Sunday, 30 October 2016

A Little Road Trip.

So on Saturday we went to Toowoomba for the annual Rhema Prayer seminar.  For your entertainment here is the final stage of the climb up the Toowoomba range into the Great Divide.

It is much improved since I lived here.  It used to be an absolute nightmare, particularly in fog.  I drove when CG was playing soccer out here but had only just got her license.  Her father was much relieved as it has an infamous reputation.
This comes at the end of a two hour drive & begins the trip home but while the views are lovely it can be an awful experience, especially in heavy traffic.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Two, Four, Six, Eight...

People who love to eat are always the best people.– Julia Child

 This is the Old Cleveland Courthouse. Some enterprising soul has turned it into an extraordinary restaurant though it began life as a colonial cottage in 1853 & was Cleveland's first place of worship. This makes it one of the oldest buildings in the area as Cleveland wasn't settled until 1851 & the building is heritage listed.
The Courthouse is one of those places you drive past all the time yet never go to ~ or at least we never had.  From the road it looks sort of tiny so having arrived a little early for lunch & wandered down to the park at the end of the road we were surprised to see a small but beautiful garden & a patio of little tables with thick white clothes looking immaculate in the warm spring sunshine.  Much larger than we had expected though tablecloths like that always remind me of our last night in London...
 The MOTH & Rabqa, CG & I were celebrating: that CG was home, 2 birthdays, a day out for our church leadership.
 We were escorted through a maze of dim rooms with their high Queensland ceilings & onto the patio for lunch. The view is lovely.  I imagine it makes for spectacular weddings.

Sometimes life surprises you. The Courthouse had not been my first choice for a celebratory meal.  Last year we had been to the Lighthouse ~ a little further out along the point.  It had been blustery & I had not been overly happy with my meal because most places round here only give one vegetarian option. Dessert was wonderful & their liqueurs were to die for, a dessert in a glass & far too sweet to be seriously considered alcoholic. So I had begun looking early this year & had chosen the Siromet Winery.

When I first looked at the Siromet menu their vegetarian choices were mouth watering but when I checked before booking I found they had changed their menu &....well, Ick! What can I say?

The courthouse only offers 1 entree & 1 main if you happen to be vegetarian but the entree happened to be deep fried camembert.  I am very partial to deep fried camembert & most places will happily turn an entree into a main if you ask.  The MOTH was rather keen to return to the Lighthouse but he also is rather partial to the camembert.

As it turned out his Tasmanian Oysters [mornayed] were freshly opened, which is what you want with something like oysters. He says they were scrumptious... Rabqa & CG chose different options from the *Meal of the Day*:Cone Bay saltwater barramundi, macadamia nut crust, lemon & chive sauce for Rabqa & Slow cooked Angus beef cheeks braised in rich red wine & beef stock, roast root vegetables and creamy mash for CG.

However, as anyone who knows me knows, the most important part of any meal is the dessert! Rabqa & I chose a Brandy snap basket filled with raspberry sorbet, topped with seasonal berries.
It was very yummy.

We will be back in a few weeks when CG's friend from Chile arrives.  A much safer bet than my cooking!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Of Sermons & Strings & Other Things.

Even the preachers get preached by life” Alok Jagawat 

Last week was a sermon week. There is a reason I don't enjoy preaching every week!

The good news is we have to have a short [under 200 words] piece ready each month which invariably falls to me & which just as invariably I have completely forgotten about until the reminder arrives & then it is Panic Stations!  All Hands to the Pumps!  We're Going DOWN....which stresses me no end. Not this month!  I had my thought ready, prepared & all good to send immediately.  My self satisfied smirk lasted a whole 5 minutes.

I suffer from procrastination. It's why I game. It's why I blog.  It gives me something to do besides knuckle down to writing a sermon. Then I found this wonderful little article on why pastors procrastinate when it comes to the weekly sermon. I was amused.  He likened it to having a baby.  Ummm, I've had 5 babies & I can assure you, there's NO resemblance! Poor man.  I guess he's never had to push 8lbs of immovable mass out of his body. It's not even that it's hard work ~ sermonising, not producing babies.  Sometimes it's impossible but let's face it, to do this you are gifted to start with.  The problem arises because self discipline does not come with the gift! *sigh*

Besides, I like research.  I can research forever. Research means I can avoid people.  I do understand people are the point but I am not always either reasonable or logical. Then I wander round vaguely with spiritual indigestion & an overload of information.  Putting thoughts in order while in this state is a waking nightmare.  However this chappie, one Brian Jones, said something I know all too well... because we’re good at preaching, we’ll do it at the last minute.

