Sunday, August 31, 2014

PHOTO of the Week: Lap Swimming

   I calculated that as lap swimming was one pursuit I needed to 'give up' to be able to get the recent Weekend OUT planned and executed, I missed approx 500 laps of the pool... the problem was the small 'window' of time the pool has max. lanes available during the day... in warmer months that's from 9.30am on but at the Forum this winter 11.30am or 1pm have been the optimum times...  this matters as I do freestyle one way and breaststroke the other and therefore am immediately 'in the way' of faster swimmers... I could have kept at this if I wanted to take the middle out of the day every second day.... I was also very tired and just staving off a sore throat, so it was an energy preserving break!! Went back this week and really struggled to get rolling but knocked over 22 laps at first go... Three times a week is the idea... here's hoping!! Outdoors in about 2 weeks I reckon!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

PHOTO of the Week: Go the All Blacks

   "I give up Wallabies!!" You just don't take enough care of the ball!! AND attacking opportunities are continually wasted through stupid speculative options. Run straight and hard, hold the ball and let Foley make space for Beale, AAC and Folau.... please!!!
   The All Blacks dropped as many passes as we did and still managed to convert pressure to points, they came out of the blocks more enthusiastic, won the breakdown [and that's without checking the stats] and punished us on the scoreboard!! Coach McKenzie selected the wrong team... I am a huge fan of Kurtley Beale but he should have started both Test Matches wearing number 12, not 10!! I think Palu and Higginbotham should have shared a half each and next week H should start... he is the right kind of abrasive player...
   Sorry but McCabe is not quick enough as a finisher and we were outflanked repeatedly in game two... AND a tight head penalty try... nice going forwards!! That's a great way to continue your reputation as poor scrummagers...
   Now, where's my Steinlager sponsored 1980s Canterbury brand All Blacks jersey... top of the wardrobe in the vacuum bags I believe!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

PHOTO of the Week: "Murray Rocking out at Weekend OUT

   My mate Murray [he'll always be Murray to me] took a break from all his female companions and admirers at Weekend OUT to enjoy the musical stylings of Ben Bleyerveen [whose new album 'Solstice' is available on iTunes]. Obviously even a camp mascot [whose travelled the UCA youth events and even the globe] takes time to chill and was glad not to have been left in a bag this time around!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

'Good Will Hunting' The Park Bench

Language warning, some regular readers may be offended, the language is real!!
The insights are important...

"Take Me to Church" Sinead O'Connor

   Sinead O'Connor is great!! She has a way of unearthing a thought, a song, a way of opening conversation... In a way I wish this song had a couple of verses opening up the conversation further but then that's the obvious unpacking activity isn't it. I love how music comes at you in both lyrics and the mood of the tune... this song has just the right energy... honest, searching, discerning and passionate!! It begs the question, what kind of church does church need to be then...?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

PHOTO of the Week: Hang Gliding Tryptych

   When I can, when I'm stressed, when I need a reminder of the great place I live... with my sandwiches I head to Bar Beach Carpark to read the papers for ten minutes and enjoy lunch!!
   This week there were maybe six or more hang glider enthusiasts enjoying the thermals at Susan Gilmour Beach up to the Lookout!! This included ducking below the bluff and going vertically back up to loop around and come back!! Stunningly skilful and impressive...

Thursday, August 07, 2014

National Day of Mourning for the Victims of the shooting down of MH17

   What's the most appropriate way for a nation to mark the grief and the loss experienced in such a tragedy as the shooting down of a passenger jet airliner? Taking a flight path over the Ukraine this aircraft was filled with holidaymakers and travellers of all ages... siblings, children, parents and grandparents... who leave behind stunned families and their immeasurable grief. There are also those who were on their way to an International AIDS Research Conference. As someone said "there was a potential cure onboard that plane."
   I'm no fan of political leadership on this occasion and talk of "Bringing them Home" is unsettling at best. That said, it's important for people to know that the search and recovery teams can get in and do a proper site investigation and the return of human remains.
  Knowing of a directly effected family and community of faith only serves to deepen my sense of of this tragedy... a devastating loss indeed!! I suppose a national day that invites people to 'stop' to identify with the story and to pray as they are able, is a good thing to do... with space for different people's way of dealing with things...

