30 October 2010

Brooke Fraser Flags: Concert & Album

Just so you know, I'm going to Brooke Fraser's concert tonight at The Civic on Auckland's Queen Street. That's after a day leading a quiet spiritual retreat and just before heading across the street to watch the rugby match between NZ's All Blacks and Australia's Wallabies.

I'd say that was a well rounded day seeing as how I should get a walk in at Long Bay under the pretense of praying as I walk. There may even be a gelato at Giapo's after the rugby.

Check out Brooke's new album, Flags either at Warehouse for NZ$21.99, online or via iTunes.

Watch the behind-the-scenes video of the making of Flags on C4 with Something In the Water as the soundtrack.

Scoop reports that,
"‘Flags’ has debuted on the New Zealand national sales charts at #1 today outselling its nearest rival four to one. As an added bonus, the first single ‘Something In The Water’ also reached the #1 spot today after threatening to go to pole position over the last two weeks. Both the album and single have already been certified gold.

And the good news doesn’t stop there – Brooke’s New Zealand charts top an incredible week of results for her from around the world. ‘Flags’ has also debuted on the Australian chart at #3, her highest debut to date there, while ‘Something In The Water’ has been receiving airplay across all major radio networks. In the US and Canada ‘Flags’ entered the itunes album chart at #4 and #2 respectively.

‘Flags’ is Fraser’s third studio album and follows the 2006 release of ‘Albertine’ which also debuted at #1, achieving 5 x platinum sales in New Zealand. Her debut album ‘What To Do With Daylight’, released in 2002, also went to #1 here and has gone on to sell over 8 x platinum status."

Just a quirky glimpse in to Brooke's personality as she answers questions on her blog:

Q: What’s a shadowfoot? I think that’s the only thing in your songs I have absolutely no interpretation for? Actually I think I have one but I’m not sure, can you clarify? – Ashley
BF: This is C.S. Lewis’ influence on me. The song ‘Shadowfeet’ was inspired by his wonderful book ‘The Great Divorce’ and in particular the following passage:
“Will you come with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?”

Q: When you have sung any particular song too many times, does it lose meaning for you? How do you ’save’ that song? – Anonymous
BF: Some songs fatigue quicker than others and I’d rather not sing them anymore but know that people still want to hear them. Other songs still feel very raw and potent to me, as if I just wrote them. “Arithmetic” and “Albertine” are songs like that for me. Every time I sing them I must go back internally to the place from whence they came.

Q: I have to ask what is the meaning behind the song “C.S. Lewis Song?” It is one of my all-time favorite songs but I have been curious as too the meaning behind it and if it’s related to C.S. Lewis or a personal experience in your own life. – Trey
BF: The first line is a Brooke-ified version of C.S. Lewis’ own words:
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
This quote summarises the song. The rest of the lyric is all mine, but I couldn’t think of anything to call it, so gave Clive the nod he deserved.
FYI: Brooke's dad was an All Black, back in the day, before they made as much money as they do now.

29 October 2010

New Zealand Keeps The Hobbit, & the tourist dollars!

Filmmakers Sir Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh have thanked the NZ Government for stepping in to make sure the filming of The Hobbit movies stays in New Zealand.
The NZ Herald quotes a press release from their company Wingnut Films stating they are "thrilled" the production is remaining in New Zealand, Sir Peter and Ms Walsh say: "We are grateful to the Government for introducing legislation which shall give everyone in the film industry certainty as to their employment status.
"This clarification will provide much needed stability and reassurance for film workers as well as investors from within New Zealand and overseas."
The Government has agreed to up to $34 million in tax breaks and help with marketing costs, as well as an urgent change to labour laws after two days of negotiations.
Sir Peter also thanks Warner Bros and New Line Cinema for "their continued commitment to New Zealand" and the "film technicians, actors and fans who came out in support".
To the thousands of people who took the time to write and let us know they were with us - thank you. It made all the difference."
All partner parties supporting National in law change
Meanwhile, National has support from all its partner parties in moving to clarify industrial relations laws within the film industry, Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

Peter Smith, writing from Sydney for the Financial Times says, "The $500m being spent on the production of the Hobbit films could be worth an additional $1bn to the economy, according to Cameron Bagrie, economist at ANZ, the bank. The first three films made almost $3bn at the box office."

