fully satisfied ,
My bare heart overwhelmed.

He shall give me strength where I have no strength
And His song shall light my way.
He has called this worm to be warrior
And His weapons are Light and Truth.
I shall strike down the lies that you told me,
And laugh in the shining hour.
I shall dance on the grave of my heartbreak
Fully loved .. at last!