procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


meine bücher sind angekommen!
my interest in Barth in particular was reignited after reading this really well thought through article by Ben Myers

considering it's 85yrs old, i thought it would be impossibly hard to read, but the German is refreshingly easy going. so it'll just be really really hard.

any comments or tips about Barth's hermeneutical paradigm would be appreciated

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Friday, November 23, 2007

only 1 more sleep

going to vote CDP? (or, as i call it, the lazy-Christian-vote)

please read this helpful article from Sydney Anglicans.

fear-tactics, it seems, can come from all sides

i might add, if you really are lazy, you can fill in a quick survey put together by GetUp! which will even send you an SMS tomorrow morning with how you chould vote depending on your responses (mine was eerily accurate).
the survey is here

fun voting!


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Athanasius and the APB

leading church last week i did a spot on Athanasius, a true Hero of the Faith.

i thought it would be good to hand out the old-school green an Australian Prayer Book, so we could actually look at the creed attributed to him *, i.e. the Athanasian creed.

with calls to return in a post-modern way to Morning and evening prayer (see here for one), i thought this would be welcomed.

unfortunately the look on people's faces as they walked in belied my expectations, with an "aaah... does Kurt (our Pastor) know about this???"

in the end, we read through it, and read out the Nicene Creed together instead (which i think was put together at Constantinople in 381, but what's a few decades between friends?), and we could then put them down, to the relief of many!

but a little on Athanasius (c.296 - 373):

exiled 5 times from his bishopric of Alexandria in Egypt, he's most well known for these four things:
  1. Monastacism: he spent the first decade as bishop cruising around looking at monks, and most famously wrote a history of Antony

  2. Wrote out in full the canon, which was the final Christian form thereof

  3. He really hammered home the exegetical manner of hermeneutics, freeing the Christian world (for a time) from a-historico-contextual allegorising of scriputre

  4. Actually set orthodoxy against the majority, he said Christ was co-equal in substance with the Father

Hooker wrote of him,
“The whole world against Athanasius, and Athanasius against it; half a hundred of years spent in doubtful trial which of the two in the end should prevail – the side which had all, or else the part which had no friends but God and death – the one a defender of his innocency, the other a finisher of all his troubles.”

* well, more accurately dedicated to him as it is believed to have been written a couple of hundred years later

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

knowing and doing

the pursuit of knowledge is a good thing...

except when it's not.

it's easy to learn stuff for the sake of learning it, gaining knowledge in order to puff oneself up.

and this is an error to walk away from.

however i think we can fall into the opposite error also; d.h. seeking only application from anything - "what should i do because of this?" "how do i do this badly?" and so on.

which again, isn't bad in and of itself, but it can mean we keep beating ourselves up, that we never gain perspective, that when we read (in this example) the Bible, all we see are lists of "start doing this" and "stop doing that".

i want to remind my legion readers, as i remind myself by writing, that application is the right thing to do, but this is two-fold;
not just what we should or shouldn't do, but also what we should or shouldn't think.

scripture enlargens our appreciation of who God is, how the world works, why Jesus came. we may indeed DO stuff in response to this, but the primary application is knowledge, understanding, grasping the magnificence of our great God.

i think this is what the Bible would call Fear.

fearing God encompasses understanding who he is, such that we can put our faith in him.

and it is only after the Bible is thus applied, that we can understand the dos and don'ts, that we can understand the horrendousness of our sin before God, but at the same time understand the merciful life-giving grace which is so lavishly given us, that we might not be condemned in our sin.

A Dedication

to Britney, Paris, Nicole; all you little Hollywood startlets, as well as anyone who's ever been on Big Brother, plus anyone who thinks wearing a nice frock makes them look good regardless of how smashed they're getting;

Like a gold ring in a pig's snout
is a beautiful woman without discretion.
Proverbs 11:22


Friday, November 16, 2007

fed forum feedback

well, a fun night indeed.
questions were not really answered in plenty, due to the large number of candidates (8), and the moderator seeking responses from all candidates on subjects the 1-issue tickets obviously had no substantive comment on, yet, aspiring pollies they were, felt compelled to waffle on about.

standout performers were Pat Sheil ("Sheil be right" - of SMH column 8 fame) and Pierce Field (an eloquent 18year old) from the Democrats.
thumbs down went to Jon Kelu (Liberty & Democracy Party), primarily because he started off with "you pay too much tax," a statement i totally disagree with (for the record, i love paying tax.)
also a recipient of scorn was George Newhouse, for his non-appearance (nor was a delegate sent in his place). this meant the possibility to see the contrast between the two main parties' candidates, the Liberals (not liberal) and Labor (i can't believe they're not right), was not possible.

it was good to hear Susan Jarnason from the Greens mention Carers of her own volition (the others, when prompted, all waffled on a little). i pray this gave some hope to the Carers Alliance, who are desperate to Send a Carer to Canberra. a worthy cause (among many).

