Friday, July 29, 2011

2011 A Big Year for Movies

I have been catching up on some films this last week and thinking about how many I've watched in 2011:

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Pt 2
Captain America
Transformers Dark of the Moon
Source Code
X Men First Class
Bad Teacher
The Adjustment Bureau
Hall Pass
I Am Number Four
Cars 2
Green Lantern
Larry Crowne
The Hangover Part 2
The Mechanic
The Green Hornet
Kung Fu Panda 2
Gnome & Juliet

And I've missed a few... With more to come:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Ship Song Project

This absolutely brilliant clip is doing the media rounds this week as a part of the Sydney Opera House determination to promote itself as a venue for all kinds of people... Various Aussie [or those we claim] artists contribute to this reworking of a Nick Cave classic!! It fits my descriptor for brilliant creativity... simple things done well!!

"The Ship Song"
Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around

Come loose your dogs upon me
And let your hair hang down
You are a little mystery to me
Every time you come around

We talk about it all night long
We define our moral ground
But when I crawl into your arms
Everything comes tumbling down

Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around

Your face has fallen sad now
For you know the time is nigh
When I must remove your wings
And you, you must try to fly

Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around

Come loose your dogs upon me
And let your hair hang down
You are a little mystery to me
Every time you come around

For me it's a beautiful song with a sense of wanting what their relationship offers and appreciating intimacy. For me it's a worship song, celebrating creativity and connections.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Latest Creative Idea

OK two happenings have inspired my latest thinking about something I'd enjoy spending time on and would find refreshing. The first was a decision that this might be the time to invest in a new digital camera and the second complicates the choice as I have been so drawn to Louise Hawson's "52 Suburbs".
Originally the camera choice was a 'no brainer' with the Panasonic Lumix TZ20 a standout compact digital and it's 16x optical zoom still makes it an option up against:
Nikon D3100
Panasonic 3/4 camera with interchangeable lenses
To name a few...
Which form a choice for uses from multiple quick family snaps, travel and yet specific projects which might benefit from some pixel and lens grunt. Of course if money were no object I'd buy the TZ20 and one other... All the time knowing any option will be firmly set on 'auto' and hence entry level DSLR is fine as well as affordable.

AND the current idea... Is not quite 52 Suburbs but a search for faith/spirit in the community. it probably meshes with my recent thinking about the question 'where is God?' and whether that photographic search could become an exhibition to raise funds for a worthy cause?
Maybe the upcoming UCA Synod meeting in late September could be a task oriented timeline for the first display as an associated event?

So, there you have it... leisure time spent seeking images from buildings, landscape, activity and people... asking whatever question emerges from my thinking so far... maybe a blog along the way...

What I like about this idea is it's lack of reliance on inspiring others to contribute (I've never been deluged with shoe donations for Meaningful Soles or contributions for We Believe, despite lots of invitations) but this one is me and a camera... hmm!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cadel and the Today Show

This morning on Aussie TV on the 9 TODAY Show they have been showing snippets of the footage from Paris where overnight Cadel Evans from Barwon Heads in Victoria (of 'Seachange' and tourist fame.... great bridge) won the Tour de France cycling event!!
Cut then to 'behind the news commentator' Mia Freedman who is underwhelmed by the standing ovation for Tina Arena's national anthem rendition on the Champs Eleysee.... Her point... being concerned that we laud such personal sporting achievements ahead of and at the expense of volunteers, doctors, firefighters and those 'changing the world' in other ways. I don't disagree with that observation but find it fascinating that a fashion magazine editor doesn't see the negativity of her own timing and opinion. She doesn't 'get' sport so she engages in the other great Aussie obsession of pulling one thing down to raise others, not the reverse....

Here's my TODAY Show email...
This'd be my second email ever to TODAY since the invention of the idea!!

Mia couldn't be more wrong!!!
It 's true that we don't always celebrate science and service in the same way as our elite sports people's achievements BUT she 's doing the other great Aussie thing of pulling one thing down to the level of others rather than elevating her point. Now is not the time to project your own lack of understanding of sport onto such a great achievement.

To call it 'being paid well' is petty... This from a fashion magazine editor who uses a 'shoe analogy' about things we do and don't relate to 'takes the prize'.

