Monday, 29 March 2010

The covenant

How does God relate to us?

If you can carve out the time, make sure you head over to Lionel Windsor's blog and spend some time on working out 'covenant':

The larger import of this for Paul’s argument with his opponents is that the covenantal obligations laid upon Abraham (circumcision) and his national seed (the law) as a prerequisite for international blessing are not laid upon the nations as a prerequisite for their own blessing.[6] Abraham’s seed has fulfilled the covenantal obligations. The multitude of nations, therefore, are not called to enter this covenant, but to find blessing in the “seed”, to be “immersed” into Christ, to be “clothed” with Christ (Gal 3:27). This comes about by the Spirit and by faith in Christ (Gal 3:14).

I've skim-read, but will be coming back, God willing, to re-read.

The other thing to say about Lionel is that he doesn't always write technically. In fact, here he offers translations for the rest of us.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Choir singing

This week, Wednesday and Saturday my choir is singing. Including Beethoven's 9th.

See the advert here.

O Canada

Translated from the original Canadian, “diversity” means “state-mandated mob-enforced conformity.”

That's a quote from here.

Canada. Weird place. Hope my friends over there are OK.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Yep, I'm still busy

Yesterday I described it to our minister, whom I'd managed to insult by a combination of my own inattention and stupidity, as feeling like I'm going under for the first time though thankfully not the third (also thankfully, he was gracious enough to be more concerned than annoyed). This was in the course of apologizing, something I've had to do a bit of lately.

In the middle of it all we will likely try to bid on a house this Saturday. It would be just terrific for the family and for ministry, but who knows whether it will be affordable.

Anyway, further apologies to all those out there in blog land who know me personally and have felt the fallout of this busy-ness. I don't think it's through bad choices on my part, though once I come up for a gasp of air during the Easter break I will look carefully at that question. Seriously, I have never been this busy in my entire life.

In the meantime I keep waking up each morning and reading the Psalms, which I am loving. So seeing as how I don't seem to have much of value to say just at the moment, have a go at this:

19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

12 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

In my case, especially now, that last verse is a great prayer to cling to.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Scriptural inerrancy

Pay attention, if you don't want to sign up to the doctrine of inerrancy:

The claim of inerrancy is that “in all their real affirmations these books are without error.”

It's from this very useful post by Justin Taylor.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Emily Bear, 8 y.o pianist and composer plays Mozart

I put this on facebook but some of you aren't my friends yet!

She was 8 when she performed this, Mozart's 23rd piano concerto.

Getting Things Done

Here's the summarized method:

Here’s the basic formula that I’ve developed using the tools from Getting Things Done:

1) Anything that I need to do or want to think about ends up in one of three inboxes. I have a physical inbox in my office, my e-mail inbox, and my evernote inbox (I also have voice mail, but I don’t really get a lot of messages that way). What these inboxes do is serve as hoppers for me to store information, or tasks until I can get around to dealing with them.

2) Each day I process my inboxes by dealing with each item and deciding what to do with it. If something is in my inbox there are only two things that it can be there for. It’s either for reference or for me to do something with. If it’s for reference I can look it over and decide whether to throw it away or to keep it for later reference. If it needs an action associated with it I will either do the action (if it takes less than 2 minutes), or put it on a list that I review every day and get to it when I can.

3) In conjunction with my calendar, each day I review my action list and my project list to see what needs to get done and I do it.

4) There are a few other steps like reminders for items that I want to get to later, weekly reviews, etc. but this is the basic system.

I know this sounds incredibly simplistic and that’s really the beauty of the whole system. Because I know that all of my work responsibilities have been captured in this system, I can approach each day with a clear mind and a sense of confidence that nothing has slipped through the cracks.

Getting Things Done won’t improve your spiritual life, help your relationship with your kids, or give you a better marriage (that’s what the Bible is for), but it is an excellent tool for clearing your mind from all of the clutter of day to day life and helping you to focus more intently on the things in life that really do matter. I highly recommend it.

