Showing posts from August, 2012

Empty space

237/ 366 Graves and Mountains, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. One of the themes I see in my photos is 'emptiness.' Living in a suburb gives me time to ponder and space to do so as well. But city living crashes all around and the signage and the noise and the busy-ness continue to take away time to ponder. So the easy thing to say is that it's never empty space or empty time in the city. That's not true, but it's easy to say.

What is clear is that people tend to try to fill up what is lacking. There is an apparent need in humanity to fill space. Consider government access that the local councils or state have set aside for future roads or public parks. As I look at newer suburbs, the roads grab more and more area, the parks less and less.

In Seoul the river Han is the only real green space that I generally see. The crowded nature of city living and the multi-level office/ residence towers abound with advertising and people and noise all day and night. Empty space is a …

Blog collections

This week I attended the Sydney Jewish Writers Festival and thought about the next book I need to write. I write regularly, of course, on the Blog, and in emails, and in Flickr, and articles for many sources. But writing a book, that's another story. I wrote my own testimony of faith into the booklet "Who ever heard of a Jewish missionary?" It was published in 1999 and I sell heaps of them annually.

Compiling a book from former writings seems easy, but also sounds disjointed and thus quickly uncomfortable for the reader. So, I'm pondering how to compile blog collections into an easy format. Perhaps if someone looked back through the years of blogging here, they would find a few themes which I regularly re-visit.  Then those would become chapters in this collection. But that sounds like a lot of work for someone.

I'm ever able to be inspired to put thoughts to paper. But what would a reader read, and keep reading, and what would make the reader ask for more?


Austen Tayshus and me

Austen Tayshus and me, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. [At Sydney Jewish Writers Festival] Another comedian and I shared a moment yesterday. During his comedy act, Austen (probably not his real name), noticed my name tag, called me out and told me, "Mendelssohn converted." I was sure he meant Felix, the classical Romantic musician and composer. Still, what did Austen know?

The conversation from the stage continued, "Bob? What kind of Jewish name is Bob?" Of course, I didn't comment that Austen was not very Jewish, nor were half the Jewish names Jewish at the Sydney Jewish Writers Festival at which we were in Kensington.

Still, I was fascinated by his conversion comment to me. It was a bit incorrect, as neither Felix nor I ever left our Jewish roots. But both did and do believe in Jesus. We'll have to work on AT.

His Catholic friend Steve took the photo on my camera. Neither AT nor I are photoshopped in, but it looks like we both were.

Choose one or the other

Wesley Mission, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. I'm writing at 7 in the morning on a Sunday in Sydney. It's sunny outside and the winter weather has been mild to say the least in the last 3 days. I'm going to play tennis with my daughter when she arises, and then will be off to church as is my custom, the last 3+ decades. What will you do? What will most Sydneysiders do this morning?

This thought comes from this photo taken last Monday in Perth, out west. I had preached 6 times in the 48 hours from Friday night. Not at the Wesley (pictured), but my hotel was just next door to the Wesley. I passed it often in the weekend. I liked both the building and the starkness of it. What I mean by the building's starkness is that it was free-standing. Nothing blocked the site. Back when it was built, I imagined that it stood that much more alone, but the city developers have allowed it to be quite visible. Good for them, eh?

Historically in Europe and probably when Australia was young…


Emptiness, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. I was going to take a photo of a glass which was half full. But this lone tree seemed that much more stark, much leaner, much more empty.

In fact, no one would possibly confuse this with a half-full type of tree. This is an empty tree. Not even a possum nest or the beginnings of any (other) life form is visible. It's an empty tree.

On this golf course, Joondalup Golf Club and Resort, outside Perth, Western Australia, where so many beautiful bushes and flowers and trees abound, you have to wonder why the course designers and the course managers don't remove such an eye-sore.