'The Shape of Faith'

   What goes through your head when you have way too much to do and need to be 'creative on demand'... well, first is to create the illusion of time... so it's not on demand. The second is to of course have a head full of thinking about the how and what of 'faith shaping.' At least that's relevant to the work I'm doing for the weekend. I also look forward to a moment of diversion with Wanderers Women's Rugby First XV hosting a BBQ for the Club ahead of their Grand Final on Saturday!! Another Tall Tales night will see an old Wanderer share stories of their rugby days and what it is about Wanderers Rugby Club that keeps them connected... OK I digress.
   With a major Camp next weekend and some work being done towards a conversation at our regional [Presbytery] meeting, I'm thinking about:
What the 'good news' is for the Aussie society I live in and seek to know better, individuals in families and the wider community?
Where are the signs of God's activity in the world, that we are invited to join?
How is it that we have come to regard ourselves as being at the centre of this story, that salvation is about us, that God is so focused on our self actualisation and that the whole story neatly fits into our middle class aspirations, whether we realise it or not?
   I wonder what hope we have unless we can grasp that God is in the whole world and invites us to engage in community as 'culture makers' who want to join in creating 'another world' where the fruits of the Spirit are a blueprint for elevating those who are 'blessed.' God speaks of this from the very edges of our society and calls us to stand with and in those places... returning to McAfee Brown's thinking... where we stand determines what we see... our faith would be shaped by stories of need, not contribution, of hospitality, not exclusion and we would need to 'bite our lip' and allow God to speak, not the clatter of our own filtered agendas.
   So many times when I have been engaged in conversations around how faith must be presented, how programs and initiatives must be 'Christ centred' or we must 'share the Gospel' it's my assertion that this is that persons agenda and need, not God's.
Here's one way of thinking that's exercising my mind towards Weekend OUT...
SPACES we're talking about creating need to be about reflecting, stepping back, intent and people sharing their stories
TIME to be with people getting to know them better and encountering new people
We are called to be an EXAMPLE by DOING
Being followers by paradoxically being a LEADER
Which means giving a bit of yourself away, putting yourself in the situation of being an EXAMPLE
By having to EXPLAIN things and through exploring and SEEING the amazing faith of OTHERS

What ?
OK, so what I've just written will make little sense to anyone else but me... sorry, I guess I'm thinking aloud and trying to get my own brain working... as someone who first stirred this morning at 4.45am

Monday, August 04, 2014

PHOTO of the Week: The Waratahs 2014 Super 15 Champions

   In some ways these championship photos with the streamer canons are awfully choreographed photos BUT this one does represent a team that's done some tough times in recent years. Just when they were renegotiating a Stadium deal to take Brumbies and Reds games to Homebush [as demanded by fans] their form faded and it became a ridiculous waste...
   I was one of only 12,000 fans that turned up to a game last year BUT they have triumphed over the Brumbies and the Crusaders in these Finals to claim the title for the first time in 19 years!! It's a testament to the coach Michael Cheika and what he's asked of the players and it's a sign that they might finally be getting that they need to come together as a team to make this thing work!!
   The Final was a ripper because they 'came out of the blocks' well and the Crusaders had to run them down... they did but fell to a penalty against Richie McCaw who is renowned for playing on the edge of the rules and for being favoured by Refs caught up in how good he is at competing for the ball!!
   This is a team that's had hard work instilled into it and they've broken lots of moulds this year...

Champions of March
Loser to lowly teams from South Africa
Unable to win in South Africa
Softer than Kiwi teams
Can't find a way to win close matches
Reliant on Israel Folau
Final Runners Up

Well done Tahs!!