Thursday, September 30, 2010

Breaking News: Aung San Suu Kyi to be freed in November

From the 'I'll believe it when I see it!' department here it's being reported that Suu Kyi will be released in November [albeit after the Election she and her party are not contesting in Burma!!

Alberto Contador tests positive

Wow, this should have been bigger news on my TV sometime today!!
Check it out here... contaminated meat hey!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

'Reality' TV Stuff Up on Fox 8 for Sarah Murdoch

Somewhere between the verbal cue from the OB van and the autocue Sarah Murdoch announced the wrong winner of the public vote for 'Australia's Next Top Model'!! Conspiracy theorists can forget including Murdoch in their rumours... just an honest mistake I'm afraid!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"What Makes Us Tick" Hugh Mackay

While I usually find Hugh's work insightful I also find it verbose [that's perhaps the pot and kettle] but I'm interested in this book spotted at my third most common source of seeing new books [the aiport]!!
Scanning the contents I think the list is a useful one and so if I can wade past Hugh's stories or examples there's probably some great truths to explore!!
While on this my second best source is the newspapers and the next book I'll have a dash it is Michael Chugg's biography... Michael is one of Oz legendary rock concert promoters whose well known for his onstage profanity in seeking the cooperation of crowds... it's actually a tactic of taking on the 'idiot' tag so the crowd get a laugh, lighten the mood and comply!! My friend Tone talks about a meeting for a cooperative venture with a room full of promoters where Chugg sat glued to his mobile phone screen for an hour but never missed a word of the arrangements despite appearing totally disengaged!! Looking up once to drop the 'f' word and then back to the phone screen, taking calls, texting etc!!
The quotable quote highlighted from the article helps make sense of this complex bloke who says "I'm at my happiest when I see a crowd of 40,000 young people having fun and feeling safe..." Oh and he was almost singlehandedly responsible for the Wave Aid tsunami fundraiser at the SGC, MCG back in 2005!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Art & About Sydney CBD

Art meets public space is something of the theme for Art & About this September/Oct with it's focus on 'Sydney Life'!! Check it out here
I enjoyed a brief glimpse today of some of the themed statues around Macquarie St and outside the QVB!! There's more in Martin place with a ferris wheel made of bicycles and then a sound stage and festivities in Hyde Park!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

'Volunteering' as an Entry Point for Missional Activity

We recently saw the celebration here in Oz of ten years since the remarkable Sydney Olympics!! This included a bbq and celebration for thousands of the legendary volunteers who 'made' the event and our reputation that year!! I do confess to the running joke about still seeing people in the polo shirt and some certainly looked in mint condition on the news footage of the bbq!!
It reminded me of the enthusiasm aussies have for volunteering and the renewed interest on the part of lots of young adults in 'doing something that counts'!!
I'm imagining not so much that we overload already busy volunteers with more to do but that any local congregation could be a hub for galvanising locals to volunteer for a whole range of community projects, including church programs in a wider matrix of activity and in doing so automatically put the church in direct connection with the community in positive and helpful ways!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

NY Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays

Everyone knows I mix my life, sport and youth work observations here at Pumphouse... I am resting this morning doing paperwork and watching NYY v TB on the day they celebrate the life of abrasive owner, the late George Steinbrenner [even Larry David took potshots at George thrugh his characters in Seinfeld]!!
They are playing for top of the table in a four match series an it's at the NEW Yankees Stadium in the Bronx...
Anyhow I've followed them since I was a kid when all we used to see was the Finals, now it's on [3] channels all season!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

'Burn Your Name Across the Sky' Powderfinger

One of 3 or 4 absolute highlights for me from last nights show!! This could be the opening clip for my NCYC venture!!

