i just joined world revolution

I have been consumed by the unjust state of the world latley, more than ever before.
For some reason it has become a huge burden on my heart and am feeling renewed sense of urgency for justice for the worlds poor who everyday are just being ripped of, displaced and utterley, utterly oppressed by the enforced laws of rich countries, under the guise of liberalisation.
There are a few things going on to oppose the abuse: e-alliance is a christian thing, world social forum, world revolution. Why isn't the Salvation Army involved in these spheres? Surely as a global movement we need to act and think globally, not just on specific issues (although props to those pushing trafficking campaigns etc) but standing against global politics and transnational corporations. (As an aside I just read that in 2001 only 32% of the EU's aid actually went to the poorest countries, 63% of it went to middle income nations who were political allies and also that EVERYDAY poor countries pay rich contries 43 million POUNDS, which hardly touches the surface on the interest of their debt!)
Shivers. I am sure it saddens and maddens the Creator. I pose the question I sorta asked in my last post once more:
Should the Army be proactively fighting the oppressive rules put on the globe by the few dominating developed nations who seek to add to their already excessive wealth?

(Sorry that wasn't a very objectively put question was it! But please comment, I am interested to see if I have gone mad)

PS. Its a depressing thing cos I recognise that perhaps every Salvationist has a bee in their bonnet about how the Army should be more involved in this thing, and this thing, and this thing...


ridiculous statistics and missing prophets

we had a stark wake up call this morning at exactly 4 o clock when both us realised (in our sleep) that we had just missed our slot in the 24/7 prayer room down at church. I am sure it is meant to happen 5 minutes before your due? You know? Wake up at 1:55 and then its like "wow, we nearly missed our slot but the Lord woke us up" rather than "Oh. rats. we just missed it"
It was kind of good though as a few weeks prior I had been haughtily sharing how I thought it was such a cop out that people don't go down to the prayer room or fill in all the slots anymore... wah! After mine and Tims sleep in this morning we joined the throng crying "well... God is outside of time and space" hehe.
This morning kicked off with an Officers Fellowship Breakfast, I presented FairTrade to them- its the first day of Fair Trade Fortnight- people were into it, took the resources etc. So that is exciting. When I stand up there though and say stuff like "The existing rigged trade rules rob developing countries of 1.3 billion a day- 14 times more than they receive in aid" I feel like a conspiracy theorist, like I have lost my mind because it is such a ridiculous statistic. But the sad thing about that is that these magnificently impressive stats are all true.
I am aware that now the Fair Trade ball is rolling here it is really time to get more serious- FT is an incredibley significant first step but there has to be ways to tackle the structural issues (World Bank, WTO etc) but do you think it is the Army's place? I am sure Booth would be right into this. I am reading a good book: A peoples world, by John Madeley. About economic globalisation and the desperate need for alternatives to the current system.
There is a cool quote (for a PM) in there by Blair
"the radical decision is usually the right one. The right one is usually the hard one"
I have been inspired by the prophets today (spent the avo at the theological college which does that kind of think to you ay)- particuarly Ezekiel... how they challenged corrupt power and domination, recognizing the need for restoration and liberation. They were so brave. Where are these prophets today? The challengers more often than not exist outside of a relationship with Jesus... which is weird and sad and screwed.


springs of Te Aroha and spring harvest

Back in the office after our little break at Te Aroha (Yes, that once famous hot springs town where Albert Osbourne penned his song about coming to the healing waters) (what is weird though is that there is a big bronze plaque there saying "Hereith art the spot"- whats the point! so strange) We just about drowned and got blown back to Auckland every night in our little tent, in what had to be the worst weather all year- WAH! haha. oh well. We sat up and talked with this guy who was living at the campsite- it was pretty shamefilling as he was a simple guy ay, but a Jesus lover that knew his Bible back to front, spouting verses here there and everywhere. It was such a challenge to Tim and I about being serious about the importance of the Word, we more often than not just try to hide the spirit of the Bible in our hearts, rather than the words (bit of a cop out ay?)
Then the big Salvation Army sports event, taupo 7's was awesome on Tuesday. We had 20 of us from Mt Albert and it felt so rad- like a real sense of community.

