Archive for 2005

Boxing Day, and sales

Monday, December 26th, 2005

I never really understood this whole concept.

But then this came to my mind:
Amos 8:4-6
4 Hear this, you who trample on the needy
and bring the poor of the land to an end,
5 saying, “When will the new moon be over,
that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel[d] great
and deal deceitfully with false balances,
6 that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals
and sell the chaff of the wheat?”

I found out that the state government had banned sales today (the 26th), and the news was showing various people representing big stores that they were losing sales, etc. etc.

I find it strange and intriguing with the above from Amos in mind – shopkeepers saying “When will the holidays be over, so we can sell?” Now, I’m not saying that Myer and DJ’s and so forth are purveyors of great injustice in this land. Nevertheless, they are contributing to the attitude of materialist individualism that pervades this land, which in turn leads to great social injustice as the have-nots are left behind in the wake of the purchasing power of the middle classes, and the mistaken belief that all is peaceful and secure. Hmm, Amos was preaching to a society which was feeling peaceful and secure with its economic prosperity. Strange and intriguing indeed.

New Stuff

Monday, December 26th, 2005

You’ll find that the site home (see right, or just remove ‘/blog’ from the URL) has been revamped from plain to slightly more adequate. I never was a style master myself, but at least there’s enough structure for me to add stuff now. Also, stuff about my 2 Ways to Live crafty thing is up – go here

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

May God bless you all, may your beach missions be fruitful and productive, and may our Lord keep you safe and well into the new year and beyond.

Just like last time

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

I have no idea how many of you out there (well, saying ‘how many’ is probably not the right term, seeing as not many read my first blog) have cottoned onto this my new blog.

Oh well.

Best Innings ever

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

We lost our cricket match today. Now, one might think of this in sadness, but it was a small victory for us in a way. A little context may help.

At the start of play today, we were in the woeful position of 4/8. Yep, that’s right. And sundries was the top score (I think they still were at the end of the day …) Anyway, we had lost some of our gun batsmen in one of those dangerous twilight spells, so although we would like to have been going for the target, we knew we had to fight hard to get there.

By the end of the first session, we were 7 for something or another. Urghh. I was facing the prospect of batting, warming up some of the techniques learnt from Kinetic. Anyway, shortly into the second session, Dave Mugridge gets out, so I’m in. We are 8/sixty-something. I get praying, as is my now usual custom, as I walk onto the pitch. Chris Gray, the in batsmen, who also happens to be perhaps one of our most talented batsman, gives me encouraging words and advice on facing the current bowler.

First ball, swings a bit, eyes not quite in yet, barely bat on it. Second ball, hits me high on the back thigh. I’m nursing the bruise as I write this. Third ball, goes past off. First over. At this point I’m just trying to work myself in, seeing the ball. Chris does very well at the other end, moving the strike towards the end of the over. I dig myself in, and now I’m seeing the ball just right.

Completed Objective 1 reached – getting set.

By the time I’m set, and the score ticks along, we make it to tea, and a good break. We mull over a little on the target. There’s still plenty of time in the day, I’m feeling good about batting, and we’re not beaten yet.

We now have to work to the follow-on target of 113. If we get there, we can deny the other team outright and at least secure for ourselves a competition point. After an over or two, Chris hits a few good shots, and suddenly, we’re nearly there. I’m going well at blocking, not playing, and getting a few random runs, including a four which went along the ground through the slips, and a random ball that kinda bounced over the slips. All the while I continue praying, and my legendary hidden talent of hand-eye coordination and ability to not get out to swing bowling kicks in. Note that I never seem to have control of this. In fact, usually, I don’t actually know consciously what I’m doing. Heck, its like I’m naturally good at this, and I don’t know!

A few overs later, we reach the follow-on target. They’ve sent their best at me and we are kicking on. It takes the weight off the shoulders a little, and feels better, knowing that they at least have to bat again to force outright. Nevertheless, we continue.

Completed objective 2 – avoid follow on

The goal now was simply to survive for as long as possible. The more time we occupied the crease, the less time they had, and also, we may just have a shot at the win. But one step at a time.

I dig in still, with my seemingly characteristic invincibility against swing bowling. And its good swing bowling. I deftly block, move out of the way, I even ducked a bouncer.

