24.12.06

Festivities

Well, its Christmas Eve. I have finished work and am well up for these holidays and celebrations. Have a FABULOUS Christmas, I pray you sense Gods peace. Here is a beautiful Aotearoa Christmas Tree:
And another of my favourite carols. . . .

"Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim."
PS - My friend has written some awesome thoughts over on The Marinade.

19.12.06

I protest.

Moved house on Saturday, had a 2 hour break to go and march around the city's Starbucks stores in protest of their non- cooperation with Ethiopia. All over the globe these protests were happening. People were pretty receptive, interested in the issues. Some people were a bit rude- like one yelled at Tim "Get a job and a haircut"- can you beleive it! So Tim yelled back "I teach your children!" No, not really, but he should have. People making assumptions about protests being the domain of hippies.

Anyway, the Salvation Army did a Media Release on it, which is pretty flipping radical if you ask me:

"The Salvation Army adds its voice to the Starbucks protests

The Salvation Army in New Zealand supports the recent public protests at Starbucks’ stores around the country. “The campaigners have reminded us of the ease with which a billion dollar coffee company can advertise its support of subsistence coffee growers whilst simultaneously withholding their support for an action that could overturn an unjust policy of disempowerment” said The Salvation Army’s Overseas Development Officer, Major Daryl Crowden.

In November international aid agency Oxfam began a campaign to raise awareness of Starbucks’ non-cooperation with Ethiopia’s attempts at development. On Saturday Kiwi campaigners sought to bring this injustice to our attention as they joined with thousands of other activists outside Starbucks’ outlets across the globe. These demonstrations are coupled with over 85,000 people around the world who have been willing to add their signature in protest at Starbucks’ ability to ignore this injustice.

Campaigners are asking the coffee company to endorse Ethiopia’s application to trademark their finest coffee beans, a move that could mean an extra $132m annually for the nation. For a nation that receives up to 50% of its income from coffee beans this strategy would make a significant and positive difference to the 80% of its citizens living on less than $2 a day.

The Salvation Army supports strategies that actively assist emerging national economies in their development and can only deplore an $8.6 billion company that would seek to inhibit this progress."

Deplore! Yes, deplore! Starbucks make me mad.

15.12.06

I love Christmas Carols. I love trying all the harmonies and usually messing them up and singing completley out of tune, but mostly I just love that they can be so very insightful. My favourite Christmassy chorus is Emmanuel. It sums the whole of Christmas up.
That the Creator of the Universe chose to be so completely with us to the extent that God became a not very majestic, need to eat, need to drink, need to empty my bowels person. What a very tough standard to set. Rather than pouring out gifts from a lofty distance, God made it personal—embracing a life so starkly opposite to the splendour God could have.

Last year, Bono, of u2, said “God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.”

God is with us when we are with them. As the Salvation Army we are really good at doing lots for the poor and suffering over Christmas. We try and take the opportunities to give food parcels and help at the meals. But I just wonder if we—were we really serious about doing things God’s way– should make it more personal. Certainly the challenge for myself this Christmas– and far, far beyond– is to be with people in the same way that God was with us in Jesus. Journeying with people in gnarly, unhygienic poverty, going to great extent to experience life with them, not to bestow gifts of time and money on people from a comfortable platform, but to be incarnate with them. But how to?! I pray God will reveal this to me through the life of Emmanuel.

13.12.06

some sweet blog happenings

The Illuminate Social Justice Youth Network is all go, based around a Blogspot and a Myspace. If you are a kiwi you are welcome to join the network and co-author the Justice Blog by emailing your name to illuminatenetwork@gmail.com. People like Sam, Tarry and Justin to name a few: Zere is no excuse! Hehe.

Also, The Marinade is an online Advent calender with fun bitesize peices of reflection worth checking out.

11.12.06

A friend sent me this quote this morning....

"Washing your hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral."
- Paulo Freire (Brazilian educator who was into liberation theology and promoted literacy when you had to be able to read to vote in Brazil.)

I am often passive... hoping that my few actions will cover me for all my inaction. But it deosn't work like this....It is about living a wholistic life where every moment is one of siding with the powerless. Every conversation, every thing I hear and see, every feeling.

But I'm so lazy... I can't be bothered to persue the Christian radio station that mocks non-English speakers in one of it's ads, besides their number isn't in the Yellow Pages. I can't be bothered to get everyone mad at me at morning tea by saying some truth that sounds obtuse. I can't be bothered to write the letter I should have written months ago, and I'd rather forget- just for one tiny weeny moment this morning- that I only drink Fair Trade Coffee, because there are no Fair Trade Cafe's around here and we are all meant to be going out for a cup to say our Farewell's to each other.

5.12.06

Have you heard the one about the rich coffee company and the starving nation?

Ethiopia, the country that featured in most racist jokes in my South London primary school playground. We were too young to get the punchlines, we just knew they were naughty, and that was good enough. Most focused on the extreme hunger and poverty that Ethiopians were famous for and the outcome was a bunch of kids sniggering all the way to the classroom.

It seems that this taunting isn’t limited to the cockney playgrounds of the eighties, for Ethiopia are the butt of yet another mockery. It is just as offensive, just as ill-humoured, and absolute fact. This time the outcome is a few rich coffee corporates laughing all the way to the bank.

Let me introduce the Jester.

Starbucks, the friendly, cheerful place to get your skinny mocha, the ones whose motto is “putting people before products”. The ones who have a café on what seems like every street in every town-11,946 world wide in fact. The ones who, by estimates, make a deliciously fat 582 million every year[1]. No wonder the mermaid in their logo dons a crown, she is one rich fish.

Ethiopia, on the other hand…..
Access to clean water is enjoyed by only 22% of its people (compared to the USA’s 100%), a phone set is owned by 1 person per 100 (compared to the USA’s 113 per 100),the nation has an Under 5 mortality rate of 169 (compared to the USA’s 7), a GNI per capita of $90 (compared to the USA’s $37610) and a mortality rate of 47 (compared to the USA’s 77)[2].
Coffee beans make up 40-60% of Ethiopia’s key exports, their beans are reputed to be the finest in the world. The 15 million Ethiopians who are dependent on coffee beans see only 10% of this profit.

In an attempt to develop Ethiopia’s coffee industry- and thus strengthen the whole nations economy- their government approached Starbucks Headquarters and tried to negotiate rights to the names of the fine coffee beans. By having legal ownership of these well known names, Ethiopia would be able to have greater autonomy. Now, a name might not seem like a very big deal, but to the Ethiopian coffee industry it could mean an extra 132 million a year[3]. That is a pretty big deal to a nation where 1 in 5 children are malnourished[4].

That was last year.

Nothing was heard for 15 months and the saying “No news is good news” couldn’t be applied here. Oxfam, an international development agency, has since found out that Starbucks put pressure on the US Patent and Trademark Office resulting in Ethiopia’s applications being denied[5].

This is revolting behaviour from a company that pride them selves on being socially responsible. The grand Jester Starbucks taste life in the dazzling royal courts at the very expense of Ethiopian coffee producers.

This mockery epitomises why so much global inequality exists, why so many Gods children have to live with disease, without clean water or food to eat and no schooling.

One of my favourite quotes is by a South American Priest, Oscar Romero. He was a fantastic chap. He said;

“We know that every effort to better society especially when injustice and sin are so ingrained is an effort that God blesses, that God wants, and that God demands of us.”

If we really believe this sort of inspirational stuff we should actually be inspired to act in the face of injustice and sin! (Makes sense, eh?!)

And, in this situation it is not too tricky.

You can let Starbucks know your disappointment by boycotting their coffee, and by giving them a bell. Follow OXFAMS instructions to do this.

[1] http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/
2003171417
starbucks03.html
[2] http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/01259/statistics_on
_ethiopian_poverty.htm
[3] http://www.oxfam.org.nz/whatwedo.asp?s1=What%20we%
20do&s2=Issues%20we%20work%20on&s3=Make%20Trade
%20Fair&s4=Starbucks%20action
[4] http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=52706
[5] http://www.oxfam.org/en/news/pressreleases2006/
pr061026_starbucks

4.12.06

diverted blogging energies

My energy for blogging is short-termly diverted to The Marinade, so I um really don't have anything insightful to say. Sorry for wasting your mouse click!

