Integrity

Whetting my appetite on a diet of malnutrition things I am supposed to not eat but eating them anyhow no one will see my diet of mental malnutrition but nevertheless I go ahead and hope for the best making sure no one sees me and I die a death, losing myself, my integrity, did I even regret the impulse that came over my brain in a haze of momentary lack of mindedness set on just one thing and forgetting I said it was mental malnutrition. The death of my soul, now a hole, and no one knows, but I die, alone. I jumped from thing to thing and the desire grew and blew and blew until it flew, and I’m left with the residual hue nothing like I wanted.

Partners in Ministry – From relational unity to functional unity

This week is International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – January 18-25. I have a few articles on the topic of Christian unity. I don’t know if I will post them all now as this should overload the blog for the week and I don’t want to inundate readers. Here is the first article, published about twenty years ago. Christian unity has been a theme in the Church longer than that, with a strong movement for at least a century maybe longer.

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Stuck on time

I got my coffee and wish time would stop because it is National Gormet Coffee Day. I would go home to have dinner, but since it’s Rid the World of Fad Diets & Gimmicks Day I don’t go home. My wife is trying to replace her fad diet with a real one and I want Gormet burgers with my coffee. Just imagine it if I went home. For a start, I can’t even cook my own meal…

My brother is a lousy cook. He’s always tired. He needs a good cook. 

But it’s Peking Duck Day so we could go out for takeaways! So much for my wife’s Healthy Weight Week. 

But life is easier with Gourmet coffee up close and personal. I don’t have to do anything. It is 4.02pm. But I wish time would stop. There was fifty-eight minutes to go before the family will wonder if I am lost, but I wasn’t thinking too far ahead. Even when the barrister said, “Something special today” and handed me my coffee, I wasn’t thinking about what could happen at 5.00pm. I was thinking about my Gourmet coffee. 

Getting lost in gourmet.

Swimming in gourmet.

Dying for gourmet.

Life is good with gourmet.

On National Gourmet Coffee Day. 

 

City Mission

Des Britten

I think my article on a city mission does coincide in a respect to Soup Swap Day. Soup Swap Day is every third Saturday in January where friends and groups get together and swap their soup containers to end up with a variety of types of soups. How does that relate to the Mission? Missions are known for their soup kitchens, so they are dealing with soups as one of their staples. But there is a difference to a mission and Soup Swap Day. At the soup kitchen handing over a bowl of soup is given without thought of return. Some people just can’t give back, but they need that bowl of soup. If there was Soup Swap Day at the missions, they may begin empty handed. They are relying on others to give. In that vein, here is my article that was written twenty-two years ago.

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Stuck

A palatable easy rock sound coupled with some interesting philosophical lyricism leading more to unbelief than belief, in the face of commercialism and the invisible barriers between people.

Test it

First impressions of work can be favorable, but later, an objective eye may see the flaws and blemishes. It should sound right on second view, but might not. Why not test it? Send the articles in and see if one’s reservations lined up with the editor’s view. I hope I am surprised…

Why fat is “big business”

Hi. It’s National Lose Weight – Feel Great Week – January 2-8, 2022 (Starts First Sunday in January) so I dug into my archive and found the following article about health, fitness and body image, written and published twenty-two years ago. National Lose Weight – Feel Great Week may be an American observance but I had already written in voices from New Zealand so…One can always revert to themes and local color. 

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Appeal

No, not laughable

Breezy, uplifting and touching

A hint of how much I love you

She’s rich but not annoyingly so

No self-indulgent phony

Sounds the most honest

Apt considering her title (she’s not channeling a future divorce)

She’s surprising

How is she really feeling Mostly sentimental gut feeling

Don’t ask if I think this is better or an embarrassment Her appeal outstanding

Songs like these

Songs like, but

Are they any good?

Hey, does it indicate my self-centredness–

That I don’t like songs like these?

Should I be every bit your own, in the light of song’s shimmering shining voice?

I wish I was here.

Show you she, show you,

She likes the guy

Not surprising by his song, about himself.

But I am not jealous. No, no, no.

Look after yourself

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Autopsy is a television series from Britain’s ITV studios that analyses the events around the untimely deaths of famous people. Dr. Jason Payne-James looks at the cause of death that is on the celebrity’s death certificate but looking closely at the evidence he concurs with the certificate or comes to another conclusion.

