Monthly Archives: February 2008

Desert Fathers and Mothers 3

It was said of Abba John the Persian that when some evildoers came to him, he took a basin and wanted to wash their feet. But they were filled with confusion, and began to do penance.

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Removing Garfield

“Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life?”

Here is a blog that removes Garfield from the Garfield cartoons, and creates something wacky and hilarious. (I think it’s a great idea, if only because I’ve never liked the Garfield character anyway.)

Take a look! These made me laugh out loud:



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The Challenges and Opportunities of Islam in the West

Next week, our student minister Kerry and I will be attending a three-day conference at South Bank, Brisbane, called “The Challenges and Opportunities of Islam in the West: The Case of Australia”. The keynote speaker will be Professor Tariq Ramadan, President of the European Muslim Network, based in Brussels. Professor Ramadan holds an MA in Philosophy and French Literature, and a PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Geneva.

According to the website,

The main objective of this symposium is to address several important issues including:

  • Historical, cultural and political challenges of Islam in the West
  • The role and contributions of Muslims in Western societies
  • Islam and multiculturalism
  • Improving mutual understanding, cooperation and harmony—including the role and responsibilities of the Muslim community, political leaders and the media
  • Socio-economic issues such as unemployment and underemployment
  • Youth identity and self image
  • The radicalisation of Muslim youth

I’ll keep you posted!


Filed under Interfaith

Jesus, barrier-breaker

Sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent

John 4.5-42

(Before—and after—this sermon, we watched the video mentioned in the previous post.)

1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, ‘Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John’—although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized—he left Judea and started back to Galilee. But he had to go through Samaria.

Why did Jesus have to go through Samaria? And what’s the big deal anyway?

Even at this early stage of his ministry, the opposition to Jesus was beginning. The Pharisees were sensing that they had a new opponent; but it was not yet time for Jesus to encounter them. He wanted to get out of Judea in the south, up to the safety of Galilee in the north.
Normally a Jew would go the long way around Samaria, by crossing the Jordan River and then cutting north. Jesus needed to get away quickly. And he knew the Pharisees wouldn’t follow him through Samaria.

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Filed under RCL, sermon

Woman at the Well

Since the Woman at the Well (John 4) is the Gospel reading this Sunday, a friend pointed me to a great video on GodTube. I really like its take on the story! View it here.

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A bit of harmless fun…

… I leave it to those who know me to judge how accurate it is…

See what colour your mind is at What Colour is your Mind?


Your Mind is Green


 Of all the mind types, yours has the most balance.You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver.You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don’t get stuck in bad thinking patterns. You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

(I saw it first at Dancing through Doorways.) 

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A new birth, a Spirit-wind

Sermon for the Second Sunday in Lent

John 3.1-17


A bus crashed. Three men died. They opened their eyes, and found themselves outside the Pearly Gates. One was a mystic; another, a Uniting Church minister; the last, a fundamentalist.

St Peter said to them, “Before you come in, you’ll have to have a chat with Jesus in his office to make sure you’ve got your doctrine straight.” Pointing to the mystic, he said, “You can go in first. Follow me.” He took him through a side door. Five hours later, the mystic emerged with a wonderful smile on his face. “I thought I’d got it all wrong,” he said.
It was the Uniting Church minister’s turn next. A whole day later, he came out shaking his head. “How could I have been so foolish?” was all he said.

St Peter beckoned to the fundamentalist, who stood and picked up his bible—a huge, well-thumbed, black, leather-bound, Scofield Reference King James Version Bible. He entered the side door, head held high. St Peter sat and waited. And waited. And waited. Two weeks later, it wasn’t the fundamentalist who emerged from the office. It was Jesus, shaking his head and looking he needed some Panadeine—and quick. And all Jesus could say over and over again was, “How could I have got everything so wrong?”

Nicodemus went into Jesus’ office for a chat about doctrine, just like the mystic, the minister and the fundamentalist. Unlike their conversations, we know something of what was said between Nick and Jesus…

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Filed under church year, RCL, sermon

Sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers 2

One day some old men came to see Abba Anthony. In the midst of them was Abba Joseph. Wanting to test them the old man suggested a text from the Scriptures, and beginning with the youngest, he asked them what it meant. Each gave his opinion as he was able. But to each one the old man said “You have not understood it.” Last of all he said to Abba Joseph, “How would you explain this saying?” and he replied, “I do not know.” Then Abba Anthony said, “Indeed, Abba Joseph has found the way, for he has said: ‘I do not know’.”

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Sex saves Devil

(Well, stranger things have happened…)




A FURTIVE rustling in the undergrowth at the Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast holds the key to the survival of Tasmanian Devil.

The fractious beasts have been coaxed into copulation this week, in the hope that captive breeding can help sustain the genetic diversity of the threatened population.

“If we don’t produce we could see a catastrophe, so there is a lot riding on this,” said Tim Faulkner, head keeper of mammals and birds at the park.

Tasmanian Devils have been in peril since the mid-1990s when a facial tumour disease began ravaging their numbers across the island state.

Wild devils have no answer to the disease, because their inherently low level of genetic diversity due to chronic inbreeding leaves them unable to recognise tumours as a foreign intrusion….

If this year’s breeding program is successful, up to two dozen young devils could be produced, the foundation of a new population that could be re-introduced into Tasmania.


More from SMH


PS: If you think that cute thing above could never be called ‘fractious’, look below…




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“‘Sorry’ means ‘respect’”

Personal stories help us to ‘get’ the big stuff. Here is Evonne Goolagong-Cawley’s, from The Australian:
TENNIS great Evonne Goolagong-Cawley used to hide under her bed when a stranger came to the door of her childhood home.

It was a knee-jerk reaction for an Aboriginal girl, living in southwestern NSW, repeatedly warned of the dangers of unknown visitors in the era of the stolen generations.

“Whenever I visited the Griffith mission in the early ’50s, my aunty and my mother used to say whenever a shiny car came down the road … ‘Come on you better run and hide, the welfare man will come and take you away’,” Ms Goolagong-Cawley said in Canberra today.

“I used to run and hide under the bed.”

The habit persisted at her home in Barellan, the small town she grew up in where her’s was the only Aboriginal family.

“Whenever some stranger would come to the door I would still run and hide under the bed.

“It shows that fear has passed through from generation to generation.

“They have a very vivid and very strong memory of that time and of having that fear.”

In her extended family, the two-time Wimbledon champion said she had cousins who had been taken from their parents.

Ms Goolagong-Cawley, a member of the Wiradjuri people, was among those witnessing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to indigenous Australians today.

“It’s going to take me a few days to sort of come down I think. I’m still a bit flustered,” she said.

“Absolutely amazing. I just can’t believe that after all this time it’s finally happened and I’m here to support all those mothers who went through so much pain at having their children taken away.”

Ms Goolagong-Cawley said she knew of many mothers who had sent messages to victims of the stolen generations.

“Now, healing can start. To say sorry means a sign of respect.

“Now I think that that’s the first step towards … reconciliation in this country.

“When you say sorry it creates a better working relationship. I think we have a better chance of working together now.”

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