Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Divided We Fall

Finally the end is in facebook feed will be free for another 4 years from the biggest media con job ever: turning the American public from a patriotic nation with a high respect for the office of president into a polarised, divided country lapping up the low brow entertainment provided by a cynical media circus.  Yes people, conflict sells media and media sells advertising.  Or more to the point: they sell you.

Praying that the US will get in behind whoever they elect, look to build strong cross-party consensus, leave behind the insidious hate campaigns they perpetrate against those brave enough to offer themselves for the presidency (who should surely be honoured for this sacrifice?), dismantle the special interest funding that contaminates US politics, find ways to affirm the sanctity of life in the womb and on the battlefields of the world, stop using the poor as ideological pawns and help them until they can help themselves...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Today I am blogging about whether I should blog.  It's an interesting and slightly circular question.  I shall ponder. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Beautiful Lies

This week I heard a beautiful lie – Russell Norman, co-leader of the Green Party made one of the more exceptional speeches in Parliament that you’ll ever hear.

He painted an amazing portrait of what Christmas (he starts to get the speed wobbles post the Incarnation) really is.  No sly digs, no stereotypes, he painted it as it is and then called us to live as a more Christian society in accord with the values reflected in the life of Jesus.  Let me quote some of this beautiful lie:

The story of the incarnation of God in a baby born in a stable is remarkable even to me, an atheist, because it's a story about the distant God of the heavens coming down to live amongst us on earth.

It's a story about that god decreeing that tyranny on earth and utopia in the afterlife is not acceptable and that freedom and equality must characterise life here on earth as well as the afterlife in heaven. It's a story of the birth of new hope. The Christmas story tells us that a saviour of humanity came not as some great warrior or prince but wrapped instead in swaddling cloth — a baby born amongst farm animals, and in absolute poverty.

It’s great stuff and I don’t want you to hear any criticism of Russell Norman when I say its beautiful, but it’s a lie:

The hopes and values Jesus Christ articulated during the course of his short life are too important to belong only to Christians. They belong to us all: believers and non-believers alike. They live within us. They are embedded in our culture. They are reflected in most of the world's major religions.

These are the values that help to lay down the essential nature of what it means to be human and guide us to live a 'good' life — good to ourselves, good to one another, and good to the world in which we make our livelihoods.

A beautiful lie – that values are enough.  That ideas are enough.  That ideology is enough.  That good intentions are enough.  There is beauty in all these things but they are not full enough of truth to stand on their own.

Christmas is a time where God told the truth.  Completely.  Fully.  For all time.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Jesus is not a values set.  He is God.  Christmas didn’t just give us a guru to follow, or a teacher to learn from, or an example to emulate – as beautiful as things are.  God gave himself.  The life of Jesus is God telling the full truth about himself.

This is the truth of Christmas.  And it’s a beautiful truth that will require us to let go of some beautiful lies.

(edited from Christmas Eve message)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cruden Most Experienced...

Thanks to some groovy stats and trainspotting, here are the records of the starting 1st V's who have or are about to play for the AB's in a World Cup final:

In order:

Andrew Mehrtens - 6
Grant Fox - 7
Aaron Cruden - 9* (including Sunday's start)


Monday, October 10, 2011

Top 10 For the Quarterfinals

In Letterman style:

10.  A forward pass missed by the ref doesn't cost the AB's a quarter final
9.   There is a worse ref at this tournament than Wayne Barnes
8.   Corey Jane has found the perfect pre-match preparation
7.   South Africans really do blame the ref for losing games
6.  The AB's are the only top qualifier in the semi-finals
5.  The AB's are the only unbeaten team in the tournament
4.   Eden Park
3.  Graham Henry finally gets to coach a World Cup team in a semi-final
1.= South Africa AND England out in the quarterfinals

Monday, September 26, 2011

Apples With Apples

So with the French put to the sword the thoughts now swing to the knock out stage and the inevitable question: can we win the whole thing?  An interesting thought crossed my mind - how does the present team stack up against the team that lost the quarter final on 2007 - here's the match up

