Sunday, February 26, 2006

Marcus has done a post about the MLC vocations gig, here.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Hare Krishnas

This afternoon EcoPaul asked if I wanted to go down to Albert Park, to have tea at the Hare Krishna temple, and then go to the beach.
So after Eco had finished work, we caught the tram down to Albert Park, and then walked to the temple. We went through a garden, to the back of the kitchen, to grab some steel trays to eat off, because Eco won't use the disposable cardboard trays.
One of the monks in the kitchen was talking on his mobile phone, so Eco yelled at him to turn it off, reasoning that it'd give everyone cancer. The monk said he wasn't going to get rid of his phone, because millions of cows are being killed every day, and he can use his phone to organise action against this. Eco asked the monk what he thought about whales being killed, and the monk said that cows are more important, because we drink the cow's milk, so the cow is like our mother. Then Eco said that whales are the cows of the sea.
We went into the prayer room, where there were statues of various forms of Krishna, paintings of Krishna's story, and a statue of Srila Prabhupada. Eco explained what some of the pictures were about.
Then we went and sat in the garden for a while. There were a few people chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, which sounded a lot like Pentecostal christians when the speak in tongues (just like the Indigo Children do when they speak Star Language).
Eco was saying stuff about how he reckons Jesus was a vegetarian. I said I didn't think he was, because a number of times he gave people fish to eat. So Eco said that that was the same as me giving people meat to eat in Credo. So I pointed out that I'm not actually a vegetarian, I just try not to eat too much meat. So Eco started yelling out to everyone, 'He's not a vegetarian! He eats meat!'
Later we went upstairs to eat. We had buckwheat, tomato, zuccini, tofu, potato, a dessert that had coconut in it, and an orange drink. When we had finished eating, we went back to the kitchen to wash our trays. I went over to the bins to get rid of my polystyrene cup. One of the monks was hosing the concrete around the bins.
I said to him, 'Is this bin one for garbage?'
He said, 'What does it look like?'
So I walked across the patch of concrete he was hosing, to put my cup in the bin.
Then he said, 'Fine, would you like to clean the concrete yourself?'
So I said, 'Sorry, I just had to get to the bin.'
He smirked and said, 'Have you ever been to a temple before?'
I said I hadn't, and he gave me a smug look. Most of the other people were very nice. But that was probably the worst conversation I've had with a religious person since I visited a certain church last year, where the pastor said that if he wasn't a Christian he'd punch me.
After that we walked down to the beach. Eco turned off someone's sprinkler system on the way.

'Tarting up to impress the tourists'

Kate (Urban Seed resident from last year)'s housemate got a letter in The Age today:

Tarting up to impress the tourists
WELL, I for one am so relieved to hear that, due to the new Victoria Police and State Government policy, there will be no "distressed" homeless people on our streets during the Commonwealth Games. I would be so worried if all the important international visitors thought that our homeless people were distressed about their living situations. How embarrassing that would be for our city!

And thank goodness for the 24-hour number that will direct homeless people to shelter. They can just whip out their latest model mobile phones, dial the number, and be hidden from sight in no time. Now, that's a load off my mind.
Rebecca Rowe, Thornbury
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The most important question you will ever have to answer

If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?

Thursday, February 23, 2006


CLEAN is an ambush-style audio installation, bringing the dirty side of Melbourne to life in the midst of the 2006 Commonwealth Games urban polish. CLEAN explores what it means to scrub up a city in the name of sport.
Nic Low's been going around interviewing street people, beggars, street artists and others who feel as though they're being excluded from the Commonwealth Games, asking them about the clean-up process that's been going on. When Commonwealth Games visitors go up Hosier Lane, they'll set off motion sensors, starting speakers hidden in pipes and drains, so the voices of those who probably won't be around anymore can still be heard.

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'Homeless will not be moved without reason'

The Age printed this article yesterday. A lot of what the article says doesn't sound very much like what we've been hearing from police, or from people on the street, or what some of us have seen.
The article quotes an article Sue Hogan (our advocacy worker) wrote about how the Commonwealth Games are effecting people we know.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Weird rooftop photos

My phone's camera has a function where you can sort of take three photos in a row, and it'll join them up into a panoramic photo. I was up on the roof Monday night, and took a number of weird photos by shooting in the same sort of direction, but from different angles.


Stayed up till abouy 1:30 this morning helping Marcus, Chris, Jono and Giant set up the church sanctuary for a the school group that's here today. The education team are trying to get 170 year 12 students to think about vocation, and the sanctuary's been set up as a kind of reflection area.
Theres different things set up in different areas of the church, like an area full of ticking clocks and egg-timers, for a reflection on time.

There's also a coffin, to help studnets think about the kind of legacy they wnat to leave when they die. And there's a TV playing bits from The Simpsons, the episodes where Marge paints Mr Burns's picture, and the one where Lisa and Bart have to do a test to work out what kind of career best suits them.
And there are the graffiti towers. We set up some ladders...

...covered them with cardboard...

...and then covered them with paper, so the students can draw and paint stuff on them, representing the different voices that are directing them in regards to how they choose to use their lives. With the really tall one, we threw a box up onto the top of the ladder, to try and cover the top...