It's from here, via the invariably useful Matt Perman.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Noisy librarians

Oh and another thing. The librarians in this library, and the last library I was in also, are not only bossy but noisy. But aren't librarians the ones who are supposed to say 'shhhh!'? It feels wrong to reverse the natural order of things.

Going to the Community Centre in North Ryde.

So yesterday was fantastic, turned up, ran a group with a bunch of fun Medical Radiation dudes, then spoke at Lunchtime Bible Talks. 125 people were there; we knew because we ran out of outlines at 120, we took some away from those who had them.

So today a bit exhausted, did the usual get the girls to school in the morning, Fifi off to a Bible study, then felt like I needed to get out the door so I did.

Fronted at North Ryde Community Centre, leftovers in a plastic bag, realized the centre was locked. Went downstairs to the library, I said hello I'm a member of the community and wanted to know if I could use the community centre. Nice lady gave me a brochure and sent me away, I went away and after a little wander came back and said I'm sorry to be problematic, I really just wanted to use a microwave to warm up my leftovers, to which she said no, to which I wandered into the shopping centre, and just sat, ate my leftovers out of a plastic bag, tried not to stare at the lady in the Robyn Hunter Clothes Shop who may or may not have been staring at me, and had dyed hair, and felt generally like a homeless person until I picked up my bag, picked up my plastic bag, dropped it into the bin the plastic bag not the bag, wandered back into the library and found a seat, saw the lady who didn't know how I could use the community centre or the community centre microwave, or even if there was one, and now just sitting here typing this.

I'm tempted to say that we've lost our sense of community but it has to be said that I am here, in the North Ryde library, typing this. On my own laptop yes I know that, but I'm sure the nice lady would have let me use the library computer if I'd asked. And I saw a friend, hi Alan. So does that count as community?

Monday, 8 March 2010

Propositional revelation

Mark Thompson's posts are so long that vague thinkers would think that they are woolly, not recognizing that if the same thing were taken and written down in a book, people would be sitting there going Zap! Pow! Wham! Ugh! Ya got me!

So in the interests of preserving just one of those moments, I present to you:

Another way of approaching this is to insist that a simple equation of revelation and presence or self-manifestation (an equation often found in contemporary theology) is a little too slick. The biblical view of revelation certainly has at its core God's self-revelation. God makes himself known. He doesn't just give us truth about himself from a distance. He gives himself. But powerfully reassuring and savingly effective as God's presence and activity among us is, it is not necessarily —in and of itself — revelatory.

This is presumably why God does not leave this presence and activity unexplained. Ahead of Jesus' incarnation, death and resurrection, God provided the categories to understand it all through the prophetic utterances of the Old Testament (including God's own explanation of what was happening at the time of the Exodus and the divinely inspired poetic prophecy of the Isaianic servant songs).

In the time of his earthly ministry Jesus' own words accompanied his works, providing an authoritative explanation of what he had been doing and why. Finally, the commissioned witnesses of the resurrection, moved by the Spirit as they were, provided God's own viewpoint on the events of Nazareth and Calvary. There is considerable warrant for concluding that in fact it is this verbal accompaniment of God's presence and action in Christ that constitutes the revelation. God did not stand mute before us during the earthly life and death and resurrection of Jesus. He himself expounds the truth about himself and his purposes to which these things are pointing.

Jesus is our redeemer and Lord, but he is also our teacher.

I inserted three paragraph breaks because, as a vague and woolly thinker myself, the 90% chocolate that Mark is offering here was too much for one bite.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Saturday morning video

For those who love gadgets:

Thanks Nathan.

Still blogging

Things have been intensely busy, but I'm continuing to blog, just a bit less frequently. You can probably work out that Saturdays are my regular day off just by checking when the posts each week kick in. In the meantime, if you're reading this on RSS or via facebook, click through and check 'Gordon's shared items' in the right hand column.

Economics in one picture from Greg Mankiw's blog is worth 5 seconds of your time, plus another 5 or so seconds to see the point.

Friday, 5 March 2010


Marlow and Frances Cowan play the piano.

Today's 'do' list

5. Write Sunday’s kids’ talk, including phoning Gary.

The apostrophes. I ask you. I even amazed myself.