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Showing posts from October, 2009

Room 9 You Shine

I'm not the only one in the family with a blog. Clemency runs one for her classroom at Outram School. Just today we learned that her blog has been given an award by Interface Magazine as New Zealand's best classroom blog . Take a look . See why. Her prize is the nifty little Toshiba netbook she is holding as the kids talk via Skype to the editor. There was a reporter from the ODT in the classroom today, and there will be a profile in an upcoming issue of the magazine. And, yes, we are quite chuffed.


I have been reading about John Bell , an Irish physicist who died in 1990 and who gave the world Bell's Theorem . If you click on the Wikipedia link to the theorem it will all be explained to you. If the explanation leaves you a bit mystified, let me briefly explain. John Bell was addressing some of the wierder aspects of quantum physics - the bits of the theory that common sense tells you simply cannot be true. His theorem is a set of equations that would have to be valid if the ordinary, common sense view of the universe was actually the way the universe was made. He invited scientists to come up with a way of falsifying the theorem because if his hypothesis was shown, by experiment, to be false, it would mean the odd predictions of quantum, physics were correct, namely, that either a) things in the universe had no reality until someone observed them or b) the impression that the universe is composed of separate, distinct things is an illusion or c) both of the above. In the ea


This is a Ukranian artist who won a television talent competition. It's a piece of performance art that embraces drawing and storytelling, and, almost at times, dance. It also reminds me of Buddhist sand mandalas. Amazing stuff.

The Quantum Enigma

As we get progress through the education system we tend to get more and more specialised. Study of English becomes study of the Romantic Period becomes study of Wordsworth becomes study of the Prelude becomes study of the rhyming patterns in the first stanza becomes..... Truly. I knew a guy once whose PhD thesis was on the reproductive system of earwigs. And as we specialise we tend to talk less and less with people outside our own discipline, so that the end result of higher education is that we come to know more and more about less and less. Now that's OK, it serves our society pretty well, and all the quite important stuff carries on: the electric milk frothers still get invented and the Ipod covers get ever more colourful. But sometimes there are very important things which can get overlooked because they are by products of someone's specialised discipline and therefore "none of my concern" to the folks who actually discover them and know about them. Like the way

Wisdom from Richard Rohr

Is your religion helping you to transform your pain? If it does not, it is junk religion. We all have pain—it’s the human situation, we all carry it in a big black bag behind us and it gets heavier as we get older: by betrayals, rejections, disappointments, and wounds that are inflicted along the way. If we do not find some way to transform our pain, I can tell you with 100% certitude we will transmit it to those around us. We will create tension, negativity, suspicion, and fear wherever we go. Both Jesus and Buddha made it very clear to their followers that “life is suffering.” You cannot avoid it. It is no surprise that the central Christian logo became a naked, bleeding, suffering man. At the end of life, and probably early in life, too, the question is, “What do I do with this disappointment, with this absurdity, with this sadness?” Whoever teaches you how to transform your own suffering into compassion is a true spiritual authority. Whoever teaches you to project your doubt and f

Whats in a Name?

Oban, Scotland, June 2009 Last night, by way of an evening service, Murray Broome led us in a piece of Bibliodrama. That is, the 25 or so of us who were there at the time acted out a selected piece of scripture; in this case, the story of Jesus' conversation with the disciples in Matthew 16:13-19. What struck me, as we lived out this familiar old passage, was the whole business of names, which I have written about before . I realised again, that names don't so much define the thing or the person being named; rather, they define us who are doing the naming. Jesus asks his disciples "who do you say that I am?" If I call Jesus "quack" or "charlattan" or "prophet" or "Son of The Living God" it defines me as the sort of person who will look at a specific set of information -ie the available data on Jesus life - and come up with that particular evaluation of it; an evaluation which may or may not tell others something about Jesus


On Sunday, for reasons I won't bore you with I got to sit in the congregation during the 8am service. Right at the start of the service a large black cat walked into the church. I'd never seen it before, but it was big, glossy, well cared for and holy. It walked under the pews, between the legs of parishioners and up into the sanctuary where it walked slowly around the altar purring. I retrieved it and put it outside. I haven't seen it since. That'll teach me to put Simons Cat videos on my blog.

Meditation and Cats

This video is "Simon's Cat". there are three episodes on Youtube, all worth a look. I thought of this today when meditating, although I was trying hard not to think of anything. My good resolve was shattered because Haku, the cat we have somehow inherited by a process I won't bore you with now, decided to join me. I was the only one in the house and she was lonely. But more, than that, she is fascinated by meditation and prayer. She knows what to do when people are asleep or when they are sitting quietly with a vacant lap. When they are in this other state, she is intrigued and tries to investgate. She pokes. She sniffs. She bats. She sharpens claws on my woollen cloak. She tries to get a response: any response, and in so doing acts (very well might I add) the part of the Zen master testing his students' resolve by stalking among them with a big whacking stick. And then, she purrs and settles down still beside me; not asleep but still. The meditating cat. I think