Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

The Beatbox Nativity

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Contemporary yet scriptural, dear reader, I give you TyTe and The Beatbox Nativity.

and, for those who like their greatest story ever told live and unplugged, the Nativity Rap live and on location.

TyTe (aka The Reverend Tyte) is a vicar at Uplyme Church in England and was a professional beatboxer before being ordained seven years ago.



Achieving spiritual efficiency through prayer macros

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Simply arrange with God ahead of time that when you recite the prayer macro, it will be understood as a recitation of the longer prayer in full.”

A great morning coffee splutter from the funny if not quite scriptural Achieving spiritual efficiency through prayer macros.

(Hat tip to Tony Jones.)

Desparately seeking Samaritans

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Just heard this story on Rhema news and was disappointed by its timeless similarity to Luke’s story of the Good Samaritan

“It’s not an easy life for a person with an intellectual handicap, particularly if they aren’t severely handicapped, because they realise what is going on, and they realise they are different.  And it’s not easy being a parent or having a sibling that’s intellectually handicapped, because of these incidents that are happening. […] And what were these people who walked past him thinking? What sort of person would walk past someone sobbing on the street?”

Many with intellectual disabilities do realise what is going on and do realise they are different.  Is it their lot to spend their lives dealing with a society seemingly incapable of bridging the gap and simply meeting them where they are?  Surely we are better than that?


A Harvest Of People

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

For all my friends  – especially those celebrating Thanksgiving today – I’m blessed to know you.

Let us give thanks for a bounty of people:

For children who are our second planting, and though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where their roots are.

Let us give thanks;

For generous friends…with hearts…and smiles as bright as their blossoms;

For feisty friends, as tart as apples;

For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we’ve had them;

For crotchety friends, sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;

For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn, and the others, as plain as potatoes and so good for you;

For funny friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes;

And serious friends as unpretentious as cabbages, as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as dill, as endless as zucchini and who, like parsnips, can be counted on to see you through the winter;

For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time, and young friends coming on as fast as radishes;

For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts and witherings;

And finally, for those friends now gone, like gardens past that have been harvested, but who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter.

For all these we give thanks.

A Harvest Of People by Max Coots


The Money Lenders & The Temple

Monday, November 14th, 2011


A little light web wandering this evening brought me to this pointed observation by Scott Paeth.

“It’s always instructive to see how religious heirarchies are likely to respond to movements for social change. Religion is often, though not always, a conservative force in society, so that militates against the possibility of Anglican officialdom siding with the Occupy movement. But beyond that, it seems that religious leaders only really start to lead when they’re forced to follow the most radical implications of their traditions. And it’s fortunate that there are many Christians in the square outside St. Paul’s who are more than happy to remind the men in the great big building behind them that the building itself was erected in honor of a man who overturned the tables at the temple, who preached good news for the poor, and who died horribly at the hands of the representatives of the official party line.”


From How Radical Can An Established Church Be?

If you click through, do listen to the excellent Woody Guthrie track embedded in the same post.


Pulling things to pieces

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

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Arriving home last Sunday and keen to make the most of the early summer sun, I whipped up a ‘whatever is left in the fridge’ salad and headed for the deck.   Munching away, I was keen to read Frederick J. Tritton’s The Discipline Of Prayer (Pendle Hill Pamphlet No.42) but couldn’t get past this passage on the first page:

We are critical and analytical, rather than appreciative and creative, and this tendency at its worst leads to a habit of pulling things to pieces, including other people’s reputations. Some persons simply cannot resist it, and we are all to some extent infected by the complaint.

While I am not conscious of pulling anyone’s reputation to pieces, I am indeed infected by the same complaint.  I am keen to pursue a simple faith which I can model to others and yet I am often too vocal about my struggle with much of the stuff that ‘religion’ and ‘church’ tends to involve.   On occasion, I find myself over-analysing and criticising rather than being conciliatory and appreciative and I spend a good deal of time wishing I could be more constructive and creative.

I want to be involved in a faith community and be part of seeking a way to tackle the issues that seem to plague ‘church’ as we commonly see and experience it.   However, I struggle to reconcile my belief in God and my faith with the doctrine and the orthodoxy of mainstream religion and I find myself failing to exhibit the behaviours I hope to see in others.  Unlike Paul in 2 Corinthians, I seem unable to find strength or, indeed, even grace in my weakness.