Hmm. You know how one thing keeps popping up all the time, a saying, or a song, or a bible verse- for me at the mo it is the idea that the need for justice stems from the idea that all of us are made in Gods image, it is almost one of the formative points of the Bible, and is strong throughout. I do really feel that young people are so grasping this justice thing- Our Easter Camp was one place where I felt it, then my sister Jo emailed about Spring Harvest, in the UK- she says

"The theme was One God and the way it coincidentally worked out was that everyone on team was all aboutthe justice thing. It meant that every night, regardless of the themethe talk was really about justice and transformation and hope for themarginalised. And the young people so got that. I had to take a group into an all age worship thing to lead prayers and we got them giving testimonies about what God had shown them during the week. They wereall laying down hard out challenges to the adults to live in a waythat made a difference, to be hope in their communities, to lovepeople they may never meet. We were given 3/4minutes but actually took10 cos the 2000 people there were cheering and clapping so much! Wewere launching a traffiking campaign and one lad wanted to talk aboutthat. One night there was a prayer vigil and so he and his friendswanted to join it but they couldn't find it so they just stoodtogether and prayed. He said "it was amazing to know that you don'tneed a flashy venue or a great band to make a difference. Just thewords of your heart can bring people hope." It was awesome. Theseyoung people are so so middle class and I just don't think hear thisstuff much but they grabbed it and ran with it. Awesome eh?'


the wonder of Whatipu and a prayerful husband

Yesterday Tim and I drove a few K’s out of the Big Smoke to one of these glorious coastal destinations available only by a gnarly gravel road. It was the most magnificent day, not a cloud in sight, and Whatipu welcomed us with the song of the summers last Cicada’s.
Whatipu is a strange and beautiful place- huge caves burrow into its cliffs, miles of wetlands stretch out then quickly turn into sand dunes, which sharply duck into the heavy breaking waves. We hardly saw anyone all day- a massive contrast to a hundred years or so ago when it was a hub of activity as the Europeans raped the landscape of all its mighty Kauri trees- they did that a lot. After a hard day logging the Europeans would party in the caves- they sold Whatipu’s soul while dancing in it’s heart.

So much uniquity- all along the sand, where the sea had just rolled were these mounds of sand, which when we stepped on them they would pop like huge air bubbles! And in some places we would step and for half a foot around our foot’s landing would appear burst bubbles. And all across the wetlands you could see the sun catching these sparkles- they were these little spiders who create a web kite and then the wind caches it and they emigrate! The few people we did see were decidedly mad… a guy playing soulfully on his saxophone, a girl marching purposefully out to the sand dunes with a huge piece of rolled up fabric (you have to understand this is the middle of the wilderness!)…

It was a day filled with such awe at Gods creation- so much so that for the first time since being in Auckland I was truly inspired towards an artistic gesture! Hehe.

Some of you will be pleased to hear confirmation that my husband is really rather spiritual- last night I woke up to him mumbling away, and thought “Oh here we go again, Mr SleepTalker strikes once more” but then I heard him say “And Lord Jesus I just ask…” and I thought “Argh! Oh no! I fell asleep during our Good Night prayers” and started feeling really bad, until his prayer drifted off into nowhere, and it dawned on me that it was 3 o clock in the morning and we couldn’t possibly have been praying that long, and that Tim was indeed sleep praying! I asked him about it this morning and he didn’t remember a dash of the nights happenings. But maybe the cool thing about that is that God remembered, and heard, and might even answer them! (or does that present a theological dilemma?) (and I guess its either a good or bad thing depending on what Tim was praying… “and, Lord, please can we wake up in a bed of chocolate sauce..” that would be a bit messy.)
We are off to Te Aroha tomorrow for a couple of days break.For some pictures of Whatipu check out: www.charlotte.net.nz/ album/whatipu/



I have heard a couple of youth speakers lately who come from a really fundamentalist perspective, as I guess a lot of jesus lovers do. And it got me thinking that a lot of young people want to hear this black and whiteness. It is kinda easy to be a speaker that says “Christians must make a stand against Bills that protect homosexuals and prostitutes” because it clicks with youth that there is this strong line between good and bad.
But, is it that strong? I just so don’t believe it is. I heard someone say “the Bible is black and white and we need our kids to see that and act on it” but surely we know the Bible isn’t. If it was we wouldn’t have swung from being totally anti women to now ordaining them whenever we can.
It is messy, but I do believe that we need to be honest with young people and say “there is a whole lot of grey”. When it comes to moral and ethical stuff it is complicated, there is no easy stand, but in everything we need to view it through how best to show Gods love and how best to do justice. And even then it is not always simple.
I think this teaches openness to God and his voice regularly, rather than responding from dogma. What do you reckon?

a fair cuppa:

A Fair Cuppa Morning Tea at Mt Albert Salvation Army 10-11:30 AM with live jazz, Linda Broom from Oxfam and Ross Gower from The Salvation Army.


wow we made it to monday!

