Between a Hard Rock and a Place.

April 26, 2009

Henri Nouwen

Filed under: Uncategorized — camharris @ 2:01 pm

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3701709082567809182

 Having difficulty embedding this one.

I need to hear this daily.

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Brennan Manning

Filed under: Uncategorized — camharris @ 1:55 pm

January 23, 2009

The New Year

Filed under: Uncategorized — camharris @ 6:49 pm

Well, Happy New Year to one and all.  I have no idea who is still checking this site, but it be not a bad place to start for me to babble, rarely aimlessly, although this entry be the exception.

The break has been difficult at times.  I haven’t been up to thinking, let alone jotting, as just maintaining the new phase has taken time enough.  It would be fair to say that the events of last year were enough to throw a spanner in the works of life, and the hard work doesn’t end when the  needle holes heal over.

It is summer here in Perth, and a mild one so far.  The beach is back in the routine, as is the gym and Nachos on a Sunday.  

It is the time of year where I begin to wonder if cricket was invented so they could put an illustration next to the word ‘boring’.  If you love cricket – please don’t get me wrong. I am sure one day I will take up the hallowed willow and the power to love the game will flow down my arm and into my inmost parts.  But until that time, I will continue to wonder why they broadcast a game all day when there is the option of watching various weather-cams all over the world. Enough about that. Each to their own.

The new year signifies a new start, hopefully.  A clear bill of health, new job opportunities and a clearer sense of what needs to happen in order to regain control of the whirlwind that our lives have been.  Elizabeth is back at work, although started holidays today which are more than well-deserved.

I feel like I need to make the most of the time before my job (whatever that may be) starts up.  I have been researching digital formats for filming, and my head begins to hurt when I read a sentence like, “The basics of PAL and the NTSC system are very similar; a quadrature amplitude modulated subcarrier carrying the chrominance information is added to the luminance video signal to form a composite video baseband signal. The frequency of this subcarrier is approximately 4.43 MHz for PAL, compared to approximately 3.58 MHz for NTSC. TheSECAM system, on the other hand, uses a frequency modulation scheme on its colour subcarrier.” (Yes – Wikipedia).  I love it how the sentence starts “The basics of…”.

But anyway, we are looking forward to a new year, a new start, a renewal of everything we know of and a different future.  Elizabeth is still living out day-to-day why she is the best thing that has happened to me, and I still find adjusting to normality a bit of a task.

Maybe the local cricket team could give me some direction.

December 4, 2008

Rebuilding

Filed under: TWB Reflections — camharris @ 8:50 am

Well, as the shake-up continues, so does the ever-dynamic continuum that is life.  It is easier to write about tangible goings on in regards to health because you can write about them fairly subjectively, at least foundationally.  When life throws just the normal confusion at you though, it is hard to process or write about while standing in it.

The things that we have been working through involve planning for the future, and how intense thought processes can be when you have to take so many things into account.  

About a week before officially launching the silver business, we were overcome with concern about how we would cope if health stuff came up again.  Running a business can be stressful anyway, and to have to rely on it when there are so many variables was really becoming a stress in itself.  I cannot explain the torment of making this decision, and would not make for exciting reading anyway, but a week ago we decided to keep the business as a part-time thing, while I look for an employer to look after me.  We are both now so relieved at this decision, and the excitement is building rapidly with the prospects of being looked after in a job.

Not to go into detail just at the moment, but having to process things like superannuation forms, death benefits, life insurance, income protection, trauma cover etc. has been difficult for us.  I know people have different to these things, but when you have to make decisions in light of a diagnosis, it is difficult to not get emotionally exhausted.  We have been at the point of not being able to open the files of paperwork – it is just too much. 

Apart from these decisions and others, we generally look to the future with optimism.   We are really thankful for the people around us, the roof over our head, the food in our tummies and a God who promises control, regardless of the apparent chaos. 

Now, it is summer in Perth and the reminder that this year has permission to end in a few weeks.  As nominal as the changing of a date can be, I am actually really thankful there is a way of recognising that a year is over, and a new year is not a bad time for a new beginning.

November 25, 2008

When Life Shakes You Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — camharris @ 8:43 am

There are a lot of things happening now that is shaking my life up, in a good way.  There is a massive amount that has had to change in me, and I am sickened by where I have been, but excited by the direction things are going.  

Sporadic ponderings in written form may occur here.

October 15, 2008

The Most Unsuccessful Church In The World

Filed under: Church,Uncategorized — camharris @ 12:11 am

Preface:  I know it is quite popular to talk about church at the moment.  But I think it is important, so please forgive me if you are over it.  I am much happier just to get on with it rather than critique it, but I can’t sleep at the moment and Letterman is over.