That said, I pursue and seek answers in scripture for, while it is the source of the limitless interpretation, literalism and biblicism that abound, I believe that it is through understanding it better in my own context that I will progress in my journey.

I also read a good deal of non-fiction works on faith and religion to increase my understanding and Tony Jones has recently blogged about two titles which have caught my interest and which I will add to my reading list.  The first is The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture by Christian Smith and the second The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited by Scot McKnight.  They won’t provide the ultimate answer – of that I’m certain – but they may help with the next step of my walk.


Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!

Monday, October 31st, 2011


Callum & Fiona McKinlay, OMF missionaries who have recently returned from Taiwan, spoke at our church yesterday.  Having spent years reaching out to blue collar Mandarin speakers more used to the oral tradition than reading scripture, Callum demonstrated the storytelling methods he uses to share his faith.  He told the story of Jesus healing the paralysed man (Mark 2:1-12) who had been lowered through the roof by his faithful friends.

After telling the story, Callum asked us to chat to those seated next to us and consider any new insight that we gleaned through hearing the story.  Most of us commented on how hard they had worked to bring the man before Jesus and how He healed the crippled man by forgiving his sins in response to his friends’ faith.

It also occurred to me that a crippled man such as this, living 2000 years ago, would have probably lacked the benefits of medical care and basic hygiene. This being the case, he may well have been lying in his own waste for years and it struck me that this could also be a metaphor for what we strive – and sometimes struggle – to leave behind when when come to faith.

While exegesis can be enlightening and knowing a bit of Greek and Hebrew help unpacked a verse or two, nothing beats a good story told well.  As for the paralysed man, wouldn’t you love to know why he hurried away without so much as a ‘thank you’?

While driving

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011


My prayers – and the ways in which I pray – are many and varied but increasingly I feel drawn to the ‘expectant silence’ of Quaker prayer I grew up with.  Driving to work today after the excitement and drama of the long weekend, I was trying to still my mind and ‘wait upon the Lord’.

As I came to the top of the hill, a movement on the other side of the carriageway caught my eye.  I glanced across and saw a clutch of tiny ducklings were frantically running in circles on the edge of the road.  Snatching a second glance, I saw what I knew I’d see next – their mother’s body lying smashed on the white line a little further along the road.

I couldn’t help but feel for the orphaned ducklings and, as my heart softened, I immediately realised that I was being presented with two distinct pictures.  The first, a stark snapshot a sacrifice made so that others could live; the second, a metaphor for how we often behave, running around lost and bereft without a guiding presence.

As I drove on, I thought of a worship song lyric I’ve often sung – ‘break my heart for what breaks yours’ – and I realised I had been taken at my word, my heart breaking for His sacrifice and our need for Him.  More and more, I am drawn to conclude that my faith journey is experiential above all else.

Water Woes – update

Friday, October 14th, 2011


Yesterday, prayers were answered when we received an email from the mission team in Thailand.

They are all well and have moved from Mauk Lek back to Bangkok without incident and avoiding the areas worst hit by flooding.  From the brief email we have had, it seem that despite the weather and floods, they have been able to carry out the work in the slum schools and AIDS orphanage as planned.

The team will now head to a small resort area in the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park (above) to debrief, rest and recuperate before flying home next week.

Water Woes

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Life’s full of irony.

Considering the impact that the weather is having around the PacAsia has given me reason to pause and ponder on how much I choose to ignore when I am not involved or impacted in some way.

Here in the rural north of New Zealand, we have thoroughly enjoyed the spring sunshine of recent weeks. Today’s rain is an answer to prayer as it is filling up our rainwater tank and postponing the almost inevitable need to pay a water carrier to top us up as supplies run low into the summer.

Meanwhile, our Pacific neighbours to the north on Tuvalu, Tokelau, Kiribati and Samoa are experiencing the worst drought for many years, brought about by La Nina.  In recent days, ship-borne water deliveries have been sent from New Zealand and a joint Anzac operation is flying desalination units to the worst hit areas.

This evening, as we said grace before dinner, our prayers are with the people of Thailand, as flooding brings widespread havoc and loss of life to the country and its neighbours.That said, I can’t help wondering how much attention we would have paid to this news were our daughter Robyn not in Thailand on mission with KingsWay School.

Having received texts from the team this evening, we know they are safe even if a couple of them are sick and we will continue to pray that things improve – but wouldn’t it be great if we cared as much without our loved ones being involved?