Christianity

The Beginners Guide to Taking Over the World – Modern Examples

The rule of the church

Empires built around the strength of a nation are only half the story when it comes to effective global powers. For an empire to stretch across borders it needs to appeal to the hearts, nay the souls, of the larger global population. For the best example of an ideology driven empire you need look no further than the papal rule during the Crusades. The Crusades, or the Holy Wars, involved armies from many nations, often nations who had unresolved conflicts with one another, uniting under the common banner of the church and marching on the infidels. Nothing has the power to encourage violent passion in a man like a good bout of religious fervour. The guarantee by the church that any sins a man committed while on the Crusade would be forgiven was just an added bonus.

For many years the nations, who could justifiably claim to be the world powers of the time, had their political agenda dictated by the church. The church even tried to dictate the personal lives of monarchs, King Henry the 8th being a prime example.

Religion is still a powerful tool for world domination today. Unity that stretches across national borders is perhaps the most effective way to establish an empire. However, since God is probably not in your pocket as you seek to become a global leader you may have to look past religion for something to forge this unity.

The Aeroplane Flies High

As far as military technology went there were very few developments until the early 1900s. Weaponry until that time had developed along a theme rather than anything new being created. Chariots became tanks, bows and arrows became guns and swords gradually became obsolete. In the early 1900s, I’m not sure exactly when, and this isn’t the sort of book that requires copious amounts of research, the aeroplane was developed. Smart people quickly saw its potential as a piece of weaponry. Dropping things on your enemy from a great height has been a military tactic for generations. Being able to actually fly above the heads of your enemies had, until that moment, been simply a pipe dream, akin to pigs flying, except that the pigs were humans.

The aeroplane is a modern day miracle. Keeping thousands of tones (well maybe not thousands) suspended in the air is a triumph of modern day physics (who would have thought that grade 12 math would serve a purpose after all). It didn’t take long for the purity of this new invention to be soiled by someone with a thirst for power. Without planes World War 2 could still be going today. What a horrible thought.

The technology doesn’t stop there, scientists and military minds are now working on the theme of sending things very high up in the air, and either keeping them there, or having them crash down on thousands of innocent civilians. That’s how wars are won. Never mind the “collateral damage”* just blow up as much of the other side’s stuff as possible. The United States, at the time of writing, are pursuing the ultimate in aerospace technology, the Star Wars program, spaceships that blow up other people’s missiles. To think that all this was born because two brothers were sick of walking around and wanted to fly instead.
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* Since the second Gulf war, otherwise known as the “liberation of the people of Iraq” Collateral Damage has been the term employed by the media to describe unexpected civilian casualties. Liberation too has undergone a process of redefinition. Liberation now means to leave the civilians in a worse state than when you found them, sometimes dead. “Liberation” and “Collateral Damage” go hand in hand.

Ad value

Tim Challies is one of the world’s preeminent Christian bloggers. Today he wrote about advertising and the church – mostly advertising but this was a great quote about his approach to ads:

“I guard against this because I’ve seen what happens to churches when they adopt a marketing mindset. Every church markets; the moment a church places a sign outside or puts an advertisement in the phone book or the local newspaper, it is marketing. But some churches go far further, adopting a kind of marketing mindset that makes the church functionally not much different than a business. After a while every decision comes back to the bottom line, whether that is a dollar figure or an attendance figure. This quickly sends churches into a tailspin, a downward spiral that draws them further and further from the Bible. It is inevitable, really.”

I’m still not sure where I sit on the issue of church marketing. I’m not as sold on it as churchmarketingsucks.com – who despite the name actually encourage churches to do better.

Challies also asks a question about whether or not we should ethically watch ads when consuming content – and thus whether ad blocking is immoral.

It’s all Greek to me

Robyn and I are taking on a few “extra curricular” activities this year. We’ve stepped back from leading Adventure Club – the Friday night kid’s club we ran with a great team last year, and our church activities are largely focused on preparation for bible college at some stage in the not too distant future.

