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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Courage does not eliminate anxiety...

The title of this Post is taken from the Christmas letter from Brother David Steindl-Rast.

"Courage does not eliminate anxiety, but bears it without fear. The opposite of fear is trust. If in the midst of anxiety we trust in life, life will lead us through any tight spot into a new birth. ...

We must distinguish between fear and anxiety: Anxiety is unavoidable in life; fear is optional. Yes, we can choose between fear and courage. Fear puts up resistance against anxiety and so gets stuck in it; courage accepts anxiety as a given and confidently passes through it. This doesn’t mean that the anxiety is now gone. Courage does not eliminate anxiety, but bears it without fear. The opposite of fear is trust. If in the midst of anxiety we trust in life, life will lead us through any tight spot into a new birth. Experience proves this as we look back at anxious moments: The more frightening the anxiety we had to pass through, the more liberating the new life that emerged."

I highly recommend reading the rest of this letter. See it here.

Friday, December 25, 2015

If you were God...

If you were God and decided 
to come in the flesh to make your love for the world tangible
I bet you wouldn’t choose to start with 
an insignificant, unmarried, village girl 
and get her pregnant! 
Especially when that would cause huge scandal in the community 
and especially when the wrath of the paranoid ruler meant 
the little family had to escape the country.

Which just goes to show that we are haven’t a clue 
about what God is up to most of the time! 
That’s cause for hope... and anticipation of what might happen next!

If you have five minutes of quiet reflective time today Click here to listen to this beautiful piano and cello rendition of O Come O Come Immanuel

We sing this every Sunday during Advent but change "Israel" to "Ponsonby" (where our Church is). Try inserting  the name of your location or city. Here are the words of the first verse:
O come O come Immanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Have a Happy Kiwi Christmas

What a fabulous country we live in - and how privileged we are to enjoy it. These photos have all been taken in the last two days.
On the roof of the ASB in Orewa

Pohutukawa and interesting sky on my morning walk

Muriwai Beach with Gannet nesting rocks

Sunflowers in Wintergarden Auckland Domain

My felt Nativity set made by people in Kyrgyzstan 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Planetary tipping point in the right direction

The Paris climate summit has achieved an historic level of agreement among world leaders. We live in this "tipping point" time. Let's take seriously our individual responsibility as well as watching what our current government will do to action what they have agreed to.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw says:
"The Paris Agreement commits all the countries of the world – including New Zealand – to bring their domestic policies in line with a goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C.

“All eyes are now on the National Government to see if it shifts its stance on climate in line with the deal,” said Mr Shaw." The link to more of what he said is here.

Another useful article from a NZ perspective is here entitled NZ Falls into line on 1.5 degree climate change target

I'm well aware that this is just the beginning of a long process of significant change. And I don't have a lot of confidence in this government (to put it mildly!) However, I do think this is an exciting time to be alive and see "people power" in action. I'm sure the millions of people marching, sending petitions, using social media to spread the word... have been a very big influence on world leaders.