The Lord of the Rings films, the first of which was released in 2001, displayed New Zealand’s breathtaking natural landscapes and spurred tourism’s growth.
Government ministers have said that the films, based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien, were a factor in close to 10 per cent of tourists coming to the country.
“Making the two Hobbit movies here will not only safeguard work for thousands of New Zealanders but it will also follow the success of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy in once again promoting New Zealand on the world stage,” John Key, prime minister, said.

Commenting on Newstalk ZB, Kerre Woodham said that the jobs generated by the film industry were the best sort as they include make-up artists, construction workers, lighting technicians, caterers, truck drivers . . . . across the board opportunities for the regular person. It's not just about the headliners and big name actors.

Fran Walsh
Born in Wellington, New Zealand, screenwriter Frances (Fran) Walsh has a parallel career to that of her longtime partner, director Peter Jackson. The two met in 1987, during post-production for the gross-out cult classic Bad Taste. Previous to that, she was a musician and scriptwriter for television shows. The two collaborated on the bizarre puppet movie Meet the Feebles, with Walsh contributing to the script and the score. They then teamed with writer Stephen Sinclair to craft the splatterfest Dead Alive, which remains one of the most gruesome comedies in history. Taking a major turn, their next film was the psychological drama Heavenly Creatures, a poignant story of a destructive friendship based on a true story. The film won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. All Movie Guide NY Times

28 October 2010

Wisdom, tucked in nicely.

"You have a disagreeable duty to do at twelve o'clock. Do not blacken nine and ten and eleven, and all between, with the color of twelve." George MacDonald


In a dialogue between Father Tim and T:

T took a drag off the cigarette and exhaled. "So tell me somethin'. Goin' back to bein' broke, how come you ain't broke?"
"I am broke. What I've found in being a priest is that we're all broken. Fallen is perhaps a more scriptural concept, but usually what falls get broken, so it's all the same."
p 271 Jan Karon, in HTHS

27 October 2010

Trust: Valuable & Fragile

A comment by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche neatly encapsulates the repercussions of unethical communication,
“What upsets me is not that you lied to me; it is that from now on, I can no longer believe you”
(cited in Johnson & Phillips, 2003, p. 22).
While lying may be common and convenient, it critically undermines community between and among people.

26 October 2010

Fiddler on The Roof Author Dies

I sang in Fiddler on The Roof when in elementary school.
I remember it as being fun, with engaging characters, funny names & catchy tunes.

Later, I absorbed more of the pathos of the storyline when I heard it again as an adult.

It is not often that someone writes something that can be hummed decades later by people around the world.

'Fiddler on the Roof' Author Dies at 98. NY Times link:  http://nyti.ms/97E58C

25 October 2010

A Blend of Things You Love?

My friend Rachael pointed out this example from CakeWrecks, a blog dedicated to real cakes that are often hard to believe.

I really have no other appropriate comment for this photo.

Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Horribly, Hilariously Wrong. Check daily for light humour.

22 October 2010

Identity: Formation or Evolution?

Who we are is not necessarily who we will always be. Drastic and impressive change can take place in a person's life, often as surprising to the person as to friends and family. Some change is incremental, evolutionary and happens over time. Other change is transformational, relatively sudden and from the inside out.
• any process of formation or growth; development: the evolution of a language; the evolution of the airplane.
• a product of such development; something evolved: The exploration of space is the evolution of decades of research.
• a process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change or development, as in social or economic structure or institutions.
• a motion incomplete in itself, but combining with coordinated motions to produce a single action, as in a machine.
None of us are done yet, whether the change to come is incremental or transformational.

The following shows a snippet of change over time in the life of C.S. Lewis. See the links below for more biographical information.

The atheist scholar who became an Anglican, an apologist, and a patron saint of Christians everywhere.
by Ted Olsen in Christianity Today

January 1, 2000

"He was a heavily built man who looked about forty, with a fleshy oval face and a ruddy complexion. His black hair had retreated from his forehead, which made him especially imposing. I knew nothing about him, except that he was the college English tutor. I did not know that he was the best lecturer in the department, nor had I read the only book that he had published under his own name (hardly anyone had). Even after I had been taught by him for three years, it never entered my mind that he could one day become an author whose books would sell at the rate of about two million copies a year. Since he never spoke of religion while I was his pupil, or until we had become friends 15 years later, it would have seemed incredible that he would become the means of bringing many back to the Christian faith."

