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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Old Friends

I recently came back from something called Men's Rites Of Passage, in Brisbane. It's not something that I can talk a lot about, but it was awesome. If it sounds interesting, do go and visit the page here.

But while I was out away on that, I wrote this. And thought I'd share it with y'all, because I quite like it.

Old Friends
"Life is hard," said I to the man.
"Tell me something I don't know!" said he.
"Life has always been hard, extremely hard,
And especially so for me!
You say it like it's some new revelation,
Something you've never heard before -
But it's been this way since life began,
If you stop and look at the score.
It's one-nil to life, first goal wins,
We never even had a chance.
Go ahead and play the game if you like,
But it's done - you're just doing a dance.
You can't win against life - so stop trying, stop doing.
That will never get you anywhere."
"So what are you saying?" I asked, "Give up?
Just pretend that I don't care?"
"Ah, but you see," he said, "there's not just one game.
This one might be finished, but that's not all.
Just because you can't win against life,
Doesn't mean that we're always going to fall."

"Life is not that important," said I to the man.
"Really?" said he, "I never knew!
I thought that perhaps I should bow down to worship,
Wondering at the splendiferousness of you!
You'd think that to look at you that Einstein was a fool,
And that Mozart wrote childish tones!
That Socrates babbled nonsense,
And Beethoven played the spoons!
Get down from your cloud, down from your throne,
You're just another simple man.
You breathe, you burp, you fart, just like us.
And when you need to, you use the can.
If everyone's equal, that includes you, you dolt,
You're not somehow specially exempt.
The picture is a lot bigger than your pretty face -
Pretty being a loose term here, but you get what I meant.
I'm not being mean, I'm just being true.
There's more life out there than just yours.
Perhaps pay a little attention to it, you know,
Before you walk through death's doors."

"My life is not about me," said I to the man.
"No shit, Sherlock!" he exclaimed.
"The world's a lot bigger than little old you.
But you don't seem to get that, so let me explain.
You were created - and not by you - for a purpose,
Much bigger and grander than yourself.
That purpose isn't about a job, or even a family,
Or what awards and trophies you put on your shelf.
It's about being part of a picture that glorifies God,
That points the way back to Him.
He's what life is really all about,
That's where you sink or swim.
We're a grand cosmic arrow, a beautiful display,
And aye, we may be the chief exhibit -
But don't fool yourself for a moment
That you are the only one in it.
God loves all his children, not just you,
He's got the biggest family in Creation.
And he's patient - he'll wait for all to come,
For all have been sent the invitation."

"I am not in control," said I to the man.
"Thank goodness," said he, "for that!
Or else nothing would ever really get done,
And we'd probably all be wearing silly hats.
I much prefer it this way, I think -
With someone who knows what they're doing.
He has been doing the job for quite a while now, you know.
Despite all your fro-ing and to-ing.
Even your own life isn't just your own show,
Because it intersects with everything else.
So it's all a grand tapestry, and you're woven in somewhere -
Though why he bothered with you, who can tell?
But you're part of it anyway, and one day we'll be able
To step back and take a good look.
Just for now though, you're just a thread,
Being woven in with a hook.
It's a bit like the worm, but not quite as messy -
And you're catching men, not fish.
It's no easy thing, and it never happens quickly,
But it works a darn sight better than a wish."

"I am going to die," said I to the man.
He smiled. "That isn't such a bad thing," said he.
"This broken and shattered earth
Is no place to spend eternity.
We are bound for a much better home
That has already been prepared
You can't take anything with you -
But what you need is all there.
While we're here, though, everything fades.
Nothing is here for good.
Some last longer than others, for sure,
But all have their time. It's well understood.
It's just not well accepted, or well spoken;
But all know that all things die -
Or at least, all things physical, that are on this earth,
Rather than in the spiritual realm lie.
For faith, hope, and love,
Will never truly have an end.
And a new beginning awaits us;
As does our oldest friend.

Sunday, 13 August 2017


There's a lot of debate, about a lot of things, these days. Some things I give my opinion on, some I tend to leave to others. Often for the simple reason that I believe that what should be done, or what is right, or what is true (as is appropriate to the particular instance), seems blindingly obvious. Yet, apparently not to many.

Perhaps this should be obvious - we have such a wide variety of personalities, backgrounds, upbringings, places we come from; so surely, consensus is never possible? Well, maybe. Maybe complete consensus is impossible. It's hard to tell. There are so many people these days.

