Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"Keep the Earth Below My Feet" Mumford & Sons Live at Red Rocks

Happy New Years friends!!

'A Ministry Shaped by Mission' Paul Avis Thanks Steve Taylor

   My reading for the next few weeks, especially in down times [making sure my 'Installation' is working] at Yurora NCYC '14 thanks to a reflection/review by Steve Taylor... feels like just what I need before holidays but the returning to help with some mission planning!!

Check it out here
And here

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Day 8am at Muswellbrook

'Hope in surprising places, Christmas Upsidedown' 45-50mins is a goal...
Activity table in place with paper, crayons, playdoh...
Parcel with plain wrap, cardboard manger for writing on with textas and candles in place
Brown and blue cloth...

“AKQA Christmas Orchestra” 1min 18s

Welcome to worship this Christmas Day,
when we interrupt opening or enjoying our presents from Santa
And put off thoughts of over indulging at lunch,
We gather with family, friends and all who come searching,
To give God time and space,
To marvel and wonder,
To believe and to doubt,
To hope and to question,
To explore God become one of us,
As Jesus shows us what God is like…

Brief Opening Words/Confession/Thanks

“The North Wind” TiS 322+ one extra verse

1. The north wind is tossing the leaves,
the red dust is over the town,
the sparrows are under the eaves
and the grass in the paddock is brown,
as we lift up our voices and sing
to the Christ Child the heavenly king.

2. The tree ferns in green gullies sway,
the cool streams flow silently by.
The joybells are greeting the day
and the chimes are adrift in the sky,
as we lift up our voices and sing
to the Christ Child, the heavenly king.

3. The main street is busy and loud,
the story of hope is alive,
the God child becomes one of us
and he shows us compassion and grace
as we lift up our voices and sing
It’s the Christ child, the Servant of all.

Explain the Brown Paper Bags with Cut Out/Tea Light Candle Textas/ Pencils/Gluestick
Explain Candle as symbol of hope and invite colouring in,
cut & glue of paper template only
Light Candle/s at front, symbol of hope [2 candles from St Lukes]

Luke 2: 1-11

St Pauls Anglican Auckland Kids 2012   3min 52s

REFLECTION 5mins max
Christmas Upsidedown
Sharing the story of [3] people who psend their day in or near Pitt St Mall and who are unexpected characters from whom we hear good news...
God breaking into history in unexpected stories and places, nothing new there...
[3] Things sheets writing [3] things from the message

The wrapped present represents mystery and giving
What is in here is a bundle of possibilities… hope
What would you hope is in here? What would be good news?

“Mary’s Boy Child” Wiggles/Kamahl


SYMBOL #03 Baby in Manger
What does this symbolism in the story mean?
What do you make of the manner of Jesus birth?
Conversation + write PFO on the cardboard

“Joy to the World” TiS 268

We are coming to the end of our worship time together.
As you go out, remember that
hope is born as the Christmas child
hope is God’s promise for a better tomorrow.
In a world filled with questions, struggle & sorrow,
may you always have hope.

“May the Feet of God” TiS 779

Monday, December 23, 2013

Advent 2013 Collection

Advent Photo #25 Move

   Bono's picture book about work in Africa to fight and end poverty is called 'On the Move' and is a simple creative pictorial of what's possible when people ask the right questions and take action to back up their beliefs. Stuff happens that's not within our gifts & abilities or even expectations... God breaking into human existence to tell a story of love, grace and compassion seeking renewal and reconciliation of the whole of creation...
   We have much to learn about building relationship with our indigenous brothers and sisters and I'm convinced we'd be amazed at the soul of this land if we took those steps!!

Advent Photo #24 Music

  I love music! It's an escape, evokes emotion and while rock n roll might not change the world a good song is transformative. Bands can be 'singing about something' or just transporting you to another time and place...
   I don't like everything I hear and I still laugh about the keyboardist and Jay Z eyeballing Darren W and I at U2 in the elipse trying to see if they couldn't get us bouncing along to the admittedly well crafted hip hop... foot tapping was as far as it went.
   I like aussie music, rock, songs with a story, clever sounds, loud drums and something that captures a moment...

