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Showing posts from November, 2009


Bishops Tea Party : oil by Garth Tapper, Gillman Collection I have received a lot of letters and cards and emails over the past few weeks. Most of them are warm and pleasant and measured but there are a few that are not. On the one hand there are those -admittedly very few - which gush over-enthusiastically and on the other there are those -admittedly very few - which sneer and chide and snipe. I'm told that this is a feature of episcopal life, and I had better get used to it. I'm not talking here about those who have realistic and well founded hopes for the next few years nor of those who, based on knowledge of me, have realistic and well founded misgivings about my capabilities. I'm talking rather about people with whom I have never shared three connected words of conversation but who nevertheless take it upon themselves to upbraid me for the inner workings of my psyche and my motivations; or those who seem to mistake me for some sort of saviour. As in every case where t

Red at Morning

Although it's all still three months away, slowly, my timetable is filling with episcopal type things; little traces in the lightening sky, harbingers of what is ahead. I meet weekly with Bronwyn, our Diocesan Manager, and with Debbie who will be my PA. At the moment both have forgotten more about being a bishop than I know and both are extremely useful sources of data. There are some huge issues to find my way into the centre of, and I am starting from the outside and working my way in. I have begun to consider the peripheral bits of the office. Such as apparel, for example. I will have to wear some fairly strange clothes. Today my friend Carl popped over for a while to explain them all to me and to show me websites where you can buy Rochets and Chimeres and little red things that tie around your wrists. I'll need a mitre and a cope, which are available off the peg or I could ask someone to make them. Off the peg is expensive. Making is slow, and soon New Zealand will lose

Creation by subtraction

Imagine a slide projector with no slide in the carrier shining its light onto a blank white screen. You would see on the screen pure white light. Then you put a slide into the carrier, and a picture appears. What you have done by shining the light through the slide is filter out most of the light. White light coming from the bulb contains every visible colour, but where the slide is blue, all the light is filtered out except the blue bits, where it is red, everything is excluded except the red light, and so forth. So a picture is created not by adding light but by taking light away. The pure white light when there is no slide in the projector shows no picture; but in another sense, it shows every possible picture: the light required to make any conceivable photograph is there in that pure white light. As Bernard Haisch says, in The God Theory , "the white light is thus the source of infinite possibility, and you create the desired image by intelligent subtraction, causing the rea

Windows 7

I upgraded to Windows 7 this week. Easy really. That nice Mr. Acer sent me a personal letter with a couple of disks in it; he promised these to me in August when I bought one of his PCs loaded with (shudder) Windows Vista. I popped the disks into the computer and followed the instructions. An hour later, all was accomplished. Not that you'd know it. Apart from a new start up screen, a revamped taskbar and a couple of little changes in the systems accessories, it all looks and works exactly like Windows Vista. With one big difference. Vista fell over at least every other day but I've had W7 running for about 36 hours now and not one single Blue Screen of Death! Wow! Amazing!


On October 11 I was elected as the 9th Bishop of Dunedin. This was not something I had planned on or looked for. I went to the electoral synod as nominator of another, strong candidate, and argued vigorously on his behalf for all of the Saturday of the synod. On Sunday I was nominated from the floor and elected. Our church's processes are slow and thorough. It has taken about four weeks to have my nomination approved by the bishops and the general synod. This has now happened and I will be consecrated bishop on Saturday February 27 2010 at 1:00 pm. On the weekend of the synod three people told me of specific dreams and premonitions they had concerning my election. Since then there have been other similar experiences reported to me, one from someone who was several thousand kilometres away from Dunedin at the time. These serve to reassure me that God is calling me to this. I am somewhat apprehensive about what lies ahead, but also excited and eager. If God is calling, it can only


What, with one thing and another the phone has been running a bit hot lately, so I used my day off to do a small job for the parish which would take me out of cell phone range: I towed a trailer up to Alexandra to collect a sliding door. The sun shone, the hills were golden brown and the air was diamond sharp. My little car performed approximately well and I listened to a CD of Robert Johnson, the Jungian analyst, talking about paradox, the shadow and creative imagination. I have been reading Robert Johnson's books for a long time now; his little trilogy He , She and We are revelatory and his insights on the inner life have been sure guides. Now, 87, he has produced a CD set called The Golden World which condenses much of his great insight into 6 or so hours of conversation. Yesterday I listened for an hour as he spoke of paradox, the shadow and creative imagination. We live, he says, for most of our lives with paradox. We fall in love with people we can't form relationship

So it begins

Next door to us is a piece of land that used to be empty. When our city was founded, it was set aside for educational purposes: to build a boarding hostel for Otago Girls' High School, to be precise. The hostel never got built but two other schools, Kaikorai Primary and Columba College used the land anyway. During the day it was occupied continually by children and in the evenings people would walk on it or play touch rugby on it or fly model aeroplanes or golf balls over it. It was one of those many open spaces which are dotted around our city and which give it much of its character. No-one ever imagined it would pass from public ownership, but in the 1980s we New Zealanders elected one of those governments with tunnel vision. This one's particular tunnel reduced everything - schools, hospitals, utility supplies, postal services, you name it , to the status of a business. And seeing as Otago Girls High School was suddenly, by dint of bureaucratic fiat, a business, this

Fair's fair

Every year we have a parish fair, usually on the first Saturday in November, but this year for reasons I can no longer remember we had it a week early.Not that the timing seemed to make much difference, as it all went off as smoothly as ever. There is a long history of holding parish fairs and a lot of people who know how it all works. People have their alloted jobs to do, and they know the steps in the process of making that bit of the process happen. I have my own particular contribution to make. There is a circuit of local schools and churches who all borrow trestle tables off each other, and, on the day before the fair, they have to be visited in turn by cars towing trailers, one of which is mine. There is a barbecue of formidable weight to be collected from the naval training base - why the Royal New Zealand Navy would own such a thing and why they would lend it to us are mysteries now lost in the fogs of history. There is a marquee to be erected and this involves a lot blokes in