Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What's In A Name?

The more I've thought about the Da Vinci Code the more I've warmed to the idea of changing the honorific attributed to me as "pastor". From now on, I think I want be known as:

Its probably just a passing phase...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Da Vinci Code "Code"

So I went to the see The Da Vinci Code last night. I somewhat enjoyed it - I suspect the book is a little more believable, otherwise I'm afraid I don't see what the fuss is all about.

What was most interesting was the Da Vinci Code Code. These are small hints during the movie that help us unravel some really important truths:

  • Finally, we are all wiser about what monks really wear under their cassocks
  • Oh the irony that the last living relative of Jesus, doesn't believe in God! "I believe in people and that they can sometimes be kind". Now, there's a mantra to live by!
  • Robert Langdon is not as smart as he seems: "Sophie: Do you have eidectic[photographic] memory? Robert: Not really, I just remember most of what I see [translation: I have eidectic memory]."
  • Always beware of albinos and other strange people - they are inevitably murderers and religious psychos - remember Blade Runner?!
  • The disciple John was obviously late getting to the Last Supper - count the
    other disciples in Da Vinci's "Last Supper"
  • Is it just me or is "Leigh Teabing" a really odd name? Or does it have something to do with the fact that Richard LEIGH and Michael BAIGENT (try rearranging the letters and see what happens) wrote the original conspiracy theory: Holy Blood, Holy Grail????!!!
  • I get that Club Med would normally be a great honeymoon destination for a happy couple, but why would two Jews head for pagan Gaul with their Aramaic:French phrase book to make a fresh start? I can't see Asterix and Obelix being that welcoming (or that eager to induct them into the royal family?)
  • Leaving aside whether it impacts Jesus' divinity or not, you just know his great, great, great...granddaughter would be truly divine!
  • Speaking of Sophie, the French Jew, why did her French faux grandfather, Sauniere, leave her anagram clues in ENGLISH - was this to stop the French police from catching on or is this another example of so dark the con of man
  • However, the most biting commentary of them all was from Tom Hanks. Clearly, this was a personal statement from the man himself on the efficacy of the whole Da Vinci Code conspiracy. I refer of course to his Mickey Mouse watch! Strange but true...

Anyways, I give the movie, as a piece of film, 4/10. It was better than Highlander III (2/10) but not as good as most movies I've seen in the genre. Now the big question: should I read the book?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Time and Space

I was shopping at the Warehouse the other day - I was looking for a bargain you see...actually, you can buy cards there for $1 which is a saving of between 300-400%. Anywho, I came across a section advertising a card range quite different to the usual "Happy Birthday", "Romantic", "Bon Voyage" categories. I'd never seen anything quite like it before:

"Terminally Ill Cheer"
I didn't know whether to laugh or become indignant. In the end I laughed.
Melissa recently posted on the idea of Sabbath as a suspension of our time/activity which is itself an act of worship. The idea grabbed me. I am what is known as a "6th Day Adventist" - that is I take my Sabbath on a Friday. I am fairly religious about this. I recognise that professional ministry (don't you love the term?) is addictive and so my Friday Sabbath is a part of recognising that my relationship with God is not defined by my activity for Him. It is a suspension of activity, well at least of that sort.
So, this week, in part inspired by our leaders gathering of a couple of weeks back, I determined to visit a sick friend who has cancer. I had a reason for going - I needed to pick something up. I felt a little sad that I needed a reason - its somewhat complicated by the fact that she is suffering with the same disease that took my late wife Claire, that they were good friends and that a good friend of mine is her separated husband! But next time I won't need a reason:
Subject: thank you
Thanks for coming to pick up the bed last week, it was great to see you.
You’ll have to bring the little one next time, I would love to meet him sometime.
There was only one card in the Terminally Ill Cheer section - it seemed a lot lame. I felt a lot lame myself going into this situation, but it didn't seem to matter. I stayed a lot longer than I planned. This was a precious suspension of time with a friend. I'll leave the last words to the Apostle Paul:
You show that you are a [greeting card] from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
(2 Cor 3:3)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Play The Man

No, this is not a post about Anthony "The Man" Mundine's comprehensive beating of Danny Green, but rather a comment I posted on Out Of Ur in response to a critique of Andy Stanley's approach to leadership. It doesn't seem to matter where you look or listen, the approach to critique that I highlight is a very common tactic. Anyway, the comments are screened in case they are malicious so it may not make it. I thought it was satirical rather than malicious: you be the judge...

