Life

Confused World

I have been watching with concern and bemusement the attempts of our government to halt the execution of two Australians in Indonesia.  My hope and prayer is that they succeed even though this seems very unlikely.  However, this situation highlights the inconsistency of our society.  While huge efforts are being put into saving these two, thousands of unborn children are murdered every year without the legal challenges and TV and newspaper headlines.  The moral outrage at killing two Australians doesn’t match our government’s efforts with asylum seekers in detention.

The 6th Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” is a declaration of the importance and value of life. It reminds us that humanity was created in God’s image.  In the words of John Donne, “Any man’s death diminishes me.” Human life is precious but governments and corporations have devalued them to “economic units”.  Movie producers and and game designers have made death a form of entertainment.  Even religions murder others to advance and justify their beliefs. Worse still, we have come to believe many of the corrupted messages that swirl around us today. In my naive and simple way I believe it is time to reclaim two truths: 1. Humanity was made in the image of God (a huge discussion just by itself!) and because of that, 2. Human life is precious. If we believed that passionately it would change the tenor of our discussions and behaviours.  Our view of others would begin to change and our view of ourselves would change.

As a Christian I understand that only the Holy Spirit changes hearts but we have a challenge and responsibility to remind ourselves and the world what a gift life is.

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Categories: christian, Christianity, Church, community, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

Life’s Paradox

Paper thin,

weakest link,

hair’s breadth.

Unexpected.15307337839_d8ec5dd5f7_z

Always present.

The certain

uncertainty of

our time

and timing.

The

“are we there yet?”

of life.

 

In the midst of

this ambiguity

there is

a hand that

upholds and rules

so that every

tear and worry,

fret and angst,

burden and hassle

disappears.

Categories: christian, Life, Poem, poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Living Backwards

Old family

My mother”s family at the time of the Great Depression

– but the Kingdom

will not come that way

My mind has occasional bizarre flashes of thought. My family would say they are more than just occasional. I thought the other day, that if I had lived backwards in history, in other words, if after having been born in 1950 I lived my life in reverse, I would be in 1887 now. I would have met my great grandparents, lived through two world wars and a great depression, gone through the period when penicillin was invented and the days before cars and planes, back to a day when many children died before they got to five years of age.

On reflection, I am happy that I went forward in history. I had an opportunity for a good education, good medical care, I providentially missed the draft to go to Vietnam, I haven’t been involved in any world wars, and the Global Financial Crisis, awful as it is, still pales before the Great Depression.

How thankful am I? Are we? Do we expect things and take life for granted? I must confess that I often do. It takes my little flights of crazy fancy to be reminded that we live, particularly in Western countries, in a very blessed time in, so many ways.

Probably the key area where we miss out today is the level of Biblical faith in our society. It is, on the whole, not a time of revival no matter how much we sing about it. How cool it would have been to have listened to Whitefield or Jonathan Edwards (there I go again -but that is more than a reversed lifetime away!) well at least Spurgeon. So as good as life is, there is that foundational area of faith where it could be much, much better.

As a chronic nostalgic I have to be reminded, and maybe we all need to be reminded, that I/we have a place and purpose in the present. This is where God wants me to be to serve Him and His Kingdom – even  (or especially, because) the level of Christian spirituality in the West is in decline. The Kingdom is still growing and still coming even if we in the West have ridiculed and devalued the idea.

It is fun to let your mind wander but it is even more exciting to prepare for the King!

Categories: christian, Christianity, Faith, Life, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Paddle Steamers to iPads

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Today my wife and I went for a short cruise along the Murray River from Mildura on a hundred year old paddle steamer. It had plied the waters as a working steamer until it was put out of business by the railways in the 1920s. In the 1970s it was reinvented as a tourist attraction. That was providential because usually that is not the case. What ever happened to pagers, record players and tape decks? In teaching I have seen spirit duplicators, ink duplicators, 3 stage photocopiers, photo copiers that copied onto strange grey photo sensitive paper, black boards and fountain pens all disappear into museums.

A few days ago I was tidying up my garage (a genuinely scary experience) and I came cross my first laptop – a 486 with Windows 3! Does anybody need an anchor for a small boat?

