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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 cafĂ© 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/
[2] http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/01259/statistics_on
[3] http://www.oxfam.org.nz/whatwedo.asp?s1=What%20we%
[4] http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=52706
[5] http://www.oxfam.org/en/news/pressreleases2006/


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.


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