Big News in that the kaivata conference has been postponed till 08 cos of the escalating political situ in Fiji. Man, they need our prayers. Kaivata has been one of my main focuses for the year, so that truly sucketh.
However... it does mean we are going to try and make it back to Engies earlier. I am well homesick at the moment. One of my best friends just had the crunchiest wee girl called Lola.

Your prayers would be muchly appreciated to the max as we are in big poos with our passports and Tims visa- i.e, we are never going to get them in time without a miracle. (Please God!) WAH!

I am going to post tomorrow about why Starbucks make furious, enraged smoke blow out of my ears. Its a real long one, to make up for my recent lack.

1.12.06

We were wondering what happened to the waiting room… that space before Christmas to prepare our heads and to soak our hearts in the excitement of the sending of Jesus. It seems to have been reduced to chocolate treats hiding behind cardboard doors. We want to be marinated in anticipation and to draw others to the marinade too.
Going live on Saturday 2nd December. www.marinateme.blogspot.com

24.11.06

blagh

Been really busy. Working on this creative wee advent journey a few friends and I are going on. Called The Marinade. Yuo can find us at www.marinateme.blogspot.com. Join the Journey as of 3rd December. Its exciting!
Off to U2 tommorrow- WAHOOOO!!! Helping out with Make Poverty History there.

Then in Wellington for the first half of next week.

Theres no news except perhaps that our crazy landlord showed future tenants around our flat- and a tradesmen- without telling us and then had the audacity to tell me off for keeping it too messy! Whhaaat?! Thats been the drama of the week.

Theres a little red mini on Trade Me going for $1000 if you want one? (Yep, it had to go, failed it's warrant and too much $$$ to fix)

Talking at Tim's old church/corps on Sunday, on freedom. So, with that in mind here is a beautiful something from Dietrich....

“..freedom comes only through deeds,
Not through thoughts taking wing.
Faint not nor fear,
But go out to the storm and the action,
Trusting in God whose commandments you faithfully follow,
Freedom, exultant, will welcome your spirit with joy.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

21.11.06

Buy Nothing Day November 25th 2006

Buy Nothing Day is this Saturday. Give it a bash this one time, or give it up completley for Christmas!

17.11.06

too outrageous?


There have been riots in Tonga. The Salvation Army Headquarters was set on fire because it was part of a property belonging to a king.


Good on the Tongans I say.

Evil, oppression and an unjust system has reigned in that kingdom too long.

The disparities between the arisocrats and the commoners are severe. The chosen rich (royal family members) live in mansions eating luxuries, while the non-rich have not a glimpse of hope to access resources. Commoners are not even permitted to own land. For years people have tried to negotiate more democratic processes to no avail. It has never reached boiling point because the last King was a kind man. The new king is the opposite: on coming in to power he declared control over state owned assets. Yesterday the people cracked, buildings were burnt down, cars over turned, six people died in the turmoil.

Christians seem to be tut tutting all over the place today about this shocking news. I admit, Violence is never, ever great. But if democracy gets a foot in the door through this course of events then surely its worth it?

I pray these riots will form part of a greater Kingdom's ethos of equality and justice.

16.11.06

Bono says....

'There’s two kinds of people, there’s those who are asleep and those who are awake. I’ve used my music to wake myself up, and if it wakes other people up on the way than that’s okay because we get used to the sound of a bomb going off in Belfast and to the roll call of bad news on television, we get used the the fact that third of the population on earth are starving. We get used to all these things and we eventually fall asleep in the comfort of our freedom. "

U2 gig in Auckland next Weekend!

















(I googled U2 under photos. This came up with the title: "Even better than the real thing". Of course. Clearly.)

15.11.06

concrete pillow

No sleep. for too many nights. Concrete pillow, too many limbs to be placed in comfort, adrenaline courses through my veins, making my tummy tighten, my heart pound. My mind whirs with masterplans of all shapes and sizes, solving the issues of the universe.

Why is it when you are tired your body often acts in the opposite way to what it should- senses heighten....hyperactivity? I don't mind insomnia too much (apart from when I am actually lying in bed sleepless) during the day, I actually enjoy it. I think I come up with the best ideas when I am sleep deprived.. I find life a lot more joyous... I laugh at all sorts and seem to be a lot more observant, dwelling on small stuff, noticing irony, uniquity etc to a deeper degree.

Last night in my tired state I got hungry. So I made some toast. I got out the manuka honey a friend gave us from his bees which was all hard, so I dug my knife in to soften it. A little cute fly started bizzing (too tiny to buz) around the top of the jar, and with a quick dash, he landed right deep down in the middle of the goodness. I was listening to Norah Jones the time, and the second he landed her voice rang out "One Fly Doowwn". It cracked me up. It was such perfect timing, like on a music video. It got funnier when I dug him out and I saw that also attached to the little midge was one single bit of brocolli. You know how the stems are made up of stems which are made of stems? Well it was one of the last little stems. I don't know if he was just into brocolli and honey, together, like Americans are into peanuts and jam, or whether the brocolli was already in the honey jar. Man.. Life's big questions ay.

14.11.06

he is furious and enraged

Okay, so guess what. I think I got my first piece of hate mail...

It came in response to an advert for ILLUMINATE (see below) that appeared in a recent Salvation Army Magazine, the War Cry.

It was ever so hostile. Not a peep of love. Not even a hello or goodbye.

It said things about stuff I have written like "Material I have seen so far has been liberally sprinkled with bias and misleading statements, relying heavily on socialist slogans" and how
"As an employer of over 100 people in my business, which spans three continents (including two third world countries), I have some experience which might balance out the indoctrination of our young people into political agendas and work-shy attitudes."

I think he is worried that Illuminate is going to coerce our young people on to the dole and in to thinking that Jesus was a commy. (It isn't. But it hopefully might inspire young people to love and relate to people on the dole, and into thinking that Jesus was about justice and equality)

So. I'm not proud as such but I have a distinct sense that the first hatemail is a bit of a watershed moment.

Illuminate Social Justice Youth Network


Illuminate -the concept

Recognising that Young People are a powerful voice in the fight against injustice in New Zealand and around the globe, we are putting together a database of young people who are interested in social justice and action. There will be a regular newsletter on issues and ideas, updates on events and available resources as well as general inspiration to speak out for the voiceless!

"Our lives begin to end the day we are silent on things that matter" Martin Luther King

Illuminate - the name

Spend yourselves on behalf of the oppressed, hungry, naked, those with no shelter and your night will become like the noon day. Isaiah 58

So not only do we become shiney when we do this stuff.... but also the idea that through our actions we put the spotlight on situations of injustice, oppression. We illuminate areas of need, areas that need our voice.

So.... Illuminate.

Email Lucy_aitkenread@nzf.salvationarmy.org to form part of this vital link.

10.11.06

highs n lows

It has been a wee while since I posted in a personal manner, I seem to be all poems and quotes and ranting. So, just feeling a bit, you know, cavalier and thought I might tell you about my day yesterday.

A high: Went and got a BBC Learn Spanish in a day C.D from the library for me and Tim to get all on to it for our trip to Peru and Bolivia. Hola Amigo. (Thats it at the moment.)
A Low: Had a big fine I had to pay. Rats.

A low: I have to send these posters around the country for our Justaction conference coming up. So I found this cheap place that cuts postal tubes to measure and I ordered hundreds of of them for my a3 poster to go in. The ends were too thick. The poster was too big. It didn't fit. No refund. Disaster. Silly, silly Lucy.
A High: My survival instinct kicked in andI popped posters in box and took them round the corner to a Copy Centre and asked them to chop off the edges. They did it for free. Hurray! Posters fit. Posters sent.

A high: Was feeling jubilantly exhilarated all day and at night time when someone mentioned how windy it had been today I realised why- the Wind. The wind is exciting! Whipping around freshening everyone up, and most of all it reminded me of Wellington. The city I love.
A Low: Auckland couldn't handle the pace, the Sky Tower bent over and had to be evacuated, our neighbours roof blew off, tree's smashed cars and sheds roamed freely across gardens, wheeley bins went wild over the roads.

A low: Tim had a crap day yesterday. It sucks seeing anyone down, let alone spouses, me thinks.
A high: To beat the blues, we got out a movie and popcorn and watched Papillon under the duvet. It was late and crazy cos I had had a meeting till late. We were feeling all reckless abandon.

