Today is Australia Day

Today is Australia Day. As a Nation we are call upon to commemorate the landing of the first fleet in 1788, and the great things that make up Australia.

Unfortunately though we seem to have to forget the annoying little bits in between aren’t so pleasant.

So today I will, I will remember the landing of Cook and Philip, of their fleet of supplies and convicts sailing into Botany Bay, but I will also remember what that meant for those Nations already living here.

I will remember the push of the early settlers and government into terra nullius, as they on often occasion they performed genocide and a war of extermination of the ‘Noble Savage’.

I will remember than in my own home area the Nations of the Gunditjmara, Djab Wurrung lived in peace until in the early 1830’s, settlers began stealing their land and from 1834 – 1849 they fought the Eumeralla Wars, simply to survive.

I will remember how many peoples from these Nations were slaughtered in the Massacres of Convincing Ground, Murdering Gully and Fighting Hills.

I will remember how settlers and hired hands alike in the 1830’s – 1850’s took part in ‘Sunday Shootings’ where after Church, men would go ‘hunting’ in the afternoon for ‘entertainment and sport’.

I will remember how the entire Djab Wurrung were effectively exterminated within 60 years of European settlement to the area.

I will remember how in the 1860’s – 1900’s those members of the Nations that were left in my home area were rounded up like cattle, and driven on reserves or Missions at Lake Condah, Mt Rouse, Framlingham and Corandeerk.

I will remember how on these Missions, they were ‘Civilized and Christianised’ through the destruction of their culture, the brainwashing of them through learning Christianity by rote and fear of punishment.

I will remember how they were not included in participation at Federation, not included in the Census, and not included in Post-World War settlements, as they weren’t apparently fully human.

I will remember how their children were ripped out of their arms, simply because of the colour of their skin and taken away, never to be reunited.

I will remember how long it took for us Europeans to say sorry, and for how long it’s still taking us to mean it.

So today, I will remember.

Lest we forget.

Let it be

I’ve recently had some big changes in my life, and I’ve been struggling to come to terms with and live with the ‘new normal’. Several people have given me some really sound advice, yet I’ve still struggled to be ok. But just the other day, ‘Let it be’ by Paul McCartney was on the radio and it really started to hit home, the very simple and only thing I can do, is to put these things down, and ‘let it be’. Its from this place that I’ve written this poem.


Let it be. 

It comes and it goes, passing along the line.                                                                       Flying through some days, others overstaying its welcome.                                                 Some days it quietly enters the room, sitting silently in the corner,                                     Others its presence is announced loud and proud by flowing rivers.

It comes and it goes without invitation or request .                                                               At best it comes to please itself, at worst, to inflict like a psychopath.                                   Why do you visit me you beast, you sadistic being.                                                                 What purpose can this have, what good reason can you have?

Fear, hate and doubt are its middle names,                                                               Destabilizing, storm and turmoil are its cousins .                                                                   It waits until the most unsuspecting moment, the least planned for time,                               And it strikes, biting hard so its victim feels its fangs.

Once its victim is down, it invites its friends,                                                               Twisted, needy and selfish to join in .                                                                                     It takes full advantage of the situation,                                                                           Making sure to mess things up and much as possible before leaving.

I often fight,                                                                                                                            Yet I never win.                                                                                                                        I am always wounded,                                                                                                            Yet never killed off.

There is only one way through this storm though.                                                              There is only one path, one journey.                                                                                    Its lonely, hard and not for the faint of heart.                                                                      Yet, this path brings healing and balm, a calming of the storm and rest for the soul.

As I start to walk this path, fighting myself not to fight,                                                           the anthem starts to play,                                                                                                        a whisper in the night,                                                                                                             a soft melody playing in the background.

‘When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness, She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be, Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be…’

I just don’t know!!??

Those unexplained situations,
You know, those situations when you just can’t explain them?
When everything seems ok,
But you seem to know or feel,
It isn’t?

When all has gone well,
You’re healthy,
Happy and
Whole.

Yet for some reason you can’t seem to feel that.