New Zealand 2007
1 Tony Woodcock           1. Tony Woodcock - is building nicely into form

2 Anton Oliver                 2. Keven Mealamu - a more dynamic player than Oliver, better lineouts

3 Carl Hayman                 3. Owen Franks - close call - the young up and comer maybe has it on defence

4 Keith Robinson              4. Brad Thorn - no contest - Thorn had another massive game on Saturday

5 Ali Williams                   5.  Sam Whitelock - there on form and as good as Ali ever was

6 Jerry Collins                  6.  Jerome Kaino - a more complete player and leading the defence

7 Richie McCaw (c)         7.  Richie McCaw - the game has changed - but look at the stats - still great leading the team in tackles, hit ups and metres gained - he's a better captain this time round as well

8 Rodney So'oialo           8.  Kieran Read - miles ahead lets hope he gets back

9 Byron Kelleher             9.  Piri Weepu - has the big game temperament Byron lacked

10 Dan Carter                10. Dan Carter - has learned how to drop kick

11 Sitiveni Sivivatu         11.  Richard Kahui - such different players - I like the creative solidity of Kahui

12 Luke McAlister         12.  Maa Nonu - is he the most in-form back in the tournament?

13 Mils Muliaina             13.  Conrad Smith - well he's a actually a centre so...

14 Joe Rokocoko           14.  Corey Jane - at his best Joe was amazing but Jane is so constructive

15 Leon MacDonald       15.  Israel Dagg - on a different planet


16 Andrew Hore             16.  Andrew Hore - not at his best yet

17 Neemia Tialata           17.  Ben Franks - maybe a close run thing but a difference in ticker for sure

18 Chris Jack                  18.  Ali Williams - streets ahead as an impact lock

19 Chris Masoe               19.  Thompson/Vito - both are better

20 Brendon Leonard        20.  Ellis/Cowan - both are better

21 Nick Evans                 22.  Colin Slade - a toss up here - Evans never quite stepped up, Slade has yet to

22 Isaia Toeava                22.  Sonny Bill Williams - more game and makes less mistakes

Overall?  A better team I think in 2011.  Although to be fair that quarterfinal team had a younger Smith available (the 2011 version has bulked up and has greater physical presence) and Mils available for fullback.  The selectors were so in love with Leon though they wanted to find room for both.  No such sentiment this time round.  Mils is dropped and Dagg is in.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Business Time

So its money where mouth is time for the AB's squad - so here is my team to play every game from here, rather than the one they may pick:

1. Woodcock
2.  Mealamu
3.  Franks
4.  Thorn
5.  Whitelock
6.  Kaino
7.  McCaw
8.  Read/Vito
9.  Cowan
10. Carter
11.  Kahui
12.  Nonu
13.  Smith
14.  Jane
15.  Dagg

Reserves: Hore/Afoa/Williams/Vito (or Thompson)/Weepu/Muliaina/Williams

So the justifications around the marginal selections.  Whitelock starts ahead of Williams for his accuracy and workrate, but William's big game temperament and impact game gets him game time off the bench.  Cowan gets in on his defence round the fringes ahead of the impact of Weepu and the better clearance but reduced physical presence of Ellis.  Kahui and Jane beat out Toeva and the out of his league Guildford.  Dagg gets the nod on form at full back.  This is the lineup I expect the AB selectors to name.

The bench is the hard call, but I have gone for a team to win the World Cup stacked with impact players.  Afoa beats out the less mobile Franks.  Vito is the utility ahead of Thompson if Read is fit.  Covering 6 and 8 is more important for me than covering 7 - McCaw needs to play the whole game if we are to win. 

