Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ashes of Wycliffe

On the last Sunday of 1384, whilst presiding over the Lord's Supper, John Wycliffe was struck with paralysis and fell to the ground. His friends carried him to his bed, where he died on December 31, 1384.

Forty-one years later, still hated by his enemies, his bones were exhumed, burned and thrown into the river.

As an ancient biographer wrote: "They burnt his bones to ashes and cast them into the Swift, a neighbouring brook running hard by. Thus the brook conveyed his ashes to the Avon, the Avon into the Severn, the Severn into the narrow seas and they into the main ocean. And the ashes of Wycliffe are sybolic of his doctrine, which is now spread throughout the world."

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Honorary knighthood for U2's Bono

U2 frontman Bono is being awarded an honorary knighthood by the Queen, the British Embassy in Dublin has said. The singer, whose real name is Paul Hewson, has been given the honour for "his services to the music industry and for his humanitarian work," it said.

Prime Minister Tony Blair congratulated him, telling the singer in a letter: "You have tirelessly used your voice to speak up for Africa."

The 46-year-old will receive the honour in Dublin early in the new year. British ambassador David Reddaway will conduct the ceremony. The embassy said the agreement of the Irish government was sought and granted for the Dublin-born singer to be honoured.

A statement on the band's website said the singer, who has lobbied Western leaders to increase aid to developing countries and cancel Third World debt, was "very flattered" to receive the award. It added that he hoped it opened doors for his campaigning work against extreme poverty in Africa.

SOURCE | BBC

Friday, December 22, 2006

Self confessed Blogger addict

Ok, I admit I'm a bit of an addict when it comes to blogging. I have so many great ideas for blogs, and at last count had started, or at least reserved the name for, 29 different blogs.

Of course, being in full time employment and being a husband to a beautiful wife and a father to three awesome girls, I don't really have time for 29 blogs.

The solution? Streamlining. I'm gonna cut down my blogs to four. That's right, from 29 to four.

On-screen is going to stay my main blog, it's where I do my DVD reviews along with some other pop-culture news and stuff. Ourpositionhereishopeless has changed to flames-of-war and will remain an occasional diary of my miniature war gaming exploits. The parachute music blog will remain, but will become dormant sometime in February.

Everything else, including post it jesus and little zombies will be merged into my faith.

Also gone is the format, and cool design ability with the swap to a blogger2 template. This had to be done so I can effectively keep control of the content through labels.

I don't really like my inability to add graphics to the new blogger2 templates, but I'll just have to live with it for my faith. On-screen and flames-or-war will remain as blogger templates without the ease of use of labels - design is far more important for them, in my eyes.

So expect a few posts over the Christmas period as I re-post some of my favorite stuff from my old blogs to my faith.

UPDATE | Thanks to a quick google search I found this blog that shows how to add an image for your header. Sweet.

UPDATE 2 | Of course once you know how to add a graphic as the header, adding the site meter counter is a piece of cake...

UPDATE 3 | Decided to do a photoshop header and tweek the html to get rid of the border around the header and left align it. I'm starting to like the new blogger.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Jesus Saves


Jesus Saves is part of a very funny street art blog, called little people. Go have a look, now.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pet boa constrictor chokes owner

A man has been choked to death by his pet boa constrictor at his home in the US city of Cincinnati, police say.

The 13-ft (3.9m) snake was still strangling Ted Dres' body when it was discovered by an acquaintance.

Members of an animal protection group removed the snake from the house after helping police officers free it.

An animal expert told the Associated Press news agency people were often unaware of the risks of keeping snakes such as boa constrictors as pets.

"People who keep these type of animals as pets should know exactly what they're doing and what they're capable of," Andy Mahlman, a spokesman for the Cincinnati Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said.

He warned reptile owners against wrapping such snakes around their necks, for instance when posing for photographs.

"They don't realise they could be a few seconds away from death," he was quoted as saying.

The snake would be housed at an animal shelter until Mr Dres' family had decided what to do with it, Mr Mahlman said.

Hhhhmmm, had it been a dog, the dog would have been put down, but because it's a snake it gets put in an animal shelter??

Friday, December 15, 2006

Catholics, Jews, Muslims and the wrong kind of Protestants

In a surprise move, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a computer game based around the Left Behind novels, is coming under flak from conservative groups in the States.

Apparently it's akin to playing both the Inquisition and the Crusades at the same time, and this is very, very bad.

Source: BBC

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A devil food is turning our kids into homosexuals

There's a slow poison out there that's severely damaging our children and threatening to tear apart our culture. The ironic part is, it's a "health food," one of our most popular.

Now, I'm a health-food guy, a fanatic who seldom allows anything into his kitchen unless it's organic. I state my bias here just so you'll know I'm not anti-health food.

The dangerous food I'm speaking of is soy. Soybean products are feminizing, and they're all over the place. You can hardly escape them anymore.

[if you really want to read more, click here]

Hhhmmm, thanks James Rutz, another reason for everyone to call Christians wacko. Although he doesn't say if females consuming too much soy will become more feminine..... hhhmmmm, might be worth a try on Helen Clark though...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Evil Santa


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Just in time for Christmas...

Product Features:
The best-selling book is now an at-home experience like no other

Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen has sold over 3 million copies and has been on the New York Times and Publisher’s Weekly Best Seller list

The game enables players to step beyond the one-on-one nature of the book and feel, touch and live Joel’s 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

For 2 or more players, ages 16 years and up

3Hx10.5Wx10.5D"

Oh man, now I KNOW what to buy Frank for Christmas... hehehehe

I'm speechless, but this guy on Amazon says all that needs to be said:

I am still holding out hope that this is all some elaborate hoax. Apparently the "Gospel of Wealth" is still alive and well in the United States. I very much appreciate Pastor Osteen's expectant faith that God will change one's life. But that change is promised to be manifested in the heart and soul of the person not in one's socio-economic class. Perhaps it would have been more efficient to merely come out with "Your Best Life Now the Monopoly Version!"

Monday, December 04, 2006

Simple and to the point

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Talking to God

The other night I was in bed talking to God, as you do. I do this most nights, and it’s normally a one-way conversation. I think that’s because God is a really good listener, and that he likes hearing me talk to him.

But anyway, I was feeling a little down about my ‘proper’ prayer times and reading my Bible when the thought came to me: I generally talk to God more than any other person. Out side of work commitments that is. The only exception being my wife, and children.

This got me thinking, with God often being taught as being a jealous God that wants to be first in our lives, in everything, should I be talking to God more often than I talk to my wife?

Or is my wife a glorious gift from God, that I have been blessed with the job of caring for her (and by extension our children) and there fore when I spend quality time talking to and listening to them, I’m actually some how spending time with God?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

aimee wins cross country



Aimee's school had their annual cross country race this morning, so I departed from work in sunny Airport Oaks and made my way south to Papakura South, where the rain clouds were forming. Rain clouds were a bad sign as I was in shorts and t-shirt.

Oh well, it wouldn't rain that hard would it?

But rain aside, Aimee was in the junior girls race, and she stared out pretty well, getting to the front of the group before one of her shoes came flying off. This threw her slightly but i encouraged her to keep going so she used her next stride to kick the other shoe off and make her way back to the front.

About half way round she was back in the lead and won with a convincing margin, and enough energy to have done a couple more laps.

On the way back to work I dropped by home to put on a dry t-shirt.

