Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Sometimes" Alex Lloyd

As the 'fat man in a thin man's body' has a new single out and will be doing media in the coming weeks I've been reminded of one of my fav. Alex Lloyd songs "Sometimes" and specifically his performance of it including 'dancers' on 'Dancing with the Stars.'

Check out Alex Lloyd' website here

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Telling Stories" Training Day 9th May

Here's a downloadable info and rego flyer for the upcoming training day at Mt Colah which is open to all comers!!

The workshops will include a stream on children's ministry, social justice as a discipleship appraoch, models of youth ministry, storytelling and faith shaping... plus Q&A opportunity and resources to access!!

Let us know if you're coming!!

Row M Seat 30 "The Boat That Rocked" M

OK, so you should be able to download this gif as a readable resource for discussing the film!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

ANZAC Day 2009

Lyrics here and here

It's our day for commemorating the loss of lives of those who've fought in the name of our country in wars throughout our history. A problematic day brooking no argument with those who've felt led to volunteer or have served as soldiers in conflicts we've been part of... but an opportunity for reflection on the futility of war and the need in 2009 for 'another way'.
Indeed, whatever it means to be Australian [and it is unique], nationality is essentially a false construct. The oral history recorded in Scripture makes the argument that different languages and different religious paths are genuinely the result of our fallibility as humna beings... arising out of disobedience or at least selfishness!!
Whether to fight or not is never a decision I've had to literally make... my version is personal relationships, communitcation and how I respond or not to a whole different kind of provocation, power or dispute!!
The rugby field, the working world and family or friends is no comparison to whether or not it's a viable solution to terrorism to invade a training ground country and attempt to 'put things right.'
Specifically, what if someone broke the cycle of violence... hang on, someone did? We celebrate any number of individuals and groups who've 'tried some other way' including: Aung San Su Kyi; Martin Luther King Jnr; and Oscar Romero!! This is surely the example of Jesus of Nazareth whose death occured amidst a non voilent response [again and again] to politics, military rule, religious piety, temptation to power and selfishness...
Sobering then that it cost him and others their lives... so we're not talking about the soft option... would I... could I... just about every week most of us have the opportunity to do so even on a personal level!! The put down, judging people by first impressions, guarded responses, playing games, choosing self interest ahead of serving... choosing differently to these begins the approach by 'a different way...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Stir Your World"

One of the videos we grabbed for Easter Camp Senior Group Speaker Donna Mulhearn and used in Learning Groups was 'Stir Your World.' Although for some inexplicable reason it played at half speed my main reflection was 'how come I hadn't seen this before?'
It's a World Vision clip apparently created in 2007. I liked it because it was a very simple idea demonstrating that point an Easter Camp often reaches where people have been encouraged and challenged in a particular area of life and faith and begin to ponder how they might best respond, often wondering what they might have to offer ina particular issue... this clip reminds them of their existing gifts and vocation and doesn't ask us all to travel overseas, give up our day jobs or seek ordination... it leaves room for artists to paint, engineers to design solutions to world problems, speakers to speak and letter writers to get cracking!!

South Park cameo for Former PM John Howard

News this morning focused on the cameo from former Oz PM John Howard in a recent South Park episode where world leaders agreed to do away with Finland!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kellie Crawford fronts Ralph Magazine

Interesting dilema in the media today as my favourite Hi-5 er Kellie [Hoggart] Crawford, who has left the group, poses for Ralph magazine!! 'Family groups' are upset at the example she's setting and the media went into overdrive this morning about what people thought...

It raises great questions about media, celebrity, fame and role models!! She is no longer part of Hi-5 [except on TV repeats and in DVD players all over the country everyday].
Would any child know unless the breakfast media cover the story?
While I picture a few dads, who've appreciated Kellie's work with the tomba's over the years, buying a copy, I'm not sure how many will sit around discussing the article with their 4 year old daughters [or is that just me]!!

It's obviously done to move her image and profile on and open up new impressions and images for TV and movie producers... expecially given her reputation for saying 'no' to these opportunities in the past while fully engaged in Hi-5!!

