Mene Mene Tekel Parsin


I used to be appalled by graffiti. And then for a little while I thought maybe I was just wasn’t sophisticated enough to appreciate this sort of stuff, because some people think this is street art. I guess it ceases to be street art when the medium of such artistic expression is either private property or public domain with scarred aesthetics. When something previously beautiful is defaced it ceases to be artistic, even assuming such acts can be termed artistic, as opposed to a nasty tendency to be rebellious and express such tendencies in an in-your-face yet cowardly but provocative manner.

I was following some reactions to the Federal Court judgment against Andrew Bolt, when I stumbled on this marvellous blog entry which cited the work of Mark Steyn in relating the example of graffiti as a symptom of western civilisation decay. The juxtaposition between the Old Testament story relating to Daniel’s interpretation of the Babylonian King’s message of doom on the wall and the modern day disease of graffiti, was a joy to read. I must list this book (After America: Get Ready for Armageddon) under my wish-list basket in Amazon.com.

I must however, make room for singing the praises of Melbourne in approaching this issue, albeit only as a compromise. A couple of years ago Kiddo, Tress and I were wandering in the city one day and Kiddo (the official city guide for us) took us to that infamous street where graffiti covered the every brick of all walls lining that street. Personally to me it was grotesque. We took some pictures, with half of me glad that such “freedom” existed in my home city but the other half cringed because in that same block and also for blocks surrounding that area, beautiful buildings, courtyards and public squares abound. The compromise I guess is in letting these tormented souls release the ghosts within the deep recesses of their beings in a way which engages the support, consent and approval of owners of buildings otherwise considered defaced. I guess some would say they can see beauty in such expressions and some would welcome such activities by these people and not try and “turn them around”.

Ah well, I blame it all on post-modernism. Again. Nothing is right or wrong anymore. All must be respected. All must be given their say and corner in this world.

Advertisements

Footy Grand Final (Cricket after – yay!)


As is often the case, Greece stands as a focus of world attention. If the Germans didn’t agree to prop it up, it was going to unplug the sinkhole for the rest of the world. Or so it appears. Maybe it is just the big German banks which needed protection.

While Europe worked overtime to prevent a crisis, down under we’re all working overtime to prepare ourselves for something far more important – footy Grand Final. I think it was Bob Paisley who said football isn’t about life and death – it is far more important than that. It felt like that once or twice last Friday when the Hawks went agonizingly close to beating the zebras to stake a claim for tomorrow’s big one. As it turned out, we couldn’t get that one goal we needed and went down by just 3 points, to see Collingwood line up against Geelong tomorrow.

I guess I will take a couple of hours off to watch the game at home, busy times notwithstanding.

I have an essay assignment due middle next week, but had to also prepare the home cell meeting tonight as well as prepare a presentation for a Christmas missions launch on Sunday. It all required a bit of ground work and not helping is a busy office – a colleague is away on medical leave, leaving only 2.5 staff to carry the work, which meant I have been busier than usual.

On top of all that, there has been a slew of meals planned with different people and I have been wondering what to cook and all that. Also, the storms recently mean the garden was in a mess and although I spent a couple of hours last weekend cleaning up, the continuing storm meant all that work would have to be repeated some time in the next few days.

All of that would have to be parked aside though – to honour, (no longer “One Saturday in September”) the climactic end of what has been a really interesting footy season. Bring on the cricket!

Fast Food Faux Faith


A few months ago I read somewhere that a wave of sophistication has been generated in relation to our eating preferences. Apparently we now prefer to eat much better and opt for gourmet styled, local produce focused, slow cooking and true to good flavours and nourishment type of eating, as opposed to quick and easy fast food choices.

That was all before the current economic gloom descended upon us courtesy of Christine Lagarde and the greasy Greek pole of public debt of course and I’m not sure if this cloud of economic uncertainty will swing things back down the simple and cheap mode of eating or dining.

Good food takes effort and time. It is good for us – more enjoyment, better nourishment and health, and easier on the environment. The benefits are thought to be worth the additional effort and time.

I think like good food, many other good things take time and effort. So this article in the Patheos Blog on “watered down evangelicalism” resonated with me and I thought I’d cite some extracts here, and have that article.

If we can muster enough concentration power to read past 120 or 160 characters (or whatever the length of texts tweets or text messages permit), hopefully we can work our way through this one, which I think is so very relevant.

Hopefully the following highlights/extracts help:

Open hearts, open minds, open doors,” or “open, progressive and inclusive.” These type phrases are filled with considerable cultural codes which say many things about many things, but precious little about the Christian gospel.

