Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Just found this on the U2 Sermons Blog, from Easter Sunday:

I am death
the mighty destroyer
of the world

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Easter balloons

On Sunday morning, I visited my family's church, where I was baptised almost four years ago.
Normally I dread visiting the morning service there. Maybe I shouldn't say this, but everybody just seems miserable and almost dead.
It was pretty different on Sunday morning though. The place was filled with helium balloons, and that one thing seemed to make a huge difference. Toward the end of the service, the pastor talked a bit, and during his talk one of the balloons behind him started to go down towards the floor, then bobbed around in mid air, causing a lot of people to crack up laughing, which was wonderful.
At the end of the service we each wrote a message of hope on a small piece of paper and tied it onto a balloon. We took them all outside, let them go, and watched them float out over the Dandenongs, until we couldn't see them.

Sunday, March 27, 2005


Went up to the Belgrave Heights Easter Convention tonight (Saturday).
Tonight David Jackman was talked about Romans 6:1-14, which is about claiming freedom from sin. One thing he suggested, based on verse 13,

'Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness,'
was to offer each part of bodies to God, for his purposes, every day. He also suggested asking for help from God, in not letting Satan use any of our body parts.
It reminded me of a U2 song, 'Yahweh', from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. I use this song to dedicate the different parts of my body to God.
Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don’t make a fist
Take this mouth
So quick to criticise
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahewh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Hi Steve!

John told me last night that you've been reading our blogs, which is great! Feel free to join in the conversation, if you want.
(Steve is the new pastor at our church.)

Expectation vs uncertainty

On the bus yesterday, there were two Christians from different kinds of churches, who were talking about the differences between the ways their churches experience Easter.
One way they talked about was experiencing death of the Friday and the Saturday with the expectation fo the resurrection on Sunday.
The other way was by experiencing the Friday and the Saturday as though we don't know that the resurrection is coming on Sunday, like Jesus' first disciples had to. They didn't have any reason to celebrate yet, and had evey reason to mourn.

Last night, at church, Tucks got us to listen to 'Secret Ambition' by Michael W. Smith. The chorus ends with,

Nobody knew His secret ambition
Was to give His life away
It reminded me of what the people on the bus had been talking about. A lot of the time we forget that the people whose stories are told in the Bible didn't know what was going to happen next or how their stories would end.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Went to a party last week. Most of the people were on either alcohol, pot, acid or ecstasy. A few of them were on all four.
Most of them were pretty close to my age, and not addicted yet. But there were also a few guys who were about thirty and had been doing this since their late teens. They were completely demented from it, and the scary thing was that this didn't seem to bother any of the younger guys, and they didn't seem to realise that they could end up the same.

Friday, March 18, 2005

I just resigned from Universe Ballarat. I'll explain why later.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

'Jesus Talks to a Gay Man'

A waiter came to the table, wearing a bright pink "His+His" t-shirt and a "Silence=Death" armband, and raised one eyebrow at the man seated at the table in front of him in the "Come Follow Me" t-shirt. Jesus said to him, "Will you give me a drink?"
Found this great postmodern version of a Jesus story at Ragamuffin Ramblings, via Planet Telex

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Our UG

One thing we've changed this year at Universe in Ballarat is that we're only having big meetings evey three weeks, and concerntrating more on smaller groups, which are (for the moment) called Universe Groups or UGs. (There's more stuff about UGs here.)

I'm glad to say I'm leading the smallest of the UGs. I met with the three other guys (all first-years) this afternoon, and we went and sat on the grass under one of the oak trees outside the Library. Since we don't all know each other that well, we've just started off talking about what we're reading in scriptures at the moment, and what God's been showing us through it. We also talked about realism, acorns, farms and how Christianity became the unofficial official religion of the Roman Empire. A girl from Nackers' (he's in my UG) course came over and joined us for a while. She'd read the Bible a little bit before (her grandma used to make her go to church) and likes Buddhism, so we talked about Buddhism a bit too.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Mourning, struggles and celebration

For church, the last two Tuesday nights, we've split the gathering into four different sections: Welcome, Worship, Word and Witness. (I don't agree with the compartmentalisation, but have been working with it.) Each gathering a different person has organised each section, and last night I got to 'lead' the 'Worship' segment.

