Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ashamed to live in the Bay

I am ashamed to come from the Bay of Plenty today. My local MP, whom I voted for, has been busy bagging (bad phrase given his propensity to scratch himself in public) Maori, gays, Muslims in Burkes (they are all terrorists) and now the speaker of the house. Why did I vote for him again?

And now one of our other local MP's, Tony Ryall, again a member of the conservative National Party, is outraged that their is racially targeted health spending going on in this country. Maori men over 35 are being helped to join gyms. Why, because Maori men die at appalling rates and young ages from lack of exercise and poor diet. I suspect the Health Board is trying to do something about it. All, I repeat, all, the health research says that targeted expenditure is the best way to deal with health issues. And Maori health statistics show a crisis!! What does Tony want us to do? Nothing I think. He is being his own brand of politically correct that is not targeted funding. This is not based on any research, but on his own political agenda. In short, he is willing to sacrifice the lives of his constituents for his own political self aggrandizement.

Currently we have another MP being hounded by the media for corruption. He is accused of accepting money to act as some of his constituent’s MP. I don’t know if this is right or wrong, although I am intrigued there already has been an inquiry into the matter, and the current accusers did not come forward then. It makes me wonder?? Anyhow, it seems to me that young Tony is being much more corrupt in that he is playing with people’s lives. Instead of being questioned about this by our wonderfully inept media, they support him! Maori basing sells more papers.

There is a whole group of people that want us to all be one and all be New Zealanders, including Tony and his scratching mate Bob. But if we are to be all one, then we need to care for each other. That means caring that so many Maori die young and wanting to do something about it. When Tony and Bob and their leaders show any sign that they care, then maybe I will take them seriously. But till them they deserve nothing but contempt.

I am ashamed to be a New Zealander. I am outraged by my MPs. I am sick of our media’s self importance and lack of ability to really report the issues.
But I feel better for blogging this!! Thanks Blogger!

Peace and blessings

Sunday, August 27, 2006

the most important things

Last night I was at a Toru seminar (Anglican Centre for Youth Ministry Studies). The speaker was Annette Cater, the children’s ministry co-ordinator for the diocese of Wellington, and part time Strandz trainer. (See the website for more). She was speaking on Anglican Youth, a dying breed?
Annette has been involved in church in an active way nearly all her life. She remembers as a 10 year old being n a group that chose the music for Sunday services and organized and ran some of the Sunday services. She just thought that was normal. At 25 she is our youngest deacon, and will be our youngest priest at the end of the year. She is probably the youngest Archdeacon in the communion.

She talked about what the most important thing we do as church. I guess mostly we would say our sandy services. It is what we measure the success of a parish often. Yet young people and children are often excluded from that activity. We send them off to Sunday school. We run youth groups at another time. I wonder if the most important thing we do is not the Sunday service, but our work with children and young people. I wonder if Sunday simply allows us to carry out that work, to be bread of life for young people and children.

I wonder??

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Shopping for Jesus

Today I went to Sylvia Park, a huge new shopping centre in Auckland. It was packed with people browsing and even at times shopping, mostly I suspect for stuff they really didn't need. Yet it was exciting. I was excited being there. How sad!

Tomorrow we remember Monica, the mother of Saint Augustine of Hippo. She was excited for and passionate about faith. She really wanted her pagan and incredibly bright son to become a Christian, to know the life of Christ. She followed him around, praying for him and nagging him into faith. She challenges me to much less excited about shopping, and much more excited about faith.

Tomorrow my 14 year old son is going to use the sermon slot to tell us how we as a church can have Monica's passion for young people, and invite and include young people in the life of our community, that they might transfer their allegiance form shopping to Christ. Should be fun!


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

church schools

I am currently at the Tikanga Pakeha Liturgy Working Group. We have just had an interesting discussion about "our church schools" and what a wonderful opportunity these schools offer.

I am not as enthusiastic about them as others, but I do see them as great opportunities.

It reminded me of a conversation I had at a synod recently with a school chaplain. In the course of that he asked what I would look for out of a school, and sadly I could not answer, which I am embarrassed about.
After watching a nooma cd (another posting) I knew.
I want schools to help young people to develop of sense of justice, of compassion, to be in tune with a God of justice, love and compassion.
I want school to gift young people the skills and resources they need to live a life of faith in which this sense of justice and compassion and life in God can grow and develop.
Finally if as part of that those young people can find a home in the Anglican Church that would be great. That depends on groups, school and church making connections for the benefit of those young people.

This says something about what I would want out of church as well.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Archbishop Shorn and Anointed in preparation for prayer and fasting

The Archbishop of York had his head shaved and anointed with oil during the Sunday morning act of worship at York Minster.
The acts of preparation came as the Most Revd Dr John Sentamu began a seven - day fast and prayer vigil for the Middle East.
After the service the Archbishop entered the tent which he has pitched in St. John's Chapel inside the Minster where he will be sleeping for the next seven nights as part of his vigil.
The acts of preparation came as the Archbishop announced his intention to forego his seven days' holiday to Salzburg in order to camp inside York Minster where he has asked people from all over the country to join him in heart and mind to pray every hour for peace in the conflict between Israel and Lebanon, and for good community relations in Britain.