Today is not the day to do what we each can to celebrate firefighters, social workers etc... It's the day to recognize a great achievement of someone who works hard for their reward, who will inspire and who deserves success... As do so many other people.

Separate your comment from your own bias Mia!

Nobody need pretend they love this or understand... Perhaps do the fashion segment or a feature on cycling footwear instead!!

Then let us know what you're doing in your weekend column to foster recognition of medical experts, peacekeepers and inventors....

Well done Cadel!!

Our call should be to change the world... recreation is a vital part of that, as is drawing hope and energy from others, wherever you can get it... My high school assembly used to celebrate scientists, maths geeks and our fledgling soccer team and it's 0-7 defeats alongside our all conquering rugby league side so maybe I've learnt to agitate for both rather than drag the popular one down thinking I was doing the right thing!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cadel who? Part 2

Read my original post here

While I've had the week from 'that other place' with horrendous gall stone pain and an op to remove my gall bladder with a few fun moments in recovery, I have maintained my Tour de France viewing until not being up late last night!! but WOO HOO CADEL EVANS!!!
While Alberto Contador lies awake at night dreaming of reversing his vegetarian diet and Andy Schleck wonders why 'yellow' didn't deliver him the needed 'wings' Cadel Evans only needs to stay upright and uninjured on the 'final stage' into the 'Champs' tonight to claim victory in the Grand Tour!! my Aussie mates who are on a cycling have certainly pulled the right rein in taking their trip this year... Well done Hancapie... One more ride to enjoy!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Run Out # 04 'Hospitality'

Orange cordial and salmon sandwiches or pizza and coke? It doesn't matter, but what does is the spirit of generosity and genuine hospitality offered whenever young people encounter the local community of faith in the form of the local church... whether in a mission setting or on the property. [For the record, pizza and soft drinks or homemade soup and damper, a 'fair dinkum' BBQ or bring a plate feast are far better than orange cordial].
Hospitality includes: sense of welcome; the love of God; inclusiveness; access to resources; keys to the crockery; and a shelf in the fridge. [1] of my tests for whether a congregation is 'on board' in mission and ministry with young people, is whether the paid Youth Worker or voluntary Leader/s have a set of keys to the spaces they need to use... hospitality extends to respect and trust.
A few years ago I visited a rural NSW town where the Uniting Church had a difficult recent history exacerbating the universal challenge of connecting with young people.
One adult Leader who was a good networker and Scout Leader drew a crowd which on one occasion included some local homeless youth. On this night the boisterous game of soccer led to some ball marks on the wall and at the time of my visit the Church Council were holding out on a paint job for some sort of certainty the hall would remain in good condition. I have no idea if the painting has gone ahead but I am sure there are few if any young people meeting in the aptly titled "Youth Hall" [or that's what it's named on the brass sign in the foyer].
I understand the apprehension but you need to move past it and risk the rough and tumble signs of use that come with people traffic and hospitality. Make your expectations clear, but don't hold people to ransom and betray what you really value!! Hospitality is one key marker of SPACE, PERMISSION and VALIDITY!!

9 Rugby Coverage Rubbish!!

The physical Manu Samoans defeated the Wallabies for the first time in Sydney on Sunday afternoon and showed that we still struggle for depth and have been exposed in the physical arm wrestle... traditionally the Wallabies put on a rusty first hitout each season but this was very bad.
To give you an idean when a game goes this way and you get behind in the arm wrestle and on the scoreboard it feels like you are running in mud and no matter what you do a mistake seems to put you back in the mire again... it's very hard to counter numbers in the tackle if the oppositions fitness holds up... well done Manu Samoa!!
That aside, I chose to experience the Channel Nine coverage as the new free to air network, despite access to Foxtel... that was a short experiment...
I had failed to previously notice Ken Sutcliffe's rugby pedigree and expertise [there is none] and given this George Gregan and Andrew Slack were always going to sound boring and uncomfortable... then to rub salt in, the match cut to the Fox commentary for the live action!!
Nine should have done whatever it took to get Gordon Bray back from ESPN, nevermind, too late now... Sutcliffe kept referrig to it as a 'friendly' where there's no such thing in rugby union. Perhaps the Wallaby forwards read the same press release because that's how they played. Very poor form in a World Cup trial... 3 or 4 players marked their cards yesterday afternoon, making it easier to get 40 into 32 or 28 for the tournament... lucky the Springboks are sending a B Team next week.
Lucky the Rugby World Cup in September/October is not in the northern hemisphere or those blokes would put me to sleep in the breaks!! Maybe they'll get better, I won't know!! If I'm going to listen to the Fox commentary I might as well take their pre-game and the press conference later as well!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Winter Camp Final Day Wrap!!