Aimee, you rock.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Best mate

With the arrival of Vodafone’s best mate service, both Dione and I signed up for the $6 phone-all-you-like deal, so that we could phone each other as much as we wanted with out worrying about the cost.

It seemed like a reasonable thing to do, we’d always be contactable to each other.

Five minutes after signing up however my phone started to vibrate in my pocket whilst I was reading in the lounge. I pulled it out and answered the call. It was Dione, she wanted me to come down to the kitchen.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A Visual Interpretation of Scripture

Can a morning quiet time be legitimate if it’s focussed around a single line of scripture, a sketch pad (or in this case, Post-It Note) and a Luxar Micropoint drawing pen?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A three pack of coloured condoms

My wife purchased a three pack of coloured condoms this morning, and then proceeded to visit me at lunchtime to show me. Not satisfied with showing me, she had to open the packet and put one on. It was a little hard getting the condom on the firm hardware, but she managed in the end.

After that exhausting experience, we had lunch, where by my wife discovered that she wasn’t happy with just my company. She wanted Frank.

Monday, October 23, 2006

To lie and insult.

I was a little tired at church last night (due to my wife insisting we watch the remaining episodes of Carnivale S2 in one hit, and not getting to bed until 3am) but was soon snapped back to alertness when Frank was being confirmed as a minister and was called to ‘lie and insult’.

Hold on just a second I thought, that can’t be right. To lie and insult might be a good motto for talk back radio, but surely I must have misheard it in relation to being a minister… maybe Frank was actually being called to be the light and the salt….

Monday, October 16, 2006

What Colour Are You?

Bono would like you to be RED.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Another "What I've done" meme

Only because Violet did it… (Obviously I follow trends instead of starting them!)

Filled in with an x:

( ) Smoked a joint
( ) Done cocaine
(X) Been in love
( ) Had a threesome
(X) Been dumped
(X) Shoplifted
(X) Had feelings for someone who didn’t have them back
( ) Been arrested
( ) Made out with a stranger
( ) Gone on a blind date
(X) Had a crush on a teacher
(X) Been to Europe
( ) Been to Canada
( ) Been to Mexico
(X) Seen someone die
( ) Thrown up in a bar
(X) Met a celebrity
(X) Met someone from the internet in person
(X) Been moshing at a concert
(X) Gone backstage at a concert
(X) Lain outside in the grass and watched cloud shapes go by
( ) Made a snow angel
(X) Flown a kite
(X) Cheated while playing a game
(X) Been lonely
(X) Fallen asleep at work
( ) Fallen asleep at school
( ) Used a fake ID
( ) Been kicked out of a bar
(X) Felt an earthquake (well, duh - I live in New Zealand)
(x) Touched a snake
(X) Slept beneath the stars
(x) Been robbed
(X) Won a contest
(X) Run a red light (but stooped halfway through the intersection in a cloud of blue smoke)
( ) Been suspended from school
( ) Had braces (and have the teeth to prove it)
(X) Felt like an outcast
(X) Eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night
(X) Had deja vu
(X) Totaled a car (well, not quite but came close last night)
( ) Stolen a car
(x) Hated the way you look
(X) Witnessed a crime
( ) Been to a strip club
(X) Been to the opposite side of the world
(X) Swum in the ocean
(X) Felt like dying
( ) Cried yourself to sleep
(x) Sung karaoke (SingStar)
(X) Paid for a meal with only coins (at McDonalds)
(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t
(X) Made prank phone calls
(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
( ) Been kissed under the mistletoe
(X) Had a bonfire on the beach
(x) Crashed a party
( ) Seen a tornado
(X) Had a wish come true
( ) Gone bungee jumping
(X) Screamed in public
( ) Told a complete stranger you loved them
( ) Had a one night stand
(X) Kissed a mirror
(X) Had a dream that you married someone (and I did!)
( ) Gotten your fingers stuck together with super glue
( ) Been a cheerleader
(x) Sat on a roof top
(X) Talked on the phone for more than 6 hours straight (probably, if not came close)
(X) Stayed up all night
(X) Not taken a shower for three days (at least once a year)
( ) Made contact with a ghost while playing a Ouija board
( ) Had more than 30 pairs of shoes at a time
( ) Gone streaking
(X) Been skinny dipping
(X) Been pushed into a pool/lake with all your clothes on
(x) Had sex in a public or semi-public place
( ) Been kissed by a complete stranger
(X) Broken a bone
(X) Caught a butterfly
( ) Mooned/flashed someone
( ) Had someone moon/flash you
(X) Cheated on a test
(X) Forgotten someone’s name
(X) Slept naked

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

One point five hour commute

I set a new personal record tonight on the way home. It took me approximately one and a half hours to drive home.

Of course half of that time I wasn’t even in my car.

You see I was driving along the back motorway, moving onto the Puhinui Bridge when a car decides to make a sudden lane change, in the wet, in a 100km zone.

Luckily I was preparing to slow down as I was approaching backed up traffic. Needless to say that my foot depressed the brake peddle a lot faster and harder than I was aiming to, locking up my wheels on the wet surface and making myself a passenger in the car I was driving.

I slammed into the side of the fairly new Daihatsu Pyzar and bounced off into the concrete barrier where I came to a stop. The Daihatsu however seemed to be keen to just continue on. Fortunately he had second thoughts and pulled over, and backed up towards me.

It was about now that I realised I was going to have to breath in to get out of my door, as it didn’t want to open as far as it had just 20 minutes ago. The passenger door wasn’t an option, what with the car being hard up against a concrete barrier.

I wrote down the details of the Daihatsu and then approached the driver, asking for his driver’s license. He seemed hesitant, but returned to his car, only to come back to me and apologise, but his son had thrown it out the window when he picked him up from school.

Oooookaaaay.

He then seemed distracted when I asked him for his name, after some pestering his partner emerged from the car and told him to spell it out for me, which he then did.

After the exchange they went on their merry way whilst I surveyed the damage.

Thankfully the car was still drivable. Unfortunately the wheel had taken most of the impact. The wheel cover was spread all over the left hand lane of the motorway and the tire had a nice puncture wound in the side where the metal lip of the wheel had been bent back into the tire.

I was going to have to get dirty whilst I changed a tire on the side of a busy motorway. Lucky for me I had managed to ‘park’ the car right against the barrier so had a fairly safe amount of room.

Of course by the time I got going again, I was stuck in the middle of rush hour. Still, I managed to set a new personal record…

UPDATE: I decide to check out my sitemeter stats after making this post and discovered that the last two visitors had come from a web page I had set up a while ago, but long since forgot, and on that web page, if you scroll down is a timely quote…

Saturday, October 07, 2006

For Sale | Chazown

The first three Chazown DVDs, Relationship With God, Relationships With People and Financial Life. $30 for all three. Let me know if you're interested.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Samuel L. Jackson is God!

The Bible Experience arrived today, so I decided to have a listen to it. As per usual it is way over hyped, but not a bad product, even if it is TNIV.

The best part so far (I’m listening to Matthew) is Matthew 3:16 where Samuel L. Jackson proclaims; "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Of course, I’d have preferred Jackson played John the Baptist, then he would have had the chance to take on his famous Jules Winnfield character and scream; “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?”

Now THAT would have been worth paying for…

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Christian Nazis

So we hate homosexuals. They are the scourges of humanity. Evil incarnate.

At least that’s the impression you get from some Christians, and it’s standard media fare that that’s what we Christians all believe.

