Thursday, November 29, 2007

Alternative Christmas

So we're doing the whole alternative Christmas thing - but maybe its not too hard to find Christmas presents with a twist after all - its perfect for Democrats and Republicans alike and is dead cheap - could be a winner for Christmas gifts for the US rellies...

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Three Wise Men

As the deadline for expressions of interest in the AB coach's role approaches, there is one question on everyone's mind: will Henry reapply? Many would say who cares, but I would say he should AND should get the job. Why? He lost us the World cup you moron! Well first, we didn't lose the World Cup, we just didn't win it. England lost it.

Second, its can't be all about the World Cup. And I'm not thinking 2007 - I'm thinking 2011. We have developed an unhealthy obsession with RWC and reappointing Henry would do 2 things to get us back in balance:

1. It sends the message that World Cup failure does not mean the AB's are an unsuccessful team and by extension its coach may not be unsuccessful coach. Only one team can win and it won't always be us - so why consign our best coach to the rubbish heap every time?

2. But more importantly, it would allow Henry to continue with a team that is already been hit by high profile departures, for say 1-2 years. Appoint Robbie Deans as backs coach and take your pick of Colin Cooper or Steve Hansen for a forwards coach. THEN appoint the next coach for a period that takes him beyond the World Cup in 2011. In other words, don't make the World Cup the focus of the new coach's career either.

My new coaching/selection panel? Henry, Deans & Cooper. Its a pity Gatland has gone already - putting Dean and Gatland head to head for the next round would have been excellent.

But the question remains: will Henry apply? He has till 5pm to do so.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Benny and the Letter

Today a letter purporting to be from Benny Hinn made its way into my hands. It was titled "Seven Supernatural Truths of the Tithe" so of course I was eager to appropriate my share of the blessing. Especially because of the unusual way this letter had been sent - the envelope states:

"This message is so special, in fact, I have had it placed in a sealed envelope"

As opposed to what?! "This message is so wholesome, I have wrapped it in a lettuce leaf..."

Before opening the letter I paused: the envelope implored me to ask for God's wisdom before reading the letter, which I did, having a Reader Digest(ion) moment at the same time...and you know what? God's wisdom really helped me evaluate this teaching...

Interestingly the letter noted that Benny had never before said any of what was to follow publicly or in writing - I was excited hoping for a full recanting from the prosperity doctrine he has espoused as an adjunct to his Word of Faith heresy.

I was disappointed. The letter walked through Malachi 3 saying:

1. The tithe belongs to God and his work
2. There are 7 blessings that follow - they include personal revival, prosperity and blessings, paralysis and crippling of the Devil, protection of finances, protection of family, blessing, special desire from God in his use of the tither
3. The "storehouse" is not the local church. The storehouse is "the ministry" that feeds your life...
4. If you give to a dead ministry you won't receive the blessings (Deut 26:14)

The summary then is this: "If this ministry (ie Benny Hinn) has been the storehouse (ministry that feeds your life) then IT IS THE LAW OF GOD (emphasis added) that you should give your tithes and offerings to this ministry...Remember it is your tithe that opens heaven..."

It was signed "Winning the lost at any cost" - truly ironic

I did wonder whether it was a fake aimed at a quick buck, but I couldn't see the benefit as there are no extra special contact details - the person concerned had given to BH Ministries and so was a "partner" in the ministry. But it did seem weird that this letter was stating such profound truths "for the first time". Except it wasn't. He's said it before here and here

So he lied.

That's if plain heresy is not enough for you.

Monday, November 19, 2007

What's All the Fuss About?

Politics is almost as absurd as blogging. Odd opinions being shared by people often completely unqualified to hold the opinions that they do! Present company excepted of course!

So what's the beef with Peter Davis writing a letter to the Editor of the NZ Herald? Apart from it being a little cynical and a lot selective. He's entitled to his opinion you'd think...its certainly ironic that those protesting his utterances are presently clothing themselves with the rhetoric of free speech!

Of course he's quite wrong in his analysis - as satisfying as it must have been to poke the borax at the Herald for its stance on tobacco advertising, that was hardly a free speech issue. And he like so many (some deliberately) are confusing the two quite separate issues. In ranting against the purchasing of free speech, he really does have a point. I see no difficulty with setting sensible limits on the advertising budgets of political parties in proximity to elections (so maybe they need to change the timeframes they're suggesting just a little). If other organisations want to publicise their points of view then fine - the legislation just needs to make sure they can't do that in an overtly politicised way close to elections (otherwise the purpose of the bill is subverted).

BUT the real issue is the hypocrisy of the Labour party (and its allies) in taking a stand against purchased free speech on the one hand and then dipping its hands into government coffers to advertise successful government policies (that just happen to be those policies they want to fight an election over). I used to be a dyed in the wool Labour supporter. But the cynical disregard of Labour for (a) majority viewpoints (b) its traditional support base (c) Christian viewpoints which could otherwise be so supportive of its welfare policies, is once again mirrored in the approach being taken here. The calculated dismantling of our social fabric reminds me very much of what I saw in the Methodist Church of New Zealand - progressively changing the culture through legislation and procedure...but that's another story!

So Professor Davies misses the real point when he only addresses the first issue and not the second.

And here is the letter under question for the 2 people that might be interested:

The last time I saw the Herald so exercised about "free" speech was when it unsuccessfully opposed restrictions on tobacco advertising.

We are the better for the tobacco companies losing the right to advertise their products.
The Electoral Finance Bill does not diminish "free" speech. It restricts speech that is "purchased" through advertising - and only in an environment that is electorally sensitive.
I would be concerned if "free" speech was being constrained, but limits on the rights to "purchase" speech are justified to protect our democracy from money politics, although I can see it might hurt the Herald's bottom line.

Peter Davis, Sociology Department, Auckland University.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Handed in my 2 outstanding essays on the absolutely final day for submission. Quite a relief. In the end, despite taking some time off, it all happened in 2 days - wrote 1 on Monday and 1 today. 6000 words in a week on Romans. Ouch. I'm going for the C- option, just to get the credits, but the first A+ essay and one of the 2 from today should get more than the C- minimum (despite being a bit late) so I might yet pull it up to a B. The other one is so late it is just PASS/FAIL. Bit embarassing!

Managed also write another chunk of words on Frank's blog while I was "studying". One of those stupid debates I'm afraid. In the words of Rhettspect, "It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter..."

Friday, November 02, 2007

A RARE Sight

I mean me wearing a suit rather than being snapped with General Superintendent Dr Tom Armiger!

For those of you who want to know how to spy me wearing a suit, I have 3 rules - Weddings, Funerals and Ordinations (this was the latter).