Back from our Sydney trip we enjoyed the snow party, pizzas and party food, Dance Party and bonfire!! We also spoke about what was happening in the Uniting Church so we were celebrating THE LAST Youth Unit organised Camp [but also talking about possible futures for the event and the opportunity for people to envision and plan something unique with new resourcing]!!
Friday morning was all about clean up and pack up, with a final session reminding campersit would be a shame to only 'Act Up' at camp...

We began with communal singing, then

"This Too Shall Pass" OK Go clip
An introduction about being all we can be and 'stepping up' and learning about ourselves and who God calls us to be through the Harry Potter clip when Hagrid arrives with a birthday cake... "You're a wizard, Harry!"

WE collected 'next step footprints' and 'prayer cards' from the sticky wall and prayed for all of us as a community...
We were reminded of Jesus call to follow and the different responses people made, that 'tools' like prayer, a mentor, reading and telling people and re-membering you're experiences...
Like Harry Potter with Dumbledore, "it's not our abilities who make us who we are, it's our choices"

Campers were invited to reflect [to the sounds of "Ocean" JBT] and then into a circle to share their perspectives and experiences and that's always a great time to hear back what you've hoped people might have experienced, learnt or how they've captured even more...

We sent people out with a slightly ungainly group hug complete with 'grind'... thanks Bradon!!

More sweeping, mops and cleaning and we celebrated with a cold drink and several hours driving!!

I took one more photo of 'Dave's Auditorium' and wished he'd been there in more than spirit!! I think we've honoured Dave's hopes for the site [now having been on sold to Caolan] and we've engaged well with the goal of introducing some young people to authentic discipleship and the world lived according to the values of God in this time and place!! Though we haven't always got it right, we have mentored and valued leaders and tried to bridge all the challenges of that across a state!!

"Janice I'm Falling... Janice help me!!"

Friends at Winter Camp shared this pearler with us and while funniest home videos and 'in' jokes are always an acquired taste this is a very funny clip!! "Janice, I'm falling!"

Friday, July 15, 2011

Winter Camp Day Four was a Big Day

With the Open Mic and Trivia Quiz Night behind us we spent a long day getting to and fro Sydney by bus to engage in some first hand mission and justice action. Groups visited: Wayside Chapel for a Tour and to help out and meet participants; Paddington Uniting Church Soup Kitchen to meet recipients; World Vision to participate in their 'story' spaces with various young peoples lives ipod guided; and finally a guided urban walk compared to Westfield Centrepoint and finishing with the '52 Suburbs' photos at Museum of Sydney. We made it back by 6pm-ish for a 7pm party dinner to mark the 'last' Youth Unit Camp and to talk about the new future for such events!! It was snow themed party dinner and dance party or bonfire chat!! Campers were and had been great, the day worked brilliantly and gave experience of what it might take to 'Act Up' and how they have it pretty good and there's a world out there which needs them!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Winter Camp Day Three

So last night we survived: a brilliant roast dinner; the campfire and/or movie "How to Train Your Dragon"!! This morning it's cold and overcast but hasn't prevented archery and vertical challenge after our whole group gathering this morning.
We reflected on blessings, excuses and motivation for Acting Up' where after the band led communal singing we were invited to list at least nine ways we felt blessed and compared this to the Matthew 5 Beatitudes and us...
The clip 'Kiwi' encouraged us to have a go... And Bradon spoke about letting go of excuses and the story of the rich young person and anther we can give up our stuff to be a blessing to others. Can we be not just 'not bad' but be good, can we be surprising rather than just 'not disappointing'... We listed excuses as we listened/watched 'What I've Done' by Linkin Park and these excuses were noted and then burnt in the drum fire to wipe the slate clean and start over...
'Lost Generation' started our thinking about who we might be and the young blokes final answer to the question What's your greatest fear? Was left to inspire us beyond this wee, beyond tomorrow's excursion to Sydney and into next week and our everyday lives...

