Showing posts from October, 2010

of the despair caused by cold and flu

when you’re on your third or fourth bout of cold/flu/virus for the year, you begin to wonder ‘why me’? I know this isn’t cancer or brain damage or paralysis, ‘just’ the slightly less but still debilitating viral infection about which doctors can do very little but look at you pityingly and advise you to ‘rest’. Well I’ve been resting for a week, getting nothing done off an alarming to do list, and feeling increasingly depressed. So there’s a danger. That a little trifling cold can actually be more insidious than it seems. This virus I have at the moment is aggravating my airways, so I feel like I have asthma all the time. Breathing is painful, I cough a lot, which is tiring and causing my whole body to ache, and talking is also a trigger for the cough and the constricted airways … I can’t concentrate so the seemingly physically easy tasks I have to do – writing mostly – are still not getting done. Changes in air temperature cause quite a bit of discomfort, so I’m not going anywhere. P…

ticking boxes

it's interesting how important it became for me yesterday, to know that the presbytery of south australia had endorsed the recommendation before them that i be approved for ordination as a minister of the word. it's really a formality, because if there were any issues they would have been raised well before now - or you would hope so, that's what the process is for - but it was still just a little bit exciting to receive the text messages and facebook messages from people who were there with congratulations. i couldn't be at the meeting because i am struggling with a pooky virus, so i wasn't there to witness the moment. mind you you don't really witness the moment anyway because those whose names are being put forward for ordination have to leave the room while the recommendations are put to the meeting. anyway. we are one step closer to ordination, and it remains now only to firm up my placement details for next year so that i can be ordained on 5 december wit…

of human chess pieces

I have a friend who works at Tabor Adelaide, whose department of humanities is holding an open day in November that features a human chess game. Sounds interesting!

HUMANities CHESS GAME at Tabor Adelaide Open day The School of Humanities are hosting exhibition games of Human Chess at the Tabor Adelaide Open Day on the 13th of November.The Open Day is an opportunity for the public to find out more about Tabor Adelaide enjoy the atmosphere, historic grounds and Human Chess is a great way to add fun and adventure to the day. Human Chess is a tradition dating back to Medieval times that involves people dressing up as specific pieces on the chess board and a game of chess is being played with living, breathing knights, queens and pawns. Exhibition games will be held at 10.45, 12.00 and 1pm.The games will be played on the main courtyard with the rival opponents calling out their moves from opposing balconies.Expect to witness some truly over-dramatic death scenes, and applaud the efforts of t…

of energy found in the sacred spaces

i cannot get over how energising it is to curate a sacred space for / with others, to open the sacred stories of our tradition and invite a community to enter them and discover meaning, life in all its raw pain and beauty, to encounter the Sacred.
perhaps one might reasonably expect me to be used to this by now - it happens at almost every Esther Project  gathering, which is where i have been this evening. but it's still just as surprising and delightful as ever!  i've had an emotionally draining week leading up to and including an important conversation yesterday, not to mention the horrendous headache that came on last night because of this essay that is due tomorrow and just won't be written. so in the car on the way to the gathering, i was tired and grumpy. almost as soon as i got into the story space (aka The White Room at the Effective Living Centre / Christ Church Uniting), my mood began to lift, and the energy came flowing back. it's remarkable.  and it's not …

of lament in exile

I am reposting this sermon from a couple of years ago, because lament, and in particular, psalm 137 is on the lectionary again this month, and is the focus of the contemplative gathering for the Esther Project this coming Monday. So my previous reflections on the psalm and the topic are floating around my mind again.

Reflecting on Psalm 137

This is a sermon that includes prayers for the people. The song is one from a record my parents had when i was a kid - by Boney M.
That’s some anger.

This psalm is one of the lament psalms. These psalms speak of sorrow, anger, loss – the ugly side of our human experience.

They are an important part of the worshipping life of the people of God who were Israel. Too often we leave lament out of our worshipping life today. It is ugly. It is frightening. It is challenging.

In psalms of lament people blame God for their suffering. They don’t just ask God, where are you?, they admonish God for being absent.

We have a covenant with you. We’ve been doing the thi…

powderfinger - the reason for the holiday

the reason we were in Canberra at all these past few days, my two friends and i, was to attend the powderfinger concert. this is their farewell tour, and we missed out on tickets in Adelaide so went to see them in Canberra with Danii.

just how good this music event was is this - i woke up feeling unwell yesterday morning, had been feeling queezy all day, was still feeling ill up to the moment powderfinger began to play. from that moment until we began to walk back to the car, i was lost in the music, carried away to another place beyond myself yet deep within myself.
this is the magic and the mystery of art. it is healing. even if only for those two hours (because as i write this 12 hours later i'm still dizzy and queezy). art reaches the depth of us and nurtures our entire being.

i was in awe of the poetry, the musicality, and the way they held more than 10,000 people in the palm of their hands for the entire 2 hour set. if there really is magic, it is music and its magicians are…

a feast for the eyes

yesterday was a feast for the eyes, beginning with the gorgeous views from Black Mountain in Canberra. it might be far from the coast; it might be disconnected from the cultural capitals of the country; but this is undeniably a beautiful part of the world in which to place a capital city.