I can't tell you how much that barb hit home.  Not that I'm the world's greatest preacher or anything like that but let's face it, I am lit trained.  I can pull an essay together in my sleep.  I focus best when I am running out of time.  It concentrates the mind wonderfully! Besides, it's all there you know, sitting behind my eyelids in the dim, dark recesses of my mind & it just seems like so much wasted effort to put it down on paper even though I know perfectly well I have a mind like a sieve when it comes to numbers.

I've known for several weeks my next lot of sermons would be on the Holy Spirit.  I was delighted.  I love the Holy Spirit.  I can rabbit on about Him forever & so... I left it & left it because I was so sure, you know...

Silly, silly me.  Oh, I started with a bang ~ till I hit my first brick wall.  It seems God & I did not have the same idea about where this was going at all.  I huffed & I puffed & I blew my cheeks out.  I procrastinated some more.  Days in fact.  Nothing like having more scriptures than you can possibly use but we were not moving forward.

Now I know ~ & you know ~ what I needed to do & I did eventually get around to asking the Holy Spirit where we were going with this ~ & yes, He told me because He's very good to me that way but I went happily rabbiting along the trail only to find I'd well & truly run out of steam with miles to go before I could sleep.

Bear in mind I am a Lit Major.  My subject was The Holy Spirit ~ & HE gave me a salvation message!  No wonder I was growing confused.  Our congregation is small.  We are all saved.  Still there was the Park...

The Holy Spirit is brave: I am not. The hecklers come out & all my defences go up.  In point of fact, I think, most of the mockery was aimed at the MOTH. And as I pointed out in retrospect, they did get a straightforward & simple explanation of how to get saved & why they needed the Holy Spirit in it all but things like that just leave me feeling mauled.  I know.  I know.  It's not about me.  Paul had it heaps worse.  The persecuted church has it worse. And seriously, I get their point.  They were all settled in for a drinking & smoking session & we rock up with our talk of God & holiness & sin & the need to be saved & rain all over their party. 

Sometimes I just want to be like everybody else ~ unnoticed.  Rock up on Sunday, sing my 3 hymns, give the nice 3 point sermon, have my cuppa & head home for an after church nap. I don't want to be that crazy God lady in the park. 

There is a really sad aspect to this.  I had a prolonged period where I wasn't preaching & I really thought I was all good with that because, you know, women preachers & all that but Jeremiah 20:9...*sigh*

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Here a Little, There a Little.

No sort of defense is needed for preaching out of doors, but it would need very potent arguments to prove that a man had done his duty who has never preached beyond the walls of his meeting-house. Charles Spurgeon

It would be fair to say that when we first began preaching in the park none of us had any idea.  We were totally clueless ~ & at least two of us were incredibly nervous.

We've tackled it a number of different ways: preaching & prayer.  All music. Straight salvation message.  Reading through the scriptures. Any or all of these get God's word out to people. At present we are simply transposing the morning service down to the park.

There is a reason for this.  It takes the burden off the preacher.  We have done a dry run.  We finish with prayer & this is a good place for the MOTH to give the salvation call as part of the closing prayer.

When we began 3 years ago there was hardly ever anyone in the park.  Those who were around bolted as soon as they realised it was a religious activity. *sigh*  Made us feel soooo wanted but at least no~one was attempting to toss us off cliffs.  I have so much more respect for Paul these days!

Three years down the track it is a very different story.  I don't think either Rabqa or I are ever going to love doing this but we are far more competent & far less nervous. We're not the *get up close & personal* sorts so this is better suited to us than one~on~one evangelism.

We chose this little park for a reason: absolutely everyone coming or going on the island must go by this park! During our couple of hours each Sunday we see 2 barges & 3 boats collect & deposit islanders & at high tide there will be swimmers & the dog bathers as well.  Captive audience ~ but they can still swim, swing the kids, bbq their sausages.

I think the thing that has attracted people more than anything is the music;  I'm an old hippy so my choice in music tends to the folk/rock & Celtic but we have had absolute hords of compliments on the music even though we are not live. For many I think it is the first time they have heard Christian music they can relate to: not the old, unsingable hymns; not the psalms in strange metres, just music you could dance to, clap your hands to & sing along to without much effort.

And what happens is very, very strange. This is a transition point so numbers fluctuate wildly.  Some people watch for a few minutes out of curiosity.  Some stay for the music. But there are the hard core lot too & their numbers are growing.  Heaven forfend they should actually be caught live at church so they huddle in the bus shelter & the taxi rank, perch on the stairs on either side of the road, wind down their windows in their cars as they wait for the barge, hide amongst the parked cars & pretend they aren't listening, occupy the seats...

