Monday, June 27, 2011

The Beauty In Ugly

Everyone is fully aware by now that my friend R and I are "athletes in training".  I was driving to her place to meet her for a walk the other evening. I know that technically speaking, driving isn't actually an athletic activity but it's an effective way to get somewhere fast. Anyway I was waiting at yet another red light - there are 13 sets of lights on the way to R's house, I counted them ...and each one of them is red - and I noticed the car next to me had a big cross dangling from the rear vision mirror. Personally, I hate things that dangle in my view while I'm driving but who am I to judge? I felt for the amber cross around my own neck and started you do. I really love my cross. Beloved gave it to me for Christmas about 8 years ago and I've worn it every day since. It's my "signature" piece of jewellery and I've had loads of compliments on how beautiful it is.

Being semi-professional athletes, R and I are fully aware that we should be able to talk whilst walking, without getting puffed. So we spend a lot of time complaining about sore feet and sharing our most profound thoughts, otherwise known as gossip and chat about nothing particularly important. I was feeling especially deep on this occasion and decided to tell her about my observation. I'm not really sure if it made a lot of sense.

I figure that the cross was a nasty piece of work created by the Romans with the sole purpose of killing off the scummiest criminals with as much suffering as humanly possibly. There have been plenty of other instruments of death and torture over the years and I began to wonder, if Jesus had suffered a different kind of death, what jewellery, stained glass windows and other objet d'art we would have decorating our cars and necks instead of the cross with the clean symmetry, encrusted so beautifully with silver and swarovski crystals. I might look rather fetching in something like...ooh, I dunno...a guillotine pendant?
I can see that head hole lending itself to a nice piece of bling
The guillotine strikes me as a quick and clean type of execution. Likewise with the pistol:
Quite snazzy really, eh?
Personally I think "death by chocolate" would have been a nicer way to go and I wouldn't mind wearing a block of Hershey's around my neck - although the irony of a noose on a pendant has a certain charm (incidentally, my grandfather was tragically executed by hanging in the 1930s but that's a whole other blog post). I couldn't find a noose pendant but this bracelet looks pretty stylie:
Gratuitous hanging cartoon
I know I had something very insightful to say about this whole execution thing but somehow in the streets of South Auckland I lost my train of thought. Thankfully God seemed to think that it was worth explaining further and during Church on Sunday, my friend H had a similar epiphany. Only, she explained it better.

She'd been looking at the cross at the front and it struck her that it was a rough instrument of torture and death. Then her mind wandered off in a similar direction to mine as she began to wonder how an electric chair would suit a stained glass window. 
Couldn't find an electric chair in a stained glass window
As H was speaking, I nudged R in the ribs just to make sure she was aware that I had said it first (not that I'm competitive or anything). Then H got to the point. It seems that the very cross itself has been redeemed - almost revered. Something so ugly and horrendous, has been converted into something else because Jesus bled and died on it and miraculously rose to life three days later. Then H said it: "Like us". In a way, we were ugly with all the stinky stuff we've said and done and because of Jesus, we're changed. We've been made beautiful because of Him. As Christina Aguilera would say: "I am beautiful, in every kind of way...". And so are you. Because of Jesus.

The Cross In My Pocket
Ummm...I don't know who wrote it but I love it anyway
I carry a cross in my pocket
A simple reminder to me
Of the fact that I am a Christian
No matter where I may be.

This little cross is not magic
Nor is it a good luck charm
It isn't meant to protect me
From every physical harm.

It's not for identification
For all the world to see
It's simply an understanding
Between my Savior and me.

When I put my hand in my pocket
To bring out a coin or key
The cross is there to remind me
Of the price He paid for me.

It reminds me, too, to be thankful
For my blessings day by day
And to strive to serve Him better
In all that I do and say.

It's also a daily reminder
Of the peace and comfort I share
With all who know my master
And give themselves to His care.

So, I carry a cross in my pocket
Reminding no one but me
That Jesus Christ is Lord of my life
If only I'll let Him be.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Science Versus Faith - Who Cares?

One of my daughters had a boyfriend not so long ago. Turns out that he wasn't a "Krispie" (is that word used globally or is it just a NZ word for a Christian, given that we have a biscuit - "cookie" to you Americans - by that name?). My view is that she's and adult now and she's the one going out with whoever she chooses, not me, so I decided to trust my daughter's judgement. Nana wasn't quite so in tune with this and decided that this lad needed urgent conversion (actually, I'd agree that everyone should have the opportunity to hear the Good News of the Gospel regardless of whether or not they're going out with my daughter, but that's just me).  On hearing that the young man was of a scientific disposition and therefore, unable to see how a God could possibly exist within that little box of logic, Nana decided to get the big guns onto him and enlisted the help of an elderly former scientist to write a letter explaining why God is scientifically real. As it turns out, my daughter broke up with her boyfriend before he got the opportunity to read the letter so it's been filed away for future reference.

