Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"The Making of Midnight Oil"

20th June to 7th September 10am -5pm Tue to Sun
Manly Museum and Art Gallery
West Esplanade, Manly

Looks an amazingly curated collection of material for this 'travelling' exhibition with strong input from Rob Hirst and memorabilia from band members private collections!!
See you there!!!!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

PHOTO of the Week "Midnight Oil"

   It has to be this image this week!! A rare photo from 'War & Peace' at Parramatta 1977 as the Oils kick start their name change and begin  journey that takes them around the world with a  truly unique punk surf rock sound and the skills of guitarists and drummer so nobody sounds like them [ever]!! I can only describe it as layers and a sped of guitar that often sounds like the drums are racing to keep up... when cover bands play their songs it doesn't sound the same... too in time and not enough intricacy!!
   Throw in the lead singer [who isn't a great singer but has 'something', to quote band members circa audition at Uni]... I was reminded of this photo yesterday as I listened to Matt Anslow talk about his music and the wonderful Heather Barnes introduce what her focus will be in 4 weeks at Expresso at Adamstown when it's her turn to play some tunes and talk about the place of music in her life...
   I was reminded firmly of how much music inspires and refuels me... and how transcendent live music can be, especially this unique band!! Railing against injustice, giving voice to the voiceless and resonating the Aussie bush backdrop!!
   I do hope to catch Jim working with Neil Murray at some stage and no doubt I'll make more than one visit to 'The Making of Midnight Oil' at Manly Museum which MUST travel to Newcastle!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Big Weekend...

   From a Friday night 'in' after a long day of preparation 'wrestling' with exactly what to do, through Facilitating Missional Planning all day at Toronto, onto the second half of a fine Wanderers 1st XV victory over the fancied Hamilton [including  period with 2 players in the sin bin], then Slice Pizza at home and a busy Sunday leading worship at Muswellbrook and Rouchel in the Upper Hunter... I had the perfect evening dropping into Expresso Cafe at Adamstown in the Dungeon!!
   We've been working hard at Toronto to understand and make plans to become a more missional faith community alongside existing strengths in hospitality, community engagement, funerals ministry and a teaching and discipling culture. After two previous days group work + church council conversations we spent the day being reminded of the missional implies and how God's call relates to giftedness and where people already ARE in their community... We made choices about ethos & values, narrowed focus in terms of 3-4 things to grow/develop, explore and dream AND we asked 'what would be wise now' to achieve a financial future that enabled maintaining current budgets + funding new plans. People did really well seeking to grow existing mission, to build collaborations with others in the community and to let go of long lists and focus!! To be like 'salt' and 'light' bringing out the God colours and flavours present in their community.
   I got to No2 Sportsground after half time to learn that again this week all grades had been successful and 1st's were in front bit had two players yellow carded and off the field!! The defensive effort was huge and the crowd had obviously enjoyed the great rugby on offer. I'm enjoying the slow unroll of my voluntary help with Player Welfare in my local club!! The Two Blues!! The 1st XV just need to keep that up tempo game going and their hard work will continue to pay off!!
   The girls had requested the superb Slice Gourmet Pizza from Adamstown and I picked it up on the way home!!
   This morning was Muswellbrook Uniting at 9am including Communion and Rouchel at 11.30am!! We are in a month of focus on 'sharing your faith' and today was about 'doing worship differently... We did some reflecting on that but also listened to Rob Bell in the NOOMA clip "Today" which intersects with the reading from John 14 where Jesus promises God's Spirit [parakletos] which has a few emphases through the Gk not all held in English, but 'advocate' is fair, yet it can be in the sense of advocating with us on behalf of those we meet/see/know or who God sees, sides with and calls us to serve... in a very real sense the same Spirit inspiring Paul to connect with and seek to understand and critique the culture and context he found in people's spirituality and search in Athens in Acts 17.
   Having spent a number of years drilling into this story I was uneasily 'stuck' in what coherently inspired me about this story when sharing in Muswellbrook [by which I mean I always wrestle with the task of sharing something that actually has meaning and needs to be said and will strike a chord... I don't 'go through the motions'] instead focusing on ways of sharing faith in a post modern setting through relationships, stickability and faith 'practices' [the practices of good community inspired by God, not just good citizenship]. At Rouchel I spent more time talking about Paul's work to understand the local fascination with 'new ideas' [resurrection from the dead qualified as a pretty radical notion, well done Paul] and the person and role of Jesus prompting those at the Aeropagus. In this he modelled an understanding of the spirit of the age and inspired a generation of youth workers to engage their own passion for music, movies and books and what they say about 'where people are at' in their life, faith, questioning and worldview... In the local marketplace Paul is angry as he observes more than one carving or sculpture, including the one with the inscription 'to an unknown God' and you can picture Paul turning that into a desire to engage and help... in conversation offering "let me help you find the words for the God you know yet cannot 'name.'"  That's what discipleship can be about... together seeking the identity of Jesus in our midst.
   We also spent a little time unpacking ways people could see faith sharing happening differently in their lives and 'The Hunger Games'...
   Paul Kelly's "Meet Me in the Middle of the Air" from the MCG Bushfire Concert was a nice bonus part of the services...
   But to wrap the day I felt it important to head to Expresso at Adamstown tonight, knowing SLYM+ at Belmont would be a classic, but didn't need me to make it so...
   Expresso has a monthly pattern of promoting faith filled conversation through encountering art and/or music and on this occasion Matt Anslow came to share songs, about his passion and motivation and to talk about #LoveMakesaWay and how he and a group of others came to believe a peaceful non violent political action might give voice to the voiceless children in detention as asylum seekers who headed here to Oz in boats!! I, and also as he shared Matt, understand that some would be angry about the use of prayer in this context, a political context!! It came from over 12 months of meetings and discussion amongst people concerned about our Governments dreadful policies [both Labor under Gillard and Liberal under Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison's Ministerial role].
   I agree with Matt that 'all prayer is political' [politics being 'work done in public'] and at the end of the day this was a group of people committed to conversation with the politicians that would get traction after all the church's channels of dialogue were exhausted and they felt inspired by God to 'do something' that might get them to listen.
   Great to see Heather B and Mikhala L and a host of others on the night!! Matt's music was inspirational [Paul Dempsey-esque] and deeply grounded in justice and faith. He talked about the liturgy [the work of the people] of confession, lament, hope and peace they shared [including the offer to 'pass the peace' with staff and to invite them to join in the prayer. Far from being a stunt it was the option faithful people, many of them people I know and count as friends and leaders, felt was their only humble choice. As I say, I understand people not 'getting it'...
   That inspiration and the chance to chill and enjoy some good music was a great way to wind up the weekend before a jobs list, TV and rest!! In the words of the 'tough' judge from Sutherland, if ever there was a peaceful protest, this was it... the complete opposite, for example, of the Cronulla Riots!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

