Towards the Trump at End of the World

Leave a comment

It seems that the American Republican Party has become its own cult.  Like some nativistic Ghost Dance or cargo cult it believes that if it gets enough votes then the ancestors will return and herald in the renewed age of the world.  Only true believers need apply.


Prayers for Pentecost 13

Leave a comment

Ah, dear lord, at this time and in this place we come to prayer.

Be welcome here. Bow your head and sit with us as we pray.

Lord, you are the god who protects us, you are the god who keeps our heads down in the heat of the moment. We see the puff of smoke and hear the ricochet of the bullet. It misses us by inches. We are deafened by the percussive force of the explosion, its heat singes the hairs on our necks. You cradle us and keep us safe, god of the foxholes.

Thank you that you have given us a safe country to live in, free from war, and civic violence and corruption. We are citizens, at home in our own country. Keep the dangers far away from our islands. Remember us here. As we come closer to our elections give us wisdom and discernment to make our democracy and our institutions work favourably for our world, our environment, and for the sustinence of all living creatures. Keep our country at peace. Guard our children, guide our leaders, grant us peace.

Lord, we have looked overseas, and we have seen the Olympics, the competitions, the games, the drama, and the colours. We have seen the beautiful people, the athletic and the strong, the best of the nations. We have seen the triumphs, and the humility. We have seen the defeats, and the disappointments. We know the promises: Higher, Faster, Stronger; and in your kingdom of heaven, you include: Deeper, Slower, Gentler, Older, Wiser. Grant us your blessing to nurture the gifts of your spirit. We have disciplined ourselves in our training, we are running your race. In your coming reign you promise us all a crown and a new name. Bring in your kingdom.

Lord, we are coming through the winter. We count every minute as each day lengthens. Save us from the slippery frost and the treacherous ice that will send us sliding down the hill. Give us our breath as we breathe in the sharpness of the cold air. Keep away the coughs and sniffles, especially the flu. Provide for us the warmth and hospitality of our homes in the day, and snug in bed at nights. Grant us thanks for fine frosty mornings. May there be grit under our wheels to give traction as we spread your Gospel. Give us warm hands, warm toes, and warm hearts.

We pray for us who are Church. Let us find the silence between words, the white space between lines. Let us listen. Let us see the breadth of the diversity and find ourselves in good company. You are the god who salts the earth with words of fire. Teach us to love, to speak words of life and truth, teach us meaning and beauty, teach us to learn together. And together we share the words that you taught your disciples, we sing together…

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.

Amen, amen. Amen, amen. Amen, amen. Amen, amen.


Mamma Lina

Leave a comment

Bear with me.  Let me put in an endorsement for a lovely restaurant that we visited a couple of weeks ago when I was in Invercargill to see family.  They took me to Mamma Lina on Tay Street.  I won’t claim to a be foodie, or know my way around restaurants.  In the old Kingsland building on Tay Street there is an Italian restaurant.  You walk in and you are transported into another country.  Luigi, quite the gentleman, led us to our table while he carried on singing to himself in Italian.  Next to the Civic Theatre it was perfect for an evening meal before a night out at a musical.  It was a storm outside and the restaurant was warm, and convenient for the evening.

I ordered Fileto con Pepe Verde, Green Pepper Fillet.  “Rare or medium rare?”  I did not press that I liked well done meat.  I went with medium rare, only a little chewy.  We followed with desserts, I had the Peccati di Gola (Sins of the throat, I thought), a plate of pastries with cream and fruit, quite a treat.  I was pleased with my choices.

I should be down in Invercargill later this year when the family gather again for the Burt Munro Rally.  We are planning for a family dinner there.  The menu is being checked for navigating around food allegies.  We are sure to find something to meet our requirements.

Mamma Lina.jpg

Hobbit-spotting 13 June 2016

1 Comment

I’m a month in to living at my new flat, for which I’ve taken out a mortgage.  So far, so good.  Nearly everything is set up as I would want it.

This weekend, visits from Southern Dave, and from my mother.  Dave was here two nights, he has secured my bookcases to the walls.  He was here for the Regent Theatre’s 24 Hour Book Sale.  This year I left the sale with only two books: The Maestro, by Hoffnung; and The Algebraist, by Banks.

Mum was here for Turandot, the Metropolitan Opera performance at the Rialto Cinema.  My new couch is now more colourful with a blanket throw and cushions from Mum and family in Invercargill.

I went to the volunteers meeting for the Midwinter Carnival, which is this weekend.  I visited the Public Library on the way back, just in case the books I had been looking to borrow from there were in.  They were.  I am set up to spend time reading for the next month, in the comfort of my own home.  All good.

The Jihad of Jesus

Leave a comment

This is a summary of my thoughts from Dave Andrews’ address in Dunedin a couple of weeks ago.

I found what he had to say worked in with Jihad al-madina, a suggestion for a Muslim understanding of non-violence that I heard some years ago at the Abrahamite Inter-faith Peace lecture; not just not-violence, but a positive value of civic discipleship.  The cultivation of such a discipline works for Christians as well as Muslims.

Dave Andrews identifies the following values:

  • recognise that the God of Abraham is also the god of the Other in this dialogue
  • don’t start with identifying the Other as false, or yourself as superior
  • affirm the good in the other – confront what is bad in ourselves (otherwise that beam in our eye is going to do someone an injury!)