Even to his best biographer and longtime friend George Sayer, Clive Staples Lewis was a surprise and a mystery.

As J. R. R. Tolkien advised Sayer, "You'll never get to the bottom of him." But understanding or even fully agreeing with Lewis have never been prerequisites to enjoying and admiring him.

C.S. Lewis as tutor:
You Are There

The tutorial was a formal occasion. Wearing a gown, a pupil would stand outside the tutor's door and wait until the clock struck to before knocking. Jack's door, like all the doors in New Buildings, was thick, but, through it, one could easily hear the strong, booming voice say, "Come in." The room was adequately, but rather shabbily, furnished. On one side of the lovely eighteenth-century fireplace in which a coal fire would be burning during cold weather, there was a sofa upon which he sat; on the other side, there was an armchair for the student.

The tutorial always began the same way: The pupil would read the essay that he had been told to write the week before. Jack, who would have spent some time that week reading the books with which the essay was concerned, would sit listening, very often lighting, smoking, and relighting his pipe, and perhaps making a few notes. Afterward, he would make wide-ranging criticisms, some of them semantic or philological, for he always hated the inexact use of words.

"What exactly do you mean by the word 'sentimental,' Mr. Sayer?" he might begin. Then he would present a summary of the ways in which the word had been used in the past, perhaps adding, "Well, Mr. Sayer, if you are not sure what the word means or what you mean by it, wouldn't it be very much better if you ceased to use it at all?" …

Everyone recognized the breadth of his knowledge. He was widely read and had a remarkable memory that enabled him to quote at length from any author who interested him and even from some who did not. No pupil of his will ever forget the way he quoted the poetry he enjoyed.
—George Sayer, Lewis's pupil and, later, biographer, in Jack: C.S. Lewis and His Times

For more information:

Into the Wardrobe: The C.S. Lewis Web Site http://cslewis.drzeus.net

C.S. Lewis Mega-Links Page http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ26.HTM

C.S. Lewis Foundation http://www.cslewis.org

21 October 2010

Humour, at what expense, or whose expense?

Humour is a delicate thing.
Cross-cultural humour is often funny, especially when it is between countries who like to make fun of each other. The video below is from an Australian show, Rove, making fun of a New Zealand programme.

Paul Henry was a local morning show host in NZ, as the video explains. After a string of socially offensive comments and resulting complaints, he's no longer hosting. Pushing the boundaries often increases ratings, but we ought not to push them too far.

Question #1: What' too far? Question #2: Who decides?

(Watch 'til about 2:15 for the Paul Henry Moustache-gate clip.)

20 October 2010

World Statistics Day?

Go figure.

           Sorry, couldn't resist.

It is a day mandated by the United Nations. How does one dress for such a day?

New Zealand's Statistics Minister, Maurice says
"Statistics are important in informing decision making and measuring both the country's progress, but the growth of global development.

"Government uses official statistics to help make decisions around where and how to invest in public services. Statistics also help measure the success of those decisions."

And ministers use statistics to hide the really appalling way they are run a country.

"They also record our past and tell the story of our country," Mr Williamson says.

They can certainly be used to tell stories.  

My book club will discuss Freakonomics tomorrow. I'm amazed at how the same set of numbers can be used to arrive at hugely different conclusions, often depending on the agenda of the manipulator, uhm, I mean commentator. 

19 October 2010

Capetown 2010

"Reconciliation is a lifestyle and not a program or project."

Antoine Rutayisire, Rwanda

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Making a Mess and Meeting God

Books that make life, family, faith and maturity seem tidy and smooth sailing along a charted path are just not believable.

Life is rarely neat, tidy or smooth. Who was it who said, "The most important lessons are not learned during the happy times."?

Books like Mike Yaconelli's Messy Spirituality and Mandy Smith's messy approach to active faith development and exploration are much more to my liking.

'Making a Mess and Meeting God' can be found via Standard Publishing and more discerning bookstores.