We are no longer doing a straight salvation message.  We are teaching the same message we do inside the building on: Our Authority in Christ; the Power of the Holy Spirit in Our Lives; the Healing Power of Christ...& Rabqa & I both tend to be scripture heavy.  We define our terms & do word studies. We teach as much as preach because salvation is one thing but discipleship is what we are told to do.  It is not the sort of theology most are used to hearing.  It is not the sort of music they associate with church.  It does people's heads in.

The Anglican minister comes over twice a month by boat.  He literally crab walked down the hill his eyes bugging out of his head & he stood under the bus shelter till his boat came hardly believing his ears.  Not only was there open air preaching, it was a woman doing it!!!  Poor man.

Because we aren't aggressively approaching people it would be easy to think that nothing is happening but nothing could be further from the truth.  Of the group of teens who came to mock & flaunt their demonic powers 2 were saved & we see them regularly amongst those who come to listen & one came & asked specifically for healing prayer.  There was the young backslider who spent a lot of time talking to the MOTH & recommitted his life to Christ. There was the foster mum who asked for prayer & whom we see regularly.

This week it was a Christian man who [again]spent a lot of time chatting to the MOTH because the Holy Spirit was directing him to us but like so many others he has heard the gossip & back~stabbing & was quizzing the MOTH on what we actually believe & teach. Scripture says the Lord watches over His word to perform it so one of Rabqa's & my consistent prayers is that the Lord never allow us to teach or preach what is wrong.

Then there were the barge cars... & this made me sad because those parked up the hill could hear us but not see us & so, of course, there were some curious stares as the barge loaded but there were 2 different cars where someone was straining to catch the last of the salvation message as they boarded.  We must trust the Holy Spirit for the rest & that is one of the drawbacks of doing things this way.

Week after week, here a little there a little because the harvest is ripe but the workers are few.  I understand. As the MOTH says; everything we are as a church is completely exposed in the park.  You can't hide. If you don't believe what you're saying it shows. And as has been happening consistently, which is aggravating rather than flattering, another church has followed our lead ~ sort of.  They have set up camp but speaking publically in the public domain, rather than in the safe confines of a church building, is daunting & so they are remarkably silent for people who are supposed to be witnessing.  Those who mock our low numbers in a building need to open their spiritual eyes & see the 10,000 we are ministering to in the park each week.

We need our churches.  They are meant to equip the saints for the work of God but in this regard the church has been pretty disobedient for centuries & thus we find ourselves in dire straits at the end of the age.  It is time to do what we have been called to do.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

A Little Shopping in My Life...

We cannot know. But sometimes there is kindness, and sometimes there is love.” ~ Guy Gavriel Kay: Children of Earth & Sky.

So the CG had a birthday & accumulated a vast amount of cash to be redeemed at Koorong, the big Christian bookstore.  Since she was going I rounded up Rabqa with an eye to next year's bible study ~ & bummed out.  What passes as a study mostly drives me nutty as I find them shallow, mostly reformed in theology [though I was super pleased to see Bethel had a couple of things on the shelves], & so superficial I wonder that anyone, anywhere, gets anything out of them.  As Rabqa pointed out we are used to getting the best of the best.

I'm not a super great teacher.  What I am super great at is facilitating.  I am happy to wade through heaps & heaps of material in order to find teaching that will be really useful & helpful.  A lot of that is actually from on~line preaching & I can assure you that  if you can't handle strong meat our studies are not for you.  That's just how it is. 

Actually, we may use one of the Bethel studies so I have bought the handbook & Rabqa & I will have a look & see if we want to pursue it.  I wanted to look at Bevere's The Bait of Satan but everything, including the workbook, had sold out so will have to try again.  I did order Cahn's newest one & walked out with a book on evangelism for one of our members as she has asked for teaching & I just feel very inadequate to give her the instruction she needs.  I grinned at Rabqa as I payed & admitted I was actually spending my clothing allowance on books but they will wear better & last longer & give me far greater pleasure than any item of clothing could.  I think she was rather appalled.  As I have no clothes sense my aversion to clothes is understandable.

I did, however,  organise with ODD to go clothes shopping on Saturday.  I walked into the first shop & despaired.  The choice was overwhelming but I liked nothing I could see & what I might have liked caused immediate tactile issues.  I cannot abide anything that itches, scratches, rubs, droops, drops, rustles etc.  It has to be pretty soft.  It has to be utterly comfortable.  It has to be something I think is pretty.  Preferably it will be in a natural [or near natural] fabric. I am incredibly fussy & yep, I like odd things so I am not easy to buy for.  After 10 minutes I was ready to head home without a single item of clothing.  ODD rolled her eyes ~ but hey, I have shopped with her for years & you have NO idea!

