Archive for May, 2010

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Hi all!

May 31, 2010

Hello to my wonderful readers,

just a quick hello. I apologise for my lack of presence here recently. I am currently in the midst of illness, university assignments and the general hectic life that precedes the winter school holidays! I hope to get back here as soon as I write my essays and get back to full health! ūüôā

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The Awesome Song of Songs + a lament on self-righteous singles

May 12, 2010

Reading this on facebook? Please view and comment at the original post!

*Warning: big generalisations

Gledhill, T. (1994) The Message of the Song of Songs. Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press.

Koorong Books

If you read only one Bible study on Song of Songs, make it this one. It covers a lot of detail and is a positive read. It is so refreshing to read a Bible study text that affirms sexuality, rather than treating it as something to be dissected, abhorred and feared.

Today I read an article¬†on a Christian website that seemed to characterise marriage as God’s ‘back-up’ plan for the Christian who has no self-control. It appeared to be a simplistic dichotomy between married versus unmarried. The single Christian is perceived as somehow superior to the married Christian.

Usually I find the articles on that site as being high quality and excellent; but this particular article really did come across as the poorly thought-out. Perhaps I misunderstood it. The author is clearly writing as a single man Рthere is a peculiar kind of arrogance (for want of a better word) that a lot of young single Christian men seem to have regarding their lifestyle / lifestage.

These foolish attitudes ignore the original created very goodness of marriage (Genesis 1 and 2). It also implies that somehow God sees the single as greater¬† than the married. Yet, as I repeatedly tell my peers, marriage is what has transformed me – it is through marriage and parenthood that I came to know Christ, that I shed much selfishness, that I have had to learn grace, patience, endurance, forgiveness and generosity. I have had to learn self-sacrifice. I can no longer go out to drunken parties and sleep in late and do what I feel like, because it is not about me. I can’t just buy what I want –¬†the money is not mine but ours.¬†Everything¬†I do impacts on the lives of other people. I am an individual, yes, but I am a social being who exists within the context of family and community. Not that I consider myself communitarian, but we are more than just our individuality – we are all social creatures, designed in the image of a Triune God, purposed for LOVE, and love can only exist when we realise that ‘I’ is not the centre of the universe. (Yes, obviously single people are capable of love so please don’t think I somehow characterise “them” as the “Other” or as soulless robots.)

Now, I have read other articles by the same author that I have found useful and insightful. However, I must admit that these days I find little substance in Christian preaching that comes from young, unmarried, determinedly and self-righteously single (as opposed to those who are genuinely called by God and gifted to walk in celibacy / singleness). It simply rarely applies to my life stage. I am in my 20s and trying to¬†discover who¬†I am and where I am meant to go, as a¬†woman, as a wife, as a mother and daughter and sister and cousin and niece, as a student and in my future career, and as a member of a local community of followers of Christ. There is a level of annoyance that I experience when unmarried Christians my own age start preaching on the benefits of what appears to be a generally self-absorbed life style. Singleness does not equal greater devotion to God.¬†When I am scraping together money to pay another set of bills, trying to keep my kids in private¬†Christian school, when I really would rather just have that money to buy myself some new jeans, or I’m trying to be patient towards my husband, trying to ignore my own convenience to serve my family, well – that’s when God comes in. Because only He can give me the grace, strength and energy that I need to get through these challenges. Only He can provide when the bills cost more than our income. Only He can help me create a healthy marriage.

I understand that many young Christians may be called to a time of singleness, but I think some unnecessarily¬†inflate their pride by assuming that they are too good for marriage, that marriage is God’s Plan B. It also ignores the practical realities of marriage and parenthood in the Christian context¬†– leave it too late and biology will have its way: the human female body is, I have heard, designed to reach peak child-bearing¬†age in the mid-20s. It all goes downhill from there. A young woman who ever wants the possibility of having a family will need to bear this in mind before it is too late.

Gledhill’s Song of Songs¬†is an excellent study that shows that sex really is designed by God as part of the whole human experience. I mean, it really does become a thing of beauty when considered through God’s eyes. It is a well-written and balanced text and I certainly recommend it, particularly¬†to married or almost-married Christians. I for one would love to see Christians, in general, shed their bizarre hang ups and legalistic ideas regarding sex. I do get tired of the Christian marriage books (usually American, it seems to me) that treat sex in marriage as a series of “do nots” but miss out on the glorious complexity of the human being and the marriage relationship.

