procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

the wolf

again exploring the relative beauty, or ugliness we find, this passage from Hermann Hesse's the wolf stood out.

we come to a point in this short story, set in a harsh winter, with very little left for the wolves to eat - they have resorted to attacking sheep, and after an intense hunt this wolf has just been spotted and shot.
Trembling, the wounded wolf climbed through the woods in the half-light, while slowly the brown blood trickled down his flank.
The cold had let up. The sky in the west was hazy, giving promise of snow.
At last the exhausted beast reached the top. He was at the edge of a large, slightly inclined snowfield not far from Mont Crosin, high above the village from which he had escaped. He felt no hunger, but a dull persistent pain from his wound. A low sick bark came from his drooping jaws, his heart beat heavily and painfully; the hand of death weighed on it like a heavy load. A lone fir tree with spreading branches lured him; there he sat down and stared forlornly into the snow-gray night. Half an hour passed. Then a red, strangely muted light fell on the snow. With a groan the wolf stood up and turned his beautiful head toward the light. It was the moon, which, gigantic and blood-red, had risen in the southeast and was slowly climbing higher in the misty sky. For many weeks it had not been so big and red. Sadly, the dying wolf's eyes clung to the hazy disk, and again a faint howl rattled painfully through the night.

[...](the men catch him, kill him; they laugh, boast, sing and curse)
None of them saw the beauty of the snow-covered forest, or the radiance of the high plateau, or the red moon which hovereed over the Chasseral, and whose faint light shimmered on their rifle barrels, on the crystalline snow, and on the blurred eyes of the dead wolf.

even this wolf, so close to death, is the only one truly able to appreciate his surrounds. the desolation, the oppressiveness, and even his looming demise, fade away when he is no longer focussed on his own survival, but gives himself over to his fate - in that stillness he can find solitude and find beauty.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007


this is one of the many emotive pictures we were shown this morning, in a primer to the third WaSaBI, this one entitled the cross and eschatology.
i guess, in the same way as you need to understand the absence of something to grasp its true value (try this with oxygen sometime), our presenter wanted us to understand the hopelessness of this world, in order to fully grasp the hope we have in Christ.

after discussing despair, we grappled with 4 views of hope, the marxist, western hedonist, postmodern, and finally the Christian (ours and God's).

i found it a real encouragment looking at the manifold terms the new testament uses to express hope:
  • hope
  • expectation
  • God's purpose for the world
  • heaven
  • inheritance
  • last day
  • eternal life
  • plan
  • predestination
  • jesus
just reading through this list, thinking about the images each word or phrase speaks of the hope we have is quite powerful.

slightly off-kilter, but i have been finding more and more of late (perhaps it is sydney? or just my eyes being open a little wider?), the idea of the cross seems very much an after-thought:
the gospel, so i hear, and so the bible tells me, is the resurrection.
therefore the cross in some ways is simply the means to an end. that end being the inreaching, and eventual victory, of the resurrection age into this sin-bound age.
yes, the cross was the only way for our sins to be dealt with, but even the payment of sin is again simply a means to an end, the resurrection.

although this is perhaps a discussion for another time, for a WaSaBI on eschatolohy and the cross, the cross hardly got a leg in!

personally, the framework used to discuss all 4 views of hope, was very helpful, not to mention challenging.
diagramatically this means, the starting point, the present, and the end-point(=eschaton=hope)

so if one of our starting points is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our present is that we are resurrection living, and our end-point is our resurrection bodies, this begs the question: Do we treat one another differently to how we did beforehand? Does the present reality of our partaking NOW in the resurrection show us to be different to the days gone by?
similarly, if the starting point is the sabbath-rest, the end-point is meeting God face to face, then our present reality needs must be fellowship together in the spirit - no longer seeing one another, nor our true selves, as through a glass darkly.

as i hope you can tell, this was another great WaSaBI. top work rob.

the next WSBI will be held on 22nd april - this is a call out for any articles on atonement, of a suitable level to hand out to comers prior to the reading group WSBI. links to any articles would be greatly appreciated - or you can email them to doug at-symbol wildstreet dot org dot au (yes, the reading group is because i'm running it, failing volunteers, and due to preaching commitments am unable to write a talk - though feel free to volunteer your services to wild street bible institute!)

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Friday, March 23, 2007

funny ole fred

but fred, are you for or against them? (click here if you really want to find out fred's views)
only 1 more sleep till we can vote. yay! i just need to decide, which shade of grey do i most like?