The sad truth is, that apart from some PC mumbo jumbo, homosexuals are pretty much maligned in society. Even history it seems has a dislike of homosexuals, with German law keeping them interned in Hitler’s camps until after a law change in 1969.

So what should our attitude be towards homosexual men and women? Should we treat them as sub human? Or should we love them?

And if we’re called to love homosexuals, should we stop bashing Helen Clark, and keep our lesbian theories to ourselves, or should our democratically elected leader be a fair target for Christians to sling sexual innuendos at?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Kingdom Come: The Final Victory

Just when you though it was safe to go back to your local Christian bookstore, they’ve gone and done another one…

Christians around the world had been rejoicing when the last of the Left Behind prequels The Rapture was released, rejoicing because this indicated that the scourge of the Left Behind phenomenon had come to a grinding halt.

But no, LaHaye and Jenkins have come up with another money-spinner, er I mean Spiritual Novel in Kingdom Come:

The horrors of the Tribulation are over, and Jesus Christ has set up his perfect kingdom on earth. Believers all around the world enjoy a newly perfected relationship with their Lord, and the earth itself is transformed. Yet evil still lurks in the hearts of the unbelieving. As the Millennium draws to a close, the final generation of the unrepentant prepares to mount a new offensive against the Lord Himself--sparking the final and ultimate conflict from which only one side will emerge the eternal victor.

Does this sound like a one book deal, or are we in for years of torment? And if Jesus Christ has set up his perfect kingdom on earth, would there be room for evil? Is evil part of God’s perfect plan? Will Frank Ritchie finally succumb to temptation and start reading Left Behind?

Only time will tell.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Powerful Women and the Homosexual Jesus

Frank had another entertaining and interesting Greenroom last night, with the main points of discussion being the role of women and homosexuals in church leadership.

My wife had to hold me back a few times and bar me from phoning up, in a totally submissive way of course, seeing as I am the head of the house and what I say goes.

Of course the fact that I have been called to act unto my wife along the lines that Jesus did for the Church would make me partially submissive to my wife, especially seeing that the Good Lord set the ultimate sacrifice for me to follow – that I should lay down my life for the benefit of my wife.

The interesting thing with women in church leadership is that the Bible totally supports it. And so does history. There are scores of churches that if it were not for women in leadership roles, would not exist today, as there were not the men willing to take the positions themselves.

Many of our great church leaders of today probably would not be such great leaders if women hadn’t taken a leadership role in their church. Not just any leadership role though, only leadership of Sunday School classes, because our male dominated church society deems that this lowly position is ok for women to lead, after all, they are only influencing the future of the church.

Now there’s an interesting thought – whilst all these insecure male orientated churches, have their men preaching and leading them, they’ve missed out on something huge. They’ve left the future of their dear church in the control of the womenfolk. You see the preacher up front is only concerned with guiding his already committed flock, but the women out the back are installing the truth of the Gospel to the next generation of the church. Who really has the power in these male dominated churches?

It’s the women who are secretly changing the world, whilst flashy males with big egos preach from the pulpit, I’m glad that the children have the love and support of Godly women to help them make sense of the world around them!

And then there’s the homosexual – one caller professed her desire to see all of them crucified and then promptly hung up.

Cowardly? Yes. Misguided? Yes. Uninformed? Yes.

You see the homosexual debate is an interesting one. We group of people who call ourselves Christians profess such because we claim to follow Jesus right? Well, if we profess to follow Jesus then maybe we should listen to what he had to say, and what he didn’t say. In his book, Adventures In Missing The Point, Tony Campolo contends that Jesus never condemned homosexuals. In fact he never even mentions them. It’s just not part of his top ten list of sins. Number one on his list however is judgemental religious people who look for sin in other peoples lives and not their own, and then there’s his fairly strong views on divorced people getting re-married.

And as Frank pointed out even the inclusion of the word homosexual in other parts of the Bible may be wrongly translated.

But it would be safe ground to say that homosexuality is a worse sin than another because it affects the body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Oh, wait, so does gluttony, over eating, under eating, living a sedate lifestyle, even harbouring un-forgiveness will put a strain on your mental health, which in turn will effect your physical health.

So IF homosexuality is a sin, then so is gluttony, and even speeding. So that makes me unsuitable for any leadership position in a church, better hope no one nominates me for any official positions in my local church, cause my foot is too heavy and my eyes are too big.

And what’s homosexuality anyway? Guys loving guys? Didn’t Jesus call us to love on another?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

aimee

Cycling home yesterday, I started off listening to Good Monsters, but by the time I got to the Puhinui Interchange, my body needed something a little more energetic to keep it moving, so I selected The Battle Of Los Angeles.

It’s an album that I’ve listened too many, many times, and one song in particular is my favourite, Born Of A Broken Man, and more specifically, these lyrics:

His thoughts like a hundred moths
Trapped in a lampshade
Somewhere within
Their wings banging and burning


But as my legs were burning and the lyrics thundered through my head one more time my thoughts turned to Aimee, and how sometimes she just can’t cope and is overwhelmed by seemingly simple everyday situations.

It got me thinking about just what was going on inside her curly haired head, and what all the visual and audible cues were doing to her brain as they overloaded her senses.

I understood her a little more in that moment.

Understood, but still felt helpless, as I can’t help Aimee let the moths fly free.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

time with God

I spent an hour with God this morning, travelling through the book of Matthew. At the end of the hour I was feeling like I was actually hearing the audible voice of Jesus.

Of course, listening to the Bible through your iPod will do that to you!

I didn’t really set out to spend time with God this morning. I had made no agreement with Him that we would meet in this way. I didn’t even start with prayer. My attention wasn’t even wholly focussed on the message either, and many parts were drowned out by the close passing of big, fast, trucks.

But cycling to work (for the first time in a long while) God decided to join me. Weather he started out at the same time as me and I just didn’t notice, or if He decided to join me halfway I’m not sure, but at the end of it He was definitely there.

No pearls of wisdom do I have for you however, as this was more of a personal experience, and my method of Bible study doesn’t allow for some essential aspects.

You see, the Word was made new to me as it surrounded me in the auditory sense, Scripture jumped out and made me think, but cycling along some of South Auckland's busiest roads didn’t allow me to make notes.

I’m just gonna have to allow those little nuggets of truth reside in the far reaches of my subconscious until they are required, and the hopefully they will come forward in abundance.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

integrity

When Christian leaders go to government to call for sweeping structural change, we have more integrity and power when we can say: "We are part of Christian communities that are already beginning to live out what we are calling you to legislate." Our call for costly changes in foreign policy toward the Two-Thirds World designed to implement greater global economic justice has integrity only if we are a part of Christian congregations that are already beginning to incarnate a more simple lifestyle that points toward a more just, ecologically sustainable planet. Our call for nuclear disarmament and international peace has integrity only if there is growing peace and wholeness in our families and churches.

- Ronald J. Sider

Monday, September 25, 2006

Breaking News

me: oh hi
i wa wondering waht that noise was!
Jean: lol
me: hows wellington?
Jean: mighty mighty cold
stressful but fun
me: fun is good
cooking up a storm?
Jean: cooking up a storm alright!
managed 3rd
me: whoooo hooooo
you go girl
Jean: a little bummed, but knew gold was outta the question though so placing is alright
me: 3rd best in the whole damn country though.... :o)
I'm gonna have to post about it on my blog b4 you do!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Better Christian Movies or Just More Of Them?

