Thursday, May 27, 2010

friday joy

Is it just that it's Friday? Or does the euphoria come from elsewhere?

I know it can't last, but I just feel really happy. I felt so confident about all my classes today - even the ones that were rowdy and required lots of energy in controlling. School relationships are starting to be a bit happier, in that doing battle in the classroom doesn't have the same sting now that we are all understanding each other a bit better. And yesterday I experienced the joy of teaching my Year 9 English class something, and realising they actually learned it - WAHOOOOO!

Well we take it as it comes hey? The best way (I think)...

When it's tough: head down, teeth gritted in tight grin of determined defiance of evil and firm expectation of good. When it's great: arms out, thankful spirit alert with the fire of inspiration, enjoying freedom, flying as strength is stored for dark days ahead.

They say it all comes from the hand of the same God: good times and tough. Is it possible that he also gives us strength to stand up under difficult times and the wisdom to experience the good times well?

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Why should I obey another? Why should I bend my will, my reason, my choice beneath the demands of another? What if they are wrong? What if it is uncomfortable? All these valid questions regularly go through my mind.

But once they didn't.

When I was a child it was simple. I should do as I was told. Even when I didn't actually do as I was told, I sort of knew that I should (mind you I wasn't often asked to do much that was really difficult).

As I have become more used to having my own way - choosing for myself - I haven't been in the habit of obedience. I have been able to do as I liked (and have been fairly lucky that what I liked has generally coincided with what I am 'supposed' to do). With the result that I am out of practise at obeying.

Obedience. It only seems to work when it's habitual. And I have discovered recently that one problem with not being in the habit of obeying outside authority is that it means I am not as good at obeying even my own true desires when I want to do something that is difficult. Grrr.

Oh there's all sorts of other things that I could talk about , like whether you should obey bad authority etc. But that's not the point right now. Right now I know the authority I am under is good and I am finding it hard to obey even my own desire to honour it. Does anyone else struggle with this kind of thing?

Reading George MacDonald's Weighed and Wanting recently has given me an interesting perspective.

The spiritual loss and injury caused to the children by their parents waiting till they fancy them fit to reason with (before teaching obedience), is immense; yet there is nothing in which parents are more stupid and  cowardly and a nursery in which the children are humored and scolded and punished instead of being taught obedience looks like a moral slaughter-house.

The dawn of reason will doubtless help to develop obedience; but obedience is yet more necessary to the development of reason. To require of a child only what he can understand the reason of, is simply to help him to make himself his own God--that is a devil.

Well I was taught obedience as a child, and I can surely remember those old lessons and regain that old habit. The way forward seems to be to practise obedience until it becomes habitual. And get back on that wagon when I fall off. Wish me luck!

Extract from  Weighed and Wanting, by George MacDonald

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


In a desperate attempt to prove myself not to be an incompetent teacher I have just spent FIVE hours creating a website for Vietnam revision for my Year 10 History class. Now I really need to ask myself what audience I'm living for, because I am sure that said Year 10 History class will hardly even read all the information I have so carefully constructed, let alone properly complete the actvities and glean appropriate information from them.

They would probably rather if I just put notes up on the board for them to copy down.

ARRRGH! When will I learn to become a better augur of my students' true needs?

In the meantime my understanding of who I am comes not from hormonal teen wenches, but from one who knows when and how I will become a better follower of the highest, and believes that I CAN do it!

Monday, May 17, 2010

heart with heart, love with love, being with being...

Hester, in George MacDonald's Weighed and Wanting, sits beside the bed of a cold, hungry, sick woman and yearns to help her. This is what the old Scotsman says...

She had yet to learn that the love of God is so deep he can be satisfied with nothing less than getting as near as it is possible for the Father to draw night to his creatures - and that is into absolute contact of heart with heart, love with love, being with being. And as that must be wrought out from the deepest inside, divine law working itself up through our natue into our consciousness and will, and claiming us as divine, who can tell by what slow certainties of approach God is drawing nigh to the most suffering of his creatures?

God Help Me to live with this kind of faith, hope, love...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

talking about graduating

a couple of weekends ago I graduated from my Diploma of Christian Studies and was lucky enough to be able to give a speech way of encouraging the staff of Cornerstone - and saying thankyou. Here's some of it for posterity...