I also get tired of reading complicated manuals on dating, etc. Really, is it that complex?All this stuff on ‘the girl should not ask a guy out’, ‘you should have your first¬†chaperoned date by age 15’, ‘some kinds of sex between a man and wife are sinful’… blegh. Whatever. If we spend all our time constructing these difficult and complicated and not-in-the-Bible rules, we’re going to miss out on the glorious full and abundant life God has for us. That extends to making up some rules, based on half-read Bible verses, about how God is disappointed every time a Christian gets married. Because He’s not disappointed. Marriage is given as an example of the love Christ has for His church. It is by no means an inferior state of being.

*Disclaimer – I am not trying to bag single Christians. I do not believe that married or unmarried is the argument or debate here. We are all unique and we need to ask God to open our eyes to what He would have us do.

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Evening song of the blackbird

May 12, 2010

Ink fineliner and pencil on paper, October 2009.

One of my favourite times of day is the evening, when the blackbirds sit on the fence outside my kitchen window and sing their last songs for the day. We get bats arround here and they look fantastic, flying their way past the Moon in black clumsy silhouettes.

While I generally dislike the whole suburban living thing, there is something lovely about evenings, when the birds sing and the streetlights switch on, and I can hear people out walking their dogs and the scent of dinners wafting through the windows. It’s not all bad. This drawing is one of my many attempts to capture how I feel about this aspect of life in the suburbs.

I used pencil shavings to colour the illustration. I shave bits of the coloured pencil lead and smudge them into the paper. I feel it creates a smoother textured and better blended image than if I just used the pencils the normal way. This little trick was something I learnt at school many years ago, when I was about 8 years old. I haven’t forgotten it, and enjoy using it.

See more: http://flokot.redbubble.com/sets/107560/works/3906816-4-blackbirds-last-song-of-the-evening

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Female Genital Mutilation – Article

May 7, 2010

http://iinformedparenting.blogspot.com/2010/05/american-academy-of-pediatrics-devolves.html

This article is worth reading.

As an Australian, I am not particularly familiar with circumcision of any form – it’s not common here (on boys and definitely not on girls), and my understanding is that male circumcision is only really practised in specific religious and ethno-cultural contexts.

I find the concept of surgically altering a child’s body in this form distressing and disturbing, and I think it’s really sad that some Westerners would actually demand the “right” to force violence of any form on infants. I certainly hope it doesn’t become accepted in Australia.

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Karnivool – Sound Awake

May 5, 2010

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve listened to Karnivool’s awesome album “Sound Awake” (2009 Sony EMI). My favourite song on the album seems to change according to my mood, but I particularly like “New Day” and “Simple Boy”.

So I figure that they definitely warrant a mention on here, as I find their music so beautiful, powerful and inspiring. It’s music like this that makes me feel pretty super about being an Australian (not that I didn’t feel good about my nationality already!), and it’s so exciting to hear some great melodic hard rock being made by my fellow Aussies.

I would probably describe them as being similar to Tool, but a lot happier and with Aussie accents… but I don’t want to box them in as being just an Australian answer to Tool, because Karnivool are a lot more diverse than that.

“All I Know” – Sound Awake

“Simple Boy” – Sound Awake

Karnivool’s singer Ian Kenny is also lead singer for Birds of Tokyo, another superb Australian band.

“Heard it Through the Grapevine”¬†– Covered by Birds of Tokyo for Australian radio station Triple J.

“Wayside” – Birds of Tokyo

iTunes

 

 

 

 

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405. White’s thrush with Apple

May 5, 2010

Ink fineliner on paper, November 2009.

Inspired by fruit and the bird Zoothera heinei – which was called a White’s thrush in the book I was reading (though it may be out of date).

See also: http://flokot.redbubble.com/sets/107560/works/4074228-3-bird-and-apple

 

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Mum’s New Art Blog :)

May 1, 2010

http://annepickersgillsart.wordpress.com/

Last week I was helping my mother set up a new blog / website about her Lord of the Rings and Robin Hood themed art. It will be well worth adding the RSS feed to your feed reader so you can be alerted to when the blog becomes public (which is not the case as I write this).

The RSS feed is feed://annepickersgillsart.wordpress.com/feed/.

Her current site (as I write) is http://pic6.piczo.com/AnnesFrodoArtEtcetera/?g=1. I think her work is pretty amazing, and I’m sure you will too.

She’s also been known to sell her art at http://myworld.ebay.com.au/frodosmum61/.

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