Twentieth Century Fox is officially the first movie company to launch a special unit for Christian-themed movies. FoxFaith will produce and promote small budget productions which will go directly to that niche of viewers who, until now, refused to take part in popular entertainment as they deemed it 'offensive'.

'We want to push the production value, not videotape sermons or proselytize', a spokesperson for Fox said. He also stated that the movies will have a production cost limit of no more than $5 million, while the promotion campaigns will also come under the $5 million limit. Most of the movies, adaptations from best-selling Christian works and novels, will be released directly on DVD and only 6 to 12 will run on the big screens, each year.

But making religious films is a very tricky business, as controversy can spark up of virtually anything. This is something that both the studio executives and the main church representatives are aware of, as neither of them want to have people saying they're taking matters too lightly or preaching via the big screen, respectively.

The first movie to be released by the FoxFaith unit is 'Love's Abiding Joy', based on the fourth part of 'The Love Comes Softly', written by the Christian novelist Janette Oke. It will run in almost 250 theaters all around the United States, staring from October 6th.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Breaking News: Christians Can Enjoy Sex!

Apparently, yes, Christians are now allowed to enjoy sex. Yes, that even includes Christian women. According to Wired News today…

The Bible doesn't say Christian couples can't enjoy sex or sex-tech.

Now here's a conservative, literalist preacher with a sex-positive message that needs to be passed to those Christians who are so confused about sex, they try to tell -- and legislate -- non-Christians how to conduct sexual and romantic relationships.

By "sex-positive" I here mean an enthusiastic view of sex within his belief system. This is not a message about embracing "alternate" forms of sexuality, like sex between one or more unmarried folks. But it's a far cry from "have sex to have kids and don't you dare enjoy it if you're the girl."

“It’s hard,” [preacher Joe Beam of Family Dynamics] continues, “to make the transition from ‘sex is bad’ when you are young and single to ‘sex is good’ when you are married.” In fact, “sex is the most wonderful gift God ever gave Christians.”

Beam, who is studying for a sexology Ph.D. from the University of Sydney in Australia, is all about shining the light. He and a few others like him have concluded that conservative Christians can cope with America’s hypersexualized culture by being given permission to pluck much of its fruit.

The information he dispenses is a mix of scriptural interpretation and mainstream sexology. He does not speak in euphemisms or metaphors and his plain spokeness makes a few listeners squirm, at first. But Beam is also part entertainer with a patter that is almost vaudevillian in its timing: “Why can women be multiorgasmic and men not? Well, I’ve decided God just likes you better! ... What’s the difference between a woman with PMS and a Doberman? Lipstick.”

The humor and the brazen talk, coming from a man who is not only one of them, but a leader who rubs elbows with James Dobson and Jerry Falwell, gives them permission to relax and hear his message.

It’s a simple one: Sex is good. Good sex makes people happy. It deepens relationships. So it helps marriages last and that pleases God and makes society better.

Perhaps if the conservative Christians start having more and better sex with each other, they will become more tolerant and relaxed about the fact that they are not the only belief system in the world.

And of course even if that doesn't happen -- and it wouldn't right away, that's for sure, all major changes take time -- I still hope that they, and everyone else too, finds their way to a pleasurable and fulfilling sex life.

I like what Rev. Beam says about sex toys:

Which sex toys are good, and can we use them at all?

“I usually get the question this way,” Beam answers. “‘What does the Bible say about vibrators?” More laughter. “Can we use a vibrator? Sure you can if you want to.”

Of course, the question still on many minds (well, at least our Southern Baptist brothers) is: Does this mean we’re allowed to dnace?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Who is the enemy?

I have been on the road a lot in the last three months, taking different road-trips to New Orleans, New York City, Nashville, and Dallas. Constantly in the shadow of the endless line of 18-wheelers, I noticed that one particular trucking company had this sign posted on most of their trucks:

Support our troops whenever we go!
No aid or comfort to the enemy!

No way!


So who is the enemy?

Last summer my older cousin Ali was able to come in from Ohio to be at our wedding. I think it was really good for my dad to have someone from back home who was able to be there, and he filled in as my grandmother's escort, sitting with her on the front row.

Ali was forced to serve in the Iraqi Army in the first Gulf War. Other cousins were also conscripted, stationed on the front lines and in Kuwait City. Some of them were rounded up in the mass-surrenders after the ground war began, and they all made it home. But Ali had a different story. He was a field surgeon on the front lines with the Republican Guard. Sadaam thought that if he placed the medical units close enough to the rest of the soldiers then the Americans wouldn't bomb and shell them. He was wrong.

Somehow the Iraqis knew when the American ground troops would be coming over the dunes, and so they were given a five-day pass to go home to Baghdad and say their goodbyes. Ali knew it would be a meat-grinder, and he knew that under Sadaam desertion meant death and trouble for your family. So while he was in Baghdad he had another surgeon friend take out his perfectly good appendix. While he was in the hospital, his entire unit was annihilated.

Around that same time a Marine friend of mine named Nelson had been part of an artillery outfit that was shelling Iraqi positions inside Kuwait. Suddenly an Iraqi artillery shell slammed into the hood of the truck Nelson was standing next to, but it was a dud and didn't go off. He lived to come home and tell me that story.

Also at our wedding, only four rows back from Ali, was my friend Joe, who is an Army Ranger veteran. On the other side of the isle from Ali was one of my two mothers-in-law, whose stepbrother was part of the Army forces that moved through the same area of Kuwait where Ali had been. On another pew was my friend Johanna, whose husband has served in Afghanistan and is now training for Special Forces duty in the Middle East.

I could go on, but you get the idea. The best phrase came from a taxi driver in Cairo, right after the invasion of Iraq three years ago, who upon finding out that my brother was half Iraqi and half American said, "Ahhh ... is funny. Your country is attacking your country."

I have often become frustrated when I have heard people in my church make statements like, "Remember who we're fighting here," before they lead prayers for our military victory. A professor here at Asbury once said that the only two choices we have is to either "convert them or keep them from hurting us."

Well ... first of all you can't fight and win a "war on terror." Terrorism is a method, not a country or ideology. I once heard it said that fighting a war on terror is like having the flu and declaring a war on sneezing: you're only attacking the symptoms. As long as there have been people, there has been terrorism.

But what frightens me is the mindset in this country, and in the church, that seems to think terrorism was born and raised in the Middle East, and if we can take out the Muslim Arabs then the world will be a safer place. Put this idea up against the idea in large segments of the Arab world that America has, in a sense, created terror herself with her policies toward the Middle East. So the cycle continues, and we have "become a monster to defeat a monster."

So who is the enemy? I believe that on this side of the cross, according to the scriptures, that "we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12)

If you track through the whole story of scripture, you see that while God may have fought battles on Israel's behalf in the Old Testament, the trajectory was always towards to the cross, which redeemed God's intention for creation. Jesus set for us an example of living and witnessing that intention through loving, serving, and forgiving our enemies. The way of Christ was not to kill and destroy those who had abused and killed him.

Imagine what would have happened if the entire mass community of Christians who prayed so fervently for our troops to "defeat the enemy" would have instead prayed against the real Enemy and for peace between humanity.

So who is the enemy? We must first remember that the enemies of America are not the enemies of God. I have Iraqi Army veteran family and U.S. Army veteran friends. I have been raised by Southern Methodists and Shiite Muslims. I cannot abdicate the gospel message of Christ to a bomb, but can only bear the cross: the ultimate battlefield victory over the Enemy.