We’re using this year to get a competitive advantage on people we’re studying with. That’s what bible college is all about…

On top of the regular preaching gig at church that I think I already mentioned (I’m preaching this Sunday morning) we’re also trying to learn some New Testament Greek – also known as Koine Greek – and we’re looking at one of the Presbyterian Church’s fundamental doctrinal statements (what the Presbyterian Church believes) – the Westminster Confession of Faith (that’s a link to the Confession of Faith itself). Last night was our first bite of the Westminster Confession cherry.

Here’s a snippet from the Wikipedia entry on the Westminster Confession of Faith

“The Church of Scotland had recently overthrown its bishops and adopted presbyterianism (see Bishops’ Wars). For this reason, as a condition for entering into the alliance with England, the Scottish Parliament formed the Solemn League and Covenant with the English Parliament, which meant that the Church of England would abandon episcopalianism and consistently adhere to Calvinistic standards of doctrine and worship. The Confession and Catechisms were produced in order to secure the help of the Scots against the king.”

We’ve also had our first little Greek lesson from Dave Walker – so far I’ve learned the alphabet and Robyn is on to more advanced learning of words and stuff. She’s a pretty dilligent little worker. Here’s what I know so far…

Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook

Today is national bad similie day. I’ve just declared it. Hence this post will be filled with them – like a flea circus on the back of a mangy dog.

Our little car that could, a red kia Picanto, chews through fuel like a fire breather chews through kerosene – quickly and in spectacular fashion.

We made the 100km journey from Lake Tekapo (a quaint lakeside village) to Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) in double quick time – like tinned food on pension day…

Actually, we were slowed unexpectedly by a chain of cattle at muster time. These cows – we guessed there were about 200 of them (a fifty/fifty split between adults and calves) – were travelling between paddocks – along the road. We spent some time travelling in cattle class – and some further comic release was provided when an add for a local butcher came on over the radio. We promptly wound the window up so as not to scare the locals into some sort of frenzied stampede.

Mount Cook is a glacial behemoth. It has killed over 130 people. So deadly is it that the Visitor Information Centre includes a book listing those who have died – and a video of a recent rescue effort that ended with the untimely demise of the rescued climber.

The base of the mountain is also home to the Sir Edmund Hillary centre – a museum dedicated to the kiwi mountaineer.

The coffee at the Edmund Hillary centre’s cafe was bad – like a similie without a corroborative noun. How hard can it be to make a palatable coffee?

The cattle were still lowing on the way back. En route I was surprised by the amount of roadkill on New Zealand roads.

The only billboards we’ve seen on our travels have been for road safety – and it seems that sentiment doesn’t extend to animals. The distance between Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo was 106km. On our journey we counted 136 individual pieces of roadkill. Birds, possums, rabbits, unidentifiable fur balls.  That’s a road kill index of 1.28 animals per kilometre. I’m sure that’s high. In fact, there was a 20km stretch about 10 minutes out of Mount Cook that accounted for 48 pieces of roadkill – a significantly higher roadkill index of 2.4. Is there anywhere else that boasts a figure like that? If so, I haven’t seen it.

The township of Lake Tekapo is a small town on a big lake. There’s not a whole lot of exciting stuff there. There is a Peppers Resort – which is where we stayed. Our track record with Peppers hasn’t been great. It was a Peppers Resort that lost our booking on our wedding night – almost leaving us sleeping in a stable… before upgrading us to the one available luxury room. This Peppers experience was much better. On our second night in Lake Tekapo we dined in house at the restaurant, and enjoyed a fine sirloin steak and superb lamb rump.

One of the township’s famous attractions is the Church of the Good Shepherd – an old stone chapel built right on the lake. We spent a bit of time at twilight last night taking photos in what was pretty photogenic light.

Some photos were more serious than others
Some photos were more serious than others

The chapel is a working church – shared by the Anglicans, Presbyterians and Catholics in town – outside the chapel there’s a little letterbox styled post – asking for donations. There’s no need to pass the plate around if your church is a tourist attraction.

Heres one we prepared earlier
Here's one we prepared earlier

Actually, this afternoon we toured the Christchurch Cathedral – having only seen the outside on our first stop. They “encourage” a five dollar donation, and those looking for a “truly memorable” experience can donate a church chair for just $320.

