New Year's Eve

I'm not much of a partier, and having a tired wife who's expecting a baby any minute now makes for some pretty dull party people in the house anyway! We're going to spend some time with Olivia's folks and sister and their family, and maybe even get an early night.

So my last post for the year. Happy New Year, everyone!

I want to write about my resolutions also (after I make them) so that I've got something to look back on. In the last couple of years I've actually made some constructive resolutions. I just feel like things aren't too stable lately - with a new baby expected, mainly - so it's hard for me to think about these things. Hmmmmm...

Lego Man Mini-Mizer

Wow...create your own Lego man representation at Chris Doyle's Reasonably Clever.Com site. I can't post images, but I'm a shaved head, shirt-and-tie Lego man holding a book and a sandwich. Boring! But it's me!

Added note: I'm not ashamed to say that I loved Lego as a kid. I'm looking forward to T.J. starting with it!

Things I Read Today, Monday December 29th

A very short list, as I'm running very short on time, of two interesting things I read today:



Christmas

Christmas was great. There's no baby yet, though.

It actually started for me a couple of days before the big day. Tuesday night before Christmas I took my mate Jarrod to the movies for his birthday, and we stayed around Chadstone for some late-night shopping. So many people!

The next day was Christmas Eve and my boss let us go home early after a departmental lunch. Olivia and T.J. picked me up from work, we went home and had showers, and then off to Ted and Maryke's (Olivia's parents) for dinner. A fantastic night, with a wondrous array of foods and lots of little kids running around getting excited, and getting the adults excited about the whole "santa" thing too! Home by about midnight.

Christmas morning we woke up at 6:45 (no alarm) and we unwrapped our presents to each other on our bed, as a family - a great way to start the day, I reckon, especially with our 2-year-old. Olivia got me a chess set and the Lord of the Rings novel. I got her "Sweet Home Alabama" on DVD, and a new sunhat. TJ got a musical keyboard (his uncle Simey will be proud). Next was off to breakfast with my parents and brothers, where we also unwrap our presents to each other. I love breakfast at my parents, and I'm glad my Mum didn't can it this year. I consider Olivia, T.J. and the (as yet unborn) baby as my immediate family who need to come first, but I want to keep up the strong relationship I have with my 3 brothers and parents.

Church, then lunch with my Mum's side of the family, follow. Cold meats, about 10 or 12 different types of salad (I swear you wouldn't see them any other time of the year), lots of lollies and the Christmas Pudding, complete with shillings and pennies cooked in. I didn't even eat too much this time! Lunch flows over into dinner where some relatives from my Dad's side of the family join us, and then we headed home about 9:00pm.

A great day! Thankyou Lord for family, for children, for relationships! I have to wonder, in reviewing what I just wrote (and am still writing), am I getting enough out of Christmas? I mean, am I commemorating a long-gone historic event or celebrating an ongoing event?

So how does this compare to your Christmas?

Lord of The Rings: Return of the King

Olivia and I saw Lord of the Rings Part 3 on Saturday night. I reckon it was the best movie ever - 12 out of 12!

Olivia liked it as well, although I was too euphoric to take notice of whether she agreed with my "best movie ever" tag.

One of the criticisms I've heard are that there's too many endings. I agree that there's a lot of endings, but there's a lot that needs to be wrapped up after a 9-hour trilogy.

Another criticism was the soppiness of the endings. I agree. On repeated viewing the last 20 minutes of the movie might seem a little cheesy, but I can hack it.

After we came back, Leigh my man from Japan mis-appropriated the title for himself, mistakenly applying it to his recent stop-over on Australian soil. Heretic!

Real Life Community

The church I'm part of is called Real Life Community. We meet in the Carrum Downs Community Centre. The word "church" doesn't appear in our name. At first I had a problem with that. The phrase "real life" is there because we're real, and we are interested in life ("life to the full" John 10:10) and life's issues. The Message translates Romans 6:23 as:
Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God's gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.
When I first read that I could really tie it back to a community of people, living out and sharing God's gift.

How's this for a church name - "Scum of the Earth"? They discuss how they got their name with a powerful verse from 1 Corinthians 4:11-13, their history and other things...I'm just struck by the name!

Merry Christmas! I'm having a long weekend (Christmas Day, Boxing Day) and may be back on Monday. Olivia may have the baby...go baby!

Things I Read Today, Tuesday December 23rd

Merry Christmas! I read some good stuff today:

  • Tech-talk inside Microsoft - a real list of terms and definitions heard in the corridors of Microsoft, from a Microsoft bulletin. My favorites: "treeware" (printed documentation), "ohnosecond" (that minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a big mistake) and "irritainment" (entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying, but you find yourself unable to stop watching them).