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

jclds iconography

for my 50th post, i thought i'd do something a little naughty:

looking at mark’s blog I was impressed to find a link to lladro, the manufacturer of boutique statuettes. to my great mirth I found that one could purchase, among other luxurious items, this beautiful icon, entitled simply, missionaries.

anyone who has seen the australian made oscar-nominated short film, the messiah, as well as rushes from john safran’s pilot extreme mormons, not to mention trey parker and matt stone's (the creators of south park) orgazmo or even cannibal (do you think they have a past history involving the mormons?), i’m sure can’t but ask themselves if members of the church* of JCLDS have found for themselves a new icon.

it’s definitely quite different to the picture I have in my head, when thinking about christian missionaries back in the day – I just hope noone starts bowling up and venerating office workers unfortunate enough to be wearing a white shirt and black tie, asking for fingernail clippings – they’ve got to be worth at least a few indulgences, surely!
* it is perhaps worth mentioning that the group referred to as “the mormons” are not able to be registered as a church in some countries, rather are officially a cult, affirming the indubitably heretical nature of this group


Monday, March 19, 2007

r.e. riddle

i was very encouraged reading this passage, as i prepared for my scripture class this morning:
Luke 5:1-11 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

as i am apt to do, i was trying to see what john had to say about this event, when i chanced upon this:
John 1:40-42 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

Painting by Sarah Snazell (1965-1999)

now, it's quite likely that the "they" in luke's account refers to simon peter and andrew, as luke attests (6:14) that they are indeed brothers.
but any attempt to reconcile the two as the one event is quite impossible.
the lucan account makes it quite clear that, just as jesus sought them out, so should they seek others. john wants to make it explicit that, if you seek jesus, you will find him - 1:38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, "What are you seeking?"

looking at mark (1:16) and matthew's (4:18) almost identical accounts, notable perhaps only for the insistence that the brothers were fishermen through and through, the two options of embellishment by john and luke, or simplification by matthew and mark leap out.

i guess it could well be that both events were relating to true instances of disciples being called, the identity being added as luke and john saw fit (think thucydides' approach); the important point being not the disciples, but jesus, and how he chooses his followers: some knock at his door, seeking him earnestly. others (c/f paul) are chosen, almost despite themselves.

the distinct difference of these approaches, regardless of the solution, beg the question: which are you?

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007


we've all heard of w.w.j.d., but reading a post on case's blog we now get to think about h.w.j.v..
as greg writes, 27% thought rudd, a paltry 14% were thinking J.C. would vote #1 howard.
i guess the rest would pick him as a swinging voter, or a donkey voter* even.

i hesitatingly suggest the article in the southern cross' (the anglican church's magazine for the diocese of south sydney), urging us to think before we vote, should be dismissed as propoganda.

i'm happy to hear opinions, but the article i refer to was simply sheep's clothing. vote for who you want.

p.s. if you're handy drawing stuff and you wanna replace the letters with hwjv, please send it to me!

* a donkey vote is an ineligible vote; for those looking for suggestions you could write letters (such as those from donkey) instead of numbers in the boxes. alternatively you may wish to write a comment, add a box with someone you would vote for, or draw a picture

Thursday, March 08, 2007


i quite like the hebrew section of the bible. as a written language, as a heard language, there's a lot that's great about it.

i might just qualify this by making clear that i can neither speak, read, or otherwise understand the language, but i don't think that automatically disqualifies me from commenting (feel free to correct me on that count!)

one of the nice things is the many literary devices used:

  • alliteration, the repitition of sounds, which one can see even looking at the hebrew, take for example ps122:

    שַׁאֲלוּ, שְׁלוֹם יְרוּשָׁלִָם;

    יִשְׁלָיוּ, אֹהֲבָיִךְ

    יְהִי-שָׁלוֹם בְּחֵילֵךְ;

    שַׁלְוָה, בְּאַרְמְנוֹתָיִךְ

    it's a heap easier than rhyming!

  • imagery is something we don't really think about so much, considering we have so darn many words to say everything in. which would explain why the next point is my favourite.

  • Terseness is an expressive word, and is basically the opposite of wordiness (c/f Matthew 6:5). it's the thing out of the three that i most feel saddened by, in not being a master of many languages and being forced to read the wordy english.

    take for example Proverbs 16:18,

    לִפְנֵי-שֶׁבֶר גָּאוֹן;

    וְלִפְנֵי כִשָּׁלוֹן, גֹּבַהּ רוּחַ

    They don’t need to say, "before you are utterly wiped out like Sodom and Gomorrah was you would be filled to the brim, bubbling over, ready to explode, so it’s sort of natural to think that you would explode, this then leading to your own self-destruction". It’s a lot simpler to say "before destruction: pride"

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  • Sunday, March 04, 2007


    steve martin, on SNL in 1976, along with some other gold, added some more weight to my thinking through of the forgetfulness of people.

    (after telling a story about Jackie Onassis throwing food in a restaurant) Whew! You know why people can get away with stuff like that?

    I'll tell you exactly why people get away with that. Because the public has a short memory. That's why all these big stars do these crazy, terrible things and two years later they're back in the biz, you know. 'Cause the public has a short memory.

    Let me give you a little test, okay? This is my thesis -- the public has a short memory and, like-- How many people remember, a couple of years ago, when the Earth blew up? How many people? See? So few people remember. And you would think that something like that, people would remember. But NOOO! You don't remember that?

    The Earth blew up and was completely destroyed? And we escaped to this planet on the giant Space Ark? Where have you people been?
    And the government decided not to tell the stupider people 'cause they thought that it might affect-- [dawning realization, looks around] Ohhhh! Okay! Uh, let's move on!

    ok, so maybe i just wanted an excuse to post some steve martin, which i got from here, but the point still stands, we're forgetful people. forgetting what the previous generations have tried, the mistakes our parents made - isn't the point that you watch what they do so you don't fall into the same traps - because what is past is past, we've moved on since then.

    i'll write some more about this another time.

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