As I’ve already pre-empted – like a US president’s foreign policy – this morning our trip came full circle – back to Christchurch. We’re at the Off the Square boutique motel which is the first place we’ve stayed to offer free broadband. Tonight’s dinner was probably the best of the trip. Bailies Pub, just around the corner from the hotel and the cathedral, cooked up a sensational sirloin steak with mashed potato. And Robyn’s lamb shanks were cooked to perfection.

Right Ahead

I’m preaching at church on Sunday night. A Christmas talk. On Revelation 12. It’s a weird passage. You should read it.

Here’s the first five verses:

1 A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4 His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

Seriously, how can you not want to write a 25 minute talk on that (and the next bits)? Will you be putting a seven headed dragon in your nativity scene this year?

Revelation is, along with Daniel, one of those books that gets Christians in a bit of a pickle. It has been so poorly understood and spawned crazy theological ideas and eschatology (end time theology). Revelation was written to the early church, in a time when the early church was being ripped to pieces (quite literally) by crazy emperor Nero.

One outcome of the confusion surrounding the book of Revelation is the unbelievably (in the literal suspension of belief sense) popular “Left Behind” series. I haven’t read them. I have no desire to. But the underpinning idea of secret one world governments and the shadowy “Illuminati” is based on a really poor apocalyptic reading of Revelation that defies context.

I caught Louis Theroux and the Survivalists on TV a couple of weeks ago. These are people who take Revelation all the wrong way. Here’s the full length episode on google video.

I plan one day to write a spoof of “Left Behind” called Right Ahead. I’m not sure anyone will buy it. But at least it will be theologically correct.

Sign of the times

If there’s one thing I hate more than atheists advertising on buses (actually I don’t hate that – “probably no God” – where’s the commitment…) – it’s so called “Christians” doing nutty things to give the rest of us a bad name.

The Westboro Baptist church systematically protests at the funerals of dead US soldiers becaues they believe the US system’s lax stance on homosexuality. I don’t think they read the bits in the bible where Jesus hangs out with sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors… anyway, kudos to this guy for his funny sign campaign. If you can’t beat them – join them.

The love god

I was listening to ABC radio last night at around 11pm. As you do. And I heard an insightful interview with Australian social commentator Hugh Mackay. Mackay is widely regarded as having his finger on the pulse of Australian culture and society – along with futurist Clive Hamilton he’s one of the media’s most widely quoted sociologists. His views are pretty widely respected. Mackay was speaking on his own personal views on spirituality and religion – his criticisms of the “organised religion” and “the church” were the same we hear trotted out time and time again – too focused on sex etc – which are probably true in some ways. The church is portrayed as being hung up on church – largely because that’s where the greatest distinctions between Christians and the world express themselves. Mackay was anti-church but pro “God”, pro spirituality and anti militant atheism in a refreshing way – he suggested that Dawkins in the God Delusion takes the best of science and compares it with the worst of religion with unsurprising results. 

Mackay is a smart man. He forms a compelling argument based on his unique knowledge of culture. However, he misses the boat when it comes to the following statement:

“love is God”

This conclusion was the result of much thinking and reflection – and some interaction with the church in the past. While it’s almost exciting to hear the “intellectual left” moving away from the aforementioned secular humanism – this represents a more insidious misconstruing of any theological or logical understanding of a creative force – people keep turning abstract nouns like “science” and “love” into God.

This new intellectual position on “god” takes humanity’s most powerful emotion and deifies it essentially reinventing God in an airy fairy palatable package. While it sounds nice it doesn’t really make sense. It’s really essentially a bastardisation of the biblical position of “God is love” so it sounds right – but it really only considers one element of “God”. What does this love centric theology do with issues like the existence of suffering and bad stuff? I don’t know – I didn’t hear the rest of the interview. But if you’re so inclined you can hear it here.

 

On secular humanism

In my continued reflections on the debate I’m having with my e-friends (ok, so they’re friends in real life – but the tyranny of distance means I see them maybe once a year) I find myself increasingly frustrated with the “secular humanism” movement. It’s really a quasi-religion set up to give atheists a framework to debate from. Secular humanists see their beliefs as the default “logical position”. 

The definition of humanism from Wikipedia:
“Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality.”