I'm running out of time these last few days so I am going to finish my posting early!!

Advent Photo #23 Last

   For something to last it has to have value. to the hearer, the owner, recipient or finder. I have a terrific memory for trivial details and lots of information about  a relatively nuanced set of information. It's the WHO magazine principle. In truth it comes from habitual newspaper reading, TV and radio news and skimming all sorts of stories, snippets and half bits of info... Imagine if I had really studied history or journalism or... it might have lasted.
   People want me on their Trivia team until the questions don't touch my specialities, I frustrate listeners with misrepresented famous quotes and movie scenes [they forget I'm trying to retain 1000s, not just their favs.
   But really this picture is about the power of a good story and it's ability to last,

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Advent Photo #22 Creativity

   Not all my creativity works but I try to do my work creatively. This was a 'station' designed as part of an Easter Walk in Scone last Good Friday. This 'station' was about Waiting and features luggage, a bench, some photos and a guide on the stick and a box of short written passages to walk with on the journey.
   Rather than just a walk and re-hearing of the Easter narrative in silence the idea was to circle the park, writing, praying, hearing music, being confronted by eyewitness styled reports. As parts of each station were being delivered and were all late I didn't have the time I would have liked to go back around once and reorganise the elements [if I had I would have bunched them all closer together] but people seemed to appreciate the space, the meaning making and the creativity.
   As an example I would have moved the luggage to right next to the stick [also the art] and then moved the bench to create an L shape and sat on the bench for the welcome and introductions. Rah's artworks added a curious thematic focus for most people and the big screen old school TV on the grass kept people wondering. Dave Andrews sandals and 'shoe story' worked best for me in entering into this story.

'Amistad' What's their Story?

One of my fav. movie scenes!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Advent Photo # 21 Journey

   Like the 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' video from last Christmas, here is what's been reported as street artist Banksy's Christmas card. What it has in common with said video, is the theme of what it would look like if Joseph and Mary made their journey to Bethlehem today. The Gaza Wall provides a significant barrier for the one whose journey did actually include seeking asylum in Egypt. Like here in Australia in recent times. The 'problem' is only a problem because political leaders have made it one... Since John Howard took what was a rich vein of multiculturalism in Australia's history through European and Asian migration and 'boat pople' and made it a problem [rather than challenging Pauline Hanson directly] that has to be 'stopped'... so we now have the inhumane political football that is 'stopping the boats'!!The other reason we have this 'problem' is it does fit a proportion of the Aussie population to adopt this attitude and prejudice.
   Nobody wants to see people in peril at sea but that's how desperate people are to 'make the journey' and serious processing through the UNHCR in Asia would be way more cost effective than our current cruelty and airbrushing.
   In the biblical story of journey the authors place Jesus story firmly in Jewish history and mirroring how relaibly God has engaged before by threading JC through Egypt and into later freedom, under Roman repression and plotting a revolution and calling us all into a journey of offering justice, compassion, grace and hope in community, using everyone's gifts & service to contribute to a world lived 'in God's interest'.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Advent Photo #20 Nativity

   These flatpack cut outs are a great paper nativity from the UK's Si Smith. I love the accessibility and simplicity of something that could be in individual or group effort to cut out, construct and make happen!! It's something people could also take away!! The story is an amalgum of traditions, versions and distortions that create the richness of the Christmas narrative and the opportunity to wonder...