8.11.06

political Jesus

I really liked Donald Millers Blue Like Jazz. It is a refreshing and laugh out loud read, with some real profound bits. However, he kind of had this weird tension all the way through where he talked a bit about politics, and then almost felt bad about having a political view because he "felt like Jesus was a religious figure, not a political figure." (Pg 132)

Those who see the ridiculous use of Religion and Jesus in American politics clearly want to move their Christian spirituality right away from it, detached faith and politics completley. Which in a sense, is fair enough because the politicians abuse and manipulate God, Faith and Scripture for their own political ends.

However, in another sense I also think it is entirely wrong to put Jesus, Faith, Spirituality in one room and then policy and political engagement in another. In fact, I think Jesus was as political as he was religious.

I love this quote by Bob Marley:

"Me don' understand politics, me don' understand big words like "democratic socialism." What me say is what de Bible say, but because people don' read the Bible no more, dey tink me talk politics. Ha! Its de Bible what have it written, and it strong, it powerful."

6.11.06

When you realise something you always thought was Faaaabulous is really maybe not.....

When I was a sociology student I studied community currencies. They are communities that try and work outside of the normal economic system. Instead of dollars they trade hours- or products, whatever, just not money. It is partly to rebut corrupt power (banking etc) and partly to fight poverty, which is fab, right... but then also in the process you strengthen communites and build social capital. So, rave, rave, rave, I have always thought they were rather flipping wonderful. You know, kingdom stuff.

But then... when you really think about it (which I obviously wasnt doing when I was writing essays on them because I have only just contemplated it, ha!) it also creates a tension with God values. Like, relationships not being transactional. it is easy to slip into friendships where you expect output when you input, and as Jesus lovers we need to be sooooo anti this! But community currencies sort of rely on this kind of debt rememberance. And then there is this idea that every person is made in God's image, so has something beautiful and valuable to share.... but if it is not wanted as a "commodity" by people in the community they are instantly excluded from community life...Which sucks.

What do you reckon? Do community currencies rock or roll?

3.11.06

A beautiful celebration

A friend sent me this clip today:

It is part of Doves Campaign for Real Beauty. The little cynic in me wants to scoff and say "wow its frightening what companies do for promotion" but! Today I stamp on zee cynics head. Because you know what? I think it is brave of Dove to fight the oppressive regime that creates our sense of beauty... young womens's identities, young men's expectations.

I think the advertising industry is full of giants commiting crimes against society. And Dove are choosing to pick up a pebble and sling shot. I admire that. Today I celebrate Dove.

http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com/

1.11.06

Bookcrossing is radical

So yesterday I found some cool websites (Trying to find where I can buy Change the World for a Fiver) and I found out that you can buy an ozzy version here in NZ- how fabulous. But, the best thing was that this then led me onto discover Bookcrossing....

You finish a book that has inspired you, and instead of popping it back on the shelf you share the love with strangers! You just go and leave it in a park, a cafe, on the bus, any old place where someone might find it and adore it too. (With the Bookcrossing website you can register the book you set free and then check out where it has been picked up. Kind of like a message in a bottle.) The world is on it's way to becoming a giant library. I love it. It makes me smile. Free the books! We can give them a William Wallace moment without the blood. The very best books Im reading at the moment are from the Library (JK Baxters Poetry and The Fringes of Freedom) and I think Bev the Librarian might not truly understand things if I free those. (Why are all librarians called Bev?)

31.10.06

Parihaka Day

Remember, Remember the 5th of November, gun powder, treason and plot, I see no reason why the 5th of November should be a time to celebrate an ancient pyromaniac from England when here in Aotearoa we have our own story to commemorate about a true freedom fighting hero...*

Parihaka- the epitomy of colonial injustice that took place in the shadow of the mighty maunga Taranaki. The perfect picture of peaceful resistance by faithful and God loving Maori. A time of heartbreaking rape and destruction filled with the stories of stoic heroism.
It is depressing that we neglect one of Aotearoas most poignant moments in history for the celebration of something most New Zealanders couldn't really careless about, they just like the twinkley sky explosives.

Come on, Kiwis. Claim 5th November for your own.

Explore Parihaka:

The plunder of parihaka

Scoop Article

Historic Magazine Feature

*(Thats the opening sentence of an article I have written on Parihaka- you can read it on Firezone, on the left under features.)

30.10.06

props to armybarmy

The crew at Army Barmy’s blog have posted some cool stuff lately.
Check the Oct 22nd post about a new bible translation bought out in the Netherlands that eliminates passages about economic and social justice, affluence etc.
Apparently "Jesus was very inspiring for our inner health, but we don't need to take his naïve remarks about money seriously. He didn't study economics, obviously."
It makes me want to vomit. But the guy raises a good point- implying says Christians don’t take these verses serious anyway because if we did the world would be a very different place. It is a challenge ay? For Christians to to actually follow Jesus in these areas, not just know him, for sure, the world would be a much different place.

More recently posted was this. Which I love.

A Franciscan Benediction
May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world.
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

Onward Christian Voters

There is a cool article in todays Herald. It talsk about the Labour partys recent conference of which Christianity was a major theme- they discussed the history (Labour party formed by Christian socialists, you know, eh?), the current connections (the Bibles bias towards the poor etc) and the need to collaborate with the Christian left.

26.10.06

A beautiful poem by J.K Baxter

Song to the Holy Spirit

Lord, Holy Spirit,
You blow like the wind in a thousand paddocks,
Inside and Outside the fences,
You blow where you wish to blow.

Lord, Holy Spirit,
You are the sun who shines on the little plant,
You warm him gently, you give him life,
You riase him up to become like a tree with many leaves.

Lord, Holy Spirit,
You are the mother eagle with her young,
Holding them in peace under your feathers.
On the highest mountain you have built your nest,
Above the valley, above the storms of the world,
Where no unter ever comes.

Lord, Holy Spirit,
You are the bright cloud in whom we hide,
In whom we know already that the battle has been won.
You bring us to our brother Jesus
To rest our head upon his shoulder.

Lord, Holy Spirit,
You are the kind fire who does not cease to burn,
Consuming us with the flames of love and peace,
Driving us out like sparks to set the world on fire.

Lord, Holy Spirit,
In the love of friends you are building a new house,
Heaven is with us when you are with us.
You are singing your song in the hearts of the poor.
Guide us, wound us, heal us. Bring us to the Father.

25.10.06

The Salvation Army applying for funds from Pokie Machines: A Vent

The Salvation Army accepts hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from Pokie Machine Profit Funds, despite Pokie Machines now being New Zealands most hazardous form of gambling. (See recent Southland Times article featuring the SA)

This is an atrocity!

My feelings on this were confirmed in a conversation with a friend in policy for Problem Gambling Foundation whose key role is to persuade organisations not to accept pokie money because it entrenches pokie machines deeper into communities, and validates their reason for existing.

Part of the tension between those who think it is cool to accept money from corrupt sources and those who think it is absolutley not is probably fuelled by that William Booth quote "I'll even take money from the devil himself, wash it in the blood of the lamb and use it for the glory of God" (or along those lines) I think this is definatly one line of Billy's that needs to be banished from Army history!

I simply can not see how we can justify using dirty money from dirty sources in order to clean up the dirt!

24.10.06

UN's Burpday

Yep, the United Nations turn 61 today.

This international organisation was founded after the Second World War to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations and promote social progress, better living standards and human rights....

Shivers. It doesn't seem that the UN is doing too well really. Although... maybe we should ask ourselves what state the world would be in so far as extreme poverty and war go if the UN weren't around.

(And maybe it goes for Jesus followers too.)

So hurray for the UN.

I think they are a pretty great Org, you know. I love the Millenium Development Goals, their mission, their reason. But then... they are also pretty naff in so many ways too. I believe the movies when they portray those corrupt aspects of the UN. There is this bit in No Mans Land, where the UN workers want to go into the battlefield to collect a wounded soldier lying on a mine, but they just can't get the OK from the big cheifs (too dangerous)... Then a News Reporter puts the pressure on and they go in anyway... but they can't dismantle the mine... so they just pretend that they have saved him and but really leave the poor thing there by himself. Give up on him cos it's too hard and dodgy. Its a bit poignant, all right. It really highlights the madness, inflexibility and impersonality of bureaucracy.

So... Here's to the UN. Yet another organisation with a fantastic heart, necesarily functioning on an enormous scale, yet crippled by this very amplitude.