I was 6 years old before TV came to Australia and we had to make phone calls through the exchange. We were that old fashioned we had a two piece telephone hand set . Now people get annoyed if you don’t respond immediately.

Paddle steamers to iPads – where will it all end?

Even though I am an early adopter with a lot of technology (except mobile phones) I still enjoy seeing and touching the old. On my desk I have an old black Remington typewriter and a black Bakelite phone. But I must confess to being unfaithful because they sit next to my laptop and iPad. To sum up, I like the new and the old. Just let’s not forget how the new got here – via the old.

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Directions to … or for?

I saw this sign in Norway:

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Something Lighter

Yesterday I placed a John Calvin quote in my blog. However today I want to share a delightful scene I came across in Stockholm a few weeks ago. If you watch through to the end, the clip finishes with a Swedish version of a line dance!

 

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Some (lighted hearted) Observations Made On OurTrip – So Far

1. On our journeys we have come to the conclusion that it was an EU directive that every Pole acquire a semi trailer. Why else would there be on many on European roads?
2. It is a rule, it seems, that every Norwegian must own a tractor. If he or she can’t afford a tractor, a small digger will have to suffice. If you see the amount of snow in Norway, this rule explains itself.
3. In Spain, every male over 70 must drive a Max car. This 2stroke machine has a top speed of 35 kph. It may only be driven on bike tracks, back roads, suburban streets, highways – in fact wherever they wish, especially during peak hours.
4. Another rule seems to be that every Dutchman must have two bikes – one for home and the other to strap on the back of the camper ( not a prerequisite but highly encouraged).
5. The traffic lights in France are only suggestions. Often they don’t work, so why bother to obey them anyway. The local councils also have a programme to make them as inconspicuous as possible.
6. Indicator lights on Saabs do not work in Sweden. Amazing as it may seem, I have only seen a slight flicker from one light – and that may have been the sun’s reflection.
7. You know it’s cold when the skidoos are parked next to the house and the trailers have skis.

You may have “observations” to add.

Categories: Life, Reflections, Travel | 1 Comment

Photos and Memories

Leafing through photos
jolts the memory
of past pleasures and friends,
even family from
times before my time.
The snap brings
fleeting sparks
of jumbled feelings and
uncertain emotions:
yearning and longing.
 
Old friends,
Long gone family,
Special moments,
Celebrated occasions
all swirl about
in sepia, black, white and faded colour.
 
But I can’t live there.
That land is beyond reach.
Today and tomorrow
beckon and demand.
Work, appointments,
even celebrations call.
All fodder for
future memories
of past pleasures.
Categories: Family, Life, Poem, poetry | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Snails: They Creep Up On You!

Snails: They Creep Up On You!

Snails! This morning I was planting some flowers. I had a tray of them sitting on the ground and while I was taking one plant out of its pot and putting it into the soil I noticed a snail slowly slithering up the side of the tray. I made a mental note to deal with it when I had an opportunity. However, I forgot about my house toting friend. A long while later I came back to the tray and noticed that he had made his way up the side of the tray to one of the flower pots and was having brunch -being about 10:30 am. I won’t mention what I did next in case I am reported to the RSPCS.

I continued planting (like the snail I am doing it slowly as my back is complaining) and I started reflecting. My lack of initial action is often the way we deal with problems and other issues in our lives. We think to ourselves the issue isn’t big and as I have other things to deal with I will leave it on the back burner until later, only to find that before we know it, it has become a large issue and impacts our lives in a considerable way. Depending on where our weaknesses are, it could be anything from white lies, to pornography or petty theft at work to gambling, procrastination(oops) to gossip. At this point you can insert what trips you up …

Experience tells us that dealing with our foibles early is the wisest path. It saves us from greater pain, embarrassment or struggles further on. Seeking forgiveness, actively putting behaviours or actions behind us, is the healthiest action. If we are not careful, initial foolishness can become an addiction or a pattern of behaviour that is hard to shift. What “snails” are creeping up in your life? Excuse me now I’m off to get some more snail bait.

Categories: Devotional, Faith, Life, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Hip Aches – a lamentation

Hip aches.
Shoulder twitches,
Fingers creak,
Eyes falter,
Back tender,
Arches sore.
Getting older is a pain
or numerous pains.
 
 
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come …
Categories: Life, Poem | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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