You look back over your week,
Catch ups with good friends,
Lessons learnt in class,
Good coffee at cafe’s and
A mountain top experience at Church last Sunday.

Yet there’s this niggling feeling,

Why can’t I feel it?

Why is it I go over and over everything,

And there really is nothing wrong,

Yet it may as well be, because of the way you feel.

Are these ‘tests of faith’?
Are these ‘lessons on contentment’?
Are these ‘times you need to be grateful’?
Are these ‘times you need to draw closer to God’
Because you obviously have wandered away, down the garden path…

Maybe,
Just maybe,

You just need to see your GP?…
and get a hug from me 😉

Why did Jesus come to die?

Did Jesus come to die to save us from sin – or from something much closer to home?

Why did Jesus come to die? The answer to this question is such a major part of what it means to be a Christian, it hardly seems possible to write about it in such a short piece of writing. So I’m just writing this as part of a conversion, part of an open talk about some of our doubts and things we aren’t so sure about.

Lets start with a general understanding of why Jesus died. God created the earth perfectly, man chose to sin by eating the fruit, sin entered the world through that action and leaves us distanced from God, with no way to be in relationship with him.

Jesus comes to earth as God, yet as man – living a perfect life, and then dying, as we deserve to do, in our place. God accepts this as atonement for the sin, and through Jesus we can accept the gift of life and relationship with Him. This then changes us, as we now know the love of God, and can love ourselves, and others.

But here’s the catch. In the deepest part of my being, as I say this and think about it over and over, it honestly doesn’t make sense. Does it make sense to you?

Probably the first thing that comes to mind is the way we understand sin: what exactly is it? Is it the activity of evil? The devil and his ‘kingdom’? Is it how we describe our rebellious attitude toward God, when we ignore His voice in our hearts?

Something I’ve been mulling over is the reality – or perhaps just concept – of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. If we say that ultimate reality is that God is Love, then whatever exists is given reality by him. God himself is love and goodness, therefore evil can only be a an absence of good, not something in and of itself. Following that thought then, evil and sin, doesn’t exist.

As a thought experiment, if that were the case, and evil does not exist, how then do we explain the negative and unloving actions that we all commit? If evil doesn’t exist, then the only explanation is that evil is a delusion of our minds. Is evil and sin all simply the outplaying of the belief we aren’t loved by God? Do we fabricate this lesser ‘reality’ in our minds, giving power to it with our conscience, deeds and words? Is it out of this perceived reality we act, out of a warped sense of self and the world. Is this a distorted filter through which we perceive the ‘acts’ of sin?

Such an understanding may then confuse our understanding of Jesus’ death, especially the idea that it was is a transaction. We say Jesus took our place on the cross, bore the wrath of God upon himself, and in doing so took the judgement for me. He now offers the free gift of life and relationship with him, in exchange for taking my sin.

But again, this just doesn’t make sense to me. It seems as though we are spiritualising something that ‘is not’. In order for Jesus to take my sin, there had to be some kind of handover in the background, a ‘spiritual transaction’ in the sky for this to make sense, and maybe there was. But I just struggle to get my head around that one.

I think the Hebrew text offers a different reason for the death of Jesus: Jesus came and died the way he did because he came as a sign to the Jews, Matthew 12:39 – 40. The Jews had for thousands of years been waiting for a Messiah, someone who would be able to make an ultimate redeeming sacrifice. Their scriptures repeatedly prophesied that. Every sacrifice, every design of a temple, and all the prophets pointed towards a ‘once and for all’ sacrifice that would enable to people to come to God freely, and without shame. The broken relationship that Adam and Eve had in the Garden would be restored, Genesis 3:15. The vale that had been over our eyes would be lifted.

It begs the question: for the Jews, Jesus died as the Messiah; but if we were to believe sin is only in our heads, why do we believe Jesus died for us? If sin and evil do not exist except as delusions of our minds, does that mean Jesus died for a delusion – for something that doesn’t exist? If he didn’t come so there could be a great transaction in the sky, and he didn’t even come to be the ultimate sacrifice because without the existence of sin there is no need, why did He come?