My problems are as follows:
1. Humanism describes itself as optimistic on the human race’s ability to save itself. Human nature is seen as inherently good – but slightly selfish. This is how they reconcile survival of the fittest with external factors like our social “herd” instincts (best epitomised by Facebook), good and charitable acts without external motivation (which is how they dismiss the good and social acts of religious adherents), and the chaos obviously occurring between humans (Russia v Georgia is the latest example).
2. Humanism holds itself on a pedestal – and humanists look down on those who need the “crutch of religion” or the “imaginary sky friend” to get them through day to day life.
3. Humanists, in relying on reason, dismiss the notion of the supernatural – and will not debate on the possibility of anything supernatural existing without first seeing the evidence. This makes even approaching a discussion on religion almost futile.
4. Humanists rely on faulty evidence when dismissing Christianity – eg inaccuracy of scriptural translations.
5. Humanists are sold on postmodern thinking – which is yesterday’s news – rather than the modernist view of truth as verifiable, actual and objective.
6. Humanists are generally pretty smart – and generally blinkered by confidence in their own ability to reason. Human intelligence has limits. Humanists, in relying on their own prowess and dismissing the opinions of others as “subjective” and influenced by wants, desires and needs – are limited to their own capabilities. Some of the world’s most revered scientists – perhaps by nature of their positions as revered scientists are secular humanists – eg Einstein.
7. Further, humanism fails to recognise the limits of human capabilities – what if one day God is scientifically demonstrable? What happens to the current humanists? Human knowledge and understanding is in a constant state of flux – to pin a philosophy down to “what we currently think we know” or “what we can currently test” is dangerous.
8. Ethical living is not a natural response to atheism – nor is it the common response. Because secular humanists have realised the shortcomings of their position (slippery slope of morality) they seek to massage their philosophy to include this concept of “ethics based decision making.” Anarchy and hedonism are more logically consistent results of atheism.

Some key highlights from Wikipedia:

“In certain areas of the world, secular humanism finds itself in conflict with religious fundamentalism, especially over the issue of the separation of church and state. A faction of secular humanists may judge religions as superstitious, regressive, and/or closed-minded, while the majority of religious fundamentalists see secular humanism as a threat to the values they say are set out in religious texts, such as the Bible and the Qur’an.”

“Some criticize the philosophy of secular humanism because it offers no eternal truths nor a relationship with the divine. Critics allege that a philosophy bereft of these beliefs leaves humanity adrift in a foggy sea of postmodern cynicism and anomie. Some argue that this philosophy has always been antireligious and it is often used in connection with atheism.Humanists respond that such criticisms reflect a failure to look at the actual content of humanist philosophy, which far from being cynical and postmodern, is rooted in optimistic, idealistic attitudes about the future of human society that trace back to the Enlightenment, or further, back to Pre-Socratic Greek philosophers and Chinese Confucianism.

“Secular humanism describes a world view with the following elements and principles:

  • Need to test beliefs – A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
  • Reason, evidence, scientific method – A commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
  • Fulfillment, growth, creativity – A primary concern with fulfillment, growth and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
  • Search for truth – A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
  • This life – A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
  • Ethics – A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
  • Building a better world – A conviction that with reason, an open exchange of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.”

You can’t really argue with someone holding these beliefs that a supernatural being exists – it runs counter to the tenets of their “faith.”

On dialogue with atheists

I have some friends who are atheists – not just soft agnostics like most of society – but reasoned, secular humanists who think Dawkins lacks objectivity and is a rabid fundamentalist. You know, the logical type of atheists who have thought through life and made their own conclusions on the basis of the evidence they see around them. The type who make “moral judgements” based on empathy and reason. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks in pretty intense debate with them via email. The discussion has been protracted and mostly frustrating. I’ve also been feeling pretty outnumbered – it was three to one and then they introduced these two guys I’ve never met into the email circle. One of them is pretty much the only person who now reads this blog – so hi. I actually don’t know where he sits on the issue because he just commentates on the debate – and how much he hates analogies. 

