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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Brother David Steindel-Rast

Brother David is one of my favorite people. Now well into his eighties he expresses a loving wisdom about life that is inspiring, encouraging - and realistic. In a recent trip to Argentina he generously gave a one hour video interview which you can find here.

In it he talks about life, death, faith, faith crises, depression, the gifts of other religions, psychology and spirituality, how to talk about (and talk to) God, his own wish for a "gentle death"… and much more. The interviewer is skilled, and humble in her honest personal questions as well as the scheduled topics. I know an hour is long time when we are used to short sound bites but it is a treat. Much better than an hour of TV!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Love of God...

I woke up this morning with a song in my mind: The Love of God is Greater Far than Tongue or Pen Can Ever Tell. Click here for a lovely You Tube version of it. The verse "Could we with ink an ocean fill…" was said to be found pencilled on the wall of a room in an American insane asylum. This was only discovered when the man was laid in his coffin.

Here are the lyrics:
The love of God is greater far

Than tongue or pen can ever tell;

It goes beyond the highest star,

And reaches to the lowest hell;

The guilty pair, bowed down with care,

God gave His Son to win;

His erring child He reconciled,

And pardoned from his sin.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure —

The saints’ and angels’ song.

When hoary time shall pass away,

And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,

When men who here refuse to pray,

On rocks and hills and mountains call,

God’s love so sure, shall still endure,

All measureless and strong;

Redeeming grace to Adam’s race —

The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,

And were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on earth a quill,

And every man a scribe by trade;

To write the love of God above

Would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole,

Though stretched from sky to sky.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A lot can happen in two weeks!

A few weeks ago I wrote about not "being as calm as I appear" in the process of deciding to move house. So much has happened in the last two weeks. On a Sunday two weeks ago we extended our search for a new home to Orewa - 20 minutes north of here. The third Open Home we visited that day ticked all the boxes we were looking for! It did so so convincingly that we went back the next day with two very helpful nephews-in-law, one of whom is a builder. They agreed it was a great find. So there and then we made an offer (conditional on the sale of our house) which was accepted. It all happened so quickly that it is still hard to believe. Since then it has been a flurry of activity to get our house fully "on the market". A marvellously helpful person from Church did three hours sterling work the day before the first Open Home here last Sunday. Two more Open Homes happened this weekend and about twenty sets of people have come through altogether. No offers yet but hopefully it will all happen just as quickly as ours did when the right person surfaces.

We are already reflecting on how quickly our attention has shifted from wanting to stay in Torbay (where we live now) to being excited about all that Orewa offers. While the Open Home was on here today we went up to Orewa and explored the lovely walkway round a small lake immediately adjacent to our house and then five minutes further on to an estuary walkway and cycle way. I am reminded once again that clinging to the known can so easily prevent opening to new vistas, new adventures. It is a life long lesson to keep learning - for me at any rate! Watch this space for the next episode when our house sells! Then I will add photos.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Compassion Games

In an earlier post (here) I mentioned the Charter for Compassion - an organization set up by Karen Armstrong after her TED talk on her wish for the world to be a more compassionate place. Today's newsletter has some very inspiring stories about The Compassion Games. Here's one excerpt:

"Love wins in the most unsuspecting places. When Rev. Shayna Lester, a volunteer chaplain at the CA Institution for Women, women’s prison heard about the Games, she knew she had to bring it to the inmates.

Immediately the women responded and self organized. They appointed leadership, created “games” and agreed on how they would account for their points. They agreed to play in housing units and identified their teams by color.  They coined the term “Compassionistas” and came up with games like; walk away from gossip, do a kind deed for another, let another go ahead of you in line, share magazines, food, personal items. And because they understand that everyone wins, it was requested that the Compassionistas who played would celebrate on the final day with a thickly frosted cake; a delicacy. And out of respect for the unit with the highest points, the frosting was in the color of that unit. In the history of this (and likely any) prison, during the 11 days of the Compassion Games there were no recorded incidents of violence."

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mr Penumbra's 24 hour Bookshop

I haven't commented on a book for a while so here's a novel I randomly picked up at the library and have enjoyed:
I really liked this quirky book! What drew me in was the mix of an "old world" book shop somehow forming an alliance with the latest digital technology.
Since I still love real books and also enjoy keeping up with the convenience of e-reader, Kindle books etc  this sounded like a book for me. The added touch of mystery, a puzzle to solve and who really would crack the code made it a light hearted but intriguing book. After finishing it I Googled (!) the name of a couple of the key historical characters to see if they were "real" and somewhat to my surprise they were!