  • U2 Sermons - I have a friend who's a big U2 fan. This site is the blog for the book "Get Up Off Your Knees", which is apparently about using U2's music to aid preaching the gospel and keeping in touch with modern culture.

  • Ten Tips For A Better Weblog - via The Ooze.

  • Five Geek Social Fallacies - again, via The Ooze. Relates to people who aren't geeks as well (Simey, see any here that apply to you?) All five of these social behaviours apply to me at different times.

  • An interactive Nativity Puzzle - get the order of the pieces right and view the full story at the Drag and Drop Nativity Puzzle - from the site: "It's a story that has refugees, a trigger-happy ruler and murder on the streets. The story of how Jesus was born is often made to sound sugary-sweet, with muzak carols playing in supermarkets, but the original story of Mary, Joseph and Jesus was tough and dangerous..." This whole site looks good...

Enjoy!

The Ooze

The Ooze blogs now have RSS. Great!

The Ooze blog is a collection of (I think) US bloggers, posting on the "emerging" church.

Just thinking about my last post, I came up with a visualisation that reflects what I imagine in my head. Because of the "reactionary" nature of change, progress isn't in a straight line, it's more jagged as it bounces around from perceived weakness in one direction to perceived advantage in the opposite direction:

Ideal Progress: ------------------>

Actual Progress: \/\/\/\--->

My Personal Rebellions

I'm really getting into reading about a more missional, incarnational church than the one I grew up with. My current church environment is more missional and incarnational than the church I grew up with, but I'm really only starting to get the picture!

One thing that's hit me as I read about this new stuff, is that most new things are an improvement to what's gone before, and by definition, new things are often then a reaction to those before. Maybe it's semantics, but I feel for me it goes deeper.

As an example of improvement/reaction, in my Computing degree we studied the development cycle of computer programs. The standard way to develop programs over the past few decades is called the "waterfall" model. One of the facets of this model is that a lot of design work takes place up front, and then the program is developed out of that design. Now, what if the project gets canned after the first few weeks - the time where all the 'design' work happens? You end up with nothing for your time (some bits of paper, maybe). Or what if the requirements change, which means you have to go back and muck up all the original design? This adds a lot of overhead to making changes as things progress.

Out of these two issues and others, a new kind of way to develop programs was put together which does not do this design phase (as such) and which allows more flexibility for requirements to change down the track [1]. This new method addresses the big shortcomings of the "waterfall", but, no surprise, has shortcomings of its own.

So, there's improvement, but the next iteration is just that - an iteration. Something will come along later and take its place, (hopefully) catering to the needs of the people and addressing some of the problems in the previous iteration. And there's most likely no "perfect" model to work from.

I have been guilty of examining my church upbringing in a harsh, critical light - you know, "What a stupid idea to do x in order to reach those people who really need y?", "Church x always did y and that's why no-one goes there anymore", or "If only the pastor was leading in a more x way". It's OK to look for improvements, isn't it? But at the time that I was elbow-deep in this kind of "righteous" judgementalism, one thing stuck in my mind till just recently: something I read in a daily devotions book, that pretty much said that a lot of this "reaction" model was rebellion. Plain and simple. Wow!

I realise it may not always apply like this, but the statement hit me and I realised I'd been rebelling, primarily against God and really putting down His people. I'm trying to be more conscious of looking for "improvements" in the way I do church that are not done in a reactionary way (as in, they're doing it that way, so I'm not going to). If I have to drag someone or something down so I look better, then that's got to be a problem.

I don't know why this issue of putting-down can be such an issue for me. It has the effect on my friends and those I work with of causing dissension if I go against something someone else in the group has said, cause often I get emotional about the whole thing. It's a real test for me to be able to say to myself, if I get the chance to display unity instead of self-justification, I'll take the former.

So maybe for me I can say that new iterations of "doing church" are just that. There's no perfect model. And I have to believe that the people who I have looked on as "getting it wrong" had the same heart, if not more of, for reaching out to people.

[1] For more info on this, see www.extremeprogramming.org

Orisinal Games

Brian posted about a game and I checked out the site (Orisinal). Cool! Online simple games...I wonder if my two-year-old could play them?

Oz Cyclist

I wrote about a blog The Journey last Friday, and Rodney left a comment on my blog to say hello. Hello!

Rodney, I have a friend who would love your site. I'll put him onto it next time I see him. Also, how do you get the cool ads by Google on your site? Yours says "This blank space brought to you by Google". Mine says "Huge DVD Collection : New Release, Cult Classic, Japanese anime..."

