Monday, May 29, 2006
Connie Coulianos is the Children’s Ministry Director of Christ Church NYC.
The only thing that gets The Boy out of bed on a Sunday Morning to get to Church is the possibility of seeing Connie.
Connie is great. A real saint. She serves is a lovely gracious way. I heard her say this morning that her reward is that she gets to spend time with the children. That works for me. Mark 10:13-16 .
I haven't got a pic of Connie. I could find one on Google Images. But she'd probably be embarrassed to have one up hear anyways.
So, dedicated to Connie Coulianos, I submit the following exchange --
From the Letters pages of The Australian Newspaper:
“Tim Saclier (Letters, 23/5) has summed up beautifully the old cliché that religion is a triumph of superstition and blind faith over reason and logic. My own epiphany came at the age of 12, when my Sunday school teacher, in reply to my asking who created God, informed me with a straight face that God had always existed. I refused to attend further religious instruction on the grounds that I was being taught by idiots. My Sundays were then spent happily playing in the local swamp, where I observed many of the creatures from which I had actually evolved."
- Peter West, The Vines, WA
To which came the following riposte:
“Peter West (Letters, 24/5) reminded me of my old science teacher, to whom, at the age of 12, I posed the question, “Who caused the big bang?” He answered me, with a straight face, that nothing caused it, to which I promptly replied that something must have because it obviously happened. It was at that point that I had an epiphany: my science teacher could not give me an answer that was either reasonable or logical. My Sundays were then happily spent attending Sunday school and learning about the God who created me.”
- Bruce Newberry, Mansfield, Qld.”
Sunday, May 28, 2006
I had my Home Fellowship Group last night ['Bible Study' for you Sydney guys]. We did the last of the Bible Studies in Mark's Gospel. I posted the studies up before: "Better for your Soul than a Bagel". The Studies can be downloaded from that page.
If you are for some random prayers, pray for some of the guys in our group: Sam, Caroline [and Baby Jimmy], Rich, Lynda, Eric, Sharon [who turned 50 yesterday], Clara, Rakesh and Amanda.
Anyways, we looked last night at Mark 15:40-16:8, and we talked about Joseph of Arimathea. He was the [secret] believer who asked Pilate for the body of Jesus.
And, interestingly, I read this Frederick Buechner comment on the Subway today:
“Joseph of Arimathea: As a prominent member of the Jewish establishment, Joseph of Arimathea needed guts to go to Pilate and ask for the dead body of Jesus so he could give it a decent burial. It is presumably no easier for a closet Christian to come out of the closest than it is for anybody else, and you can't help admiring him for it. In view of the events of Easter morning, however, you can't help noting that if he'd only waited a few days, he could have spared himself a thumping bill from the undertaker.
"It is important to give Joseph of Arimathea his due for his mortuary solicitude, but at the same time it is hard not to see him as the first of many Christians who spend so much time stewing about the blood of the lamb that they lose sight of the fact that the lamb has long since gone on to greener pastures where he's kicking up his heals in the sunshine and calling others to join in the dance.”
From: “Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who”, by Frederick Buechner.
Fair or not?
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
A new segment. Subway rides can be crowded and useful. A simple book held close to one's nose can be digested between stops. I might try to drop in a few quotes of some stuff I'm reading every now and then.
Is that OK?
From: “Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who”, by Frederick Buechner.
"Barabbas: Pilate told the people that they could choose to spare the life of either a murderer named Barabbas or Jesus of Nazareth, and they chose Barabbas. Given the same choice, Jesus, of course, would have chosen to spare Barabbas as well.
To understand the reason in each case would be to understand much of what the New Testament means by saying that Jesus is the Saviour, and much of what it means to say that, by and large, people are in bad need of being saved.
See Mark 15:6-15 "
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Friday, May 19, 2006
The family spent the last three days in the mountains of Georgia at Mommie's 90th Birthday [The Girl is pictured here with her Great-Grandma]. Loads of relatives were there. Em-mma was there.
There was also this cool enclosed trampoline that we used for hours solid.
Click here for the VIDEO of The Boy bouncing with his cousins. With their combined weight, they could not really bounce very high.
But with MY 85kgs...
I like the way they all laughed. I like how repeating something over and over is never boring. With apologies to Job [who on top of his suffering, had to endure his mate’s dumb words], I ask you to click here. Bildad, like all of us I guess, talked long enough to eventually say something good.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Here are some pics of Dr Laurel's graduation.
Can you pick her in the crowd?
The Boy was proud of his mum [as well as his balloons].
Where is wisdom to be found?
Laurel is appreciating your words of kindness. You are welcome to make more. :)
PS She graduated from the Catholic University of America. With the 'Shrine of the Immaculate Conception’ towering above, and the Archbishop dressed to the nines, and Wolf Blitzer from CNN embedded in the ceremony [in pic behind the Archbishop], the Roman Catholics know how to put on a show!
Friday, May 12, 2006
Laurel graduates with her PhD in "Shakespeare’s Use of Nothing" this Saturday May 13 in Washington, DC. She graduates 10am [12 midnight Sunday in Sydney]. It has been a labour of love. But in the contest between Something and Nothing, it would appear that Something eventually won.
Then [together with Em-mma] we will be flying to Atlanta then to Albuquerque, New Mexico, next Friday. Laurel will be flying under the name Dr. Laurel Moffatt.
All you shy readers out there: I know who you are. Why not post your congratulations here on this site? Click on the 'comments' thing below. Register yourself with a name, or even anonymously, and post your congratulations. Why write a card, I say? I'll pass on the love to the Doctor.