Omar Al-Rikabi is the son of a Southern Methodist mother from Texas and a Shiite Muslim father from Iraq. He is in his final year of earning a Masters of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary, and a declared candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church.

www.sojo.net

Monday, September 11, 2006

Never Thirst.

Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again. Those who believe in me will never thirst".
John 6:35

Sunday night saw the end of the Winter Spirituality Series at Cession, and the guest speaker touched on the above verse. At least I think it was the above verse, but I wasn’t taking notes, so it may have been a similar verse. She did however mention the bit about never thirst.

And it reminded me of something that happened to me at the beginning of this year.

We were camping in the Hunua Ranges, and I decided I’d take my mountain bike, and try a bit of mountain biking. Being a sensible lad I chose what was supposed to be a 5km, undulating course – it sounded easy – undulating in my mind would be gently flowing slopes.

Being that it was only a 5km ride, I didn’t think water was necessary, I was after all used to cycling just under 20km to work most days.

What I didn’t know was that the information I had been given on the trail I was about to attempt was woefully wrong. I was in fact attempting Auckland’s hardest mountain bike trail, one that shouldn’t be attempted by anyone except expert riders, and one that was a lot longer than 5km.

I also set out in the middle of a very hot day, expecting to get plenty of shade.

The shade turned out to be next to none, as the trail followed the ridgeline, and the undulating ridgeline was more akin to mountain climbing.

Mountain climbing in wet clay.

I’m not sure how anyone, even experienced fitness freaks on mountain bikes could cycle up these almost vertical inclines. But holding onto the dream of a nice undulating downhill stretch and believing that I only had a couple of these dastardly cliff faces to climb, I kept going.

I soon got to the point where I couldn’t turn back, as I didn’t know how far I had come, and it would be foolish to turn back if the end was just over the next peak. I was also dehydrated and desperately thirsty.

But on wards, and upwards I went. And at the top of every climb was and equally steep, rutted and unrideable (to me) decent. I spent more time sliding on my bum and riding in the saddle.

Half way up another incline, I’d had enough. I couldn’t physically go on. I needed a drink.

So I cried out to God. I specifically asked him to send me an angel with a bottle of water. I wasn’t full of faith as I cried out, and afterwards I just laid down on the trial, to wasted to do anything else.

About 5 minutes later I heard a noise. I looked down the trail from where I had come and there was a mountain biker coming up the trail. He offered me a drink of water, which I gladly accepted and then went to go on his way, when he paused and asked me if I wanted to keep the bottle.

I said thanks.

He left me with his super sized bottle of Pump, reassured me I was over half way, and went on his way.

The funny thing is, the trail didn’t look like it had been used for some time, and after a drink and a little longer resting I was on my way again, and I could see no signs that the mystery mountain biker who had gone on before me had even been along the trail. There were no tire marks in the clay. No footprints in the impassable boggy parts. No evidence of any one having been, period.

Had God just fulfilled my prayer, word for word? Had he just fulfilled the promise in John 6:35? Did angles really ride mountain bikes?

I don’t know if God sent a supernatural angel, or had just commanded someone to ride that dastardly trail with an unopened bottle of water. What I do know is that if my mountain biking angel hadn’t appeared, I wouldn’t have made it back to camp that day.

The angel was also true to his word about being over half way, after a couple more dastardly hill climbs I was treated to a nice long, sedate downhill stretch before joining the main gravel road back to camp.

I arrived back just in time for dinner, and apologised for taking so long.

My family and the family we were camping with looked puzzled, and said ‘but we were expecting you about now’.

Then I remembered that I had joked before I set off about seeing them in 5 hours.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

More Free Books!

In an effort to reduce clutter, I’m getting rid of a few more books from my bookshelf; if you’re interested, let me know!


He Chose The Nails Max Lucado
Joy In Our Weakness Marva J Dawn
More Movie Based Illustrations For Preaching & Teaching Craig Brian Larson & Lori Quicke

And of course, no one wanted In The Likeness Of God By Philip Yancey & Dr. Paul Brand, so that’s still available.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My McCafe & McDonalds Experience

Cell group got canned tonight, due to events unfolding at the Ritchie residence. So instead of giving the babysitter the night off we decided to go out for a couple of hours, sans kids.

The trouble with only having a couple of hours is that we had to stay local – so we headed off to Manukau. We had dinner at LJS and had a lazy wander around the shops, before heading back to the car to do the obligatory trip to the big red shed.

After the joys of the Warehouse, we decided a coffee and cake, but because we couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of the mall, decided on McCafe.

We entered McDonalds and had a look at what was on display at the McCafe counter, Dione decided she liked the look of the cheesecake, but didn’t know so asked me to enquire as to what it was exactly. Of the two people working, one had his back to me, drying dishes and sharing a joke with his co-worker, who was sitting on the floor having some time out.

I leaned over the counter and got her eye, she seemed annoyed that I had found her, and that she now had to get up to serve me. But she took my order, gave me a number and told us to take a seat. The only problem now was that the seating and tables desperately needed cleaning, so I asked the McCafe dish drier if he could clean up the table that Dione was sat at, which he gladly did.

I now approached the McDonalds counter to order myself a BigMac Combo – not the best but I was hungry for savoury. The trouble with the new McDonalds is that you can now see how they make your burger. It’s not a pretty sight. The meat is kept in a warming draw, and slopped down on the burger - it’s all put together in two parts, and then the lid is closed, sandwiching the contents together – no wonder the burgers are always a mess when you open the box.

My BigMac was a special order, so I knew exactly which one it was – it had a special order receipt on it. It was sitting there ready to be picked up, and it was, but by the wrong person. She took a look at it, figured it wasn’t the burger that she needed and just tossed it back down. Meanwhile the girl who was serving me was nowhere to be seen. I was beginning to think Dione would have finished her Vienna Coffee and cheesecake before I even got to sit down, when the girl who was serving me came out from the back whipping her hands on a dodgy looking cloth. Noticing me still standing there she goes over to see if my burger is ready, looks at the screen to remind herself that I need some fries and a drink cup.

When I finally get my order, I go over to fill my cup, but there is no ice. I ask a passing McDonalds employee if they can get some, they agree to and disappear out the back.

I can see that my wife still hasn’t gotten her Coffee and Cheesecake, despite being the Cafe’s only customer, and decide it’s safe to wait for the ice. The only problem is the guy who’d gone to get the ice obviously had gotten lost, because he didn’t return.

I decided to have my coke at room temperature and forego the ice, and got to our table just in time to see my wife receiving a black coffee. We’d ordered a Vienna coffee, but they had no cream. We asked if they could at least find some milk, which they did.

So instead of a Vienna, Dione got a plain white coffee (and no refund) and a dodgy piece of Cheesecake. My burger was cold and messy; my coke was warm, and my appetite gone.

Next time we’ll certainly be bothered with the hassle of the mall, or just go home for a coffee.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Making America Proud?

I came across this whilst researching for my FOW minatures. It tickled my sense of humour.

Do Something Funny

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bribery, Corruption and Free Books

I’ve decided to copy Frank again – hey, it’s so much easier than thinking for your self! I’ve added the email subscription option to my review blog, and if you join my email list you’ll go in the draw to win a CD from my collection – I’d even go as far to say that pretty much everyone that joins up can have one (well, everyone in New Zealand, maybe). Problem is, my CD collection contains many years worth of review material, all of it Christian, and to be honest it will be pretty much pot luck. In fact many of the CD’s don’t even have their cases anymore, but hey, it’s free music, so what are you waiting for, sign up now!