20.10.06

moral munters

Devoured a whole book of J.K Baxters poetry last night. Amazing. He is quite amazing.
But it got Tim and I to thinking.... why is it that these prophets, with no-doubt God words to speak into society, are so messy... corruptable.... morally compromised? (Think Martin Luther King)

18.10.06

Why, I protest.

Last nights march went well. It was an Anti Poverty Day march, with a focus on the Cleaners movement, workers rights etc. Cleaners really are so necesary and valuable yet they get so incredibly ripped off. To clean is to know poverty.
For a few moments I was a bit pertubed that the Cleaners had performed a coup on a day set out to create awareness of global poverty, 1 child dying every 3 seconds, you know. And then I remembered Martin Luther King's saying "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" and yelled "Union Power" with more gusto.
Here' a pic of Brenton and my incredibly eloquent and articulate sign.















After the March we went and saw "An inconveniant truth". A really good watch. It highlights very well the idea of environmental action being a moral decision. What sort of destruction do we want to leave for others? You can calculate your carbon footprint here.

The most fantastic book ever

Apart from the Bible. And David Copperfield. And maybe Velvet Elvis. And only a smattering of others.
Drum Roll...... My sister sent it to me. (Jo is the best).......more drumming
Change the World - Nine to Five
Its the sequel to Change the World for a Fiver. A project by this community group in East London who tackle social exclusion. The books are filled with 50 ways to change the world- environmentally and socially mostly . But the ideas really, really rock. And are roll around on the floor funny!

Like: Number 67
Share your lunch with someone- That's it really. A simple, good idea. As they say in the ads, it does exactly what t says on the tin.
Although if you are eating your lunch out of a tin, you may find a limited number of people willing to share it with you.
Cats, yes. People, less so.

Check it: http://wearewhatwedo.org/

17.10.06

Poverty Sucks Cheesey Moth Balls

It is Eradicate Poverty Day! (Do you know the UN assert eradicating extreme poverty is possible? It's not nuts.)

Yesterday, at our Wellington Planning meeting a coup was performed and we Stood Up against poverty, the pledge was read amongst hearty Amens and there was a totally spontaneous Army Salute by everyone as we pledged to do our bit to give poverty the big goodbye. I was glad I made it - I missed my flight to Wellington- I have only done this once before, when I was coming out to New Zealand, thought I was flying from Gatwick, but it was Heathrow. Yesterday, I thought i was flying Air NZ, but it was Qantas. I am truly ridiculous. But anyway, made it in the end. Hurrah.

Beneath is a photo of the mighty White Band wrapped around Wellingtons Territorial Headquarters last night. It is absolutley ginormous. (That word is well hard to spell)

Got up really early this morning to hang up Tims Fantastic White Band he made yesterday. We went on a 5:30 mission this morning to hang it off a bridge on Dominion road. I wonder if blogging this will get us in trouble. Kind of seems silly to put it up undercover and then post about it on the internet. Oh well. If i dont blog for a while you will know where I'll be.

Then when I got to work I popped one over the door of DHQ on Queen Street. I feared for my life as I clambered up the door and on to the roof (it is really rather high you know) and I was so proud that I managed to get it up.... until the moment I hopped down to cast my eyes over my risky achievement. Then I realised that it just looks like a few scraggy bedsheets with scrawley felt tip pen on it, hanging on for dear life with brown sticky tape, not fitting the whole roof, decidedly lop sided. And. It doesn't just look like that. It is that. Wah. Poor Old Sign.

Anyway. If you didn't pick up on it..... We can eradicate poverty! Today is one particular day to make a bit of noise about it!!!

13.10.06

Yes! My mind still churns over the recent episode in the Army. Im sorry to be so boring!

When you read something- do you ever feel strangely accurate descriptions of the current event in your life? And try as you might, you can’t shake the feeling that this book was written especially for this moment…. And you realise you are being ludicrously self obsessed but still you just can’t shake it!

Well. Here are two synopsises of two books. On first glance they offer opposing options for us- us being the ones exasperated with some bits of the Army- but I've tried to mix n match.

Prophetic Imagination, Walter Bruggemann
Bruggmanne describes the process of Moses setting up his alternative community with an idea of a free God and politics of liberation, justice and democracy. This was opposed to the dominant consciousness/ empire of Egypt with their oppressive politics. Moses and his community’s role was to “act as a prophetic voice to the nations, and that the task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us."
As the alternative community became not so alternative and itself (after many many years) became an oppressive empire, the prophets then took over this role. And then, Jesus did.
An important concept is numbness- people are numb to the idea that the dominant consciousness is wrong, we need to pierce this consciousness, through pointing out the coming death of it all (why the prophets talk so destructively) and through allowing people to grieve the passing of the empire. Then we need to imagine with God the new way of things, the community that emphasises justice, liberation etc etc. We need to paint a true and genuine picture of hope. But this vision does need to replace the dominant culture. It is forming a distinct alternative community.


Under the Unpredictable Plant, Eugene Peterson
Here Eugene first describes his own denominational corruption (so he knows the sort of rubbish that goes on in big d.’s) but then goes on to talk about Jonah and Ninevah and Tarshish:

We will all have a Tarshish. A place that looks like the most exciting, right, just place to base our ministry even when God has called us to serve in stinky old Ninevah! The aim is vocational holiness not vocational idolatry - the idolatry of a career that we can take charge of and manage, perhaps. It is about sticking with where God calls.

Without copping out and compromising on either of the options, surely they can be united. The first option says we are not to be passive when the dominant consciousness is a wrong one, create anew! But the second says don’t forsake the place God has placed you to serve, even if you don’t like the idea of it.

If we are able to best serve God through the Army than this is where we need to stay, right? But we need to keep the vision up of a just, free organisational structure. We need to, in our own places, create something that reflects biblical, prophetic values all the while attempting to speak this into the dominant consciousness. I realise some people have been quietly doing this for years. But I think hand in hand with the living comes the talking, the writing, the appealing, the debating. We must have faith that God can transform Ninevah.

Walter Bruggemann

"If you want to do the work of Justice, find out what belongs to whom and give it back!"

Dave Dobbyn's Click Ad

Do you see the shadow of my boom?!

12.10.06

White Band Day 17th oct

Next Tuesday is White Band Day and International Eradicate World Poverty day.
The territorial youth/ Kaivata team have got a meeting in Wellington on Monday, so we are going to whip one up across the front of THQ. Yeyah. (Firezone are having White Band Awards)

Gonna put one up somewhere momentus in Auckland. Any suggestions? (DHQ doesn’t have windows)

What are your plans for a White Band, eh?

Also- AUCKLAND POVERTY SOLIDARITY MARCH 5 pm, Britomart.

11.10.06

The Messiah is among you

There was once an old monastry which had lost its inspiration. The same routines were perfomed as they always had been, but there were no new novices and little enthusiasm for the rites of prayer. The abbot saw all this and grieved. At a loss as to how to change things, he paid a visit to an old hermit who lived deep in the forest. After they had eaten together, the recluse addressed the abbot.
"You and your brothers have lost the fire of God. You come seeking wisdom from me. I will tell you a secret, but you can only repeat it once. After that, no one must say it aloud again." The hermit looked deep into the eyes of the abbot and said "The Messiah is among you". They were both silent as the abbot considered the importance of this saying. "Now you must leave" said the hermit.
Returning to the monastry the abbot called all the monks together and told them he had a teaching that had been given by God. He added that it was never to be said aloud again. The the abbot looked at each of his brothers, and said, "The hermit says that one of us is the Messiah."
The monks were startled. "Is John with the big nose the Messiah? Or Father Matthew who falls asleep at prayer? Am I the Messiah?" But puzzled as they were they never repeated the saying again.
As time went by the monks began to treat one another with a special love and reverence. There was a gentle, whole hearted, human quality about them now which was hard to describe but easy to see. They lived with each other as those who had finally found something of significance. The words were carefully considered. Who could tell when they were speaking to the Messiah?
Before long, the vitality of the monastry attracted many visitors and young men began asking to join the community. The old hermit died without revealing anymore, and the abbot sometimes wondered if he had understood correctly.

From Mike Riddells "Godzone". He precedes this story with this paragraph:

In the world relationships are based on common interests. IN Godzone the only basis is belonging, and so the traveller has to accept all whom God accepts. It's sometimes easier to love God than to love Gods mates. The problem is you cat do one without the other.
The claim to love has to be tested against the reality of people with body odour and strange habits, if it is to be any more than a warm gooey feeling. The road we follow is a journey into community. If we are to reach the final destination we must learn to see the God-light in the most unlikely of characters. We must discover that differences are enriching rather than threatening. This only comes after the hard nut of self has been cracked.