A few overs later, Chris gets out, caught at point. Oh well. 1 more wicket. Me and Michael Nelson. The 2 lefties, left to battle it out in the middle again. I’m saddened by the loss, by we must continue on. I tell Nelso, “The name of the game is frustation”. We now had to hold our wicket for as long as possible. Although we would naturally get tired, the onus was on them to get us out. And the longer we stay there, the more annoyed they get that they can’t get a simple wicket like the last two batsmen out.

Nelso, who is no bunny, digs in. I score a few more random runs, including a bash down to mid-off towards the end of the session. In the process, I go past my previous top score for the team (10). We have a good run and we make it to drinks. By this stage, I’ve batted for close to 2 hours now, a full session and the better part of another. But I’m feeling good, we’re both feeling good, and we can tell how annoyed the other team is.

Back out, before the last session closed, they had begun some new stuff, bringing on spin (which I love so much its not funny). I face a left arm off-spinner (to me, that is, so a finger spinner). On the other side they have this old guy. Second over off the spinner, I hoike a sweep shot over mid-wicket. That shot felt so good. I also did one of my trademark dabs to fine leg. Its probably my favourite shot, great against slower bowling when they don’t get the line right.

An over or two later, I get bowled by the old guy. Oh well. I had lasted 27 overs (nearly half an innings) and about 2 sessions. We had survived for a very long time. The opposition didn’t go for outright, it was now too late in the day. I got a few congratulations from the opposition, who seem like a good bunch of guys. I get plenty more from the team. I’d made 15 runs and had outlasted and outscored some of the best batsmen in our team, and prevented an outright loss. I praised the Lord who looked after me in this, and I continue to look to him for everything.

I’m tired, and I expect my muscles will complain in the morning. Au revoir.

The Web saga, part 2

Friday, December 16th, 2005

Part 1 is the part where I get the keys into the current church website.

The diocese is, apparently, going to ‘centralise’ church websites by hosting it itself, so that one would go to www.stwhoeversomewhere.anglican.asn.au or something along those lines. To that end, our church website (see link, right) will be moving there.

Which means that I have to get the wheels in motion on getting people together to nut out a design for the website.

1 issue: I know almost no one who does graphic design on a website kind of level. Hmmm. Time to ask around.

I feel more than happy to let someone else do the grunt work that is coding of the website. I think that it’s probably best that way, and to make sure that we have access to a shell session so we can at least tinker whenever we need to. But the site layout and other design features will still need to be thought out by us.

Time to go over an old essay I wrote on such things.

Why I don’t feel at home

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

A few people have laid comments upon the violence witnessed in Cronulla.

Anyone likely reading probably knows the facts already. So this is just how I feel.

When I see this, I see once again how well my summary of the sinful condition is. For you see, I see sinfulness as the attitude that says ‘I win’, and by way of corollary says a few other things, like, ‘You lose’, ‘Stuff the rest of you’, and ‘Its mine’. I’ve never really known the tribalism that was evidenced there. But it seems to stem from the idea that ‘This place is mine. Stuff the rest of you’, and ‘I refuse to lose anything to anyone else’.

What I’m trying to say, is that we have very much lost a sense of collective responsibility, collective stewardship, and an awareness of community. This world talks of singulars – ‘yours’, ‘mine’ – ‘you can do this’, ‘this is yours’. But humanity is a ‘we’, ‘us’. Heck, getting people to actually pack up the hall on Sunday is hard enough. And if that, then what of the rest?

I feel somewhat awkward, shamed. For I call this place, Australia, my home. Yet I am not at home, as I am often reminded. Yet still, I have chosen to accept Australia and everything that comes with it. Disgust because of the Stolen Generations, repugnance when I think of the White Australia policy, yet pride and remembrance on Anzac Day. It doesn’t surprise me that this sense of being a part of a corporate whole does not permeate all. It took me a while to come to grips with and to accept being a part of greater things, sharing in both the good and the bad of being Australian. For all the things we teach kids, I think we don’t teach them this enough.

There is a level at which moral responsibility must be taught not only at an individual level, as even boring ethics lecturers may teach, but also that one has a responsibility as being part of a group.

Those who are in Adam’s humanity must accept the sin that is Adam’s. And this is why there is a new humanity, Jesus. You escape the guilt of Adam by changing your ‘humanity’ to the body of Christ, the man of heaven, from that of Adam, the man of dust. Yes, the sins of the father are not counted against the son, but that is if the son rejects the ways of the father and walks in righteousness. By being human, we say, Adam is our father. But now we can say, God is our father. (I am not commenting on the current eternal state of Adam, but rather, that it was his sin that brought the falling of humanity, and thus we inherit what he brought about.)