sooo, Easter is over... and praise the Lord no one got promoted to glory under our care (although there were a few K.O's and some sore boys rude bits- they got a bit silly on the last night and had pain dares) and there were no extra days slipped in without us knowing. And, I gotta say that as far as the Love revolution goes, I think we got in on it! The youth were amazing- we sent them off to work at childrens homes, the Maori mission house, old folks homes, hostels, the hospital, all sorts, doing gardening, painting, visiting. And they got stuck right on in! Yesterday we had a massive extravaganza at Aotea Sq for the community with bouncy castles, candy floss, easter eggs, Moped reggae band, and loads of people came along- including a huge majority of Auckland street people, and everywhere you looked were our young people with their rEVOLution tee's on getting amongst it- chatting with people, playing touch with the homeless crew. As the youth shared this morning about how their lives have been impacted through these connections, and how they are gonna reach out in loving action in Jesus name in their own communities, Brenton and I were reminded about how critical it is to listen to Gods voice and obey it. Doing Easter this way, in the city, with a mission focus, was so strange for so many, and we recieved a lot of angst about it. But you know, Im so sure, especially now, that it was exactly the ticket. It would be rad if we have changed the look of Easter for Aucklands youth! That this is now the new model- Easter is surely the perfect impetus for engaging with the community in word and deed.
So from an overall perspective I feel so stoked... but also had a huge conviction over the weekend too. Our TY, Lyndon Buckingham, did the speak yesterday morning, about living in light of the resurection... and as he spoke it was as if every word was an arrow aimed for my heart, convicting me with every blow, about how I still hold so much of myself back from God. Shivers, on Friday night I did the talk about only when you give your life away do we ever receive the real (full and meaningful) life Jesus was on about, but yesterday it hit me that I come no where near to giving my life away in His name... no where near. I was so ashamed. I attempted to lay myself all on the altar yesterday... but I am horribly aware that those revelationary decisions become so easily ethereal.
Staying at Tim's parents tonight, our house is a mess- had to rip all the floors up cos of the flooding. Popped in on Friday, during a downtime of camp, to pick up some stuff for my speak, bumped into Tom, the dreaded landlord. He layed into me ay, called us f^&*ing gypsies for not having net curtains. (??!) He didn't get that camp was our priority over the floors for the weekend.... we have started looking for a new flat. He is too scary I think.
V. tired, well up for a sleep on a bed- what wonderful creations. Sleeping on the floor made me feel every morning as if foot high elves had crept in every night yeilding hammers and had bashed every muscle. I think those feelings mean you are getting a bit vintage, does it?
Oh, one wonderful bonus from the weekend is that I have 40 young guys who can empathise with my complaints about Tims sleep talking (sorry, verbal diahrea) as every morning they would share stories of him sitting up and acosting the room with "Whose turn is it to read next?" and things like that. hahaha. what a sausage.



whats with me, tim, floods and our house? we have lived there for a mere 8 weeks or something and last night experienced out THIRD yes THIRD flood! The first one was my fault, forgot to put our washing machine hose in the sink, so it just poured everywhere, but we rescued it in time. The second was rain through our roof which was the roofereirs fault. But last night we had just settled down to watch Modokai (or something like that- trying desperatly to find a film for the campers to watch on Saturday thats with the theme.) Decided we wanted some home made ginger beer (tim has a brewery) so hop on up and HEllo? WHat is this 5 inch pool of water doing throughout our house??!! A little plastic thing had snapped and the pipe went mental spewing water out all over our whole little house!!! We spent the next hour scooping it out with ice cream cartons (Lucky we are into our ice cream)- so whose fault is that then ay! Shivers, how ironic, without adoubt the busiest week I have had at least for about three or four years! Thats why i have dropped of the blog radar as far as posting goes i guess). Tim was really crosswith the little plastic screw but i wasn't even a bit annoyed, i just thought it was soooo funny, how this was the very very last thing we needed. and i really kept chuckling as we were working away. I think that made tim bit more mad. Usually I'd be spitting tacks ay, but I think secretly i was just soooooooo releived that it wasn't my fault (these thing usually are cos i am mrs clumsy and mad).
Anyway we gave up and started watching the film again, on the laptop, no t.v.
THere is still water everywhere, right the way through our carpets. Luckily our house is only about 2 sqm big, so it shouldnt take too long to dry, and at least we are away the whole of easter.
And Easter Revolution starts tonight! ARGH! I am VERY excited. But really praying it doesn't rain (pretty much EVERYTHING is outside, wahh!) and desperatley hoping we haven't overlooked something huge! (Like an entire day- have this dream where we wake up in btween saturday and sunday and its blifigday which has snuck in, and we have no plans for the campers)
Yes, so just wanted to say HAPPY EASTER. Really hope this year is significant in your journey of trying to understand the depth of what Jesus has done for us all. Its so easy to tke it for granted. It is so radical that he just loves us that much. Praise the lord ay! WAHHOOOO