PS I've included some random recent photos. I think that Em-mma took most of them.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
But I couldn't resist posting this.
OK. Confession re the bulletin below:
In 1990, I found in the "Weekly Notices" Archives deep in the office at St Barnabas' Broadway the bulletin from 13th September 1970. I was good friends with Michael Jensen from school and university, and that particular bulletin was the notice that announced his safe birth.
The note says: "Michael Jensen joined the Rectory Staff last Monday, expected home from hospital with his mother shortly. Both are well."
His father preached that evening. Barry Newman preached the following Sunday.
So I "borrowed" the Bulletin to show Michael. And then I never returned it. That is my confession. I’ve been meaning to return it for 15 years.
One of the things that you lose in a fire like this is old bulletins and notices and archives.
This is one of the tragedies.
But one thing is not lost: The Bulletin from 13 September 1970.
Now, here is my question: Who should I return this bulletin to?
A. Ian Powell and St Barnabas?
B. Michael Jensen and family?
C. The Archbishop and family?
My faith was nurtured in this building. My faith, as well as the faith of thousands of others.
I was a member there from 1990-1991. I was part of the start-up of BAD [Barneys After Dark youth ministry]. St Barnabas sent me to be an MTS trainee to Newcastle Uni. When I came back to Sydney to go to Moore Theological College, I served and was served at Barneys from 1995-1996. I then took the ministry position at St Ives. Among many, Rob Forsyth taught us well.
I'll miss that space.
Anyone got any good memories from St Barnabas? Good sermons? Events? Any present or past member of Barneys wishes to speak up, you'd be most welcome...
And, of course, if you have never been to St Barnabas, but wish to say something, feel free.
So... the next chapter is up.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Just before Emma came to visit from Sydney, we put a picture of her up on our desktop computer so that The Boy could get used to her being around.
So included in his vocabulary now is the word: Emma.
More specifically, it is Em-mma.
So here is how The Boy answers the following questions:
Who’s coming in three days? Em-mma.
Who's that coming out of the taxi from JFK? Em-mma.
Who's the godmother of The Girl? Em-mma.
Who'll help us on our weeklong trip to Washington DC, Atlanta and Albuquerque? Em-mma.
Who's that getting up with The Boy at the crack of dawn? Em-mma.
Who's that taking the kids out for another stroll? Em-mma.
Who's that bathing the kiddos? Em-mma.
Who’s that changing another nappy? Em-mma.
Who is The Boy's fav? Em-mma.
Who is a Godsend?
Love, Justin and Laurel.
PS Top 4 Pics were taken at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Last 3 Pics were taken by great friends of ours in Central Park.
Friday, May 05, 2006
I had dinner at a Ukrainian Restaurant yesterday with a gentleman from NYU. We got talking about how to be involved in a local church. In light of that conversation, I offer this [probably overextended] metaphor as a meditation.
God is building his Church. You get that in Ephesians and in 1 Corinthians. Paul moves freely between the metaphors of buildings and bodies. But the body grows as each part does its work.
That means that God is building his Church with you. You are a part of it. You are the building, and, under him, you are a builder.
That would mean that you are a living member of a church only if you have a hammer in your hands. Don’t sit around the building site waiting for someone else to get a hammer. You pick your hammer up and you get building:
Attend the building project. Turn up eagerly [not just early]. Work with your team. Don’t get discouraged when seasons make the project falter. Think about what is required for Christ’s Church to grow. Work from Blueprint. Believe in the project. Invite others to be a part of the project. Always speak with the builder.
There is no sitting in the stands watching someone else build that building [“I’m come for the preaching.”] and there no place for cynicism [“They built this all wonky.”]. Since God is the builder of his church, he’ll do it with or without you. It’s better to be a part of it.
Turn up, pick up your hammer, and get building.
PS Read this for the words of a person who honestly struggles with his local church.
And also read this for a critique of the critics.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
The following postcards are from a site called postsecret.com. Let me be upfront: as with any confession, the site is somewhat difficult to read. It is real. It is sweet at points. It is offensive at points. It is not all 'G' rated.
I have just found out that I can post only one image as a link to : www.postsecret.blogspot.com. This I have now corrected with apologies.
The site exists for many reasons. One is that that you could speak out in your anxiety. If you have a secret and no one to tell, you can spend some time thinking and creating and putting shape to your secret, then posting it for someone to hear. You could be angry. You may be humbled. You are probably anxious and feeling guilty. You may be trying to confess something to someone ‘out there’.
What a powerful concept.
I assure you that I post these pictures with not a single bone of judgment in my body. Just sorrow.
I joined the military.
I hope someone breaks your heart
I built this house for my heart
I hope you will like me more
This is my favourite one -- Its more happy!
My overwhelming reaction is that the people posting these notices are trying to pray in some oblique way -- and indeed they might start actually praying if they trusted in Jesus Christ through whom we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I feel deeply for these people. I guess I am one of them.
And at the same time, I feel the liberation declared by the Apostle John: “Dear Friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”
If you’ve got this far, please do me a favour: make it a point to meditate [by clicking on and reading] these verses:
Cast all your anxiety on him: 1 Peter 5:7
You are my hiding place: Psalm 37:1-7
When anxiety was great within me: Psalm 94:17-19
Though the fig tree does not bud: Habakkuk 3:16-19
PS What are the other good Bible verses that help?
And by the way, be careful how you post a comment. :)