10.10.06

Church and Mission

Had a really good Fuel group last night. Lots of discussion and prayer on the Church. Here are some good quotes we came across:

"Any theology of the church must ultimatley be rooted in the being and acts of God: the Church is first and foremost the people of God, brought into being by god, bound to God, for the glory of God"

"It is not the church of God that has a mission in the world, but the God of mission who has a Church in the world"

"The mission of the church is the gift of particiapting through the Holy Spirit in the Son's mission from ther Father to the world"

"In a world of ever increasing social complexity the church cannot simply adhere to fixed traditional forms. It must reach more and more deeply into its own realities and dynamics within the purposes of God for the world, and invite the Holy Spirit to stir its heart, mind, soul and strength. If it does so, it will learnt o participate more fully in the energy of the Spirit of Christ by which God, through his church, is drawing all human society to its fulfillment in the kingdom of God"

(Taken from "Mission-shaped church"- sorry dont have individual references)

9.10.06

V for Vendetta

Wowza, what a movie- about an oppressive government regime and a villainous hero’s revolt. Raises some massive questions and leads to awesome discussion about….. revolution, ideas, totalitarianism, identity, power, religion, morality, people and on and on. Really recommend it, although some bits may affront some people!
Loadsa brilliant clips to use- and quotes.

My favourite was: “A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having”. It kind of goes with a current theme in my head about people needing to not take themselves too seriously. Not being frivolous, but recognising the Humour of God in things, and not trying to cover up our own bumbling nature or whatever.

But I also liked this one as an analogy- [about Guy Fawkes and his attempt to blow up Parliament] "We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world. I've witnessed first hand the power of ideas, I've seen people kill in the name of them, and die defending them... but you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it, or hold it... ideas do not bleed, they do not feel pain, they do not love... And it is not an idea that I miss, it is a man... A man that made me remember the fifth of November… a man that I will never forget."

5.10.06

Her Kingdom

I had lunch with a friend today. She told me that at the Anglican Cathedral on Sunday the Bishop often slipped in references to God as “She” or “Her.”

I can’t imagine that happening in my own setting one bit!

But why?

I bothered blogging about it because I saw over at Chris Footers nice blog a link to an article entitled “Church declares calling God a He leads to Wife Bashing” and it prompted me to put my thoughts down a bit.

My Womens Studies classes at uni first got me thinking academically about a whole lot of issues, and I have always got fired up about the ludicrous male exclusiveness experienced in my own and others church/home life/ mission. And don’t get me started on misinterpretations of verses in Corinthians etc. But most women – and lots of men- would think along these lines too, eh?

Its an altogether different matter though to pray to Mother God, isn’t it? A conversation a year ago with the female officer I most admire really challenged my thoughts on this, describing the detirmental impact of single gender God language. We would all admit that our theology is (should be) the source of our values, actions, attitudes, behaviours. But if we have an exclusively male view of God, how can we expect gender equality to be long lasting and genuine in the church, our lives? And there is not reason to see God as exclusively Male- the majority of Biblical scholars would admit that. Eg, Moltmann specifically sees the Holy Spirit as female.

So… why limit our language of God like this eh? Is it verging on oppressive/ discriminative talk? Does it restrict our ability to truly live on gender equal terms?

I challenge you- whether you agree or not (just as a social experiment)- to slip in a Her/She in your next God chat!

3.10.06

Army Stuff

You would think a week on the coast, swimming, walking and fish n chip eating might have cleared my head over this Salvation Army Stuff. But Nope. Not Really.

It is brilliant to have dialogue going on, comments at a previous post of mine, and over at stevewiseman.blogspot.com and also over at Tim’s. I think it does take courage to put your honest feelings up and I think it is important that spaces for the conversation to occur are created. I also would agree with Tim that Blogs are the proles way to have their voice heard- a vital process missing in the organisation of the Army.

My feelings definitely see this latest issue of Chick Yuil’s resignation as a product of systematic wrong. I think our Army needs a total reform of structure and culture. So my letter writing is going to focus on that. But some of you won’t agree eh? Some of you would see a different issue at hand – Injustice? Reconciliation? Power? However you have interpreted the issues- Write about it. Tell some one. Whatever the angle add your voice to the noise! That’s all I implore.

Kia Kaha!

(There is currently going around the UK territory a letter you can add your voice to it. Tim has posted it. Copy and paste and send it to your TC/ the Chief/ The General if you agree)

indigenous issues

So a bit has happened on the political landscape since I last blogged, eh.

Was alarmed once again by Don Brash’s unabashed racism- questioning the existence of Maori as an indigenous group! What the?! And some would have him as the next Prime Minster!

There is also a Bill at select committee calling for all reference to “the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi” in all government doco’s- legislation etc- to be removed. What the?! Of course the motives for it are complex but the fact is that to delete this term not only sends a terrible message to Maori, but will have very practical –and detrimental- implications for our fragile bicultural sprig.

Kiwi’s: write a submission! Email me if you want to join in a public demo on 20th October. (lucyandtim@gmail.com)

The Greens View

Maori MP View

Labours View

23.9.06

ACC, hippies and Sir Francis Drake Prayer

In Wellington staying at my best mates radical house in Petone. Just got back from this mad hippy bongo dance festival in the bush. ACC was FANTASTIC and these Strategic plan meetings are going well too. Will post more about ACC etc later, the exciting stuff pelting through my brain. Thoughts are crazy at the moment. Well need to have a good long quiet prooooocess! Will happen next week sitting in East Coast Hot pools. Mmmmm. Meanwhile, this prayer really captures my present desire.

Disturb us, O Lord, When we are too well pleased with our selves.
When our dreams come true because we have dreamed too little.
When we arrived safely because we sailed to close to the shore.

Disturb us, O Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst for the waters of life.
Having fallen in love with life
We have ceased to dream of eternity;
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim.

Disturb us o Lord to dare more boldly
To venture on wider seas where you will show your mastery,
Where losing site of land we will find stars.

We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes:
And to push into the future, in strength, courage, hope and love.

20.9.06

Erotica Expo

You might remember me mentioning the Erotica Expo taking place. Last year we went along and had an awesome time speaking with people, praying etc. Again this year a team went along and had another valuable day. Ashley says

"Sunday the 27th, in August, a few of us met up at the Erotica Expo to pray and handout some fliers. “Hey how are you?” was a phrase coming out of my mouth a lot as people would smile, grab the sheet of paper and walk away. It was kind of funny because people often thought they were getting another erotica freebie, but no way! They were getting God’s words of love! By the time we left, the laughing shout, “Jesus loves porn stars?!” was ringing in my head!

It was actually a pretty fantastic thing because the title of the flier caught them out, and people were reading and stoked about it. The flier went on to quote John 3:16 and talk about God’s passionate love for His world. It seemed to be foreign to most people.

There were all sorts of people - couples, teenagers, old-timers, and average joes, but at one point, as we were praying I noticed somebody I knew. It was Jesus - walking around and praying. I began to realise that any place we went to pray, God had already been. It was like we were hot on the trail Jesus was leaving! The immense love of a creator who goes to way more than just church services screams out.

No doubt the things that were being celebrated at erotica were something that broke His heart, but the people were all people He loved. Walking out of those gates I was reminded how soaked the world is in God’s love."

remember the days of the school yard

I went along on Tims geography field trip on Monday night- till last night. Studying the beautiful Waitakere ranges. It was loads of fun, his class kids are rad. But shoot, the teaching bit..... about this lower catchment and that middle catchment and the gradient and volume of the river.....
It was B O R I N G. I felt like being a rascal and running off deep in to the bush. But I resisted, and survived with our marriage intact. Phew.

Off to Melbourne this afternoon for a conference (ACC) till Friday. Then fly back into Wellington for some Territorial Strategic Mission Planning for the Army and then back up to Auckland on Sunday night. At which point Tim and I are off for a bit of a holiday on the East Coast- Hurrah!!! Can't wait.

18.9.06

Theology of Life

Loving reading Jurgen Moltmann at the moment. Had a dream where some random lady came up to me and told me how to pronounce his name, even though I have never heard his name in real life. And of course my dream name enlightener was correct (it is Yurgen)...