So, said ODD, if I choose some things you have to at least try them on.  Agreed.  She found 2 of the 3 tops I eventually bought.  I did find some sandals I can abide & which almost fit. Trying to look respectable as well as comfortable for church is exceedingly hard work when you are something of a slob & have no clothes sense whatsoever!  The bonus is we finally, finally, finally found the girl bras that fit:10Gs!!!! At least now she knows where to look next time she needs them.

To compensate for having to torture myself in the name of decency we detoured at the book shop on the way out & I have indulged myself.  I adore Guy Gavriel Kay.  He's not to everyone's taste.  He sort of writes history.  He sort of writes fantasy.  The elixir is a heady mix.  He writes in a High Bardic style: beautiful, poetic, whimsical.  His latest offering is nearly 6" thick.  I am in heaven.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Muster your Arguments.

Chile Girl is the debater in this house.  She likes nothing better than to sink her teeth into a good argument.  Any tendencies I had that way are long gone. Far too often the need to win the argument over~rides kindness, gentleness & mercy.  The ability to present an argument [or refute an argument] dispassionately, clearly & detachedly seems to be a lost ability ~ & nowhere is this clearer than in our Parliament.

Two things:

  • The MOTH likes listening to the televised broadcast of our parliament sittings.
  • As part of our English course in the upper grades both my girls did a study on what makes a good debate & how to debate well.
Listening to our parliament sit drives me to distraction.  There are rules to debating & the order of government is along the lines of if you want to do something, change something, create something that has to go through parliament you present your argument to parliament.  Both houses look at the proposition & present their arguments as to why this is a good idea or a lousy idea. What you are not supposed to do is name call; insult; be condescending; use bad language; attack people personally.  Parliament needs to go back to school & relearn the basics. Seriously.  I can't stand it.

What drives me into a complete frenzy is the mad lot who can't stick to the point & drag an argument all over the place.  This may be a great deflection from their ignorance & inability to defend their position but it it does nothing to clarify a situation & bring about the best resolution. It is all about winning ~ & only winning.  At any cost.  It has nothing to do with what is actually best for our country. It is about power; keeping power; staying in power; denying power to your opponent.  Too sad making. This is not government.

So we haven't quite descended to the level of an all out brawl [as happened in one of the Asian parliaments not  so long ago] but the sledging is not debate.  Name calling is not debate.

It appalls me that these are the people who are meant to be governing our country. The whole lot should be sacked.  At the very least, as a friend of mine suggested, no polly should be allowed to make policy on poverty unless they have first lived for a year on the amount of money a welfare recipient recieves [& only that amount of money!].  That'll larn 'em!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest. – By Larry Lorenzoni

 Five years ago our Chile Girl answered the call God had placed on her life to serve the abused & disadvantaged children of Chile.  She was just 21. We joked about how she would stand in the middle of Brisbane & ring home: Mum, I'm on the corner of... & I need to get to... Google & tell me how to get there...

For 5 years she has celebrated her birthday in Chile.  They have been wonderful birthdays with people who know how to celebrate but they are not home.  This year she was home. The parcels have gone in reverse.
She asked for our really delux carrot cake ~ the cake everyone asks for on birthdays but I don't have an oven at present.  The white ants have created havoc in our kitchen & bathroom & we are in the process of saving to sort out the mess so it was just our deluxe, no bake cheese cake. Yum. There's still some left if you want to pop over.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

How will you take your poison?

 “One of they key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace. Good people don’t go into government.” ~ Donald Trump

If you're American you probably don't want to read this post.  

The ugly truth is that other nations have never thought as highly of America as Americans have thought of themselves.  As a general thing.  Individual Americans may be globally aware but generally they have appeared not.  Rather they have appeared arrogant, brash, & woefully ignorant, even of their own history, let alone anyone else's.

For years the MOTH & I laughed about the American couple in our carriage as we climbed the Jungfrau.  He was small & mousey.  She was big & loud.  Amongst the Japanese rushing from side to side with their multiple cameras [yep, there's a reason for these cultural stereotypes!] they stood out.  Her voice rose above the clacking wheels & the rattling trundle of carriages swaying up a steep Swiss mountainside with a nasal twang: Peter, take a picture of this. Peter, take a picture... If you were American it was excruciatingly embarrassing.  Everyone else was both highly entertained or embarrassed for them.  It merely confirmed our worst opinions of Americans. 

