Attention Grammar Police!

If you should find offenses to the English language in any of my articles please leave a comment and let me know so that I can obliterate it forever! Thanks!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!

Happy New Year!

So the hot topic of last year's last evening was whether we now say "two thousand and ten" or "twenty ten"?

Personally I like "twenty ten" because as a child of "Nineteen seventy eight" and having pronounced my years that way for the first 21 years of my life it makes more sense to say the year with such a comfortable mouthful. Let's face it, 10 years of having to say the word "thousand" before every year is exhausting, bad for asthmatics and I'm protesting!

It was a fun night out tonight with friends in their happening backyard where the wind blew, we shivered in this strangely cold Auckland Summer around a brazier as we tore steak apart with our teeth, downed a few beers and blew stuff up as the clock struck 12.

Highlights for 2009?

Becoming a Dad, hands down. Greatest moment of this year. Nothing comes close to comparing. Second greatest moment was buying our first home since the last one we owned and the sigh of relief that came with it as God once again proved that in all things he works for the good of those who love him!

In the new year I would like to find out if Smurfs are real, write a book and quite my job... I'll keep you posted on that one. I would also like to memorize the four Gospels, lose three kilograms and buy a cat, even if I sneeze to death in the process...

Either way I want the first thing I do before I sleep away the next 5 hours of Day One is to wish you all a very happy new year, may you be fruitful and prosper well beyond all conceivable measures!

This year I would encourage you to lose three kilograms as well, just because I don't want to be the only one who has to do it. Post me any dead smurfs you may find and write to me and ask me some random questions so I can keep my other New Year's Resolution of not running out of things to write about!

Drive Safe

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dream Sequence Part 2

Its 12.30 in the a.m. and I'm wondering why I am torturing myself at the desk top here? Probably because I'm notoriously lonely with my wife and baby being all the way on the other side of the trough in that wretched wasteland we typically call Australia.

I have to call it a “wretched wasteland” because then I can pretend that I didn't just spend a beautiful week soaking up the sun and hitting the beaches in the QLD... especially now that I have returned to that dismal dark corridor I work in with those loud machines that feed the masses such banal rubbish everyday (I'm a movie projectionist in case you've forgotten).

The second reason I have to refer to Australia in a derogatory manner is because I am a Kiwi and that’s what we Kiwi’s do, we pretend that Australia sucks, even when it doesn’t. It’s in my genes.

But in all seriousness, it doesn’t suck and it’s not wretched at all. If Australia was guilty of one sin it would only be that it is insufferably hot and sticky and very big.

Apart from bringing home an Ozzie tan and 3 extra kilos of fat around my waist (to help my belt hold up my pants), I also brought back an ear infection from too much swimming with my head under the water. But Christmas brunches, lunches and banquet style dinners will do that to you - make you sink to the bottom of the first pool you dive into! I was also lucky enough to share a swim with a giant man eating spider (that is if the man was the size of a GI Joe) and a frog that we had to rescue from a volley ball as my team lost miserably to the other team of relies. I felt like I was in Meet the Parents as I showed the in-laws what an abysmal hand I was at sports but then remembered that I could kick a few butts on the Nintendo Wii...

That night ended with us eating dessert at 12:30 in the a.m.

And so the torture continues with me having way too many late nights as now I have a holiday from my holiday and still have to work…

Seeing as I have nothing else to write about I will continue with this newish “dream series” which will probably amount to people writing to me to tell me I need therapy or a bucket of hydrochloric acid or both...

This morning I was locked into a sleep deeper than the death of Socrates so I hardly remember much apart from this massive horde of Indians, as in the ones that invented the curry burger, gathering outside a cinema complex. They were following an entire royal family who had come to this theatre for a special screening of something or other and I was the one who was going to play their movie for them. And so the pressure mounts…

I followed the crowd of peasants, for that is what they were, dirty messy people who had received such an honor as to watch a flick with their Monarchs, up a flight of stairs which became steeper and steeper until I came through the wide open double doors at the top and found myself staring down at an enormous drop behind me as I struggled against the crowd which wouldn't sit down fast enough. I felt the utmost vertigo as I looked outside the doors at the vast expanse below me with fields and small buildings peppered on the ground below...

Somehow I either managed to shut the doors or I escaped up the aisle to a better position of anywhere but there!

I found myself ringing my brother to see if he was keen to go and see AVATAR in 3D and that I was leaving from my other brother's house shortly if he wanted to meet me there... then I looked at the ground and there were these glowing shells all over the floor. The kind of shells you see Island Tribesmen blowing into to make a trumpety noise, only these ones were obviously man made, smooth and warm.

I realized the floor was in fact the ceiling and the room was somehow upside down... I asked my brother how the room came to be tipped over as it was but he told me that it was meant to be that way and that these lights were a new cost effective energy saving technique where the shells absorbed the suns energy throughout the day and lit the floor by night. I thought it was rather stupid seeing as I had nowhere to walk unless I wanted to stub my toe.

I think dreaming of work like that is indicative of my fear that one day I’m going to go there and become the unfortunate victim of a stampede of angry patrons.

This dream began with some undertones of a Christ like parable about the Kingdom of Heaven in which the people from the streets are invited to the Wedding Feast and get to dine with the King. It also reminds me of when Jesus said to “enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction…” I wonder if my looking back at the suddenly steep stairs was a realization of the worldly road that I had been walking on some years ago before returning to church and some anxiety that I may be slipping backwards onto it?

The theatre could be like church but why I would want to leave church to watch AVATAR I would have no idea; the movie is ridiculous except that Cameron has made it to look as real as possible, and yet it is still fake no matter how real it looks… maybe that’s how I see the physical world – fake no matter how real it appears to be? And when I find myself in a room where the ceiling is the floor but am told that is how it is meant to be, I’m thinking that maybe that’s like the bad stuff that happens in your life, when terrible things happen and your world is twisted upside down it turns out that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and his light shines through the floor to guide your feet, I thought it was stupid because I was scared of stubbing my toe when in actual fact the light would prevent that from happening as in that psalm “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…”

Yep, it’s definitely very late and I’m getting esoteric…

I better go before I start dreaming and typing at the same time!

In the mean time here's a friend of mine playing a song we all should know...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dream Sequence Part One

I suppose you could say my new years revolution (because my resolutions almost always fail I will call it a revolution instead; should it succeed it really would be a revolution!) would be that I will give a better go of blogging. For lots of reasons of course, the main being that I want lots of people to read it and shower me with accolades that land gently on my ego and heal the bruises of my day job! But also because I saw that rediculous movie - Julie and Julia. My wife made me do it.... ok so I lie, I actually wanted to see it but I found the movie worthy of a seperate condemning review, so all I will say is as annoyingly girlie as the movie was it did inspire me to write. Here was Julie writing about cooking until one day someone sends her what looks like a bottle of Nando's Perri Perri Sauce and I started thinking, man if I write daily maybe eventually someone will send me some thing to eat?

Anyway, enough of that, I guess its because I haven't had breakfast yet and its already mid day!

My blog site is not really about anything. Its like Seinfeld, a show about nothing. But if you believe the evolutionists eventually something comes out of nothing and I might say something worth mentioning. I will write about whatever's on my mind at the time and that could be anything from how much I hated Dances with Wolves (sorry, I meant to say AVATAR)to what I learnt in Church this Sunday. But just to fill in a bit of space I'm going to start blogging the majority of my dreams because if they can entertain me perhaps they can entertain you just enough to keep you interested, and frankly they are much more exciting than that new James Cameron movie and probably make more sense as well.. ouch!

I had a great big sleep in this morning to recover from my recent holiday in Aussistralia's Sunshine Coast where the sun may set but is always there in spirit, your clothes are always wet from the broken down air conditioning system in your body as it over produces sweat and you run out of things to wear very quickly. It was incredibly winderfull but how nice has it been to be in a bed that I can actually snuggle up to under a thick blanket since being back in Auckland!

So as I was doing all that snuggling and snoring I dreamed...

I was in a masssive top secret and very metallic facility in the middle of the ocean. The place was enormously enormous and towerered from the sea floor to well above the waves that crashed against its side. It would have been cool were it not for the fact that every scientist, soldier and cleaning lady in the great sea city had been converted to Zombism and were running around the place on their dead legs eating people along the way. Thankfully I missed out on all the gory details and can't remember if I saw any arms being munched on or throats being throttled but the dream took a turn for the worst when suddenly there were no Zombies to worry about any more and the rest of us survivors were happily cleaning up the mess until I was handed a gun and told to go into this one particular room where the last infected thing resided which just so happened to be a visciously adorable piglet.