The big call is in the backs.  I take the risk that Weepu will cover 1st V ahead of Slade.  Again Carter must play the whole game so the substitute requirement is to cover injury not a tactical substitution.  If Carter goes off injured I back Weepu over Slade to steady the ship and Cowan to tough out the full 80.  Williams simply must play.  He is a gamebreaker of huge talent covering centre/2nd V (and now apparently wing).  Its Muiliaina who fills out the mix though as he too can cover Centre, Wing and fullback and offers stability and experience with gamebreaking ability coming in fresh.  When you add in the versatility of the starting wingers there are plenty of tactical options on attack or to consolidate a winning position.

I think there are risks however you select the back reserves.  The risk I take is banking on Carter finishing the game and not getting 2 injuries at halfback and 1st V.  Unfortunately we simply don't have a back up 1st V who is even close to ready - and I don't think it would make much difference if it were Donald, Slade or Cruden - they are all fragile compared to the rugby nouse and experience of Weepu.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My TriNations Squad

Hookers: Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore, Hika Elliot

Props: Owen Franks, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, John Afoa (Woodcock injured)

Locks: Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock, Ali Williams, Tom Donnelly (Borich Hoeta the coming man?)

Loose forwards: Richie McCaw, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read, Adam Thomson, Liam Messam.

Halfbacks: Jimmy Cowan, Piri Weepu, Andy Ellis.

First fives: Dan Carter, Colin Slade.

Centres: Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Robbie Fruean (Kahui goes close)
Wings: Hosea Gear, Rene Ranger, Corey Jane (Sivavatu or Ranger for the X-factor?  But will Guildford get the recall?)
Fullbacks: Mils Muliaina, Isaia Toeava (Dagg injured)

The real team announced at 4pm today.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Some Women Just Aren't Maori Enough

It's a recurring theme recently: religious affiliations being viewed as barriers to basic rights to participation within society.  First there was John Campbell's robust (ahem) attempt to suggest Maori MP'should not have made themselves available to the Destiny Conference on account of the beliefs of the organisation.  This was roundly refuted by MP's who understand the principle of access to the democratic process and the right to freedom of religion.  I wonder why the pro abortion activists are not more active against those naughty Catholics and their right to life rhetoric (actually most Christian denominations).  Then there was the public outcry over funding to the social services are of Destiny Church - again, what relevance does a particular belief system have where social good is being achieved?  People seem to miss the point that it is precisely Christian faith that motivates many Christians to be active in the community.

And now the Maori Women's Welfare League is trying to bar Destiny members from establishing branches and Hannah Tamaki from running for the presidency.  All this on the grounds that the organisation itself is non-sectarian.  Which it is (and I have read the Charter which you can access at the charities register).  But non-sectarian does not mean people of faith cannot be involved.  It does not even mean that a group of people from the same church are barred from setting up a branch as long as anyone is allowed to join.  And I've not heard anything to suggest that branches started by Destiny members are exclusive.

The irony in all this?  The creed of the League is profoundly theistic in orientation!  It just seems that some women aren't the right kind of Maori.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rabbit Musings

Enjoyed remembering this cool extract from The Velveteen Rabbit in cell tonight:

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.

But the Skin Horse only smiled.

We become real as we learn to love and be loved.

Monday, May 30, 2011

There but for the grace of God...

It's funny (only as in the case of mockingly tragic).  How easy it is to assess others' experience and firmly opine that you will never be like that.  Then one day you wake up and you are that person.

Problem is none of those people are writing books about what to do...

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Best served cold?

What an interesting day yesterday was with announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden.  Mostly I was saddened.

Saddened that it was seen as a cause for celebration by Americans who flocked to ground-zero chanting USA, USA.  I thought for a moment I had been transported to an Islamic fanatic rally

Saddened that while President Obama (who I like) held back from jingoistic sabre rattling, he did view the death of bin Laden as "justice"...I get it, but there was no trial I am aware of...

Saddened by the media circus that will once again pimp human tragedy as a means of selling its viewing audience to advertisers

Saddened that a man of such promise would elect a path of such destruction - what does that to a human life?

