Monthly Archives: May 2013

Eyes Attuned

If your eyes are attuned, when you travel around France and Spain there are numerous signs indicating the Camino to Santiago. They are on walls, paths and buildings.  They are a silent indication that you are on one of the many paths leading to the Spanish city of Santiago. But I had never noticed them until I had actually gone on a portion of the pilgrimage. After that, I bumped into these signs regularly – I began to notice them. Until I had consciously connected these signs with the pilgrimage, these signs were invisible to me.

We need to have this sense of attunement too, with the representation of Christ in the Old Testament.



The Old Testament, without seeing Jesus is, quite bluntly, a pointless book. The promise of Christ is the backbone that holds the Old Testament together. But when we start to look for him, he is not just in the promises and prophecies, but can also be glimpsed in key people (e.g. Moses – prophet, priest and king), ceremonies and rituals (the sacrifices in Leviticus find their reality in Jesus) and events (the exodus from Egypt and the entrance into the promised land declare so much about Jesus and the reason for his incarnation). The coming of Jesus, and Satan’s desire to prevent his birth is a continuous undercurrent that surges through the highs and lows of God’s people in Old Testament history. What if David had been killed by Goliath or Joseph had been killed by his brothers? What would have happened to God’s promises?

O.k. God is sovereign, yet we see that sovereignty against a backdrop of Satan’s hatred and humanity’s sin. The golden thread that draws the Old Testament into a unified story of God’s salvation history is the promise of Christ – the Messiah.

One other reason for recognising this important truth: it prevents the Old Testament from becoming just another version of a morality tale alongside brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. The O.T goes far beyond “daring to be a Daniel” or “having the courage of David” it is about God and his plans to see the King and the Kingdom come.

A book that does a wonderful job relating Jesus and his kingdom to the Old Testament is Graeme Goldsworthy’s Gospel and Kingdom. It has been around for a while yet it is still a great introduction to open ones eyes to Jesus, his kingdom and the way it is revealed in the Old Testament.

Gospel and Kingdom is a book I have purchased on a number of occasions and yet I don’t have a copy on my shelves because I have given it away or “loaned” it on numerous occasions.

Categories: Bible, christian, Christianity, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

If You are not Dutch you are not …

dutch flagI had intended to meet up with my uncle and aunt and as a consequence I found myself in a country town hall with 150 people dressed in orange clothes.

No, it wasn’t a Hari Krishna gathering, but rather, Dutch people from Western Victoria celebrating their origins with food and festivities in a small town called Timboon. It hadn’t been my intention to go there but that was where my rellies were going to be – the mountain and Mohammed and all that. Behind some trestle tables there was a roaring trade in Dutch foods – soups, bread toppings (Dutchies love there chocolate and candy sprinkles), biscuits and so on.

I knew I was among Dutch people. There were very few “please’s” and “excuses me’s”. Everything was stated in that unnervingly abrupt “take it or leave it” manner – not malicious just matter of fact! It is a way of conversing that makes our German cousins, in contrast,  appear downright warm and friendly.

Some of the people, like me, were very young when they immigrated and yet here they were celebrating the coronation of a new king, doing quizzes about the Dutch royal family and trying to speak Dutch – asking each other what boat they came out on. Yes, most of us were 1950s boat people!

This unexpected experience was a bizarre reminder that our first few years can have such a powerful and life long influence on us. Most of these people have spent the vast majority of their lives in Australia and yet there is a corner of their heart that is always a flat, soggy, tulip infested part of Holland.

Well, I had better put aside the roll mops and zoute drop, find my clogs so I can go out and do some gardening in this blistering 10C heat!

Categories: Family, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Family Disfunction and Teach-ability.

Here are some thoughts I had a while back on the home and its impact on education.

Travels from Ur

I have been reflecting lately on the task of the teacher and how it has changed in the last 40 years. The most dramatic change in that time has been the growing instability of the family. I recognise that the family has always been a volatile place but its volatility has increased markedly.

Let me put my reflection succinctly: unless the child is remarkable, children’s education is radically affected, in a negative manner, the greater the instability at home. If the home is a place of tension, anger, argument and uncertainty, the child’s ability to concentrate at school is adversely affected. There are some children who make a conscious decision to put home strife behind them and work hard at school. However, the vast majority of children do not have the maturity or emotional stamina to achieve that aim.