Unless, the delusion itself was something God knew we would never see unless our minds were shattered by an action so unthinkable and illogical that it would begin to break the delusion: to create a crack just wide enough for the truth of God’s love to break in and begin it’s work in our hearts and minds. What if our blind minds and the Jewish history of prophecy that ‘there has to be a sacrifice’ combined to create only one way for us to ‘get it’ – Jesus had to die?

So a final question for you. Did Jesus come, and die, not to save us from something called ‘evil’ or ‘sin’, but to free us from ourselves. To free us from our own minds, and realise all along that God is love, and He loves us.

Little Fish Bowls

We once swam in little fish bowls,
Swimming around and around.
Darting in and out of the little fake castles,
In and out of the reeds.
Occasionally getting feed,
Yet being quite happy.
Quite content,
Quite satisfied.

We once swam in little fish bowls,
Swimming happy with our little selves.
We had no reason to be dissatisfied,
No reason to be upset.
We never experienced much,
But why did we need to.
We had all we needed,
In our little fish bowls.

We once swam in little fish bowls,
Not knowing what we missed.
We never knew,
That water could be contain the deep.
We never knew,
That water could be do dark.
We never knew,
That water could be so warm.

We once swam in little fish bowls,
But not now. No,
No longer do we swim in our bowls,
No longer do we swim in circles.
No longer do we swim in and out of fake castles,
No longer do we swim in reeds.
No longer do we swim around each other,
No longer can we swim in little fish bowls.

We once swam in little fish bowls,
Thinking that’s all there was to life.
Thinking less of others for not being happy,
Thinking more of ourselves for trying to be.
Yet all the while long,
We couldn’t help but shake this thought,
‘What if I was never meant to swim,
in a little fish bowl?’

We once swam in little fish bowls,
But oh – we don’t anymore.
Swimming in the ocean,
Big broad and free!
But such is the hard task of swimming in the sea,
That sometimes we cry in pain.
Just maybe wishing that we were swimming again,
in little fish bowls.

We once swam in little fish bowls,
But, we don’t anymore.
We are swimming in the ocean,
Floundering, gasping for air, not knowing our way.
Feeling the pull of currents,
Feeling the cold rush of icy waters from the south.
Sometimes we manage to swim,
Most of the time though, we flip and flop around.

We once swam in little fish bowls,
But we out grew the bowls.
We had to move on,
We had to get out and into the sea.
We thought this over and over,
Talking and dreaming of a bigger place to swim.
But now we’re here,
We aren’t sure – or its just too damn hard!

We once swam in little fish bowls,
And now we swim in the ocean.
So hear this little fish,
Hear this and lift your heart.
Listen and be encouraged,
Comfort yourself with Jesus’ words.
Seriously, come over,
Hear these words and let them in:

To you who dared to be different,
‘You to whom this poem be,
You who let yourselves be poured out into the sea.

You are courageous.
You are the brave ones,
YOU are My Daughters and My Sons!

Be encouraged,
Don’t loose sight,
For it is in you, that my fire burns bright!

For in all this,
There was only one thing you failed to see,
I wasn’t in the fish bowl – I am the sea!

The Gap…

I once heard…                                                                                                                  That God was my comfort.

That He was my ease in the storm,

The calmness in conflict,

The breeze on a hot day,

Or the kindly love during a tough time.

I once was told…

That to ask for God,

Was to ask for relief,

For a soothing touch,

For a gift,

Or even,

Just a break.

I once was shown…

That God gave gifts,

That God gave me everything I needed,

That God would give me what I wanted, if I asked in his will.

I once felt…

Blessings,

Peace,

Depth,

Safety, and

Stability.

I once tasted…

Richness of Flavour,

Sweetness in the mouth,

The satisfying feeling of fullness,

The rich benefits of food.

Yet,

I never heard God.

I never spoke with God.

I never saw God.

I never touched God.

I never ate with God.

