Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Exisiting in a Sea of Cardboarrd

Its been a while since I posted as I've been out of town on a retreat and moving house!
I needed a break today so I called my friend Cason and had lunch with him.

Behold the glorious leftovers from Double Daves Pizza!!!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I've been Tagged......

My friend Emileigh tagged me on her blog to write 7 random facts about here they are in no particular order.

1) I have seen every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer - that's Seven Seasons, in order from the beginning!

2) I once shook hands with Billy Graham.

3) The most impactful, meaningful conversation I ever had was also probably one of the shortest. It was the last conversation I had with my dad before he died. You can read about it here (pack some kleenex).

4) I got my ear peirced to celebrate the Millenium and my Tattoo to celebrate my birthday.

5) I once played violin in the Royal Albert Hall and the performance was broadcast on the BBC.

6) My left eye does not dilate - the pupil remains the same size no matter how much light goes into it. You can read about my medical condition here.

7) As I've become less 'Fundamental' and 'Conservative' about my faith, I've become more joyous and loving...and I experience God more. I consider that a really good trade off.

So...if you have a blog and you've read my 7 facts...consider yourself TAGGED - so, go write 7 facts in yours :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hooray for Vicodin

I have the root canal scheduled today at 3:30pm.

I went without the pain meds to identify which tooth it was (see yesterday's post). I found he tooth and boy did it hurt. I was shouting in the car whilst driving just to get some of the pain out there. Even when I finally did take the Vicodin it still took an hour and a half to get the pain down to a managable level.

So, I'm at work, feeling rather drowsy and waiting till 3:30pm - I don't care how painful the Root Canal is - it can't be as bad as yesterday's pain.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Teeth

I've posted before about the current state of my teeth - and it's now reaching critical mass SIGH

I went to the Endodontist this morning for a root canal because things are really beginning to hurt. But I didn't get one :(

The problem is I have two teeth adjacent to one another in the back of my mouth both with temporary crowns on them. Even with banging, tapping, prodding, blowing cold air on them and x-raying the Endodontist could not work out which one needed the root canal.

I was left with 2 options -

a) We do one tooth and if it is the wrong one we then go back and do the second (at a cost of $1000 per tooth)

b) Wait until the pain gets worse and the we should be able to identify which tooth needs the work.

So I went for option b. I have some vicodin, but if I take it I won't be able to work out which tooth is the one that is in trouble.

Word for the day - OUCH!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Toothache, Theology and Blaise Pascal

Things in my mouth are not good. I took some pain meds last night and woke up at about 5:30am in agony. I've never been woken up by a tooth before. I popped some more pills, and while I lay in the darkness I remembered a story I'd heard about Blaise Pascal.

"Pascal suffered a toothache, which kept him awake at night. In an effort to take his mind off the pain he focused on the cycloid, the curve traced by a point on the circumference of a rolling circle. Pascal solved the problem of the area of any segment of the cycloid and the center of gravity of any segment. He also solved the problems of the volume and surface area of the solid of revolution formed by rotating the cycloid about the x-axis."

I didn't want to get out of bed, so math was out of the question. Instead I reflected on a question that was posed to me by one of my friends who read my blog on 'The Gifts of Uncertainty (Part 2)'.

In it I referenced the often quoted line from Augustine 'Love God and do as you please.' He referenced the events that happened in Texas this week where over 200 children were taken from a Mormon Compound because of suspicions of child abuse, polygamy and forced marriages.

(As a side note......I would have thought the government would have learned after Waco that a compound being built in Texas is not a good thing!)

He asked how I would answer the fact that the Mormon leader probably believed that he was loving God by behaving the way he did.

So far I've come up with many excellent rebuttals to his statement - and I've rejected them all.

Working for a church means it is easy for me to answer using 'christianese', but the answers really don't ring true once I scrape off the veneer. Stay posted and hopefully I'll come up with something - esp. as the dentist hasn't called me back so it looks like I'm going to be consuming vast quantities of Excedrin this weekend.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Try reading this poem aloud!

(Thanks to Mischa for linking to the following poem - I enjoyed attempting to read it aloud so much I thought I would post it in its entirety! )

English is Tough Stuff

We've all cursed written English as capricious and sentenced American Pronunciation Rules as but half-truths at best. Examples and practice always seem better than studying worn and obsolete phonetic guides.

Multi-national personnel at North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters near Paris found English to be an easy language ... until they tried to pronounce it. To help them discard an array of accents, the verses below were devised. After trying them, a Frenchman said he'd prefer six months at hard labor to reading six lines aloud. Try them yourself.

(Read aloud, with a friend!)

(After all, laughter is the true universal language!)

The Chaos

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve, F
riend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,

Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.

Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.

Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.

Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation -- think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough --
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

Written by Dr. Gerald Nolst Trenite (1870-1946), a Dutch observer of English.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Rhyming Questions

Most people know about the fact that there are no words that rhyme with Orange, partly because there is a strip cartoon with that name:

But can you name three other words, all in common usuage, that have no rhymes (except trick ones of course.)?????

