Tag Archives: bloggingfundamentals

Nightmare on Elm Street

I’ve lived on a lot of streets.  Elm Street has never been featured in my address.  I’ve had a lot of nightmares.  Elm Street has never featured in my dreams.  I’ve never had a nightmare on elm street.

Recurring Dreams

Dreams have been recurring.  They usually feature my dad.  A man I have not seen in the flesh for nearly 10 years.  That’s a long time.  And I wonder.  And I wonder whether these images that haunt my subconscious have any bearing in present-day appearances.

No Nightmare on Elm Street

Doing my research, I find that as far as having lived in Invercargill it would be impossible to have a literal nightmare on Elm Street.  You see, one of the reasons I have never lived on Elm Street in Invercargill is because there is no Elm Street in Invercargill.  There is an Elm Crescent, but no Elm Street.  So perhaps rather than Nightmare on Elm Street, I ought to have renamed this as Nightmare on Elm Crescent.

Even then, I’ve still never had a nightmare on Elm Crescent, so it would perhaps make this post altogether redundant.

Part of the school bus route was an Elm Street.  It was used as a turning bay really.  That’s about as close as I get.

Challenging the Lord of the Storm

It was hailing.  The hail was heavy.  I said, “Is that the best you can do?”  I was challenging the Lord of the storm.

Challenging the Lord of the Storm

Invercargill is known for its wild weather.  For the most part, it gets a bad rap.  But this time, all the flack was warranted.  And I was on a bike.

Cycling home from work, smelling like beer.  It had been a busy night at the pub.  Perhaps it was the stormy weather that had gathered in the masses.  A car would have been the most suitable mode of transportation on that stormy night.  But getting a driver’s license was an achievement of the future.  And so was getting a car.

So I was to bike home.  And so I did.

So I was to weather the storm.  And so I did.

Challenging the Lord of the Storm

It started to hail.  I was on my bike, cycling into the wind, and the rain.  And then into the hail.

I was new to Christianity.  I didn’t really know God.  But I knew that He probably controlled the weather.  Either it was He, or the conspiracy theorists were right.

As a result of a busy night at the pub and the zeal of new found faith, I lifted my eyes to the sky.  And so, challenging the Lord of the storm I cried out “Is this the best you can do?”

Consequently, the hail got harder, and bigger.  The storm got stormier.

Challenging the Lord of the Storm

She told me to meet her at the train station.  We had planned to go to the beach.  But as the train approached the station, so the clouds in the sky loomed ominously.

Arriving at the station, I noticed her car was nowhere to be seen.  And so I alighted the train I did so with the prospect of rain.  As a result, I thought beach plans would be canceled.

So, challenging the Lord of the storm, I asked that the clouds part and the sun be left to shine unobstructed.

We didn’t go to the beach that day, but we did eat omelets with sunshine pouring through the windows with ocean views.

Currency Wars

Calm before the house moving storm

MORE THAN A STORM

Cagüenõ

The storm

 

A Mistaken Journey

I’ve written a lot about my journey.  I guess guests to my blog will have read some of the stories I have to tell.  Some aspects of my journey testify to the power of cowardice in my life.  Others stories speak about desert experiences.   Other still refer to that new Jerusalem that we now see as through a glass.

A Mistaken Journey

A Mistaken Journey

My job at the time was in Wellington’s CBD.  My home at the time wasn’t.  Rather, it was in Porirua, which I guess would be considered a suburb of the greater Wellington area.  This being the case, I would take the train to and from work.

The train station served as a portal between the worlds of work and home.  This particular train station had multiple platforms servicing multiple lines.

It was early in my “taking the train to and from work” experience when I found myself on a train going in a direction that wasn’t the one I had intended on.  The stations didn’t look familiar.  Was it my relative inexperience?  Or was as it because I had not committed to memory the station names and their order?

About 10 minutes in came the realisation that this was the wrong train – or the wrong train line at least.  What was I to do?  I did the only thing I knew to do.  Alighting at the next station, I crossed the platform and waited for the next train back to the station.

From there, I made doubly sure that I was on the right train – the train to Porirua.  A mistaken journey that meant I got home late.  Late to walk through the unfamiliar and dark streets of a troubled town.  I made it home.  And the journey made its way into the annals of my memory.  And these annals serve as a rich repository of potential blogging topics.

