Tag Archives: Simone

Blogging Meet-up (of sorts)

Our friends Izaac and Sarah are visiting us this week. So tonight we’re having dinner with Andrew and Simone. A chance to turn the virtual into the real. Should be fun. I told Simone she had to come up with some controversial conversation topics. Shouldn’t be too hard.

Stay tuned for reflections on what it’s like to meet those people in real life, from the other people.

For those not following at home…

If you’re not already reading the comments on Simone’s follow up post to the one she took down the other day… then do yourself a favour.

I’ve witnessed other people having long discussions with Mark Baddeley, but never had the pleasure myself up until this one. Mostly because I agree with him on other issues.

Lets just say, not this time…

See if you can catch my veiled homage to Godwin’s Law.

Blog envy

Simone’s blog turned two yesterday. I didn’t realise it was that young. They grow up so fast. Then, Ben, my favourite blogger (he drew my logo – amongst other awesome things) called her blog his favourite. Now I have blogger envy. I’m seriously considering campaigning to become his favourite blog. Maybe I should start a book group. Maybe a book group aiming to go through Penguin’s Good Book series – which, incidentally, are heaps cheaper on the Book Depository – I ordered about 20 of them the other day for under $70)…

What must I do Ben?

Ten thoughts on the subject of sin

Simone wrote about a post church conversation last night (in real life) that was a continuation of a couple of posts from Simone and Kutz (part one), (part two). I’ve spent today trying to articulate my position on sin. It’s not like Simone’s (looking to the new creation to resolve sinful desires) nor is it like Kutz’s (looking to the original created order to salvage the good thing that sin twists). I don’t tend to analyse my sin. I find that can be pretty crippling.

Here are some of my thoughts about sin in list form…

  1. I think sin, by definition, is our expression of autonomy. It’s our rejection of God’s rule. It’s disobedience. It’s not meeting God’s standards. I think the last one is the key – if we do something that doesn’t meet God’s perfect and holy standards – as he as described them to us – then we have “sinned”.
  2. I think there are different values to different sins – I know some have interpreted passages to suggest that all sins are equal. I think all sins are equally deserving of condemnation – but I don’t think all sins are equal in badness. There are sins with external victims – these sins require an extra level of repentance because you should, I think, repent to the victim as well as to God, and there are sins that are essentially internal matters for you and God to deal with. Let me give an example, when you commit some form of idolatry, putting something else in God’s position – you are wronging God, but no necessarily other people. But when you murder someone you not only commit an act of disobedience to God, you not only commit an act that effects the victim, you commit an act that has multiple effects for the victims family – you cause them to sin as well – they will no doubt feel malice, they will probably curse God for letting you take their father, husband, or son (or mother, wife, or daughter). You rob these people of a significant other. Some actions carry with them many sins, others do not. All sin is worthy of death and judgment when God, the holy, holy, holy God sits in judgment and judges by his holy, holy, holy standards. The accumulated sin of a lifetime is a pretty massive barrier between us and God.
  3. I think the language of conflict between our new nature and our sinful nature, our flesh and the spirit, our slavery to sin and slavery to righteousness, are all Biblical analogies for the same internal struggle that occurs, and will continue to occur, until the new creation. We’ll never – no matter how mature we become – rid ourselves fully of the taint of sin. Which I think even spreads to our good, righteous and obedient actions.
  4. I think trying to determine whether an action is “sinful” or “Godly” in and of itself is almost a complete waste of time. A conversation sprang up about whether being drunk is a sin the other day. I think it is. I think eating fatty food is probably a sin. I think drinking instant coffee is a sin. I pretty much think that everything we do, stemming from our sinful nature, is a sin. We can eat fatty food for God’s glory, but I tend to think if we’re not eating it specifically for his glory, but rather for our own purposes, then that’s an expression of our autonomy. I’d pretty much say that I think everything we do is tainted by sin. Even the good stuff… even the God stuff. I think this is part of the battle between our sinful natures and our new spirit enhanced natures.
  5. I think it is more helpful to think of sin in terms of nature than actions. Sinful actions are those things we do that are born out of our sinful nature. The Bible certainly spells out that certain actions are sins. Both sins of comission and omission.
  6. Almost all “Godly” actions can be sinful. I’m thinking of the way Jesus talks to the rich young ruler – even keeping the rules isn’t enough. We’re sinful by nature, and we never meet God’s holy standards. We can not possibly do so. We’re wired to sin. I think sinful actions are actions born out of our sinful nature – and I think Godly actions are actions born out of the spirit working within us (and those “good” actions performed by non-Christians are as a result of God’s spirit working throughout humanity in the guise of common grace).
  7. I think even when we are obedient to God we are obedient in an incomplete way – I think this is the picture we see with Israel and its inability to ever meet God’s standards completely. It’s important that we, as God’s people, seek to be obedient. Even if we know we’ll do it generally, but not specifically.
  8. When confronted with a decision our job is to try to discern the obedient, or most obedient option. Some decisions will in fact be decisions between two equally tainted options. An extreme example would be a choice between lying to save the life of one’s child (or an innocent) or giving them up and becoming complicit to whatever happens as a result of your taking the moral high ground. Life is full of impossible decisions, because everything is tainted by sin.
  9. Sin sucks. I hate its effect on the world, on relationships between people, and on myself. I don’t wallow in my sin because I realise it has been paid for in full. I realise it’s inevitable. And I realise we’ve got a job to do. So I’d rather just get on with that job. Without distractions. Without paralysis by analysis. My job is to try to be obedient to God wherever possible – and I think the point at which this obedience is most important is the Great Commission. I think any Godly living is Godly living for the purpose of winning the lost, more than for the sake of redeeming myself (either bringing myself closer to the pre-fall or new creation versions of me).
  10. Because I see sin as an inevitable product of our sinful nature I’m not keeping score as though God is Santa Claus. I’m not wracked with guilt. My debt has been paid. While I am pursuing holy living, maturity and ongoing “sanctification” (though I think technically sanctification is part of the package with justification that occurs at salvation) I don’t do this by dwelling so much on the times I miss the mark, I do this by getting on with the job. I love Luther’s “sin boldly” quote from a letter to a guy named Melanchthon (included below). This translation is slightly different to the one I’d originally heard.