It didn't help that I had suddenly become a female scientist either, that only added to the horrificy of it all.

So I go into this perfectly white room that had what looked like silky white stalks going from floor to sterile ceiling making it extremley difficult for me to see where this little pig was and compounding my paranoia that this little pink pig might prickle me in the ankle and start the whole terrifying canabalistic nightmare all over again.

Sure enough the little piglet sees me and all it wants to do is chase me around the spooky white forest and lick me while I can't get a clear enough aim at its forehead.

So in I walk, one minute I was the science chick and the next I'm me again, coming into the room to save the day. Upon my entry the strange white plants dissapear and the room becomes bare with only a fireplace in the centre and a little dog resting inside it, looking at me with its big round eyes. I think it was something like a poodle but cuter because normally I would have shot a poodle without thinking about it (ok, not really). But I had a moral duty to protect the human race so without thinking I aimed the gun at its head and pulled the trigger only to have a very much alive doggy staring back it me quizzically with a round slug pallet imbedded in its forehead!

Those stupid military gits who couldn't do this themselves had given me an air pistol. Realising I would have to reload some fifty times while I torture this poor creature to death with lead marbles I went to the door where my boss was standing, called him an idiot and declared that I needed a real gun. He told me that as soon as I got out of that room he was going to detain me for insubordination, then someone gave me a gun they had made. It looked like a crome pan-flute. Disturbingly beautiful and probably completely functional as both a musical instrument and a killing machine. The round bullet that I placed in the barrel was as big as a gob stopper or an eye ball that had turned into steel. I walked up to the dog and had a fantasy about just picking it up and throwing it into the sea. It seemed like a more humane idea at the time to just pit the pooch into the gaping jaws of a shark but then I was told off ,in my fantasy, by the female scientist that I had formerly been, because if the dog was eaten by a shark then we would end up with Zombie sharks and eventually Zombie fishies, leaving the human race in the same position of facing its own extinction at the cost of everything else on the planet . So I shook myself out of the fantasy and marched up to what I thought was a dog only to come face to face with a 4 year old girl...

I was being tortured by my subconscious now, it was going to make me go through with this exocution no matter how cute the innocent criminal may be. She asked me what we were going to do today and I told her we would play a little game. I had her stand against the wall and to distract her I took a pencil and began drawing an outline around her little body, so that we would at least have her sillouette to remember her by. She thought it was fun and kept lauaghing so I began whispering to her how much her daddy loved her as I lifted the gun to do the deed...

Thankfully at this point my mobile phone rang, in real life, and it woke me up before I pulled the trigger. It was my mate Geoffrey wanting to have our weekly chat about Doctor Who. Usually when I'm woken out of an intense dream, like when I'm doing breath stroke in mid air or discovering a bag of money under my pillow I try to go back to sleep and finish the fantasy but in this case I was happy to leave it with the little girl still alive and ready to infect the human race with her cute brand of necromancy.

I feel deeply disturbed.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

6 Months in…

So as you may or may not care, I thought I would tell you about my recent adventures in Fatherhood, or as it is known in some cultures: “that man who lives in the same house as your mom, who you ask for things when mom has already said ‘No’”

Thankfully, as my title suggests, my little treasure is a tad too young to manipulate me in such a common but none the less devious way. However in such a short time she has managed to rap me around her little finger – and given the size of her little finger; that’s a whole lot of me!

I think I will spare you the grisly details of the first few hours of her life because, well, I’m not in a gory mood just now… But I will say this, I thought I would be one of those husbands in the delivery room, standing well away from the scene of the crime, trying desperately not to be a witness or even a suspect but I rather surprised myself and the Midwife who later praised me for my valuable contribution to the proceedings… in fact I was ready to do it all again, except my wife didn’t share my enthusiasm!

Let us fast forward… my partner in crime was busy with the Doctor people so I got to do the Skin to Skin for an hour. What is Skin to Skin when you’re not at home but sitting in a cold maternity ward full of pain and joy? Well, it’s that fun part where you get to take off your shirt and sit there with a naked baby on your chest. But not just any baby – you’re own personal copyrighted human manuscript. And wow, what an experience. You sit there with this bundle of big deep-blue-sea eyes looking at you with a quizzical look that suggests she’s still trying to figure out who you are and why are you looking at her so intensely? We were two strangers brought together in the first major crisis of her life - her eviction from the first and only home she had ever known…

Oh yeah, I was meant to be telling you why she was naked and I was shirtless. While it sounds strange and conjures up images of corny nappy ads where a doting Dad looks down at a dopey baby, its scientific purpose is so that your Germy Jims (or bacteria) can migrate from your body to hers. It’s fantastic for their immunity and gives the parent a chance to form a bond with the baby (as if I hadn’t already).

We must have sat there for an eternity getting to know each other through the communication of confused expressions. But the eternity soon evaporated into six months later and I’m wondering where it all went. You know the expression, the cliché “They grow up so fast” and unfortunately no matter how many times you hear it from those who have gone down the parental track before you, they are not lying and there’s no more precise way to put it, they really do go from there to here in a flash of light. While you go to work to slog it out and the days seem to drag on and you can’t wait until the holidays your little carbon copy is mutating from one form to the next as each week sprinkles through your fingers…

We left the hospital like a person carrying an egg a hundred miles on the edge of a fork – very carefully, and brought her home to the applause of family and friends who had helped me clean the house in preparation after I had spent the last few nights camped out on the couch. But then the guests leave and it’s just the two new parents, proud, stunned and not quite sure what to do next! The rest of that month is a blur of moments that have no context in time but hang in your mind like pictures in a long corridor… the waking up throughout the night to foreign squawks that demand attention; the cry that sounded like the word “Nooooooooooo” as if to say you’ve got it all wrong and all she really wants is a candy floss and not the sleepy rocking you’re repeating without success, curving her mouth into a frown and emitting a soft “Wahaaaa, wahaaa.”

Six weeks went out with the tide and just when we thought we couldn’t handle another sleepless night something miraculous happened. We woke up at six in the morning after six hours of actual sleep and shot out of bed in a panicked rush to the bassinet because something must have been wrong but no, there she was, sound asleep dreaming baby dreams as if the nightmare that had been the last six weeks had never happened.

I have to admit at this point that I was a bad Dad and slept through most of it while my wife did the thing that only a mother can do. I recall a certain sense of uselessness at times when it was obvious that I could not deliver the one thing she wanted most in the world for lack of lactation on my part.

However she does seem to have a certain amount of respect for dear young Dad in that somehow, miraculously, she manages to save the second variety of nappy antics for Mum! I’m not one of those Dad’s who shy’s away from nappy labor but its either luck or pure baby genius (or malice) that 90 percent of the time she saves her worst for Mum while I am at work and for once I’m happy to have missed out on at least this part of her progress!

Except there was that one time that I was lying on the couch and had her hovering over me in the air when suddenly something hot and acrid hit me square in the face that came from her mouth with a burp. I was left there stunned, my baby poised in mid flight while I yelled out to my wife to come and rescue me with a flannel, but instead she dashed out to get a camera to permanently capture Dad with spew on his face. At least my Facebook had a decent profile pic for a few weeks after.

In fact this is a regular occurrence in church every Sunday morning. We have it down to a routine. We arrive, my wife feeds her in the mother’s room during the singing, brings her out and during the sermon she brings it all up again on my Sunday best to the chuckles and applause of the family sitting in the row behind me. It’s always the same family too… but I’ve learned, don’t jiggle your baby or give her flying lessons after she’s had a feed because it’s bound to end up with someone’s dignity getting hurt!

Please don’t mistake me for a Crass Dad, but the truth is babies are born with no sense of decorum and need to learn it – although much later in life. For the time being you put up with tummy rumbles that might as well have come from a small elephant and gas that is so loud that the first time I heard it I leapt from my couch in genuine fright as if a small bomb had just been detonated beside me. The up shot of that of course being that I now finally have someone else to blame when my wife gives me that suspicious look during a movie…

And it’s not just that side of her either. She has become the “raspberry princess” in recent times. Somewhere in that developing intelligence of hers I am sure she thinks she is telling me about her many adventures when she purses her lips together, pokes out her tongue and blows a torrent of “raspberries” that last longer than a lecture on Egyptology. Not that I mind; it sounds like she has a lot of interesting things she is trying to say.

