Thursday, 23 April 2009

New Names for our Islands?

There has been a bit of controversy in the last few days about the names of the North and South islands. Apparently they are not official. So they want to change them. This is fair enough, because they are boring.

But here the thing. They want to use the original Maori names. Which is also fair enough in once sense, since they were the first people to arrive. But here’s the thing. Almost all of our place names reflect New Zealand’s past. Which I’m all for celebrating and remembering. I did a degree in history.

But would it be cool to pick some names which celebrate New Zealand as it is today? Wouldn’t it be great to make a statement about who we are today?
Just a thought. Any ideas?

Bill and Ben Island?
Fush and Chups islands?
Middle Earth and Narnia Islands?
bret and jemaine Islands?
Union and League Islands?
Phoenix and Warriors Islands?
Black Singlet and Janell Islands?
Jaffa and Pineapple lump Islands?
Kiwi and Tui Islands?
L&p and Pavlova Islands?
Scrum and Line Out Islands
Footrat flats and Fred Dagg Islands
She'd be right and Yeah, right Islands!!!!! ( or maybe Good on ya, mate for the Island!!!)
Gumboots Island and swandri Island
Wild Pork and Watercress Islands
Hokey Pokey Ice cream and Chocolate Fish Islands!!
Sand fly and mozzie Islands!!
mcgillicuddy serious and the National Party Islands
Batting and Bowling Island
The slice of Heaven Above and We don't Know How Lucky we Are Islands
What Now and Country Calendar Islands
No.8 fencing wire and barbed wire Islands
Split Ends and Crowded House Islands (maybe we could even get away with Mumsdollar and the lads Islands ;))
Meads Island and Umanga Island
Rogernomics and Ruthanasia Islands
Hillary and Rutherford Islands
Or we could one Waikikamukau Island, so It will be a real place!!!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Isaiah and Jonah: A tale of two Prophets.

I was stuck today by the great contrast between two of the Old Testament prophets: Isaiah and Jonah.
Isaiah saw a vision of God, And when God asked “"Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" Isaiah said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah Wanted to go and do God’s will, to speak Gods word, spread Gods messages. Yet God told him to say,

"Go and tell this people:
" 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'
 Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed."

When asked for how long, God said

Until the cities lie ruined
and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
and the fields ruined and ravaged,

until the LORD has sent everyone far away
and the land is utterly forsaken. (see Isaiah 6)

I don’t know about you, but I think that I would find that a pretty sucky kind of commission: "Go preach my words, but no one is going to repent.”

Yet in contrast to this, when God told Jonah “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you," Jonah Runs away. He didn’t want to speak God's message. Yet when He finally did, the whole city repented and turned to God. And then guess what Jonah does: he goes off and sulks. I mean, came on. Nineveh was one of the most powerful cities in the world at that time. Think New York or Shanghai or London, the whole city, turning to God, after one guy goes and preaches there. That’s the kind of responses we dream about!! Yet Jonah goes and has a wee cry in the desert.

What’s going on here? Why is the guy who is saying “send me, God!!” getting told, “go preach it brother, but no one’s going to lessen,” yet the guy who doesn’t even want to go, who tries to run away, get possibly the greats response to God's message in human history?

Sunday, 19 April 2009

the beatitudes: remixed

I was thinking what the beatitudes would look like if someone came up with them based on how The Church looks today (Or at lest what came’s across from some parts of the church in the west today.) Maybe they would go something like this:

Blessed are the spiritual,
for their spiritual experiences bring them close to God.
Blessed are those who are happy,
for they will live a fulfilled life.
Blessed are those who help themselves,
for the world is their oyster.
Blessed are those who know that they are righteousness,
for they know that they are going to heaven.
Blessed are the tough on crime,
for obviously they have never done anything wrong before.
Blessed are those who know Jesus in their heart,
for the heart is good, but the mind is corrupt.
Blessed are those who are anti abortion, pro“family values” and pro smacking,
for these are the issues that God is clearly most interested in.
Blessed are those who are not persecuted,
for if God was blessing them, why would they be persecuted?

Or if we twist it around the other way:

Down with the poor in spirit,
for it’s their own fault that they are poor.
Down with are those who mourn,
for they should get over it and harden up.
Down with the meek,
for its people who have it all together we need in this world today.
Down with those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for if they just gave 10% of their income to the church, they would be fine.
Down with the merciful,
for people need to repent before they can be shown mercy.
Down with the pure in heart,
for they must be self-righteous.
Down with the peacemakers,
for they are totally unrealistic.
Down with those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for they haven’t tolerated other peoples beliefs.

Let’s remind ourselves of what Jesus actually said (Matthew 5: 4-10):

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Anyone see the contrast?