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Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter May 22 2022.

  At Synod last weekend, I did something which I’ve never done before. (No, not annoyed the ecclesiocracy, I’ve done that before, Sheree confiscated my blue voting card this time to keep me out of trouble.) I ordered food online to be delivered to Alex Park (the Synod venue). Many of you will be old hands at this lark, but it was a novelty for me. You sign up to the delivery service, UberEats, Deliveroo, Doordash (I used Doordash), whoever, their app knows where you are from your phone or iPad’s GPS location server, and you are presented with the menus of nearby eateries, accompanied by tempting photos of pizza, curry, kebab, fish n’chips. I plumped for a boring Subway sandwich because I didn’t know how long hot food would stay hot during pick-up and delivery. Pay online, and a map pops up showing you where the delivery driver is, and how long before they get to 1) the eatery, and 2) you. I suppose one of the earliest food deliveries in the Bible is Genesis 22. Abraham is about to sacr

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 8 May 2022

  So, I endured periodontal torture this week, when half of my gum line was prodded and scraped at to try to ensure that my teeth stay anchored to my gums for the foreseeable future (which, at my age, might be all of my future before the Lord comes or takes me). The other half will be tortured in a couple of weeks or so. Custom has it that I weave this personal anecdote into a Ramble. OK, what does the bible have to say about teeth? Much is concerned with words dear to the hearts of those who think that the Gospel is about damning >99% of people for whom Christ died, to eternal damnation. Gnashing of teeth, and all that. But I go for the many instances in Song of Songs, eg ch6, “ Your  teeth  are like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing. Each has its twin, not one of them is missing.”  An almost identical phrase precedes it in ch4, both of them following an early chat-up line of mine to Leisa, “Your hair is as a flock of goats, cavorting down Mt Gilead”. You should have seen

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 1 May 2022

Our postal ballot forms turned up yesterday, a further reminder, if one were needed, that there’s a Federal election coming up. So I’ve dusted off a Ramble from three years ago. Then, I was at Synod as the results came in.  This time, Synod will have ended a few days before the Election.   So, how should a Christian vote?  God be praised, we don’t live in a theocratic Catholic or Eastern Orthodox country where clerics tell us for whom we should cast our ballot, nor in the Amer ican bible belt where voters are urged bizarrely to vote for the most  unbliblical ne’er-do-wells imaginable. You’re an educated subset of the electorate, you can make up your own minds. But HWJV? How would Jesus vote? Romans 11 and 1 Corinthians 2 ask, “Wh o has known the mind of the Lord?”, so it’s presumptuous to say HWJV. But He and the OT writers have left some tips.  Matthew 10 “Heal the sick”. Is my  favoured  candidate from a party with a good track record in this regard?  Matthew 25: “For I was hungry  a

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet, Easter 2022

  When I were a lad, as Monty Python’s reminiscing Yorkshiremen might have said, I was frightened of shadows. Especially, the moving shadows cast on the ceiling of my childhood bedroom as a tree in our neighbour’s yard waved around in the night breeze. What are those dancing shapes? Are they ghosts? Do they mean me harm? It’s dark! But wait. Of course, it wasn’t very dark, or there wouldn’t have been any shadows. I hadn’t twigged then, but there were only shadows because the moon was out and bright, and the swaying tree stood between its beams and my ceiling. The Greek philosopher, Plato, describes a similar if depressing phenomenon in his allegory, The Cave. Prisoners, chained to a cave’s walls, see dancing shadows cast by people behind them carrying objects – the light of a fire between the prisoners and the unseen carriers is what produces the shadows. The prisoners think that the shadows are real, because they are all that their senses have perceived, while the actual reality is be

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 10 April 2022

  I took flying lessons for a while in UK, before I ran out of money. I have my logbook somewhere, lurking in the recesses of an unopened packing box. It’s much more expensive to learn to fly in UK than it is in Australia, because you pay for your booked lesson’s instructor, even if a lesson is cancelled because of bad weather. There is a lot of bad weather in UK, you might have heard. I still don’t have the money that I ran out of, but I’ve been idly googling “What’s the oldest that you can learn to fly?” Have I run out of years as well as money? With caveats, it seems that late 70s is still do-able. In case you wonder, Leisa won’t be worried by this revelation, she knows that my fantasies come to nothing. One of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands: “ You know I've always been a dreamer (spent my life running round)/And it's so hard to change …” William Carey, the great Baptist missionary and social reformer, famously said “Expect great things from God. Attempt gre

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 27 March 2022

No sooner was Christmas out of the way for supermarkets, than hot cross buns appeared on their (otherwise pandemically sparse) shelves. We bought some a few weeks ago, they are scrumptious warm and slathered in butter. But some folk are offended at their early appearance, thinking that it is irreverent to mark Christianity’s most solemn and holy day before the event. A silly reaction, because hot cross buns were probably developed more as a marketing ploy by an enterprising mediaeval baker than as an aid for teaching the faith. Offended types are even more horrified by the plethora of exotically flavoured buns. These include a hot cross bun bacon butty, a hot cross bun burger with chicken and cheese (KFC), a Vegemite (Marmite in UK) and cheese bun, even hot-cross-bun gin liqueur flavoured with notes of caramel, raisins and spice (Aldi). A prominent UK cleric, Dr Gavin Ashenden, an honorary chaplain to the Queen, rails that manufacturers are “doing the devil’s work” by defiling buns wit

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 13 March 2022

  Do you remember those church signs which read “All Welcome”? They were bland, inoffensive, conveyed no real message because everyone knew that the churches which displayed them didn’t mean it. All welcome except … and the list of unspoken exceptions could be pretty long. The best sign I’ve seen was on an Anglican church on Dandenong Road in Melbourne. “Hypocrites meet here at 10am on Sunday”. Now that’s more like it. Disarming, because it takes away the force of one charge which unchurched folk make about us. At least we’re admitting it. And we’re admitting that it’s almost impossible not to display at least some hypocrisy, because we preach a life of holiness which is beyond most of us.  Holding up high moral, ethical, and social standards is very difficult, because if one falls short of being a perfect example, one becomes a target and a  hypocrite , albeit a well-meaning one. So much for a charge from outside the church, that we’re hypocrites. Jesus had to contend with attacks fro