The subjects of the series are people well-known in film, music, and sports. The days leading up to the deaths of actors Robin Williams and Heath Ledger, and others, are analyzed.

In the episode I am looking at today, the life and death of the Irish-born, Manchester United footballer George Best is scrutinized.

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Christmas brings resurgence of faith

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The following Christmas-related article all came together with just the right brushstrokes and just the right editor to iron our any imperfections. The editor said the article “sounds good”. It was published to a wider audience than what I was getting. Released to the world on New Year’s Day. I think it really said that faith is still a vestige or a part of the culture. Here’s the article.

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Abandoned

There is a difference between abandoning something and abandoning ship. Abandoning ship means whatever you were occupying is abandoned for ever. Abandoning something means you let go of part of the whole. I may have let go of a long cherished but burdensome project without abandoning ship. I will still write of course, but I won’t be writing a certain project that I really am unmotivated to write anymore. I guess one should be motivated to write a project, but when it becomes a burden, one loathes the thought of writing it. So, I think I should stick to those writing projects, in terms of fiction, that I really have a strong motivational investment in.

Recovery

The other day (described in a previous post) I considered a devotion I was writing — based on the book of Genesis verses one to five — was a dead end. I thought the my personal application wasn’t suitable for the publisher. But now I see my personal application differently in light of the next few verses of Genesis which I now use in my devotion.

I completely changed the introduction and edited the body to reflect my new angle. I think this devotion is now usable for the publisher.

What is Christmas?

Some Christians embrace Christmas and take the opportunity to spread the ‘reason for the season’. Others say Christmas is a pagan ritual that Christians should have nothing to do with it. I am more inclined towards the former camp, you may have guessed, as I am writing a post about Christmas during the season. The rather narrow Christian application of the Christmas season may come up with few imaginative stories or may even stir one’s faith in Christ that bit further. It may even inspire a radically different story for a writer like me. However, like me, I think many people don’t think about the arguments against Christmas because what else is there to do but just put a thought up and think something positive. It’s sure to do one good. Maybe one day I’ll read about the historical roots of Christmas, but I think it won’t ever change my demeanor over the holiday season. On that note, all the best of the season.

Not required

In my mind, Genesis 1:1-3 promised a devotion of some sort (described in a previous post), but on looking at what I wrote, I thought about how it missed the publisher’s requirements. So, onto another devotion I wrote that is in draft form…

To give sight to the blind

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This month is ‘Gift of Sight Month’. I thought it appropriate then that I republish an article about blindness and blindness issues in the developing world and not the largely developed world. This is an article about working with the blind in those countries, “the poorest of the poor”. I am aware that this article is twenty years old and things would have developed somehow since then, but I leave the contents of the article as they were for republication here. CBM International website is here.

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Porridge and poetry

Free verse is all porridge and poetry

Mixed and thrown together like a whirlwind of expressive rage

Hot in the pot and bubbling away

An orator who’s been told life is poetry and anger swirled all together,

Sounding like a dear old bird chirping,

Not so. Beaten into life by the wordsmith’s device

Heated words used in free verse candor

Sounding like he’s got a grip

Dying on the inside, the boy’s got lip

When a wind is getting closer

The poet dives for self-respect

The free verse expresses regret.

New story

The barrister winked at him. “Nothing like a change to get customers back, eh?”

Secretly, she slipped something addictive into his coffee. “How about a latte today, sir?” The story continues…

Old habits die hard

He couldn’t kick the habit. He kept on taking the same path to the same coffee shop every day. Three times a day.

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He knew he should have been working at it, but the same old dreary daily grind did nothing for him. But it was a lovely view.

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The barrister smiled. The man was about to go back to his cottage when he said, “See you at three.”

“I don’t think so,” the barrister said.

The man turned back. “Hmm? What did you say?”

“Something’s going to happen. Something wonderful.”

The man wondered what she meant and he went home sipping his coffee.

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By the time he got home, he had half a cup of coffee to go. He was optimistic as he had saved half a cup for now although half was already gone.

He checked his watch and it was 12.00pm. “Three hours before my next coffee,” he muttered to himself. “Can’t wait. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy this cup.”

He took a sip. And another. And another.

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By the end of the coffee, he wondered if he developed a habit. It dawned on him, actually, like a revelation.