Saddened for the people - of so many backgrounds, including Moslem, who have been killed by Al Quaeda

Saddened for the backlash that will demonstrate the insane spiral that is revenge, even revenge served cold...

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12

Friday, April 08, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011


The Tamaki show hit the headlines his week with Cultwatch's Mark Vrankovich revealing an expose on Tamaki teaching that he says went awry in 2010.  Vrankovich is no stranger to Destiny-baiting despite Tamaki's disingenuous "who is he?" put down in his subsequent press release.  So these 2 have history.

At issue is Tamaki's statement in a sermon in 2010:

"You must get out of your mind that, that Jesus Christ is now, ah, is still Jesus of Nazareth ... But Jesus did not come out of the tomb. The flesh Jesus died in the tomb."

Vrankovich says that this amounts to a denial of the resurrection.

Tamaki's response has been to affirm the bodily resurrection of Christ and he has done this both publicly through the newspapers and more privately with other Christian leaders.

But what is curious in all this are Tamaki's statements that the teaching under scrutiny amounted to something new that required preparation of the congregation and would disturb theologians.  What's more it would require special revelation for Destiny people to "get it" because of "too many forces and too much teaching and too much backlog of religion".  It seems that he was expecting a backlash and yet his actions in the media suggest he is sensitive to the thought that this new teaching might be might amount to heresy.

"Theologians would have great difficulty with me. A lot of reverends, pastors, vicars, bishops, and Pentecostal pastors would all curl right now, um, because they would have difficulty with this. The first thing they would do is that they would immediately move into a spirit of condescension. They, they would say, 'you cannot say that'."


What Tamaki actually said - well what he says he said was:

"The body of Jesus was definitely transfigured at his resurrection into a glorified body, same body that was Jesus of Nazareth that died, but different substance."

There are many recorded instances of Jesus' bodily activity after the resurrection that suggest in some way his body changed - for example, he seems able to walk through walls!
Which is mostly what the Catholic church has taugh forever on this subject...that Jesus was not merely resuscitated or brought back to life, nor that his body was relaced but rather that it was glorified - the same body transformed.

And plenty of other theologians from all across the spectrum would say similar things.  So.  Am I missing something here?  Well it all depends on whether what he said back then, is what he is saying he said, now!  Cos he also said,

"So, so Jesus of Nazareth had to put off his flesh body, so the Christ that was always there could now be a life giving spirit."

Which does rather give the impression of a non-bodily resurrection.  And may take us to the Nestorian heresy.  Google it, you know you want to...

You can listen to the whole thing on Destiny's website for a small sum.  Having looked at a bit of what he said and is saying now, I'm happy to take him at his word that he is not denying the bodily resurrection of Christ - I suspect he is actually a poor communicator and says things that he doesn't mean to - thats certainly how it seems to come across.  And there's a lack of sophistication in these areas, simply because it is genuinely difficult to not accidentally utter heresy about the nature of Christ's divinity/humanity, because language is limiting when it comes to explain mystery.

What might be more interesting in what he said in the same message about us all being little Christs...that sounds a lot like...perhaps another post?

Maybe you don't care?  Maybe its not really relevant?  I just get asked a lot what do you here's my thoughts so far!  Disclaimer: I haven't footnoted or put links cos this is not wikipedia and you can research it yourself if you really want to..basically I'm just too lazy to do it today...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tortilla Thriller

This week I have fallen in love (perhaps again) with the tortilla.  Amazingly versatile and surprisingly easy to make at home.  Flour, water, olive oil and salt.  A rolling pin and frying pan and you're done.

This week has been tortilla week!

Fiesta Lime Chicken - Chicken breast marinated in lime juice, liquid smoke and tequila!  Flame grilled and then grilled with a salsa/mayo-based sauce, cheese and tortilla strips.

Breakfast Burrito - Ham, scrambled egg, jalapenos and cheese...

Quesadilla - Mexican pizza!

Throw away your bread and rice!  Tortilla is where its at!