I began this adventure wanting this baby period to skip ahead to the toddler phase where she cries out “Daddy!” when I come home at the end of the day but her evident personality, her uniqueness and the exhilarating sense of discovery that comes from witnessing her do something new every week makes me want to hold time at gun point and order it to stop or else! She smiles now whenever she sees me. She loves to see her daddy play Silly Billies when he jumps up and down like a gorilla, growls like a tiger or barks like a dog just to get a giggle out of that little round bald headed face; and I love the feeling of having an audience of one that would give me a standing ovation if she could only stand…

In a way having a baby has been very much like owning a cellular phone – once upon a time we got on perfectly without them but have one for six months and you know you couldn’t possibly live without it…

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Weak Come Back

Have you ever been told off for passing wind in your bed? I have. This morning I was in trouble not just for the act but for the fact that the gas giant leaping through the sheets had “Personality” according to my lovely wife.
I honestly try not to do it but it’s the morning and although I’m awake the etiquette part of my brain is still in the flickering stages of switching on.
So speaking of gas here is a new addition to Kerinthians – a Donate Now box… now don’t be scared, it’s not going to bite you and there is obviously no obligation except for those of you with a weak conscience. But seriously, every writer or wannabe like myself dreams of better days when they can quit their day job and actually make a living doing the thing they love, and as no publisher would touch me with a barge poll, unless it’s to squash me, then for now I will have to settle for this little gimmick.
Think of me as one of those buskers who do stupid things on the street and then holds out his hat in the hope that some cornered individual might pay him just to go away. On second thoughts don’t think of me like that at all…
In any case, here it is, the “Donate Now Button”, press it and see what happens…

Pay with Paymate Express

Isn’t she lovely?

And just so you don’t feel like you spent the last five minutes listening to a begger with a sign saying “I will no use this money to buy alcohol… I promise…” Here is something that made my week…

If you ever lend your car to someone and provided you have a CD player do what I did the other day. Buy the Lion King Sound Track, select the first track where it has that really loud African guy shouting at the top of his lungs and turn your car off just before he makes his ear shattering debut. Then make sure the CD player is turned on as loud as it will go and give your mate the keys.

The next morning if all goes well you can rest assured your friend will get the wake up call of a life time, will be wide awake on the way to work and have you to thank for it. You should receive an interesting text message at some point soon after you have scared last nights dinner out of him as well. Even now I chuckle when I think about the expression on his face when the tribal scream stabbed him in the ears. Everyone should start the day with a tormenting Disney song.

Finally, if you don’t want to give me your money then at least give me your ideas. Feel free to flick me a question or two and I will answer it as best as I can’t. Remember, every dumb question will be out done by an even dumber answer; it should be fun…

Please forward all questions to and remember the only thing I won't answer is "Who the sam hill are you?" Because that will just prove to me you haven't been reading and my answer will be extra ultra dumb...

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Bankers of Heaven

“Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.”

Matthew 25:27

We all should know the story by now. Christ’s famous parable about the 3 servants and the great big wad of cash their master had entrusted them with while he went on a long journey. To one he gave five “talents” (one talent is equal to about a thousand dollars), to another two talents and to the third one talent.

He wasn’t showing favouritism either. This Master of the house knew his servants individual capabilities and so entrusted them with exactly what he knew they could manage.

Then he went on his trip.

Each servant goes out and does something with their master’s cash.

The first with the most invests it wisely and turns it into a whopping $10,000, while the second goes and doubles his share….

But the third…

This guy is of the “afraid of nothing” variety and out of fear and laziness goes and takes his measly $1000 and buries it in the ground.

The story goes that the Master returns and settles accounts with his servants.

The guy with the five grand brings the other five and the Master utters those famous words that every true Christian longs in his heart to hear – “Well done good and faithful servant, you have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things…”

The second gets the same reward and is ushered into greater responsibility by his Master’s happy promotion…

But the third…

He comes along and says in a nutshell – I did nothing with your money, here have it back…

Or to be exact – “Master” (what nerve to still call his Master “Master” when he hasn’t even done his job?) he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

Needless to say his Master was not happy. He accuses (and rightly so) the servant of being wicked and lazy but then he says the most interesting thing – “Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.”

This verse had never really done much to attract my attention until it jumped out at me today. Who are the bankers?

It is obvious that the Master is the Lord and we are his servants and when people tell this parable they like to talk about our “talents” being the skills that God has given each and every one of us to do great deeds for The Kingdom… but does anyone ever mention this obscure little group of people called “The Bankers?”

I’ll get to that in a minute but first I want to address the usual interpretation of the word “talents” as meaning skills. Now I think this is OK but is not the whole story. If you want to teach a devotional or a sermon or even apply this scripture to yourself as the talents being your abilities and personal cleverness then fine, but the danger is that people forget that a talent is quite frankly $1000 worth of cash. (No alarm bells yet please.) Secondly there is the risk of the ordinary folk who aren’t great guitarists and have vocal chords like a strangled otter, who want to vomit when made to speak in public or can’t cook for a Connect Group without the fear of food poisoning everyone… these people might be tricked into thinking “I have no “talents” – what could I possibly contribute to The Kingdom?”

There are a lot of people in the Church who call themselves Pew Sitters who can’t stand the idea of hosting a Bible study because their carpet is cruddy or work unusual hours and simply don’t have the time to “contribute” to the workings of the local church… such people might be tempted to think the parable applies to someone else.

But if you’re his servant then it well and truly applies to you.

It is becoming clearer and clearer to me as I grow in the faith that the Kingdom is what should be occupying our thoughts on a close to constant basis. Everywhere Jesus went the first thing he said was usually “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” This might be a controversial thing to say but the Kingdom is not to be mistaken for The Church, and please don’t lynch me. Jesus gave us the Keys to the Kingdom and the Church is the door, but on the other in eternity there won’t be a Church so to speak, there will just be the saved in the actualised Kingdom of Heaven for all eternity.

And eternity is a long time. Eternity without God is so horrible I don’t want to think of clever little allegories to show you just what a horrible thing it is. We were created to know God and the afterlife without him is an eternity of never living up to your intended purpose, never having the one relationship that could have quelled your loneliness and never fulfilling your complete potential. I think Hell would be like living on this earth in its current fallen state forever and ever and ever and never being able to break though to God while all around you is sadness and hate and fear. And that sucks.

So the Good News about the Kingdom is everything we should be focusing our talents and resources and dare I say a good portion of our money to.

So I come to this little group called The Bankers. The Servants who are spending their time witnessing, preaching, feeding the hungry, bringing medical aide to third worlders, entertaining strangers in their own homes, Pastoring churches full of people who need counselling, discipling, and their Pastors full attention which often comes at great expense to himself and sadly sometimes his family. These people are The Bankers.

Actual worldly Bankers are the ones who take your money and know how to invest it so that as you save your money earns interest that compounds so you can get that car quicker or that deposit for your first home.

Spiritual bankers are the ones who know where the harvest is, they seek lost souls and save them from the hungry jaws of Hell! They take your contribution and invest it so that you earn compound interest in Heaven – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal”

Don’t write me off yet.

I have to confess that the idea of witnessing to someone I’ve never met freaks me out. I’m quite comfortable writing my little blogs or preaching (hiding behind) a pulpit but get me in a one on one situation and I usually wait until the other guy, usually a work colleague, says “So you’re a Christian huh?” And I strap on my seat belt and hold on for my life while I blunder through what I believe and walk away slapping my forehead while repenting for saying this or that thing when I should have said another thing. You don’t win souls that way. So I have a choice I could blunder through my life never winning a single person for Jesus and thus giving him the reward and expectation of eternal life or I could support the guy (the banker) who is good at evangelising and see just a fraction of my money going towards something of eternal significance, something that will shine forever and not a boat that could sink or a house that my kids will fight over when I die…

Now there are guys out there who are crooks, they will take your money gladly and spend it on themselves and this is where you need discernment. However it should not be your excuse for not contributing to the cause of The Kingdom. If these guys are thieves, wolves in sheep’s clothing, then it is your responsibility to find the chap who is a shepherd and support him for the long days and cold nights he spends protecting the Lord’s sheep. Your responsibility!

This is why I support my church and why I think you should support yours. The leaders should be dedicated to saving the lost and discipling the flock. If they aren’t, then go to a different church! But remember, your Pastor, the Christian organisations who feed the hungry in some country you’ve never heard of, the Salvation army, whatever or whoever they are, if they are committed to saving souls and equipping Christians with the Word then these people are those Bankers and if you aren’t investing the resources that God has given you into building the Kingdom then you are digging a hole in the ground when you could have been earning that interest in Heaven by entrusting it with the bankers who did know what to do with it.

“Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.”

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cheeky Little Monkey

The title of this article has nothing to do with what I have to say but was inspired by my wife who is standing there trying to rock my 4 month old to sleep - its not working.

Of course I am being the ever helpful Husband and am sitting here typing away to my hearts content!