Malcolm Turnbull (the sitting member, having ousted the previous sitting member in the normal corporate way) was his usual suave self, and i appreciate the fact he turned up, despite his only real opposition's absence.

my unanswered question was along the lines of the brain-drain of Australian solar-cell engineers, and the 11 year long sustained reduction in funding to renewables, forcing those trained here to work overseas in more favourable environs (more favourable government environs, not solar, as the amazing possibilities of this country with regards to cleared, sunny land is patently obvious to anyone who put environmental sustainability in their top 100 things to do when in power).

not sure why it didn't get answered...


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

yay! federal elections!

excited as i am about educating the electors of our nation's parliament, for a change someone else is taking up the mantle: a church fairly-well central to my local seat of Wentworth is hosting an election forum.

invited are:
  • Hon Malcolm Turnbull, MP, Member for Wentworth, Lib
  • Mr George Newhouse, ALP
  • Susan Jarnason, NSW Greens
  • Pierce Field, Australian Democrats
  • Andrew Markwell, Family First
  • Danielle Ecuyer, Independent

    hopefully there will be an opportunity to have real questions answered honestly, but owing to the meeting being held in a church, one would also pray that the leaders will be reminded of their standing under God, that their authority is possible only under God's sovereign hand.

    anyway, i can't wait to get to fill in all the boxes in the substantial Senate form; it's great being able to encourage the smaller parties by giving them my primary vote, but also knowing where my vote should eventually end up.

    and of course, choosing who to put motherless last is always fun too!


  • Sunday, November 11, 2007

    cracker nite

    i miss the good old days growing up in canberra, where you could duck down to your local service station or corner store (back when they still had them), or even to the guy who sells (depending on the season), fireworks in gunpowder season, peaches in stonefruit season, roses in flower season and so on, and grab the latest and greatest in fireworks.

    and whenever there was nothing great on t.v. or you didn't feel like playing 500, then out into the backyard and thar she blows!

    hopefully unrelated to my high-school po-ha (a small, simple cracker) misdemeanor, there was a crack-down on out of season fireworks.

    which means we see them only on New-Year's Eve (weather permitting), the Queen's (Official) Birthday and particular sporting events.

    so what then, i ask, was this about?

    last night, leaving the Sydney Opera House, this! for at least five minutes!

    i like to think this was simply some left-over fireworks that were approaching their use-by date.

    do any Sydneyites know?
    what about the conspiracy theorists - speculations?

    maybe they were just thanking me for getting out and enjoying this world city. it's good to do from time to time.

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    Friday, November 09, 2007

    the informal church

    last month there was a lively discussion over at byron's blog on liturgy.

    at wild street @ 5ive we're three weeks into a series on Judges, called (apparently uninventively) Heroes. personally i find the informality helps me as a preacher - you aren't limited by time, convention, expectations. you can talk with people, not at them. you can give a talk that is appropriate to the passage and the preacher and the people, not compromising due to unnecessary formality.

    this freedom is something people really appreciate, comments have been great, and the topic of Heroes has been a catalyst for the meeting (gathering) leader to be hip and happening.

    so far we've had Apostrophe Man, Butt Man, and Life B(u)oy leading church.

    though disturbing to see him in tights, this informality has definitely been helpful, making "church" much more accessible.

    HOWEVER (of course there was going to be a however), my question is whether this is an appropriate starting point.
    that is to say, for people who did not have bad experiences in really "churchy" churches, this super-relaxed attitude may give them no deep understanding of the sanctity of God, of what it means to meet together as God's people.

    sure, the word of God will be preached in a positive atmosphere, relationships may be more genuine, but in that setting, how can you make sure people get that it's not just a party?

    do we need to roster people on to go to the 8:30am traditional service? do we need to run a meeting from the prayer book every now and then?

    or do we all get it already - i should loosen up and enjoy it, just like everyone else is?


    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    i guess this means if you haven't been to college (i assume this means university) you shouldn't be reading this.


    the infamous "they" said so...

    Monday, November 05, 2007

    see-through face

    much has already be said on facebook (c/f here).

    talking and thinking through the pluses and minuses of the infamous facebook, i think one of the major pros is transparency.

    it teaches people to be thoughtful and appropriate in what they "say" to one another, with whatever they say open to the world.

    so a definite plus, although the voyeurism should lead to contriteness, i fear the love of the obscene and stirring of pots could lead to increased obscenity, and a complete lack of decorum.

    i pray the former will be the case.