If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.

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Mad Skillz: Simone on supply teaching

Simone is married to Andrew. Together they are my boss. Kind of. In that I am currently a student minister at their church. At the moment I feel like Hebrew is my master.

Simone writes songs of goodness and blogs deeply and often at Another Something. When I first started blogging I had a template that featured white text on black. Simone told me it was too hard to read. I changed it. She stopped reading. She started again a while back.

When Simone is not writing songs, children’s material or soppy poems to her husband she is a supply teacher. Here’s what she has to say about Supply teaching.

I have one of the best jobs in the world. A job that makes me a nice pocketful of money, that is strictly school hours, and gives me the flexibility to work or not to work on any particular day. On top of this, it (often) takes little emotional energy, gives me the chance to contribute something nice to the world, and is (mostly) fun.

I am a supply teacher. I’ve been supplying for over two years now, and I’ve developed some mad skilz in my area. Let me share.

My top 5 tips for being a good supply teacher

  1. Don’t be a nuisance to the school. Schools are busy places. Get in there and do your job. Take responsibility for your kids and try to have things run as smoothly as they would if the teacher you’re replacing was there. And don’t whinge if you have to do an extra playground duty. You are getting paid more than any other staff member and really have nothing else to do. Leave the classroom tidy.
  2. Make the kids come into the room well. Have them line up over and over again if you need to. Once they are quiet, move to number 3.
  3. Bribe the kids with fun and semi-educational activities. At the start of the day, write all your incentive activities on the board. Tell the kids that you’d love this to be a great day and if they get through their work, they’ll get to do some of these fun things. Promise them obstacles courses outside, sport, art, anything – but be positive. With you there, there is the opportunity for an unusually excellent day. (If I have to teach a P-3 class, I take in a piece of ‘lovely lycra’ and a few teddies. There is almost nothing younger kids won’t do for you if you promise them a chance to bounce bears on a trampoline! Make them count in 2s or 3s while you bounce the teddies and it becomes a maths game!)
  4. If the teacher leaves you no work, be thankful! You have 5 hours to teach the kids whatever you want. Pull out your favourite stories (Roald Dahl is always good), read to them for a very long time, then make up some creative writing or art or maths or SOSE activities around your reading. Play with character transformations (‘If the enormous crocodile was a person, what would he look like? What would he do?) or points of view (re-write parts of ‘the Enormous Crocodile’ in a voice sympathetic to the EC). Turn it into a comic, with or without text. Make up maths word problems based on the story. Research the diet of crocodiles… Endless options, and they all take little or no preparation. If you are not tied to any program, you are free! Make the most of it! (If work is left, do it! And thank the teacher.)
  5. Show the kids that you like them. This goes a long way. (If they are not very likeable, this one will be hard. But try.)

