Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Tribute to Minimal Techno

Check this out, it is seriously supercool. Found it via Fernando's Desk, which is a very interesting blog.

'too much magic not enough art?'

DJ Haggis from wee beautiful pict has written a response to Darren Wright's podcasting whinge. Both are worth a read.
Haggis says:

Where the tiny few who bought the performing/copyrights to christianity and church - are we now drowning in an ocean of crap music, digital art, blogs, podcasts, videoblogs... amazing gifts given by Christ to a world he adores- end up becoming thin attenuated ghosts of what they could be - too much magic not enough art? too much greed for power not enough thirst for real relationship?

Monday, August 29, 2005

That's not good ...

I'm in the library at Mt Helen campus, and there is heaps of water coming out of the ceiling and dripping through one of the lights.

Jesus the Fool?

In their book Beyond Prediction (Raylene from Cornerstone lent it to me while I was up there), John Drane, Ross Clifford and Philip Johnson explain the Jewish and Christian symbolism of the Tarot.
Their interpretation of the Fool card ↓, the most powerful in the deck, is that it represents Messiah, Jesus.

He seems as though he's about to walk off a cliff, which seems like a pretty foolish thing to do. However, this may be because he is not subject, but master to the laws that we take for granted, and doesn't fear gravity. Perhaps he only appears to be a fool because he bases his behaviour on different assumptions.

As I've been going over the gospels again, I think I've been coming to understand this interpretation better. It seems that Jesus talked a lot in riddles. Sure, we normally call them parables, but essentially I think they're riddles, and most people didn't get them right away. Here's an example:

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, 'Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.'
In reply Jesus declared, 'I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.'
'How can a man be born when he is old?' Nicodemus asked. 'Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!'
(John 3:1-4)

Shopping for community?

On the weekend I heard someone suggest that people might spend so much time in shopping centres and malls because they want to be around other people and thus feel like they are part of a community. (I think it was from Trav's CD of Erwin McManus' Brisbane seminar, on the way back from Cobden.) I remember that when I lived in Melbourne I used to go to Knox City a lot when I was feeling lonely, to be around other people, even though I ususally didn't know any of them.

Geoff Bullock at Signposts

In case anyone is interested, Geoff Bullock, who used to be the music pastor at Hillsong has been commenting quite a bit at Signposts. He's also been allowing them to publish revised lyrics to some of his old songs.

Come on, fall over!

Last night I decided I was going to go to the church service for the first time in a while, but found out that our church had cancelled the evening service so people could go to hear this guest speaker from interstate at one of the Pentecostal churches. I went along because I was pleased that we 'Baptists'* were going to a church that has previously been seen as some kind of opponent.

Anyway. At the end of the service, I went up the front to be prayed for, and the guest speaker pushed me over. Because I had my hands in the air and my head back, he got me off balance. I probably could have got my balance back and stopped him from pushing me over, but I didn't really want to resist him for some reason. I didn't want to make a fuss.
For anyone who is a bit confused as to why this guy would be pushing people over in church, it's something that happens sometimes or a lot in some - probably not all - pentecostal churches. I think it's supposed to be that the Holy Spirit knocks you down, and I don't doubt that it could be real sometimes.
However, the guy had been saying in his sermon that If you claim that God told you something, when you just made it up, then that is blasphemy (and I agree). Therefore, wouldn't pushing someone over and pretending it's the Holy Spirit doing it be just as blasphemous?

*I don't actually consider myself to be a Baptist.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Solomon the plagiarist?

"There’s nothing new under the sun," King Solomon said, without crediting his source.
('Let us Decompose', Relevant)
I think he means deconstruct, but anyway.

Friday, August 26, 2005

'Mud Story'

If you want to read the story I started writing last night, here it is. If you see any problems with it or whatever (or if you can think of a title) please tell me.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A World of Mud

This is a short fragment I've written for the Grainery Lane writers group. (This weeks theme is 'mud'.)

Lieju lay in bed dreaming about things made from mud. There were an awful lot of things made of mud. Mud houses and mud castles, where mud people went about their mud lives. Mud birds flew across backdrops of mud clouds. Mud fish* swam the in muddy rivers and seas.

Then Lieju woke up.
Thank goodness it was just a dream, thought Lieju. Imagine if the world really was made completely of mud! Stuff would be falling apart all the time, or drying out and getting all crumbly...
Then he remembered that the world really was made completely of mud.**
Oh dear, he though, with his muddy, clay brain. Not very sensible, mud.

As usual, Lieju had dried out considerably overnight. He’d developed a thin, crusty skin, which made his movements rougher than normal. Nothing, however, that couldn’t be fixed by a short soak in the tank.
Lieju peeled himself away from his bed (they’d become somewhat attached), crossed his roughly spherical, mud-carved chamber and climbed into his corrugated mud tank. Lieju sighed as he sank into the cool, murky water. Beneath the surface, he used his hands to knead his flesh, allowing the water to soak right in. Once he was done, he stepped out of the tank. He didn’t want to go runny.