But there are some things we seem to have all agreed on, by now. Slavery, for instance. It's a given that this is morally wrong, and just shouldn't happen, at all, period. It still does, in some places, in various forms and guises. But there's no trying to pretend that it's a good thing. It's a black market, and the people involved in it know that they're doing wrong - and choose to do it anyway. Or at least, that's my guess. I can't say I've chatted to any slave traders recently; or not as far as I know.

A while back, I wrote a post mentioning that my moral compass for many things was asking whether it hurt people or not. I realise that's a fairly un-specific measure - what do you call hurting? Physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically? But it seems to work fairly well. If what you want to do hurts other people - it's probably not great. If it doesn't - well, it still might not be great. But at least it's not not great in that particular way! It's not foolproof. But it can be helpful.

What about if it doesn't hurt anyone else, but just yourself? Yeah, still not good. Perhaps 'better', in some senses, because you're being self-sacrificial or something - but you get too many people that are torturing themselves on the inside, and nobody knows a thing about it. So that would be a no.

Think that things would work a lot better if people used a measure something like this. Of course, I'm somewhat biased. But, in my defence, it's not just my idea. "First, do no harm." That probably sounds fairly familiar....also, this one: "Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore, love is the fulfilment of the law." (Romans 13:10, New International Version)

It's not just about tolerating people, or the views that they have. I've never been a fan of that word, personally. It brings to mind the idea that I really don't like you, but I'll barely tolerate you. I'll tolerate your continued existence. That's not what it should be about. (And I realise this is not what people use the word for. This is just for me, my mental picture and understanding of this word.) Love is what I aim for. If you love someone, it's not just about going, "Oh, well, I guess you can keep doing that." Instead, it's about looking out for their best interests. It's about building connections, building intimacy, bringing people together, establishing community. It's not saying, you do your thing over there, and I'll do my thing over here, and if they don't touch we're all good. It's asking, how can I support you? How can I champion you? How can I help you, be there for you, love you?

This is what I want to be able to do, for people in general. I want this to be my default. And perhaps that's naïve, in a world with politicians, and scammers, and tricksters, and people that seem to be out to get you everywhere. But I guess that's not the world that I see. I see a world of beauty, full of beautiful people. Hurting people, yes. And people being hurt by, and that are hurting, other people. But beautiful people, all the same.

Think that's enough rambling for now. Probably enough in there for people to think about.

Monday, 7 August 2017


First, the skin goes.
Then the muscles, nerves, sinews.
The organs.
And all you've got left is bones.
A skeleton.
Skeletons can't do much.
They don't have muscles to move with.
Or lungs to breathe with.
Or a stomach to get energy with.
Or even bowels to relieve themselves with.
They just stand there.
Or sit there.
Or lie there.
Taking the hits.
When you take away everything - how do you start?
When nothing is left - how can you live?
Of course, a skeleton doesn't live.
It just is.
And continues to be.

Desperation Is Not Attractive.

Cutting, cutting, cutting....
I get nowhere. I go nowhere.
Just cutting and falling, cutting and falling.
But I keep climbing back up.

Cutting, cutting, cutting....
Because I don't know anything else.
I keep thinking I can do better.
But I'm just trimming the tree.

Cutting, cutting, cutting....
Making it harder for myself each time, not easier.
Desperation sets in.
It just means that I'm doing it all faster.

Cutting, cutting, cutting....
How do I stop?
Each branch is less sturdy than the last, not more.
The higher you climb, the less they hold your weight.

Cutting, cutting, cutting....
I'd say move to a different tree -
But you only get one.
What happens when all the branches are gone?

Cutting, cutting, cutting....
Perhaps one day I'll stop long enough for branches to start growing back.
But until then, I'm always

Cutting, cutting, cutting....

Author's note: this poem is not referring to "cutting" in the sense of self-harm. While that may fit with some of the metaphor used, this was not the intended meaning. I do not and have not self-harmed before. If this is something that you struggle with, please seek professional help.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Sacredness Of Sex.

That title is probably going to draw a few in. Haha. A bit of a different topic from my usual, for today.

There's somewhat of a perception that the majority of non-Christians have (and even some Christians, depending on age and denomination) that Christianity can be a bit of a "fun police".

Particularly when it comes to sex.