Until I was,

In the space less than ok,

In the argument,

In the grief of loss,

In the middle of a wound,

In the day that sucked like shit,

In the pain of grief,

In the heat of the day,

In the raging of the storm,

In the cut of the knife,

In the agony of death,

In the deepest sadness of depression,

In the midst of my tears,

In the gap…

It is there,

I found him.

A new journey

I’m about to start on a new journey, a new path, a new opportunity…

Reflecting on that, what does that even mean? Is it simply another direction that I walk in, or is it a completely different path? Could it be a path just next to the one I was just on, or is it a new highway kilometers away? I think it depends – but heck – there’s a lot of variables! Anything from who’s involved, where it is and why it is!

I’ve heard it said before ‘Knowledge that hasn’t been transformed, will always be transferred’. I love and hate this at the same time, I think because it holds so much truth.

I’m hurt by the realization of what my life is – a lot of repeats and unlearned lessons repeating over and over like a broken record. Yet, I love it because it gives me the tools to acknowledge what is happening and start to transform this knowledge.

I suppose this isn’t something groundbreaking because just like what Einstein’s definition of insanity says: ‘Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’ we can’t expect a new journey or a new opportunity to fix anything. Our lives will simply repeat themselves in the new situation until we find and fix the actual problem.

So why do I want, like so many others to move on, to try something new, or to have a go at my life’s dream? I often lie awake pondering this, so I probably can’t answer this well yet, but here are some reflections as I continue to ponder.

  • Each experience has its own culture/perspective

With each and every new experience comes a new culture, a new set of people, a new land scape and a new perspective on life. What I’m trying to say is we all have lenses we see the world through, and whether they are rose tinted or not they are our own shade. So with each different experience, it’s like putting on a new pair of sunnies, we see everything a bit differently.

  • Each time you move on, it helps you see what’s just about that place or you.

This is probably the most awful to realise, because if your anything like me you realise that there is a LOT that you carry around. But, I do think this provides a way to discern what has been a problem with the last place, or something problematic you’re holding onto.

  • The only source of knowledge is experience’

Another Einstein quote I know, but I think it’s so true! The hardest and most valuable lessons that I’ve learnt to date have all been through experience. Lessons learnt through what I’ve read, what I’ve been told or what I come to a conclusion about are often questioned and discarded in the face of you guessed it – experience! I don’t think there’s anything that changes our minds so quickly as an experience that contradicts what we think about something.

So, where am I heading with all this in mind then?

To be honest, I think the answer to that is still forming at best, but what I’m thinking so far is this. With new experiences under my belt, it won’t only help me to better be able to identify and fix my own personal issues, but also give me new perspectives to see and understand the world. One of the quickest ways I found, as a Mechanic, to stuff a job up was to think you were the only person who knew how to fix it. Getting others ideas and suggestions normally resulted in either a quicker or simpler solution to the problem.

So here’s to Melbourne and all the adventures that it entails – Cheers!

A way forward…

This was written early last year after much contemplation and reflection. Out of everything I’ve written so far, I’d have to say that this piece is the most deeply personal and a window into my heart. I really enjoyed writing this – as I find writing or music as a way to release the pain and tension that may be going on. I hope and pray that you might find some release in reading this.

Pain,
Four letters
Just four solitary letters.
That put together, bring to the mind
Misery, 
Feelings of sadness, grief, and even horror!
What is it?
Is it even real?
Is pain actually even something?
Or just some cruel way,
Our minds,
Spirits,
Body’s or souls,
Have a laugh at us?
Sometimes, I just, don’t know.

Pain-comes in many forms, caused by many reasons.
Cuts and bruises,
Tears,
Depression,
Stress,
Death.
What awful feelings these are.
And for those going through it,
They, although knowing the pain,
Can’t even openly express it,
Its often so overwhelming.

The pain,
Pain!
PAIN!!!
Questions after questions after questions!
Why, why did this happen, why me, why now, why Why WHY!
No-ones looking…
Tears begin
And they flow,
Flow from built up pain of long ago.
Deep within you, gut renching,
Like casams of ice, is like the deep, deep roots, of this pain.