“Old habits die hard,” he said to himself, muttering away. There was a knock on the door. The man opened the door and saw the barrister from the coffee shop.

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“Hello!” said the man. “Have you come with a coffee?”

“I sure have,” she replied. She whipped out a takeaway cup.

The man grabbed the cup.

“Before you drink,” said the barrister. “Something’s special in that coffee. As I said, I won’t be seeing you again today.”

She walked away and the man shut the door.


“I wonder what’s in it,” muttered the man. “I hope it’s good!” The man laughed and laughed out loud.

He drank some more and laughed and laughed.

He laughed so hard he didn’t feel like going back to the coffee shop again.

“I think that coffee solved my habit. I don’t feel like a coffee ever again.”

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The man went back to the coffee shop the next morning to ask the barrister what she put in his coffee.

“I put in something special , I told you.”

“It made me laugh. What was it?”

She leaned into him. “I’ll let you in on a secret.”

The man leaned into her. “Yes?”

“It’s from coffee beans.”

The man took a step back and laughed. “What kind of coffee bean?”

“I don’t know. But it’s from a goat.”

The man laughed again.

“A goat?”

The man laughed and laughed.

The barrister said, “A goat’s belly.”

The man’s face shot white. “Inside a goat?”

“Yes. Would you like more of that or something different?”

The man said, “I never want to laugh like that again. Get me something different, please.”

The barrister smiled. She knew that he’d be back.

“I thought I had kicked the habit. But those beans were disgusting.”

1:1

From my study of the Bible, I summarize Genesis chapter 1 verse 1 — ‘Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamaim v-et ha-aretz’ (in the original Hebrew) ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’ (Translated into English) —

“In the beginning the supreme being made the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars and the entire land of the earth” (My words)

Genesis 1:1 is a single introductory statement. The rest of the chapter builds on the opening statement. From this statement we understand what to expect from the rest of the chapter. It should expound on the introduction.

Correction

I said my first review was of the album Stations for Reality magazine (republished in previous post) but it is actually the first published review I still have and there are other reviews published before that one I have misplaced or lost, unfortunately.

Illusion

It is this way, so the illusionist said to the one he called the magician.

The illusionist saw it no other way in the vision of the magician he seen

There was no grey ground and no questioning He had it right

And woe and before him the magician came creeping back who he viewed in a suspicious light

There was only one way of looking at her, and this way was right:

The magician was a wicked old willy.

Who happened to be a loved one gone by,

Never seen the same again,

The love he had was broken,

As the magician was seen through the illusionist’s eyes,

Never to be blown.

Taking off

The barrister promised the customer something special in the coffee today. “You’ll take off,” she said.

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The man went home and looked into his coffee. It looked creamy smooth and luscious. He wondered what the barrister had put in his coffee this time?

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The man waited for a sweet surprise.

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He was sitting at his desk, waiting. Waiting for inspiration.

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And waited. And waited. Until his coffee went cold.

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Then something occurred to him. There was a hissing sound outside. Could the gas be leaking?

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The man went outside and saw a hot air balloon. The boy in the balloon said, “Get on board!”

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They flew high that day. The boy said, “How was the coffee?”

“I guess I just had enough before it got cold,” said the man.

“You’ve taken off now. Wasn’t that what the barrister promised?”

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The man smiled. “The barrister made my day.”

There’s a fly in my soup

The weather may have been the same, but not his coffee. The barrister slipped something extra special into his coffee today…

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After a downpour of rain, he took a sip of his coffee, for consolation.

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The coffee tasted finer than usual.

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So fine that something got stuck in his tooth…

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It was all rather painful when he pulled it of his mouth. It couldn’t be the coffee. This was harder than coffee. Was it something in the coffee? It must have been!

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What came out his mouth was a bronze coated award! It was shaped like a man and shiny like brand new!

The man was upset and went back to the coffee shop.

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The barrister smiled and the man noticed he had a gold tooth.

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“Why is there a prize in my coffee?” The man was visibly angry.

The barrister replied, “What was the prize?”

“It was coated bronze.”

“You won something! When I first had coffee here, I got a gold tooth. See?”

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The man looked around at everyone enjoying themselves, incensed.

“Do you mean to tell me, you serve gold and bronze?”

“Yes.”

