Drought positive #3….
When the local water authority brought in stage 4 water restrictions on 9th December last, the council immediately banned the use of playing fields… running around stirring up dust is apparently not good for that brown crunchy stuff that used to be grass.
So there has been no district cricket this season.
To a non cricket lover that might be a good thing… but the positive I see is… our local team was in the middle of a two day match, the first day had been played before the ban. I'm thinking there's no way they'll ever be famous for their prowess on the pitch, but if the second day is played next season then those players will be reknowned for being involved in the longest game of cricket ever.
…might even get in the guiness book of records?
After a fair bit of shopping around, we have been to the same church for four weeks… by our old congregation standards that would make us members I think…
The people are very welcoming… the church is a bit more charismatic that what we're used to.. but hey… variety is the spice of life isn't it?
Last Sunday the assistant pastor spoke about the church facing change, the old ways of doing church don't work any more, need to be missional etc etc. stuff I've been exploring with enthusiasm for quite a while….and that clinched it for me. I'm in.
Not planning to get involved for a while, but I sort of feel like I've found a new spiritual home… and that's pretty good.
One of the kids gave me a coffee mug years ago with a map (of course) printed on the side.
I loved it, but it eventually got the handle broken off and, not wanting to toss it out, I put it on the bathroom sink as a repository for the family tooth-brushes.
For years there were 6 toothbrushes in that mug, then after our son got married there were five. Next our oldest daughter married (four brushes left), next daughter off to uni in Sydney (three brushes) and now our youngest in London and there are only our two brushes in the mug.
The mug looks far too big now but I'm not replacing it… I'm new at this empty-nester game and not ready to change anything yet.
We had four fantastic days in Adelaide.
The first morning we went for a walk along the Glenelg pier. The weather was perfect, a lovely fresh breeze blowing in off the gulf, clear skies, sun shining on our backs and suddenly we saw 3 dolphins playfully swimming along. They circled around the pier directly below us… it was just one of those special moments… and it set the scene for the rest of our break.
We've been married for 34 fantastic years… the kids've left… we're not staying home… we're off to Adelaide for a few days R&R.
Drought positive #2….
Apparently the police have been able to move forward on quite a few unsolved crimes as discarded firearms are being discovered in rivers/creeks that havn't been dry for many years.
We had some rain in December and January, nowhere near enough to call drought-breaking but our garden and surrounding countryside has a slight green tinge (turning brown again this week though)… and our two tanks (sorry, the buzz word is “water harvesters”) got filled which is fantastic…
With stage 4 restrictions we are not allowed to use mains water at all on the garden. Tank water can be bucketed around to the thirstiest plants to keep them hanging on and the local chiropractors have a new condition to treat..bucketers back.
I also recycle every bit of household water onto the garden but it's still dry dry dry.
Now, thinking every dust-cloud has a silver lining I've found a few positive things about the drought.
Drought positive #1….
The native ducks will be really happy because the authorities have declared there will be no duck hunting season this year.
Our youngest daughter left this morning at 0045 on a plane to London. Starting a 12 month working holiday. What an adventure that will be, for her and us.
She is the last to go of our four kids so now my wife and I are on our own. Our house looks empty but is over-flowing with barrowloads of wonderful family memories, so we're not unhappy.
…but what's in store for us now I wonder?
This morning our guinea fowl, (Martha) that had been sitting on a nest in the garden, walked out with 15 beautiful balls of fluff following her. Arthur, the noisy ol' dad of the chicks is strutting around looking very proud of himself.
Now if you've read my blog in the past, you will remember I have a particular yen to look for parables in the antics of our feathered friends.
So we have an empty nest… and Arthur & Martha have a full one… is this telling me something? I'm waiting with interest..
Not enough to call drought-breaking but it's wet and the ducks have something other than dust to stick their beaks in. Praise be to God.
I have found out a few things about myself since we have been checking out different congregations..
I thought when it comes to a church service I was pretty much an anything goes kind of guy. But no… I do have lines scratched in the sands of acceptable that I don't really like crossed.
For instance when it comes to the message, my previous congregation had tried just about everything in our 15 years of experimentation. Drama, poetry, discussion, debate, meditation, art, puppetry and many more creative ways were used to challenge and stretch our understanding and faith.
I suppose it's not surprising but all the different services we've been to in the last weeks have featured a sermon as the means of getting the message across.
Now, whilst I appreciate all the alternatives I do still love a good sermon. But I reckon the line is drawn around the definition of what's good.
…and I've heard some really bad sermons in the last couple of months.
To me, it almost seems like some preachers know they have a captive audience that won't complain so they just go through the motions.
Do you think it's unacceptable for preachers to just waffle on, repeat themselves, make no clear points, or too many points, go on too long, say nothing new, lose their direction.. and then get away with it?
I took a friend, who had just got out of prison to a local church last month. Three and a half years I'd been building him up to this day.. well, the worship and sharing was great but the sermon was drivel (I'm sorry Lord, but it was!).. the guy went on for nearly an hour, it was like the Mr Bean sketch sounding like a monotonous blah, blah blah, blah. My friend walked out after three quarters of an hour and told me a few days later he didn't think he'd be going to church.
I am upset about that..