When I was in 6th form, I had to write an essay on the theory of evolution in Biology. Of course, being 16 and a new Christian, meant that I knew so much more than any fool science teacher (sorry K - not you of course!) and I wrote a (short!) essay (okay, maybe it was a short paragraph), declaring that the whole thing was a load of rubbish and that was that! My Biology teacher told me I'd failed the assignment - and that was that. He did offer me the opportunity to resubmit with a clear outline on my view of Creation but, being a 16 year old who already knew far more than he did (in other words, being a 16 year old who was going to the beach with her boyfriend that weekend), I declined the offer. It didn't look to good on my end of year report - but I had a great tan.
So it WAS God who came up with the idea for Dragonball Z! "Kaaa-meee-aaa-meee-aaa-meee!!"
So what's the deal on this whole Creation vs Evolution thing? The Faith vs Science? What do I believe? Well for a start I reckon that it might have saved Chris Columbus a lot of time and money if He'd just turned to Isaiah 40:22 and noticed that God had already mentioned that the earth was round but I guess he wouldn't have stumbled onto America if he'd stayed at home and coloured in his map books.  To tell the truth, I don't think I CAN argue the Science and Faith thing because I just don't think it matters what I believe but it does matter to me what I KNOW. I know that Jesus is real in my life. I know that He loves me. I know that my life has meaning because He loves me. Personally, I don't care if the world started with a bang, a pointy finger or a storm in a teacup. I don't care if anyone thinks that I just use Jesus as a crutch to get through life - because I just don't get how anyone can make it through life without Him. I just know what I know. I probably wouldn't last long in an argument defending what I know. I'd get all knotted up in my own words and that little vein in my neck would probably start throbbing the way it does when I feel frustrated. But that's okay with me because I know that God is bigger than my puny little words and He doesn't need me to argue the point to prove His existence.

I've heard the theory that dinosaurs went onto the ark with Noah. Not sure what I think of that. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. Maybe they were running around the Garden of Eden a number of years ago (and don't ask me how many years ago because I don't know and once again, I don't really care). If they were, I wonder how Adam and Eve made it to old age?
Probably just as well the scarysaurus had an aversion to figs.
So when it comes to putting the Bible into relevance in my own life, what do I care about? I care about all the times we're told about love. We're told that we're loved - no matter what. We're told to love each other - no matter what. For me, that's the guts of the Gospel. That's the Good News. I'm loved. You're loved. We're not expected to split churches or start wars and genocide over what we believe. Just love and be loved by the most amazingly, incredibly, powerfully, omnipotent (that means able to do anything), omnipresent (He's right here for us all the time, wherever we are) God ever. Just right where you are, whether you believe in the Big Bang Theory or the Vegetarian Dinosaurs Theory, whether you're brown or pink, whether you're married or single, child or adult, sinner or saint, straight or gay...whoever, whatever and wherever you are...God loves you. Jesus died in your place and by the power of God rose again so that we can be with Him forever. Good news, eh? That's the place to start. The rest...just let God do it. daughter has another boyfriend by the way. I might have to dig out that letter after all.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


If you go onto my other blog here you'll notice from the background picture that I think eggs are all right.  Something I find interesting about the egg is that occasionally it's used as an insult. I'm not sure if it's a world-wide thing, a New Zealand thing, An Auckland thing, or more specifically, a South Auckland thing. Whatever, it's a word that has been in use for the past decade or so as far as I can tell.  We never used to call each other eggs when I was in school, most probably because we were so consistently innocent and polite to each other.


Anyway, according to Wiki the term "egg" in New Zealand means:  mild insult meaning 'fool' or 'dork'. Enjoyed widespread use in the 1980s, still used today. Used to be used occasionally with the partner (and now all but obsolete) "spoon" Well there you go. Incidentally, if you'd like to learn a little more of our language feel free to check the Wiki page yourself: New Zealand Words

So anyway, if someone does something stupid, it's perfectly acceptable (in my opinion) to call them an egg.  Since it's a name that often suits me, I've decided to adopt it as a term of endearment. Although, when Smiley uses it, she usually ends up calling me an EEG because she's British and is trying to mock my Kiwi accent.

I don't believe all eggs are created equal. There are staunch, hard boiled eggs (not me), fragile, raw eggs (could be me), slightly cracked eggs (possibly me on a good day)...

I don't mind being an egg because eggs are useful. The Bible is full of well-meaning eggs who did some stupid stuff but still ended up coming in handy when they were needed. Samson is a perfect example. A couple of bevvies and a bad haircut ruining his life one day and he still managed to go from hero to zero to hero again.

Someone mentioned to me today that an egg has to be cracked to be useful. So I'm perfectly happy to be a cracked egg, even though it might be a bit scary sometimes.

 Actually... I think I'm more of a slightly scrambled omelette most of the time.

Totally unrelated thought: Who decided Humpty Dumpty was an egg? Whatever or whoever he was, I say he was pushed!