  • A useful tool for leaders (worship, arts, young adult pastors) looking for creative worship ideas.
  • Incorporates questions for reflection with each essay and experiment.

18 October 2010

Variety is Good, even in Worship.

Why would we think that God created us all as individuals, but then expected us all to relate to Him in exactly the same way?

We have different interests, different talents, like different flavours of ice cream, music and activities . . . . . that is what adds the richness and interest to the human race.

As I travel, I meet people who think their way of worship or of connecting with God is not only best, but the only right way. "And people with any sense would agree with us."

I know of a few local congregations who think their fellowship are the only ones going to heaven. If you consider that their numbers are usually less than 50 people, then they must not have taken in to consideration the vastness of God's preparation, the scope of His Majesty, the reach of His hand, the . . . no, there is much they haven't taken in to consideration.

I assume they think that eternity with God will be with people just like them who are doing only the things they like . . . in fact, an eternity that is very much them-focused rather than God focused. Hmm.

Am I sounding a bit arrogant in suggesting that they are wrong?

15 October 2010

Forgot the Maps!

I forgot to download Australian maps for my trip to Sydney and Brisbane.

There was a time when you just hoped for a map at an Info Board on a main street with a little pointer that said "You are here!" I love it when there are free maps available that are bordered by ads and list all the "Must See" sights or attractions. Some even have little symbols for housing, food, fuel, wildlife, museums, etc. These maps I'm referring to are on paper. They don't require batteries and you can fold them up and put them in your pocket, only pulling them out unobtrusively when absolutely necessary so as not to look like a tourist.

Now, in this new-and-improved era, we have electronic tracking devices that tell us where we are and will draw a line from there to where we'd like to be, if we can input that info into the device so it can bounce it up to a satellite and back again. A low orbit satellite will be as close as 100 miles near.

Well, I forgot to download maps for this area. These maps would show me the streets, points of interest (POIs), and distances between things. As it is I have isolated POIs just sitting on a field of beige with the East coast of Australia showing me how far I can go 'til I get wet, but that's it.

When I pack I also organise things in to zippered bags so as to keep related items together. I have one bag just for ailment/injury related products, another for pens, pencils, clips and such, and another for cords, cables, batteries and plug adapters.

When I first started traveling on my own, about 25 years ago, I usually carried a flashlight, and sometimes a battery powered radio, but that was about it. Now I need a phone charger, iPod cables, GPS cord ... and more cords and cables if I take my laptop. I no longer need a Palm Pilot in addition to my phone, or tapes and CDs to go with a Walkman. Soon I won't need printed books, but will need another charging cable for a Kindle or iPad.

Things change. Some change is for the better. Much is not.

When I think of early adventurers and the concept of traveling light, I sigh heavily. I may be disillusioned by the perceived romance of travel by sea, stagecoach or camel. Some of the stories I read forget to mention the length of the caravan, how many camels, porters or trunks, but if they had a silver tea service int he dessert, it had to get there somehow!

Part of the challenge is to remember that traveling by car often means you can take as many bags as will fit inside or on top. Travel by air means there are times you must lift or carry those bags yourself, thus the need for discernment in eliminating bulk and weight.

Maybe it is that the destination is desired but the journey is sometimes just too hard these days? If that's the case, then I'll need Star Trek's "Beam me up, Scottie." Or I should just buy what I need when I arrive in a new place, then I won't have to carry stuff.

14 October 2010

Reasons & Excuses

What is the difference between reasons and excuses?

13 October 2010

Insiders & Outsiders: Pt 2

Who are the outsiders? Who are insiders? Who formed the boundary and who maintained it?

How would any of these people feel in your organisation, your church or on your turf?

In preparation for talking to insiders about outsiders, and how outsiders view the machinations of churches and organisations that have forgotten why they exist, and are evolving into self-perpetuating shells of their intended organism ...

Refugees are often considered outsiders.
They flee from a threat and are in a liminal limbo for many years. Sometimes they are in a UN camp. Other times they are at the mercy of the local community where they've sought refuge. They have few or no rights, are perceived as taking jobs from locals and live off the leftovers and crumbs of the insiders.