No New Baby...Yet

No baby yet. Still a couple of days to the due date, though. I'm so naive, I just think the baby will come on the due date, just after lunch or something.

T.J. got us up in the middle of the night, after one hour's sleep, to be born (he was born 14 hours later). I wonder how his little brother or sister will go?

My boss is so great, he's letting us go early today. What a great boss.

I may not even be back in for a month, if we have our new baby this weekend...so soon! The baby is due December 30th. As a kid, I would not have liked having my birthday at Christmas. As an expecting father, I don't care. C'mon, baby!

Three New Blogs

I came across three new Christian blogs today, reading through my daily stuff. All Australian-ish (one Kiwi), all look great, only one of them has RSS though:
The Journey - Taking the road less travelled - the author (Rodney) is reading "The Shaping of Things to Come" by Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch, which a friend of mine is reading, and his comments make me want to read it even more!
Prodigal Kiwi Blog - another one to watch, Paul makes good use of images in his blog as well.
6:58pm - Darryl has a great reflection on Christmas at So, this is Christmas.

Paul has RSS, which means I can read his blog from Outlook, and just be notified of the changed items as they're published...

Mum and Dad

My Mum and Dad came over for dinner last night. It was great. Thanks Mum and Dad!

Mum tried to get my two year old son to believe that I was her little boy. He just didn't get it!

ThoughtsOnFaith

Another interesting blog called thoughtsonfaith (via someone, via someone else?).

Christmastime Fun

This online Holiday Snowglobe reminds me that in Melbourne, Australia, we don't have "White Christmas". Last year we had a big Family Christmas celebration at our church, and did the song "Bright Christmas":
I'm dreaming of a Bright Christmas,
With every Christmas call I make,
Where the cricket's on the telly,
I've got a really full belly,
From all the cold ham that I ate.

I'm dreaming of a Bright Christmas,
Just like the ones we had in the Dreamtime,
May your sheilas and your blokes be alriiiiight,
And may all your Christmas's be bright.


Also good for a laugh : making your favorite website into a screenplay!

Female Bloggers and How To Link

I've seen two interesting posts on females and blogging today (here and here). Second one is pretty long, but has some interesting points on "influence" also.

One thing I get out of it is that males don't always link to females. I'm guilty of this too! I'd love to hear from more females on families, faith and computing (or whatever). I don't actively go searching for much stuff though.

The other is that males don't always link to areas out of their interest. Once again, I'm guilty. In fact, it's pretty hard for me to create criteria for judging things to link to at all. In fact, my main criteria is if I read it then I'll link, if not, then you won't find a link to it on my page. Often I'm just not interested, even in some Christian blogs. Hmmm, something for me to keep working on...

Happy Anniversary!

Happy 4th Anniversary Olivia!

These four years have gone so quickly. Some vivid memories of the day itself: you looking radiant and beautiful, me crying with anticipation before I even got to the church at about 12:30, you crying tears of joy as you walked up the aisle, me almost getting part of our memorised vows wrong, rain at the end of our photos, and us leaving our reception after everyone else had left. Wow...

Thanks for the years so far, thanks for your love now, and I am still as eager with enthusiasm and anticipation at the years ahead!

Programming Language Inventor or Serial Killer?

Take the quiz to see if you can tell: Programming Language Inventor or Serial Killer?

Rediscovering mission and church in our own backyard

"Hamo" commented on one of my blog entries, and I tracked him back to his blog, which had among other things a really interesting article titled I Don't Believe:
Over the last few months I have become increasingly convinced that a Sunday morning service is not the way we are going to help the majority of Aussie connect with God.
What a major statement. I'm sure others are saying it too. I reckon there's a place (and a need) for a "church service", but I am realising that the stuff that goes on the other 6.5 days of the week is so important.

For instance, I miss accountability group. That used to be one morning a week of a couple of guys catching up and talking about what was going on. It stopped last May, and I have been ostensibly taking a break since then, but as I talked about this issue with Olivia, I realised I really missed my Wednesday morning time. As my 2-year-old son says, "oh well".

I also love music practice. That too can be a time of bonding and teamwork (which sometimes doesn't happen during the actual service), but also a time of personal praise and worship. There's plenty of other times during the week I would classify as "spiritual", that can be formal or informal and have a great impact on my Christian walk with God.

Hamo, thanks for getting me thinking. Subscribed.

Things I Read Today, Monday December 8th

Here's some cool things I read about over the last week:

  • What do I look like? Well, since I can't upload pictures to this blog, here's the very next best thing (via G. Andrew Duthie) - ASCII art! Yep, this is a picture of me with a hat on. Next time you see me (and recognise me), say hello!



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