PHOTO of the Week "Mohammed Ali for Sports Illustrated"

   I love this photo taken by Neil Leifer in 1965 as Mohammed Ali stands over Sonny Liston urging him to "get up and fight, sucker!!" I have to say I'm no fan of boxing as such, but there was something special about Ali and I've blogged before that I had a couple of sickies from High School that happened to correspond with some of his 1970s bouts on daytime TV here in Oz.
   To be in command enough of your fitness, skills and determination to able to trash talk your opponent and get the famous head wabble going was just amazing... It's a brutal pursuit and Ali's Parkinson's and later life are testament to the damage that's possible. It's true that this image captures how most people want to remember him!! You only have to see how some fighters 'never know when to quit' to see the addictive side to this alongside the money on offer...

That's not what's so unique about this photo!!
   It's one of the most iconic sports photographs in history. At the time the picture was shot Leifer was 22 years old. He had sold his first photos to Sports Illustrated when he was 16 years old. On the 25th May 1965 Leifer was asked to cover the WBC Heavyweight Championship contest between Ali and Sonny Liston, held at St Dominick's Arena in Lewistown, Maine. Ali was defending his title in a rematch. Leifer was one of only two photographers that night with colour film in his camera.

‘When you’re shooting ringside, you feel what the fighters feel, hot under the overhead ring lights, squeezed in between the other photographers,’ he has written. ‘When a fighter is against the ropes, you’re so close that even with a wideangle lens you’ve got to lean back to get the fighters in frame. But my favourite subject, no matter what the sport, was and still is Muhammad Ali.' 

Look more closely...