Advent Photo #19 Diversity

   This is more elusive than it sounds... there's a lot of 'warm fuzzies' about the idea of diversity that are often not our/my lived reality. I chose this photo because a box of coloured pencils are often used in relation to this idea. The pencils here are all raw timber and very much smoothish cylindrical shapes so they convey the happy splash of colours within. In practice how do we maintain community and relationships in human diversity? I'm not even sure this is how I want things to look, maybe metaphorically, maybe not...
   Because I choose to be part of a community of people seeking variously to 'follow' the call of Jesus in the world, according to the values of God, I am immediately challenged by diversity. History, how people understand 'God', their interpretation of the place of the Bible and 'what it says', what the purpose of all this is and how their story connects to the story are all points of difference as well as points of 'unity.'
   The assertion 'that's what the Bible says' is a loaded statement and any serious discussion about that has to acknowledge:
- it's beginnings in an oral culture through a variety of authors
- the presence of literary style from myth to parable for effect and stories told through many eyes
- people attempting to describe the indescribable then claiming inerrancy in doing so
- translation of language
- that it always has 'an address' or a cultural and contextual location including the one in which it is read
- it seems some things change and some never change, that doesn't make sense
- the life, example, storytelling, death and resurrection of Jesus have things to say about 'what the Bible says'
- the community of faith I belong to believes the Bible is 'unique, prophetic & apostolic'
- And that Jesus is the 'Word of God'
- In this way our call is to continue seeking to understand that 'word' in our 'address' culturally, contextually etc

   Issues of sexuality are a flashpoint stretching that unity in 'diversity.' But it's not just different 'understandings of God' that are problematic. These discussions are about people, have an audience and at the moment are also up for grabs in our society. Strongly held views as 'the truth' are judging people and situations with bias and are a rough edge of diversity. For my part I believe it's clear we are called to understand sexuality in all it's facets and complexity today that at least includes:
- beyond Bible verse quotes but interpreting Scripture through many lenses
- mindful of who we are speaking about an who is listening
- 'truth' claims are fraught
- it's more than 'spirit good' and 'flesh bad' and Paul's writing is a product of his worldview and standpoint
- we understand so much more about homosexuality and that it's not as simple as 'a choice'
- youth suicide around struggling with identity and being judged in this area is a huge concern
- there's plenty of depravity & immorality in the world without singling out one group
- we're all part of the diverse and unique nature of God reflected in life and need to get on with being creative, connected and positive in creating life giving communities of justice and peace
- and much more... diversity

As a postscript I am still struggling through the book that Bill Loader has written as a culmination/reflection of up to four previous writings and I have to read and re read lots of it on the way through...
"Making Sense of Sex: Attitudes towards Sexuality in Early Jewish and Christian Literature" William Loader

Advent Photo #18 Joy

   Another word/emotion in the 'Eternity' installation in the National Museum in Canberra is 'Joy'. You will find an array of stories reflected there expressing and exploring 'joy.' They currently include: Peter Cundall on Gardening; Nova Peris on the joys of being a Hockeyroo; and 'The Wiggles' spreading joy with their music and skivvies.
   I have tried to reflect today about my own experience of joy and whether in recent weeks and months I have given attention to this or not...
   My time has been pressured, I have had reason to be less than joyful and there are some things to work on before I could describe it as my general mood... there's no doubt swimming laps regularly gives me joy, not seeing films at the cinema leaves me frustrated and in some other areas things could be different... but this is a chance to focus and seek 'joy'!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Advent Photo #17 'Tradition'

   Despite the popular view I quite like 'tradition.' It's only when tradition is maintained despite the loss of collective memory about why or when it's an attempt to relive the wrong part of something valuable that I get cranky!! Any tradition can be explained, reinvigorated or redeemed by including people, being open to new insights and valuing what it facilitates more than the tradition itself... to name a few aspects.
   We have travelled to Sydney once and BC twice a year for the Jan/Feb season of Sydney's Openair Cinema, I've blogged about many times.
   This year we'll get there 20th January for 'One Chance' the british comedy telling the story of 'Britain's Got Talent's' Paul Potts...
   The tradition is a day in Sydney with shopping, headspace, food and then the familiar ritual of lining up to get in for the egalitarian 'first come first served' general admission seating. Things have changed but it's still a fun, military styled exercise to get seats, food and a spot to sit and eat ahead of the gathered masses.
   When we started going the queue lengths were different... short season tix line, moderate tix in hand, long pick up and mid buy on the night line... With print at home tix our line is now twice as long.... Line place holders build elaborate back stories with phone calls and in line conversations to roll in and out of the line until their 12 mates turn up to run in ahead of you... better not be in my favourite seat... the shuffle to the secret stairs is a lot shorter than the paddington Gift!!