'Why do you still have faith?' 2

I started my fireside story with the occasion when Jesus was taking 'time out' with his inner circle and enquired... 'who do people say that I?....'who do you say that I am?' I talked about having grown up in the church and always feeling the connection of a relationship with God but being confronted by this question in Year 9 confirmation... having to answer this question in a worship setting... and I was able to speak about what I believed.
I spoke about how I did spend some time away in Year 11/12 and returned to regional activities and friendship groups in 1981 after 'the HSC and a girl' imploded...
This was period of being called on as a leader, discerning a call to full time Youth Worker ministry in a surfing conversation at Forster in about 1984...
At that time I began to be exposed to lots of social justice focus and a vision for a world 'lived according to the values of God' and my place in that... including a significant shaping experience with regular visits to my Bar Beach flat from 'Peter this n That' a rough sleeper who turned up one day to wash windows [we bought hamburgers for breakfast instead] and Peter spend hours at my place watching DVDs while I worked etc etc... through to the sobering day after a clean out that he turned up wearing my clothes out of the bin he'd been sleeping in...
I shared about the challenge to make the 'God' choice and to be Jesus to Peter in the way the transformative stories of Zack, Drew and others play out in the NT... I randomly met Peter this n that in Lambton some years later... clear eyed, in a relationship, living locally and having taken the final option to sort himself out... the army!! Amazing lessons in who Jesus is and calls me to be...
I rounded off by talking about being called to leadership, using my skills, dealing with esteem issues and staying on an even keel and how my contextual gifts, love for music and creativity helped me find evidence of Jesus action in the world and that when I found myself part of that action I saw change and understood that I can still answer the question...
I finished by talking about a picture I have of Bernard Fanning behins an old fashioned queenslander smoked glass window looking in with hands out and that this is an image I draw whenever asked for my picture of 'God'... It's a picture of invitation, of watching, of looking at different parts of life and showing presence... Bernard Fanning is not JC, he just sang about him once or twice...
I ran out of time to add a final punctuation... who do I say Jesus is? as I answer the question of why I still have faith....

Friend, example, transformer, bringer of hope and inspired listener and carer offering unconditional acceptance despite our flaws!! Calling me/us to engage in God's mission of bringing hope/grace and transformation to a world [or my corner of it] in need!! God's Spirit...the 'dangerous and liberating memory and presence of Jesus' is visble to me in people, places, the arts and life everyday... because I choose to look and see and know and feel...

Powderfinger at the Sydney Ent Cent

So many years ago I had commented that 'The Finger' could just fill the void of going out to see 'The Oils' live after they'd broken up. I LOVE music and find good loud live music transcendent at it's best!! Bands that sing about something I can relate to... about changing the world... about real emotions from genuine experiences... and/or with aussie rythm and sound are just magic!! Trouble was despite brilliant albums Powderfinger didn't our smaller venues enough, I got busy and we missed tix a few times... so it was brilliant and sad to be at the Ent Cent last night in Sydney [as opposed to the tin shed at home in Newcastle]...
There is a difference for example [for me] between that and Hillsong or bands of that ilk... I can see what they're doing but I personally don't relate to that image of God or pursuit of faith... If that's what works for others then as long as they are critique-ing the 'images portrayed' and shaping a growing discipleship then fine... !!
There was a little bit of audience singing in the classics but not too much... in the bleachers, the mixed age of the crowd meant a brilliant seated experience for all but 2 or 3 songs [sweet] and this night they saved the classic 'These Days' for the final encore. I heard 'The Metre' and a couple of other soulful numbers. There were tracks from 'Double Allergic','Odyssey Number 5','The Internationalist'
It was worth noting so little material from their final two albums and I did miss laughing at the lyric from 'All of the Dreamers'... 'when you come down to the barrio, to get a feel for the people's scenario!'
It was a great night of music enjoyed with friends and I look fwd to the iTunes live recording and the DVD!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

'Why do you still have faith?'

What a great aspect to a four week evening worship cycle!! At Queanbeyan UC last Sunday it was that week where a 'guest' is invited to share with the group gathered around the fire drum outdoors, followed by questions and food!! Actor/comedian Stephen Fry in a recent speech reminded us that cultures from the earliest times shared their stories around the fire or focus/hearth and in doing so passed on what it means to be us... I love the activity...
Tomorrow I'll post what I shared [including the extra 2-3 mins I didn't have time to finish and quite close out the story!!

My World Cup XV for 2011

Just an early start on who makes my side at the moment... I'll update these during the spring tour [even if only I'm reading this...]