We finished with the brilliantly inspiring clip 'Pray for You' as we headed off to morning tea... Interestingly we were reminded that when the rich young person asked 'how do I enter into heaven?' Jesus redirected his answers to offer, how you enter into life and how you can act towards being all you can be... Clever bloke!! And also inviting what our focus and priorities should be...

Clips to follow soon...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Winter Camp Day Two Whole Group Gathering

As Curator of Day Two here's the outline of what we did!!

1. Communal Singing
Counter cultural but still an expression of who we are as a community and what we might be called to stand for

2. Worship Words was a brief seven voice intro

ONE: Listen everyone as we are invited to be aware that God is with us
We are asked to take the time to listen, to reflect, to see and hear
TWO: This will be a time of hearing stories and asking how they impact us
This is not a concert, it's not a play or a party, this is us giving God time
THREE: Don't be afraid of silence,
don't be worried about what everyone else is doing
FOUR: God asks us to 'do justice', to 'love God'
and to walk with humility, getting to know God
FIVE: What footsteps will you take from here?
How will this time change your outlook?
SIX: It's OK to wrestle with God,
To not be sure, to wonder what it's all about
SEVEN: Act up and make the world a better place
'May it be so'

3. PRAYER Activity
We were invited to 'something' on a card to communicate with God
and to think and write while we listened to/watched
"Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" Coldplay

4. 50 PEOPLE ONE QUESTION edited clip
"What's one regret you have?"
Brilliant video series
Then Group discussion in 2/3s around what you hope you don't later regret and a hope you have...

5. VEGEMITE ADVERT "Darwin Ice Hockey Club"

Chris and Brad present Bible story/s and unpack the choosing of Saul

Six people: with 'stations including descriptions, photos and props
Anh Do, Jonty Bush, Kylie Sambo, David Pocock, Tjandamarra O'Shane, Jelly Ellie
With simple questions to discuss at the 'station' of your choice....

8. “YOUNG PEOPLE” Input on young people and the theme, acknowledging 'stories in the group, not just on the walls, plus issuing call to 'follow' Jesus and what that might look like as a hope, act up, story...
At some point introducing a clip from “Good Will Hunting”
With title slide, language advisory and then CLIP

9. ‘FOOTPRINTS’ Introduced at end of talk is an opportunity to reflect on and write down questions/next steps on paper footprints and stick them on the wall amongst the prayers
PLAY “Revolutionary Road” JBT while people think and write..

Clips to be uploaded when I have bandwidth!!

Winter Camp Half of Day One and start of Day Two

"Acting Up" is our camp theme this year as we borrow the good ideas from the Harris brothers and their book "Do Hard Things"!! It's about the alledgedly and usually low expectations of young people and the challenge to rise above this relatively new concept of being a teenager. We've borrowed from Andrew Root in talking about the early 1900s description of young people as being in a constant state of 'storming' and 'stress' or in summary CRAZY... we've challenged that and asked... what steps will you take to 'act up'? It was 8 degrees most of ysterday, dropping to 4 late at night with a wind chill of maybe 4 or 5 degrees less...

Last night saw Nintendo Wii, cards, get to know you mixing and catching up with friends. This morning we were together as a whole group ahead of the mix of small groups and adventure activities in turn which will also happen after lunch. The activities today are mountain bikes and flying fox!!

WHOLE GROUP WORSHIP/INPUT outline to follow...

Friday, July 08, 2011

Running of the Bulls 2011

Is it a rich cultural icon or now a tourist money spinner spread out across several running/s?
Either way, as we've again tracked through the sporting and cultural calendar of the northern Spring and Summer at my place [recalling the 'where we were' moments from our now distantly memorable 1998 nine week trip] it's a classic that whatever you make of the running... there front and centre where the crowd crouch down so the bull can exit the enclosure and leap over them, is an aussie tourist who's joined the 'Fanatics'!! Note the yellow and green logo on the t-shirt!!