But this is the society we've created... that Ralph magazine exists in the first place says all that needs to be said about our values and choices! Blokes 'being blokes' and indulging their fantasies, using their imaginations etc.
I'm sure the debate will go on for... well... today... and then be tomorrows fish n chip wrapper as they say!! I'm more interested in what this story says about who we are than expressing my view on whether Kellie should or shouldn't participate...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Waratahs lose a game [by one point] they would have won last year

Renowned Schoolboy Rugby Coach Geoff Mould was quoted in a Sunday Papers article today having commented about the current Waratahs team in the context of a thirty year reunion of one of the best Australian Schoolboy Rugby Union teams to have ever worn boots!! Read about it here.
They were taught and understood a brand of rugby advocated by the great Cyril Towers [embraced for decades by the Galloping Greens at Randwick] and even barked across the green of No 2 Sportsground in Newcastle by the one and only Tom Towers!!
This schoolboy team included: the Ella brothers, Hawker, Lloyd Walker, Michael O'Connor, Wally Lewis, Tony Melrose and others... I mostly recall the footage of a fogbound tour match in the UK [on their undefeated tour] where they disappeared through the fence gate and thats the last that was seen of them by the cameras covering the match!! These were the players and matches I recall as I first began to switch interest from League to Union...
Thirty years on Mould was apologetically analysing the problems with todays players and specifically the Waratahs [though it was perhaps an amalgem of the collected wisdom of those present]... even given the changes in rules and increased skill of defences!!
What I'm driving at [in an aside for those not slightly interested in rugby] is that there are clear issues with our state team which will again struggle to make a top four by relying on three wins from three in South Africa after their bye next Saturday!!

#They are not good enough at passing, catching and they kick aimlessly
#They are clearly trying to learn to 'pop' the ball to a support runner when they are grounded.... but they'll do it in patches only
#They are built around kicking but seem rushed, ill thought out and often at the wrong time
#Players like Tuqiri may be good talkers in defence or good at encouraging others but rarely make a break or earn their money
#They constantly flip from a forward controlled game to spinning the ball to isolated players and don't seem to know when to do which
#They don't run straight
#They don't naturally support the ball runner and so get caught alone

That's just the start...

As a frustrated rugby coach its annoying to watch... they have won games this year but its built around their defence, [which is great] their scrum and lineout... all three were sub par last night!! Anyhow, what would a lower grade, used to be, hack know!!
I fear that Chris Hickey won't make it through next season as coach... he gets this year because he didn't get to choose all the players...
I'll watch the replay closely on Wednesday on Foxtel to see if I can figure out what the game plan was, apart from decoy runners with Daniel Halangahu trying to get width behind the gain line but I suspect they lost shape all over the park... they were beaten at the breakdown too much in the second half and their handling was awful. Dean Mumm will rue a dropped ball from Palu but it wasn't a good pass and don't get me started on Cliff Palu! Lazy...

Friday, April 17, 2009

"Fifteen" Taylor Swift

A fan made video

You take a deep breath and you walk through the doors
It's the morning of your very first day
You say hi to your friends you ain't seen in a while
Try and stay out of everybody's way
It's your freshman year and you're gonna be here
For the next four years in this town
Hoping one of those senior boys will wink at you and say
You know I haven't seen you around, before
'Cause when you're fifteen and
Somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them
And when you're fifteen feeling like
There's nothing to figure out
But count to ten, take it in
This is life before you know
Who you're gonna be
You sit in a class next to a redheaded Abigail
And soon enough you're best friends
Laughing at the others girls
Who think they're so cool
We'll be out of here as soon as we can
And then you're on you're very first date
And he's got a car and you're feeling like flying
And you're mamma's waiting up and you're thinking he's the one
And you're dancing 'round your room when the night ends
When the night ends
'Cause when you're fifteen and
Somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them
When you're fifteen and your first kiss
Makes you head spin 'round but
In your life you'll do things greater
Than dating the boy on the football team
But I didn't know it at fifteen
When all you wanted
Was to be wanted
Wish you could go back
And tell yourself what you know now
Back then I swore I was gonna
Marry him someday
But I realized some bigger dreams of mine
And Abigail gave everything she had to a boy
Who changed his mind
And we both cried
'Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them
And when you're fifteen, don't forget to look before you fall
I've found time can heal most anything
And you just might find who you're supposed to be
I didn't know who I was supposed to be
At fifteen
la la la la la...la la la la la...la la la la la
Your very first day
Take a deep breath girl
Take a deep breath as you walk through the doors

I bought Taylor Swift' CD before Easter to listen to what all the fuss was about. It's what's called crossover country in the style and sensibilities of Kasey Chambers... country feel with a pop quality and reflections on very contemporary views of relationships and aspirations...
I have quoted 'Fifteen' here because it could be used for a discussion with any group of adolescents asking them to imagine it was their age but also particularly with fifteen year olds and girls... raising questions of hopes and aspirations, coping skills, questions and the fragility of esteem and relationships...