And finally, don’t stress. Whatever happens, it will all be over at 3 o’clock.

Lava Lamp Love

I love my lava lamp. I picked it up for $15 from a market about eight years ago – much to my father’s chagrin. “It’ll never last,” said he. It has thus far proved him wrong. And he was, at one point, admittedly envious.

I’m told that Andrew and Simone’s boys like some of the stuff I post here – and I know they’ve been working on their own lava lamps… so here’s a Lava Lamp recipe I found at “What’s that stuff“… a cool site exploring the ingredients of stuff. Sadly it seems most of the ingredients are a “trade secret” or not available in the home laboratory… but this is a start.

Water and wax, which the original patents name as main ingredients, remain components of the commercial recipe, says Tom Spain, vice president of sales, marketing, and product development for Haggerty Enterprises, the official U.S. manufacturer of Lava brand lamps. Additional agents, he explains, help the wax gently plume upward instead of breaking apart into bubbles as it is heated and keep wax from sticking to the sides of the container.

Walker’s U.S. patent mentions additives such as dye, mineral oil, carbon tetrachloride, and polyethylene glycol (PEG), but the exact formula of commercial lamps is a trade secret. Spain tells C&EN that only five or six staff chemists know the formula and are in charge of occasional reformulations. Densities must be recorded for each batch of wax that Haggerty makes, which is mixed in 5-foot-tall vats in factories in China.

Last but not least, the water layer is added to the cooled wax very slowly so as to avoid creating emulsions, which are cloudy-looking oil-water mixtures. In fact, the recipe for the water layer is carefully adjusted to perfectly complement the density of each unique batch of wax.

Like totally

I’ve finally found a plug-in that does what Simone wanted… a simple “like” plugin.

The star rating thing hasn’t really taken off, but I’m keeping it for now. You can “like” a post by clicking the little plus symbol down the bottom.

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Back

Holidays are almost over. We’re back in civilisation today. We had lunch with Andrew and Simone.

Which reminds me of the news of some import that is worthy of note.

Last Monday we had our interview regarding candidacy with the Presbyterian Church of Queensland – we passed. We’ll, if all goes according to plan, be studying at QTC and working at Clayfield (with Andrew and Simone) next year.

Star status

Simone has demanded (and installed) a “like function” to operate as a middle ground between casually enjoyment and making a comment.

I like it. I found a “star rating” plug-in for WordPress. I installed it. Now it’s your turn. You need to rate my posts (1 star to 5 stars) as you see fit. Otherwise I’ll just rate them myself and I’ll turn into a five star blogger.

This also meets Simone’s need for a “dislike” option. Because lets face it. Nobody wants one star.

YouTube Tuesday: Teenage Mutant Cyborg Turtle

Ninja Turtles have all the fun.

I’ve been tracking the story of Simone and her frisky dog. If you haven’t been – then you should. She took him to the vet the other day. The same day we sent our little Rosie to the vet for the first time. I’d never sent an animal to the vet before, but I think it was the most expensive five minutes of my life – and I wasn’t there. We sent her with my in-laws.

The vet told them that we’d already cured said turtle of her fungal infection by the power of betadine. Hooray for us. And then he charged us $50.

This little turtle had significantly greater problems… he lost his legs, so they replaced them with little plastic bits that slide along the floor.