Have nothing in your bag that will be checked
Grab your Lindt ball and keep walking
One gets placeholders and sprints side stairs to an aisle seat with aisle at back
Two takes same stairs but heads to dining tables and secures [2] seats for dinner, trusting that movie seats has worked out
Buy dinner in turn, get a drink and a free SMH to stretch out your dining
Eventually get back to your reserved seat and enjoy the entertainment of watching people rock up with 15mins to spare and annoyed their preferred seats have been taken... yep, by people who lined up at 5pm, came in, reserved them and have eaten a meal and chatted with friends until it's now 8.15pm and you expect a prime view.

   It's not quite as uncommercial since St George took over sponsorship as 300 account holders get swish seats and wrist bands... other account holders still try to talk their way into better rows!!

   There are a few dinner tables with decent side screen view for the more relaxed viewing and the VIP area above has always made me feel sorry for those hangers on... usually the cast of the latest Underbelly have a reunion there...

What I love about this tradition is:
- That we are still enjoying it
- We love movies and this is a unique way to see one
- Rain ponchos
- Reading how many gourmet ways you can describe and cook a burger [waygu, please...] or bangers and mash so there's a choice besides smashed veggies, rocket and something on sticks
- The view

In a few years the girls will be well old enough to come along... damn it!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Advent Photo #16 Past

   If I have my history and collection correct then this is a photo of Wanderers 3rd Grade Grand Final 1984 [at the old No2 Sportsground] my first year with the club after two at Newcastle Uni and one off with [you guessed it] a bad knee!! That's me having missed the lineout throw before lifting in the lineout and Steve Lee at halfback is hoping Phil Whetham can grab the ball... an old brown leather rugby ball by the way!!
   You'll notice from the hair that it was blowing a gale that day... in Newcastle the winds pick up and change direction in late August. All season you'll get a light seabreeze to one corner of the ground or across ways but in August it can shift to straight down the ground.
   My recollection is that we spent all but about 20mins of this game camped in our own quarter and tackled ourselves to a standstill against the Waratahs. Both teams had a mix of youth and experience and we played a more expansive style but this is the days of genuine scrums, full on rucking and quiet referees!!
   We held on to win, too exhausted to raise a cheer as we'd done enough to stop them scoring quite as many points as us and defended a slender lead. I did manage to score a try in this match, standing off outside the 5/8 on a rare moment out from their line, I took the ball up having managed to hang onto the pass and was tackled by their 5/8 or inside centre who was a about 4ft tall, so when he fell over backwards I could place the ball on the ground over the line... I'm just glad I wasn't called on to pass it to my right!!
   In this Wanderers side we lost our coach mid season and we had to win something like 9 or 11 straight games to squeak into 4th spot on averages and then won the minor semi, final and GF... it was here in this season I fell for this game and the effort, commitment, team aspect and sheer fun required to make a go of it!!
   It's in my past but tells a story about who I would be over the following 25+ years and who I am today...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Advent Photo Frame

   I've stuck at this Advent Photo a Day thing for long enough to plan a photo frame with all of them at the end... stuff to focus on for 2014 I guess... I haven't joined in the common one that been doing the rounds... dunno just felt it had too many religious words in the list... but I have enjoyed people's efforts. I just felt like doing my onw thing. I think it's another example of how much I value collaboration with others but find it tiring as well!! In other words a project I just do is energising as well as creative... not everything needs to be about the ideas, sensibilities, fears or preferences of others... So, loving other peoples pictures but enjoying doing my own as well!!