Ok, so that’s the Bribery and Corruption, now onto the free books, I have two more to give away:

Where Is God When It Hurts? By Philip Yancey

In The Likeness Of God By Philip Yancey & Dr. Paul Brand

First in, first served on the books, but pretty much everybody could get a CD…

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

150 Things To Do Before You Die

I stole this off Violet

What I've achieved is in bold -

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said "I love you" and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse of the moon
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was shit-faced
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke (If you count SingStar)
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an expert
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children (I'm in the process)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol (I'm guessing Video Games don't count)
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper (Front page of the Herald baby)
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one important author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions so far
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tell McDonald's Farm Workers Deserve Fair Wages!

"I will be swift to bear witness ... against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow, and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 3:5).

Farm workers who pick tomatoes for McDonald's sandwiches earn 40 to 50 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they pick, a rate that has not risen significantly in nearly 30 years. Workers who toil from dawn to dusk without the right to overtime pay or any benefits must pick two tons of tomatoes to earn $50 in one day. Worse yet, modern-day slavery has reemerged in Florida's fields; since 1997, the U.S. Department of Justice has prosecuted five slavery rings, freeing more than 1,000 workers. As a major buyer of Florida tomatoes, McDonald's high-volume, low-cost purchasing practices place downward pressure on farm worker wages, putting corporate profits before human dignity.

+ Click Here to Tell McDonald's to Ensure Fair Wages for Farm Workers

Source: Sojo mail

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Weekend in Review

So I’m a copycat, I’m ok with being one on occasion, but I’ll always give credit, and the cat I’m copying here is Frank.

A weekend is a good one, by my definition, if you can look back and find something to laugh about. And laugh I can.

I have absolutely no idea what I did on Friday night – but this is probably due to with struggling to get over my cough, lack of sleep, long hours at work and the impending visit of MIL.

Saturday started with Work and then lunch with the aforementioned MIL. MIL time was surprisingly good, probably because I was on my best behaviour, and that they seem to have chilled out somewhat since being in Pakistan. Dione made yummy lunch and fresh bread.

After they left, we had to go shopping for Pizza ingredients as we were having special guests for dinner. Then it was get the kids fed and in bed, before said guests arrived.

Melissa and Jacob the axe man Powel arrived in timely fashion, despite phoning and saying they were going to be late. Jacob had a nice bottle of red with him – I’m not a wine buff, so you’ll have to ask him - one that would go well with Pizza. And it did go well. I’m not particularly fond of red, but this was one of the best wines I have had (note to self, invite the Powell’s again).

With my tired state of mine, and some red wine, I accidentally invented a new way of cooking Pizza. Fortunately it turned out all good and dinner was great (the pizza was nicely complimented by Melissa’s awesome salad).

The evening moved to the lounge with a nice fire and relaxed conversation.

Until Jacob noticed the Guitar hooked up to the PS2. All conversation stopped at this point as Jacob showed us his prowess with a guitar, shredding his way through a number of satanic rock songs before letting anyone else have a go. Melissa was so enthralled with the antics of Jacob, Dione and myself that she didn’t move from the couch for the rest of the evening.

Sunday morning saw my lovely wife succumb to some awful flu/cold and me succumb to the call of work. I only did a half-day though, and came home to make sure the family was ok.

A non-eventful afternoon followed, and then I took the two youngest kids to church and left Hope behind to look after mum.

Despite my worst fears, the two youngest were exceptional at church and I was able to enjoy the service, the first in a 4 part series on Winter Spirituality. I was also able to hand out a couple of gifts which is always fun.

Sunday night is normally relaxing with a movie, but by the time I had gotten my wife some dinner, and put the kids to bed, Dione was tuned into C4 who had the top 40 ballads of all time, including some defining songs of my childhood. So we settled for an evening of music instead.

Monday morning, whilst not strictly the weekend, I discovered that a David Crowder Band fan had posted about a past blog entry – it’s always fun to find that someone has linked to your blog!

Not the best weekend because my wife who is still very under the weather, but there were plenty of laughs, and in the end that’s what counts!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Free Book!

I have two copies of Alan Jamieson’s A Churchless Faith for any Cessionite who is interested. First in, first served, Just leave a comment. I’ll bring the books on Sunday.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Airport Security

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I’d been complaining to the local school for eons about their hedge – it had grown so big that we were getting no sun in our back yard, and Dione was finding it impossible to dry the washing. The lawn was a mud bath, and the concrete was green and slimy due it the permanent wet-ness of it all.

So when Dione was away on her retreat weekend, I decided to take action. I suck through the fence (we have a secret gate (it’s a long story) and did a hack and slash job on a section of the hedge. I left all the cuttings in a huge but neat pile.

On returning to our side of the fence, Hope was aghast, informing me that it was illegal to cut somebody else’s hedge (sometimes I hate brainy kids). I was wondering if we would hear from the school, but was planning on repeating my escapades this weekend with a view to getting the entire length done in another three weeks.

But my plans were not to come to fruition, as our kids woke us up on a lazy Sunday morning, with great news: ‘Mum, Dad, an Indian with a red spot on his forehead is cutting down the trees!’

A few hours later we saw that the Indian had trimmed the hedge down to the top of our fence, but at both ends, where the neighbours properties started – the hedge was left just as it was – big and bushy.

So after 6-8 months of complaining, a little action on my part spoke louder than any words I could utter down a phone line.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Aimeeisms #3

Took Aimee out on a date Friday night, and whilst out we went to Dick Smiths to buy Dione a present. Trouble is Aimee read the store name and said in a shocked and loud voice: ‘THAT’S THE D-WORD DAD! WE CAN’T GO IN THERE IT SAYS DICK

And earlier on Friday Dione took Aimee to get some blood taken, where Aimee discovered with a childlike-outrageous joy, that she has PURPLE BLOOD! That’s right folks, blood isn’t bright red, it’s more a deep purple…

And yes, Dione loved her present, and I rock on Killer Queen…

Friday, August 11, 2006

It’s Good To Be In a Cell Again!

Last night we had our first Cession Cell Group. It was really nice getting out and meeting at someone’s house again. It’s great ‘cause it’s just two couples (at the moment), and we’re going to be able to get to know these really cool people ;o)

We watched the first in the Chazown DVD Series that talked about having a vision. It also challenged us to look at what best helped us focus on God and what hinderes us.

The chocolate pudding was also very yummy!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Jesus Walks

I recently saw the movie Jarhead. I’d been excited about Jarhead since first seeing the trailer for it. The trailer it turns out was a misrepresentation of the movie, but had a cool song in the background. The song was also featured at the end of the movie.