Busy Morning on ABC Radio

There were a number of great stories/topics on radio yesterday morning and one in particular that peaked my interest. I only caught the second half of a chat with Senator Bill Heffernan whose previous media exposure has given him an image as a slightly crazy conservative. He spoke about 'the food bowl challenge' we face in this country and globally, indigenous challenges around land use and particularly the issue of Chinese purchases of Australian farm land.
Our politics are very different but I appreciated his reflections on how 'sovereignty' used to be about land but is now about consumption. It's part of a bigger shift to being a society of consumers. It's hard for me to do the topics justice here but the bigger picture is the problem of the world's population being divided into nations to begin with BUT that's our reality and in that economic system it probably is a mistake to sell the means of production and not just the products. He commented about enquiries with delegations where he's asked the Chinese when they will make their currency fully subject to world markets and when Aussies can buy Chinese land? not a racist comment but an economic one.... Interesting from my background in Economics and I'm still thinking about it.... About concepts of land, wealth, jubilee and the wrestle between nations and faiths throughout history.
I began to think about how you'd approach these theological and biblical questions and speak about the issues... Still thinking...

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Picadilly a hub of Activity

The offices of the Uniting Church in Australia NSW/ACT are usually a busy place and even moreso with the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption in the buildings fronting Castlereagh St and the open plan Georges Cafe on the ground floor. Recent mentions include Daily Grind on Level One supplying a large quantity of muffins to ICAC for the tea break in the inquiry into planning irregularities under the watch of former Planning Minister Tony Kelly and 'former' ALP numbers man Graham Richardson snacking at Georges with Defense Minister Stephen Smith (amidst talk of PM Gillards low poll numbers) But the truth is Richo is often there and our car park features regularly on the nightly news as the accused flee the building... As a player of spot to... Score a point for each celebrity you spot and SMS your mates to tell them... It's a rich thoroughfare... Recent sightings include: former Wallaby rugby player Simon Poidevin; Senator Mark Abib; SBS news reader Lee Lin Chin; and several high profile Solicitors.
Daily Grind do a fine range of muffins and a friendly coffee service so I hope they enjoy the 15mins of fame...

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Leadership Training at Leigh Memorial UCA

About 20-30 punters will gather tomorrow for a brief leadership training time plus flection and fine food! I'm following up a Junior Lead Training from our Synod Kids Campout earlier in the year.... On this occasion, we'll 'break the ice' through pretending we're all aboard a Space Shuttle flight to the International Space Station when it malfunctions and we're stranded awaiting Russian rescue... In the meantime groups will brainstorm a list of (10) agreed items on a list of things they'd gather from the shuttle and luggage to aid their survival... it's actually about how leadership emerges, who listens, moderates or takes a lead... And the ensuing reflection and discussion...
We will then talk about leaders we can identify and what makes them a leader... Followed by a series of team building and team challenging activities... Hip slap, tarp rescue, trust walk and the like... If there was time we'd view 11 mins of film montage looking for different depictions of leadership in movies and we will round off with a list of ideas for beginning 'leaders' to work on...
- get and give information, watching verbals and non, taking an interest
- seek to understand group needs and character
- look to discover and use the resources of the group
- 'controlling the group' pace set, observe, instruct, counsel, inspect, react
- set the example.... Not perfection, but authenticity, integrity, seeking to earn respect
- represent, be accurate in understanding group needs, beliefs, questions
- plan, seeking better quality decision making and living out your values
- evaluate, the often missed step in learning and growing as a leader and as groups
- share leadership, balance the task and group life through the inevitable and necessary advantage of collaboration
- be a manager of learning, not a manager of teaching... Meaning making is shared and rich....

We'll round off with a reflection on the invitation to be transformed by joining the community of god's people seeking to join God's mission in the world.... Through the 'get in the car' scene from the first 'Transformers' movie and a fractured version of the story of Zachaeus where it ends with Zack not taking up the challenge.... And seeing if anyone notices....

Cadel Who?

With apologies to my friends who will soon be winging their way to France to follow the latter stages of the Tour de France cycling, what the heck is the deal with Alberto Contador still being able to race? The answer is, the sport is rife with drugs, blood transfusions, and growth hormones as yet undetected by testing BUT at least with Contador there was a positive test for glenbuterol! The Spanish cycling 'authorities' were OK with the contaminated meat defense, but not The International body or WADA... fair enough, so off we go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport who won't be making a call until August... After the Tour... right... Anyhow, Alberto seems to be embracing his new vegetarian lifestyle... Hope they're not GM lettuces in the caesar salad!!
Cycling is a fun activity and a tough sport but it's up there with Olympic sprint races for suspicion of people gaining a competitive advantage through science... Bring back the clean days of Lance Armstrong I say!!!