Advent Photo #15 Motive

   As I write today I'm in a rare lucid moment on day two of antibiotics for the dreaded lurgy that is a throat infection [throat, chest, head, sleepy, seedy... generally unwell] where at least I got into my Dr who knows to just give me the medications as rest is never enough!! It's been a good year with this really my second bout instead of the normal 5-6 episodes. Feeling slowly better today at what is such a busy time of year...
   Well, I've been avoiding this photo so far... this is me in Aug/Sept 2008 after about 18 months of strict diet and weight loss of 32+ kgs... I hadn't quite reached my goal but fell off the wagon soon after... darn OS trip and the delights of fresh bread and NYC fried treats!! Such a focused, determined and effective time but built on an unrealistic diet that inevitably came unstuck and eludes me still today as I know how single minded I needed to be to get there...
   Anyhow, I think it's also really about motive... I have plenty of reasons but am struggling to turn them into a motive that works... I hope a health scare isn't the trigger but that might work... failing that my 4 x week swimming is making me fitter and leaner, if I could just conquer how much I enjoy the wrong foods and know they are a short term buzz... I feel I am slowly getting into a motivated space... in the meantime I'll keep swimming and search for that will power...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Advent #14 Lens

So this one's more for my churchy friends...
   It's all about the lens through which you look at things!! Your own experiences and story. strongly held or intuitively felt beliefs, hopes, desire for stability, need for change and what worked for you... these both inform but can also hold us back from a future.
   In a time where change is called for we need to be aware of the lens we look through at things and be ready to decide whether our 'picture' of things takes us forward or holds us back. In Advent the story attempts to surprise, to change how people saw things and how we might be called to see things into the future...
   A huge connection with this is how the community around us has changed and rendered our lens cloudy or irrelevant... It's time to interrupt normal transmission... It does challenge our central values because who we are as 'church' has been shaped by the society we've been part of. What? Well, denominational corner store local branches were not necessarily the model envisaged in the Epistles. Don't underestimate the need for suburban and main street branches, collecting offerings and maintaining a facility at which it's raft of invitational activities could be carried out. Don't underestimate the social convention of joining churches as family creating multiage teams to run things. At some point, for many, this became the relatively harmless pursuit of values for your kids, until people stopped listening or finding the expression of church less relevant, life giving, hopeful and/or demanding...
   This model still works where some ingredients are still present and/or the leadership are able to connect core message with the questions people are asking in their lives. Places where kids are welcomed [and not criticised behind parents backs], where energy is put into things that bring life to people.
   But what of places where no invitation is being responded to [and some where none is given]... what needs to happen to their lens? If those places participated in their community in just one legendary act of 'serving' the hurts and/or hopes of others in their community, then a. they would have something to celebrate and offer as worship and b. might just find a community of people with whom they can ask... what does 'church' look like here...
   The old lens has them asking, how will this get these people joining us on Sunday morning? It's not working in so many places... Learn more about the lens, then figure out if it's a clear and accurate view of your world. Where it's not, what needs to change... who do you need help from to do the changing?

   This is all motivated by our own call to follow and a vision of what the world could be like if we lived 'for the common good' collaborating together around God's values. Individuals will emphasise different parts of that story and call but that's just different emphasis not greater or lesser truth... some emphases recapture the old lens and make us more comfortable, some create a new future and draw us into holy mischief and uncertainty...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Advent Photo #13 Eternity