Corporate Approaches to Winning Arguments 101:

1. Quote someone out of context
2. Create a straw man from the quote NB a "straw man" (or person of non-specified gender if you prefer) must stretch the person's point beyond what they themselves actually believe - otherwise you are reflecting their position accurately and you don't have an argument...
3. Proceed to batter the straw person into insensibility - you do this by exaggerating the worst features of the point under discussion
4. In no circumstances should you point to any positives (either from the person's actual point or the straw man position)
5. Drop in that you don't actually believe the person's original point is really the straw man that you have just assaulted so thoroughly

This will guarantee your success in the boardroom, or wherever really - a principle is a principle after all.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

NZ's Brainiest Show Host

Highlight of channel surfing this week was Bernadine Oliver-Kerby's comment while hosting the final of New Zealand's Brainiest Kids. As competion entered a defining stage she was heard to say:

"In this part of the competion tactics will become a crucial strategy..."

Yup, definitely a great choice as host of the show. All aimed at reinforcing the culture of mediocrity our school system breeds: even the least brainy kid would have felt good about themselves after that...


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

After the Deconstruction

I saw this comment on Out Of Ur regarding a discussion between Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren and I think it sums up for me what I find most difficult about people like McLaren. I also liked the comment because of the unusual grace it displayed (relative to that often exhibited in that forum):

"Brian, thanks for living out your journey in front of us. I really do appreciate that and applaud that you sincerely wrestle. My caution is that too many “Mclarenites” lack your learning and ability to land in good places with a grasp of truth as being something we can rely upon. Rather, I come across people who are all to willing to let you erase a line without redrawing one and now they live without lines or the confidence they bring. In one very real sense they are gaining a “truthless faith,” unable to sustain any convictions. This is not like Jesus. He came, erased lines but redrew them with his life, words and authority."

I am personally stimulated by the questions McLaren poses. But. There is a risk with asking people to question established norms - and that is they may not have the capacity to reconstruct a world view which adequately grounds them. It doesn't mean we shouldn't but the responsibility to also equip people with the tools of reconstruction is a heavy one.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Stationery is Porn

There's something about acquiring new stationery. I find its lure almost irresistable. I know I shouldn't spend the money but I can't help myself. I find myself caressing leather journal covers and fondling virgin-white pages. Ripe with potential but unsullied by my untidy handwriting.

I know that once I acquire a new journal, I won't be able to hold myself back from nestling within the embrace of its pristine cover. Its irresistable to me.

Just last week, I felt drawn once more to "one of those shops" - Whitcoulls. I told myself that I "needed" a new notebook. No one really saw me go through nearly every book on the shelf, weighing the respective merits of the product. Are the lines the right spacing? Is the paper heavy enough? Will the cover protect the pages from wear and tear? Can I get enough on the page? Is the cover tactile? The anticipation of a decision to purchase as much as the decision itself is what I find most rewarding.

This time I was with a friend. I don't think he knew the power of stationery to twist a person's judgment. I managed to hold myself to a purchase that balanced utility with affordability. I was surprised to find that he had succumbed to the wiles of a faux leather journal of much greater cost. But I shouldn't have been. Stationery gets in deep to your soul if you'll let it. He flashed another book at me - a journal and a notebook - this was hard core. I experienced a flush of jealousy - maybe I "needed" a new journal too? Fortunately the journal I already have continues to sing its siren song to me and I felt no need of a replacement.

I write this as a warning. Beware of stationery. It is porn.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Double Standards?

I've watched the sensationalised story of a 63 year old mother-to-be unfold in the media this week. They seem like well-adjusted people from what I can see who have thought about the issues. They say they have made adequate provision for this child should they die prematurely. And they project great joy at the thought of bringing a life into the world.

I've listened to the arguments that this is somehow unethical. That somehow this child will be disadvantaged by the age of its parents or put in danger of its life because of the advanced age of its mother. The point seems to be that the baby's life could be put at risk because of the higher chance of fatal complications around delivery.

What gets me is that all this fuss is being made about a couple with an agenda to bring a life into the world.

In 2004 there were 18,210 induced abortions in New Zealand. Now there's a fatal complication. Doesn't even make the headlines.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Strangely Warmed

A friend of mine recently referred me to this site...I laughed for a long time! Definitely worth a look if you're procrastinating from writing an assignment...

I'll be adding it to my new feature: Celebrity Links - this will include and

I highly recommend these sites as being 100% reliable!