This debate has made me question – not my beliefs – but my response to having them attacked. Pride is something I struggle with. I want to be right, I want to engage in the debate in an intellectual sense and essentially prove my faith* and convince these guys they should convert – and be just like me. Which again, kind of misses the point of Christianity – because I should be trying to convince people to be just like Christ. Here’s the rub – the Bible promises that the world’s wisdom will see Christianity and its message of a capitally punished God as foolishness (1 Corinthians) – so I can’t expect to be convincing, nor can I mention this in some kind of argumentative context – because to argue the veracity of something using that thing doesn’t really stack up. I can’t say “the Bible is true because it says it is.” Nor can I say “the Bible is true because I have experienced that it is” – because that is subjective. I also can’t say – “the Bible is true because all the observable evidence (ie pain and suffering) suggest it is” – because all the observable evidence is observed, and compartmentalised based on the starting hypothesis – ie if God is not there it’s all just chance and coincidence. My basic instinct in this debate is to debate. To apologise (in the “mount a defence for” sense) for my beliefs. Is this the right way to respond? I’m not convinced that it is – not in the frames of science and philosophy.

Science is limited. Science has merit, and a place in the world. Science answers questions of cause and effect, and makes observations to test and demonstrate hypotheses – science is good at what it does. What it can’t do is test that which can not be observed – and it is limited to the theories and subjective whims of those testing them through hypothesis. I can observe “facts” and essentially plug them into my frame of reference to demonstrate a theory. The theory always comes first.

History also has limits – postmodern criticism has merit – but to rob any text of the chance of being true and accurate objective history does a disservice to our understanding of human history and anthropology. Why can’t we trust the accounts of a number of people recorded in the one book – from very separate original documents – to reveal truth? This exercise also taught me that those who are passionately disinterested – or dispassionately interested – in Christianity have very little knowledge of the actual text of the Bible – and its history. Instead relying on years of inaccuracies and insipid, purposeful lies. “The bible has been changed over time” is one of those half truths that misses the point – it hasn’t been changed by whim – but by desire to bring it closer to the original text based on rigourous academic scholarship. It has been used as a political tool in the past – and those who most stridently opposed that were the Christian church – and these men were martyred for the cause. This sort of shoddy criticism has no grounding in anything but what my atheist friend told me in primary school so I believed it.

I think it’s unhelpful to present this debate (theism v atheism) in the sphere of the rational, observable or philosophical. To do so puts the existence of God on our terms – a God by nature transcends the rational and observable. God sets the rules for this debate – not humans. To move God into these realms, and into our terms is not rational or reasonable – if God exists then there is no reason for him to conform to our experience of the world – or human conventions of understanding – anymore than there is reason for us to bark when communicating to dogs. We do not do this when interacting with our subordinates (the animal kingdom).

Thanks to Dawkins, Atheists now tackle these arguments by realigning the burden of proof and changing the terminology – now we, “theists” have to demonstrate why God must exist – before even tackling which God they should believe in. Therefore the Bible is dismissed as an authority (partly because post-modern literary criticism means nothing can be trusted as true anymore), Christians can’t claim any unique authority on the debate on the basis of the historicity of Jesus – particularly because any of the eye-witness accounts to his life must now be ignored or disputed, any third party accounts of Christianity – and the leaders of the early church – are not as valuable as “modern science” and observation – and the default position is now that the complexity of life is a product of randomness and an infinite spectrum of time. I don’t really understand that being the default. Atheists are now critical of the “watchmaker” assumption – ie when you see a wristwatch in a field you assume based on complexity the watch was designed and placed there. I think that’s something that’s been slowly indoctrinated. Atheists are now taught to proselytize in the same way they accuse Christians of brainwashing their children and others.

One of these guys scoffed at my suggestion that his lifestyle is the result of his atheism – and vice versa. He suggested the two were not linked. The atheist point of view by definition dismisses the idea of God – and hence questions regarding whether their atheism influences the way they live are flawed – theism v atheism is still the fundamental question that ultimately shapes the worldview of the individual – morals, ethics, philosophy and conduct all stem from this fundamental position – whether we (or they) like it or not.