   Arthur Stace created quite a legend in the 1960s in Sydney as a late night chalker of the word 'Eternity' over various parts of the city. The story is out there to read and in recent years has been celebrated at the National Museum in Canberra, in the city itself, through art and spectacularly at Sydney's NYE celebrations.
   That in particular brought tears to my eyes as I read the SMH in the lead up where it acknowledged that Stace's vision was to shout the question 'where will you spend Eternity?' to the world and Ignatius Jones and his NYE team made it a reality...
   Arthur Stace struggled as a rough sleeper or hostel resident, with alcohol and in life but he was reportedly inspired by a St Barnabas men's rally evagelist to ask his question. Mostly illiterate, he was somehow enabled to write his chalk mesage in perfect copperplate font. This included a celebrated scribing on the Sydney GPO clocktower bell.
   My reflection is 'when you look back, how will you hoped you lived your life and if you're not so happy with how your doing, then today is a chance to start again' taking the challenge to live out an ethos that amtters!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Advent Photo #12 Rely

   So once too many times my Mac has been dropped, slipped off the Ottoman or generally taken a ding on the edge of the frame. So now the screen and lid separate on closing. I am sure it's fixable at a cost via the Apple Store. Visits there have yielded too many hard drive changes and would certainly take more than 24hrs... a reminder of how much I rely on this technology. Anyhow it will have to be fixed, soon!

Advent Photo #11 Look

   This spectacular property and view is about 50mins from Merriwa and I'd driven past it often, in the rain, at night and in a hurry, until one sunny Friday afternoon with time to stop and look. What caught my attention this time was not the 'Don't Undermine Us' signage but the blue sky and the cloud formation further north.
   If I hadn't stopped to look I would have missed this pillar of cloud that hugged the hills and dropped down just to the right of the image. I'm no expert but if CSG threatens the quality of the underground aquafers that these and many local farmers rely on then not enough people will have 'seen' the risk coming.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Advent Photo #10 Being

   There are places and times where 'being' is more important than 'doing' even though both have their place. This photo is the banner and beer garden for 'The Jesus Arms' pub at Greenbelt Festival and it was taken on the second afternoon in 2008 at Cheltenham Racecourse...
'The Arms' served mocktails, cocktails, homemade softdrinks and alcohol ciders and beer.
   It was quite a brilliant space where it's character changed throughout the day. On a sunny afternoon it was a great spot to escape the crowd and take time to 'be'. I enjoyed a few ales, conversations and the space. Early evening the crowds began, swelling the tent for 'beer and hymns' with lyrics onscreen. Dinner was a group catch up and late evenings turned to philosophy, theology and vital matters of life... Who we 'be' and how we 'be' is shared and laughed about, cried over and felt deeply. This is true through beer goggles or the clarity of late nights 'talking crap' and it's genuinely 'holy ground.' One day I'd like to get back there, though it took at least 20 years the first time around...

Monday, December 09, 2013

Advent Photo #09 Story

   Well, this is a terrible photo, taken in a rush to make the deadline for the ABC radio Photo Comp [the deadline for which was unfairly extended anyhow]... BUT, this is a picture of me outside the newly redeveloped No2 Sportsground in Newcastle. It's now a stunning venue with rectangular field and new grandstand, blue room and bar etc. This last week it played host to the Asia Pacific Special Olympics Soccer!!
   I was standing there thinking back over 25 or so years of Rugby Union and fond memories of the old ground and it's connections with history, match of the day and so on...
   One thing I miss since rupturing both kneecap tendons in 2003 was that 'one more chance to run out onto No2'!! My story is that I love that game, found a 'home' in playing ot alongside cricket and some of my best memories of sport and comraderie are from the teams I played in and coached [or both] and the success and fun we had. It was almost as good seeing others do likewise in their respective teams. The 1993 1st XV were a team of legends who finally cracked it with a few missing pieces of the puzzle together that year...
   Rugby is a game for all shapes and sizes, it's chess with aggression and brings skills and tactics to the fore... you need an ounce of luck but you gain it from the small percentage things you do well and the challenge in trying to play the perfect game... well, what an idealist would consider the perfect game.
   This is all part of my story, the story I place alongside the story we reflect on in Advent, the story that gives meaning and definition to all my endeavours... a story of world changing values, history and the call to follow...

