Less is enough?


The last time I allowed my lifestyle to be drastically changed as a result of my belief, it wasn’t a happy outcome. The church I thought I would help out by quitting my demanding job for a less demanding one, turned out to be less than impressive for the leadership it had (or lacked).

And so when I heard the guest speaker (Jonathan Cornford of Manna Gum – www.mannagum.org.au) in church yesterday, my mind found the message and the speaker’s life work very attractive but I felt more needs to be done in terms of verifying a whole range of matters. The Q&A session following the sermon proved my hunch right – a well-known scientist (Ian Hoare Lacy) asked questions suggesting there’s another side to the coin.

And yet it makes a lot of intuitive sense, that there is a lot of excess around us. The investment consumption model of economy has been stretched so badly I think there is more than a contorted sense of utility now. I have been so guilty of this too and at the very least, I have to re-examine my latest habits and sense of values and recalibrate them.

A case in point was on Friday night. Tress and I, together with the Chew’s, checked out a joint off Burwood Highway, a few shops away from Zagar – the very nice cosy little steakhouse we liked. The food was quite good, it was a nice place but the service is of the sort one needs to get used to. The “maître d” spoke like one of us (ie Malaysian/Singaporean descent) and yet when Jason tried to be friendly and asked where she was from, she appeared to be offended, guarded and gave a non-answer (“New Zealand” – no disrespect intended for that lovely place). Short, stocky and motherly, the potential for a quick tempered mum type of character very quickly disappeared when she began bad-mouthing Zagar’s proprietor. Business rivalry I can understand but this sort of unguarded polemics took off by surprise.

The place however was a little pricey for a suburban joint. Not unreasonably so I have to say… until that is, I heard Jonathan Cornford yesterday…

On Sat after sleeping in and a home brekky of coffee and toasts, Tress and I walked to a couple of house auctions near our home. After that we did the usual rounds of errands, lunched at Madam K’s, then went home to work on the garden. We kept going till about 6pm, then went for a movie.

Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg’s “2 Guns” was clever, funny and full of full on but fun action. Bill Paxton put in a convincing performance as a nasty off the wall violent CIA bad hat (literally). It was probably a cheesy offering but after sitting through a very bad Bruce Willis-Ryan Philippe- “50 Cents” offering of “Set Up”, “2 Guns” looked all class in comparison.

Last night as we sat at home, I visited Manna Gum’s website, read several articles and got a bit more informed and interested. I also looked up the Footscray Church of Christ website (Jonathan Cornford goes there) and realised then that some Asian churches such as Lifegate Church of Christ, FGA Melbourne and “Life Solutions” Church in Vermont, bear prominent sections of their “Senior Pastor” – big glossy pictures and deliberate write ups of their bios. I don’t know why they find it necessary to portray themselves as somehow the prominent characters of heir local church. John the baptist’ call for Jesus to be bigger while the messenger becomes smaller, is somehow unheeded.

It’s a weekend of re-thinking some important things I guess.

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