But perhaps they don't consider this tree an eye-sore. Even as many people evaluate the 'not-yet' nature of so many others as yet undeveloped folks. I'm glad someone looked at me, in the beginning of my faith journey and didn't say, 'cut it down. It's no good." People saw good and goodness in me, and decided to be patient. They saw th…

Reality bites

Master of Camden Lakeside, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. My friend, Ian Baker, played one of those rounds of golf about which we all dream and then with one blast of the alarm clock find that we have been dreaming. But last week at Camden Lakeside in Sydney's southwest, he had a spotless round of 18 holes ending with 50 stableford points. Usually a very good round would be a total of 36 points. But that day, he bettered par by more than 14 points, qualifying him for this award plaque that our Captain Rod Bailie made for him. Well done, mate!

Then he was presented with the award and some serious cheering at the Monash Golf Club where we played yesterday. 145 other guys played yesterday also, and many were there when Ian received his well-deserved praises.

One of the axioms by which I live on the links is "Golf has a way of reminding you who you are not." To be fair, this was an axiom I invented but which is duly informed by one of those Bible quotes, "Pride comes befor…

Is this necessary?

222/366 Was there a doubt?, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. You've heard the phrase, "Stating the obvious" and this should be the poster for it. This shot, taken in Subiaco on Sunday startled me. Its simplicity was one thing, but it's waste was quite another. I wondered what the 'author' was thinking when he stenciled the letters onto the top layer of bricks. Maybe you have an idea?

But stating the obvious is something I hear often in radio and television interviews. Often it's the result of bad questions tossed up by the interviewers. They ask the pop star, "Are you proud of your latest recording?" What's the singer to say? They state the obvious, and someone thinks that's good television.

Or the opposition in a political debate is asked, "Do you believe that the government idea for (fill in the blank) is good for the country?" This is asked AFTER the opposition has made it clear that the exact opposite is true and useful and hel…

Jews, still Jews, in Messiah

A dear Christian friend wrote me today, "How much time can a messianic Jew stay on the other side of the cross, when so much is shadow and all fulfilled in Jesus? a sincere question, Bob"

What is striking about this, is the 'other side' comment. I wrote some years ago about a diorama I saw in Tel Aviv, entitled "Bearing the Cross" which in visual actually asked the same question. (Here it is:  Bearing )

It's a worthy question. The obvious retort by a Messianic Jew is ...what makes you think that fulfillment means dismissal? That is, why is Passover to be relegated to 'back then' when Y'shua practiced it? When Paul said, "Christ our Passover" ... and not "Christ our Easter" or "Christ our Anzac..." In other words, the conversation in the 1st century would have been "Gentiles for Jesus? Crazy!" and now we are knocking around the idea of Jews not being Jews any more. Strange, eh? He replied, &quo…

BDS, boycott Israel. Really?

A few years ago, Iran's Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khomenei urged the Muslim World to boycott anything and everything that originates with the Jewish people.

In response, Meyer M. Treinkman, a pharmacist, out of the kindness of his heart, offered to assist them in their boycott as follows:

"Any Muslim who has Syphilis must not be cured by Salvarsan discovered by a Jew, Dr. Ehrlich. He should not even try to find out whether he has Syphilis, because the Wasserman Test is the discovery of a Jew. If a Muslim suspects that he has Gonorrhea, he must not seek diagnosis, Because he will be using the method of a Jew named Neissner.

"A Muslim who has heart disease must not use Digitalis, a discovery by a Jew, Ludwig Traube.

Should he suffer with a toothache, he must not use Novocaine, a discovery of the Jews, Widal and Weil.

If a Muslim has Diabetes, he must no…

Basketball coaching

I watched the men's final game at the Olympics late last night. It was on from about 11 pm until the Americans came through with 7 to spare for Gold medal honors. It was anyone's game throughout the contest, as 11 points was the maximum spread. And that not until the 4th quarter.

All through the game I kept shouting at the television, for Coach Krzyzewski to hear, "Get those boys moving!" I saw so much standing around, it looked like a Grade 8 Junior High School dance with boys on one side, staring at the other side of the hall.

To be fair, the "Dream Team" didn't really need much coaching. They are superstars, each of them, from LeBron James and Kobe Bryant to James Harden and Anthony Davis, who played the last minute or so. But what I noticed was that when they did play as a team, and moved a bit, even without the ball, they were unstoppable. Most of the game, they stood flatfooted, and it was a one-on-one game of 3 pointers or driving layups for…