Showing posts from February, 2012

57/366 Inside Dome Westfield SF

57/366 Inside Dome Westfield SF, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Not a church, but the icon of worship in the modern world. A shopping centre. I'm not sure that Frank Lowy in Sydney who is the founder of Westfield or Abraham Levitt and his sons, William and Alfred, who created the shopping mall as we know it, in Levittown NY and Levittown NJ in the USA, would agree with me. They saw the mall as a place to find stores and consolidate shopping for customers. To make life easier for the consumer.

But I aver that the mall (and in 2nd place the sports arena) is the new 'house of worship.' Consumerism has replaced 'divine worship.' Sunday shopping has replaced liturgy (the work of the people).

It was scandalous in the 1950s when "Blue laws" were enacted to allow stores to open on Sundays. Today, however, closing shops on any one day of the week in compliance with biblical standards is shocking to many, and certainly disallowed by Westfield or Levittown centres.


Will He come?

Good luck, Tobes, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. I mean no derogation. It's just that Avi, sitting at the computer, is not the most machine-friendly guy when it comes to computers and mobile phones and such. So when Toby, from the UK, started showing Avi, who lives in Budapest, the ropes on this machine, well, I just wished Toby good luck.

And maybe that's the way it is with disk-cipleship. Or discipleship. We tend to look at what has been, and not what might be. We evaluate the possibilities on the basis of past performance rather than the future hopes.

The Bible quotes people who were in such a consideration. There were those who were tired of waiting for the return of Messiah Jesus. They had hoped for a year or two or ten, and were wearying. The past had dreams and these dreams were (as yet) unfulfilled. So in 2Pet. 3.4 we read, "saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creat…

Deep in prayer

Eric deep in prayer, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Some male Orthodox Jewish people wrap themselves in a prayer shawl. Some Catholics light candles and burn incense. Some Buddhists light shrines and bring offerings to their deity. And whatever their mechanism, like this man deep in prayer, it's about intensity and about trust that pervades the scene.

I've heard other people in a sort-of demand mode, telling God what He needs to do, or He cannot be their god. That is not in view here.

A smart pray-er is a humble pray-er. He knows he has no claim on deity and has almost no rights even to request anything. Humility-- that's the way into the holiest.

So what about the tallit? Shouldn't we wrap ourselves with a prayer shawl each morning? Won't that help? To be fair, yes, it does help some of the people who use them. They are able to concentrate that much more. So for them, it's more useful. For the Almighty? Nope, He knows our history and our heart; so no amount of …

Freedom to read...even the Bible

From the NY Times today:
BAGRAM, Afghanistan — Protests broke out and shock rippled through the country on Tuesday as accounts emerged of NATO personnel setting fire to bags filled with Korans and other sacred books of Koranic interpretation at the Bagram Air Base. Shah Marai/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images   An Afghan man aimed a sling shot toward soldiers during a protest outside Bagram Air Base on Tuesday. The holy books were saved by Afghans working in the area, some of whom rushed screaming at two soldiers who were throwing the bags into an incineration pit, or reached into the fire to extract the volumes. A NATO spokesman said the books had been gathered at a detention facility for suspected insurgents and inadvertently sent for incineration. 
When I look at these images and the embarrassment of the situation, I'm so sorry that other countries, like Saudi Arabia do this on a regular basis. What? You say... Read this from yesterday's Christian Pos…

Confused about social media. Part I

These are the top three, but there's also LinkedIn and Flickr and so many variations. There's TweetDeck which allows you to enter one and update many at once, and what about MSN? Tired yet? Overwhelmed? Whelmed at least? I get it. I feel it. We get a choice to 'like' people on FB or 'follow' others' tweets. I get to link with others, and create fan pages and try to keep up with real friends and the hundreds of others who't exactly friends.

I'm pondering how to keep pace.
And I'm pondering more things about time and timing and media which is social.

Did you live in the time when people first started receiving FAXes? it was an immediate office-stopper. "Hey, everybody, somebody, there is a FAX coming through." The beep would get us; the information was often of some significance. Information then was mostly linear, and an interruption or two was acceptable.

Then in about 1994 I started using AOL. Some friends were on comp…

49/366 Authority vs Power

49/366 Authority, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. The light turned red. I stopped. The scene is near Bondi Junction and the cars and buses flow seamlessly more often than not. Why? Because we all submit to the rules of the road. When the light turns red, we stop. Soon enough anyway.

So I titled this photo "Authority." Why? Consider the places where red lights are mere suggestions, like in Naples, Italy or in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Our family was shocked at the random nature of compliance in Italy in 2003, and I cannot imagine it has improved. When my daughter and I were in Bs As in 2005, we saw drivers turn down their headlights each evening, and slow down at least, as they drove through red lights without stopping. Wow, the suggestion box is open.

So here I was at the red light, remembering Italy and Argentina. And although I was somewhat in a hurry, I waited until my light turned green before I accelerated.

Our society has agreed to work together in this way. We could all …

Tragedy: Whitney Houston

Where do broken hearts go?
Yesterday I watched the Grammy Awards and saw the continual tributes to the legend Whitney Houston. She was awarded two Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards in her lifetime. And the news kept reporting of her tragic death, the scene of being found in a bathtub in Beverly Hills, California, drowned or dead of a drug overdose. Houston began singing with her New Jersey church's gospel choir at age 11.
I immediately flashed on Michael Jackson and the blame game that ensued and the lawsuits eventually toppling his doctor who gave him too many drugs at inopportune times which in turn toppled the King of Pop.
They used terms on the tv and in the papers in the reporting about Whitney like tragic, tragedy, too early, shame. And I don't mean to demean the reality of her dying. She was 49 years old having burst onto the scene in 1985 although she performed in nightclubs with her m…

What is valuable?

La que nos cayó encima... pero valió la pena..., a photo by * No. Pip, no!!! on Flickr. Worthwhile. That's the Spanish expression that Pip, my Flickr friend in Spain, said of this rainstorm. The Spanish literally means "it's worth the pain." But it's an idiom. I suppose in modern days we could just say, vale, but the traditionalists win out in the use of the full phrase. (Title of the photo is "La que nos cayó encima... pero valió la pena..."That which falls from above on us, but it's worthwhile)

A Norwegian lady came into our book shop last week. She lives in Hong Kong. And she bought some books on the Holocaust. We had a good chat, and God is moving on her heart, helping her adjust from atheism to a more God-centered life. Pretty good. I got her contact details, and then I gave her our newsletter, translated into Mandarin. At that she was very upset. Not that I gave her something for free. Not that it was in Chinese, in fact, she liked that. What b…