Jihad does not equate with war in the Koran. That is a different word, qital.  Jihad is the non-violent struggle for justice.  Jihad needs to be taken back from dangerous people of both sides.

Jesus should not be the poster boy for crusade.  He is the kalimatullah, the word of God.

Andrews introduced the vow of the Kudai Khidmatgar, written by Badshah Khan, an advocate for non-violence alongside Gandhi in pre-independent India.  It deserves to be better known:

I am a Khudai Khidmatgar; and as God needs no service, but serving his creation is serving him, I promise to serve humanity in the name of God.

I promise to refrain from violence and from taking revenge. 

I promise to forgive those who oppress me or treat me with cruelty. 

I promise to refrain from taking part in feuds and quarrels and from creating enmity. 

I promise to treat every Pathan as my brother and friend. 

I promise to refrain from antisocial customs and practices. 

I promise to live a simple life, to practice virtue and to refrain from evil. 

I promise to practice good manners and good behavior and not to lead a life of idleness. I promise to devote at least two hours a day to social work. 

Non-violent change needs extravagant impropriety.


Prayers for 24 April 2016

Leave a comment

A harvest thanksgiving service, a day before ANZAC Day, and thinking about the arrival of the first Syrian refugees to Dunedin, I wrote these prayers:

Hello god, here is our prayers. Listen to us I pray. Bend down from heaven and bend your ear.

Hear us when we pray to you. Are you ready for us? We are coming to you.

You see before us the harvest offering, tokens of your generosity towards us.

After ten thousand years of civilised history and architecture we are still dependent on the layers of soil beneath our feet, and the promise of rain from the vaults of heaven.

Provide us for our daily needs, for what we produce and what grow, and what we need, from earth and sky and encircling ocean.

For all our pride in being educated first world citizens we still live from day to day.

Our nations, our cities, our communities, even our families – all may be lost and swept aside if the meals stop coming, and we are left as broken stones and foundations in the waste land.

Lord, you know our needs. You know them before they come to mind.

When we call on you we know you will meet us halfway because you know and you are coming to get us.

We do not walk home alone for you are with us and you guide us – share our playlunch with us, we will sit and eat sandwiches together.

In making this gesture of our gifts returned to you we are reminded that renew our citizenship in your kingdom.

We are the wandering people, from the first garden to the promise of the new Jerusalem.

We are highly mobile. We settle for a generation and then we move on.

We have the vision of the city, a city which has the God which gives righteousness and peace at its heart.

We would wish our city to be the welcoming place, to settlers, refugees, visitors and tourists.

Lord, save our land from the violence, from the bombs and missiles that have fallen on others.

Instead let the rain, the wind, the snow, and brief intervals of sun fall on us.

If ours is a safe city, then let us share it with others, let us be hospitible, let us be diverse.

Lord, within these hills, you have set us on a broad place, may it be home to all your people.

We live in our islands on the edge of the world, and the world seems full of danger, keep that danger far from our shores, Lord God, protect our islands, and nurture all who live here.

We remember those who have died to keep our islands at peace in past wars.

If we go from these islands again, then let our men and women go as peace keepers, and not as soldiers and warriors, when they go on that great adventure.

We remember those in our families who have gone, now and in previous generations.

We honour their sacrifice.

Lord, you are the Lord of the Harvest, even if it is the harvest of lost souls.

We do not get out of life alive, and our hope is our children, our grand-children, and our new-born will be our inheritors in a civilisation of peace.

May we be witnesses to your kingdom at this time, and in our life-time, and share our vision for our community with others who walk with us.

Give us good leadership – in our elected leaders in local government and in parliament.

We pray for our moderator, the Right Rev. Andrew Norton, that he would be a man who speaks for your Church.

Make us a generous people, abundant in our celebration, catering for friend and critic alike.

May we see Christ in the eye of the person opposite to us, teach us to see the stranger.


…we say together

Hobbit-spotting in March

Leave a comment

I’m distracted at the moment.  I’m in the process of buying a one-bedroom flat in North East Valley.  I take possession at the end of April.  I have made the 10% deposit.  I’m talking to a mortgage broker about things like income insurance.  It’s going to take up most of my savings and I will probably have the mortgage for the rest of my life (I’m 50 now).  Still all is good and I am hopeful.

And I’m secretly excited.  I will have my own home!

I went to my first lecture for the Centre on Research on Colonial Culture.  Re-Configuring Government Houses, given by Martina Ghosh-Schellhorn.  Lots of notes about the details of government houses which I want to include in my imaginary city, Lamborough: the architecture, the servants, the lack of privacy.

I came away with two ideas:

  • the stone masons that built Government House in Kolkata then went on to build the Astana in Singapore.  The idea that Tony Ballantyne introduced of the internet of empire works, and needs to be explored further in this context.  Just as in the same way rhododendrum seedlings were introduced into New Zealand before they arrived in Britain, on the way from China.
  • Cultures interact in hierarchy.  Cross-cultural communication can happen.  It’s a word du jour at the moment, alongside multi-culturalism.  But white male anglophones (like me) still remain the privileged culture.

Older Entries