The really sad part is what happened later. I might have considered Peter & his bride a sad anomaly except for the young man I met outside the Australian embassy in London.  He had been on the continent for several years & had completely lost whatever accent he had once had.  His accent was so unaccented it was impossible to even hazard a guess as to what part of the world he had originated from. For someone so completely introverted I have a wonderful coping mechanism in these situations: I am never going to see these people again in my life so I can afford to be open & chatty & curious.  So I asked ~ & was completely flummoxed when he slithered away from my questions. Eventually I garnered he had learned the hard way that Americans are not so highly regarded by many people as they like to think.  His lesson was so thorough he had worked super hard to loose anything that identified him as American & was embarrassed to have to admit he was American ~ though he had not stooped to identifying as Canadian as so many others I met did.

So American politics at present is giving the rest of the world a huge laugh.  Australia got Pauline Hanson for our sins; America got both Trump & Clinton.

I have many, many American friends ~ though I may have a good many fewer after this post~ who are smart, & funny, & educated & nearly all of them have been temporarily blocked on my FB page until after their election.  I have been distressed that people I thought were calm, reasonable, articulate human beings have reverted to being rabid name~callers over differences of opinions  in this electoral campaign. Some sugar coat their opinions but not enough that their opinion of those that differ is that that are idiots about to send their country down the gurgler.

I was appalled enough by our own politics this election.  For the first time ever I had to pay more than cursory attention to all candidates because for a Christian the stakes were incredibly high. Sadly I have been subjected to a deluge of American politics as well ~ & so I have formed an opinion.  

Frankly, I think both candidates are disgraceful. One is crude, rude & vulgar.  The other is an unindicted criminal. That being said I think the choice is actually fairly simple for Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus ~ actually anyone of faith at all & anyone at all who values freedom of thought & speech because Clinton is on record as stating she wants religious beliefs changed. Here is the quote:

All the laws we've passed don't count for much if they're not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.

The context was the keynote address at the annual Women in the World Summit in New York City & yes, the woman was addressing numerous issues that affect women. However I find her thought process incredibly frightening.  In effect she believes in controlling what people think, how they think it & what they do with that thinking. Do I agree with much of what happens to women in this world? Absolutely not!  Do I think changing our laws is going to change that?  Nope! People will continue to do as they think.  This is incredibly evident in Western areas with large muslim populations: Burkas, Sharia, polygamy, child brides...all happen though the laws of the country forbid it all. People change from the inside out or nothing really changes & this is, in fact, what Christianity teaches.

It would also seem Clinton is less liberal  than she would have people believe: Link

Sadly, whether I like it or not, the person my American friends elect in November becomes the unofficial leader of the Western world.  It seems to have come down to which poison you will drink yet from a Christian viewpoint I remember that Lot was promised that for 10 righteous men God would spare Sodom. Sodom did not have 10 righteous men ~ but I believe America does. It's time to stop leaning on our own understanding & actually ask God who He has chosen & what He wants us to do about that. And for the record we pray fervently for America & the American people: that God will give you wisdom & insight, courage & strength for the fight.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Walking with Cats.

“I regard cats as one of the great joys in the world. I see them as a gift of highest order.”  ~Trisha McCagh
I am, unabashedly, a cat lover. I am completely indifferent to dogs. Dog lovers who rave about the qualities of their canine friends have never known the love of a good cat because I believe animals become what you believe them to be & so I have been adored by cats, protected by cats & loved by cats my entire life.  I consider it a privilege.  Cats are discriminating.

Mind you, nearly all our cats would have been relegated to the funny farm if they were humans.  The present pair are no exception. They are, from all appearances, mostly rag doll.  They were so slow to mature I suspected them of brain damage.

 Most kittens are just about fully mature by 6 months ~ in attitude if not physically.  Not our dopey two. Six months is what they were when we took them out of foster care.  Granted it was a stinking hot day the day we collected them & a 2 hour car ride, then the boat...water... & they were understandably terrified but they drove my house crazy crying any time they lost sight of me. They still tend to be pretty neurotic.  Kirby won't come for anyone but me so the MOTH has a terrible time with him if I'm away while Marlow pines.  Too sad making.

With behaviours like that you would think they'd be terrified of their own shadows but in fact both cats enjoy coming for walks with me.  They don't need a harness & it's not something I would ever do in suburbia but here they simply follow after me as I head off & keep within a couple of feet, unlike Gyver, who would happily pad after the boys when they headed of fishing, then  needed to be fetched home at dinner time.