The “church” has been responsible for some terrible injustices over time – or at least these have been conducted in the name of the church – ignoring the wildly publicised misdemeanours and wars, in a broader sense the church has failed to adequately educate casual church attendees. Both these atheists had backgrounds including church attendance. Both had strong – and in my opinion inaccurate – understandings of the “teachings of the church” and felt adequately qualified to make assessments on the basis of their childhood experiences. This may be unfairly representing their opinions and positions – but in my opinion something as serious as religion – and the underlying foundation we build our lives on – should be considered by adult minds. Both in the case of people who have always been Christians – and in the case of people who have chosen not to be. In either case I’d hate to think this is the kind of decision you make at 10 and never revisit.

It’s been a pretty interesting discussion all told – and I’d love any readers input on the issue. This post ended up being much longer than I planned.

*Not technically scientifically possible because faith is the belief in something that can’t be observed.

And now for some real news…

Here’s an update on some actual things that are going on in my life in Townsville…

Work – work is great. The people I work with are fun. My role is interesting and challenging. I get cool perks (reef fishing trips, a regular pay cheque, and stuff like that). You can read my press releases here.

Home – home is good. Tim is fun. He’s about to go to PNG for a month though so Dave will have to provide me with all my home based entertainment. Are you up to that Dave? Bring on the pranks I say.

Church – Church continues to be great also. My grade 12 boys – Dave and Isaac – are a pleasure to spend time with. Even if they’re wimpy and nerdy (I hope you’re reading this boys). Dave is Donna’s little brother, that creates a whole lot of issues as I’m sure you can imagine. Donna is a rarity in that both my Townsville and Brisbane readers know her. I should write about those sorts of people more often. I had a funny experience where I saw old photos of Laura Kennedy in a church photo album the other day… and I was talking to one of Kendra and Geir’s school friends the other day… that was an interesting conversation. I’m writing a series of studies on 1 Peter for our young adults bible study group. That’s been good fun. When I get some sort of web hosting space I’ll upload them and some other stuff I’ve been writing. I’m not sure why anyone would actually want to read them, but just in case… I led the singing again last week. I have never ever claimed to be able to sing – except for a little while in Maclean before my voice broke. I’m aware that most of the time I can hold a tune – but I think that’s largely due to the amount of practice I do in my car. I’m one of those freaks you see singing at traffic lights.

Soccer – Our mixed indoor team is on fire at the moment – the new season started a couple of weeks ago and we’re currently undefeated. The girls we get to play for us are better than most guys on the other teams (particularly our American import, Kasie, who’s better than all the guys on our team). We won 10 or 11 – 2 last night. I lost count. It’s good fun, but I miss the MPC outdoor team.

I think that’s all the important areas of my life covered – except the girls part that Serge asked me to talk about – but I’m not sure that’s the kind of thing it’s wise to be posting on the Internet – or anywhere for that matter.

I’m heading down to Brisbane for Maddie’s coming of age celebrations this weekend- that’s right my second littlest sister is becomming an adult on the 9th of June. I arrive on Thursday night – start booking times in my busy social calendar now.

Wednesday, Bloody Wednesday

Apologies firstly for the use of vernacular in the title. It would seem though that as a result of Tourism Australia’s “where the bloody hell are you” campaign the word bloody is now an acceptable, but slightly cheeky, piece of Australiana. Actually I should really be apologising for a reference to a U2 song. I guess it’s a song from before they were middle aged political activists trying to be cool while writing inoffensive, sugar sweet pop music that you could play your gran (hi gran if you’re reading this again). How cool is my gran – she posted a comment on a blog. I bet your gran doesn’t do stuff like that.

This is my first blog post on a Wednesday. Wednesday’s have traditionally been lambasted as terrible office days – the furthest point from a weekend. In fact right now, in the middle of the day, must be the absolute middle of the week. How significant. Today I didn’t want to get out of bed. It was drizzly, my airconditioning and quilt were combining to keep me at optimal sleeping temperature and my alarm clock was just a distant buzzing problem which could be solved by a quick press of the snooze button. Or several quick presses of the snooze button. Luckily after 22 years I know myself pretty well so I set my alarm to go off much earlier than it has to.