Lieju climbed out of his chamber, into a hallway of Gyttja, which was currently the the Regat of Ierde’s largest fortress. Until two weeks previous, Maapera had been the largest, but an unexpected mudstorm had considerably diminished it’s grand towers.

* These often got sloppy.
** This made air tricky. Not as tricky, however, as in a neighbouring universe, which was made entirely of ham Ray Charles.

Two stories of Judas

In Matthew's account of the gospel, it says,

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 'I have sinned,' he said, 'for I have betrayed innocent blood.'
'What is that to us?' they replied. 'That's your responsibility.'
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
(Matthew 27:3-5)
But in Acts, Dr Luke writes,
With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.
(Acts 1:18)
I don't think I totally agree with inerrancy of the scriptures. I definitely think that they're inspired by God, but I still think that leaves room for human ¿errors?. (I'm a bit hesitant about describing them as errors.) In that ↑ case there's obviously two different stories of the same event. I'm pretty sure they can't both be right.

The Last Supper

The Last Supper
, Simon Ushakov, 1685

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, 'I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.'
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, 'Surely not I, Lord?'
Jesus replied, 'The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.'
Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, 'Surely not I, Rabbi?'
Jesus answered, 'Yes, it is you.'
(Matthew 26:20-25)
I think if I was Judas I would have been pretty scared. I wonder why the other disciples didn't try and stop him?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

'Who do you say I am?'

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say the Son of Man is?'
They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.'
'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?'
Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'
(Matthew 16:13-16)
Darren Wight wrote a post about this at Alternative Hymnal the other day.
I think one of the reasons I really like Jesus Christ Superstar is because it encourages the audience to wrestle with this question. It doesn’t offer an easy answer.
When Peter comes to the conclusion that Jesus is Messiah, it seems like Jesus starts predicting his death so that his followers will stop expecting him to overthrow the Romans and re-establish the kingdom.

'... should we expect someone else?'

When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?'
(Matthew 11:2-3)
Erwin McManus says in The Barbarian Way (we read that on the way to Broken Hill) that he reckons Baptist John was having doubts about whether Jesus really was Messiah (or just a very naughty boy) because he'd ended up in prison, even though he’d supported Jesus.
McManus talks about how we often expect 'the centre of God’s will' to be a safe easy place, despite the fact that a lot people in the scriptures (Job, Jeremiah and Paul come to mind) that lived according to God’s will had a lot of awful things happen to them.
Jesus replied, 'Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.'
(Matthew 11:4-6)

Urgent work

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'
(Matthew 9:35-38)
Can't remember where I heard I read this – it was either in Shaping of Things to Come (which I don’t have a copy of anymore) or at one of the Forge intensive open nights late last year (and I don’t usually take notes) – but the First Century Palestinian context is important in understanding this parable.
These days, because of genetic engineering and pesticides and stuff, farmers don’t have to be as on the ball about when they harvest a crop. When Jesus was around they didn’t have all that, so crops had to be harvested at exactly the right time. If they weren't, they’d get eaten up by pests, or they’d just go bad. So when Jesus says that there aren’t many workers, that’s an urgent problem.

They're drilling through the wall!

I'm in the computer lab at Camp Street. The computer lab at camp street is joined onto this cafe I don't remember the name of [Actually maybe I do. It might be called Cincotta's.] which seems to renovate every other week.
They're renovating at the moment and today they're drilling into our wall. It keeps sounding like they're going to go right through, hopefully improving the awful piece of 'art' that is bolted to said wall.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

'Follow me'

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you fishers of men.' At once they left their nets and followed him.
(Matthew 4:18-20)
I always used to forget that they didn't know how the story was going to end, or that following Jesus would take up the rest of their lives. Now I always wonder what they thought when Jesus said that. Did they think he wanted to hire them? Did they think he just needed them for a minute?
This begs the question: what do I mean if I agree to follow Jesus?

'Wake Up'

by Arcade Fire
from Funeral

Filled up
My heart
With nothin'
Told me
Not to cry

But now that
I'm older
My heart's
And I
See that it's a lie

Wake up
Hold your
Mistake up
Before they
Turn the
Summer into dust

If the children
Don't grow up
Our bodies get

Our hearts get torn up
We're just
A million little gods causing rain storms
Turning every good thing to rust
I guess
We'll just have to adjust

With my lighning bolts a-glowin' I can see where I am going to be when
the reaper he reaches and touches my hand
With my lighning bolts a-glowin' I can see where I am goin'
Better look out below!

Originally heard this song because U2 have been playing it at the start of each show before they go on stage, and my brother Doomie has a few bootlegs.
Not sure why, but I really like it. It seems like it's mourning the results of us thinking we're gods.

How amusment

Sean has started a blog, which is quite good. Gareth and Alt Tab (as in my housemate) have also started blogs, which are quite good, but I hadn't explicitly mentioned yet. Gareth's blog is the only decent blog on MSN Spaces, and probably justifies it's existence.

