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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Break Free from Fossil Fuels

This two minute video is an inspiring reminder that we can work together for change.
May 2016: Break Free from Fossil Fuels: Join a global wave of resistance to keep coal, oil + gas in the ground.

Among various other protest actions here in NZ several ANZ banks had to close for the day because of non-violent protests outside their doors. I didn't join a physical "sit in" but I did protest by changing all my banking from ANZ to Kiwi Bank. I mentioned this in earlier blog posts here and here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The world in faces

An Australian photographer (Alexander Khimushin) has made it his mission to travel the world - especially to off-the-beaten-track places - and photograph people's faces. Click here to see dozens of the amazing results.
As he says: "With more than 7.3 billion people 
and countless cultures and traditions 
the world is a beautifully diverse place."

Monday, May 23, 2016

The man who knew infinity

I've just come back from seeing this excellent movie. I highly recommend it.
You don't have to understand mathematics to find this an inspiring film. If you like true stories, unlikely friendships, the ability to cross cultural and religious barriers, the beauty in numbers expressing "a thought of God"... then go and see it!

Click here for a longer review from the Spirituality and Practice site.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Life as a Pilgrimage

I've mentioned previously that I am currently in the process of reviewing my past journals before disposing of them. (Incidentally they will be turned into re-cycled paper or cardboard - a death and resurrection even for old journals!) The David Whyte poem below came my way via a six week event on the Gratefulness site. As I listened to David Whyte speaking his own poem I recognised how beautifully is expresses what I am discovering as I look back over the previous decades of my life. The title Santiago refers to the well known pilgrimage often called the Camino, which ends at Santiago. Click here for more information.


The road seen, then not seen, the hillside
hiding then revealing the way you should take,
the road dropping away from you as if leaving you
to walk on thin air, then catching you, holding you up,
when you thought you would fall,
and the way forward always in the end
the way that you followed, the way that carried you
into your future, that brought you to this place,
no matter that it sometimes took your promise from you,
no matter that it had to break your heart along the way:
the sense of having walked from far inside yourself
out into the revelation, to have risked yourself
for something that seemed to stand both inside you
and far beyond you, that called you back
to the only road in the end you could follow, walking
as you did, in your rags of love and speaking in the voice
that by night became a prayer for safe arrival,
so that one day you realized that what you wanted
had already happened long ago and in the dwelling place
you had lived in before you began,
and that every step along the way, you had carried
the heart and the mind and the promise
that first set you off and drew you on and that you were
more marvelous in your simple wish to find a way
than the gilded roofs of any destination you could reach:
as if, all along, you had thought the end point might be a city
with golden towers, and cheering crowds,
and turning the corner at what you thought was the end
of the road, you found just a simple reflection,
and a clear revelation beneath the face looking back
and beneath it another invitation, all in one glimpse:
like a person and a place you had sought forever,
like a broad field of freedom that beckoned you beyond;
like another life, and the road still stretching on.

from David Whyte’s collection Pilgrim

Friday, May 13, 2016

Be your own tree

On my walk yesterday I took a photo of this lovely old tree in a dark corner of a park:

I've always loved trees and the way they stay rooted where they were planted in all weathers and all seasons. There's something re-assuring about them "just being there" and adapting to the conditions, bending with the wind, clinging to the cliff - whatever it may be.

I'm in the process of reviewing my past journals (with the intention of saving the good bits and throwing out all the past agonising!) Today I came across this quote from Thomas Merton:
"A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying him. The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like him. This particular tree will give glory to God by spreading out its roots in the earth and raising its branches into the air and the light in a way that no other tree before or after it ever did or will do."

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Two fascinating books

At first  glance these books have nothing in common. And when I started reading them I didn't expect them to. But it has occurred to me that in their own way they both point to seeing "the world" in a new way. For Sally Ride it was seeing the "world" she lived in (earth) from outer space. For Bradley Jersak it is seeing the "world" of Christian faith from a far deeper perspective than most of us were taught. So - a "higher" perspective on the physical dimension of the universe and a "deeper" perspective on the spiritual dimension.

I'm still reading both books but here's a taster from each will help you see what I mean. 
After her first mission in a Challenger space shuttle in 1983 Sally writes:
"I remember the first time that I looked towards the horizon. I saw the blackness of space, and then the bright blue earth.. And then I noticed that right along the horizon it looked as if someone had taken a royal blue crayon and just traced along Earth's horizon. And then I realised that that blue line, that really thin royal blue line, was Earth's atmosphere, and that was all there was of it. And it is so clear from that perspective how fragile our existence is. It makes you appreciate how important it is to take care of the atmosphere. ... It's everything that separates us from the vacuum of outer space. If we didn't have that atmosphere, we wouldn't be here, and if we do anything to destroy that atmosphere, we won't be here. So it really puts the planet in perspective."p163

It's harder to pick one quote from Jersak's book because it covers so much and is so well developed from one topic to another. Essentially the title declares what he explores in every chapter: What if God is exactly like Jesus? Then he faces into all the difficult questions most of us have heard (and asked!) - what about the violence and genocide seemingly ordered by God? What about the images of punishment for those who "don't believe"? What about the idea that Jesus died to satisfy an angry God? Doesn't the Bible often talk about "the wrath of God"?  I am enjoying the way he writes with these questions taken seriously and respected. Simultaneously he builds his response very carefully with a vast knowledge of early Church fathers and Biblical scholarship. Somehow he does all this while keeping the book within reach of the "ordinary" reader. 

A quote from the back cover: "What is God like? Toxic images abound : God the punishing judge, the deadbeat dad, the genie in a bottle - false gods that need to be challenged. But what if, instead, God truly is completely Christlike? What if his love is more generous, his Cross more powerful, and his gospel more beautiful than we've dared to imagine? What if our clearest image of God is the self-giving, radically forgiving, co-suffering Love revealed on the Cross?"

You can read more about both Sally Ride here and Brad Jersak here.