Tuesday, February 28, 2006

New Zealanders all one ethnicity?

I read that Gerry Brownlee is upset that we can;t just call ourselves "New Zealander" as an ethic origin. He says that we don't identify with Europe.
I guess, I worry about Gerry. Ethnic origin is very different to culture, which is what he is talking about. I am European by ethnicity, I am pakeha by culture. How could he not see the difference. And if he can't, how did he get to be deputy leader of one of our two main political parties.

I am also interested in what he understand a New Zealander to be, in the interests of being one people. I suspect he has a very white picture in his head. So, for us to be one people we have to be white or pretend we are white? Is that right Gerry?

And a day or two later the Race Relations Commissioner reports "Maori and Pacific people are still facing huge inequalities, despite some positive moves in 2005.
The annual review of race relations shows there is an unacceptably wide gap between Maori and Pacific people and the rest of the community and more work needs to be done to reduce serious social and economic inequalities including health, education and economic standard of living.
Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres says last year, more than a third of all children born in New Zealand were of Maori and Pacific descent, yet they face the prospect of an avoidable mortality rate that is three times as high for Maori and twice as high for Pacific people as it is for other New Zealanders.
"If we're serious about building a fair New Zealand for everyone then there is a greater need than ever to address these disparities."

These disparities arose due to the failed policies of successive pakeha government that said we are all white. Only now that the cultural differences are being acknowledged and work done to empower Maori and Polynesians to deal with these demographics has there been an improvement.
And Gerry and his "we are all one" mantra will take us back to the 1960's and the source of these demographics. For what? Gerry's own political gain. It is sad that someone with that much power can abuse it just his own best interests. And Don supports him!

Sick

Well, all that overfine eating has caught up with me and I am laid up with the most sore stomach, ongoing diarrhea, and generally not feeling very well. I spent today in bed, while people brought me a whole range of drugs to take to help me be better. So far though, no luck. I fear I may miss the trip we are all doing tomorrow.

Yester day we went to the cathedral. It was a very small congregation with carnival. Then we had lunch at Dessordi's, and then walked around the Porto Alegre city centre, as well as catching a tour bus. There are 1.5 million people here, a quite small city, compared with Sao Paulo (18 million including surrounding town) or Rio de Janeiro. Built along side a river, it is very nice, with some very beautiful old buildings. One day I will post some photos.

I get to preach next Sunday, a worry. I need the sermon finished by Friday to be translated and copied!!!!

Let us hope tomorrow dawns with less pain and toilet going

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Anglican Youth at WCC


On Monday Lunchtime, a group of Anglican young people who were present at the WCC gathered to meet each other. The meeting had been organised by Kenneth Kearon, the ACC General Secretary. It was also a chance for us in the IAYN Steering Committee to talk about what we are about.

Two things emerged from this meeting. One was a desire to communicate. So a weblog has been set up (almost immediately)

The other is for more world wide gatherings for young people to meet and get to know each other and learn about and be inspired by what is happening around the world.

One of the really big issues is of course, language. Lots of the young people spoke Spanish and Portuguese. How can one blog or one website or one newsletter be used by people speaking different languages? A challenge! Exciting though. It helps you realise what being Anglican really is being about. Not the church of England any more. Something much bigger and world encompassing.

Today at our IAYN meeting we had reports. Stand out included hearing from Ailed from Cuba both about what is happening there and about a meeting in Panama of young people, and their desire to build on the relationships formed there. Another was hearing about the work of Young People in Pakistan and there work in teams among those devastated by the earthquake. Lastly hearing about the Archbishop of Canterbury's days inviting young people to pray and reflect with him, so that young people might develop strong living faiths, that they might feel like they are part of the Anglican journey, and that he might hear their voices.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

march for peace

We marched for Peace the other night. It was the mid point of the WCC Decade to Overcome Violence. It was time to pass on the focus from Asia to Latin America. It was a good thing to do with 3-4,000 people gathered for the WCC General Assembly.

It was loud with lots of amazing Brazilian drums. Great chants. Stirring speeches. Symbolic actions, passing on the torch of this Decade to Overcome Violence from Asia to Latin America.

Part of me felt very cynical. What difference will this make? None really.

But Desmond Tutu spoke. Of how people marched and the Berlin Wall fell. And how people marched and apartheid fell. And now we marched, and violence will fall!!! He reminded us that (using a story of a crucifix with out arms) that we are Jesus arms. We are Jesus eyes, We are Jesus legs. Through us peace will reign. Through us violence will end.