"Aw, come on, no sex before marriage? You've got to be kidding me!"

Particularly in today's society, this idea is often seen as pretty ludicrous. The majority of couples will now live together before getting married; many often having had sex before then, with other partners. (I'll admit, I have not researched this extensively. But I'm relatively confident that research would bear that out.) And, of course, you get some Christians doing this as well. (We're not perfect, folks. Shock horror.) It can feel like a bit of a 'dirty secret' that nobody talks about, sometimes. It's just shuffled off to the side, and we hope that nobody notices....yeah, that'll totally work.

But in today's culture, there has grown a celebration of sex and sexuality. You can see it pretty much anywhere you turn - but particularly in art, and various creative mediums. In the language we use; and just the openness of it all. And the perception is that Christians think that sex is this terrible, dirty thing that we shouldn't talk about or see - hide the kiddies precious eyes so they don't see this disgusting thing! - that's what people think. But actually, that couldn't be further from the truth. And it really rather annoys me. So I thought I'd set the record straight.

Part of Christianity is that we see the act of sex as profoundly sacred. Not dirty. Not disgusting. Sacred. Precious. Insanely valuable and special. It is the ultimate demonstration of two people becoming one - their union and intermingling. (Yes, you're probably doing fun things with that phrase right about now. I'll just wait here for you.) And as such, it's also the ultimate representation of our union and intermingling with God - how we are united, by having his Spirit within us. As such, it is extremely sacred. And so we say, don't have sex until you're married. Don't take this profoundly sacred thing - and just use it in a casual way. Think of it like using a bone china tea set for a kid's tea set to play with. Or for them playing in the mud, or to build sand castles with at the beach. That's the sort of distance we're talking about, multiplied by a hundredfold or so.

We don't see sex as a dirty, terrible, or disgusting thing. We see its misuse, its casual treatment by so many, as terrible, and often disgusting. It is taking something that is extremely precious - and throwing it around like it's worth nothing. You might not feel like that's what you're doing, and perhaps it isn't always that extreme - but very often, it is not treated as sacred. It is not treated as precious. It's just thought of as fun, enjoyable, a release, a connection - and while these aren't incorrect, in a sense, they are not all that sex is.

This is why we get so riled up about how sex is portrayed in today's society. The sexualisation of so many things, in so many places - why pornography is so terrible. Because it is taking one of God's most precious gifts, and twisting it to serve lust, rather than love. Sex was meant to be the ultimate expression of love - not an outpouring of lust.

Think that's it for now. Not much else I can really say. But yeah. This is something that I'm rather passionate about. And it saddens me - it really, really saddens me - that this is so often lost in today's world, and even some Christians don't seem to understand this. But again - none of us are perfect.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Political Thoughts - Environment

In a break from my usual - today, I'm going to do a list of some things that I think should be law here in Australia. Well, I kinda think they should just be generalised, but you know. One thing at a time. These are all environment-based, but I could probably have a good think and come up with other ones for other areas of law. Maybe I'll just do different posts for different areas every now and then.

Ban plastic bags. They can no longer be made, bought, or sold, in any form. Every store must use bags that are re-usable, like paper or canvas. Thicker-grade plastic bags, or "biodegradable plastic", is still not okay.

Ban disposable coffee cups. As above; stores must utilise alternative, re-usable mugs (like ceramic) and cups, or implement a #BYOCoffeeCup system, potentially both.

Clothes Recycling. Every clothing store, as a requirement, must have a place to recycle clothing, and clear communication as to where this goes to.

Commercial food waste is a crime. Unsold food is required to be donated to food relief organisations, given away, etc.

Waste Tax. Taxes on waste and rubbish (both commercial and household), and a higher cost for council pick-ups.

Education and Information. Education about what is recyclable in each council is part of the school curriculum, and this information is easy to access for all people. There is also a requirement for clearer labelling on all products.

Bin Costs. Waste bin costs money. Recycling and green waste bins are free.

Re-use/Repair. Incentives are put in place to re-use and repair items rather than get rid of them. More centres available for these.

Renewable Energy. It is a requirement that every new house or building is built with a water tank, and solar panels on the roof.

Zero Waste. Incentives are offered to businesses to work towards zero waste.

What are your thoughts on these? Are they too radical? Pie-in-the-sky? Or are there others that you would add? Let's start a discussion!