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Showing posts from November, 2020


Soon there will be a line up of Christmas cards hanging on my wall with scenes like the one above. A quaint wee stable. Friendly animals. A healthy baby and a well scrubbed set of young parents gazing at him in adoration. They leave me a bit cold, to tell you the truth. Partly that's because I am privileged (or cursed) to read the Gospel of Luke in Greek and know that the scene above isn't what is described there. "καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον· καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῶ καταλύματι." Bear with me here. It's important. "And she gave birth to her firstborn son and bound him, and laid him in a Phatne because there was no room for them in the katalumati ". A Phatne is a niche, a hollow carved into something else. It is sometimes a manger of a particular type,  i.e. one that is a hollow scooped out of a piece of wood or stone, but  more usually it refers to a niche set into the i


  This is a snapshot. I didn't set up the camera or the lighting or the subjects. Technically this is not a great photo, I know that, but of the 80,000 or so images on my computer this is probably the one I love the most.  **** They sit across the table from me in the museum cafe. I can't now remember the details of their conversation but I know it was kind of free flowing. I took about a dozen shots, each one different because each one did what photographs always do: reduce some live and dynamic process to a single still, captured moment. And here was a conversation which was a process. And that conversation was part of a much greater process: the relationship which has grown between mother and daughter for 5 years now. This great flow can't be captured in one still frame; but in the very act of capturing and holding, the photograph can allow us to see what is there. Or at least, part of what is there.  **** What amazes me when I look at the photographs afterwards is how d


    A journey begins for a kotuku So how is it that Jesus is God? How come Jesus is wandering about on Earth, getting hungry, sleeping, only being in one place at a time, getting cross with some people, being kind to others, and all the while he is also the omnipotent, omnipresent, all seeing, all wise God who called the Earth and everything in it into being out of nothing? People have been arguing the toss on this one now for about 2,000 years, sometimes getting very twitchy indeed with those whose answer to that question differs from their own. People with long lists of titles before their names (such as me) or long lists of letters after them (ditto) sometimes pretend to the definitive answer. Let me assure you, as one who has a passing familiarity with all of the most popular answers, they're kidding you. Or sometimes they're kidding themselves, which is pretty much the same thing. My own experience is that the more vigorously people promote a particular answer the less lik