The song is Jesus Walks by Kanye West and has some very interesting lyrics:

Yo, We at war
We at war with terrorism, racism, and most of all we at war with ourselves
(Jesus Walks)
God show me the way because the Devil trying to break me down
(Jesus Walks with me) with me, with me, with me [fades]

You know what the Midwest is?
Young & Restless
Where restless (Niggaz) might snatch your necklace
And next these (Niggaz) might jack your Lexus
Somebody tell these (Niggaz) who Kanye West is
I walk through the valley of the Chi where death is
Top floor the view alone will leave you breathless Uhhhh!
Try to catch it Uhhhh! It's kinda hard hard
Getting choked by the detectives yeah yeah now check the method
They be asking us questions, harass and arrest us
Saying "we eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast"
Huh? Yall eat pieces of shit? What's the basis?
We ain't going nowhere but got suits and cases
A trunk full of coke rental car from Avis
My momma used to say only Jesus can save us
Well momma I know I act a fool
But I'll be gone 'til November I got packs to move I Hope

[Hook x2]
(Jesus Walks)
God show me the way because the Devil trying to break me down
(Jesus Walks with me)
The only thing that that I pray is that my feet don't fail me now
(Jesus Walks)
And I don't think there is nothing I can do now to right my wrongs
(Jesus Walks with me)
I want to talk to God but I'm afraid because we ain't spoke in so long

To the hustlas, killers, murderers, drug dealers even the strippers
(Jesus walks with them)
To the victims of Welfare for we living in hell here hell yeah
(Jesus walks with them)
Now hear ye hear ye want to see Thee more clearly
I know he hear me when my feet get weary
Cuz we're the almost nearly extinct
We rappers are role models we rap we don't think
I ain't here to argue about his facial features
Or here to convert atheists into believers
I'm just trying to say the way school need teachers
The way Kathie Lee needed Regis that's the way yall need Jesus
So here go my single dog radio needs this
They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes
But if I talk about God my record won't get played Huh?
Well let this take away from my spins
Which will probably take away from my ends
Then I hope this take away from my sins
And bring the day that I'm dreaming about
Next time I'm in the club everybody screaming out

(Jesus Walks)
God show me the way because the devil trying to break me down
(Jesus Walks)
The only thing that that I pray is that my feet don't fail me now
(Jesus Walks)
And I don't thing there's nothing I can do now to right my wrongs
(Jesus walks with me... fades)
The only thing that I pray is that me feet don't fail me now

Sunday, August 06, 2006

An Open Discussion on Tithing #1

I read an interesting book a few years back titled The Kingdom of God is a Party. In it, Tony Campolo suggested a radical departure from the normal way of tithing – one that was apparently more scripturally sound, but harder to preach. It’s one of the most memorable theological type books I have read, but alas I didn’t really study the scriptures for my self.

Recently however I have come across an article that seems to portray the same ideals (I say seems to as I have yet to read the whole thing) and this time I’m going to look at some of the scriptures myself, and use my blog as an open forum for my thoughts.

What I would like to emphasise up front is that I personally think we should support our church as our church supports us. How we do this is also open for discussion.

What should be tithed?
Leviticus 27:30-33
One tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD and must be set apart to him as holy. If you want to buy back the LORD's tenth of the grain or fruit, you must pay its value, plus 20 percent. Count off every tenth animal from your herds and flocks and set them apart for the LORD as holy. You may not pick and choose between good and bad animals, and you may not substitute one for another. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy and cannot be bought back.

One tenth of the produce of the land. Does this mean that fishermen were not required to tithe their catch?

Count off every tenth animal from your herds and flocks… In other words, not necessarily your best ten percent, but a random selection? And what if you only had 9 animals, does this mean you wouldn’t have to tithe?

What if you were a labourer and had no produce of the land, this verse doesn’t mention anything about money.

Taking these thoughts further, what about the modern context? What if you didn’t work the land, should we assume that because we live in a very different world, we should replace produce with wage? And what about those of us who choose to work for charitable organizations and earn far less than we could if we worked purely for profit? Do these people fall into the category of those with herds or flock with less than 10 animals?

As I said before, this is purely an open discussion and I’m interested in other views, because it is all to easy for an individual to read a verse out of context and come up with the wrong answer.

Update:
Interestingly last night at church, Brett in his usual underplayed way spoke of the offering (I can’t remember if he used the T word!) as being an act of worship (nothing new there) but also tied in giving to the food bank as a form of worship/offering to God. This is the first time in my church experience that anything other than money has been an acceptable offering to God in a church environment. Cool.

One Question

Ok, so I stole this idea from Frank. But I’ve put my own twist on it. After all there’s no point posing the same question in two similar blogs is there?

So my question is not what would you ask God, but a slightly trickier, and more topical one:

If God had the chance to ask Ehud Olmert one question, what do you think it would be?

(for those who don’t keep up with current events, Ehud Olmert is Israel’s Prime Minister.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Aimeeism #2

The girls asked me in the car on the way to United Video what I did last night, so I told them I had watched Band of Brothers.

Aimee goes, oh Rapture Rubbish?

How she got Rapture Rubbish from Band of Brothers I don’t know.

Another thing I’m not sure of is if she was trying to say Rapture Ruckus, or if it was an insightful comment on the Left behind series…

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Second Coming of Frank

I killed Frank. But then I had a change of heart, so now I’ve resurrected him. This time however, things are going to be different. This will be an occasional blog rather than the daily one that I had started out with.

I’m hoping I will be able to do something once a week, but I’m not promising anything.

This week’s creation is a stunning desktop background for your computer; I think you’ll like it. It has a nice sunny feel to it. Kind of reminds me that summer is coming. No, really, it is coming…

1.5 Million Lebanese Christians

I stumbled onto the Sojourners website whilst looking for information on Philip Yancey today, and came across this little gem of a quote reflecting on the current situation in the Middle East.

It's time for American Christians to start listening to Christians and churches in the Middle East, and Lebanon would be a good place to start. How many American Christians even know that Lebanon has had, for much of its history, a sizable number of Christians? Current estimates are 1.5 million Christians, or 40% of the population - which means there are fellow Christians potentially affected as casualties and refugees by the U.S. backed Israeli military attacks. It's time to challenge the theology of Christian Zionism advanced by many of the American Religious Right who are completely uncritical of Israel's behaviour and totally oblivious to the sufferings (or even the existence) of Arab Christians in the Middle East. These Arab Christians may not be sympathetic to the tactics of Hezbollah, but they are certainly not supportive of the highly disproportionate military responses of Israel, which now target their own families and fellow Arab Christians. Where is the American church's solidarity with them? In the Middle East battles between Islamic terrorism and Israeli military attacks, the perspective of Middle Eastern churches might indeed provide a much-needed third perspective.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Left Behind Christianity

A recent survey of Left Behind readers uncovered a surprising demographic: Almost a quarter of people who’ve read or are reading Left Behind are not Christians – they hold other beliefs including Islam and Buddhism.

As surprising as this may or may not be to you, there is another side effect to the widely popular series: A growing number of non-Christians are now making the assumption that Christianity and the theology of Left Behind are one and the same.

Pop culture fiction is now synonymous with Christianity.

Ouch.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Chicken or the Egg?

The saved sinner is prostrate in adoration, lost in wonder and praise. He knows repentance is not what we do in order to earn forgiveness; it is what we do because we have been forgiven. It serves as an expression of gratitude rather than an effort to earn forgiveness. Thus the sequence of forgiveness and then repentance, rather than repentance and then forgiveness, is crucial for understanding the gospel of grace.
Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Visual Edition.


Wow. I’ve been bought up since my acceptance of Christ to believe that we have to repent to be forgiven. It’s never sat comfortably with me as I got older and wiser (or is that more cynical?) but it’s the only way I’ve heard it preached.

I’ve argued with some of my Cool-Aid swimming Pentecostal friends that you don’t have to wait for someone to ask for forgiveness, to forgive them, and like wise, God will also forgive us, even if we’re a bit slow on the repentance thing.

But this is the first time I’ve read someone else’s view on the subject that resonates with me.

I’ve only read Manning’s book in bit and pieces (it’s a book I keep in the toilet for those times when you need a little longer to, well you know) but most times I pick it up, I seem to find a gem.