"In it's original and eternal sense, mission is God's mission (missio dei). It is only when our Christian mission follows the divine sending and corresponds to it that it is a mission with confidence in God and an assured faith. It is only when we as people follow God's mission to other people and put ourselves in line with that mission that we show respect for the dignity of others, as people created by God and made in his image; and it is only then that we shall resist the temptation to try and dominate them religiously." The Source of Life

15.9.06

Interesting perspective from Fidel Castro

A revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past.

Month of Mobilisation begins tommorrow!

The issues being covered each week are- Aid, Child Poverty, Debt and Trade.

Keep your eyes peeled on www.firezone.co.nz each week for an article. Also on that same website check out the info on White Band Day 2006- maybe you could be into win White Band Awards! hehe.

Check out each week on www.makepovertyhistory.org.nz a famous kiwi giving you the heads up on how to MakePovertyHistory. And join the campaign by texting 8644.

Leavin on a jet plane...

Booked our tickets to London today! We leave NZ on 5th Feb, to LA visiting Tims bro Andrew in San Fran for a week. Then off to Bolivia on 15th Feb, via Costa Rica and Peru. Then, a month later to Toronto. A month after that, on the 16th April, we arrive in London to do that which we hope will be revealed to us on our sojourn! (we art cluelesseth)
Yahoo!

14.9.06

God makes you rich

Interesting cover story of Time magazine this week about the health n wealth/ prosperity gospel.
Its kinda freaky. That normal people believe God pops dosh in your pocket.

13.9.06

From the TC- YAHOO!

7 September 2006

To:
Cabinet Members
Divisional Commanders
Regional Commander
National Managers

Dear Friends,

'FAIR TRADE'

At a recent meeting of the Territorial Co-ordination Council it was decided that the Salvation Army in this territory endorses a 'Fair Trade' policy. Many of you already know about the concept of 'Fair Trade'. This means that when we who live in affluent countries buy goods from developing countries, as much of the profits as possible goes directly back to the producers in those poorer countries. This helps farmers and growers, it increases their standard of living and helps support their families with things we take for granted such as health and education.

The Territorial Co-ordination Council had representations made to it some months ago and asked the Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit to research and bring a report on this matter. In light of this report it is our view that 'Fair Trade' is a good policy to endorse.

I am aware that many Christians in New Zealand already make a point of looking out for the 'Fair Trade' logo when choosing 'Fair Trade' goods such as coffee, tea, chocolate etc.

Indeed, in some Salvation Army Corps and in particular the Northern Division, DHQ led the way in the use of 'Fair Trade' goods. They find the quality of fairly traded goods at least matches other commercial products and sometimes exceeds it. Sometimes the prices are slightly more.

May I request you make this Territorial policy endorsement of 'Fair Trade' known to those under your area of responsibility, with encouragement to be positively involved, so demonstrating an active Christian concern.

Thank you in anticipation.

May God bless you.

With kind regards,

Garth McKenzie
Commissioner

TERRITORIAL COMMANDER

my burpday



Had a fabulous day yesterday- began with pancakes and prezzies in bed, and finished up with Wagamamas for tea and the pictures... Tim was full of treats for me. Spoke to my grandparents too, which is always very special. And saw a photo of my two best pals in London, the twins, with their baby bumps!

12.9.06

He tangata

Are the concepts of democracy and the Priesthood of all Believers (an integral Salvation Army/protestant belief) the same?

Perhaps- one being of a polictical source, the other a spiritual/theological source.....
At least to the extent that our belief in the Priesthood of all Believers should/would lead to a democratic church/movement?

What do you think? What are the similarites/differences/implications?

11.9.06

2 Fanstastic bits of news!

1: The NZ Salvation Army territorial leadership has made an official decision in support of Fair Trade. Finally!
2: My sister Jo and her husband Steve are having a baby in April!

Jampacked weekend and confused thoughts about the Salvation Army

Had a brilliant weekend, really busy but fab. Tims rugby prizegiving on Friday night, fundraising at the 2nd Store on Sat, (got some beautiful new drapes for a buck!) then had divisional youth event: Area 7 run by the Browns Bay church youth which was fantastic, such a real and authentic God experience.

Then spoke at Rec Church on Sunday morning, about global injustice and fair trade- it was great, had a giant discussion, Q and A time and it was apparent that people had taken it on and were really thinking about it. Then lunch at church, afternoon tea with a fab couple from Rec, tea with parents in law. Phew. Lots of delicious food and company!

The whole weekend was smattered with conversations about Chick Yuill and the Salvation Army. It's a bit of the hard old week for Salvationists I think. Lots of confused thoughts. On one hand, something like that doesn't really effect the grassroots stuff, whats going on out here in my little patch type thing. But then The Salvation Army's leadership and their decisions reflect the nature of the very organisation we belong too. Do I want to belong to an orgnisation like that?

7.9.06

democracy and a few perhapses....

Our visit to the council’s economic development committee went well yesterday- it was a bit nerve wracking (and embarrassing cos my whole face was peeling big chunks of leprosy skin from my recent sunburn) but was a success. They instantly met 2 of the 3 things they have to do to enable Auckland to become a Fair trade town.

It was an inspiration in democracy. They have a person whose entire role is to coordinate democracy. Every month the public can meet the mayor one on one to discuss issues, and members of the public can tootle along to meetings like yesterday and perch them selves in the back and choose to speak in the “Public Forum” which is an open space set aside at the start of each meeting.

The Salvation Army needs processes like this! It reflects the idea that everyone is equal and has something important to bring, holds decision makers accountable to the proles and creates a safe space for gripes to be dialogued about publicly (transparency)

Although, 90% of the time it may only be token gestures, there will be moments that these democratic process count Big Time.

If these sort of processes were in place perhaps international leaders would be more aware of real life, gritty warfare, perhaps power wouldn’t corrupt so easily and perhaps people like the radical forward thinking Salvation Army Leader Chick Yuil wouldn’t feel led to resign….

6.9.06

What do you think?

Yesterday, for a very good reason, Tim and I were brought to discussing the monolithic machine we belong to: The Salvation Army.

While there are hundreds of wonderful kingdom revealing things about the Army at grassroots level as a system it is highly bureaucratic/autocratic/undemocratic and, undoubtedly at times and in spaces, corrupt.

We ended on the question:

Would Jesus belong to the Salvation Army?!

What do you think? Would Jesus belong to any denomination? Is it a silly question?

4.9.06

it was a spectacular day up the mountain but

blue skies+bright sun+reflective snow+goggles+no suncreen=
A very burnt nose and bottom half of face and very white eyes. Today I was going to paint the white bit black and feign to be an Incredible. I might have to do that when I meet the Mayor again on Wednesday. Wah.

1.9.06

from rampant.co.nz


what is your perspective?

aahhh. finally.


A trip to the snow. Beginning tonight. To spend the Weekend with fab sis n bro in law, Kyle and Hania at their whare at Blue Mountain Adventure Centre.
And a splash of snowboarding might be found. Oh, Hallelujah to that!

31.8.06

theres no business like it


I shared olives with Dave Dobbyn yesterday! Total musical legend. I was helping out with the Make Poverty history ad (I was holding the boom and didn't ding his head, phew)

Dave, one of NZ's most worthy national treasures, recently became a Christian and now has an awesome thing going where he visits the prisoners and plays beautiful music.

"Dobbyn describes his own journey to God saying he was “being interviewed by a broadcaster, being prodded for his views on New Zealand music, “and a part of me was quite miffed and I stopped myself flying off the handle and getting angry with him or buying into his game."
He [Dobbyn] went home, wondering if he should have agreed to the interview, when this voice said, “No, you handled it very well with a lot of dignity. And that’s how the big fella came and said, ‘You’re coming with me son’. Dobbyn said he fell to the ground completely and said ‘Yeah, absolutely, I’m with you.” (Sunday Star Times 5 June 2005)."


You can have a listen to Loyal and Slice of Heaven on Dave's Myspace! hehe.

29.8.06

Holiness etc

There was an excellent article posted on therubicon last week. About Holiness and The Salvation Army. it is insightful and honest and proclaims no answers. It is by Grant Sandercock- Brown, he says "There is an uneasy feeling that at some point, somewhere, holiness was replaced by abstinence and burning love by best practice." and finishes with "Or perhaps the Spirit left our building a long, long time ago and we just haven’t noticed his absence."

Shivers. I feel that all too often.