Sunday, December 08, 2013


A visual reflection on the occasion of the death of Nelson Mandela December 2013

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Advent Photo #08 Living

   Brian's story is that he can be found most days in Martin Place or Pitt St Mall offering to shine shoes or briefcases and this is how he makes his living. Originally from Melbourne and well known to Father Bob Maguire, Brian moved away to escape a life and circle of friends that affirmed and caused a struggle with a drug habit that would have killed him.
   The irony of Christmas is the Jesus story confirms God engages with us, siding with people like Brian and calling us to be communities who care, act and bring change to better encourage others to be part of such hope and life giving communities.
   Brian and others like him remind us of what it means to live, to struggle and to know the need for hope and practical care...

Advent Photo #07 Noise

The noise from Times Square in New York City is quite unique, whatever time of day or night. There's traffic [especially yellow cabs] constantly and the hubub of an urban tourist destination that 'never shuts down.'
The billboards and neon give way to shopping and theatre and one block either way you have deli's, apartments and souvenir shops galore and I love it all.
It's noise that reminds you you're alive and somewhere different. It's noise all it's own!!

Friday, December 06, 2013

Advent Photo #06 View

   This is the view from the top of the Sydney Cricket Ground [SCG] Ladies Members Stand looking out over a day in the traditional game of Test Match Cricket. Taking in the view with friends is one perspective and yet it's still very possible to have your own unique experience of it. Your thoughts, your sense of the occasion and so on.
   While I can appreciate a forest, a bush trail or a campfire I am still mostly entralled by urban environments and the creativity that shapes them. New York City, the walking/cycling path next the beach or a field of sporting endeavour that allows me time to take in the view.

Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013

   We will look back in history over coming decades [and others will for hundreds of years to come] and recall time and again, what a remarkable person Madeba was. Leadership from behind, encouraging the herd to stride out ahead, forgiveness despite all that apartheid had meant and 27 years in prison himself. Mandela's 'Long Walk to Freedom' is the basis for an upcoming film that I hope will be bumped up from it's Feb 6th release here in Oz. Check it out here and here

I'll be pretty keen to promote a particular session amongst UCA peoples to get a crowd along for it and/or similar for a DVD screening when that comes out!!

   Here was a man for his time, honed and shaped by the events that transpired to plave him where he was... we often want to say "well not everyone will be Nelson Mandela" but why not? why not be encouraged to make the tough choice, to give and to lead by example, making the best of what life and circumstances bring our way!!

Here are some other ways to explore the Mandela story:
ITN 6mins here 
Inauguration Speech[part of] here  
46664 Celebration Speech here 
‘Nelson Mandela’ The Specials here 

And most recently, for the soundtrack of the upcoming film based on the work 'Long Walk to Freedom'
‘Ordinary Love’ U2 here 
then there's ‘Invictus’ the film centred on Mandela's harnessing of the 1995 Rugby World Cup to unify the 'new' South Africa here

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Advent Photo #05 Expectation

  I'd read about and been told about the chunky chips at 'Pegs' cafe... but they had to be tasted to see if my expectation would be met or not...
Is expectation a good thing when it's about fried carbohydrates... well, they were that good!!
   Sea salt and golden fried potato, alongside a soup like meat dish that was pretty impressive on a sunny day this winter just gone... these expectations are the stuff of life... I can't quite muster the same excitement about a 'Sumo Salad'
   On the other hand there's expectation of institutions... like the one where I find my vocation. This one is struggling and groaning under the weight of expectation or challenge. Our model is broken, we need to work to rediscover who we are called to be and order our selves accordingly. Instead people's expectation is to be left alone or taken care of until death. Without 'change' that desire will be fulfilled and more quickly!!