Evangelicals have become experts in finding a thousand new ways to ask the same question, “What is the least one has to do to become a Christian.”

It is wrong to try to get as many people as possible, to acknowledge as superficially as allowable, a gospel which is theologically unsustainable.

We disguise our lack of theological reflection by our constant commitment to “relevance” or saying that we are reaching people “where they are.”

I sincerely believe the youth of our times want, deserve and will appreciate strong foundations and will come to appreciate that such sure footedness require more than a quick turn of phrase the social media real estate currently permits us.

I hope we all get to read the article and see the need for good theological educating.

 

 

Cape Town Commitment


The Cape Town Commitment is set out in a 49 page document, something many of us struck with the modern disease of not reading anything more than 120 characters, would probably find a tad too long to plough through.

Perhaps for this reason this summary has been produced and at the least, all Christians, particularly leaders, ought to read. Hopefully we get to the full document as well but this should be the very least start.

Like many Lausanne Movement statements however, this commitment struck a chord with me in every single statement professed.

Why then hasn’t it had more traction here in Australia? Is it because our church scene mimics the American scene somewhat and our idea of global Christianity is really more American/UK/Australian Christianity?

In the context of the diminishing importance of the Christian faith to the society in these countries, this would be most ironic. If we really are attuned to what God is doing in this world today, the Lausanne Movement must be heeded ever more closely than before.

Scot McKnight thinks American churches have become tribal – only thoughts, movements, trends, people who emanate from America mattered to American churches. I often think Australian churches can be equally “tribal” in our ways.

Mullen Names ISI (Pakistan)


The big wig in the US military is Admiral Michael Mullen. He’s become the first military top dog to publicly name Pakistan as an ally of Islamic terrorists. There has to be a catch as traditionally Pakistan is an “ally” of the west including the US. I guess there is, in the form of Mike Mullen’s impending retirement. He retires next week, and that statement was made in his final congressional testimony.

Why didnt he say something the world already knows, much earlier in his tenure? Perhaps that would complicate his job. He probably had to rely on the Pakistani ISI for all sorts of stuff, regardless of their support of the likes of the Taliban.

I guess sometimes you need to refrain from stating what would have been the obvious, just to preserve the efforts made for the “greater good”. I suppose for all the professed alliance the US never fully trusted the Pakistanis, as the assassination of Bin Laden quite clearly showed.

Perhaps Mullen is simply doing Martin Dempsey, his successor, a favour.

Birds at the G


“C Gulls – 0″ sometimes flash across the screen at the MCG, when occasionally, a seagull gets hit by a cricket ball. Out for nought.

Sea Gull have always been a problem at the G. For the AFL Grand Final this year a couple of wedge tailed eagles would be perched at strategic positions. Apparently they’d work to clear the G off seagulls.

I hope that G would not be bereft of magnificent birds of prey on Grand Final day though – let’s hope the Hawthorn beat Collingwood tonight and ensure the Hawks dominate on Grand Final day. Tough ask but who knows…

Gays May Wed in Tassie


Gays in Tassie can now wed legally. The Greens are pushing for the same thing Federally.

This is just a symptom of a much bigger problem – that of Aussies choosing to be god, and not allowing God to be remain in that role. It is what some of the more old fashioned people call sin.

All other points made ought to be made in that light. Simplistic? Maybe. Can you fault it? I’m not sure.

Gillard and Najib Again


Did I say Julia Gillard is looking more like Najib Razak everyday? Here’s another example.

The Rural Development Fund of Australia has been funneled overwhelmingly to Labor constituencies. Over 70% of the $200million kitty has gone to Labor areas. Pork barreling is no strange deed in politics I guess and the Howard Government was also know to have done this, but I guess, this thread of parallels between these two governments are all too appalling clear to me.

Somehow I find myself switching off anything with Julia Gillard on. This morning in the gym, I was watching the Today Show on the treadmill as always, and the PM was on for almost 10 minutes. I had to switch to Seven’s Sunrise, much to my chagrin, that entire slot. I kept switching back to Nine’s Today and the PM was going on and on without giving any clear or honest answers.

I think her attempts to pin the asylum seeker farce on the Coalition is just shameless. It was all Rudd’s doing and in this matter, quite frankly the Coalition just cannot be faulted. Scott Morrison has been doing a terrific job and he has been the only politician from either side to point out the appalling record by Malaysian bodies such as RELA and the police, in their treatment of asylum seekers.

Although I haven’t lived in Australia all that long, I have lived through the Prime Ministerships of Bob Hawke, John Howard, Kevin Rudd and the current one. This current one is by far the worst I have seen. Get rid of her already.