...which made it look kind of like a tyrannosaurus, or a siege tower. We considered making a big photocopy of Giant's face to go on the front of the box. We tried to get a sheet over the top of the box, so all the carboard would be covered, but we weren't able to, so we ended up taking the box down, and just putting the sheet over the top.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Jesus and the que-jumpers

Tonight at church we looked at the story of Jesus and the que-jumpers. I blogged about it in January, so read that.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Big floating fish sculptures on barges

Was walking along Birrarung Marr this afternoon, and noticed all of these fish sculptures being put together on barges along the Yarra River. I presumed they must have been for the Commonwealth Games. Apparently there's one for each country that will be competing. Took some pictures.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006


This display seems to have gone up overnight, at the Melbourne Visitor Centre at Fed Square.
What is a hero? Are you a hero?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Jesus breaks the law

Last night at church we had alook at a story in which Jesus heals a guy with a skin disease:

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, 'If you are willing, you can make me clean.'
Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. 'I am willing,' he said. 'Be clean!' Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 'See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.' Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
(Mark 1:40-45)
Every time I've read this passage recently I've wondered whether Jesus was joking when he told the guy not to tell anyone.

Where it says that Jesus was 'filled with compassion', apparently some of the manuscripts actually say that he was angry, except that it's hardly ever translated that way, because Jesus is supposed to be nice and civilised.
But it makes sense for Jesus to be angry. According to Moses' law, people with infectious skin diseases had to stay away from everyone else, and yell out, 'Unclean! Unclean!' wherever they went, so people would know to avoid them (Leviticus 13). Only a priest could say that someone was clean again.
So it's quite a serious thing for this guy to ask Jesus to heal him. He was asking Jesus to break the law. When it says that Jesus was filled with compassion, the Greek word used is splagchnizomai. It means something like, 'His stomach was churning,' or, 'He felt like he'd been kicked it the guts.' (Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary) So it's as though Jesus' body is pumping with adrenaline as he chooses to break the law by touching the sick man and declaring him to be healed. He says not to tell anyone, but to go and see a priest, and get declared legally clean. He doesn't want to be executed just yet.
But the guy starts telling everyone, and Jesus has to go out into the desert and hide, just like he would have if he'd caught the man's disease himself.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

State of Emergency

Been listening to The Living End's new album. I actually listened to it a bit in a shop a couple of days after it was released, and hated it. From the title, it sounded like a sequel to Modern Artillery, so I expected it to have the same complexity and political focus, which I don't think it does. Apparently a lot of their other fans didn't like Modern Artillery, because it wasn't punk enough or rock enough or something.
But I like it now that I've gotten over my expectations. According to James, everyone at Undercover reckons it's their best album so far, but I don't (yet).

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Paint the Park

Went to the Treasury Gardens today to eat my lunch and read the scriptures for a bit. Some people had set up easles so people could paint the park. So after I'd finished eating I painted this:

I just painted lots of things that I could see all over the top of each other.
They're at the Treasury Gardens between 11am and 3pm every day until Friday.

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Sunday, February 05, 2006


Just gotten back from Urban Seed: church. Tomsy was curating tonight, and the theme was breath - God breathing into humankind to make them live (Genesis 2:7), Job talking about God's breath/spirit* in his nostrils (Job 27:3).
One visitor reckoned it was more important to learn about God's word (meaning the scriptures in this case) than God's breath, and that God would use words to communicate rather than anything else, so it was good that we could all discuss that. I remembered a church I visited a couple of weekends ago where I didn't really agree with a lot that was going on, but at that church I couldn't tlak about why that bothered me.
During the gathering we has a video loop going that Tomsy made when he was at uni, of his breath forming clouds (Canberra's pretty cold, like Ballarat). Took this photo afterwards, with Ewan standing in front of the projector:

*The same Hebrew word is used in the scriptures to talk about 'breath' and 'spirit'. I wonder whether if Job was a pentecostal preacher he'd yell, 'Invite Jesus Christ into your nostrils today!'.

Peter's mother-in-law

In Credo Gathering on Tuesday we had a look at the story of Jesus healing Simon-Peter's mother-in-law, and I've just been having another look at it:

Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.
(Mark 1:29-31)
Sounds a bit like the lads have had a big day casting out demons, they're getting a bit hungry and tired, so they turn up at Peter's mother-in-law's, hoping for a feed. But it turns out Peter's mother-in-law is sick in bed. I think if I didn't already know the story I'd expect the lads to be looking after her and asking if there was anything she needed, but instead Jesus heals her, and she gets up to serve them.
Another thing I was wondering about was why Peter didn't know that his mother-in-law was so sick. And was thinking that if this passage was interpreted as a mother-in-law joke, then Peter is probably responsible for his mother-in-law being so unwell.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Dome

This is where we'll be having Urban Seed: church, at least for the start of the year. Mark and I moved most of the stuff down from upstairs at Missions to Seafarers, and across into the Dome this morning, and started setting up for Sunday night. Apparently it was originally built as a gymnasium. Unless you're standing against the edge of the room your voice and footsteps echo for about three seconds.
The room upstairs that we were using last year was booked for Commonwealth Games security briefings. Apparently it's not going to be needed now, but we've moved into the Dome anyway, to see what it's like.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Street rights and the Commonwealth Games

The Homeless Person's Legal Clinic at PILCH has put out a special newsletter (Word document) about people's rights when dealing with police, security guards and ticket inspectors during the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
(Before the Olympics in Atlanta, and later Sydney, there were big capaigns to 'clean up' by getting rid of the street people, and something similar appears to be going on here in Melbourne.)

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Today I played cricket with a real cricket ball for the first time, with the Credo team. Charlesy taught me to bowl five minutes before we started fielding. We lost against Sacred Heart (St Kilda) in the morning and beat Geelong in the afternoon.