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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I received this in a regular email from Charter for Compassion. It sounds a good thing to sign up for - so I have! (Note that it is free.)

May 4th: Tutu Global Forgiveness Challenge will help you discover how the act of forgiving can bring more love and peace to your life. When enough of us forgive – we can change the world!
Sign up, and starting May 4th you’ll receive a daily inspirational email from the Archbishop and Mpho Tutu, with a link to join their online forgiveness community. Inside, you’ll get:

  • Daily exercises to teach you how to forgive anyone for anything.
  • Extraordinary stories from ordinary people who have been transformed through forgiving or being forgiven.
  • Interviews with the world’s top forgiveness experts, great spiritual leaders, and well-known celebrities, including Alanis Morissette and Arianna Huffington.
  • Community support from people just like you who are trying to live a more forgiving life.
  • And it’s free!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sons of Gallipoli

Chris Skinner, well known NZ singer/songwriter and Marist Priest, has written a very moving song called Sons of Gallipoli. Here are the words:

We sang —God of Nations at thy feet—
As we stood on that sacred shore
With a heartfelt pride
Somewhere deep inside
For the sons of Gallipoli

We sang —E Ihowa Atua—
From the place they call Anzac Cove
We gazed out to sea
Where our home would be
For the sons of Gallipoli

How still you lie
And how still you die on other hillsides.

We sang —hear our voices we entreat—
As the wind blew from off the sea
With a tearful sigh and the question why
For the sons of Gallipoli

We sang —God defend our free land—
And for all whose lives are torn
With one voice implore
No more talk of war

For the sons of Gallipoli

To hear the song you will need his CD's You Raise Me Up or Serenity. (Or if you read this before Sunday 27th April come to Ponsonby Baptist Church where it will be played as part of the service!!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Resistance to being free…?

This morning I listened to a Podcast from the excellent site On Being. If you have 50 minutes to enjoy some very stimulating Midrash on the Exodus story with a Jewish woman scholar and author click here. (Hint: I listened while I did the ironing!!) The psychological, spiritual and current political dimensions of this story were opened up for me in a way that makes me want to find out a whole lot more about Jewish Midrash!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Flowering the Cross and Feasting

At our church (Ponsonby Baptist) we have a lovely Easter Sunday ritual of Flowering the Cross: adding flowers and signs of new life to the cross at the front of the church. We also have a "feast" - celebrating the joy and community sharing of resurrection day. These photos give a feel for the joyful, interactive celebration this morning!

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Good Friday Walk

I went for a leisurely meditative kind of walk this morning, glad for a sunny day after cyclone Ita's rampage yesterday. I soon came upon trees in Long Bay regional park that had been battered by the storm. Five of them had been stripped, scarred or broken off in the wind.

As I wandered round the roped off area and took some photos an elderly local man joined me. He surmised that the rangers would cut down the whole group of trees. "Well" he said, "it's a process... life, growth, aging, decay, death and re-cycling. All the elements will be returned to the earth. Nothing wasted." I said that was an apt Good Friday/Easter theme: life, death and new life for us too. "My wife believed that," he said rather wistfully as he wandered off.

Another symbol greeted me as I walked back down the drive at home:
New life growing out of a drain surrounded by concrete. Nothing wasted! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Death is...

I was listening to an interview between Tami Simon and Ariana Huffington (of Huffington Post) this morning when this line really struck me. Ariana said:

"I think of death as dropping off my rental car and flying." 

What a wonderful image - especially as we enter into Good Friday and the Easter events.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Noah - the Movie

I had mixed reactions to watching the movie Noah last weekend.
First of all, sitting through the pre-show programme of other movie trailers was a horrifying experience.  They all seemed to be about terrifying and violent "end of the world" scenarios. I don't know if they were chosen to "match" the Noah movie, but whether they were or not I was sickened to think that this is the onslaught of images general movie goers are subjected to.

Then the movie itself: as a story in its own right it was gripping, well acted and engrossing. For anyone who didn't know (or care) about its accuracy to the Biblical narrative it would probably score as an action packed movie with some good moral themes. It certainly raised issues that are very contemporary - like the way we ravage the planet, the violence and selfishness of humanity, that "the axis of evil" is within all of us (as the movie Noah himself realized) and that love and mercy win out in the end. Watching it with Easter approaching it also shows very clearly a death and resurrection motif.

But I was disappointed that the movie was, as one review said, "loosely connected to the Biblical account". Yes, very loosely in places. One major aspect of the movie plot  revolved around Noah's three sons and whether or not they had wives… and when children were born (on the ark) what might become of them. I won't give too much detail if you haven't seen the movie yet! But none of that was  consistent with the Biblical narrative.

Key to the movie plot were the "watchers" which were an attempt to give life to the  mysterious Nephilim of the Genesis account. To me these were overdrawn and almost ridiculous.

Noah's concept of God and what God was asking of him was interesting to say the least. But I have to agree that we really have no idea what was going through Noah's mind so maybe…

And the way the movie maker coped with keeping all those animals in the ark was a stroke of convenient and creative genius!

Having said all this you may think I would not recommend the movie! But in fact I do. I was engrossed... saddened and  challenged by its parallels in our own day... and sent back to Genesis 6-9 once again to check out where it connected and where it diverged from the Biblical account.

And in case you conclude that I am a Biblical literalist - I'm not. I don't necessarily think the Genesis account is historically factual and "really happened". As a perceptive child once said: "A myth is a true story that never happened." But since it is a sacred story in the Jewish scriptures I would have preferred that the movie stayed closer to that version of the "true story".

If you want another take on this movie click here for a review on the Spirituality and Practice site which I found helpful to read prior to seeing the movie. That review also gives a lot more about the writer, producer and actors.