 

Tonight is Tuesday night, and it is ‘church’ night for me.  Each Tuesday night I walk to a corner pub to talk with others about life, belief, struggles and triumphs (not the motorbikes, necessarily).  I have been thinking it for a while, but I believe it is the most unsuccessful church in the world, or at least one of the many ‘most unsuccessful churches in the world’.

It has only been running for maybe six weeks and no two weeks are the same.  I never really know who is going to turn up, or if I will look like the village drunk who drinks with or without company.  Now I am not meeting at the pub because it is a cool thing to do, or because it is in vogue for churches to be doing something different.  I am fascinated by meeting places that work, and the corner pub is one of those places.  It could be a café, bookshop, park or beach.  These places have some dynamics going on that I may write about separately, but for me in my locale, this particular pub will do.

So why are we unsuccessful?  Well, I think a lot of it has to do with how we look, how we function, how we market ourselves, and how we structure the evening.  Beginning with looks, I know it is an unlikely scenario, but imagine a small group of people sitting around a table on bar stools, talking.  I know – whacky.  For the newcomer, it may seem strange that we are not standing up, facing one direction and clapping in time to music.

When it comes to function, we are not doing too well either.  No one leads the group, no one is in a paid position, no one gives the notices or lets us know when to sit down or stand up.  We are all over the place.

Marketing our church has been woeful.  We haven’t put up signs, built a steeple or sent out brochures.  I invite the occasional guest but that has been rare.  Our numbers therefore are really low.  People are not regular, so we can’t really say we have a strong membership.

Structurally, we just engage in talking, and remind each other that Jesus is coming again.

A person once asked me, “But what are you going to replace going to church with?” quite worried about my spiritual well being.  I think I may have said something like a morning sleep or going to the beach, but later I thought some more on this.  I wondered what going to church had actually replaced.

These days, I have just taken to telling people pretty honestly where I am at.  I am not an open book, but I feel like at this stage of my life it is worth taking the risk to talk frankly to people.  I feel like I can do this in these kinds of settings.  There is no pretence, no expectation and no interruptions that will hinder my desire to connect with others who wait in expectation for Jesus to make his next move, or engage with people who believe something completely different.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with all the stereotypical church conventions or norms, but for me, I am gaining so much at the moment from just meeting.  Now of course there are people who go to churches who are relationally amazing, and that is fantastic, as long as they can do their relating between the final song and when the coffee urn is turned off.

So for the time being I am satisfied going to the most unsuccessful church in the world.  A random group of people, meeting honestly to see how we go in this life, waiting expectantly for the return of the king (a concept thought up way before Lord Of The Rings).

Until He comes.

September 11, 2008

Australia’s Default Culture

Filed under: Australia's Default Culture — camharris @ 12:33 am

One of the main categories I will have here is Australia’s Default Culture, and the writing below on Mateship is the first of a list of things that I think are worth pondering.  I don’t really think we are a pro-active culture, and it is a good thing we are young as there is always time to make changes.  It seems we tend to settle for very little culturally.  Our national dress is probably shorts and plastic Chinese-made Japanese-inspired thongs (flip flops).  Our national food is probably a pastry and offal pie, or whatever comes off a bbq plate.  Our national song is just about a guy who steals a sheep and then commits suicide, but you can sing it with your eyes closed if you like to make it more nationalistic.

It all just seems… like no one could come up with anything better.

‘Mateship’

Filed under: Australia's Default Culture — camharris @ 12:17 am
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The previous Australian government, and more specifically Prime Minister John Howard, loved the word ‘mateship’.  It got thrown around everywhere, including the constitutional preamble draft, and it was made into a word and a phenomenon in the process.  But I wonder what he was actually thinking mateship was all about, and why he referred to the concept so much?

 

I personally believe there was a bit of clutching at straws going on.  It was like, “Quick, what have we got in Australia that is uniquely ours, apart from the kangaroo and those other fluffy animals?”

“Well, we do use the word ‘mate’ a lot,” remarks a well-researched advisor.

“That’s it! We’ll boost the profile of ‘mateship’!  The Australian people will love it!  Tony, go find out what it means and we’ll get cracking on it.”

I kind of think Tony may not had the chance to come up with a uniquely Australian definition before it went to air at the next ‘Meet The Press’ luncheons.

