St Alf, MHK and LBJ


It was one of those healing services at St Alf’s yesterday and after that over lunch at Madam K’s I was saying to Tress after all these years, I still haven’t warmed to such services. Ginny, Peter’s wife, had taken the pulpit and went through a series of word incidents about such and such a person going through such and such an experience and I had also said to Tress, over lunch, that I wondered how many in the congregation thought what Ginny said was relevant to them. I thought a majority of people would feel those things meant little to them. So I’m thankful there is only one (or maybe two) of such services each year. By and large, St Alf’s is a pretty even keeled joint with none of the unusual stuff we experienced in our previous “home” church.

Later that arvo Tress and I took the little jedi to the oval across our street and there were many pooches there. It was sunny and balmy – so different to the very blowy conditions the day before – and everyone there just soaked in the very pleasant conditions. Our little fellow was beaming and last night as he sat on the couch with us, I said to Tress I wondered if he ever wondered why he couldn’t see us anymore even when seated right next to us. It felt so sad and yet he looked so very happy and contented. He is a lovely little furry friend.

On Friday night Tress and I went and watched some furry friends on the silver screen. Caesar and company made their appearance in the third segment of the trilogy that has proven very entertaining. War for the Planet of the Apes was very good and Caesar was so prominent and eminent. I later said to Tress he almost came across as a Moses like figure, relieving his fellow apes from oppression and leading them into a promised land free from their oppressors. He died in the end (sorry for the spoiler) and this theme of sacrificial death emanated not just from the protagonist but also from the antagonist, the Colonel. Woody Harrelson’s character was also prominent though lest eminent. He killed off his virus stricken men on the ground that one must die so that others may live. I enjoyed this movie very much, probably even more than I did Dunkirk the week before.

Friday night was even sweeter when we got home – we had watched the early, 6.30pm screening – and caught the third and fourth quarters of the Hawks v Swans game. It was the final home game at the G and I just couldn’t stomach the late Friday night game (it started at 7.50pm) and made the sacrifice of that last home G game. Hawks beat the Swans and kept September alive.

On Saturday we slept in and I had stayed in bed googling the work of Gurrumul (G Yunupingu) after reading stories about him in The Australian. He was the best known aboriginal musician and he died earlier in the week. I wondered why I didn’t listen to his work earlier as his work was beautiful. His songs are very soothing and even though he sings in his original language, one senses, through his songs and singing, the love he had for his land and its inhabitants. We later bought an album of his and continued playing it over the Apple TV, as we went about our stuff for the day – I bathed the little fellow and Tress cleaned the bathroom. Later that arvo we went to Doncaster East for lunch. We had seen that a café which makes a “Mee Hun Kueh” was going to do it that day. We had found out our dear friend Li Har was actually the cook. When we were there she came out and had a chat with us. She is such a talented home cook we’re glad her work is making such a big impact amongst Malaysians who love this dish. After lunch we got some groceries before and then took the little fellow for a walk. That night, we settled down to watch an old Martin Scorsese movie. “Mean Streets” is so raw and so reminiscent of the Good Fellows. The bar scenes and the constant “what’s the matter with you” echoed GF aplenty and I saw how Good Fellows probably evolved from Mean Streets. It is hard to imagine the Japan based “Silence” came from the same man but what an artist he is.

This morning I came across an opinion piece on the recent banning by a Queensland primary school against discussing Jesus or Christianity which suggested that banning was part of an overarching war against Christianity waged by atheists and secularists. I have wondered why the leadership of St Alf doesn’t articulate this situation more. When I read people like Murray Campbell who went along with the tone of the recent pieces citing how the evangelical church is fanning domestic violence, I wondered about the reticence in countering such allegations and seeing these as war against the church more than battling current community issues like domestic violence. Of course the church must never protect anyone guilty of domestic violence but it is easy for one to see those pieces were less about domestic violence and more about besmirching the church even more.

As I thought about St Alf – about how it would deal with these attacks – I wondered if healing services of the kind we had on Sunday were in tune with what’s going on or maybe like so many churches in the bible belt of Melbourne, it is more about looking after its own tribe. The people and the church as a whole is still a fantastic community gathering to do good for the Lord and I can only look with wonder, at the talents, gifts, knowledge, experience and overall work of many in this church. I had also wondered out loud to Tress while seated somewhere near the back of the hall yesterday morning, whether a pool of such talents should have delivered more.

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