Crime, Crucifixion and the Forgotten Art of Lament

Just read a wicked article by kiwi bible scholar Chris Marshall, who does some awesome justice theology. It discusses the nature of lament, and our lack of it, using Jesus's lament on the cross. He speaks specifically about crime and restorative justice, which is also what the social policy units latest (and greatest?) report is on, which you can read here, along with our other ones.
Here's a snippet from Chris:
"When Jesus laments the virulence of evil, he doesn't do so from a safe distance. He does not stand on the sidelines bemoaning how terrible things are. Instead he suffers with us as he actively takes up for us the struggle against evil. He gives his lifeblood to defeat the power of sin, to heal its victims and to reconcile its perpetrators to God.
If we are to join with Jesus in lamenting the impact of evil, we must also join with him in working to overcome evil. And we must do so in the same way Jesus did, not by deploying coercive power to wipe out evildoers but by trusting in the power of reconciling love to restore relationships and to make things new."


an abundance of o's and a cubbyhole

has anyone ever taken note of the amount of songs in the salvation army song book that begin with "o". you should really check out the index sometime its quite mind-boggling. the song book is on lotus notes too! we are blessed.
o- and tim told me that he thinks vestibule means "cubbyhole" which is decidedly different to "hall" isn't. But then it might be rather more appropriate in this case, while there is only two sitting in it.
also, I have been challenged latley about how easy it is in these largely paperpushing "motivational" jobs, like at DHQ, to become all talk. and talk is cheap, right?
Or all tuhituhi (write, in Maori) as may be more the case when your blogging, hehe.

Here, let me share the end of a James K Baxter poem with you:

When we share our fags and blankets Christ begins to shine
Our flesh becomes the bread; Our blood becomes the wine
I am cowshit in the garden So that the crops can grow
Ko Ihu taku wai, The Lord is my drink
Ko Ihu taku kai, The Lord is my food
Ko Ihu taku moni, The lord is my bank account
Ko Ihu taku mana, The Lord is my good name
Ko Ihu taku aroha, The Lord is my heart
Ko Ihu taku mate, The Lord is my death pain.
To be a dead goat That the flies gather on
The sun in his mercy Can make the teeth shine.
Even our sins are His Let the new pain begin.


Trade justice needs YOU!

What are you up to for Fair Trade Fortnight? Theres loads of options: research the issues, put on a morning tea at church, have a prayer time at church, do a bible study in your small group, do activities with your youth crew- get amongst it. Global justice/ poverty issues are huge and overwhelming, but trade justice is an issue we can directly impact.
Check out Trade Aid for a list of happenings over the 2 weeks.
Check out CSW for Fair Trade worship ideas.
Check out tearfund for rad youth resources
Check out a fair cuppa and sign up for a morning tea pack.

If you have any radical ideas leave a comment!


The Tuesday Vestibule of Kudos

I just read an Urban Army post which highlights some blogging dangers/sins, of which, I must admit, in my pocket-sized experience of blogging I may be guilty of too many- aren’t I the worlds worst!!

In an effort to combat one particular of these, recognising that many thoughts that go through my head are super critical, ranty and cynical I am going to begin the Tuesday Vestibule of Kudos. (Okay, okay, yes I did just enter “Hall” and “Fame” into thesaurus.com) It is quite self explanatory (if indeed you pay a visit to thesaurus.com yourself, or thou art a person with a behemothic* vocab). Basically, it’s a tribute to someone who inspires me, and part of the process is me googling there names and putting a link up. Hehe. I am a bit sad aren’t I.
I will try to make livingness a criteria to start with (and move on to dead heros when I run out). Hmm, wonder if I need to get consent or something from people...Shivers, might look into it. Anyway:

Tuesday Vestibule of Kudos
Majors Sandy and Daryl Crowden. My corps officers. Although I have only been at Mt Albert a wee while, as have they, I truly appreciate their energy, down to earthness, and passion for justice and culturally relevant Jesus journey. They are kind of from Ozzy where they began an aboriginal church, but also from Scotland and India (!) Last week Daryl emailed and said “Hey, Fair Trade fortnights coming up, we should do something at church about it” – I was so stoked, seeing as I was about to approach him about the same thing. It is so rad having C.O’s who are clicked on to the scene about them, and see church as a place for action. Amen and hallelujah. We also had a cool meeting on Sunday, interactive and creative, and I got to play with plasticine.

Easter is approaching so very fast (A bit like me on the bargain bike I just bought from Trade Me) and things are suddenly falling into place, but also out of place too, (i.e, finally found caterers, but have hardly any registered whom the caterers can feed) which is freaking Brenton and I out quite decidedly! But, we both feel so so strongly that God is good and faithful, and wants to challenge our young people towards action, wants to turn the focus of our corps outward, and we hope that God might move us in this stuff this next week. ARGH next week? ??!! wowza

*Word of the day: Behemothic = Huge