 

We do use the word ‘mate’ a lot.  You use it to refer to someone you forget the name of.  You use it to replace the word ‘friend’ when you are around a bunch of Australian guys.  You use it to name a person you interact with briefly before never seeing them again.  You can use it to respond to a surprising situation. Some really close friends use it as a term of endearment, but I would suggest this is very rare.

 

I tend to not call people ‘mate’.  I just don’t like doing it.  I don’t mind people calling me mate, but I can’t help wondering sometimes whether people have just forgotten my name.  In the case where someone’s name is not known, the word mate is a great default.  I will use it to politely summons a male shop assistant or thank a guy on the street for helping me with directions. 

 

I believe that one of the most powerful forms of affirmation comes by using peoples’ names when you engage or interact with them.  When you have this opportunity to affirm so effortlessly in conversation, why not take it?  Using the word ‘mate’ seems to blow the opportunity.  Of course, if you do legitimately forget someone’s name, it is a great default.  It is culturally the next best thing.

 

When I think of ‘mateship’, to be honest, I think of a bunch of males drinking beer around a barbecue, talking about fishing, the cricket or something similarly safe.  I never imagine females when I hear the word, so I am wondering if they are excluded, or maybe just not as included.  As soon as I picture these guys talking about deep life matters, I imagine mateship being trumped by a deeper connection.  It is as if the friendship has become more personal, and the word ‘mate’ is no longer strong enough.

 

When it comes to mateship being likened to friendship, it would be foolish to assume Australians have exclusive rights to it.  Every culture has friendship! In my experience, I have found that intercultural friendships have deepened my understanding of what can be experienced in relationship.  So I struggle to identify what it is about the uniquely Australian ‘mateship’ that is so worthy of raising it up as part of our national identity. 

 

So how is it the concept of mateship in our nation can be revered with such pride, when the phenomenon behind this unword is so difficult to understand?

September 8, 2008

Temporary loss of transmission

Filed under: Uncategorized — camharris @ 11:44 pm

It is not that I haven’t been writing for this branch of blog.  I have.  Just none of them are finished and I have had a little bit on my mind recently.  Normal transmissions will resume as soon as possible.  If nothing new is up by Thursday, please contact my complaints department.  

For your entertainment pleasure however, I have included a short movie extract.  I think most people who have called ‘highly’ foreign countries in the audience laughed.  

August 27, 2008

Broken

Filed under: Church,Uncategorized — camharris @ 11:36 pm

There have been some catastrophic events of late coming from ‘the church’.  In Australia at the moment, there are a lot of people reeling out of shock from the announcement that a very popular young pastor has been living a ‘double life’.

The pastor was allegedly diagnosed with cancer about two years ago and continued his ministry perpetuating this situation, even letting it fuel his ministry it seems.  Recently, he confessed that the cancer diagnosis was fabricated and was done so to hide behind the reality of his gripping pornography addiction. It was a lie that his family and friends had no idea about until it came to light this last week.  Sad, wrong, messy. Very messy.

This pastor was involved in a lot of youth rallies run by a group that would travel all over.  Libs and I took a group of teens to a weekend conference once.  I was very reluctant, but went anyway to check things out.  I would sit up the back with my arms crossed and concerned look on my face as thousands of youth were led into a Jesus frenzy.  I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now. 

My problem at the time was that the performances over the weekend were incredibly manipulative, emotionally charged and left a lot of important stuff out in case it stopped you from meeting the sexy Jesus.  The intentions of the production group were probably noble.  There may have been some good things come out of the weekend, but I found it very dangerous.  That is a separate story though.

So this pastor confessed all (I think) this week and is at Ground Zero. He has hurt a lot of people, he lived a double life, he betrayed trust and he undid a lot of work it seems.  I really feel for the guy.  Unfortunately for him, he had demonstrated very publicly the nature of sin.  It is one of the nastiest aspects of sin that leaves the trapped person asking “How the hell did I get here?”.  Yes, a lot has to be forgiven, and a lot has to be worked through.  It is easy for me to stand back and say, “That’s fine, I can forgive him.” when I wasn’t affected directly.  I think if there was direct hurt involved I would find it very difficult to come to terms with. I fear I’m not that gracious.

But I do see him in a new light now compared to when I have seen him in the rallies.  My opinion only, but to me he is now less fabricated than he has ever been.  He has come cleaner than I have publicly about my sins.  His brokenness is obvious and real. I am sure he may not feel it at the moment, but in a way he is in a enviable situation – repentant and broken, but ready for healing.  

It could have been any of us in this situation, and to believe otherwise would show an ignorance to the ‘nasty side’ of sin and the graciousness of God.

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