Showing posts from April, 2019

For Kirwan Uniting Church's Keep in Touch newsletter 28 April 2019

After living here for 24 years, I’m finally a real Australian   -   we bought a Victa mower.   The church council know this, I told them so that they can stop worrying that the manse yard is bringing the church into disrepute. It’s a groovy battery cordless thing. It’s rained pretty well ever since we bought it, so I’ve only been able to do the back yard and the side strip down to the bus shelter. But, early days, I’m very pleased with it. The bible has a bit to say about grass, most of it gloomy, like it withers. Weeds, on the other hand, seem to grow prolifically. Pity they didn’t have brushcutters in the bible. A cordless one of those is on my wishlist. We have a petrol Stihl down south which would demolish a State Forest in half an hour but (a) it’s overkill for the manse yard and (b) it’s in Cedar Creek. Here’s St Peter (1 Peter 1) quoting Isaiah 40:   “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flo

For Kirwan Uniting Church's Keep in Touch pew sheet, Easter Day 2019.

“Our holy and glorious temple, where our ancestors praised you, has been burned with fire, and all that we treasured lies in ruins.”  (Isaiah 64:11) Just a few weeks ago, I rambled about light pouring into a sacred space through stained glass windows, and particularly mentioned the Rose Windows at Notre Dame de Paris, Chartres and Reims. And now Notre Dame’s windows, North, South and West, are incinerated.  Some of you (of us) are old enough to remember the 1969 BBC series, “Civilisation”. The art historian Kenneth Clark famously kicked it off, standing in front of Notre Dame, asking “What is civilisation?” His answer was: “I don’t know. I can’t define it. But I think I can recognise it when I see it, and in fact I’m looking at it now.” The sadness, bordering on grief even for non-French people, at the destruction of an icon of Western, Christian civilisation, might be a metaphor this Holy Week of the utter despair felt by Christ’s disciples, earthly family and friends as

For Kirwan Uniting Church's Keep in Touch pew sheet for 14 April.

Some of you are my Friends on Facebook. I always vowed that I wouldn’t make my Wall visible to a congregation or Presbytery Ministers or the Moderator (The Wall is a Facebook term, the space where you post stuff, carefully considered and researched earnest threads, or off the top of your head thoughts about the weather or footy or whatever, or -  and this is why I vowed not to let it be widely seen - in my case, ill-considered rants).  But this afternoon I let my Facebook Friends know the perfectly innocuous (unintended pun coming up, hadn’t though of this) that I had a flu jab, an inoculation. Extra strength for old geezers, at that. You have a flu jab to reduce the chances of catching flu, or for it to be a milder case if you do catch it, and to help with “Herd Immunity”; the more people who are jabbed, the greater the community’s resistance to the virus and the less it is likely to spread within the community.  (“Where’s he going with this … ?”)  Well, there is a theological c

Column for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch 7 April 2019.

I came back to Townsville last week on the Spirit of Queensland train. I had considered blogging about the adventure, I still might. Leisa says I should call it Richard’s Railings. It wasn’t unalloyed joy, there were some annoying aspects to the trip, the odd thing to rail against. But it was cheaper than flying, probably more environmentally sound (diesel power cars notwithstanding) and I love trains anyway, real or model. It was much slower than flying, of course, 19 hours (an hour late) against 2 hours on a plane. But I did a couple of things which I can’t, or don’t, do on a plane. I caught up with reading during that enforced almost day long journey, and I just sat and looked out of the window. There is a quotation from an old Maine fisherman in 1905, often misattributed to Winnie the Pooh, “Sometimes I sits and thinks, and other times I just sits”. In this mad world we have lost that happy knack of just sitting - and sometimes thinking. Job had led a hectic business life unti