Why tomato soup? It makes a good lunch when we come home from Church. On Sunday the trains weren't running for half the trip, so we had to catch rail buses and it made things even longer than usual. I was actually surprised we made it home a bit after 2. Normally when the trains are down we don't bother going, but we were teaching Sunday School.
Whilst I was looking up the info, I read quite a few articles on community gardens. They've been around in Sydney for well over 20 years. Some have now become real centres of learning for organic gardening, permaculture, seed-saving etc.
I realised that they are a great way for building community. A lot of people said that the thing they really liked about the garden was the opportunity for community. One lady said, "it lets people be neighbours again". The community garden in Bondi Junction (which unfortunately lost its lease and came to an end) used to have monthly lunches where the local community was invited. The community garden in Rozelle often attracts the interest of passers-by as the friendly gardeners invite people to get involved. On a larger scale, there is a religious group out at Mt Druitt (think, Bridgewater) who have a very large garden and sell cheap and healthy produce to the local community. They have an aboriginal bush tucker garden, and the local Pacific Islander community even grows some traditional plants.
Community gardeners are keen to find land. One website suggested Churches put their land to this purpose - great idea!
"In the late 1980s/ early 1990s there was a small community garden on church land in the inner city. This was probably the first instance of church owned land being thrown open to the public for use in food growing.
Led by existing examples of community gardens on church land, this clearly offers a path for innovative community workers associated with the church or other religious institutions. It would also put to productive use land presently serving little pactical purpose." *
How great would it be if a Church with a keen desire to reach out to their community actually did this? It would be an excellent way of building community, inviting people to see Christian community in action, as well as caring for the local area by promoting healthy, affordable food and looking after the environment. Of course, you'd need a Church that actually had some land in the first place!
How would this actually work?
Well, again, some of the articles I read had great ideas. The garden that used to exist at Bondi Junction seemed to have thought through the organisation side of things particularly well. They had areas for individual plots, as well as a large shared garden which was circular and divided into segments like a pie chart. People were organised into teams (ensuring that there was someone experienced, someone able to do heavy lifting, someone with a car etc) and each team had a segment to look after. As the crops rotated, the team stayed in the same spot, but got experience at looking after a new kind crop.
Some gardens are mostly just private beds, some are entirely communal (and grow things on a larger scale - such are fruit trees!). I reckon that in Hobart, the communal idea would be best. People in Hobart have much easier access to private space to grow things than people in Sydney. We live on the third story and the only space we have is our precarious, rotting window-sills. Because in Hobart the issue is less likely to be about space to grow stuff, I reckon that you'd need to work really hard to develop a great sense of community, and an opportunity for learning.
I'll leave you with a picture:
Imagine a Church that welcomes people onto its land, that reaches out to the local community and provides a way for neighbours to be neighbours. Imagine having bbq's or lunches where the community is invited and welcomed and fresh produce is enjoyed! I think you'd find you were growing more than vegies before long.
*From all my vast experience...!!! ;)
Perhaps the most significant impact the book has had on me has been to inspire me to read and to enjoy reading. I grew up reading late into the night, one hand holding the book open in front of me, the other on the switch of my bedside lamp ready to cut the light when my parents were on patrol. In later years I read far less and more recently have been almost paralysed by the feeling that the next book I read has to be the next-best-book-written-that-I-haven't-read-yet. The act of picking this book up and reading it helped cure me of that and Lewis' love of books was communicated very powerfully.
It struck me quite early on that Sayer was quite honest about the failings of Lewis and his family. The depression that he and his brother seem to have inherited from their father and the general dysfunction of his extended family ensure that you're not tempted to worship the man. He comes across as a deeply flawed but also loveable man. However, Sayer sometimes seems overzealous in his promotion of Clive's legacy and in defending his literary works. As he tells it it was the critics who didn't understand any given book rather than that the book itself that was flawed. Lengthy details are given about each book Lewis published which became tired long before the end.
One of Lewis' aims in his writing, both critical and creative was to promote Christian thought. He felt that "what was wanted was not more 'little books about Christianity', but more books by Christians on other subjects in which the Christianity was latent." He hoped to provide a Christian background so that when the evangelist preached the message of the gospel would resonate with his hearers. I'd love to see some more of that today.
Alexander of Alexandria is remembered for his opposition to and excommunication of Arius. He withstood pressure to let the argument go from within Alexandrian circles, from bishops throughout the East and from the Emperor Constantine. The conflict led to the first ecumenical council at Nicea and the Nicene Creed which remains a standard of orthodoxy to this day. The following discussion, driven substantially by Alexander's chosen successor Athanasius, helped the church to clarify its doctrine of the trinity.
The trouble appears to have begun when Alexander was teaching the leaders of the church. Arius, a presbyter, began to oppose him and claimed that Jesus was a created being rather than God the Son, that Jesus did not know the Father perfectly and that his nature was changeable. Arius used popular songs to promote his teaching. His catchcry was 'There was a time when He was not'.
Alexander sought to change Arius' mind but the conflict escalated. Alexander along with one hundred bishops from Egypt and Libya met and excommunicated Arius. He outlined his arguments against Arius in a general letter to bishops throughout the East and warned them not to accept Arius or his teaching.
Constantine stepped in to put an end to the conflict which had quickly spread throughout the Eastern part of the empire. When this failed to calm the situation he organised a council which was held at Nicea. The council eventually condemned Arius and the bishops who supported him. The Nicene Creed contains points reminiscent of Alexander's arguments against Arius. Some have speculated that it may have been written or at least heavily influenced by Alexander.
- Shipley and Schwalbe, (the Strunk and White of email) from this article at Salon.
The only reason I got such a good one of Nick is that I was using the zoom on my camera. I wasn't so lucky when I tried to take a picture of Joel:
At least that cool cloud didn't try and move out of the way!
Waking up to beautiful views of the Mountain, from South Hobart
Visiting friends and getting to see the 2 new babies born during our visit! (didn't get a pic of Evie though)
And the beautiful views everywhere!!!! (I don't know how that sign jumped into my picture!)
Ahhh, our last Tasmanian sunset:
Stay tuned for pics from the sailing trip we went on
It's nice to be home though. We've got a big term ahead and I'm ready to get back into it. This week I'll be working on Hebrew to get up to scratch for a test, working on some sermons for a camp I'll be preaching at and doing a bit of preliminary work for my Old Testament essay which is on Lamentations. We're also going to do some holidayish things because we've been lent a car for this week.
I preached today at church on Matthew 20:1-16. It was my first sermon for about 7 months which is a long break. I had a great time preparing it, struggling with the passage until it became clear and seeing something of God's generous character. I had a less fun time writing it, it just didn't flow and I struggled to get out every paragraph. It all worked out though and I hope it has done some good for the church.
So, things have been pretty quiet still. We've spent the week staying with family, and still trying to recover from being sick. Nick started getting sick again and so spent a few more days in bed, and I'm just hoping that my voice is going to hold out for my talk tomorrow.
I think that I will be very relieved after tomorrow.
Highlights so far have been: the quiet, the quiet misty rain, the views which are everywhere, the relaxing, learning about speech writing from Sam and Toby, learning about preaching by doing it, anticipating snow, eating Golden Tulip bakery goodies, and of course, seeing all the wonderful people we have missed so much.
I know life back in Sydney still exists, but it will be hard to go back. I also know that we can't stay here because now is the season to be in Sydney.
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