I just wanted to touch base with my readership and apologise for my sudden disappearance from the bloggerverse. I wasn't raptured (although I wish I was) but rather my attention was diverted to something a little less creative - a video game. (which is retro slang for computer game) I'm sure to write a review about it sooner or later.

I figured after 3 months of sleepless nights with a new and very loud baby I deserved to spend my tax return on something that allowed me to run around a simulated world and throw whirlwinds and lightning bolts at computer animated maniacs. Probably not the best way to spend my time but at least its mostly out of my system. Needless to say I've been feeling very guilty at the lack of productivity.

Anyway, I did get a chance to think about this site and what I would like it to achieve...

So allow me to share with you my little personal and inspired vision about where I think God is leading me...

If you know me personally you will be aware of the news that I was accepted into Elim Ministry Training College next year! This is very exciting but simultaneously very frightening... but only because its taking a big step of faith into the unknown as my wife and I prepare to relocate from West Auckland to the Eastern Suburbs so I can study at the college in Botany while she returns to work part time.

I will also be doing an internship at my Church, c3 Howick, as part of my course, in which I will learn all the stuff there is to know about how to Do church.

Why? Because I feel called to be a Pastor and that is exactly where I am heading.

Occasionally I get asked to preach at my church and I will advertise when and where I will be speaking on the right hand column of this page. If you are in town I would love for you to come and have a listen! If you're in town and I'm not speaking then why not come and check out my awesome church anyway. That's awesome with a capital "O" by the way! We have some great lively and loud worship going on and some great Bible teachers, but the thing I love about c3 Howick is its wonderful family atmosphere. That's not to say that it has lots of kids running around (which it does) but when I say family what I mean is from the day Sarah and I walked in the door we felt like we were with family. Not the family you "love to hate and are only nice to at Christmas time" type of family but the "lets go out and have a picnic and chuck a ball around" type of family. That's what church is all about! But like I said, if you feel like coming to a great church then the doors are open wide...

Oh yeah I should probably tell you where that is - Aviemore Drive, Howick, next to Denny's... there's a great big sign that says Doctor on the front of the building - you can't miss it. I'm there every Sunday (practically) and I would love to meet you!

My call to ministry started when I was 15 and I was sitting in the auditorium during a rehearsal for some Shakespearean play and it dawned on me that if I could successfully memorize Shakespeare and be this excited about it then why couldn't I do the same with the Bible? It occurred to me then that members of other religions are more zealous about their scriptures, that are based on worldly wisdom, than we Christians are about the real Word of God! And here we are with the Holy Spirit to actually help us do it! So the challenge was on... I started memorizing the book of Romans. I didn't make it very far because I decided to switch to the book of Matthew instead... then after a while I switched to Genesis... I was a typical teenager after all. But the seed was sown and I felt more and more convicted that memorizing the scripture was of vital importance to a Christians growth and usefulness in ministry.

Just to be clear I have not memorized even a fraction of the Bible yet and to my dismay I have failed miserably by backsliding for nearly 10 years and in more recent times by forgetting large chunks I thought I already knew... but in keeping with my conviction I keep pushing and it is my deepest desire to one day memorize the entire thing.

One of these days I will write a sermon about it.

So I believe God's revealed will for me in the present is to keep studying and to keep seeking him in prayer and of course to give Bible College my best shot next year.

As far as this site goes I will try to write regular articles about anything I can think of. You might have noticed that I removed some of my secular articles recently but mostly because I want this site to be a sort of meeting place where my friends, family and prayer partners can catch up and see what I am up to.

So this is the bit where I ask without apology that you show your support by remembering me in your prayers. For our fight is not against flesh and blood and your prayers are imperative. I believe that in Heaven I will look back and see the massive amount of devastation our prayers have done to the Devil's domain while simultaneously becoming aware of the enormous impact they have had on the saved who by God's grace have made it into the everlasting kingdom!

I will try to write regular prayer requests but here are some that are pressing at the moment:

1. That my wife and I find the right living situation for next year
2. That we are able to support ourselves financially while I study
3. That I don't let myself get distracted by computer games while I am studying.

I am also setting up a sponsorship Button - strictly for anyone who feels led to show ffinancial support while I step out into the life of ministry and the road to becoming a Pastor.

So that's all for now.

Don't forget that I am on facebook and you can add me for regular updates!

If you have any questions I would love to tackle them so feel free to gmail me at

The God Who is There

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…”

Genesis 1:1

Let’s not beat around the bush about it – In the beginning God created two things; the heavens and the earth. Put them together and you have a whole lot of everything and that’s a great deal!

I love the way the Bible opens with this basic and yet profoundly loaded statement that slaps anyone in the face who would say otherwise. It does not begin with an opinion: “in the beginning it is the view of the writer that God created the heavens and the earth.” Or “Herein lies the theory of creation.” Nor does it start with an apology – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth which can be seen by this bone that carries the DNA of a dinosaur and this photograph of Adam planting the first acorn.” Not that I have a problem with Christian Apologetics, on the contrary, I think creation researchers are among a special breed of genius with a very important ministry, but that’s not what I’m talking about here…

The Bible never actually makes an argument for the existence of God or the fact that he created everything and this is crucial because of two mind blowing and uncomfortable truths – the first being that his existence is obvious and the second truth that every one knows on some level that he does exist.

I know people claim to be atheists or agnostics or whatever but if they were honest I’m sure on the odd occasion they have asked God for a parking space or cried out “God!” in a moment of panic.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

If you’re still not convinced I wonder if there has ever been a culture on this planet that didn’t have some kind of god or gods attached to it. We all know the story of Noah and the Ark but did you also know that there are something like 500 recorded flood myths found all around the world, most with striking similarities to the account found in the Bible? Upon such a discovery it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that there must have been an event in the past that led to most ancient cultures sharing the same "legend" – in other words, there really was a flood! Is it possible then that if every culture has a “god concept” then that “concept” could be rooted in the fact that there really is a God?

But back to the present day I can honestly say that there has never been a time that I was not aware of the presence of The God who is there. Even when I walked away from Christianity 10 years ago (I’m well and truly back now) I always knew that God was there. He is like the other person in the room who I don’t have to look at to know he is present. It is my firm conviction that everyone on some level has this “God sense” – we were created with it.

Now the Heavens and the Earth aren’t just two things. They are a symphony of stars and planets dancing together in an intricate play of gravity at an astounding velocity as the galaxies spin in a myriad of other tumbling galaxies in a space so vast that I haven’t got time to type out the number. Just look at these incredible Hubble scope pictures to see how mind boggling this finite infinity we call the “Heavens” really is.

Then we have the earth, this tiny blue and green speck in the middle of it all. The only planet in exactly the right spot, the porridge that isn’t too cold and isn’t too hot, sling-shotting around just the right sun at just the right distance with just the right moon providing us with tides and seasons and a biodiversity intricately woven together by the loving hand of a truly great Creator who didn’t do it all for no reason…

A God so grand and characteristically ingenious that all the brains in the world wired together couldn’t conceptualise the wonder of such a God. A God so great to create the Heavens and the Earth is not the white bearded man in the clouds, he isn’t the great red Santa in the sky – we are talking about someone capable of creating trillions of stars and who states in his Word that he knows each one by name while still being able to pin point exactly where you are at any given moment while knowing your thoughts and emotions simultaneously with 6 billion other individuals on a planet wide scale! A God who knows the words of every book ever written and ever will be written, the words and tunes to every song along with the number of every atom on every finger nail and every piece of dead skin that flaked to the ground and every grain of dust you flicked up as you walked down the foot path and every blob of bacteria that lived in every crack in the pavement and every particle you breathed in and out and every spider floating on the breeze with every dead leaf and where it landed and where the wind that blew it went and every possible combination of everything that could have happened while knowing the difference between every possible outcome and every actual event. A God who says that even the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Matthew 10:30)…

A God who loved you so much that he gave his only Son (John 3:16)

Such a God did not create such a wonder as the Heavens and the Earth just to leave it for his next favourite toy as Professor Hawkings once suggested (though the toy was my idea). In fact “by him (Christ) all things hold together – Colossians 1: 17

Its all for a reason and designed for a purpose. In all things God works for the good of those who love him. Romans 8:28

You can choose to live in denial and believe its all just random happenstance but I’m going with the Book that grabs the origins bull by the horns in its very first verse:

In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth!

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Testimony

The night was November 16th, 2009...

Not only was it the evening of my Mother in Laws birthday but our Pastor had asked me to share my Testimony with the rest of our Church...

Part of the reason I am posting this is because I haven't been very prolific lately on account of my acquiring a new computer game... but Testimonies are also the ultimate form of Love Story - the retelling of how we met the most important person in our lives, Jesus Christ...

