Sunday, December 30, 2012

what's in a name?

Parents tend to search for significance in the naming of their children. Barby and I are no different. A few things have happened this Christmas to bring this to mind, particularly with our three boys a long, long way away.

Monday, December 24, 2012

share embed save publish

And so when I come across a you-tube video clip to use in this blog, what do I do?

I click on share and then I select embed. The identity of the video clip comes up as a series of letters and numbers. I cut and paste this into my post. I click save, releasing the clip to have a destiny in my blog. And then I select publish and the clip becomes known to a wider audience.

It sounds a bit like the Christmas story to me.

God decides to share, or give, his son to us. He embeds Jesus, or incarnates him, in human flesh to live in this world - filling him with a new identity (check out Mark 1-8). He clicks save, releasing Jesus to fulfill a destiny in this world (check out Mark 9-16). What happens next? My life - like countless others down through the centuries and across the time zones, becomes absorbed in publishing, making this Jesus known.

Here, let me give you the most exquisite example from the St Paul's church, here in Auckland (New Zealand).

nice chatting this Christmas day


Saturday, December 22, 2012

beryl and adele

Beryl was older than both my parents. I'd known her for more than 40 years - as 'Auntie Beryl' in my days as a missionary-kid (MK). Auntie Beryl lingered with us and took an interest in our little MK lives. We loved her.

Auntie Beryl died earlier this month. Some years ago she had asked me to take her funeral - and then she died a day before I returned home from an extended period overseas. I scrambled. One of my sadnessess will be that I was not able to articulate the farewell for her which I had been imagining.

Auntie Beryl was a great New Zealander, although you'd never know it. Honoured by the Queen and granted an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Otago, Auntie Beryl was one of the first (some say, the first) female professors of obstetrics in the world - but she was humble and unassuming until the end.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

with peterson at raukokore

It has been a long time coming. The final frontier. Through these 29 years in New Zealand, it is the only part of the country in which we have never holidayed. The East Cape. Not any more. Barby and I - together with our daughter Bethany - have just returned from a week travelling around the Cape.

It was a sobering trip.
Those wharves affected me. Rotting and crumbling. They are testimony to a bygone age of shipping vessels carrying goods, long before the arrival of newer technologies like trains and trucks. In 1936 the Tolaga Bay wharf had more than 130 ships visit. At the time its 600m wharf was a triumph of engineering. Further north, the wharves at Hicks' Bay (pictured) and Tokomaru Bay carry warnings of them collapsing under our feet. At Tokomaru Bay - the ruins of an old freezing works at the origin of the wharf added to the sad ambience of the setting.

Then there are the churches. All around New Zealand it is commonplace to find little churches stuck like postage stamps onto rural landscapes. The mixture of beauty and sadness makes me linger every time. There is always the suspicion that the graves in the cemetery outside the church contain more bodies than the pews inside the church. St Mary's in Tikitiki (a town whose population dropped from 6000 to 500 in not much more than a generation) is a church which captures the imagination, with its incorporation of Maori architecture, weavings, carvings, and art into every aspect of the interior design of the building. Then there is that church at Raukokore...

Sunday, December 09, 2012

bond at fifty

I used to teach a course on movies which I called Windows and Mirrors. The idea being that movies can open up the critical area of worldview by providing a window on the world - and often an uncomfortable mirror for ourselves as well.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

paul and timothy

It is months since I posted photos from my work with Langham in Asia. In November it was so cool to have my son-in-law, Timothy (training to be a pastor), accompany me to Camb*dia and Ind*nesia. It was kinda like the old firm of Paul and Timothy being reunited for a journey into Asia once again. (And yes, I did make some good mileage out of that one along the way!). Timothy is a much better photographer and so I asked him to click-away a bit...

After we teach through the morning, the learning really takes place as participants meet in small groups through the afternoon to work with a biblical passage and shape it into a message that they can preach.