   Sports Illustrated colleague, Herbie Scharfman, was on the other side of the ring and is actually seen through Ali's legs in the picture. "It didn't make a difference how good [Scharfman] was that night. He was obviously in the wrong seat," Leifer said in a 2002 interview. However, he also added, "what the good sports photographer does is when it happens and you're in the right place, you don't miss." I've heard Scharfman interviewed and he acknowledges he had the choice of seats!!

"Where you stand [or sit] determines what you see!"  


Friday, May 16, 2014

"Sky Full of Stars" Coldplay

I won't be at the Enmore 20th June but I am thinking of projecting their last concert DVD outdoors in my backyard soon!! I guess there's lots to be gleaned from lyrics, mood and Chris Martin's story through Coldplay's new album..... there are a couple of tracks I have loved listening to recently and the full album came out today!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

PHOTO of the week "Tenambit Tigers" 1973

   Wow, there's a photographic "blast from the past" which I saw on a Facebook Page this week!! This is the talented 1973 Tenambit Tigers Under 12s and I remember a few faces, but not really names!! There are so many rich memories evoked by this photo...
   I have often thought back to how little I really remember in detail from this sporting era of my life. I have a Pennant that reminds me we played a Grand Final [could even be the 1973 decider] and I don't really remember it clearly at all. I do remember the season I played a couple of half games in the whole year but stuck it out waiting for a coaching change the following season.  I still remember pushing myself to get to Raymond Terrace, bronchitis acting up, chest infection in the offing, only to sit on the reserves bench the whole game... he was not saving me from my ill health!!
   I know this was my last year of schoolboy rugby league as I simply didn't think seven primary schools into one Year 7 team at MBHS would include me... I took up Rugby Union in 1981!! The other match I recall was a season ending 100-0 loss in pouring rain and mud where the mercy rule was invoked and the coach/parents shouted us hot pies to celebrate surviving the season [not the 1973 one].
   Jonesy is the blonde in the front row second from left and he is the one I tell a golf story about from East Maitland Course. In our late High School days the tee markers were painted tennis ball cylinders filled with cement and a metal spike and they sat in the grass upturned with the spike in the ground. Todd hit a fiercely struck tee shot, expecting it to fly 200m when it hit the marker 2m in front of him, bounced back and felled him by hitting him fair and square on the forehead!! We cried with laughter after we knew he remained conscious...
   These are the early years of my love of rugby league inherited from my cousins, who were mad keen South Sydney Rabbitohs fans. We played touch or tackle league all winter at the oval across the street or in Bruce' backyard across the back lane from us... I had a Balmain Tigers jersey so our teams could be delineated and everyone knows the Bunnies rival the Tigers and still talk about the 1969 GF... Tigers laying down for injury breathers repeatedly to slow the rythm of the game... I know, they'll see it differently!! This photo is 12 months after I had a bamboo spear embedded in my foot in a neighbourhood game of 'javelin' throwing.
   The bloke to my right is a familiar face whose name is long gone from the memory, Gary Stein is there and could it be 'Dave Wood' right in the centre, maybe not? The first in our year to own the full batman suit, cowl and utility belt which he got for his birthday...
   My cousin Bruce was two years older and his team won their competitions [and I think undefeated] from their under 12's to under 18s... at Pierce St I remember them almost losing in under 18s, to win it on goal kicks from their thin as a stick back who wore the right colour socks, but wrong style, all year!! That team were tough to aspire to be and it was the stuff of local legend. I think Mick Finch [uncle of NRL player Brett and brother of St George legend Robert] was in the side.
Presentation Nights were a big deal at Maitland Town Hall!!
   This was the era of leather footballs, headgear and canvas shoulder pads!! We also had internal shorts pockets which you put rectangles of foam rubber in to 'protect' your hips... you had your own leather footy and no flamin' idea what you were doing... Our skipper holding the signage was a good player!! My folks never encouraged me to play and especially as wet weather and Gala Days meant playing on Sundays!!
   It was probably the year of this photo we hosted a day with minimum three games except my family were set for baked dinner at my Pa's... I could be taken to the game after lunch begrudgingly!! I had a full baked dinner, had to have dessert to be polite and changed into my gear in the back of the car... arriving in time for game 2 or 3, running down the stairs pulling on the old black jersey with gold V, trying not to trip down the stairs or throw up until at least after the game!!