I hope you enjoy this true life tale and that it blesses you with a deeper relationship with the Lord... but also that you will be encouraged to pass it on to friends and family who aren't Christians, because when all is said and done, after all the arguments for and against Christianity, after all the skepticism and attacks, NO ONE can deny the true story of YOUR relationship with the Author of Life...



P.S. I apologise for the split Youtube format... if anyone can tell me a better way to upload audio I will be forever greatful!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Message from Planet Me

I've been pretty stoked with all you faithful "come along every dayers", who have checked on this blog space out of curiosity or the opposite of contempt to read me musings...

This week you may have noticed the rapid decline in my prolificy but rest assured its not due to lack of topics or inspiration but rather to my trying to organise my priorities in such a way that I am not burning the candle from the middle as well as at both ends!

I will now restrict my posts to night's before a day off which are every second Wednesday and Thursday and every alternating Friday... occasionally I might be able to squeeze a few more in but I found that I became a man obsessed with posting blogs at whatever cost, which usually involved me falling asleep on the couch, work or while driving... plus I have some serious study commitments this year and had been neglecting them...

But I am still committed to this site and have a great deal many more delightful bits and pieces to post before Google bans me blurbs forever!

Which has never been an issue....

So if you're new to this mayhem and aren't familiar with my emerging "Kulture" I will usually write Humour and Film reviews but if any reader throws a question my way I will endeavor to throw an answer back at them so feel free to write to me on if you dare...

Stay sane and keep tunin in...


P.S. In the meantime here is a picture of me babysitting at great personal cost to my dignity and face. What you are seeing is my daughter's way of saying, "Stop rocking me daddy!" and I can tell you now, it felt like the wet end of a swift tea towel hitting my right cheek, barely missing my eye. I cried out for my wife, but rather than flying to my aide, she took the opportunity to photograph my baby sitting skills before handing me the tissues...

Joseph - King of Dreams - A Review

Joseph - King of Dreams

I recently raided my nieces DVD collection and discovered a little Dream Works treat that didn't involve cross dressing fairy tale characters and big green ogres preaching the feel good PC gospel of tolerance and the message of "its ok to be a freak if it makes you feel good" for a change!

The movie - Joseph King of Dreams, and we sat ourselves down for an evening of entertaining cartoonery. Joseph, as you should know, is the prequel to Moses - Prince of Egypt and tells the story of how the Israelites came to live in Egypt before they became the slaves of the Exodus. The original story of Joseph can be found of course in Genesis Chapter 37 and onwards. It is one of the most riveting and movie worthy stories of the Bible. Why this story has only warranted an animated feature and an Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical is way beyond me, it's replete with Jealousy, favouritism, betrayal, temptation... there are even cool things like Dream Interpretation and mistaken identity... Shakespeare himself couldn't have designed a better plot! But of course he couldn't, because the truth is always more exciting than fiction, especially when its biblical truth!
Joseph was the firstborn son of Rachel, Jacob's other wife and as such was treated more favorably than his 10 other brothers. His special treatment, prophetic dreams and fashionable coat cause his brother's to gang up on the lad and sell him to some Ishmaelites as a slave while taking his goat-blood stained coat back to their father and telling him his favourite son had been eaten by some feroxious animal. Meanwhile Joseph is sold as a slave to Potiphar, the Captain of Pharaoh's guard where he excels to the rank of chief slave. Things are looking up for the dashing young Hebrew when Potiphar's wife takes more than a liking to him and tries to entice him into some extra marital misgiving, but he is resolute and flees the crazed women, only to be framed for her rape and is thrown into prison for his trouble. However not even prison can keep him down as he becomes the most trusted of all the prisoners and eventually uses his gift of interpreting dreams to help a baker and a cup-bearer who have fallen from Pharaoh's favour. This, eventually, leads to his interpreting the king's dream, predicting a seven year famine and his clever advice on how to stave off its deadly effects puts him in the role of the second most powerful man in Egypt. The famine hits and thanks to Joseph the Egyptians are ready for it and as starvation spreads across to distant lands his own treacherous brothers come to seek his aide not realising that their saviour is in fact their long lost brother...

Its so good infact that I'm going to give you a link to the real story! Genesis Chapters 37-46
King of Dreams left much to be desired as far as grandeur and believability are concerned. Its not even worth comparing to Prince of Egypt which had me crying, and still does, during the burning bush sequence and goose bumped when the Red Sea parts, there's a flash of lightening and a whale is seen behind the wall of congealed sea! Not this movie. the songs were just bad enough for me to be able to leave the room and fetch a cup of tea and some of my mother's home cooking in time to hear the last boring bars of some easy listening song tailored to somehow fit a story that had been watered down for not just a young audience but a biblically illiterate one at that.

Most people today still think that Joseph's so called Amazing technicoloured dream coat is a biblical fact - but it doesn't say anywhere in Genesis that his coat was rainbowesque but rather richly ornamented. This film, I fear will leave your children with a distorted view of the story than what color his clothes were!

For a start Leah is missing, the unloved wife who bore most of Jacob's sons... I guess the producers felt the concept of polygamy too much for a 6-10 year olds but the fact is its in the Bible so why leave it out? Especially since it explains why Joseph was treated like a First Born - because in a way, in Jacob's eyes, he was the first born son to his legitimate wife, the one He wasn't tricked into marrying! But that's not all. When Joseph has his dreams where the son and the moon are bowing down before him Jacob doesn't tell him off as the biblical account says, but rather he is encouraged! I could do this all night so here is a quick list of all the deviations from the actual story that I could count:
- the movie uses creative licence to suggest Joseph studied while his brother's kept the herds and flocks.

- it seemed to suggest Judah was the oldest son, though not blatantly.

- I can't remember if Reuben sticks up for Joseph when they sell him off as a slave

- they had Joseph interpreting the prisoners dreams on his first night as a prisoner

- in this "version" (which I prefer to call a heresy) they had the baker act like a skeptic and rather than be eager to get an interpretation from Joseph because the cup bearer's was so ideal made him act like he was just testing Joseph's ability

- An interesting thing was they suggested Potiphera's daughter, whom Joseph married, was Potiphar's daughter/niece and then also used some creative licence to suggest that Potiphar knew his wife was at fault and his sending Joseph to jail was a matter of Honor rather than justice.

- the story implies Joseph's reason for wanting Benjamin was because he thought his brother's were lying about having a younger son, mistaking their references to Benjamin for himself

- When Joseph meets his bros after so many years they have Benjamin tell him the story of how they used to be 12 brother's until Joseph became no more and not Judah!

- Joseph doesn't speak through an interpreter which was a crucial part of the true account

- he didn't order them at the dinner table according to their age

- and worst of all Judah says that Gd intended it ll afor good and NOT Joseph!

In fact the only thing I was most happy with was the fact they got Jacob's aged appearance right, given the fact that he was in his 70's when he went to work for his uncle Laban.

I know, I know, I'm being super harsh, after all it is just a kiddies movie right? Yeah, i guess but why change an already fantastic story, even so slightly? My real beef with it though is that a lot of well meaning Christian parents are going to plonk their kids in front of this movie expecting it to teach them something about the Bible but not take the time to correct the mistakes or actually read the original account to them. The result being a generation of nominal believers whose biblical knowledge has been skewered to the point where the best they will be able to do is pass a Facebook "How Well Do You Know Your Bible?" test! We have to be careful to make sure the truth is being communicated to our children with integrity and accuracy - ESPECIALLY IN THESE LAST DAYS!

So having said that let's see what an actual real life 8 year old child had to say about this film.

Me: what didn't you like about this movie?

Niece: Some parts were wrong about it and um, they should say the real things how they happened.

Me: What was wrong with it?

Niece: It was a little bit wrong, I noticed...

She started getting things out of my parents draws here, as we conducted the interview in my mother's bedroom. She grabbed her Pa's tie and a coin and said something about a bull that got smacked or something extremely 8 year oldish I couldn't quite make out!

She continues...

Niece: ...and they changed in the movie the lady he married, but the other lady had a different hair style and a different face.

Me: What was your favourite part?

Niece: When Joseph got to see his family!

Me: What was your least favourite part?

Niece: I have to say when the brother's weren't very nice chucking him down the well

Me: What did you learn from this film?

Niece: (shrugs shoulders, purses her lips) I don't know.... that God can make miracles?

And indeed He can, and He does... and it would take a great miracle for me to give it more than a 3 out of 10 of entertainment and biblical integrity.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Modern Day Christianity and the Absence of Miracles

I was recently humbled when someone wrote to me the below question and I said, "Sure! I'll get right on it!"

That was two weeks ago. I've been procrastinating...