I'm mindful of:
- a busted model from centuries ago and at least shaped by the 1950s
- children expected to be well behaved or not present [you'll get that wish too]
- lack of purpose
- the possibilities of ethos vs the hopelessness of what is
- people stepping back from possibilities
- shrinking funds meaning the wrong stuff gets cut
- property rich cash poor
- failure to hold our story as good news
- retreat to conservatism, radical foolishness or managerial madness
- mission exploration driving what shape of the movement is needed and then lining up resources accordingly
and much more really...


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Advent Photo #04 Present

   Most sunny days he rolls up a trolley of equipment, lays down a rope boundary and 'cones', sets up a tray of detergent and uses a rope and two plastic sticks to create some of the most impressive bubbles you'll see!! They drift across Hyde Park in Sydney, over the heads of the chess players and burst on a tree branch up to 100m from their origin.
   Sometimes he draws a crowd, other times you can stand at a distance and might be the only one aware that he is present. This photo is a mixture of both. If you jog, walk or even stroll through the Park focused on your smart phone you could miss this unique treat. Being present is also about our own focus. Advent might be about taking time to think about who is and isn't present and how to attend to that...

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Advent Photo #03 Time

'Time' is what you need to enjoy a coffee at 'Suspension.' The vibe and layout with it's rear garden area reminds me of 'The Tongue & Groove' at the Junction... which was hugely popular for the same reason I've enjoyed coffee a few times here... Time to stop, time to enjoy a coffee and non mass produced treats. Time to meet friends and talk about crap for an hour or more. Time!!

Top TEN and Movies I've Seen During 2013

The great thing about such lists is people will agree/disagree and that's not the point, it's my list...

1. 'About Time' loved it's premise and Richard Curtis' ability to make people 'real'
2. 'The Sapphires' Brilliant aussie storytelling
3. 'Man of Steel' interesting characters and retelling
4. 'Identity Thief' genuinely funny
5. 'Iron Man 3' great mix of comedy, make believe & human faults
6. 'The Wolverine' compelling story
7. 'Despicable Me 2' entertaining and sharp humour
8. 'The Great Gatsby' grand scale storytelling with Baz' fair for the peculiar
9. 'The Worlds End' clever fun
10. 'Elysium' layered tale of difference, choice & power

And the others I've seen so far...
A Good Day to Diehard
Escape from Planet Earth
The Croods
Star Trek Into Darkness
The Hangover III
This is the End
The Lone Ranger
Smurfs 2
Kick Ass 2
The Internship
Red 2

Oh and I forgot to add that I didn't see nearly enough of these films at the cinema, I haven't seen 'Blue Jasmine' yet but will and I can't believe how many films I'll be trying to catch in the next 3 weeks!!
We are also awaiting the detailed list of films for the Sydney Openair Cinema outdoors at Mrs Macq's Chair on the screen in the water with the Bridge & Opera House as backdrop!!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Advent Photo #02 Activity

Intentional effort to be, to change, to take time and live more fully...
What activity do you undertake when you have had bilateral patella tendon repair surgery ? That's right, both knees, at once, in 2003!!
   This year I returned to the lap pool for the first time since 2008, when it got too cold to cycle at the flat foreshore I 'bit the bullet' and took my unfit self to the Forum Pool at the Uni and got back into 20-30 laps up to 4 times a week. I'm excited that now in the warmer weather I get to hit Lambton Pool and now the kids are in, Mayfield Pool. There's something nice about frequenting these community facilities. They are full of history and nostalgia, the staff are either mates I know or just friendly regardless!!
   The 'activity' includes exercise, reflection, thinking problems through, challenging 2 laps at a time...

And no, I'm not following the popular list that's out there but instead setting my own daily key word...

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Advent Photo #01 Place

Not sure I'll last the distance but here's my Advent Photo 01 'Place'
A place of waiting, re-creation and time to stop... Bar Beach, Newcastle!!
And apparently lightning won't strike there again for the foreseeable future!!