Friday, November 2, 2012

Carpe Anima: Seize life!

This week I;

Went for 3 swims in the sea,
Ran 10km in 62 minutes,
Recieved two parking tickets,
Stopped using snooze and began getting up on the first alarm,
Waxed my legs for the first time ever,
Saw the sun rise twice,
Got sunburnt,
Worked overtime,
Crazy-danced with my friends,
Explored an abandoned college,
Climbed on the roof and got snapped by security at said college,
Spent $80 on second-hand books,
Ate Burger Wisconsin Beef,Mushroom & blue cheese burger,
Went to a 7am prayer meeting,
Flew Jetstar with no delays,
Had my first dental check-up in 7 years,
Paid for a stranger’s bus fare,
Watched a Cook-Island drumming performance,
Went out for breakfast, lunch and dinner,
Maxed my credit card and then paid it off again,
Finally cleaned my dirty running gear out of my sister’s car,
Talked to the trick-or-treaters,
Listened to the wind,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I beg your pardon?

A legit conversation that occurred in our house this week;

Do you like lychees?
I beg your pardon?
Do I like...?
Like cheese?  Yeah.  I like cheese.
No.  Do you like LYCHEES?
Ohhh.  Lychees!
Yes, yes I like lychees.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Skux and Skuxette: A tribute to Dr Seuss

I've been thinking for some time that skux sounded like a word Dr Seuss would have made up.  According to Urban Dictionary, there is some disagreement over the original usage of this word.  There are claims from Upper Hutt, Newlands College and Rongotai College among others.  Some have even gone so far as to claim that Ma'a Nonu was the original Skux.

Disclaimer:  All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. (ie If the skuxy shoe fits, you'll just have to wear it.)

I like to go walking and look at the sights
I like to go watching in daytime, at night.
I’ve seen many things, I’ve seen colours and patterns
I’ve seen dancers and runners and girls tossing batons
I’ve seen bikers and joggers and walkers and skaters
I’ve seen mums pushing prams and bikes like alligators

But one day while watching
and feeding the ducks
I noticed a new thing
I noticed a skux

He swaggered and
waggled in baggy blue jeans
the crotch down so low
it was bursting the seams.

His i-pod was blasting
with reggae and rap
his long hair was covered
by a black, stickered cap

Now this style of dress
really didn’t make sense
and the way that he walked
was like picking up 50 cents.

But he seemed to be certain
that this was the way
to get girls to look over and
this was his day.

He was skuxxing  and skuxy
he was skuxed, skuxically
It got skuxier and skuxier
Pure Skuxery

I thought he had failed
I was sure, I was certain
I was turning off lights and
pulling the curtain

When round from the corner
Flanked by her posse
With long skinny legs.
and hair shiny and glossy

She sashayed and preened
You’ve guessed it, I bet
Right before my eyes
A shining skuxette!

The skux was all ready,
he swaggered some more.
Skuxette rolled her eyes
as though life was a bore.

She flicked back her hair
cos you know what she wants:
an image of studied
but sweet non-chalance.

He digs it, she digs it
They’re both diggin’ it hard
No surprises what’s next
He played the skux card

It was sweet-talker charming
just what I thought
and she sweet-talkered back,
to cut a long story short –

They swaggered and sashayed
off into the sunset
fingers intertwined, though they’d
only just met.

Sorry if it’s a spoiler
but that’s what you’ll get
If you encounter, while out walking
a Skux and Skuxette.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Really just continued comments from the last one.

Apparently my html could not accept my comment because one page can only contain 4,096 characters.  :)

Steve - I think it's a good point to note the context of the bible, and the fact that it was indeed written to/about certain people at a specific period of time.  That is something that I believe all theologians and Biblical scholars would recognise as key to understanding both the intention, and the possible implications.  There are a couple of points that I would like to make in response; a large proportion of the Bible is written about ordinary, rough-edged (sinful, if you will)people.  However there 3 major points where I would suggest that God gives us a glimpse of what his 'perfect world' would look like. 

1. the first is in the beginning when God creates the world, and Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. "God saw all that he had made and it was very good" - Genesis 1:31. 

It was in this context that God created woman from a man's rib and brought her to the man so that they could "become one flesh".  "It is for this reason"  the Bible says " that a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife"  (See Genesis 2:21-24 for a non-paraphrased version).  It is for this reason - that God had made woman from man, and man and woman for each other, as the pinnacle of his creation - in the beginning when the world was perfect that God says he creates sexual union between a man and a woman.