The question was:

Why is it that in the christian church do you have such a lack of the power of the Holy Spirit?I know people hear from God and sometimes here and there people get healed but I mean, what happened to people raising the dead and wicked signs and wonders we can show off to non-believers... has the Devil been trying to snuff out that power in the church?Or do people just not want all that weird stuff happening to them? Why is there such a small amount of the Holy Spirits power in the church?And what to do about it?

So not being in any way an authority on the matter here is my attempt at an answer...

One passage of Scripture that really jumped out at me when I was thinking about this was from 2 Timothy 3:1-6:

1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power.

I may be taking it way out of context but I believe we are in the last days (or might as well be) and we see in the majority of churches in the west a gross embracing of materialism, new age rubbish and a form of powerless godliness. Just an observation.

If you take the letters to the seven Churches in the beginning of the book of Revelation as letters to seven periods of Church History as I do, then we are moving into the Laodician Period of Apostasy where most of the "Church" says, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But they do not realize that they are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked... (Revelations 3:17)

My hunch is the problem we have in the Western Church is the same problem Jesus experienced when he went to his home town and because the people "knew" Jesus as the Carpenter's son and the son of Mary they refused to accept him for who he really was - the Son of God.

Romans 10:17 says that faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. I fear that the vast majority of Christians today do not have miracle working faith because they do not know the Word.

The Bible is like an instruction manual that tells you what you can and can't do with a product. If I had never ever used a hair dryer or even knew what one was I could be forgiven for mistaking it to be some kind of toy gun until I read the instructions to see that I am meant to plug it into the wall first. The same rule applies here - once we know what the Bible actually says about what we are capable of doing in Christ then we can move mountains; but until then we might as well be toy guns! You can not make a nuclear bomb without knowledge of Nuclear Physics; so you can not work miracles without a true knowledge of the God who is there through his Word!

So poor teaching has a lot to do with it. Imagine entire congregations out there led by pastors/priests who themselves don't believe in miracles or who teach that when the Bible talks about healing it really means "spiritual healing" and the best you can look forward to is a comfy disease free life in heaven but down here you will have Hell to pay... its disgraceful.

Its worth a mention that with regards to the miracles Jesus himself performed we have to remember that some of them were specifically designed to show the disciples and Israel that he was who he claimed to be. Some examples are when Jesus calmed the storm, the Biblically literate Disciples must have been reminded of Psalms 89:9:

"You Rule over the surging sea;
when its waves mount up,
you still them."

or how about this one from Psalm 107:28, 29

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.

When Jesus walked on the water it must have echoed Genesis 1:2 when the Spirit of God hovered over the waters... no wonder the disciples were so ready with their worship of the Lord...

But Miracles weren't just for Jesus' day and Miracles do in fact happen today, we just seem to be blinded to them. I think my reader is right in suggesting that the Devil is trying to stamp Miracles out, but rather it is the knowledge of their happening that is being stamped at. This is still Cosmos Diabolicus - The Devil's World. His aim is to take down as many non-believers as he can when he is cast into his eternal punishment, so now he is systematically trying to keep people unaware of the many miracles that are wrought in the name of Christ around the World on what I suspect is a daily basis.

I remember it like yesterday, when as a young teenager I heard on the news a story about a boy who had been miraculously cured of the Aids Virus, "The Parents said it was a miracle". I watched in fascination as the news Reader promised to keep us up to date with this amazing story but then as the weeks went by nothing was ever mentioned about this seemingly historic event. Why? Because the parents acknowledged the miraculous and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms squashed the story before it could be perpetuated any more.

Instead the enemy will permeate the news with stories of priests accused of indiscretions with choir boys or TV evangelists wanted for fraud while the real good guys are left in the side lines with no public notice.

Off the top of my head here are some examples of miracles that I am aware of...

When I was 17 I was attending a children's camp where one of the other counsellors had hurt the ligaments in his knee. He had been complaining about it for over several days when finally after a meeting he asked me to pray for it. I placed my hand over his knee cap and prayed a simple prayer, something to the effect of "Dear Lord, please heal this knee in Jesus' name, Amen" - and I kid you not, I felt a popping sensation under the palm of my hand as something happened... I don't know what exactly but his knee was healed after that night.

I listen to a southern style preacher called Andrew Wommack who tells the story of when his youngest son died of a drug over dose and six hours later, after a lot of prayer and thanksgiving on Andrew's part, his son sat up in the morgue completely recovered, and alive! I forget the exact source but here is a link to his audio teaching if you want to check it out...

The late Roger Price of the Chichester Christian fellowship tells the story of when he was at University and was speaking in tongues in his dorm room during a private time of prayer and devotion to God. Later he went to do his washing in the communal laundry where he was cornered by a neighboring student who demanded to know where the Sudanese man who had been in Roger's room was. Of course, there had been no Sudanese man in Roger's room, it had just been him speaking in tongues and this other student had miraculously heard the story of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection in his own language - a language Roger had never learnt.

I read an outstanding book called the Divinity Code recently where Ian Wishart provides documented evidence of people who were miraculously healed from impossibly incurable diseases like advanced leukemia and even cerebral palsy. I highly recommend it if you're after a good read...

So I guess my challenge to anyone who has complained about the lack of the miraculous is this - start taking the promises found in God's Word seriously! Take Mark 16:15-18 for example:

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

I guess the challenge is really for me as well... don't let your experience of Christianity be a matter of singing in a pew or intellectually cutting and pasting Bible Verses together in your brain. Don't let your relationship with Christ come down to whether or not you got your five minute devotional in this morning or whether you got the latest Christian hit single. Rather get out there and lay your hands on someone and tell this mountain to move from here to there and IT WILL BE DONE...

P.S. It occurs to me that I didn't address the issue of the Holy Spirit in this response but given the Holy Spirit dwells inside us (1 Corinthians 6:19) then let that knowledge alone be enough to propel you into knowing that miracles can be wrought through you because God himself lives inside you, this should be elementary but for some reason we're just not getting it...

Monday, August 17, 2009

A is for Abortion

I have a particular friend who wears her heart on her sleeve, and as you can imagine a heart on a sleeve can sometimes raise a few eye brows. A few months ago, while both her and my wife were expecting their first babies, my friend posted a pro life article on her Facebook. Fair enough, one would think, after all, I’m pro her choice to believe in such a thing; the fact I happen to be pro life myself doesn’t fact either, even if I was “pro choice”, I would think that surely I would still support a pro lifers’ choice to disagree?

Apparently not.

The fervent protest s against her post was extreme and intense. Never before, on something as trivial as Facebook, had I seen an instant out pouring of pseudo-moralistic passion. Pro-choicers on the left of me, Pro-lifer’s with me on the right; but the curious thing was the loaded cannons were on the left had, ready, aimed and firing.

While we on the right were concerned about the lack of choice of the unborn, all the protestors were concerned with were bullets made from “It’s my body!” Peow! “What about 12 year olds who get raped and fall pregnant?” Bang! And my personal favourite, “Stop judging me!” Ouch!

That last one is enough to make one bleed to death with frustration. No one was judging anyone! An action was being judged. A moral standard was being scrutinized; but no particular individual was being annihilated under the condemning eye of the evangelical right. But I guess in the words of the over quoted bard – methinks she doth protest too much.

As far as their arsenal is concerned I’m not going to tackle their ethical hypotheticals except to say that rape cases make up for less than 1% of abortions performed in so that argument is like bringing a stick to modern warfare.

But that’s not what this article is about. I think people throw loaded statements and questions about to satisfy their own consciences and therefore their own position. If you attempt to provide an answer their pedestal gets to wobbling and they get vicious so let’s not go there today.

It was my daughter’s dedication yesterday. If you’re not church savvy a dedication is a “ceremony” similar to a christening or baptism, where a baby is brought before the congregation and the minister prays a blessing over her while the parents acknowledge their intention to raise the child in a Godly manner. There were of course lots of “oohs and ahhs” as she ogled the crowd, but that is to be expected – she is the quintessential paragon of cuteness.

I mention this because that is where my cerebellum is coming from. A day dedicated to blessing my baby and thanking God for her precious life has led my thoughts into the dark woods of this abortion issue and I fear only writing about it can lead me safely out again.

For me it’s simple; would I prefer my gorgeous girl in a pretty red dress or her limbs in a petrii dish? I don’t think I have to tell you the answer to that.

Every day I go to work and the words “I miss her” don’t quite capture how I suffer in her absence. The phrase, “I love her” doesn’t describe how I feel. She is the one thing on this side of heaven that I would defend against tigers at the risk of my own spine being ripped out by a swift claw. I would launch myself into a pool of piranhas and throw her to safety with my dying hands. My last breath belongs to her...