Eventually they are processed like forms, products or animals and sent to a host country to resettle. There they are outsiders as they learn the ways of that new place. Many of them remain as outsiders for a generation or two, until the younger ones grow up as natives, lose their accents and lose their refugee identity and stigma.

The Church labels outsiders as the lost.
I don't think the lost would like that label or would choose to apply it to themselves. They know where they are and are often quite content with the status quo.

We often begin conversations with these outsiders, knowing exactly where we want the conversation to end up; with a conversion. We are even prepared to put the words in their mouths, often having them already printed on cards or on the inside of our Bibles.

That's not a conversation and it is often not very respectful. Many outsiders view it as manipulative, arrogant and rude. Conversations are about listening and being truly interested in what is being said. Conversations are about mutual give and take, respect and appreciation of the dignity of the individuals involved. Conversations should not be programmed, strategised, counted or rated. They are organic, as unique as the participants and the ingredients of the day.

We should leave a conversation considering what we've learned, not debating about whether we got it right or made a good case.

If we were tuned to the love God felt for that lost sheep in Jesus' story in Luke's Gospel, we'd be more anguished over God's concern for what He'd lost, than we are anxious over winning a debate. Labelling and loving are worlds apart.

12 October 2010

Insiders & Outsiders: Pt 1

In preparation for talking to insiders about outsiders, and how outsiders view the machinations of churches and organisations that forget why they exist and evolve into self-perpetuating shells of their intended organism, I've been listening and reading.

Reading can be a form of listening, if you truly tune in to the viewpoints of the writer or the quoted third party.

Prayer can also be listening, but often it's more of a wish list gone awry. But then again, using the word prayer is a way of talking to insiders, those who speak the language of religion. before it was called prayer, it was called "talking to God." Actually it was crying out to God.

Well, what we have recorded in the first written testament of the Christian's Bible is that in Genesis 2 & 3, Adam & Eve walked with God and talked with God and everything seemed pretty informal and nice.

It's only in Genesis 4 that they started calling out to Him. That to me suggests some distance, but I'm only reading it in English cause I don't know Hebrew which seems to be the language God spoke to Adam & Eve.

The other listening I've been doing is called eavesdropping. I'm not sure if it is polite or not, but people talking loudly should expect to be overheard. In cities, people live in very close proximity to each other and seem to carve out their own idea of personal space. They talk on their cell phones with seemingly no consciousness that other people can hear them.

How horrible it would be for permission to be granted for people to use their cell phones in airplanes! No way to get away from the shouting gossips who think everyone else wants to know everyone else's business, even if they have made up more than half of what they are telling!

I digress. There I was talking about the benefit of eavesdropping and then I complain about loud conversations in public transport! Fickle me.

A Hangover
Listening in to guys bragging about their last night of partying, and the horrific hangover that followed, suggested to me that the partying was okay, the hangover was miserable, but the retelling of the story is great fun. The process of the story being laid out also told me a great deal about the temperaments of the guys at the table. The storyteller was constantly checking to see if the others were hanging on his every word. The polite friend smiled and nodded and made a good audience. The other friend offered to go for drinks, food or whatever was needed. Hmmm.

Outside a Pub
A group of friends collected on a corner outside a pub. A couple met and greeted a guy who came on his own. Then another couple came and two ladies ambled up. Some of the group went inside to see if there was a table ready. Two ladies stayed outside and had a whispered conversation about the night before. Seems there had been a sleepless night due to anxiety, paranoia, and a busy mind. A comment about monitored drinking coupled with fatigue left the sleeping potential of the next night in doubt.

Taxi Drivers Awaiting a Fare
Then there were the taxi drivers gathered on a corner near their long line of idle cars. The smoke curled up in to the air, as did their complaints of boredom, money worries and lack of prospects. Much of the conversation was in English, but the accents varied in thickness of origin.

Who were the outsiders? Who were insiders? Who formed the boundary and who maintained it?

How would any of these people feel in your organisation, your church or on your turf?

11 October 2010

Friends or friends?

There's virtual reality.

Then there's augmented reality.

This cartoon illustrates distorted reality.

A Facebook friend, in contrast to a friend you can easily reach out and touch, is unlikely to come help you change a tire, hand you a tissue or bring over dinner and a movie.