from the mountain we went to the national portrait gallery. here's a way to tell the story of a nation - in art, in portraits. it's laid out chronologically, so you move first through the portraits of convicts, settlers and governors alongside portraits of first australians - this is so( gently telling the story with integrity and respect for the different experiences of European settlement. actually the whole gallery is well balanced - women and men, first and second australians, different media, realist and interpretive, from many different areas of the history of australia.
then other galleries tell of early shapers of our identity, pioneers in business and the arts, the world wars and the…

entering stories of war and peace

where did i get up to? i left of the story of my canberra holiday at the wig and pen. mmm, beer.
before that, however, we had been to the Australian War Memorial.
at first we wandered through on our own, past the walls of names of all who have died in Australian uniform, the pool and everlasting flame, and into the tomb of the unknown soldier. then we joined a tour, with Robert, who was in the navy for 35 years. i appreciated his insights, because he didn't glorify war or cheapen it by apologising for it, rather honestly and with respect for those who serve, told it like it was and is. in the end i felt quite overwhelmed by the whole place, and the stories of death and futility and all the negative elements of war. i have some friends who serve or have served in the defence forces, and my great uncle died in world war two, so remembering them and their stories helps me to maintain a more balanced view of war than i might be otherwise inclined to (e.g. hate it don't see the poi…

wig and pen

on a previous visit to canberra, mel discovered a pub called the wig and pen , and since our arrival in canberra this time has been dying to take us there. yesterday afternoon she did.
they brew their own boutique beers, and the pub itself has a great feel to it, for the shakespeare fan, reminiscent of pubs of the bard's era.
my first was a belgian blonde - a belgian wheat beer with orange, corriander, spicy tones.
second was the wig and pen pale ale with hops from the US, Australia and New Zealand and a toffee maltiness to the taste. yum. i had tasted this and compared with the rumpole's pale ale, which intrigued me with the tasting note suggesting hints of passionfruit. didn't grab me though.
third was a something or other gold - a pilsner for which by this time i'd lost interest or ability in taking down the tasting notes ... sorry.
other beers we drank included an irish red that was quite heavy, a bulldog that was sweet but not overpoweringly so, an indian pale ale …

visiting julia

the lodge - pm's residence - was open today to the public. i'm not sure what i was expecting, exactly, but what we found surprised us in the way it is unassuming, unimposing, and therefore quite australian. there is much history presented through the arts that are on display in the house - though we only walked through a few rooms at ground level - the pieces that struck me most were a mirror made from queensland wood by a queensland (i think) artist, with carved australian flowers that said 'australia' to me, and the sydney nolan painting of ned kelly. the grounds were smaller than i thought they'd be, and we noted that the trees have been planted in just the right place to block out the view to parliament house, which also surprised us a little, but does actually help to create the feel of the lodge as a retreat as much as it is a comfortable and welcoming house to which to invite the prime minister home and her guests to visit. we weren't sure how much time …

of tea and chocolate and the enjoyment of life

it occurred to me today, having been at Koko Black yesterday and Adore Tea today, just how important it is for employees to have a positive working environment. of course i don't actually know what management is like at either establishment, but each is a boutique (chocolate or tea respectively) hospitality venue, offering high quality products and serving customers who are excited about the chocolate / tea, know good quality and appreciate the good things about life.
the staff at each place appeared to me to be happy to be there, genuinely interested in providing a positive eating / drinking experience, and knowledgeable if not passionate about the chocolate / tea. which combined well with the level of expectation and anticipation of the customers, not to mention the actual good quality products, to create a really enjoyable experience for all.
beneath all that there may be something quite profound, but all i really wanted to do was acknowledge what i noticed.

for interest, i sha…

home made pizzas and a mixed bag of dvds

last night was a night in with home made pizzas and dvds.
the pizzas were great - opportunity to be creative together and to enjoy good food. and beer. of course.
from paris with love was a pretty violent movie, whose plot gathered momentum and intrigue after a slow start. love the way john travolta looked so incredibly different with the shaved head and goatee. his performance was characteristically and eminently watchable.
i hope they serve beer in hell didn't last ten minutes. dreadful.
the australian film i love you too was the pick of the night - great story which could have been told in a less comedic way but would have, i think, been less accessible to an audience who might identify with the main character. the way it was told was itself typical of the laid back australian character we've become well known for, and the characters were gorgeous. jim's journey of self-discovery, alice's struggle with hope yet to be fulfilled, blake's bravado, charlie's gen…

of politics, history and chocolate

my two best friends and i are having an extended girls' weekend well hosted by a younger sister of one of us.
we've had dinner and brunch at nearby Tilly's, which is a gorgeous restaurant with such a great feel. it's painted, walls and ceiling, a burgundy type red, but it's not dark because the large windows and mirrors seem to open the space up. the food is fabulous quality too, and if i lived in this part of canberra, i'd eat here often too. we didn't hear any, but it seems as though there is live music at Tilly's often, too.
we wondered at brekky this morning about the nature of Canberra as a created capital city - a friend of mine from New Zealand commented on this about Australia the other day at lunch. our wondering took us to whether the separation of the political capital from the cultural capital/s might have an influence on how the country is governed. and we wondered about the way that Canberra is not well linked through transport to other ci…


Well, what a day I have had today.
I discovered a book called Juliet, by Anne Fortier, in a bookshop earlier this week, bought it and began reading it that very night. It is a story woven around history and the legend of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
I read most of the book today, thoroughly immersed in the worlds of the 14th and 21st centuries. I sometimes have a tendency to read books I am enjoying very quickly, skimming over the detail of the prose in order to find out as soon as possible what happens next in the plot. With this one, though, I did manage to slow down enough to savour the words, and to delight in the crafting of the story. It's a big book, and I was afraid that it might end up begin too long, that I would get lost in the details. But Fortier seems to me to have crafted this story into just the right length, with the very clever and timely weaving of the stories of two centuries, and actually three distinct time periods, with now, twenty years ago and 1340 …