Susan Boyle was the BBQ Stopper Yesterday

All across the western world people yesterday were stopping at work, sitting in their loungerooms or chatting with their newsagent about the youtube footage of Scot Susan Boyle on 'Britains Got Talent.' I blogged with a link to audition where she frankly sang like a seasoned professional as if the star of a musical.
I mentioned 'what a lesson it was in seeing us as we are not who we appear to be'... the audience and the judges laughed at her age, ambition and appearance... but what she reminded me of was hundreds of young people I meet all the time, of that feeling you get when you have the priviledge of getting to know the person behind the facade and realise that there is 'Jesus' in each of us... that part of us which reminds that we are created in God's image, loved by God and valuable!! In this it reminds me that includes me, even when I often don't feel like it!
But it's not because Susan Boyle can sing like an angel, it's because Susan Boyle is a beautiful person. The truth of that is there in the clip, not in her singing but in her unbridled joy at being recognised, at being seen... and it would be true even if she ddidn't see it or show it... BUT its her singing that is the vivid reminder...
Zacchaeus, the Bent Over Woman, the woman at Simon's house, and many others are stories I find inspirational, precious and heart wrenching for their demonstration of God's values and encouragement of us that we are valuable and can be valued members of a community of people seeking to transform the world. Not an individualistic, consumerist sense of self which puffs us up and helps us feel we have rights and the permission to consume, wear brands and demand our space... that we have the capability of changing the world more like...
The clip was a sobering reminder that like those I cited in a symposium paper 2 years ago as part of a focus on stories, we are all deeply connected, in need of affirmation and need to see the Christ in each other. If we did we could be the change we want to see in the world!
I meet the Susan Boyle's of the world every week and get annoyed with myself when I forget that regardless of how they come across, see themselves or treat me I sometimes fall into that and forget to treat them with full respect, care and the love of God! Sometimes I get it right too...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Magnificent" U2

Had I been speaking at an Easter Camp this year I would have designed a reflection around the U2 song which will be their next single out on May 4, the song "Magnificent," one of the three or so tracks I think present moving and meaningful reflections on life from the individual perspective in all it's dilemas about meaning, choices and relationships.

Check out the intimate Boston performance here


I was born
I was born to be with you
In this space and time
After that and ever after I haven't had a clue
Only to break rhyme
This foolishness can leave a heart black and blue
Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar
I was born
I was born to sing for you
I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice
From the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise…

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar
Justified till we die, you and I will magnify
The Magnificent
Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love unites our hearts
Justified till we die, you and I will magnify

The Magnificent

Susan Boyle Sets the Internet Alight Today

Following up from Paul Potts and the young fella who was bullied at school because he liked singing comes Scottish spinster Susan Boyle who demonstrates that books should never be judged by their covers.... but seriously, what a lesson in seeing each other for who we really are, not who we appear to be...
Check out her audition on Youtube here

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Vale Shawn Mackay

Rugby Union is a remarkable game!! Camraderie, social activity, club loyalty and it's genuinely a game for people of all sizes! Once hooked in it's a sport to follow, to watch and to be very passionate about...
I didn't know Shawn Mackay but because I know rugby I understand the ripple effect of his death a week after being hit by a security van in the early hours of the morning outside a Durban nightclub in South Africa.
By all reports Shawn MacKay was a vital member of Randwick Rugby Club, the Australian Mens Sevens squad, the Brumbies Super 14 side this year and this stretched right back to the now elite players from his High School First XV team. He had coached the Aussie Women's Sevens Team and was finally getting his own chance to shine in the 15 a side version of the game.
My thoughts are with his family in their loss and his death got me thinking about how this tight knit community comes together in such times and is a sign of how all communities should function at their best!
At my own club [albeit I have stepped back from an active involvement for the time being] a few significant clubmen have died in recent times and it's been heartening to see the way people have gathered around those who've lost a loved one and banded together to fundraise and add substantial practical help to their already welcomed personal care.

The South Sydney Herald

The excellent and community minded South Sydney Herald is out for April!! Check it out here for the 'Oils' review Eve invited me to write...
It really was a great night out in Canberra!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Paid Parental Leave delivered by K_Rudd

'GetUp' are attempting to hold the Federal Government to account for it's promises in regard to paid parental leave which would make another excellent contribution to stimulating our bank credit ravaged economy currently in recession!! This is their national print advert for 1st April 2009