If this were Frank’s blog I’d have a link to amazon right about here. But its not, so I’ll give you something better; if you know me personally (basically, if you’re a Cessionite) I’ll get you a real good deal on a copy of the book if you’re interested.

(apologies to Frank, his blog is cool, even with the corporate sell out ;o)

Movenpick Chocolate Icecream

Melt in your mouth chocolate shavings, embellish this rich and delicious chocolate ice cream. You really do get what you pay for, it is sooo yummie. Oh, and soo much better when you only pay $5 for 10 litres.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

All the Fridays in the year...

ab·sti·nence n.

1. The act or practice of refraining from indulging an appetite, as for food.
2. Abstention from alcoholic beverages.

[Middle English, from Old French abstenance, from Latin abstinentia, from abstinns, abstinent- present participle of abstinre, to hold back. See abstain.]

fast intr.v. fast·ed, fast·ing, fasts
1. To abstain from food.
2. To eat very little or abstain from certain foods, especially as a religious discipline.

n.

1. The act or practice of abstaining from or eating very little food.
2. A period of such abstention or self-denial.

A little while back, when I was last in Whakatane, I found a copy of the Book of Common Prayer in the local second-hand store, so decided on a whim to splash out (10c) and buy it. It’s been sitting on my desk, unloved since then.

But today I decided to look at it. A confusing wee book it is, intended no doubt or those scholarly Pastor types, and not designed to be easily digested by a DVD junkie.

I did find something though that seemed straight forward on page 31: Days of Fasting or Abstinence.

It appears that ‘All the Fridays in the year, except Christmas Day’ (who would want to fast on that day!) are supposed to be a day of fasting.

Gulp.

That’s every Friday. Once a week? That must be a mistake right? Or does this just apply to the Church of England? (though I can’t remember any Sunday School stories back in the day about fasting on a Friday).

I think I’ll just have to ignore page 31 unless some scholarly person can shed some light on the history or significance of Friday fasting.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Time for a new look…

I figured I’d be a copycat and redesign my blog. This was mainly so that I could add a couple of blog hacks, and my old template couldn’t cope too well. Mind you, I’m having a few problems with this one. The main problem being the size of the text in the left column. Can anyone help me with this?

Update:
Ok, figured out my little problem all by my self, with a little trial and error. Quite like the new layout, but might have to do something about the title banner I made - it was a bit rushed. Still need to add a few things, but for now I'm happy.

Update #2
Changed the banner - a lot happier with the new look. Also put in a link for the image hosting. Will put more links in here when I get round to it (most of my 'links' are in my blogroll on the left anyway!). If I've missed anybodies (ie Cessionites) blog off my blogroll, let me know and I'll add you!

Now, I must go and do some 'work'.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I'm Still a Cultural Creative, but...

I decided to re-take the test - not because I wanted to pervert my results, but because on reflection I don't think I did the quiz correctly - on some of the statements I had to go middle of the road because I didn't understand them. So this time I had some expert help to decifer what some of the statements were actually saying.

I'm still the same Fundy (as Frank would put it) person, but instead of having to take a tie-breaker, my Cultural Creative marks have sky rocketed. Interestingly my romanticism took a hit...

Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative

94%

Fundamentalist

63%

Postmodernist

56%

Romanticist

56%

Existentialist

50%

Modernist

31%

Idealist

31%

Materialist

0%

What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com

Saturday, July 08, 2006

For Dione

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line

I find it very, very easy to be true
I find myself alone when each day is through
Yes, I'll admit that I'm a fool for you
Because you're mine, I walk the line

As sure as night is dark and day is light
I keep you on my mind both day and night
And happiness I've known proves that it's right
Because you're mine, I walk the line

You've got a way to keep me on your side
You give me cause for love that I can't hide
For you I know I'd even try to turn the tide
Because you're mine, I walk the line

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line

Cultural Creative.

Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative

69%

Romanticist

69%

Fundamentalist

63%

Existentialist

38%

Postmodernist

38%

Idealist

25%

Modernist

19%

Materialist

0%

What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com

Thanks to Frank

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Alimento for Men!

So my lovely wife thinks she can corner the market in food blogging. Well someone’s gotta stand up and show that woman what real food is like. Manly food. Blokes grub. Hhhhmmmmm, the pleasures of a simple mean with all three food groups represented…. It doesn’t get any better than this:

Thursday, June 22, 2006

All The Hype That Money Can Buy

I was over at the Ritchie/Powell Residence the other night for a lovely shared meal, where I got talking to Rhett about the old days when I used to review music for the Baptist and he used to read my reviews in the Baptist (he was also jealous of my trend setting hair style). Of course we didn’t know each other back then. I think Jacob might have been in on the conversation as well when I was explaining why I don’t review music anymore. I promised I’d let them read a copy of the Parachute review that essentially got me fired from the music reviewing business. If you click on the small image you should (if blogger works the way I’m hoping it does) get a large enough image to read. It’s probably worth noting that this is the EDITED version. It’s also probably worth noting that I wanted to talk to Parachute before submitting my review, but they were a little hesitant to talk to media post Festival and declined all my requests. The good thing is that my wonderful editors let me continue (and expand) with my DVD reviews, and I have access to as much music as I want through my current job. It’s funny how some things work out for good.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sex Selection to Combat Autism

Eleven cousins in California have had their stomachs removed, and now a team of doctors at the University College Hospital in Britain will apply for a license to screen out autistic embryos, according to the Times Online. Both are possible thanks to genetic testing.

As boys are four times more likely to be born with autism than girls, couples with a family history of the condition want to ensure they have only girls. Such sex selection is not at present permitted.

The technique, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), has been used to create babies free from life-threatening illnesses such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy and haemophilia.

However, screening embryos to prevent babies being born with autism would prove controversial because children born with the disorder can live long and healthy lives. Critics claim the treatment would be a step closer to creating babies free from all imperfections.


The couple would have to go through in vitro fertilization. A specialist would choose only female embryos for implantation into the mother's uterus.

While sex selection is illegal in many countries, it's legal in the United States and can cost up to $20,000.

Wow, sounds a little to much like Gattica.


Source: Wired

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I’m a Heretic

I’ve just finished watching (and reviewing) The Gospel of Judas. The actual documentary was so-so, but the special features were a bit of an eye opener – you see, Elaine Pagels has opened my eyes to the fact that I’m a heretic.

Now before you reach for those large and very solid looking stones, or before you start to stroke your chin and say ‘I knew it!’, lets look at the original meaning of the word heretic:

[Middle English heretik, from Old French heretique, from Late Latin haereticus, from Greek hairetikos, able to choose, factious, from hairetos, chosen, from haireisthai, to choose.]

Able to choose. That defines me rather well. I’m able to choose. I chose to belong to a church that calls itself Cession. I’m able to choose not to eat the noodles on offer last Sunday.

I’m also able to choose what I believe, and I’m able to choose to discuss, debate and be convinced or convince others that certain streams of though are valid or not.

And that apparently makes me a heretic.

Hooray for the heretics!

I’m also probably a bit of a Gnostic:

[Late Latin Gnsticus, a Gnostic, from Late Greek Gnstikos, from Greek gnstikos, concerning knowledge, from gnsis, knowledge. See gnosis.]

I’m a seeker of spiritual knowledge. I want to know more. I choose to know more.

Is there any hope for a Heretical Gnostic wannabe?

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