2. The second time a glimpse of perfection comes into the world is at the appearance of Jesus who came to bring " sight for the blind, freedom for the captive, liberty for the oppressed and to proclaim the coming of the Lord's favour"  Jesus refers back to the Law of Moses, claiming (to the disgust of many) that someone greater than Moses was here.  He called people to live a standard that was higher than obedience to laws, but to live a life that was governed by a relationship with God and would result in God's perfect character becoming a part of who we are, rather than just something we do (something that ties in with what you were saying Polly). " You have heard that it was said 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth', but I tell you -'Love your enemy, do good to those who harm you, pray for those who persecute you'.  Jesus was not discarding the Moseic law, rather as he put it 'fulfilling it'.  The Moseic law showed people that they could never reach the perfection that God required, and that they were totally dependent on His grace and mercy.  Jesus came and commanded that we should "be perfect, just as [your] Father in Heaven is perfect", and lived a life that exemplified this perfection on earth.
Point of this paragraph:  I agree that many things in the law of Moses are not directly applicable today.  However, what they do show, is that God does know how humans work, how we can survive, what we need for human life (for example laws that we now know were for hygiene/health/contagious reasons, that may not have made a lot of sense at the time).His ultimate for us is to again be restored to perfection - perfect creation, perfect relationships, just like Jesus,  just as He originally created it.

3. Finally, the Bible hints at the perfection at the end of time in 'the world to come'.  A world where there is "no mourning, crying or pain"  Where death, and sin will be completely defeated.  It is in this world that God comes to claim his 'Bride' - that is, the people of God who have loved and been faithful to him during their lives.  I think this is probably the most key point of why marriage is so valued - marriage is supposed to be a reflection of the intimacy, complementarity, love, unity, completeness and beauty that exists withing God himself. And, to go back to the creation story again "So God created mankind in his own image,in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

So, while I agree about the importance of context, I actually think that the context of passages such as these, reflect not only a story of what happened/will happen at a specific time, but also  the character of God himself - and a picture of his ideal for us as humans - something that is definitely relevant today.

Polly, thanks for your thoughts too <3 - definitely something that I have wrestled with - what is the job of the law?  I don't think the law is responsible for legislating a Christian worldview.  But, I do think the law is responsible for protecting things which are valuable.  Where I have come to is that I believe marriage between a man and woman is valuable and worth protecting (which I know you do too!) but I'd like the law to do that.  The law doesn't stop homosexual couples from being together, living together, even being legally/publicly recognised (Civil Union), so people still have a choice.  I think I just want to make sure that the voice of supporting marriage is also heard in the flurry of voices, so that those who are making the decisions have an accurate idea of what NZers would actually want!  However, I agree with a wise friend who said to me yesterday "AT the end of the day, when the bill either goes through or doesn't, the big question is really - how do we respond to this in a way that builds up and encourages and brings life to EVERYONE in our society"  There are a lot of "I thinks" in here, because I'm still trying to firm up exactly what I believe.

Hamish - you asked me to expand on "my views on the difference between judging an action and judging a person? What would you say judging a person would be?"  Hmmm, good question - you've got me thinking there.  I think that the main part of it, is seeing the action in the context of the whole person.  For example - I could judge a guy who beats his kids and say "that is wrong".  If I was judging him, I would then conclude that he must be a bad/evil person who doesn't love his kids.  However, if I take the time know him, I will see his struggle, how guilty he feels, the childhood trauma that led to drinking and drug addictions, the cycle of poverty and neglect that has left him with anger and sadness that he doesn't know how to deal with.  When I see this side, I realise that he's a person, just like me - someone who has joys and struggles, and really needs God's restoring, healing love at work in his life.  I don't  condone/encourage his choices, but I see that he is more than just his choice of lifestlye.  Does that help explain it?

Shoes - True, terms have changed.  To be honest, what marriage means to our society today is probably already far removed from how God intended it.  I guess the challenge is for us in the Church to actually start setting a different standard, having different expectations and pursuing the amazingness that God intended it to be.

I think that about covers it. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

In which I wade into the fray and throw around some thoughts on homosexuality & marriage.

As I enter this fracas, I humbly acknowledge that I do not speak as the authority on this topic (or, for that matter, on any of the topics that I write about).  In the past few months New Zealand media have treated us to the musings of many worthy contributors well-read, well-researched, well-experienced, well-thought and well-lived.  The opinions and beliefs are (might I say) as varied as the entrants in New Zealand’s Got Talent.

And still, here I am adding my voice to the mix.  Because I can.  Because I want to.  And because, the only way that we can find a positive, life-giving direction forward is to understand the concerns, the fears, the aspirations, the hopes and the ideals that each person, on all ‘sides’ of this Bill are carrying.  Understanding starts with hearing.  Truly hearing and wanting to understand.

When each voice is heard, you realise that at many levels, this debate is much bigger than a Marriage Amendment Bill.  This is about identity, belonging, safety, and knowing that you’re OK.  It is about acceptance and forgiveness and judgement and miscommunication. It’s about being heard and understood. 

I’m not saying that everyone can be right, that “what’s right for you is right for you, and what’s right for me is right for me”.  I’m an absolutist.  I believe in absolute truth, wrong and right.  I believe that those who genuinely desires truth (and not just the experience of seeking), who continue to pursue it even when it comes in forms unsavoury or surprising, will find it.  

