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I arrive at the door, wondering if I have to pay admittance. I've never been an event photographer before and I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. The young woman at the desk looks up and smiles.  "Oh, we've been expecting you. Come in " she says. She stands and I follow her into the foyer where the show is set up. I put my large camera bag on a table and glance around. There are children everywhere, and someone in a rainbow costume is singing and playing her violin, and radiating seemingly inexhaustible energy from the small stage at the front.  "Rainbow Rosalind" says my host. "She's fabulous, isn't she?" "Yeah. Great."  Who could argue? Who would want to? She's fabulous. "Is there anything I can get you?" she asks. "Coffee? Tea? The friands are actually very good. " "Ahh, no... I'm all good thanks. I'll just get on with it. OK if I put my stuff here?" She smiles and goes back to
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The Matter With Things

  Yesterday I finished the first volume of Iain McGilchrist's The Matter With Things: our brains, our delusions and the unmaking of the world ; so I am about 2/3 the way through what is quite possibly the biggest book I have ever read. I do own bigger books - Kittel's Theological Wordbook of the New Testament, for example ,  and The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, but to be honest I've never read them. Occasionally, when necessary, I've dipped into them, in an eyes glazed over kind of way, but I'm not going to sit down, by the fire with them in the expectation of growth and expansion and delight, as I find myself doing with The Matter With Things . I'm reading it. Every word of it. Slowly.  Taking breaks to think about it. Texting Eric Kyte, who's also reading it, to see if he wants to meet, yet again, to share coffee and responses to the book.  Iain McGilchrist is a polymath. He read English at New College Oxford, published a well received boo


Wake while it is still dark.  Dress.  Light the fire.  Make coffee.  Read the New Testament.  Sit in silence.  Here is the scaffolding I use to construct the day, a frame which gives shape to and bears the weight of everything that follows. The silence wraps itself around two concepts too big for right now: intention and consent; perhaps I'll try and speak of them at another time.  And then, when the light turns blue silver, before it gets all directional and golden, before the sky has its brief fling with the long end of the colour spectrum, I drive around the harbour.  The light plays and dances. Light off the sea is reflected, and therefore polarized so it has a different character from that which is flooding the new sky. Light filtered through clouds is softer and bluer than the fresh edged stuff, which has only had to contend with air. There are shadows and lines and colours and reflections everywhere. There are photographs lying about at every turn, but I don't need to po


This photo was taken by my daughter Catherine, when I was about 50. I think she did a pretty good job.  The number 70 has a kind of Biblical gravitas. It’s the number of elders appointed by Moses to lead the recalcitrant Israelites, and the number of people who went down to join Joseph, in Egypt. Jesus sent 70 disciples out to minister in his name, and the first Jewish Sanhedrin had 70 blokes in it. And, of course, there is Psalm 90:10:  “ The days of our life are threescore years and ten, and if by reason of strength they be fourscore, yet is their strength labour and sorrow, for it is soon cut off and we fly away ”. All this has some personal import because I turn 70 today, and can no longer fool myself that I am middle aged. I’m old. And before you feed me one of the lines of balderdash that pass for wisdom in our culture - “you’re only as old as you feel”; “70 is the new 50”; “age is just a number” or some other such nonsense, let me tell you that I am happy to be old. Deliriously

Centering Prayer Retreat

    A 3 day taught retreat in the practice of Centering Prayer.   Saturday October 2 2021 - Monday October 4 2021 Centering Prayer is a form of Christian silent contemplative prayer. This retreat is suitable for beginners in silent prayer, or for more experienced practitioners wishing to refresh their practice.  The retreat will be held in the En Hakkore retreat centre in the hills above Waipiata in the Maniototo. There will be daily sessions of silent prayer, instruction and discussion. The venue is spacious and set in an expansive landscape. there will be some time for personal reflection.  The cost is $175 per person which includes 2 nights accommodation and all meals.   Since the beginning, following the example of Jesus, there has been a tradition of silent prayer in the Christian Church. Over the centuries this tradition faded from the popular view and became confined to monasteries. It was kept alive by a largely ignored, but never fading lineage of Christian contemplatives.  


  The evidence is there and it's not good. Most people break their New Year's resolutions. On average, people hold out 'til January 19, apparently although about 8% of people manage to abide by their self imposed strictures for a year or more.  We make New Year's resolutions because there's bits of us we don't like and because we fall for one of the most common misperceptions that people  have about themselves: that our failings are just a matter of  will power and that if only we had a bit of discipline we could all smarten our individual and corporate  acts up. Bah humbug, I say.  There's a French saying,  tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner . To understand all is to forgive all. This is profoundly true. Pretty much everything we do, we do for a reason. What trips us up is that a) our reasoning is faulty,  based as it is on inaccurate premises and incomplete information and b) our reasoning is usually completely invisible to us. So we notice that we


Sometime back in 2018 I set myself the task of photographing a bumblebee in flight. I did this not because I especially liked bumblebees - though I didn't mind them - but because it seemed difficult. They were small and moved fast, and the process of getting a photo would improve my camera handling skills. And besides, we had plenty of them in the garden so I would be able to get in lots of practice. So I sat by the plants that seemed to attract them. I took hundred of pictures, mostly of blurry striped blobs or of recently vacated flowers. I watched. I learned - about the camera, the lens, certainly, but also quite a lot about the bees. And quite a lot about myself, which I guess was the point of the exercise all along. There were honeybees in the garden as well as bumblebees, so naturally I took a few snaps of them as well, but I didn't find them nearly such a challenge. They have clearly defined little bodies and they have a tendency to hover obligingly while the shot is tak