 

Justifying Keeping Matters Under Wraps

Justifying keeping matters under wraps

Mum and Dad don’t need to know the haps

Why We Keep Things Secret

Families broken

Mum can’t know

Lest her daughter

Meet with blow

 

Permission needed

For panadol

Dark prevails

When wounding souls

Justifying Keeping Matters Under Wraps


The Health Select Committee has decided that parental notification regarding daughters being taken away from school to have abortions puts those daughters at unjustifiable risk.  Not the risk of abortion and it’s violent aftermath, but the violence of angry parents.  They have considered the possibility that angry parents, hearing that their teenage daughter is pregnant will subsequently murder their daughters.  Surely, those who would ever face such an abusive family environment would be so much in the minority, that our law-makers are making decisions based on rare and wild xceptions.

Justifying Keeping Matters Under Wraps

The Health Select Committee, through its decision, is denying the majority of caring and concerned parents the basic right to know what’s going on in the lives of their teenagers.

 

The IRD was a Pain in the Back

I had hurt my back before I even started working there. My thinking was that a job change would somehow fix the problem.

Unknown to me at the time of job search and transition was the reality that sitting down all day is not a chiropractic recommendation.  Sitting added pressure to my spine. The sedentary nature of the job, the availability of junk food, and my own lack of self-control resulted in weight gain.  Such gains added additional pressure to my already sore back.

The sedentary nature of the job, the availability of junk food, and my own lack of self-control resulted in weight gain.  Such gains added additional pressure to my already sore back.

And so, at the age of 25, I was made redundant, though medical redundancy was what it was officially called.

How Did It Happen?

I had been working at Mitre 10, in Invercargill, since 2003.  In my three-and-a-bit years there, I had worked in a variety of roles.  In 2007, I was helping to put together some displays in the Seasonal area.

It was moving into winter.  Winter means Mitre 10 focuses its seasonal selling on heating.  One such product was a free standing fire place.

Putting together a free standing fire display involved lifting one from a pallet into position.

I did the lift right in terms of technique.  But it was just too heavy.  The resulting damage was a lacerated disc in my lower back.  Sadly though, it was a long time between when I had sustained the injury and when I had that confirmed by way of MRI.

back-injury

Not knowing in those early days what had really happened to my back meant that I didn’t get the most appropriate treatment.  No surprise the pain did not go away despite some fairly intensive physiotherapy.

The Road Less Traveled

forbidden

In This Series

  1. The IRD was a Pain in the Back
  2. Aspiration
  3. Study
  4. Behive Sails

for posterity

1/7 Bloggers Blogs

July 1: Great or greatest – Bloggers Blogs.

What makes a blog great? What makes you follow a blog or “Like” a post?

I am not a huge follower of blogs, even though all the fundamental courses available suggest the key to being a great blogger is immersion in other blogs.

That’s not to suggest I don’t have the eye for a great blog or great blog post.  The kinds of posts I read, and blogs I return to, is mostly influenced by my own writing.  What I mean by that is, the topics I write about and perspectives I write from are most attractive to me.  I am interested to read in bloggers who share the same worldview.

My worldview is a Christian one.  My worldview is influenced by the teachings of Scriptures. My worldview is influenced by teachings on the teachings of Scripture.  Epistemologically, my goal is to have my thoughts conform to the thoughts of the Divine as revealed in the Scriptures.

I am thus interested in bloggers and blogs whose thinking and the expression of their thinking is expressions of that Christian worldview.

coldhandswarmheart

bloggers blogs

In my short career as a blogger, I have been most interested in the contributions of “Susanna, a retired midwife who enjoyed a satisfying career now getting my love of story writing out there.”

Susanna’s blog can be found here.   Like me, she seeks to write daily, responding to the daily prompt.  Unlike me, she doesn’t appear to have missed a day – at least for as long as I have been attempting to respond to the daily prompt.

The Daily Prompt

There are at least two types of daily prompts that I am attempting to respond to.

The first is part of an ebook called 365 Writing Prompts.  As the name suggests, it is a day to day morsel of thought.