Just like television, the Internet can cause us to limit our perspective to the size of our monitor screen.

09 October 2010

SP. Magazine: On paper & online.

Check out SP. Magazine.

They even let me have a little slot to tell a story about a conversation.
A search for truth that fit the reality of everyday life, and a conversation about faith over a cup of tea.

Integrity can be elusive, but the pursuit of it is worth the effort.

08 October 2010

Storytelling requires . . .

Check out my friend Tash's video treatment of words in the context of storytelling. A clever take on an important and enriching component of conversation and life.

Pay attention to more from Tash in the sidebar of Conversation@Intersections where her clickable blog updates show up in brief.

07 October 2010

Story: Your Story

Are you your story? Is your story you? Parts of the whole; bits and pieces that, assembled together create a picture. How much of that picture is designed and how much

"Grasping the significance of Story is like finding the jigsaw puzzle box cover and glimpsing the potential of the pile of pieces to turn into a coherent picture. Using this metaphor, the short stories we write about experiences are parts of the big Story of Self. A sense of Story pulls our “little s” stories into alignment and sharpens their focus while also connecting them together.'

"Like soup, Story has no boundaries or form. It can start anywhere and fills the chosen container. It can be told, tailored to the time available, written or filmed. It can be shared, or appreciated in isolation." Sharon Lippincott Inspired by Christina Baldwin’s Storycatcher.

Read more on Sharon's blog,
The Heart and Craft of Life Writing, shared with me by my friend at In The Life of a Busy Woman.

Book recommendation: Read Dan Allendar's, To Be Told: Know Your Story, Shape Your Future

06 October 2010

Mystery Shoppers: $25 a Service

You've heard of mystery shoppers who are hired to visit a business and test the service? Well, what if that were to happen in a church?

In pursuit of frank conversations about faith, churches and well-meaning Christians, Jim Henderson hired Matt Casper to visit churches with him and fill out a survey.

Matt was paid for it so it was a job, with expectations and structure.

While we may not like the process, the conversations that followed or the perspectives gained from the study, integrity requires us to consider the validity of Matt's words. See the link at the end of this post.

I love the Church. It is the organism or organisation that Jesus left here on Earth to accomplish His purposes. What we think of Church may or may not be what He had in mind, but I'll hold out hope that we can get it right and that authentic biblical community will refresh people wounded by the world in which they live.

So I do not read such books as Jim & Casper Go To Church with much relish. I do read them though, and nod my head, knowing that many of the things Matt says are reasons my brother, my friends and coworkers give as reasons to leave religion behind.

I do read them and wonder why we exact honesty from leaders and organisations elsewhere, but rarely think we can scrutinise long held traditions associated with the Church.

One of the problems with the Church is the same problem the Israelites had while Moses was up on the mountain hearing from God. It is easier to function in the here and now than it is to contemplate what might be and all the potential variants of that future. "Let's just focus on what we've got in our hands and find ways to program things efficiently." I think it's a control thing, in a way.

Another problem with the Church is that it is full of people like me. I'm good at some things and much prefer to do those things rather than the things I'm not good at. It is very easy for me to get out of balance, exercising certain muscles while neglecting others.

Teaching and organising believers is easier than responding appropriately to the messy spirituality of those who are outsiders or new. Focusing solely on benevolence produces more impressive stats than leading people to self-sustaining maturity. Ivory towers are tidier than the dark alleys. Suburban congregations are often more predictable than edgy church plants.

None of the above examples are necessarily more important than the others, it's just that we can so easily get the focus wrong, get the balance wrong. How can we remain holistic, with clarity in the big and long term vision? How can we keep our heart beating in rhythm with that of Christ who disdained popularity, power struggles and prejudice?

How can we make sure that if Jesus were to come to our places of worship as a Mystery Shopper, He'd feel welcomed even though disguised as an outsider, and He'd feel worshipped, honoured as Lord and Head of the Church?

For gleanings from Jim & Casper Go To Church, check out this link from Raw Religion.

05 October 2010

Accountability: Mutually Beneficial

Bouncing ideas off each other is often thought of as a collaborative practice, but it's also good for accountability, for checking to see if our ideas are really the best way forward.