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“I want my coffee, not gold or bronze!”

The barrister smiled and the man noticed his gold tooth. “It only happens once. It’s our introductory offer.”

“You mean to tell me, that your coffee is magic!”

“No. But it does have purifying powers.”

“What!”

“You may wish to come back. All the other customers are happy.”

“I’m not one of them! I want real coffee!”

“That was more than real coffee. I slipped something extra in this time. Next time it will get back to boring normal. Would you like a loyalty card?”

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Matters

He just wanted to write. He did not want to show off. But Mrs. Humstead wanted to show every one of importance his writing. Except no one wanted to read it. The writer observed rather than get upset. He knew being such a small timer not everyone was going to have the time to read his work. But he just wanted to write. He knew there were many competitors and more over those who would pillage his work for their own ends…He was wary of those but remained calm. What did it matter? Peace of mind reigned over him before action strikes. Another piece of writing.

Have a good day

I like outrageous stories and tall tales that have an exaggerated sense of life. So, here is a short tale of going to the coffee shop.

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On the way, have a good day said the cashier.

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Money was not on the cashier’s mind when she slipped in something special in his coffee that day.

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When he got home, he placed the cup on the sink.

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And about to drink, a bit spilled onto the sink. He took the cup into the lounge and heard a noise from behind. It was a growing noise from inside the kitchen.

As if something was getting bigger and bigger…

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It was that something special put in his coffee that had spilled on the sink.

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It was foamy and frothy and soon took over the house. A rather big bowl of coffee did the house become.

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And the man gladly drunk from a pool of coffee.

After the ruins…

…Something will be planted in its place. “A place where vines will be planted”. In place of the ruins of sin, prosperity? In place of the wastelands of sin, life? In place of the lifelessness of sin, the Spirit? A whole country sinned and a whole city. So, the country is ruined. But something will be planted in its place. Based on Micah chapter 1 verses 5-7.

Values

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The following church minister responded to anti civil unions protestors whom marched to the New Zealand parliament in 2004. Kevin Ward, a cultural researcher, wrote to me about the issue at the time after I requested an interview. The following article is a direct response to the actual rally itself.

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Changes (Circa 2004)

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One of the things I have noticed in the evangelical church in New Zealand is a willingness to transform the culture with the gospel. But it looked like the ‘others’ were winning the cultural wars.

Kevin Ward said the culture weren’t going along with the evangelicals and their transformative gospel. He said the church needed to adjust to this cultural reality and reach those outside in a more significant way.

Personally, I doubt the gospel is about transforming the culture. I read the gospel in the light of Jesus supporting and helping individuals who then go and live the gospel of love or try to in their daily lives. I think the gospel isn’t about trying to change the world but is lived daily and in being lived daily can do good in the world whether big or small.

But as far as transforming things I take with some suspicion and I treat with alarm those that attempt the aggressive take over in some way shape and form. I think the gospel has never been about cultural transformation but is about being a disciple of Jesus in our lives. But as far as the changing the world, we will continue to wait and see..

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Had enough

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On my odyssey through the New Zealand church my understanding grew about the issues the evangelicals were facing. As far as I see, the key concern the evangelicals (Bible believers) had with decriminalizing prostitution, granting civil unions to couples, and legalizing gay marriage was the message it sent to their children.

These conservative Christians intended on bringing their children up in the ways of the Lord God, which meant all of the social reforms the government of New Zealand were brining in could send the wrong message to their children, thus making prostitution and those others things open and acceptable. It could seduce their children into thinking that certain behaviors were okay and so send them off the path that leads to life, the way of the Lord. So, they fought against the reforms and I did a couple of articles on the issue, maybe more, although these issues weren’t my main focus at the time.

I may as well post these articles as I am writing about this. They should be posted over the next month or so. The first one is below. It features the most vocal opponents of the liberal reforms. Destiny Church organized a rally to protest the reforms and to oppose the government’s sending of a liberal message to the country and what it would do to their children.

These days, the Destiny head pastor is now fighting the Covid lockdown measures with protests aimed at restoring freedom.

Here’s the article about fighting the liberal reforms of New Zealand. I include comment from the other side as well. In terms of the writing of this article, it would have been better as two articles. One for comment on the issues, and the other on the actual rally. But I combined the two with focus on the issues and comment.

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