The second is the living The Daily Post brought to us by “the friendly editors at WordPress.com”  Each day this blog posts a daily prompt and encourages its followers to create a pingback to the daily prompt post.  This cross-posts to The Daily Post’s daily prompt post.

This cross-post publishing is the avenue I use to explore other bloggers response to the daily prompt, and how I discovered Susanna.

29/6 No longer a mere mortal

29 June

You’ve imbibed a special potion that makes you immortal. Now that you’ve got forever, what changes will you make in your life? How will you live life differently, knowing you’ll always be around to be accountable for your actions?

I needn’t imbibe a special portion.  I have immortality.  This comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Such faith is not the byproduct of my upbringing.  Nor of my education.  Rather, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is faith that He authors.  In addition to its authorship, Jesus is committed to the perfection of that faith.

“…Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2)

Yet the same epistle promises death.  “…it is appointed for man to die once…” (Hebrews 9:27)

How does that  add up?  I have immortality.  I will die.  Surely that’s a contradiction?

Lazarus was a man Jesus’ loved.   So much so that Lazarus’ death produced Jesus’ tears.  Not only His, but tears of Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha.  In response to their tears, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)

In this sense, though I may experience physical death (just as Lazarus did, twice!), I will live.  My physical-ness is not the source of my life in it’s truest sense.  Rather, though in the resurrection I will have a glorified, immortal body – even now, I have an immortal spirit.  That is because I am the recipient of the new birth.  This new birth is heavenly.  This new birth is a birth of the Spirit.  The Spirit is an eternal Spirit, who will give life to my now mortal body, and who gives life to my now immortal soul.  I am no longer a mere mortal.

The Already.  The Not Yet.

Redemptive-History is divided.  The division is drawn by the advent of Messiah.  Before the advent, history is categorised as “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4).  On this side of the advent, history is defined as “the age to come” (Hebrews 6:5).  The former is passing away, having effectively been poisoned by the water of life.  The latter is shining brighter and brighter, and will be most fully, most gloriously manifest when Jesus returns again.   This final Day of the Lord will be a day in which the covers are pulled back and the glory of the immortal ones will reflect, in body AND soul, the light of the Immortal One.

This eschatological reality is not all future.  But nor is it all present.

Outwardly, physically, bodily – I experience the effects of the fall.  Pain, disease, sickness, fatigue.  As Paul wrote to the Corinthians “…our outer self is wasting away…” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Inwardly, spiritually, at a heart level, my true self is being renewed day by day.  Again, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians “…our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

This day by day renewal is the sense in which the Lord Jesus Christ is actively perfecting and finishing our faith.  Added to this is the reassurance that there will be a full and final consummation where the redemption that has begun inwardly, will be manifest outwardly, that is, in the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23).

The Day of the Lord

Mortality will give way to full and final immortality.  The Day of the Lord will seal that reality.  In light of the cataclysmic events of that day, Peter asks “What kind of people ought you to be?” (2 Peter 3:11).  He campaigns for holiness that is innate to the immortality of those who have faith in Jesus Christ.  It’s like he’s saying, “In light of what’s coming, and what will be forever, don’t you go living as if your present experience of mortality will be perpetuated beyond the grave.”

The challenge for me, and for every believer is to live in light of what is already, conscious that what is not yet is sufficient explanation for struggles, suffering, pain, and the difficulty of life where the aroma of death is an unignorable reality.

no longer a mere mortal

The Futility of Death

Dihydrogen Monoxide Conspiracy

Dihydrogen Monoxide Conspiracy

Current allegations suggest that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be conspiring to cover up the whole DHMO issue. Attempts by DHMO researchers to elicit comment from the EPA regarding the possible cover-up were either ignored or dodged, leading researchers to infer the alleged cover-up. Incredibly, the EPA then attempted to divert attention from the real issue onto talk of the aesthetics and layout of the EAC’s DMRD web site!

EPA Refuses to Confirm or Deny Cover-up

In spite of a direct query for information, the EPA refused to deny the existence of a cover-up. The researcher, who reported to us under conditions of anonymity, sent correspondence asking if the EPA knows more about Dihydrogen Monoxide than it is telling us.