What I am trying to say is her life is worth more to me than my own. I thank God for her daily. I pray for her almost every hour I’m awake. Before her nothing meant nearly as much (except my wife).

I had an epiphany in her first week that my feelings for her were only a fraction of what God felt for me. My relationship with him changed radically then from being something I “knew” to something I knew and felt on a deeper plane than I thought possible.

Rewind that 6-9 months and I valued her no less then than I do now. I can’t get it. I just can’t fathom or even vaguely understand how someone could consider an unborn baby worthless; regardless of the circumstances surrounding their conception.

So my thoughts continue...

I don’t want to be judge, jury and executioner but I have speculated that the same people who defend abortion with gritted teeth and clenched fists are also the same people who cry against the inhumanity of the death penalty. Would they be the ones defending the man who murders from the hangman’s noose, the lethal injection or the electric chair while supporting the premature death of the unborn child by methods far more cruel and imaginative? (I mean when was the last time a criminal was torn apart limb from limb with a vacuum cleaner?) Do they defend the right to live of the murderer on death row because deep down they know they have to – because they are guilty of the same thing?

Yeah I know, it’s a massive generalisation, but my personal experience with liberal thinkers suggests as much. Please comment if I’m wrong. I want to be wrong.

Recently in New Zealand the mysterious deaths of a few dogs on Auckland’s Eastern beaches made headline news. But the 18,000 or so babies aborted last year didn’t even get obituaries. Am I wrong to think that’s just barmy?

Our previous government outlawed “smacking” children for correction, making it tantamount to child abuse while endorsing a mother’s right to terminate her unborn baby. Please forgive my simpleness but what on earth? Is smacking a naughty kid really a criminal offence while finishing off an unborn baby is ok as long as it is done that side of the birth canal? Excuse me for being a little puzzled.

So as I paced up and down my lonely projection booth, where I work, my mind turned to these things and I decided that as a Christian there is something more I could add to the debate that should not be.

I thought, “Can you argue from the Bible, that abortion is wrong without using the commandment of “number six don’t get your kicks from killing one another”?

I think so...

We all know of the first murder when Cain slew Abel out in the field and God said to Cain, “Listen, your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” Sounds a bit strange, an idiom perhaps? But then I remembered God’s words to Noah after the flood, the flood sent to rid the world of unprecedented violence, “...for your life blood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.”

There is definitely something in the blood. The only reason blood was shed originally was to provide people with a covering for their sins. Innocent animals were sacrificed to foreshadow a time when an innocent man, Jesus Christ, would shed his blood for all mankind (Which includes women.)

God ordained these sacrifices, but man produced a counterfeit in the form of murder. Essentially when a person kills another person he is acknowledging that something is wrong and killing the other will make it right. Only it’s counterfeit – so it doesn’t work.

To understand this a bit more clearly, it is again illustrated by Cain killing Abel. Cain had presented vegetables to God, the produce of his hard work and skill but God rejected it in favour of Abel’s fat portions from his flock. Cain was jealous, but rather than doing the right thing he did the worst thing and slew his brother. I wonder if Cain mistook God’s ordainment of Sacrificing animals as blood thirstiness so he slew Abel thinking “that’ll keep him happy!” But he missed the point by a million miles – the blood of the animals served as a symbol of the coming Messiah who would ultimately redeem the world, something Abel’s blood was never able to accomplish.

Which brings us back to the unborn child. A baby has a beating heart pumping blood threw their veins at 5–6 weeks. Many women with good but misdirected consciences probably find themselves pregnant and know that something is wrong. Whether it be the way the child was conceived, or the fact the mother is too young or simply not ready. They seek to rectify this wrong by “slaying the blood” of the child because instinctively they may know that a price must be paid for the “wrongness” surrounding the child’s conception. They feel that slaying the child (or aborting if you prefer the euphemism.) will make the wrongness” go away. But it won’t. I know a woman in her 60’s who still mourns over an abortion she had 30 years ago.

Shedding a baby’s blood is only a counterfeit for the real deal – Christ’s blood. Only the shed blood of the “aborted” or crucified Jesus can make right the mistake of an “unwanted” (please forgive the expression) pregnancy. The woman who makes the choice to terminate is effectively saying, even if they don’t know it, “Jesus, the blood of my baby is more able to right my wrong than your own blood.” And sadly they really believe it.

But wait what about before the blood? Is “it” even human then? I still believe so. The blood was just an issue about redeeming right from wrong.

King Solomon in Ecclesiastes talks about the still born child that has more rest than the man who can’t enjoy his wealth and prosperity. It’s the personification of the unborn here that caught my attention, but maybe its a weak starting point. Though the Bible doesn’t say (at least in the English) that an embryo has a soul it does say in Luke that when the pregnant Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth the unborn John the Baptist leaped inside Elizabeth’s womb at the sound of Mary’s greeting (Luke 1:41).

So let’s say a person is a spiritual being from conception, God would not give such a thing as a spirit or a soul to a creature he did not intend to see the bright light of day, surely?

Look at it this way, imagine you had spent the entire afternoon preparing the most scrumptious and finger licking good banquet you had ever set your eyes on, would you then go and scrape it into the rubbish bin? Not likely. It was meant to be enjoyed and wolved down by invited guests. Likewise God does not invent Souls and scrape them into the garbage disposal! He wants them to be nurtured, loved and enjoyed by loving parents – parents invited to the banquet of the brand new individual.

I strongly believe, as I touched on earlier, that children teach us something about God’s character - his love and great patience for us as well as his willingness to lay down his life for us. What are we showing God when we terminate our own children? Nothing less than our contempt for his love. God could have just aborted us on day one after Adam ate the apple – but he didn’t. He travailed through an unwanted pregnancy of sorts and has laboured to redeem those who are willing.

Anyway, I keep digressing...

When Moses received the law, God made it very loud and understandably clear that the Israelites were not to do as the people in Canaan did. The Canaanites practiced the lot, from Incest to Necrophilia. But one thing God was particularly unimpressed with was the practice of human sacrifice, in this instance the passing of their babies into the fire to a false god know as Molech (Leviticus 18:21). To offer a child in sacrifice to any God is an abhorrent thing to do but Molech was a god associated with commerce. The idea was to offer Molech the child in exchange for blessing and prosperity. So what? Have you ever heard this line of reasoning, “I’m just not financially ready for a child” or “I really should focus on sorting out my career first”? You could add to the end of that argument – “So I will sacrifice this child for the sake of my own prosperity.”

Sacrificing the unborn for your own economic security is again a counterfeit for sacrificing your lifestyle for the benefit of your children.

Recently in the news a woman was brutally mutilated but with a twist. After she was murdered her unborn child was plucked from her womb and “adopted” by her killer. When the vicious assassin was apprehended the baby was found alive and survived the ordeal. We all (if we saw the news) watched this story in revulsion, mortified that someone could murder a pregnant woman and steal her unborn baby, but boy did we feel relief when the baby lived.

Well, I smell hypocrisy. Doctors rip babies apart as they suck them out of unwelcoming wombs on a daily basis, so what is the difference between the baby who was ripped out of the murdered woman and the baby that was “removed” in the doctor’s surgery? The only difference I can recognize is that one baby was wanted while the other was not. If this issue rests on a matter of “want” then pro-choice has lost.

Friday, August 14, 2009

This Week on Planet Me...

For the first time in ages I seem to have drawn a complete blank. Its not conventional writer's block, its just Australian Idol is on the telly and therefore I've just experienced my first Black Hole. I think it was the Asian guy singing "Imagine" who started sucking the gravity out of the room and now five minutes later all my brain matter is tinkering on the event horizon of complete mindless ear pillaging tripe.

Maybe I'm just jealous there is no New Zealand Idol, but even if there was I would never go down that road again. I'll never forget... actually scratch that, it seems I've intentionally forgotten the day I queued in the rain behind thousands of wannabe Australians at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium just to be told, after hours of umbrella holding and fantasising about blowing the judges minds with my vocal whips, that there were too many contestants and to come back tomorrow.

Which I did. And I sucked.

I had spent the whole week strolling down The Spit on the Gold Coast with my collie screaming out the chorus of Kermit the Frog's Rainbow Connection to the applause of angry waves who would have told me to shut up were they not concentrating on smashing their faces on the hard seashore. In the end I got into an audition which was a dark room with a trio of judges who were definitely not the ones you see on TV. I sang four lines of the chorus to Wondering (an original) only to be told, "Thank-you, you're not quite what we're looking for."