Another thing I find dangerously amusing is Hydro Lite Mineral Water™. However, I do not find Hydro Lite Mineral Water™ particularly amusing because of its falvour or wetness, or even because it is particularly Lite. It's not even because each unit contains 1.4 servings. (That's right, you can use it to serve 1.4 people.)
However, it is the packaging that sets this mineral water apart from other mineral waters. It doesn't exactly come in a bottle. It doesn't exactly come in a can either. It comes in this thing that is not quite sure whether to be a bottle or a can. It is mostly like a bottle, except with the neck cut off and the top of an aluminium can stuck on the end, and that my friends (not to alienate any non-firends who may be reading) is why I choose Hydro Lite Mineral Water™.
You can get it at Coles. If you live in Melbourne, Canberra or Sydney, you can even buy it online.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Going to Melbourne

Catching the train to Melbourne in an hour. I've been really sick for the last week, and haven't been getting any better because of the weather here, and because it's been impossible to get my room warm. So I'm going to stay with my family until I get better.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Fountain Gate is in the Bible.


This weekend I read Ezra, which is basically about some of the Israelites being released from exile in Persia. King Cyrus of Persia actually pays for the Temple in Jerusalem to be rebuilt (Ezra 1).
Some people think Cyrus might have had the first charter of human rights written up.

Head Beetle

Yesterday me and Trav and Craig (Trav's brother) went down to Warrnambool to talk to people who want to be involved in the Scripture Union mission there.
We were using the Presbyterian church's building, and their elder was there when we got there.
I'd met him before, so I said, 'Hi, you're the elder aren't you?'
'Yes,' he said, 'I'm the Head Beetle.'
We spent much of the day trying to work out why this guy had said he was the beetle. We even messaged Chris and asked if it was some kind of Presbyterian tradition.
Eventually we were told that he was actually the beadle, which means he has to carry this great big Bible into the chapel at the start of the church service.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Just been reading 2 Chronicles 28. What's happened is that Israel (Samaria) has just beaten Judah in battle, and captured a lot of prisoners. However, the way they treated the prisoners doesn't seem to be the norm:

But a prophet of the LORD named Oded was there, and he went out to meet the army when it returned to Samaria. He said to them, 'Because the LORD, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand. But you have slaughtered them in a rage that reaches to heaven. And now you intend to make the men and women of Judah and Jerusalem your slaves. But aren't you also guilty of sins against the LORD your God? Now listen to me! Send back your fellow countrymen you have taken as prisoners, for the LORD's fierce anger rests on you.'

Then some of the leaders in Ephraim — Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berekiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai — confronted those who were arriving from the war. 'You must not bring those prisoners here,' they said, 'or we will be guilty before the LORD. Do you intend to add to our sin and guilt? For our guilt is already great, and his fierce anger rests on Israel.'

So the soldiers gave up the prisoners and plunder in the presence of the officials and all the assembly. The men designated by name took the prisoners, and from the plunder they clothed all who were naked. They provided them with clothes and sandals, food and drink, and healing balm. All those who were weak they put on donkeys. So they took them back to their fellow countrymen at Jericho, the City of Palms, and returned to Samaria.
(2 Chronicles 28:9-15)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The soul as a garden

Someone just sent this to me in an email:

What is the spiritual battle? Well, the soul is a garden divided into two parts. On one half are planted thorny bushes, and on the other half flowers. We also have a water pump with two taps and two channels. The on guides the water to the thorns and the other to the flowers. I always have the choice to open one or the other tap. I leave the thorns without water and they dry up, I water the flowers and they blossom.
(Elder Porphyrios, Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit - The Lives and Counsels of Contemporary Elders of Greece, p170)

The Sandman #5: A Game of You

On Sunday I read A Game of You, from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.

Here's a page from it (click to view it full size):

What's just happened is that Thessaly (the one with the big glasses) has just summoned the Moon, who doesn't appear to be very happy.

It seems like the depiction of the Moon's been influenced by the idea that God is three but also one, with the threefold facial features, and the echoes in the central frame.

Also, when the Moon says,

You you you, need need need something thing thing from from from me me me? What have you given me? What have you done for me? Why should I do anything for you?
it reminds me of when YHWH shows up in front of Job and points out that he's far greater than Job and owes him no explanation for what Job's gone through (Job 38-41)

The Moon never catually admits to being obliged to do whatever Thessaly says. When Thessaly says, 'you are mine to disperse of, mine to command,' the Moon just says, 'Perhaps,' and warns Thessaly that her hubris will be her undoing.
I don't want to say anything about what happens later, in case it ruins it for someone who hasn't read it and wants too. So to keep reading, select the blank space below.
Because Thessaly summons the Moon, there's a hurricane, which ends up destroying the block of flats the main characters live in. Kind of like a nemesis.

Monday, August 01, 2005

'If anyone adds anything to them...'

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19)
I've always presumed that John was warning against adding to or taking away from that particular book, Revelation, seeing as the Bible didn't exist at that stage. He appears (to me) to be speaking specifically about the book he's about to finsih writing. However, I was talking to someone the other day who reckons John is warning against adding new books to the canon, or taking books out. What do you think?