They have very different personalities when it comes to walking with me.  Kirby has a very clear idea of where my boundaries are.  He gets upset if I wander too far from my designated position. He's a chatterer too, commenting on everything he hears & sees.  Marlow is quieter, only calling if I suddenly get lost behind a mangrove & he likes to make these mad dashes, rushing past at a frantic speed to surprise & impress me with his manly prowess. I'm impressed that anything with a tummy that swings as wildly as Marlow's does can move at all!

For a while we thought Kirby was one of those stand~offish cats; very independent.  It was Marlow who was always underfoot; Marlow twining around ankles; Marlow on my desk or the arm of my chair; Marlow purring any time anyone at all looked at him; Marlow who slept with his great lumpen body draped over me like a rug. He quite overshadowed his brother who is just as desirous of affection but goes about it quite differently. 

 We call Kirby our hard lovin' man. Kirby is the one I have to watch.  He is likely to launch himself suddenly from his perch onto a shoulder, or preferably into waiting arms.  From thence he does long chin rubs, head butts, & if not deterred will begin a grooming session or snuggle into my neck & begin to knead.

Like many dogs they are tuned to my movements.  Wherever I go about the house & yard, within moments a cat will appear, madly interested in keeping me company & commenting on my activities.  At the least threat to my person whichever cat is around goes straight into protective mode, which we tend to find terribly funny because they are all fur & purr ~ though the local dogs know to keep their distance ~ but the MOTH, who suffers chronic pain & often wanders about the house at all hours of the night, has commented on the dual sphinxes who stand watch over me all night long.  Apparently my guardian angels wear fur. 

Friday, 7 October 2016

In the Mangroves.

“If there are no mangroves, then the sea will have no meaning. It is like having a tree without roots, for the mangroves are the roots of the sea…”Words of a Thai fisher from the Andaman Coast

I have a penchant for walking through our mangroves but this is an activity that can only be accomplished at low tide & it has its drawbacks: my cats.  Last time it was Kirby who spotted me slinking off alone into the mangroves.  This time is was Marlow.  Kirby is raucous.  Marlow can barely be heard but he is persistent. As you can see his tail was well down & he is a cat who almost always carries his tail high & proud.
As I headed down the hill, a distressed Marlow wailing in my wake, we flushed the red~necked wallaby & her joey. She leapt out from almost under my feet, her joey in hot pursuit, & they fled up the hill into the safety  of 50 acres of light timber & grassland. I was so thrilled. Yeah, I know, but little things give me great joy.

Hopeful I might spot them again I headed into their sanctuary but they were not to be seen.  All we did was upset the butcher birds who squawked up a storm & took dives at Marlow, who is neither brave nor a hunter, & cowered at my feet.

I was peeved when the point got fenced off.  It is a lovely walk & the view towards Karra at the end is pleasant. The plus is it has quickly become a wildlife sanctuary, unofficial though it may be, & one is likely to see all sorts of things not to be seen elsewhere like this birdswing butterfly.  The left wing was a little crumpled so perhaps this one was newly out of its chrysalis.
There was a snake bird on the point ~ not nearly as common as the cormorants & not at all happy to see me.  The only pictures I got were the ripple left as he dived underwater for cover.
There were jellyfish too, unusual for here, & such a pretty blue.
Then this pretty little crab
As we neared the steps back up to the houses there was a great whomping & splashing to be heard: the YOB cast netting for bait. Now the sound of the bait pump is throbbing through the house keeping his bait alive for tonight & Marlow has collapsed in an exhausted heap. Meanwhile Kirby has taken up residence beside me on the desk in case I decide to wander of again without him.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Down in the Park.

It doesn't seem like 3 years since I was in bible school ~ but it is. My last term dragged as I was only carrying one subject & I could hardly wait to be done with the one subject I loathed with the sort of passion I generally keep for maths subjects: the street witness.

Not only do I seriously suck at this, I was unable to come up with a coping mechanism though I do seem to remember saying, at some point, how much easier it would be to just go & preach from a soap box.  Pretty sure most of my class thought I was barking mad but we are talking the person who avoided her B.A graduation & regretted nothing.  I was, sadly, unable to avoid my bible college graduation.  I did try but my Dean was so appalled I'd ever even had the thought I ceeded victory early because she is quite a nice woman & Witnessing was her subject & she'd had me moaning & groaning for the best part of 2 years so, you know, I thought I'd best do something nice for the woman.

Besides, I figured I was pretty safe opting for a street preaching gig as we were told in no uncertain terms that we needed a permit & no way, no how would we ever get said permit.

At the time I thought I would slip into a submissive role as one of several preachers in an established church.  As it turned out we scared the daylights out of said church & they still want nothing to do with us. *sigh* So, you know, we started our own.  It was a lot scarier than it sounds 3 years down the track.  Way more angst. I still wonder how anyone could find me frightening ...?