The post cyclone activity cycle is on the down hill run now. We had Fran Bailey, the Minister for Small Business and Tourism come through town yesterday. She addressed a power lunch/forum on the issues in her portfolio post cyclone. I got to go. My free meal count for the week is up to 4. It could have been 5 but I blew off a church dinner arrangement last night to do important other things (nothing really, well a phone call or two and a DVD – I bought Run Lola Run from the local Video Ezy for $10 – a bargain at twice the price, unfortunately it was a badly dubbed version rather than the subtitled version… but I digress. End Brackets.). So far I’ve had sausages, bacon, eggs and croissants for breakfast at an animal park, crab, chicken and prawns at a resort, a roast at the church’s youth minister’s house, and Atlantic Salmon followed by a cheese/fruit platter at the casino. I capitalised Atlantic Salmon because that’s the way it should be served, as a proper noun.

Free food aside, it was interesting hearing from the Hon Fran Bailey MP. She spoke about baby boomers hogging all the good jobs in traditional big business. This has apparently forced the youth of today into more entrepreneurial roles. Big business now outsource a whole lot of niche things like training and stuff. So I quit my job and started a company. Well I didn’t. But if anyone has any good niche ideas that come with free food…

The dinner at the youth minister, Dave Hopper’s house was good. We’re/we were discussing the direction to take young adult stuff at the church in. There’s a bunch of uni student types who are so heavily involved in AFES stuff they’re not doing anything at church and there’s a shortage of people involved in leadership roles for teenage and children’s stuff. Which brings me to my favourite topic at the moment – the relationship between church stuff and parachurch stuff. I think one day I’m going to write a book on the whole church vs uni ministry conflict. It’s bizarre that it even operates as a conflict – surely as part of the one kingdom or wider church there should be a more synergetic or symbiotic relationship between the two groups. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out. Both the AFES staff workers up here go to Willows so there’s this occasionally tense undercurrent somewhere in the background (which I assume is where most undercurrents operate.)

So there’s a rambling update free of fake news (not that my stories about breaking an artwork and killing a national icon were fake it’s just that as Matt so rightly pointed out in his comments, or at least the sentiment in those comments pointed out – they weren’t really news. Actually I’m not sure his comments were pointing that out at all – I just wanted to put his name in the main bit to encourage further comments so did it in a way that vaguely supported my original point. I’ve been spending too much time with politicians.)

The day I became an Iconoclast

Monday mornings are bad. Today I woke myself up stupidly early to get into the office before a corporate breakfast. This was my first bad Monday morning as a full time professional worker. I turned up bushy eyed and bright tailed. Well actually I had no tail. But my early morning coffee did the trick. Breakfast was a selection of traditional hot breakfast foodstuffs eaten at a local animal sanctuary – surrounded by the animal inhabitants of said sanctuary and several interstate visitors looking at hosting corporate functions in Townsville.

Those of you familiar with my artistic opus (I’m not sure it was a magnum opus and it certainly wasn’t a magnum [of either the pistol variety or the ice cream]) Progress In Art may be sad to learn of its untimely demise over the weekend. Due to an absence of picture hanging capabilities in my bedroom (and uncertainty as to whether it would be appropriate to hammer nails into the wall for that purpose) I had placed the rather fragile masterpiece rather precariously on the fluro light on my wall. It looked pretty good there. The lighting was just right. For those of you who haven’t seen it it was basically the insides of a broken discman attached by sticky tape to a framed pane of glass. I was playing some music with a bass line (you know the notes played by the left hand, often below middle C – not the fishing line you’d use to catch bass – English is a fun language to play with) and the subwoofer in my room shook the wall causing the frame to fall to a rather crushing, crashing and smashing halt on the floor below. This made me sad. Mostly because I had to clean up the broken glass. But that was my second most brilliant creation ever. A triumph over the inherent stupidity of postmodern art. Clever on many, many levels. And now it’s gone.

It’s sad when the biggest bit of news you have to report is a broken piece of homemade artwork.

I went to my first Willows working bee on Saturday. Then I went for a cruise around the bay between the mainland and Magnetic Island. It had free food, drink and a band. Yesterday I went to church. Tonight I’m having dinner with the youth minister at Willows to discuss what I’ll be doing with the church this year. It looks like I’ll be co-ordinating the young adults stuff. Consider yourselves updated.

Until next time.

Goodbye.

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