Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rank your gadgets

Technology is everywhere. Whether at home, in the office or on the go, gadgets and gizmos of every shape, size and ring tone constantly surround us. But which ones do you feel are truly needed? Rank your favourites and see how they compare with others.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Lines of scripture

Random thought: It is easier to make our theology, perception and practice based on two or three lines in scripture. Much more difficult to base it on lines running through scripture.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Why did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Why did the chicken cross the road - or how far can you push an old joke??

DR. PHIL : The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his 'CURRENT' problems before adding 'NEW' problems.

OPRAH : Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

GEORGE W. BUSH : We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

COLIN POWELL : Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road...

ANDERSON COOPER - CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

JOHN KERRY : Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

NANCY GRACE : That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN : To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART : No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS : Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY : To die in the rain. Alone.

JERRY FALWELL : Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth?' That's why they call it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media white washes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side. That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple as that.

GRANDPA : In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS : Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.

JOHN LENNON : Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

ARISTOTLE : It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

BILL GATES : I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken This new platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^(C% ........ reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN : Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

BILL CLINTON : I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE : I invented the chicken!

COLONEL SANDERS : Did I miss one?

DICK CHENEY : Where's my gun?

AL SHARPTON : Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Walter Brueggemann's 19 Theses

1. Everybody lives by a script. The script may be implicit or explicit. It may be recognized or unrecognised, but everybody has a script.

2. We get scripted. All of us get scripted through the process of nurture and formation and socialization, and it happens to us without our knowing it.

3. The dominant scripting in our society is a script of technological, therapeutic, consumer militarism that socializes us all, liberal and conservative.

4. That script (technological, therapeutic, consumer militarism) enacted through advertising and propaganda and ideology, especially on the liturgies of television, promises to make us safe and to make us happy.

5. That script has failed. That script of military consumerism cannot make us safe and it cannot make us happy. We may be the unhappiest society in the world.

6. Health for our society depends upon disengagement from and relinquishment of that script of military consumerism. This is a disengagement and relinquishment that we mostly resist and about which we are profoundly ambiguous.

7. It is the task of ministry to de-script that script among us. That is, too enable persons to relinquish a world that no longer exists and indeed never did exist.

8. The task of descripting, relinquishment and disengagement is accomplished by a steady, patient, intentional articulation of an alternative script that we say can make us happy and make us safe.

9. The alternative script is rooted in the Bible and is enacted through the tradition of the Church. It is an offer of a counter-narrative, counter to the script of technological, therapeutic, consumer militarism.

10. That alternative script has as its most distinctive feature, its key character – the God of the Bible whom we name as Father, Son, and Spirit.

11. That script is not monolithic, one dimensional or seamless. It is ragged and disjunctive and incoherent. Partly it is ragged and disjunctive and incoherent because it has been crafted over time by many committees. But it is also ragged and disjunctive and incoherent because the key character is elusive and irascible in freedom and in sovereignty and in hiddenness, and, I’m embarrassed to say, in violence – [a] huge problem for us.

12. The ragged, disjunctive, and incoherent quality of the counter-script to which we testify cannot be smoothed or made seamless. [I think the writer of Psalm 119 would probably like too try, to make it seamless]. Because when we do that the script gets flattened and domesticated. [This is my polemic against systematic theology]. The script gets flattened and domesticated and it becomes a weak echo of the dominant script of technological, consumer militarism. Whereas the dominant script of technological, consumer militarism is all about certitude, privilege, and entitlement this counter-script is not about certitude, privilege, and entitlement. Thus care must betaken to let this script be what it is, which entails letting God be God’s irascible self.

13. The ragged, disjunctive character of the counter-script to which we testify invites its adherents to quarrel among themselves – liberals and conservatives – in ways that detract from the main claims of the script and so too debilitate the focus of the script.

14. The entry point into the counter-script is baptism. Whereby we say in the old liturgies, “do you renounce the dominant script?”

15. The nurture, formation, and socialization into the counter-script with this elusive, irascible character is the work of ministry. We do that work of nurture, formation, and socialization by the practices of preaching, liturgy, education, social action, spirituality, and neighbouring of all kinds.

16. Most of us are ambiguous about the script; those with whom we minister and I dare say, those of us who minister. Most of us are not at the deepest places wanting to choose between the dominant script and the counter-script. Most of us in the deep places are vacillating and mumbling in ambivalence.

17. This ambivalence between scripts is precisely the primary venue for the Spirit. So that ministry is to name and enhance the ambivalence that liberals and conservatives have in common that puts people in crisis and consequently that invokes resistance and hostility.

18. Ministry is to manage that ambivalence that is crucially present among liberals and conservatives in generative faithful ways in order to permit relinquishment of [the] old script and embrace of the new script.

19. The work of ministry is crucial and pivotal and indispensable in our society precisely because there is no one [see if that’s an overstatement]; there is no one except the church and the synagogue to name and evoke the ambivalence and too manage a way through it. I think often; I see the mundane day-to-day stuff ministers have to do and I think, my God, what would happen if you talk all the ministers out. The role of ministry then is as urgent as it is wondrous and difficult.

The accompanying audio from which this was transcribed can be found here.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


As we move into 2008, it is worth reflecting on the major shifts which took place in 2007. Two which stand out revolve around the shift in perspective which has taken place in relation to the environment, and the paradigmatic shift which has accompanied it. For too long the West has retained a focus on short-term outcomes, locally measured. With the embrace of the reality of substantially increased carbon emissions, even without agreement as to the overall impact, there has been a need to consider both the long-term implications of present actions, and at the same time the global implications. While the slogan “think locally, act globally” has been around for a while, the blind and slavish commitment to economic growth has meant that we have both thought and acted globally. Australian sentiment has been strong in this area – one of the major reasons put forward for opponents of signing the Kyoto protocol was that our contribution to global emissions was minimal. (This may be true on a quantum scale, but if the whole world were to emit carbon at a per capita rate equivalent to Australia, we would be in much deeper trouble – there is the example to be considered).
Nations are being forced to think in the medium-to-long term, projecting out towards 2020 and beyond to 2050. Never before has strategic thinking embraced such planes, except in the imaginings of scientific discovery. In the case of science, however, the narrow focus on a particular outcome has ignored the global implications.
A new wave of thinking is now required, beyond short-term growth projections, either in share market price or economic growth. We can no longer assume that any progress is linear, or without fallout into other sectors, other parts of the planet, or other aspects of creation. The major challenge is that there has been no dollar-cost to business or individuals for many of the actions which have created the predicament we are now beginning to embrace. Will we be prepared to accept such? And how can we keep governments accountable to these beyond their contribution to budget surpluses?
A new era of political and economic thinking is breaking in upon us. Times indeed are interesting.