My challenge is simple ( some may say simplistic) yet profound…

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The Shrew

The shrew,
with her
icy breath
razor tongue
has finally

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The Bible in Music

the ancient faithLast weekend I listened, once again, to Michael Card’s CD, The Ancient Faith, a musical tour through the Old Testament with an underlying theme of the coming of Christ. Even though it is nearly 20 years old it is still a marvelous work for a variety of reasons. Not the least, it honours Scripture.

We have on this album, magnificent Biblical themes which are combined with appropriate and beautifully composed music. To me, it epitomises what good Christian music can be. It would be difficult for a believer to listen to this and not a. worship and praise God,  b. gain greater insights into the Bible and c. be inspired by the love of God.

One way Michael Card does this, for me, is by expressing Scripture from the point of view of  various characters. The most striking is “The Song of Gomer” as she reflects on Hosea’s love. In fact, Gomer’s song becomes our song as we reflect and rejoice in the love that Christ has given us.

If you haven’t listened to this album for while, find it and find a quiet room and a quiet hour or so and let Michael Card minister the Word to you.

What Christian albums speak to you? I would love to hear your responses.

Categories: christian, Christianity, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Cluny Abbey – Christianity from a different era


Cluny Abbey

cluny 2

Inside the Abbey Museum


The Granary is now the Abbey museum

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How Does the World See Us?

I haven’t finished  Brandon Hatmaker’s  book, Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture, but as soon as I do I will write a review. In the meantime here is another challenging quote that forces us to think about what it means to be church.

Guell Park, Barcelona

Guell Park, Barcelona

“Faith can be confusing enough without adding to the mix. Sorting through an unexpected death, processing a tragic natural disaster, or observing evil in the world are things that have shaken individuals’ faith for centuries. People outside the church don’t see hope in a building or a program. They don’t value them like we do because they don’t connect them with a nostalgic faith moment like we do. Culture has shifted. Things have changed. The church is on the fringe of our society, and we need to find new ways to undo the damage to our reputation. We have to change the way we are seen by the world. We have to become good news again.”

Hatmaker, Brandon (2011-11-01). Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture (Exponential Series).  Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Categories: christian, Christianity, Church, Faith | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Three Times Thirteen

May 11th, Our 39th Wedding Anniversary …
and I remembered!

Three times thirteenph9
has no ‘bad luck’ attached
but rather,
showers of providence.
God’s provision and care,
His ‘third strand’
of presence, love
and grace
that kept us
through thick and thin,
sickness and health,
poverty and well …

I joke
that marriage is an institution.
This institution
I am grateful to have entered
with my own free will,
sound mind,
and no regrets.

May we share more,
and the odd game of “Ticket to Ride”
in the time ahead that
God gives.

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True Community and Mission – a quote

“Every time I hear someone teach on the Acts 2 church I wonder what first-century faith community really looked like. I can’t help but think there was something special about it that we’ve missed. It’s hard to imagine a day where people would pool what they had to make sure no one was without. While things certainly look different in our time, it just seems as if we’ve lost a little something. Something tells me community didn’t just fill a need in their lives to connect, it gave them purpose.

A Chess Community in Geneva

A Chess Community in Geneva

In essence, missional community may serve as one of the best ways we can embody the incarnation of Christ — putting on flesh and being Jesus to our world. When we live this out, the focus of the church shifts to hearing and responding to the Spirit. When this is translated collectively, congregations as a whole tend to take more seriously the how and when to engage communities where they live. “

Brandon Hatmaker, Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture (Exponential Series).  Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Categories: christian, Christianity, Church, community, Devotional, Faith, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Carrot or Stick?

Sand Desk at the Jamtli Folk Museum, Ostersund Sweden

Sand Desk at the Jamtli Folk Museum, Ostersund Sweden

Carrot or stick?
Which is
the teacher’s best friend?

A word in season,
A well timed smile,
A friendly nudge,
will melt ice
soften frowns
and make hearts,
minds and hands
willing and wanting
to learn.

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