The thing with being Spirit filled & Spirit led is that when the Spirit says Jump! you jump. Both the Moth & I, then Rabqa when she joined us, are not into street witnessing.  We are incredibly bad at it ~ all of us, & not one of us could say with any honesty that we felt led to do it but we understood we were called to share the good news.

 I'm not a mover & shaker so it's a good thing the MOTH is. He applied for the permit for street preaching. I was so terribly sure I had nothing to worry about because I had been told, hadn't I, by a  very reliable source too, that it would never happen ~ but it did! So that was pretty clear;  I jumped.

It's embarrassing to admit how terrifying I found it at first.  No~one was beating me with rods, or chucking me off cliffs or drumming me out of town.  Not even harassment. After 3 years we only ever got rained off one Sunday.  No matter what the weather did for the rest of the week, or even before & after the park, that one hour we were in the park on the first Sunday of the month was always as dry as a bone!

Then last month we applied to our council to be in the Park every Sunday.

Doing the park is a seriously weird thing.  We share the preaching spot around but the only one who was getting excited about it was the Holy Spirit.  He was thrilled to bits ~ & a good thing too as Rabqa & I stop doing this the day He doesn't show up!  Then the MOTH decided he loved it & for a while he did most of the preaching.  He's not a preacher so just gave a straight salvation message.

I'm not the people person.  That would be the MOTH. I worship with my eyes shut.  I have been known to preach an entire message with my eyes shut. I pretty much have zero interest in what is going on around us. Not so the MOTH.  He keeps tabs ~ at least in part because he has the job of protecting the preachers & that's not a job you can do with your eyes shut.

These days we get quite a crowd.  Not up close & personal.   No, no, no.  No, they hang round the peripheries: on the jetty, under the bus shelter, inside the taxi rank, up the hill in front of the loos & hidden amongst the cars in the car parks. They wind down their windows to listen while they wait for the barge to pull in & make last ditch bolts for the boats because they want to hear as much as they can. There are regulars, returnees & the odd bods. Some of the regulars have gotten over their fright & wave to us or call hello.  We have had our salvations & believers who needed to get back on track but we don't keep tabs.  God says He watches over His word & that it does not return to Him void. All we have to do is speak it out.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

A Little Gardening.

Gardening requires lots of water — most of it in the form of perspiration. ~Lou Erickson
 The first year we were here we grew pumpkins.  Pumpkins were all that would grow.  They came up in the compost & we were grateful.  We could eat the fresh green tips, the flowers & finally the fruit ~ & we did.  They were a cross between the big Queensland Blue & the stripped Jap & were the loveliest pumpkin to eat. Our kids were weaned on mashed avocado because avocados came free round here & one variety or another was always in fruit.

Queenslanders know that if you buy a block of land with the topsoil intact you are incredibly lucky.  Ours had been razzed down to the clay & ironstone & it baked in the heat until it set like cement.  The first year I got a bare 1/4 inch of black soil after dumping load after load of compost & mulch was ever so exciting but however exciting hardly enough to grow a weed in let alone a garden. We bought soil ~ probably the same soil the clearers had nicked off the place originally & I built up garden beds.

We sit on top of a little hill with lovely views over Ooncooncoon Bay but the roadside faces west & west in the Queensland subtropic summer is no fun at all.  It is hot.  It is muggy. The storms roll in with thunder & lightening & the temperatures soar until the rain steams. It doesn't so much fall as permeate the air. So the first order of business was shade, shade, shade! It is wonderful how much a good shade tree drops the temperature.

And each year round about August/September I buy seedlings, because I am far too lazy to propagate from seed, & plant out my veggies.  For most of those years I have had little hands helping ~ then they got big & took over & the garden got too big for me to manage & they grew things no~one wanted to eat, & weeds no~one wanted to weed &... well, you know how it goes.  I stopped gardening. Things got cut down I wanted to keep & things got erected that I had no idea how to dismantle & it was all too much work & I hadn't created the havoc & then of course they all left home. I had got out of the way of putting in my garden but this year I got the urge again so I weeded the little patch I like to use & tilled my soil over leaving the passionfruit & parsley alone & I planted out the things we actually eat: little cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, lettuce... I mulched. Heavily. Then CG came home...!!!

