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Showing posts from November, 2017

Teaching Theology to Children

Chaplain and students of St. Hilda's discussing mortality and history There's quite a bit of discussion in our Anglican schools about how you teach Religious subjects to children. It used to be a matter of preparing children for confirmation and making them all into good little Anglicans, but things are no longer quite so simple. Whereas once our schools were filled, by and large, with kids from Anglican homes who had a basic Sunday School understanding of the faith and a local parish church with which they could readily identify, pupils like that are now more the exception than the rule. In most schools,  parents sending their children have signed a statement that they are supportive of the school's special character, but what, exactly, "supportive" means varies widely - from deep and long-standing commitment to the faith, through the spectrum to vague agreement that perhaps a little bit of this religious stuff may not be such a bad thing.  In our sch

Seeing What is There.

Wall of a derelict house. In the Maniototo, near En Hakkore retreat centre. I have a new monitor: 27" of clear sharp colour, take a bow Mr. Dell. Today, after a week or two of looking at the thing,  I noticed that it has an adjustable base, so I tilted it upwards a little. And an odd thing happened. The oblong screen became a parallelogram, wider at the bottom than at the top. It didn't really of course, it's just that in the time I had been viewing it the screen had been perpendicular, and at an angle to my line of vision and  my brain had got used to it the way it was, and had, without consulting me, been performing the nifty little trick of making a perceptual adjustments so that it looked rectangular. And now I went and changed the angles and my brain reinterpreted the shape using the old maths. I knew it was rectangular but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't see it that way. The illusion was so persuasive I even got a set square and made sure it was safe

March Retreat

John Franklin, Sister Mary Hepburn and I will be leading a six day silent guided retreat at the En Hakkore Retreat Centre in the Maniototo from Sunday March 4, to Friday March 9, 2018. The cost will be $475. En Hakkore is set in the old TB hospital in the hills above Waipiata. The surrounding landscape is vast and open and beautiful, and provides ample scope for long and varied walks. The facility itself is spacious, quirkily interesting, and, while a little basic, very comfortable. There will be a rhythm of daily worship, which retreatants can enter into, or not, as they choose, including daily Eucharist. This will not be a taught retreat but there will be brief daily input from one of the leaders. I will be one of the three experienced spiritual directors available for daily conversation. Each day will include some group meditation sessions and there will be ample time for private refreshment. En Hakkore is about 2 hours drive from Dunedin, and public transport

November in the National Park

 I've written about the Abel Tasman National Park before, Here , and Here . We've been many times before, but this was the first time in the Spring. The weather was varied, with a couple of stormy days, but it was fine enough to walk on 5 of the 7 days we were there. In the old days we took tents. Now we’re a few decades on and the attractions of a solid roof, a comfy bed, a fridge and a bathroom are too hard to resist. We towed our caravan over the single lane gravel road and parked up beside my sister and her husband.  After years of absence, the Weka have made a welcome return, due to an intensive pest control program. The archetypical view of the Abel Tasman is of bush clad headlands and golden sand beaches, and there were certainly plenty of those sorts of things on view. But the other feature of the park is the track, 65km or so of fairly easy walking of which we tramped about a third, this time around.    It's hard to meditate in a caravan. Sit