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The Links Effect

Are you missing my daily links posts? Me too. It means posting links requires heaps more effort on my part. But there’s so much good stuff out there.

Izaac* has been fighting the good fight – collating suggestions for a response to atheist university students who are postering campuses around Sydney.

Ben came out of the hip-hop closet and let us all know about his history as an MC in a hip-hop posse.

There’s a pretty interesting discussion happening as a follow up to my abortion post over at the Fountainside.

Simone* has pointed her readers to another blog (Jean in all honesty) which is discussing the use of childcare for Christian parents. I refrained from commenting there because I’m a guy, and not a parent, but Simone’s husband Andrew* has put up a post where us guys can feel comfortable chiming in.

CafeDave is a little blog about cafes and marketing – so you can see why I’d like it – Dave posted his responses to the Jesus All About Life campaign as reported by Steve Kryger’s (very helpful) Communicate Jesus and discussed by a pack of raving atheists on mumbrella – atheists who can’t seem to distinguish the activities of churches from “tax payer funded activities” simply because churches receive certain tax exemptions. Churches are not for profit community organisations – no not for profit community organisations pay tax, and plenty of them (my employer included) advertise.

Recent new reader/first time commenter Drew has a blog. It’s worth reading. I particularly like his insights into the use of a blog as a tool for getting things done – including getting things off one’s mind. I read quite a few of his posts last night while watching NCIS.

Ali has a biting insiders view on what’s wrong with legal writing – I must agree, having started a law degree and been told that it’s all about plain writing and then sitting through hours of lectures, reading case notes and hearing lawyers talk, I can completely understand the sentiment behind the quote she shared.

Tim* had a go at me for giving up fast food. I should have a go at him for giving up grammar. But he makes some interesting points.

Dan* used his gloriously designed blog to reflect on a recent lecture on Christian ethics and the reconciliation debtate in two parts.

Byron Smith – whose name sounds suspcisciously like Bryson Smith – has posted a really helpful reflection on parenting that covers one of those little topics I’m toying with as future post fodder – the idea that indoctrinating your child is abusive. It’s not. As a Christian it’s the most loving thing you can do for your child.

I’m thinking about writing quite a few pieces on parenting – and this is not any kind of announcement – but I’m also struck by Queensland’s new surrogacy laws. On one hand they open up great possibilities for offering to formally adopt children from those considering an abortion, and on the other, they turn “parenting” into a right and privelige for everybody – rather than a responsibility and natural outcome of being part of the archetypal family unit. I’m not a fan of that part, but it’s not enough of an objection for me to not be a fan of the whole thing. My inner pragmatist realises that gay couples – particularly women – can have children whenever they want already, and this is, on the whole, designed to protect their child, and the biological father.

And for those of you wondering which of my posts from the last few days I’d bother reading if I were you it would be these:

* Denotes people I know in the real world…

NB: The photo at the stop is completely unrelated to the post, it was just text heavy and I hadn’t posted it before. It’s from Lucinda. You should go there. I would have put up a photo of a can of Lynx, if I had one.

That is all.

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All quiet…

Simone hasn’t posted since Monday. Stuss has posted just once this week, while Ben has posted just once today. Izaac has posted twice. Tim and Ben (Bathgates.net) once. The usually reliable Craig has posted only nine times this week. The man known around these parts as “The Moff” (I saw somewhere that someone called him that to some consternation) – has posted four times.

Amy and Tim are off to a promising start with six posts since Monday. Ali, who I missed out in the last little round up post, has posted three times this week…

Maybe the threat of traffic induced by this post and all the other bored desk jockeys out there will cause these people to update their blogs soon…

And the rest of you… what are we procrastinators to do?

Commenting would be a start. Lets talk.

Euty goes to Downsville

Ben has really stepped things up in the creativity department since I featured Simone as an example of the “creator” type of blogger and he was relegated to the “less prestigious” (in paraphrase) tier of “commentator”… if you have no idea what I’m talking about – see this post.

This would, were I corruptible, be an opportunity to play the two off against each other in order to see what kind of creativity they might produce… But lets face it… Ben’s pretty creative in his own right.

And this is awesome.