This is where my journey has taken me so far.  This is what I believe is true.

Homosexuality is not right:  You’ll probably not be surprised to read that I take my measure of truth from the Bible.  In my view; history, church tradition, and my own experience of life have shown the Bible to be accurate, inspired, and I believe – the word of God.  The Bible is pretty clear that God made man for woman, woman for man, and sex for man and woman together. As a side note, I think that our biology also hints at this intention;  the way that  a man and woman fit together, the fact that it is a heterosexual union that creates children.   
Maybe this sounds harsh, but let me ask you;  Would you say that lying is wrong?   Yet who amongst us would claim not to have chalked up a few white lies in our lifetime? Most people feel that to label a behaviour or lifestyle as ‘wrong’ is to be judgmental.  To put up walls, to make someone feel less than.   But we are all in the same boat.  No-one has all the answers, no-one has a perfect record. 
Stating a belief about a certain behaviour is just that.  A statement of belief.  In an article, it can seem a little cold.In the context of a relationship on would hope that it was followed by a conversation of how we both honour and love each other, even if we live different belief systems.  I can acknowledge the validity of a person, even if, after listening and understanding their perspective I question the validity of their belief.

Homosexuality is not marriage: In the beginning (of most creation stories in fact)  the Supreme Being creates the world, culminating in the creation of a man and woman/Earth Mother and Sky Father/Ranginui and Papatuanuku, who continue to multiply and diversify and produce offspring to populate the earth.  Marriage was instituted as a covenant, initiated by God, and lived out between a man and a woman. 
It’s original purpose was not to be a symbol of love and commitment, although these things flowed out of it.  Marriage was a tool of creation, primarily the creation of children, reflecting the beauty and nature of the Divine Character who so carefully crafted this order.  Marriage (and it’s definition) are intrinsically bound in it’s beginning.  
If homosexual couples asked to abolish the use of the term ‘homosexual’ and call everyone ‘heterosexual’, I’d eat my hat, and then I’d argue that we can’t do that – because you don’t fundamentally change the definition of a term.  You could come up with a new name, but you can’t call homosexuals heterosexual because they’re not.  In the same way, two people: man and man, or woman and woman, no matter how much love and commitment characterises their relationship, they don’t fulfill the definition of what marriage is.
In saying this, often heterosexual marriages fall far short of fulfilling this picture of marriage.  Sad, yes.  But an argument for gay-marriage? I think not.  It seems to make more sense to put resource and time into strengthening heterosexual marriage than to use it as an excuse to campaign for something else.  If gay-marriage is to become legal, it needs to be on it’s own benefits rather than on the shortcomings of other models.

No-one has the right to judge: Enough said.  I’m preaching to the choir here.  However, ‘no-one has the right to judge’ does not equal ‘no-one has the right to make absolute statements’.  I can say that i believe homosexuality is wrong, whilst acknowledging that I have no knowledge of each person’s background, past, childhood experiences, relationships history, personality, worldview, trauma, greatest aspirations etc.  I can make a judgement call on an idea/lifestyle.  It’s not my job to judge a person.

All people need to feel accepted:  I find it interesting that Jesus Christ attracted tax collectors and prostitutes and repelled religious folk.  Churches and church-folk (myself included) could do well to take a few pages from his book, or, you know, quite a few pages maybe.  He didn’t condone or brush over lifestyles and behaviours that he acknowledged as being wrong and unhealthy, but people who were around him knew that he loved them regardless.  If you’ve been burned by the Church, or bible-bashers in the past, I’m sorry.  I hope you are able to see the shining love from the face of the Master behind the flaws and failings of His followers.

So, where to from  here?  Personally, I want to be more committed to listening.  And discussing the things that really matter with people who really care. In terms of the Marriage Amendment Bill, I'm opposed because I think it falls short of achieving what proponents believe it will, and it fundamentally opposes my belief of what marriage is and should be. If anything, what the ongoing debates, the internet skirmishes, and the Facebook encounters have shown me that there are strong feelings on both sides, and people want to be heard.  I also want to look for solutions.  Why are so many marriages failing and what can be done about that?  Why are so many young people (especially homosexual) committing suicide, and what can we do? what do I think marriage is supposed to be – I mean I have some theories, but what about the practical ‘what it actually looks like? If I want to get married one day, it’s probably a good thing to have nailed down, or at least nailed down a bit more. 

Before I end, I want to acknowledge my friends; "gay", "lesbian" and "straight", who graciously allow me to shape my thoughts and sound ideas off them in the context of our friendship. I hope that my heart appears between the lines and that you are able to hear and understand what I am trying to say.  Feel free to share your thoughts also - Let's have another internet discussion!

Kia whai ngā tāngata katoa i te rangatiratanga i roto i te pono   - Let us pursue the truth, each and every one of us.