I have corn.  I don't grow corn.  It is water heavy & robs too many nutrients from the soil. I have unmulched things in pots drying out on the verandah.  I have silverbeet dying in the sink because no~one wants the trouble of planting out so many little seedlings. I have a number of *surprises* because nobody remembers the name of what got put in, *sigh*
 And meantime the pomegranate is flowering in it's pot for a third year because I can't find a big enough spot to put it & the peach is producing peaches it is too small to keep above the ground; I didn't put that in either because I prefer nectarines & the child who did is no longer here.
But as each plant pops its head through the mulch growing strong & sturdy I get a strange satisfaction, all the more bizarre because I enjoy the growing far more than I enjoy the fruits of my labour.  Another few days & I will have to tie the tomatoes & cucumbers & I should probably put the basil in the ground only I now Have corn where that was meant to go.

I have other things waiting in the MOTH's bush house: our first azaela & I do like azaelas; a raspberry though the MOTH swears they won't grow here; butter beans which will. Then, perhaps, if the summer storms drift round us & the hail doesn't cut everything to ribbons & it doesn't get too hot too soon or rain too much we will get a harvest before summer.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

It's not about the Muslims.

If you have been following the Australian news at all then you have probably seen the poll saying 60% of Australians support Pauline Hanson's call for a ban on Muslim immigration to our country.

Predictably our liberal left is screaming Islamophobia, racism, xenophobia, multiculturalism & just as predictably they have completely missed the point.  It is not about the Muslims.  It is not even about Islam as such.  It is about cultural things that are anathema to many Australians, especially conservative Australians. I will go down my personal list.

  • FGM.  10 million girls globally are exposed to FGM each year.  [ActionAide]
 *Analysis of ABS and UNICEF data suggests that there are 83,000 women and girls in Australia who may have been subjected to FGM. Around 5,640 girls under the age of 15 may be in danger, and 1,100 girls are born every year to women who may have had FGM. This means that three girls a day are born in Australia who are at high risk of being subjected to FGM.* The Drum

This is not something to be proud of.  Our laws expressly forbid the practise of FGM. This is not a cultural deviation.  It is child abuse.  No enlightened society should ever tolerate it.  Ever. Period.

Christianity does not practise this.

  • Child Brides. The number of child brides in Australia has doubled in the past few years. Link. We have seen the increase proportionate to the increase in numbers from countries where this practise is acceptable. Economic reasons do not apply in this country. Therefore it is a religious & social custom that is unacceptable in a civilized country.  A child's body is not fully developed to engage in sex or childbirth. It is pedophilia & is illegal. Why would we want to bring this into our country? We have enough problems in this area.  Ditto domestic violence.

  • Integration. It doesn't happen. 
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew publicly stated "we can't integrate Muslims". British Prime Minister Cameron, French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel have also stated that multiculturalism has failed in respect to Muslims. QSociety 

I know this is a generalisation but the overwhelming evidence shows that devotion to Islam trumps allegiance to country.  This is true of Christianity as well.  The difference is that Christianity is not going to kill you if you leave.  Christianity has not declared jihad on the infidels.  Christianity is not intolerant [in practice & generally] of other faiths.

No go zones in France & other Western nations have allowed for the implication of Sharia so that in effect there are now 2 different legal processes operating & it seems nothing can be done to prevent this.  One nation, one legal system for everyone ~ & not sharia!

  • Sharia. The practice of Sharia is barbaric.  Devout muslims believe sharia to be God ordained & therefore to be implemented wherever possible. Most Australians do not want public executions, beatings, limbs removed for crimes, stonings, honour killings etc.  Polygamy is still illegal here.   Judeo/Christianity says one man, one woman. A youtube search will turn up *moderate* Australian imams arguing for sharia to be implemented in this country ~ & their congregation [all male] agreeing wholeheartedly. No thank you. 
Please do not quote the old testament law at me.  To do so shows a basic misunderstanding of the civil, ceremonial & moral law of the bible & its fulfilment in the person of Jesus Christ.  Completely irrelevant.

  • Hallal. Why are Australians being forced to pay a tax on food items to a religion most do not follow & whose practise is abhorrent to them?

  • Trust. Lastly, I have no reason to trust a religion whose stated intent is to convert me or kill me. Don't believe me? Here are some verses from the Koran:

  • Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them(2:191)
  • Make war on the infidels living in your neighboorhood (9:123)
  • When opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you catch them (9:5)
  • Kill the Jews and the Christians if they do not convert to Islam or refuse to pay Jizya tax (9:29)
  • Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable (3:85)
  • The Jews and the Christians are perverts; fight them (9:30)
  • Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticise Islam. (5:33)
The problem is not muslims.  The problem is that their belief system is incompatible with Western values & Christianity. Like most Australians I don't care what faith you practise, if any, but I believe in an individual's God given right to free choice. The imposition of values I do not adhere to is abhorrent. Practise Islam if you must but leave the rest of us alone.