What is solace,
What is balm…
These words have not been used for long, long periods of time.
So long ago, it is hard to remember what it even is.
Where is the light?
Where is the end of this tunnel of endless and weary trudging!?

Hope, ha.
What a joke, where is hope now…
How could hope ever know this,
This, this… Hopelessness!

Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth.
No big lights, no flashy people or shows.
Just a man.
A man, about 30 years old,
A beard and robe.
Just standing there, in the distance you see him.
Closer and closer you trudge.
‘I know’
Breaks the silence by this stranger,
‘I know what?’ You think to yourself
‘I know your pain, the grief and agaony you are going through’
You break down,
This is the first person in your life ‘to know’ what this pain is.
You cry and cry and Jesus crys with you.
You ball your eyes with him, leaning on his shoulder.

Time passes,
You start to talk, to unload,
To properly share and show your pain.
Then he says it,
At first you can’t even believe your ears,
He says it again
‘You are forgiven, you are now mine, I have bought you at the complete cost of myself. Just to show you, I LOVE YOU!’

What is this word, ‘love’?
‘Its me, I am Love’ he says
I give you myself, everything, always, all the time, forever and ever. Just because I, love, you! Don’t worry, ill show you. Just follow me, just simply follow me. And I will lead you. Lead you in love, to, through, and for love, until, you are love as well.’
Tears stream in joy,
Tears like none other than ones of pain eased,
Pain lifted,
And a way forward. 

Rest…

Written while sitting on couch, with others quietly listening to music.

Quietly

Quietly sitting
Contemplating
Listening
Being still

Watching
Waiting
Tired
Resting

Dreaming,
Dreaming about the better life we wish for, yet never seems to happen.
Remembering what happened – pain, anxiety, hurt, worry, uncertainty flood your mind.

Stillness as the music plays

(Breath)

I wish is was, but it isn’t.
It could have been,
It might have been.

I don’t know when things will change. I hope things will though.

Life goes on,
People are speaking,
People move around,
The track changes,
The dinner call is made.

We sit in rest,
But we really are restless.
Searching for something we can’t describe.

Is it simply rest?

Eternal rest,
are we just tired of running, moving, walking, doing and finding no true satisfaction?

Jesus will give us this rest.

When he comes, we will receive perfect peace and rest.

O what a glorious day that will be!!

A poem

This is something I wrote for Valentines Day 2013, see what you think.

Valentine’s Day

I’m not sure of its origin,
But I think its from long ago.
Maybe it might be Catholic,
Whatever it is, I’m giving this poem ago.

What does this day mean to you,
Is it your boyfriend or girlfriend that makes the day?
Is it memories of a long ago love that has passed away,
Or just a secret card from maybe, you, hey?

Whatever makes today special,
I think I would like to reflect.
On a very special kind of love,
That often doesn’t get a lot of respect.

This love is kind, gentle, giving and deep,
It never runs out, and flows like a river.
It is patient, forgiving, believing and hopeful,
It runs from all wrong, it won’t put up with a slither.

This love is not normal for the world,
it goes against the grain.
It says I choose you because I love you,
Not for anything you have done, yet you are set to gain.

When it flows, its like a never ending river,
That pours from a deep deep spring,
Giving life to everything around it,
The trees, grass, animals and birds sing.

This love is called Grace.
It comes from a man called God,
Who sent his son to die on a cross of wood in shame,
to take the penalty of our sin and place it abroad.

This love then offers a perfect relationship,
One that no personal human could imagine.
One that is without flaw in every way,
And one that is connected to heaven.

This love is unique because,
Its not about getting a reward,
Or chasing a carrot on a stick,
But a personal relationship with God of the universe who is Lord.

He loves, with true love,
There is no other without Him.
Accept by faith this free gift of grace,
And live in true freedom, in Him.

Think about it, really please do.
This is true love being offered to you.
God loves you and wants you to join him,
In releasing heaven on earth and making everything new.