Yes, in the face of it all, we are called to hope, and to cat on that hope. It seems so hard, yet that is the call.

as a little aside, the translator into Portuguese got confused with Jesus arms. He heard armes which is Portuguese for guns. So the Brazilian were told that Jesus had no guns, and that we are Jesus guns. Fits well with a march to overcome violence really!

why o why come?


I videod some of one of the morning services the other day. I was watching it last night, and I caught two anglicans standing, stock still, hands clasped in front, mouths shut, while all around people clapped and joyfully sang in a languagge not english. And I wondered, if you are not going to enter into the whole range of worship expereinces avaiable here as part of this amazing cross-denominational occasion, why o why come? Why not let soemone who will actually enjoy and entire into it come?

Birthday

Today (24th) is my birthday. I am 48 today. That feels old.

And here I am in Brazil, away from my family. But I have been well looked after with a birthday cake at lunch and being sung happy birthday in Portugese and English.

I just don't feel 48!!! It feels too close to 50, which feels too close to retirement! I wish!
tonight out to a Spanish feast of food and Flamingo dancing. Last night Arabic feast. They have this style fo restaurant where theye just keep bringing the food around and you eat till you drop. I felt so much pressure last night to make a wee dent in the food they brought out. In the end it was only a wee dent!

Onwards into another year, and carnival

This photo was when they sand happy brithday to me for the third time when either at lunch or dinner. I feel well looked after

Friday, February 24, 2006

Samba

Last night I went with a group to a Sambe School. Last rehearsals (they spend all year rehearsing) before the carnival.
It was just great. We thought we might learn to dance it. Huh! Thank goodness we just watched, which was exhausting enough.

The Samba is this wonderful, colourful all age affair with all sorts of layers of music, dance, and then minders around the edge. It is a great metaphor for our Post modern world really. The musicians include a band with quite a few singers. Then there is this large group of percussionists who almost drown out the music and give it all this really discordant feel.Among the dancers are the large matrons grooving away, young girls scantily dressed shaking their bits as vigorously as they can, the flag couples whirling and whirling, guys dressed in black and white with masks doing this dramatic thing, and other guys in red with tambourine type things doing tricks with them. All seemed to be doing their own thing and yet it all hangs together making this rather loud, manic, energetic beautiful whole. Like life today really, if we have eyes to see it.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Palestinans and Brazil

I am at the WCC General Assmebly in Brazil. I am here for a meeting International Anglican Youth Network Steering Committee meeting. (Same thing I was in Israel for last year)
The member from Isreal is not coming, for mysterious reasons. I wonder if it is because of restrictions of travel for Palestinians, not that they have much anyway.

It made me realise that while the West is demanding that Hamas reonounce violence and recongise the state of Israel, Israel has not renoucned violence agianst palestinaians, and in fact has reconifrmed its commitment to commiting acts of violence. Nor ahs it recongised the Palestinian people's right to a state. A real state, not a collection of towns seperated by territory administered by the Israeli Defence Forces, who can then restrict travel between these towns.

Why is it that we in the west are so quick to condemn others violence, and yet so slow to see our own. Why is our media so quiet on this? Why is our church so slient on behalf of our Palestinian brothers and sisters.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hospitality

I have experienced some generous hospitality recently, and had opportunity to offer it. I realise how often we ask, how much will this cost me? How much should I charge? what is my fair share of the cost. Yet, really, what has moved me, si when I have been abel to say to soemone, look, just come, no worries. And when soemone has said to me, come, stay the night, no worries. I offer God's abundantly generous love, and I receive it. Is that what we as church should do, just offer living pictures of God's abundant compassionate love, and that means receiving as well as giving well. Maybe?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

ARGH!!!

This is just a wee note to say that I just do not have enough hours in the day at the moment.

Since TYE I have been to parachute music festival, which is always interesting. We are trying to create an Anglican presence, and it was a good first time at it. We were a little invisible, but it was nice having a Eucharist every morning, running a contemplative midnight mass, and generally chilling with friends in the searing heat. Pity the air bed went down and the tent pole broke.

then one day at work and a wisdom tooth out! Ouch!!! and that was all that week. Amazing drugs that allow you to be awake and not remember a thing. Thank goodness. It was impacted and still hurts.

We had a great Waitangi day. A local iwi member who returned from Aussie was appalled at what little happened, and he organised a concert at the Mount Beach. Very nice to be there with a lot of Maori around. Not a regular happening I realised.

My real struggle is that I have so much to do, that I would have done during January if my computer had not been stolen. But it was, and I don't see how I can get everything I need to do done before I go to Brazil.

so my entries here might be a bit thin. Sorry.

I have to go read St. Athanasius for an assignment. I am really enjoying reading some of these theologians and discovering a while new way of understanding the incarnations. One day I will blog about it and TYE and partnership
cheers
John