I've had good friends ask questions at just the right time to help me see something I was ignoring or unaware of. Very helpful! It's good to have friends challenge us before we do something dumb, rather than our critics make a big noise after we've misbehaved or underperformed.

“Every day men fail morally, spiritually, relationally, and financially; not because they don’t want to succeed but because they have blind spots and weak spots which they surmise they can handle on their own. They can't. And they lose their families, their businesses, their jobs, their . . . ." p 336 The Man in the Mirror, Patrick Morley

Choose one of the following quotes or proverbs as a reminder to yourself to ask advice, seek accountability or include someone else in your thought processes toward decisions.

Ehare koe i te ringa huti punga. ~ Maori Proverb

It is no little thing, o arm, to haul up the anchor!

Try hauling it up with one arm. You can do so, but it is a real struggle with many setbacks.

Ehare taku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini. ~ Maori Proverb

My valour is not that of the individual, but that of the multitude.

No one can survive alone.

“Iron sharpens iron.

So one man sharpens another.”

Proverbs 27:17

The life which is unexamined is not worth living. Plato

Two heads are better than one!

For more on what the Bible has to say about mutually beneficial relationships, see Galatians 6:1-2, Philippians 2:4, John 13:34, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, Proverbs 27:6, and Proverbs 27:17.

04 October 2010

Praise God, they didn't all make it!

What could the aliens learn about us from our e-mails?

What do ya reckon?

Is that where they all end up?

Are we adding to the ether clutter?

What if we were to read them all out of context, and not only the ones to ourselves?

Hmm, I'm grateful I don't have to answer all the lost ones.

01 October 2010

Twitter's Humourous & Clever Side

Wondering what Twitter's all about?

Ok, maybe you're not wondering but could use a laugh anyway?

While the Tweets on the following link are not necessarily typical of the business types who use Twitter for financial advantage, they are fairly typical of the people who try to fill in the boring gaps of the day or who think outside the box and want to connect with others who do too.

So click, read and walk away having had a glimpse into Twitter, Kiwi-style.
Tweets of September, Editor, Cate Owens, who said, "This month was all about life's facepalm moments. Enjoy!"

Sleeping Rough


How would my grandparents have responded to the idea of hundreds of young people in Indiana sleeping in cardboard boxes through a cold Fall night to highlight the reality of homelessness in their community?

How would pioneering Aucklanders view leaders in Auckland sleeping in a covered carpark overnight to raise money for those who sleep rough most nights of the year? bigsleepout.org.nz

I'm not saying these initiatives are a bad idea. I'm just saying they are ideas of our times, they are experiential initiatives to not only aid the uncomfortable, but to involve the comfortable.

Having traveled in several impoverished communities and countries, I know we are often made uncomfortable just by seeing poverty, and comparing the foreign reality to our own.

Taking into account the degrees of poverty, the fear and vulnerability that accompany poverty, we must acknowledge that there is no strict dichotomy between poverty and wealth. It is more of a continuum not easily delineated by an outside judge.

You may have heard stories of people who stand outside their burning home grateful that they had each other, that no one had been physically hurt or killed. You may have visited villages where the people seemed to have nothing, but were joyful and content. You may have seen photos of boys playing soccer with a ball made of tightly wound plastic bags, yet they played as if it were a World Cup event!

We can compare similar sized earthquakes in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and in Christchurch, NZ, and see the difference in the scale of devastation in buildings and infra-structure. What we cannot see is the fear and the insecurity of the people who survived these terrible disasters.

I've traversed an odd path from kids sleeping in refrigerator boxes in Indiana to people's homes collapsing around them; from professionals sleeping on hard ground to people who can trust the ground upon which they stand.

I think my original point was more of how my grandparents would gladly have given money to the poor rather than go out and find a box of their own for a temporary solidarity.

Maybe it is that solidarity that people are looking for. Maybe that's why we go on benevolence trips and organise concerts, because we are after the community of experiencing things together and expressing ourselves together, and feeling part of something bigger than what our meagre monetary donation might suggest.

Aucklanders: Join the LIFEWISE BIG SLEEPOUT on October 14.
Sleep rough for one night and taste the reality facing Auckland’s homeless.