I talked a little bit about how most of the time, in terms of musical worship, we think of celebratory songs, although there is a much wider variety of songs included in the Psalms. There are psalms of celebration, but there are also psalms for times of mourning, and times of struggles.

Come to where I'm from
As an example of a song of mourning, I chose 'In the Sun' from Jospeh Arthur's album, Come to where I'm from. I chose this because Arthur's protagonist sounds like he is finding it hard to find hope, isn't sure if he even believes in God when he says, 'May God's love be with you.' I thought it might help us come to terms with the fact that a lot of people in our society haven't been finding a lot of hope in the Christian idea of God, and are trying to work out for themselves what they believe ('If I find my own way / How much will I find?').

As an example of a song of struggles, I used 'Who will Save Your Soul?' from Spirit by Jewel. I chose this song because it confronts many of the problems people face trying to survive. I also chose it because rather than expecting God to fix everything, it repeats 'Who will save your souls if you won't save your own?' implying that we've also our own responsibility to work towards making things work again.
Some stuff that other people came up with is that when Jewel sings 'Who will save your soul when it comes to the flowers,' she might mean the flowers at a funeral.
Also, when she sings, 'So we pray to as many different gods as there are flowers,' this could be a reference to how we try to get security from so many things other than, or as well as, God.

(comes after 'calibration' in the dictionary)
I didn't just put the celebration song at the end to finish on a high. I put it last also because before we can really celebrate, we need to mourn to come to terms with our losses, and to struggle, so that we can get to a point where we can celebrate again. A lot of the time in our public gatherings, we Christians just try to celebarte and celebrate, and I wonder why my heart isn't always into it. I think this is because we don't go through the mourning and struggles, and so there isn't much to celebrate. It's like we're trying to pretend we're still living in the Christian Era - something a lot of us never even experienced.
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
For this I chose 'All because of You' from U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, because I understand it as a song celebrating the fact that even though I'm pretty stuffed up, God's fixing me up.
We had a couple of different interpretations of the bridge:

I'm alive
I'm being born
I just arrived, I'm at the door
Of the place I started out from
And I want back inside
I'm pretty sure both interpretations were that it was talking about being reborn as a follower of Messiah. However, one interpretations was that it was saying 'I want back inside' 'the place I started out from' because following Messiah is hard, and the protagonist wants to go back to their old way life.
One of the ways I look at it, it seems that the protagonist has not yet gone through the 'door', and is anticipating going back to 'the place I started out from', 'back inside' God's family.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Beaten man

Yesterday, in Adaptaions (a film class), our lecturer showed us this picture and asked what we thought was going on.
It looked like it might have been showing a stage in an initiation rite, or the punishment of a criminal.
It was easier to recognise what was going on when the lecturer showed us the full series of paintings.
After he'd shown us the full series, he explained that a church in Lodwar, Kenya had comissioned local artists to paint a series of paintings of the Stations of the Cross. This was a better way of communicating to the 'Jesus story' to the locals than teaching them to read the Bible.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Yesterday I rewatched Adaptation, for one of my classes.
Adaptation is an adaptation of Susan Orlean's book, The Orchid Thief. But it's also a film about the difficulty Charles Kaufman (played by Nicolas Cage) had adapting the book into a screenplay. In a sense, the film is about Kaufman trying to adapt The Orchid Thief into a film, and includes parts of the resulting film. The film is all about how the same film was made.

One thing I'd forgotten about this film, since the first time I watched it, was how vulnerable Kaufman has made himself. His character is very nervous about meeting new people, impatient with is (invented) identical twin brother and is always worrying about something. The film begins with a voiceover of Kaufman rambling about his weight, baldness, tendency to sweat.
The thing I like about this is that it frees other people up to be able to be honest about their problems and anxieties.