1. Benn Robinson
2. Stephen Moore [only just ahead of Faingaa]
3. Ma'afu Salesi [but this spot is up for grabs]
4. Nathan Sharpe
5. James Horwill [currently injured]
6. Rocky Elsom
7. David Pocock
8. Ben Mcalman
9. Will Genia
10. Quade Cooper
11. Lachlan Turner [James O'Connor is close but needs not to kick]
12. Berrick Barnes
13. Adam Ashley Cooper
14. Drew Mitchell
15. Kurtley Beale

Saturday, September 11, 2010

And my best ever Sporting Highlight

It's only missing the great work of Bruce Mcaveney or ABC radio!!

What a Day September 11 [local time] 2010

I drove to Canberra today and it meant I heard almost all of the ABC radio sport celebration of ten years since Aussies triumph in the Sydney Olympics. What a gift ANC TV and radio are as government funded media... podcasts, iView, innovative programs commercial free!!
We were lucky enough to win tix in the lottery to be there on 25th September when Cathy Freeman won the 400m sprint race... the culmination of a massive career fro Comm Games, through World Championships and finally this pressure filled race...
It was amazing to listen to the reminiscing of Ian Thorpe, the tears from Susie O'Neill as she listened to her 200m freestyle win and reflected that she'd never adequately celebrated it as it overshadowed her missing out in the 200m butterfly [Madame Butterfly remember!!]
Then Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst as they spoke about the mental build up and surrounding themselves with 'gold' for months... there were many more highlights, all covered today!!
Then tonight it's the Rugby Union Wallabies v All Blacks... I made it to a TV but am really tired today... hope I don't fall asleep!! I don't want to miss the Old Boys Rugby Choir whose goal I applaud.... to see the anthem sung 'straight' without harmonies and vocal gymnastics... 10,000 facebook signatures agreeing it was time to do away with Idol runners up and talent school hopefuls doing their best Mariah Carey!! Good one boys!!

Then 12 months after the amazing vibe of the Sydney Olympics came 9/11 in the US and from about 10pm tonight local time most people would be able to recall 'where they were'...

The reflective pool near the twin towers footprint should be ready by next years tenth commemoration!!

More on these things in coming entries and days!!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Gruen Transfer Selling Religion

While I was out last night at the movies I knew I'd miss an insightful episode of 'The Gruen Transfer'!! With a segment and some aweful adverts from now and the 1980s they were looking at the selling of religion... which using the "Jesus All About Life" campaign as an example, could be summed up as 'Jesus good but Church bad'.... we might strike a chord but the shopfronts would let us down!!

For OS and other readers the 'Gruen Transfer' is a great ABC TV program from Andrew Denton's creative mind and his production company 'Zapruder's Other Films.' Andrew's work always drips with irony as this program examines the world of marketing and advertising!!
The Gruen Transfer is named after an architect and describes that point at which shoppers begin to respond to the disorienting cues set up within the design of a shopping centre.
Zapruder's film is the silent colour motion footage of JFK being shot. 'It's a wicked sense of humour to be promoting 'Zapruder's Other Films' I guess!!
Anyhow I've no doubt the segment will get a run in some future input I'm able to offer somewhere... about our 'brand'!!

See the whole episode on ABC iView or podcast it in a few weeks!!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

God ability to make of us what God will... the Potter's House

Not sure I'll end up using this on Sunday night so here it is in case others need a clip at the last moment... the focus is on discipleship and the OT reference is Jeremiah and the reflection on what the potter can do in re-throwing a poorly shaped pot compared then to how God might redeem Israel... lending itself to fun with air dry clay, play doh ro at leasta reflection clip of the Potter at Work!!

The plan would be to offer this as a backdrop to 3mins of creating your own 'pot' [in playdoh on this occasion]

The clip is courtesy of youtube and the song is "Band of Gold" Seth Lakeman!!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Story Cubes

As you know I love a good story and used to enjoy making up bedtime ones for Lucy who would get to nominate what must and must not feature... courtesy of the creative and inspired Steve Taylor I bring you 'Story Cubes'...

Throw the dice and start with "Once upon a time..." and feature all nine symbols... or use one of the other methods featured.... or use the iPhone App [about $2.49]...

Steve reminds that it can be used to grow creative Biblical storytelling also... check that out here