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Showing posts from June, 2023

Seeing no thing

This is a recreation of my talk at the 3 in 1 gathering, in St Michael's church, Dunedin, last Sunday. I want to tell you a parable. The kingdom of heaven is like two young fish who are swimming along when they encounter an old fish. "Good morning boys," says the old fish, "isn't the water lovely today!" The two young fish swim on until the old fish is well out of earshot, then one turns to the other and asks, "what the heck is water?" I borrowed this parable from a speech by David Foster Wallace. He was using it for other purposes, but it fits nicely with the verse from John's Gospel I mentioned last week: No one has ever seen God. It is the only Son, himself God, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known. (John 1:1) No one has seen God, or heard, smelled, felt or tasted God either, for that matter, but that doesn't make God unreal, just as the fish's unawareness of the water in which they live, move and have their

Prayer as Relationship

  This is a reconstruction of the talk I gave, last night, at the 3 in 1 group at St Michael's Church, Anderson's Bay, Dunedin.  We have all had unhelpful experiences of prayer . I remember the clergy colleague who would sometimes correct the theology of my sermons 5 minutes later, when he led the intercessions; or the prayer groups when you dreaded THAT person speaking, because you knew they would speak for a quarter of an hour and list everything they knew to be wrong with the world. I've heard prayer used to share gossip, or to preach sermons, or to make announcements. I've seen prayer used to shame, or to control or to boast. In all these instances I have to ask "who, exactly is being addressed here?" and find myself asking again what, exactly, is prayer anyway?  I know what it's not. Prayer is not telling God what God should do with the universe. Neither is it barking into a silence in which nothing is ever heard. Prayer is not exercising some positio

E-Bike Review: Wattwheels Scout LS XT

We’ve had our Wattwheels Scout LS XT bikes for a fortnight now and put a couple of hundred km on them. We love them. Let me tell you why.  Introduction We’re a few years into retirement.  I own a bike (a hardtail mountain bike,) and in earlier years had owned a couple of street bikes. Cycling was, back then, my go-to form of exercise, but over the last decade or so had been eclipsed by hiking. My wife, Clemency, hadn’t really ridden a bike since she left school. She loves walking as much for the camaraderie as for the exercise, so expeditions on foot are always included as part of the trips we make, towing our small caravan to remote parts of Aotearoa.  As we have aged we have, unsurprisingly, slowed down a bit, so we decided to trade in the walking shoes for e-bikes. We wanted something that would take us around hilly Dunedin, where we live and along some of the country’s many cycle trails. I wanted something on which it would be possible to do the ride from North Cape to Bluff, and C