By being Australian, you accept that this country has embraced multiculturalism and tolerance. If you cannot accept those, leave the country and don’t call yourself Australian. If you think that any part of this country is not open to people of some nationality, leave the country and don’t call yourself Australian. If you think that you are better than someone just because your skin is different, leave the country and don’t call yourself Australian. If you think violence is a legitimate way of winning an argument, if by your actions you despise the law, which shows you how to live in this country, leave the country and don’t call yourself Australian. We may be tolerant, but tolerance has its limits and it stops at d***heads.

If you want a place where everyone is like you, accede from the Commonwealth and start your own country. As for me, I will continue to live with the overall nice, respectful community I live in who have zero care-factor for the fact that I’m Asian. Grow up or go home.

Sleepy Sunday

Monday, December 12th, 2005

Sunday School is over for me. As I promised to some, I shall soon be publishing photos of the 2WtL project I started, along with some thoughts. Stay tuned.

A Lament

Monday, December 12th, 2005

It was the usual Carols at our church on Sunday night.

If you’re looking for something positive, I’m about to start whingeing, though with some purpose.

1) On lyrical changes that don’t scan properly, and otherwise just completely wreck the whole experience

I have been continually saddened every time I hear “O come now, o come now to Bethlehem”.

Now, “Hark the herald angels sing” is my all-time favourite carol and quite possibly Christian song ever. Nevertheless, it was not safe from the PC patrol:

Instead of “Pleased as Man with man to dwell”, which captures the fact that God was indeed ‘tabernacling’ with man, we have “Please in human flesh to dwell”. One could step into various heresies off that foot, such as the one where God is merely inhabiting the shell of a human.

They also screwed up verse 3, but I don’t have the adjusted lyrics with me.

2) Observations that become revelation

A few weeks ago, it was suggested to me that I should look into 2 problems:

  1. How to get the reach the various, possibly sparsely interconnected social networks of the congregation at 5pm
  2. Taking better care of singles in an almost entirely married population

Now, there weren’t a lot of people from our congregation at Carols, not that I could see anyway, who were not doing something else already (like being a singer, muso, somehow otherwise involved with the actual performance). I knew this, because 5pm was tasked with helping out with supper. This ended up being mostly the work of about 5 – 8 of us. The question becomes, where was everybody? What were they doing? Was the opportunity to have a relaxing Sunday too good to pass up? The mind boggles, but I guess we’ll find out next week.

Of the people from 5pm who turned up was one man, who I shall not name, who is a very introverted computer geek. At the start of carols, he clearly didn’t know where to sit, probably because he couldn’t see anyone he knew in the large crowd. I myself hadn’t setup a position, but then I was occupied in the kitchen or kitchen related duties for pretty much the whole night, and when I was not, I was on miscreant patrol (aka ‘security’). On one of my security strolls, I saw him leaving. I asked if he was well and he said he was cold and left quite quickly. I think I know that that excuse was but a part of the true reason he did not stay. It saddened me greatly to see him leave, and added to the lament that I was forming in my mind and is here for you today.

For you see, a greater sense of ownership is required amongst the congregation. For the next times I’m up leading the service, I think I will try to encourage a change of thinking. Personally, I know a part of me wants to scream at everyone, but I know some people have genuine reasons. Which is why you have to go for the heart. It’s going to be a task for me to bring about a sense of church. People don’t chat theologically, even vaguely about the sermon just said. The patterns people follow are to talk about the weekend. I myself need to change that. Hearing a good sermon that actually stimulates my thinking would be a good start. That’s about 50% of the time (don’t ask. I’ll get even more whingy.) The seems depressingly big, but I think with the right prompts, a good nudge, and a loud wake-up call, things will get moving. People will take little things seriously. People will not feel alone at church.

WTF 1

Sunday, December 11th, 2005

My parents were playing Mahjong with relatives last night. They usually play till late. I went to sleep about a quarter to ten. Woke up at 4am to the rattle and crash of the tiles still turning, and couldn’t effectively get back to sleep.

Its a quarter to 7 and they’ve only just stopped. My parents just pulled an all-nighter playing Mahjong.