Friday, May 09, 2014

'Wisdom and Care'

Wisdom can be learned
It can also be ignored or lost
Care starts with listening
And an openness to understand the other
It is not soft or misguided
It is in fact the tougher choice

The guest who made others uncomfortable saw and heard care expressed
It came through being present and attending to their situation
The man who felt insecure about the picture of himself sought redemptive change in action
It came through hospitality and inclusion
An un-named woman was surprised and inspired and emboldened by that depth of knowing
It came through the metaphor of water and the well
Life changed for each one whether circumstance followed or not
These are ways of speaking about God with clarity and power
Power through humility

Wisdom and care are an expression of community
In a culture that celebrates the individual
We also have capacity to objectify and ignore

Fear and anxiety masquerade as certainty and truth
Intellect is used as a weapon
All the while people's lives hold them down
What is becomes how it will always be
Quiet screams of desperation are masked
And all the while the caravan rolls on

Who we are and how we gather is important
Who we include and what we create becomes our mark
Museums gather dust and hold great stories from the past
They can open up a future
But "where you stand determines what you will see
Whom you stand with will determine what you hear
and what you see and hear will determine what you say and how you act"*

* quote from Robert McAfee Brown

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

"The Godbearing Life"

   "The Godbearing Life: the Art of Soul Tending for Youth Ministry" Kenda Creasy Dean & Ron Foster is an important read for any youthleader, particularly those questioning aimless social groups, the inadequacy of 'devotions' and whether their current ministry with young people represents "our best theological work." Keep in mind not all social groups are aimless and not all devotions are terrible BUT read about it here and borrow the copy from the UCA Hunter Presbytery Youth Ministry Resource Library... some of which will be on display at the next Presbytery meeting and next Combined Youth Night 20th June!!

Monday, May 05, 2014

PHOTO of the Week "Lambton Pool"

   30 laps last week on May 1st and 2nd OUTDOORS, both the weather and the water have been very warm and I've mostly kept up my 4 trips/week for summer. With a week or two busy I think my next trip will be to the University indoors... and then next season who knows!! The Newcastle Council Inc. have sought expressions of interest to lease all 5 'inland pools' as privately run facilities. Less than 12 months ago the money was earmarked to turn Lambton into an indoor centre... that didn't eventuate....
   I know the Council has struggled for years with it's revenue base but the Pools, like Libraries [and just don't mention the Art Gallery] are part of the fabric of the community. By all means sell 'Royal Beresfield' Golf Club as although I love that it's a community facility and play there when I can, it's hardly an all age, all families, choice without other options!! Mayfield Pool is often home to family groups who from the age of their swimwear and clothes, are doing it tough, but must love the low cost option of a morning at the pool with the choice to BYO lunch and fill 2/3 of a day in a safe, fun activity!!
   The Pools are full in swimming season and especially for 4 weeks or so of Carnivals, then end of year lessons or even dive and rescue classes + water polo and birthday parties... the rest of the time it is great that you [with flexible work hours] and 3 or 4 others [up to 12 others at times] can find a lane/share a lane and do 45mins exercise where you shower/dry off and sit in the sun for 15mins all in the name of good health!!
   I visit Lambton, Mayfield and this season also Wallsend Pool and they are all friendly, professional staff, great facilities and a good sense of community pervades the space... all the best to the staff who frankly have no idea what the future holds!!

Sunday, May 04, 2014

How Can the Bible Be Authoritative?

   Some friends will be interested to read...
NT Wright gives plenty of 'food for thought' and advocates for a much more serious, deeper and more full role for Scripture than a "I read it, that's what it says, that's what it means" approach alone...  here

Search Institute Update

   Search Institute has done the brilliant work around the 40 Assets that build resilient young people. This offers a framework for building relationships and entering into ministry with young people and you can read about it here
Thanks for the 'heads up' Craig Mitchell

"Look Up"

Thanks Rod Dungan for this timely reflection that'll no doubt create conversation, on Facebook at least!!

Mark Sayers "Facing Leviathan"

Mark is an interesting writer and interpreter of pop culture, with a new Book about Leadership in our context here

"Is God Real" Thanks Pete Rollins

Great imagery and thought starter thanks Pete Rollins!! here
Imaged well by Doris Salcedo's shibboleth art at Tate Modern, where apparently a few patrons got injured, same with theology I guess!!

Easter Art

Some great Easter Art images from JA MIller here
Thanks for the link Jonny Baker

Great for visual backdrop, promo postcards [with credit and permission]!!