Around my neck I wear a cross which bears the words of Archbishop Oscar
Romero: 'Peace will flower when love and justice pervade our environment.' The events of the past weeks show how far we are, as a world and as a nation, from that place which Romero describes."
"I have received letters and calls from people about this conflict, and people are asking 'What can I do?' They feel helpless, they feel bewildered but they want to do something in response to the suffering that they have been watching on their televisions, hearing on their radios and reading in their newspapers."
"So my call to everyone is to join me in prayer, join me in fasting join me in providing a meal for every displaced person - especially women and children, medicine for the sick; and at a future date be part of the reconstruction of the areas, in both countries, that have been destroyed."
"Will you join me in standing up against violence as an unacceptable means of trying to change one another's views and lives? Whether in our own skies or the skies above the Middle East, bombing and violence cannot be the way in which we seek to change that which we don't like in the world. There has to be another way. Each one of us has to be the change we want to see in the world."
"That is why I am asking people from all over the country to join me in our common desire for peace, and for love."
Article from The Diocese of York.

Prayers for Peace

While I was away it occurred to me that as Franciscans we should be doing more to pray and work for peace in the Middle East, and Palestine/Israel in particular.
So this morning Bonnie and I searched the website for resources. WCC, CWS, Anglican Communion News Service had some good resources, or led us to good resources. We have now set up a place in our church where people can come and pray for peace: with letters from various people, including the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, Michael Green, CWS; prayers to pray; people to write letters to.

We are also inviting people to come to church on Tuesday at noon to pray together for peace. I don't know how long we will go, but it seems we will need to do this for a while. Maybe others would like to join in. Without prayer, there will be no need to the hatred and death that plagues that area. Without justice for all, Lebanese, Israeli Palestinian, non-Israeli Palestinian, Bedouin, Druze, Jew, there will be no peace, and the killing and destruction of peoples lives will continue.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Flying home from London through LAX

I do believe that the hand of God was upon me this week.

I was due to fly home on Wednesday 10th August from London Heathrow via LAX. This was just a few hours before the security alert hit that route hard. Our plane was delayed for 3 hours due to a broken part in the air conditioning... and it took another hour to get away. But we got away with no hassle at all. In LAX we watched TV programmes about the new alert and how you were not allowed to take hand luggage on board. But again that did not affect us.

Even before we left however, I had a great stroke of luck. As I sat in economy (cattle) class thinking that there was not that much room really, but you survive, when the head steward came to my seat, asked who I was, and then invited me to go to premiere business class as they had a spare seat and as I was a Koru club member they would like to offer it to me. I was up there like a shot. And it was as good as the ads say. You get you own little area with seat and footstool. The seat can be reclined at any angle you like for take off and landing. The seat folds down into a (hard) bed, but as it was quite warm I put my duvet (yes you get a duvet) under me and slept well. Plus all the service and extra goodies. It was the most comfortable 10hours flying I have ever had, and will ever have. If I had the money I would fly like that. And lots of people do.

Luckily for me I had two complimentary upgrades which I used to ask for upgrades to premiere economy for the last leg of flights to and from England. That is upstairs, bigger seats. More leg room, recline further etc..., and only about 25 in the section, not 100's, so it is much more comfy. I would recommend that too.

While I am recommending. Among the 12 or so movies I watched were lucky number sleven, a great Bruce Willis movie with lots of deaths and excellent twists.

I am home and it is good to be here. Now I need to sleep.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

No Peace in the Middle East

I have just been sent this article by Benjamin Weir, a former Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) missionary and hostage in Lebanon. It adds some more information to what is going on there, and finishes with a call to pray.

I also discovered this site:
This does not offer such a neutral position, but does counter some of the propaganda put out by Israel and USA. For there to be peace we need to go beyond the propaganda and see the truth and work from there.

So find out what is happening, tell your friends, tell your politicians, and pray!!!!

May God's peace surround you and anchor you. May you work for God's peace

Monday, August 07, 2006

Israel and being Franciscan

I am in England. I have just been to the European General chapter for TSSF. It was entitled "Heralds of the Great King" and was centred around 5 themes: Racial Justice
Justice Peace and the Integrity of Creation
Sexual Orientation
Interfaith Matters
Mission and Evangelism.

Holding it all together was worship, adn enough time to sit and talk to people over meals and refreshment breaks.

I did JPIC as one of my two options. One session was spent on climate change, and another on Palestine/Israel. I struggled a bit with it as it seemed simplistic in its presentation, and almost anti-Israel. Don't get me wrong, I am horrorfied and angered by the actions of the present Isreali governemnt. But I don't think anything is served in taking sides, especially as christians, and especially as Franciscans. Surely we speek with more integrity while werving both sides, standign with the innocents on both sides, and calling for justice and peace for both sides.

I am heartend that the Anglican and Catholic bishops have called for prayer for peace. Too often we are not seen or heard as Christians on such matters. Until there is peace, there shoudl be prayer vigils going on all over the place, and the wider community being invited to take part as well.

Francis instructed his brothers to serve the muslims, and in this way preach the gospel. So too se must serve and pray, and in that way maybe we can bring peace.