In the comments someone pointed out that "The experience of holiness shared by our founding brothers and sisters was intrinsically tied to a C19th theology, culture and context. It was the fact that it matched the hour that made it so powerful. The challenge for us C21st Salvationists is to pursue a C21st holiness theology." and suggested we need new ideas of holiness. Amen to that one.

Today I think I found Scott Mcknight doing just that on Jesus Creed. Says this chap:
".....Holiness is not negative; it is positive. It is God doing what God does and it is humans living out the God-life in this world. It is loving God with a sacred, uncontaminated love, and therefore loving others as God loves them. That is holiness. Holiness is not the dark side of God, with love the good side. Holiness is love directed in the right direction and contained by the proper boundaries.
.... In other words, holiness is loving God and loving others and not loving the Self as the modernist enthroned Self that “others” everyone as it seeks to climb its way up Babel’s tower. It is the opposite of idolatry....


Holiness is sacred love for God and others.....

Peter exhorts his readers to look at their pasts to know what holiness is not: their former patriarchal vain traditioins (1:18). Peter exhorts them to join themselves to the way of Jesus if they are to know what holiness is (1:19-21). Jesus’ redemptive work leads us to focus on God and God’s redemptive work. A life dedicated to God’s redemptive work, which manifests itself in so many ways in our world today, is a life of holiness."


Eek. Totally mutilated his article- go read the whole thing you! its nice!

It resonated with me, as it developed my thoughts from two posts down about the Porn Parade, as well as that whole idea of Jesus growing our sense of holiness from isolation to engagement.

25.8.06

Christchurch

This is my 100th post! Crikey what a trooper!

Tim and I are off down to Christchurch tonight to do a youth event down there till Monday... It is gonna be a great time, can't wait. Christchurch is like a little miniture England.

I have been exploring the whole Royal Priesthood thing for one of the talks- journeys like that are cool cos it has revealed heaps of stuff that hadn't occured to me. Like what Jesus does to our concepts of Holiness.

Colin McCahon

Colin McCahon is one of my favourite artists I think. Maybe because he is New Zealander and maybe because he paints out of his God experience. There is an exhibition at the Auckland City Library at the moment. This painting I love. It is called Imprisonment and Reprieve. It makes my heart thump in my chest.

24.8.06

GRRR. I am furious and confused.

Arrghhh. I feel melancholy today. About faith stuff... and the world. Eek. Confusion. Was just reading the paper, and read that 100,000 people turned up to Queen St yesterday to watch the Boobs on Bikes parade to advertise the Erotica Expo this weekend. And the organiser, Steve Crow, was like “Yeah, and only one lame old protester” and I'm mad: “WHY WASN’T I PROTESTING!” and then I remembered it was because I have an idea that faith needs to be reclaimed from people that go around going “Naughty”- the Pope put it well last week: “Christianity, Catholicism, isn't a collection of prohibitions," the 79-year-old Pope said. "It's a positive option ... We've heard so much about what is not allowed that now it's time to say: we have a positive idea to offer ..." Which is so deeply true- mammoth freedom, authentic love, abounding grace because of Jesus!

But then I read the article right below the Boobs on Bike coverage about a guy going to prison for sexually abusing 12 primary school kids and my soul weeps. And I remember yesterday reading a thing someone was handing out at the parade- a list of stats relating pornography to sexual predatory (which isn’t surprising of course) And THEN!! (feel my fury!!) I read the article below that one about how outraged people are that prayer/ karakia is sneaking back in to schools....

Our children are being raped while their parents watch a porn parade and complain about religion in schools!

Our society is going to the dogs. I feel like an extreme fundamentalist today. I want to yell through a megaphone at Steve Crow “TURN OR BURN!” with lots of mouth froth and actually yesterday I did get a letter from the Advertising Standards Authority where I got referred to by Steve Crow as “Conservative Right” for complaining about his women degrading Erotica Billboards. Which is sort of funny. That he can determine my political stance from a complaint, But argh. Maybe I am becoming a right wing fundy. Noooooooooooooooo.

I know I must remember the places that the kingdom of God is being revealed. It truly is. There ARE places! Today though, I am finding it hard to believe.

Cor Blimey.

Anyway. If anyone wants to join a Team to go to Erotica Expo this weekend to pray around it and chat with people and hand out “JESUS LOVES PORNSTARS” flyers, in order to counteract the fundys at the gate yelling “TURN OR BURN” with mouth froth please let me know. Tim and I are away :( but a team is still going, as we did last years Erotica Epo which was really, really worthwhile. So, please, let me know, 'specially any student lifers!

23.8.06

Forgotten people

The Social Policy Unit latest report was released yesterday "Forgotten people: men on their own". It has generated quite a bit of interest. You can read the NZ Herald's initial article here.
And if you click this link, you'll get the report. My name is really spelt wrong. Wah. haha.

"Single men seem to be the forgotten people. No one really worries about them because they don’t have families and they are male and therefore supposed to be able to look after themselves. There is nothing there for them when they can’t." Manager, Community and Family Services

22.8.06

Must see flicks


Another film has recently topped my fave movie list! "Romero" has to be one of the most captivating and impacting films about Christian faith ever. It is set in south America and follows the story of liberation theology and Oscar Romero.

"We know that every effort to better society especially when injustice and sin are so ingrained is an effort that God blesss, that God wants and that God demands of us"

It is a bit of an golden oldy I think, but it leads to huge discussion and mind shifting. A must see.

Another must see vid is over on the right courtesy of youtube. hehe. sorry its a bit midget but I had to fit it in that wee space.

21.8.06

weekend fun

Our weekend has been manic. Moved in our refugee family on Saturday, into their new home, we shared some well special times! Totally hard though as we speak not a dash of the same language. Lots of melodramatic facial expressions and oversized hand actions. A real giggle all 5 of us squeezing in the mini for a drive.

We had a fantastic church yesterday morning. Cafe styles. Explored what church is in groups, drawing pictures etc. No singing really. Lots of discussion. I loved it.

Oh- by the way: Make Poverty History Month of Mobilisation begins on Sept 16th. To add your voice to the many petitioning our government to make political decisions against extreme poverty text 8466!

17.8.06

the big chop and praying cops

Wowza. Went to Wellington on Tuesday for Ministry of Social Development meetings and decided to get my long locks chopped! They are gone! No longer blowing in the wind but Banished to the Bin.

This is a cool article from the BBC. Lincolnshire police have a new programme in collaboration with local Jesus lovers called Prayer Watch to support their battle against crime. Is this what being Salt and Light is about?

14.8.06

Sleeping Bag

Found this rad poem the other day by Steve Collins.

Jesus is in the sleeping bag
stopping over
he comes round anytime he likes.
Right time, wrong time
he don't mind.
Foxes have holes, birds have nests
but the Son of Man has the sofa.

He's poking around the fridge
which needs defrosting.
Old sins stuck in the ice box
fruit gone bad
Leftovers still left over
he throws them out.
I guess I should clean up but i never get much warning.
Its embarrassing
but I'd still rather he came.

We sit up late talking
where we've been
where we're going next
he's already bought some tickets
all i have to do is take time off work.
Good night rustle in the corner.
The room feels warmer
with him in it.

yahoo made it!

to the end of the 24 hour youth councils! It was pretty awesome I tell you, but without a doubt soooo knackering! Note to anyone ever considering a 24 hour thing (it is worth it to save $$$ and to fit loads of stuff in) don't start at 10:30 PM! There was not one awake moment for anyone! Glory, what were we thinking.
Rowan Castle and Nathan Rowe from Ozzy spoke and did music. They were excellent. Such troopers; amazingly open hearts towards God and what he wants to do, and a flipping great laugh.
We ate giant bananna splits out of drain pipes, went on a sunrise breakfast walk, painted, contemplated, put on a market day for the community, went on a 4AM car rally, got mobilised for social action. Wowza. Young people rock. God rocks.

I am at Tims school. Have just talked about Fair Trade, challenged them to make their school Fair Trade and they are well up for it- young people wanna be activists ay. They just need the encouragement. It was hard though cos my tired head feels like it is full of mud and no brains. Wah. More sllleeeeeepppp.