Point Blank Questions Ignored

The researcher went on to ask, point blank, “Are you asking me to participate in some sort of cover-up?” And, “Do you deny that the EPA is purposely keeping quiet on the issue of Dihydrogen Monoxide?” For whatever reason, the EPA would not say, offering no comment on the questions at all.

EPA Saber Rattling

However, in a strongly worded reply, the EPA did seemingly go on the offensive with statements such as:

  • “The Agency would like to ask you to remove [certain information].”,
  • “The point is, if your visitors are in any way led to the impression that EPA is endorsing your site, that is not good for either of us.”,
  • “I hope you see our point of view”,
  • “We take our mission of protecting the environment seriously”, and
  • “We consider this a serious matter and would appreciate your help.”

Some may find these heavy handed statements shocking. The wording of the EPA’s correspondence with the researcher are filled with these sorts of anachronisms; one would expect such talk from a movie gangster, but not from a taxpayer-funded agency of the United States government.

Draw Your Own Conclusions

There is certainly no doubt that the Dihydrogen Monoxide issue touched a nerve at the US EPA. And while sources at the EPA admit to the benefits of freely distributing information to the public on DHMO, they stop short of admitting to a cover-up. Perhaps there really is no cover-up. Or maybe the EPA’s silence confirms its existence. It is clear that the EPA is putting no effort into educating the public about the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide. It is also clear that the truth may forever be obscured, so for now the reader is left to reach his or her own conclusions regarding the possible conspiracy at the EPA to cover-up the DHMO issue.

Daily Prompt – Water

Cover Up

Daily Prompt: We Can Be Taught

We can be taught

Tell us a moment or an incident that you treasure — not necessarily because it brought you happiness, but because it taught you something about yourself.

I was 18.  She asked me what I wanted to do with my life.  I said I wanted to be a pastor.  I had no idea what that would involve, but I didn’t think the time between when I first voiced the desire, and when the desire would come to fruition wouldn’t be more than a couple of years.

I’m 31.  I’m due to finish my initial studies at Grace Theological College at the end of next year.  14 years, at least.

There is a sense in which I interact on a pastoral level.  But there’s a huge gap between operating on a pastoral level, and living out a pastoral call.  The former is bound by concern.  The latter has a tonne of responsibility.

In the decade or so since I first voiced my aspiration, I have had many opportunities to hurt people.  It was said of me in the early days that my wielding the sword of the Spirit’s sword carried with it the potential for destruction or at least aggression.  With the benefit of hindsight, I appreciate that had I been in a position of responsibility according to my timetable, the potential for harm would have been multiplied exponentially.

All this to say that in the intervening years there have been many opportunities to know that we can be taught.  Those situations where I have assumed pastoral concern (rather than responsibility) has allowed me to learn more about the hearts of God, of others, and even my own heart.  I have learned that there are ways of going about doing a thing that, despite the very best of intentions, have the capacity to backfire.

We Can Be Taught.

I have learned more and more of the spirit of the law, and that rather than.  I have learned that it’s more important to love and be gracious than it is to be right.  My sense of justice has given way to a growing and teachable heart of compassion.

We Can Be Taught

Totally Deprived

Today’s daily prompt is: deprived

I have often said and thought that I, as a child, was deprived.  Deprived of stuff (both material and immaterial).  It’s often emerged in jest as Ashley recounts childhood memories only to have me interject with some physical gesture to insinuate that her upbringing had snobbish overtones.

It’s true that, when compared to others, there was a lot of stuff, things, experiences that I missed out on.  It is especially true post-parental-parting.  My parents split when I was 10 and mum went on welfare.  Added to this was my mild-kleptomania, stealing money from mum.  School uniforms were subject to payment plans.

I was a boy of small stature (most clearly seen on the sports field) and yet this was no reflection on my level of nutrition.   Our cupboards were never empty.  I had a bike.

Material deprivation is relative.

I had simple lunches, non-label clothes, simple experiences.  Emotionally, I was deprived.  I don’t know why, but I’m not sure there was a whole-lotta-love.  This was most clearly seen (or not seen) in a lack of affection – physical, emotionally.

So, I guess the closest I came to deprivation was in the arena of affection.  Affectionately deprived.  That’s about the extent of it.  Any other assessment of deprivation was merely relative to life in a material world where other people had more of what I wanted.