Tress away,God isn’t…

It has remained cold. Last week with Tress away I worked later than usual and the days passed easier that way.

I was a little tired when I made my way to the home group meeting, alone, on Thursday night. Towards the end of that meeting as we talked about what was coming up in the next week, it hit me again. Ideologically, this home group is so different from me.

It was the thing about same sex attraction and its related issues. The church was going to focus on this in the last 2 weeks of the month so the bulletin had an intro – to the effect that the conservative view is really what the Bible teaches. That the idea that homosexual practice is wrong is one which should be aired sparingly – because it is merely one view of the matter – would have been odd in an Anglican church, should have by now, been less challenging for me, yet it remains odd for me. Yet there it was – someone in that group thought the bulletin was not appropriately worded for saying God’s way on the matter should prevail. Liberal much? Seems that way.

On Sunday morning however, I felt better as I sat with 2 persons who affirmed for me, that Peter’s sermon had been very good. I felt I wasn’t thinking too differently and therefore, possibly wrong. The idea that I had been so wrong in thinking homosexuality is against what the Bible teaches, would have changed the tone of my weekend, which despite Tress’ absence, had been good.

The weekend had indeed been good. I had struggled through Friday morning, had a good lunch with my boss and colleague and then went home a bit after 5pm, feeling tired but not to bad. After walking the little guy back home, I went to FHC to pick up Kiddo’s new (spare) glasses, as well as some stuff I had planned to cook for a dinner at Jason’s on Sat night. I then went home and watched a movie (Southpaw) that night, alone at home, accompanied by a decent bottle of red. LBJ was next to me right through.

On Sat I slept in a little. It was very cold so I stayed in bed and read the papers on the iPad. When I eventually tore myself out of the bed, I rugged up, made coffee and toasted a couple of crumplets then did some laundry and vacuuming, before going out, wondering what to do for lunch. I texted Tress who suggested Madam K but I didn’t like the idea of driving to Box Hill just to have lunch when it was just me. So I had something I haven’t had for a long time – at the FHC, I dropped into a bakery and bought myself a steaming hot meat pie (!), After a coffee at home I took the little fellow for another longish walk. I then did the cooking – a pulled beef with some roasted pumpkins and capsicum and took it to Jason and Mel’s who were putting on a ridiculous winter in July spread.

My plate of pulled beef, flanked by roasted veges and topped with a chilli I had roasted the veges with, stopped looking impressive when placed on the table. It was lost immediately amongst the ham, the seafood salad, the lamb skewers (Hipos’s dish) and so many other dishes in an array of foods a real, stinking hot Christmas would never see, because this family is often away at that time of the year.

Jason and Mel had invited a couple/family from the old OCF Sydney network. This family lived in Bangkok and was in town to scout around for their son’s university. There were 2 other families there – Rudy and Emily and Tim and Kenji – who were old friends from a previous church. There were kids running around too.

We talked, ate and had a good time and I left more sober than I would have liked, not having Tress there to do the driving as usual. It was just as well as the pulled beef had taken longer than I anticipated and the pan, pot and other wares were not washed when I left home in a hurry, late for the dinner. Back home sober, I boiled up several kettles full of water for the washing, as I slowly scrubbed and wiped, intermittently refreshing myself with a glass of red from the bottle I had partially used for the beef. When all was cleaned, I watched a couple of episodes of “Marco Polo” on Netflix as I worked my way through that bottle with the little fellow on my side.

After being reassured by the 2 members of St Alf who were sitting next to me on Sunday morning, I did end up in Madam K after all and after that I went home, took the little guy for his walk, and then went to Blackburn Station to meet up with Mark, Stephen and YL’s son.

We took the train to Richmond, and joined thousands all heading to the G to watch Sam Mitchell’s 300th game for the Hawks. Mark, whom we know followed the Hawks, had been excited when I texted Stephen and YL earlier in the week, asking if he wanted to join me as Tress was away and her ticket wasn’t going to be used anyway.

The cold and wet made for a messy game, with more behinds than any game I’d seen. Even the trusty kickers like Gunston and Breust were missing sitters and the game was at half time, evenly poised by equal measures of messiness and lack of urgency (Richmond had no hope of finals footy and Hawks were 2 games clear on the top of the ladder). Late in the third quarter Hawks tore away with their customary resilience and in the final quarter, kicked 9 goals to eventually win by a whopping 70 points.

Mark and I went home happy, especially to a home cooked meal. YL had asked that I joined them in their home and she had cooked a nasi lemak dish, which I enjoyed judiciously, conscious that I needed to get home and prepare for the new week. Stephen and YL lived simply but the family is a lovely one. When I got there, Max and Megan were at the dinner table and Stephen and YL joined in as I sat down and Mark too tucked in. They looked like a happy contented family, living the mantra that there would always be someone worse off than them, just as there would always be someone better off than them.

This morning as I trained in I continued reading Ed Shaw’s book which had been recommended by Peter for the 2 weeks’ theme of Christianity and homosexuality. It’s a book with a refreshing take on how to frame the issues. It challenged me very differently.

This, followed closely by Ryan T Anderson’s more muscular work on marriage (from a social policy perspective), would hopefully better inform my thinking as Australia stands at the precipice of redefining marriage. I hope despite its apparent lighter tone, Ed Shaw’s work is what makes me examine my own thoughts. And life. It has been interesting how a phase in the pursuit of information and knowledge on a topical issue like homosexuality has lead to an old familiar theme of re-examining my life against what the Bible says. Thank you Ed Shaw, thank you dear Lord.