Monday, April 07, 2008

Spam Strudel??!!!!

While logging into my gmail today, a link popped up to a recipe for Spam and Vegetable Strudel that is supposed to come from Mastercook.

I haven't done any random cooking experiments since Dishwasher Lasagna and Tofu and Beetroot Burritos.

Who dares me to make it?????

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Gifts of Uncertainty (Part 2)

I've been planning this post for a while (for Part One click here) but life has gotten in the way. I'm not sure how coherent my follow up ramblings will be, but here goes.

As I've been thinking more about Uncertainty, I've been wrestling with our very natural human desire to divide everything into right and wrong, into black and white. The world is a big complex place, and it is only natural that we categorize and order in an attempt to cope with how overwhelming it really is. If we stopped to think about every issue and every event we would become paralyzed with indecision. Consequently we all consciously or unconsciously create our own Paradigms that enable us to function.

We create Paradigms of Theology, Politics, Social Behavior, Health - in fact we create them about just about everything.

So where did this drive come from?

I'm reading 'Things Hidden -Scripture as Spirituality' by Richard Rohr at the moment. In it he makes a very interesting comment about the Garden of Eden. The tree that Adam and Eve were forbidden to touch was 'The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil'. He refers to it in the book as 'The Tree of Moral Certainty'. Think about it for a moment - Adam and Eve were not created to know right and wrong, they didn't have the knowledge to make those kinds of judgements. It's only as a result of the Fall that they gain that knowledge.

Richard Rohr goes on to comment that it is interesting that many people in the church have made a career out of the consequences of the Fall - they issue loud declarations on Right and Wrong, Good and Evil. They create 'insiders' and 'outsiders'.

One of the largest parts of the Hebrew Scriptures is the 'Law' - exact descriptions of rules, violations and punishments. Everything you need to know so you can be certain of your standing within the Community and with God.

All of this writing, posturing and pontificating all because we ate of 'The Tree of Moral Certainty'.

Am I in danger of becoming a total moral relativist? No. There are some things I am always going to call wrong - consider it residual fruit from the Garden of Eden. But I do think some of the potential for divisiveness in the church today could be removed if we could just embrace a the fact that not everybodys' Christianity will look the same. See here for and earlier blog post on this.

I've heard the saying attributed to Augustine 'Love God, and do as you please'. Maybe we should focus more on helping people achieve the first, and less on moral judgements around the second. If somebody is actively pursuing the first then I think the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, self-control etc) will take care of the second.

So what of these gifts of uncertainty? I've already written about Humility, Community and Introspection (Inner work).

Another gift of uncertainty, that is related to Humility is the gift of Learning. If I consider you 'wrong' then I will conclude that there is nothing you can teach me. If I am honest about uncertainty then suddenly everybody in the world becomes my teacher, and everybody in the world becomes my pupil. A quote I encountered on a friend's blog is helpful here:

“I think if more people were willing to treat beliefs as beliefs instead of facts, it would make talking with each other easier... I guess I’d just like Christians and church leaders to be more honest…with everyone. Stop treating faith as a fact. Call it hope. Call it confidence, not certainty.” Matt Casper, from the book 'Jim and Casper Go to Church'.

I sat up late talking with a friend last night who has a lot of uncertainty happening in his life right now - and I reflected on periods of uncertainty in my life. When I was unsure about whether I was moving to the U.S. or not I spent a lot of time in prayer and seeking counsel from others. My uncertainty led me to a deeper faith. Why does that kind of uncertainty drive people towards God, whereas theological uncertainty and differences of opinion become a barrier between people and lead to schisms and new denominations?

Is there a way the church can learn to use Uncertainty to unite them as they sit together in Tension?

I wish I knew.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

So Peter....where are you from?

It's an interesting question, simply because their are more right answers than you might think:

a) The British Isles

b) The United Kingdom

c) Great Britain

d) England


Here's how all the terms relate to one another geographically.

I was born there, and I forget the differences at times!

Good Friends and Bad Teeth

I'm beginning to feel rather low about my teeth. Back in February I had a Crown and an Inlay done by my dentist. It was a remarkable pain free event - as are most of my trips to the dentist, but ever since then I've had problems :(

I've been back many times with sensitivity to heat and cold and a dull ache. I went back today for the 5th time and the dentist decided that we need to remove both the crown and the inlay and redo both of them as traditional crowns and fix them in temporarily and see if the problem fixes itself. And if it doesn't he will refer me to a special nerve tooth doctor a.k.a. an endodontist!!!

All I can say is ewwwww.

in other news, I had one of those wonderful conversations with a good friend. Someone who loves me enough to ask difficult questions in their quest for understanding and is willing to sit in the difficult tension that some of my answers give. It's wonderful to have friends who want to discuss the deep things of life and who I know have my 'back' when the chips are down.