Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Bible study

Paul has had NO religious education whatever and recently expressed some regret at the hole that left in his knowledge and understanding of the world. So I volunteered to explain the basics of Christianity to him.

We met at my place over a curry dinner with Joe and Susan present also.

It was amazing what Paul did NOT know. He did not know that the Pope was the head of the Catholic church, for instance. He was however very keen to learn and we covered a lot of ground.

I am afraid that, as an unbeliever, I pointed out to him many of the Christian beliefs that have no basis in the Bible: Christmas, Easter, the Trinity, Sunday observance, that Christ died on a cross, belief in an immortal soul etc. I have of course covered all those points in great detail on my Scripture blog

But at least he now knows something about those topics, even if from a skeptical viewpoint.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A small personal reflection of no importance

In chapter 30 of The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, Mr Pickwick falls into a pond and is hauled out with some difficulty. We then read:

"Dear old thing, said Arabella. Let me wrap my shawl around you"

That is surely a fairly mundane comment but I remember my late mother regarding it with great scorn. Why? I do not know. It would have been in an excerpt contained in one of my school reading books that she read it and I was too young to question her at that time.

She was a woman of little education but considerable knowledge so did she know that "Arabella" is almost exclusively an English upper class name? I doubt it.

I suspect that she just identified it (correctly) as English upper class speech and disliked that. Who knows?

It's perhaps a sad thing but I rememember almost nothing that either of my parents ever said to me. The strongest influence on my youthful self was undoubtedly the New Testament. And compared to those powerful words, my parents were the palest of pale shadows in the background


I should have asked a woman what my mother most likely meant. I told the story above to Anne and she pointed out what I now see as the most likely explanation: A shawl is usually a fairly diaphanous thing so wrapping it around a dripping wet person would achieve nothing. Hence my mother's scorn.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Today is the most solemn day of the year in Australia. It is the day we remember our war dead. Australians have died in many wars and there can be few families not affected to some degree by the deaths resulting. I had a much loved uncle die in WWII.

Wherever British or American forces were fighting, there have generally been Australians fighting alongside them -- in two world wars and many smaller wars both before and after that.

And Simon of course is deployed in Afghanistan at the moment. I had news of him today from Tracey. He is OK but finds it no picnic to be wearing body armour in high Afghan daytime temperatures at the moment.

Our flag above

I am afraid that I am very remiss at Anzac day observances. I think I have been to the dawn services only twice in my life. Getting out of bed at 4 in the morning was easy once but is so no longer. Most Australians just watch the marches on TV but I now don't often do that either. I have however myself worn my country's uniform so I don't think it can be dismissed as cheap talk when I say that I am with them in spirit.

But it was a great day anyway because the twins had a party to celebrate their birthday this afternoon. And the news that Von is pregnant was the best thing of all.

I talked mainly to Paul, Joe and Ken as usual. And I really got into some excellent sandwiches that Maureen made.

We had three babies present -- from Olivia, Susan and Lena -- Lena being an old friend of the twins

Sunday, April 25, 2010

St George's Day

Friday 23rd is of course St. George's day -- England's national day. So as I am mainly of English descent, I thought it appropriate to mark the day -- which I did. I had the St George cross flying from my flagpole all day yesterday and at very short notice I arranged a small commemorative dinner last night. Only Paul, Susan and Jenny could come because of the short notice.

We started the evening by standing and singing "God save the Queen" (the English national anthem) followed by a toast to the Queen and a toast to "St. George and merrie England". Then we sat down to a meal of England's favourite food: curry.

We washed the curry down with some good Australian "champagne" and a very pleasant evening was had by all. The chat over dinner was very wide-ranging and at one stage I even read a couple of choice excerpts from the 39 "Articles of Religion" from the 1662 "Book of Common Prayer" of the Church of England. None of us are religious but we still enjoyed the power of those historic words.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A sendoff and the flu

I arranged a sendoff for Simon at the "Bollywood" last night in connection with his imminent deployment to Afghanistan but was unable to be there myself due to illness.

I was in the grip of the first day of the flu, which meant that I could hardly talk but was doing a lot of coughing and had a very runny nose. It would have been most unkind of me to risk giving that to others even if I felt up to it.

But it was family do where everyone knew one-another well so I hear that a good time was had by all. Photos forthcoming maybe

The main thing is that Simon had a good sendoff and that everyone had a chance to wish him a safe return


Von sent me some great photos of the event. Below is a group shot with Simon (in blue shirt) with his lovely wife Tracey in the middle. Anne is not there as she left early to bring me some medicine.