Thursday, April 27, 2006

Attendance is only 'First Base' for Church Life.

*** Bonhoeffer quote coming.

Attendance is only first base for Church life. Some of us still have to get to First Base. And first base is necessary. But we have so much further to go. There is so much more that a community in Christ is required to learn: much more wonder and toughness, joy and pain. I’m speaking on Ephesians 5 this Sunday. I am preparing as I type.

I have to post the quote below, because Bonhoeffer has always [and still] resonates with me.

  • Bonhoeffer proposes in Chapter 1 of Life Together, that every believer needs to be able to ‘go-it-alone’ with God [Jesus went to the cross despite the fact that his friends didn’t sign up. He never said: ‘I go if my friends go too’.]
  • At the same time he proposes that we need to ‘do-life-together’ [If God gives you one brother or sister to help you pick up your cross, he has then been gracious.] As it turns out, he has given us more than one. Much more.

Both of these have to be true simultaneously. [Never just alone and never just together].

Here is the quote:

"Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will only do harm to himself and to the community. Alone you stood before God when he called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God."

"Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. Into the community you were called, the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray. You are not alone, even in death, and on the Last Day you will be only one member of the great congregation of Jesus Christ."

Love, Justin.

PS Anyone else think that Bonhoeffer looks like Christian Anderson's Dad?
And don't post any 'you still like Bonhoeffer' comment. You don't give up on old friends.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

World Leaders the Boy can pick [Poll Completed]

Boris Yelstin is The Boy’s latest world leader to enter his sphere of consciousness. For my birthday, Laurel gave me a set of Russian Doll Soviet Leaders. The Boy points to the biggest Doll and says his name.

Take a look at the Russian Dolls. Anyone pick anything Orwellian about them? [Look Closely now.]

I like the fact that they are Soviets. The Boy likes the fact that the dolls fit inside of each other. Therein lies the difference between him and me.
However, the The Poll results are now in. Your Results were:

1. Abe Lincoln 42.31%
2. Winston Churchill 30.77%
3. Robert Menzies 7.69%
4. Ronald Reagan 19.23%

The answer is: The Boy can pick out Sir Winston Churchill.
And here is what he does: He finds his favourite book: Peepo. He opens up to the page below, and then he points to the tiny tiny picture frame [look closely again] behind the ‘father-figure’, and declares: “Churchill”.

Love, Justin and Laurel.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


The Poll shall continue for a few days longer.
Go and take a vote, and we’ll let you know the answer in a few days time.

This Post, however, is about The Girl.

I am prepared to say on this Blog the middle name of our Daughter.
The Girl's middle name is 'Sinclair'.

People ask why.

And here is the reason: Sometime in the late 1700s or early 1800s, my great-great-great Grandfather on my mother’s side was involved in some sort of near-drowning boating incident in the Shetland Islands where they lived. We have no knowledge of the details; suffice to say that he almost lost his life.

He was rescued by a man with the name ‘Sinclair’.

To express his thanks, my ancestor named his firstborn, Robert Sinclair.
And Robert Sinclair grew up and named his son, Robert Sinclair II.
And Robert Sinclair II grew up and named his son, Robert Sinclair III.
Robert Sinclair III was my grandfather.

The name ‘Sinclair’ stopped at that point, as often happens. [The last one was named in the early 1900s.]

My wife and I liked this story of rescue. And we named her Sinclair so as to remember, reflect and be thankful for two things:

1. A simple and random moment of rescue some 200 years ago.
2. A profound and designed moment of rescue we find in Jesus.

That and we liked the name…

Love, Justin.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Little Man on a World Stage [Poll included]

Winston Churchill

Ronald Reagan

Which of these can The Boy pick out of a Crowd?
Abe Lincoln

Robert Menzies

Winston Churchill

Ronald Reagan

Current results

The Boy can pick one particular World Leader out of a crowd .

And only one.

He not only can say this leader's name, but he says it repeatedly. We say to him -- Go and find 'x', [where ‘x’ is the particular Leader]. And he will sift through a pile of books, find the relevant one, open the relevant page, and point to him. Where upon he proudly announces his name.

Which world leader do you think it is?
Take the [three days only] poll.
And make a comment telling us why you think what you think.

Hint: The Leader’s surname is disyllabic.

Love, Justin.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Redemption from the Bosom of the Pacific

A post by popular request.

Indeed, my Pajero [Montero for our US visitors] was almost lost to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean. The photos above capture the moment. I went 4WD-ing on Stockton Beach, Newcastle, in 1999 with the Year 12, 2000 Christchurch St Ives leaders [Clarkey, Simon, Emma, Helen, Kylie and Deb].

We were driving right along the beach front – like they do in the 4WD advertisements. I did not see the place in the beach where all the water was draining out into the surf. But when the Pajero hit that point, the car simply stopped dead. Then my wheels spun in the ‘quicksand’ as though my car was in neutral.

“It’s all good”, I tell myself.

Even as we dug for an hour [well – Clarkey did most of the work], and even as the ocean was swirling in around my car, and even as an experienced 4WDer said to me: “Mate, that car will be dragged away to sea within an hour”, I kept saying to myself: “It’s all good.”

It was only once I had come to terms with my loss that a tractor [from a nearby sand quarry] came to my rescue.

It's rare to feel so good.

And it only cost me a case of VB instead of $$$$$$$$.

I like redemption.

Love, Justin.

PS Emma C – your comment on my previous post is correct: due to the whole issue of being above reproach, Clarkey, Simon and I did indeed sleep on a traffic island in our swags. Tidy.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Remember your Youngers

Above are the guys I took for Bible Study from 1998-2000 at Christchurch St Ives in Sydney. The picture was taken at my final Sunday at St Ives on December 4, 2005.

For the record, here are the leaders who led the whole Year group from Years 10-12:

The guys were in Year 10 when we started our Friday night Bible Studies together. Jimmy Cooper and Nathan Tasker had led the guys from Year 7-9, and Simon Chaplin and I led them from Years 10-12. We finished in the Whitsunday Islands in North Queensland in December 2000.

I wish now to remember my youngers. We have a lot of ‘remember your elders’, but not a lot of ‘remember your youngers’.

These guys are faithful guys. Almost all still trust Jesus. Many of them serve in Sunday Schools and church youth groups. It was my privilege to lead with some of them at 645 Church at Christchurch.

Is there anyone who is younger than you [whom you may have lead], but you wish to honour? Comment away.

Love, Justin.

PS Love the beard on Hughesi...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

In Defense of 'Nothing'.

Laurel defended her dissertation yesterday in DC. It was accepted with acclaim. This is such GREAT news! It turns out that Shakespeare’s ‘Nothing’ is worth something. She will graduate, God willing, on May 13.

We went today to celebrate by visiting the Cherry Blossoms around the monuments. It was so crowded that we could not get out and see it. But we did get some good pics at one Cherry Blossom that we could find! [See above]

Please pass the good news on to interested friends. And comment with some congratulations if you like. [Click on the comments button and follow instructions.]

Love, Justin.

PS And check out her post below.