The Twelve Apostles stand off the south coast of Victoria, pillars of rock in a changing landscape, buffeted by wind and wave. Although we call them 'twelve' Apostles, their number changes. As some collapse and wash away others stand tall, wide and strong - perhaps telling us what the collapsed ones may once have looked like.

I visited this natural wonder as I was trying to think of how to express what the gift of the last two years had been like. And as I stood there that day the wind blew around me and I couldn’t tell where it was coming from or where it was going to - but it came to me that the peninsular of limestone that I was standing on was being shaped into a future 'apostle' -that one day there would be no land bridge to where I was standing and a new pillar would have been formed - and I saw that these Apostles were more a monument to a beautiful moment in time than a fixed part of the landscape.

Over the last two millennia other apostles, visionaries of a good and true kingdom, have stood so, representing their point in time, washed by the wind, born of water, living monuments to God's presence in their world.

It all made me acutely aware of God's immanence - how close he was (and is) in each particle of limestone and in each drop of water and circling me as well as a whole bunch of tourists on the wind and blowing through and around us.

Just the same, as I stood before those crumbling apostles I felt assaulted by doubts and fears. Was I worth my salt as a misho in Australia today? Could I listen to God's Spirit and follow the thread? When would I start to feel like a blessing and not just a mediocre muddle?

And then I remembered Sonja's faith in me and her faithful example, and Dave Etty's sensible advice in sticky situations on team, and one morning on Nerida's front porch, and a refuge at the Richards' (and Pete's visits to team where after he left you felt, as Sophie once said, as though Father Christmas had come like he did in Narnia and no matter how great the evil you are confronting or what the consequences might be you are just bursting to cry out "he's been here he's been here!"), and lectures and work and meals and chores and phone calls without number and visits to team and prayer and emails of encouragement - each instance a sacred moment to remember, a monument to the living God's presence in my world.

And I know that each of the graduates here will be able to find such monuments to God's presence in their lives from their own experiences with staff over the last two, three or more years. And in their studies too, because as I looked at those pillars I thought of Mary McKillop and Charles Finney and Count Zinzendorf and Thomas Aquinas too and on back to the time when the Master himself walked the earth and there were these two young blokes who were followers of John the Baptist. And they were there the day that he saw Jesus and cried out. "Look! there goes God's lamb!" So these disciples followed Jesus.

And he turned around he saw them and asked them, "What do you want?"

"Um... Rabbi... where are you staying?"

"Come and see," Jesus replied.

Well I don’t live in Galilee and it's not the year dot, and I can’t touch or feel or follow Jesus around and go and stay at his place in downtown Capernaum. But over the last two years I sort of have been able to anyway. So thanks to all of you Cornerstone Staff men and women who are giving your lives so that people like me can "Come and see."

You have been and continue to be living monuments to God's presence in our world.

Friday, May 7, 2010


My Year Eleven class we nice to me today. Do you want to know why?


because I know David Rozali.

Can you believe it?

My Year Eleven's don't even know David Rozali - to them he's just that cool guy with the awesome dreads in the coffee shop opposite Torpy's or something. But anyway - they were really friendly in class today and I milked it for all it was worth in the desperate attempt to teach them something about repetition and emotive language!

I am pleased. Hopefully they will buy coffee from Davo and some of his cheery style of optimism and goodness will rub off on them and they might even start to wonder whether their own lives could be that happy, peacefull and GOOD?

And then maybe they'll want to do something about it...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

friday arvo

Today is the day that I have three free periods on a Friday. I have only one period to go before I teach my Year Nine class for the last time this week and then... weekend.

Once in it, I am determined to get my life into order, to clear up the battleground that is my loungeroom, to complete a thousand little jobs and figure out why the oven in my place isn't working, to catch up on sleep and to welcome a new guest into my home - Mark King is coming to stay this weekend... a visitor familiar to all English teachers.

BUT I also hope to enjoy an evening at Bell's cafe, drink a coffee by David Rozali - who has awesome dreds according to my Year Eleven English class - and hopefully visit Menindee with a new friend :)

What are you up to this weekend?