10.8.06

YC's and Martin Buber (na he's not coming)

Off to Youth Councils (Salvation Army annual youth event). We are doing a 24 hour non stop thing. I am excited, I just don't know if I am excited about it, or excited that soon it will be over.... I REALLY like to sleep (its a genetic hobbie passed down from my Nana and it is healthy for me. )
But, yeah... YC's will be awesome. Anyway, I'm leaving so here is quite a quintessential quote from Buber-

"Genuine religiousity has nothing in common with the fancies of romantic hearts or with the self-pleasure of indulgent souls, or with the clever mental excercises of a practiced intellectuality. Genuine religiousity is doing. It seeks to carve the unconditioned out of the matter of this world. The face of God rests, invisible, in an earthen block; it must be wrought, carved, out of it. To engage in this work means to be religious, nothing else."

i kill things

The other day tim and I were having abit of the old outside coffee drinking when I looked over onto our little deck thing and was like AAAAARGGGHH somone has stolen by beloved plants and has replaced them with little dried up twigs stuck in dirt how DARE they.
It took only seconds to realise that no, indeed, these were my beloved plants....the ones I had bought, along with potting mix from The Warehouse (where everyone gets a bargain) and had compassionatley planted in two striking flax bags. I had nurtured and cared for them, and been proud of their beauty and function (one was an urrb- basil?- and another was a pretty pink flowery thing) for at least 2, maybe 2 and a half, weeks. That was months ago now. And as I found out you simply can't neglect botany for that long. They have felt death's sting at my hand that knoweth not a splash of nurturing ability.
(There is totally a lesson there; at the end of this Great Creative Story of Life all plants look like little dry twigs stuck in dirt.)

8.8.06

bashed up barmen and a plethora of piety

There are two captivating and connected articles in the World section of today’s paper. The first is about this new bar in China which provides body building male models for the customers to vent their anger on. You can do anything to them, scream at them give them a bashing, and if that doesn’t work they’ll provide counselling. Yes, yes, it may be a crafty and profitable ruse but what if it is just some acute community workers attempting to meet a need in an innovative way?!

The other article is deliciously funny. Its from the LA Times, and has the headline “Mayor: “In Gods Name, no more churches” and is about the overload of churches in Stafford, Texas. There are 51 tax exempt churches in this small town and they are a drain on the towns economy. Everyone apart from the church leaders/goers has had enough!
Here’s an excerpt:

"I don't hate God. I'm not against America and apple pie," Willis said. "We just have to protect what's left for commercial development."

Lawyers researching ways to stop church growth here will report back to city leaders in about six weeks, Scarcella said.
Lola Onita, assistant pastor at Jesus House Texas, said churches should be allowed to spread unfettered in a country that respects religious freedom. "People need a place to worship and hear the word of God," she said.

But Nilda Martinez, who owns a flower shop between two churches, has had enough. "The churches, they're everywhere here," she said. "There are too many; the city should control it. It hurts the city when you don't have enough businesses paying taxes."

Willis said he asked the last six applicants why they wanted to build a church in Stafford. "Every one of them said they prayed about it, and God said to come here," he said. "I can't compete with that, so here we are."

Haha. But how in the world are they connected Lucy Lu, I hear you beg the question.
Well if more church leaders/planters/goers took a green tea leaf out of the Chinese entrepreneurs book we would have adventurous churches that gave different methods a crack, exploring ways to benefit-add life and energy to- the community. There’s no need for bricks and mortar, just more creativity!

(BTW, Justin just did a fab old post about church etc.)

7.8.06

4.8.06

whinging

I was having a bit of a whingarama to dad on the phone the other day about the nature of bureaucracy and how long it takes to get things actioned (probably about the Fair Trade proposal which has spent about 8 months in no mans land). I'm all about blaming bureacracy for absolutley everything. Anyway, dad said simply that it works the other way round too; slow to start stuff but also slow to stop you doing stuff. Hurray.

I once wrote an essay about the ridiculousness of bureaucracy, it sorta went:

theocracy- Gods got the power
democracy- we've got the power
autocracy-i've got the power
bureaucracy- the wooden desk has the power

Im pretty sure I got an a+ for it. My proffessor was nuts though.

From Rob Bell in Velvet Elvis

"What's disturbing is when people talk more about hell after this life than they do about hell here and now. As a Christian, I want to do what I can to resist hell coming to earth. Poverty, injustice, suffering- they are all hells on earth and as Christians we oppose them with all our energies."

3.8.06

the mayor loves us

Got a letter from the Mayor. He loves us!

Na Lam Ma! (trying out my Burmese skillz)

Last night I went to the Refugee Centre in Mangere and finally met the family I am to journey with over the next few months. They are from Burma, a mum and dad and a 10 year old girl. They speaketh not a word of English!
Halfway through the evening we got some help from a passing interpreter at which point the dad shared that 6 months ago in Thailand their two sons age 7 and 10 died in a car crash. It was an overwhelming evening.
Excited about being able to be their friend, that is a true thing.
If there are anyway kiwis interested in volunteering with refugees you can check out the RMS website.

2.8.06

this morning

Campbell is presenting our Fair Trade proposal to cabinet this morning! (Cabinet is the SA's national decision makers)
Will keep you posted.

meetings etc

Went to Wellington yesterday for a Make Poverty History planning meeting, for the Month of Mobilisation coming up from 16th September to 17th October (WORLD POVERTY DAY). Will post more on how we can action it later.

Anyway, at meetings like this I realise that I am a bit of a recluse ay. People network and all I want to do is escape and read a book/visit art galleries by myself. Sometimes I yearn to be around people. But it is Very Rare. Which makes me think that maybe I'm not cut out for this policy thing because it's all about The HobNob.

31.7.06

Meeting the Mayor


Yep, met Mr Hubbard. Brilliant chap, into all sorts of fab things. He loved the idea of Auckland being a Fair Trade town and invited us to present to the economic development comittee. Yahoo! The Social Policy Unit is now officially Fair Trade, with a flash certificate to say so. The territorial leadership is still yet to make a call, but I hold firmly to the hope that they will.

Justice and the Army


This is an excerpt from Campbell's (Roberts- Director of the Social Policy Unit) Coutts memorial lecture he just did over in Ozzy. Its pretty awesome.




The voice of The Salvation Army must be heard and we must act to live out justice. This is our Biblical mandate, that we be conveyers of hope in a dark and injustice-ridden world. Injustice can be defeated in Christ. But this requires a response both as The Salvation Army and as individual Salvationists.

The voice and action of The Salvation Army globally where people suffer injustice must be clear and forthright. We must show courage whatever the source of human suffering, whether it be government policies, the actions of global or national corporations, the inaccuracy of the media, a racist public, self-interested political lobbyists, secular ideologies and philosophies, or just plain apathy. This requires engagement with international organisations who work for justice and truth. Regretfully, for a movement with such a global spread it would seem we often fail to commit sufficient time and resource to work in international forums and organisations.

Where are the contemporary voices of The Salvation Army speaking our clearly at this time of global oppression and injustice? Yes, we are involved in significant acts of human care, and we have voiced comments on the scourge of human trafficking, particularly now under the able leadership of Commissioner Helen Clifton. But is this enough? Where is the connection between the huge injustices and the everyday practice of Salvationists around the western world?


Is it time for a global forum of international biblical and theological expertise that can reflect on matters of global injustice in the light of our Biblical and missional mandate? Such a body could give a theological framework and direction to our mission in the world’s international forums. It would also provide an encouragement and unity to national leadership that is engaging with these issues. The international Salvation Army needs to be expressing a gospel of hope in contexts of depressive suffering, ethnic and regional conflicts, environmental destruction, hardening poverty, and unjust trade regimes.

28.7.06

Auckland NZ's first Fair Trade Town?

Have fancy dress party tonight (love those) and line dancing at church tommorrow night!

Meeting the Mayor in the morning to chat about Auckland becoming a Fair Trade Town which will be pretty wicked...maybe I should turn up in my line dancing garb, just to really impress him?

23rd psalm by Mike Riddell

urban shepherd
you lead us through skyscraper canyons
past carbon monoxide
and mirror glass
and busker
you make us to lie down on park benches
and rest beside sewage settlement ponds
you keep our feet on pavement
and escalator
and lift shaft
and guide us through the back alleys
of our city
though we enter the concrete crevasse
we will not fear the chaos
for you are with us
you grant us a site in the sun
at a sidewalk cafe
where we drink cappuccino and are glad
you give us doughnut stalls
and film festivals
and neon signs
surely your goodness and poverty
will follow us all the days of our lives
and we will come at last to the holy city