Then I was picked up by my brother who wore bright red ski pants to South Bank for no good reason other than to humiliate me even more than I already felt. I don't even remember what year that was, 2004? At least my dream of becoming a world famous pop star died a slow and painless death of old age three years later. So now my wife has left the room, excuse me while I switch the telly off...

Ah that's better.

Apparently Friday is the day that historically honors the Norse goddess otherwise known as Frigg. If I had of known that I wouldn't have loved Friday's so much. False gods and goddesses don't do much for me... but when I found out that in old High German it was called Frigedag I thought it sounded just enough like "fridge" to keep me enthused by this usually happy day. I say "usually" because I'm in mourning for having eaten the last of the ice cream and also tomorrow I am working the day shift. Imagine there was an echo and a thunder clap when I said "Day Shift"...

Otherwise its been a tremendous week! I was thrilled when I discovered I had earned 12 whole cents thanks to some generous reader who probably accidentally supported one of my sponsors... but it made me feel a certain optimism that if I saved 12 cents a week for the next 127 years the amount I saved would replace my current annual income and I would be able to put my feet up for 12 months... except I haven't accounted for inflation or the possibility that the Builderburgers will have systematically decreased the world's population by 93% and money will be a mark in most people's foreheads. And my 12 cents will die a lonely death in Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin. But thanks for the thought... it really motivated me to keep writing... seriously, it really did... I'm not sure I can write this sentence without sounding sarcastic but one does get a thrill when he checks his Google Adsense and sees something has actually happened and that the system really does work.

Actually, I had an unprecedented 156 hits between today and last Fridge Day which was a personal record I would be happy to break by the next time I open my fridge. That either means I've got 156 readers who visit my blog at least once a week or 7 readers who visit Kerinthians 22 times a day. Which would be kind of sad.

But seriously, thanks to everyone who has dropped by in recent days, it was nice to have you over, sorry I couldn't offer you anything to eat.

I begin every week with the intention to write one blog a day with the exception of Sundays. This week I broke all my rules.

Sunday I was asked a question about Christianity and Yoga which I tried to answer to the best of my agility.
Monday I commented further after the questioner responded, but I have to say I'm still mostly undecided on the issue, then I posted a review on Ryan Reynold's Movie Chaos Theory.
Tuesday I saw the utmost movie of this year (even better than Star Trek) - District 9, and I couldn't help but review it. I'm inviting it to all my future birthday parties henceforth.

Then Wednesday came and the couch claimed my consciousness, robbing me of the pleasure of bugging you again so Thursday I resorted to Number 2 of something productive to do on the loo. I would have written number 3 tonight but I need to think more about the pro's and cons of practicing chemistry on the cold seat of relief.

Some people might wonder how I can go from Film reviews to deep theological contemplation to toilet humour but I'm trying to keep my site as eclectic as possible... the more readers that write me questions though the more material I have to work with and the less desperate I become for content!

In fact one of my more astute readers has asked me a deeper than normal question regarding Christianity and the Absence of Miracles which I am eager to sink my teeth into... hopefully I'll be able to tackle that one later tonight, but I have work tomorrow and the telly is on again so we'll see... or not...

So for now I will just leave you with some homework... yes, the dreaded "H" Word... as you go your cherry trek through the rest of next week please leave me a comment or two so I can decide whether my readers are real people or not and forward to at least 5 of your friends followed by 5 of your enemies and help me drive a few more people insane, then maybe you will get a gold star on your Good Student Chart and a chocolate bar at the end of the year... actually no you won't, my invisible lawyers tell me I can't promise something I was never actually willing to give.

Enjoy your weekend while I'm slaving at work!


P.S. Don't forget I'm on facebook so add me and stuff..

Here's a funny clip I saw recently...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

District 9 - A Review

My own internal reaction to this film was so exciting that I completely forgot that I had hit a bollard with the side of my car on my way to see it! Thankfully, like the film, there were no dents to be seen...

This is one of those flicks where you see the trailer and you think, WOW I HAVE to see this movie... usually you see such a film and you walk away realising you have fallen for the same boring old story, retold a million times by Hollywood film makers. Not this time. District 9 disembarks from Hollywood regurgitation, it is wonderfully disgusting in its satisfyingly realistic view of Human Nature and portrayal of alien weaponry that turns a human into instant splatter puss. Not since the very first Predator Movie or Alien have I seen such a stirring and blood curdling piece of sci-fi story telling. There is nothing ordinary about this legendary piece of work and the bar for Science Fiction has been raised forever.

This is certainly a film for grown ups.

Director Neil Blomkamp was originally ivited by Peter Jackson to Direct the film version of the best computer game series ever (I'm biased) - Halo. When that project got shelved he was given the green light, and green paper, to expand his short film "Alive in Joburg" into the feature that became D9.

Take a gander at this so you can get a taste of what I am about to beat you up with:

Just like in "Alive in Joburg", District 9 makes good use of "real" camera work, kind of like in the Blair Witch Project, where the camera is mostly hand held, only like in a fast paced documentary.In fact most of the film is a mocumentary, only it seems to chop and change between this style and the conventional methods of cinematography.

It gets straight into it too, there is no pussy-footing around; right from the first scene you are aware of this massive alien vessel above Johannesburg, South Africa where more than 20 years ago it just appeared and after nothing happened for a few days the government send a team to break it open, only to discover it full of malnourished insectohumanoid aliens that are "rescued" only to become the outcasts of society. The people of Joburg want nothing to do with them and eventually they are delegated a small slum, which becomes known as District 9, by the private company Multi-National United.

It begins as a sort of "Day in the Life" of Wikus van der Merwe, your friendly alien-human social worker as he leads a team of MNU employees and Government soldiers in an effort to evict the Prawns (the derogatory name society has given the aliens) to District 10, a sort of glorified concentration camp. It almost plays like an episode of Cops until Wikus crosses paths with Christopher Johnson, an intelligent Prawn with a plan to get back to the mother ship by collecting fuel from alien technology. Only his plan fails when Wikus accidentally squirts himself with the fuel...

And so the fun begins.

You see, the aliens could just go home but they're being kept here for a sinister purpose. MNU have stock piled alien weaponry which can only be used by Prawns. No Human can get the darn things to do anything... that is until Wikus' DNA is manipulated by the Alien fuel, transforming in gradual fashion this geeky pen pusher into something that would best suit a commercial for insecticide.

Now I have watched a lot of Star Trek style Science Fiction where the Human species is uplifted to an almost godlike position. Where words like "Humanity" and "Dignity" are tennised about by players convinced that we're all basically good and sometimes do a little bit of evil. Its so sickeningly unromantic; this idea that human beings are going to get there on their own eventually. In District 9 we see the complete opposite - Human Beings doing Human things, evil things to a disadvantaged group of people, despised on account of their being different. MNU perform heinous experiments on the Prawns to get what they want and even Wikus is put on the chopping block for the sake of technological and financial advancement. Greed is god and the Prawns are just commodities. Mankind is evil with the capacity to only sometimes do good, and as Wikus becomes one of them and looses his humanness, only then does his true "humanity" rare its not so ugly head. It resounds with "All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God" (Roman's 3:23) and bares a strong resemblance to the crimes of the real Nazi's of yesteryear...

I thought I would never say this but the CGI in this film was awesomely cool. Most modern pictures flood the screen with computer graphics that leave you wondering why you paid $15 to see something you could have seen on the telly with your kids during Saturday morning Cartoons. Blomkamp got the balance just right and gently massaged the Special Effects into the feature so that you wouldn't be distracted by the fakeness of it all. Its like a woman who looks beautiful wearing lipstick as opposed to the other beautiful plastic chick who grabs your affectionate gaze just long enough to terrify you when her nose falls off.

Blomkamp also succeeded in creating a situation where the aliens came to a country that wasn't America, there were no Greenpeacers citing Alien Rights and there were no dorky honorable Soldierly salutes at the end that made you want to gag. This movie is raw, serrated and tells it like it is, even if it wasn't.

Be warned, violence is more than a eight letter word in this film and there is plenty of the four letter word that starts with "F" in it, only the South African accents made it hard to distinguish at times. I think this may be a boys film but the story may be enough to attract a female audience - although the many scenes of decapitation, mutilation and cat-food eating may set the squeamish screaming. There was one bit where Wikus tries to cut off his alien arm with a short axe and someone in our test audience actually cried out, "Don't do it!" before I could.

After its release date on August 13th this film will be bathing under a fountain of fantastic reviews.

I give it a 9 out of 10, simply because I have never seen anything quite like it. In fact I haven't felt this way about a film since the days when only the rich had VCRs and seeing a movie was a special and expensive thing. I tip the hat I am not wearing to Blomkamp and hope to see more of his imagination on reels again soon.