Posts Tagged ‘links’

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424. Self Portrait

January 24, 2011

20 January 2011 – photo, Nikon D90, 50 mm lens

It’s been a while since I’ve taken any photos. Armed with a mirror and camera I thought I’d have a bit of fun on a sunny summer’s day… (Australia’s summer this time has been exceptionally wet, so any sunny day is an event worth noting!)

My singlet and shorts are new, bought from Supré. The hair colour (blue-black) is new too. And the belt is super cute, I bought it from Ozmosis. The singlet says “I ❤ Aus” on the front – Australia Day is coming up this week (26 January) and I don’t know about anyone else, but there’s definitely a sense that Aussies are becoming more patriotic these days. I see it as a positive. For a lot of us, we may be several generations Australian, and I see this movement as a way for young adults like me to say, yes, we acknowledge our various ancestries, but we are Aussie, this is who we are, it’s unique, it’s positive. Anyway, I’m rambling.

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Hello!

October 19, 2010

Apologies to my regular readers for my recent absence. I have, as usual, been immersed not only in studies but in parenting (e.g., mopping-up after sick children) and, therefore, have not had as much time to write or draw as normal.

In other news, my husband has recently started blogging at Advanced Mattematics. I hope you check out his writings.

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Stuff

September 16, 2010

The week of attempted veganism is failing miserably (keeping in mind that I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian who has been successfully vegetarian since 1995). Yesterday alone I consumed dairy chocolate, fried egg and possibly inadvertently even ate a caterpillar or two after I found one in my Chinese mixed vegetables with tofu!

Today I also had two squares of chocolate and cheese in my dinner. And egg in last night’s leftovers. My gurgling stomach is, perhaps, my due punishment!

Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

For a simple introduction to what on Earth I’m on about, have a look at the free downloadable PCRM Veg Starter Kit.

(I am studying vegetarianism, animal rights and environment for my upcoming dissertation, hence the sudden overflow of blog posts about the topic.)

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Captivating

September 14, 2010

Today I picked up an “old friend” of a book – John Eldredge and Stasi Eldredge’s Captivating (2005). I simply can’t recommend it enough. It is one of the (sadly) very few Christian women’s books that I have read, and re-read, and been transformed by.

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Veganism, joint facebook accounts and dress shopping

September 14, 2010

Yes, more musings. It’s probably a sign I’ve been reading too much. Or not socialising enough.

Day 2 of attempted vegan eating and, whoops, I ate honey. And egg pasta. Oh well. I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian to be precise (though that doesn’t necessarily entail a particularly large intake of either dairy or eggs). Dairy usually makes me sick. I maintain my position (as I have for 15 years) that I will not deliberately consume something that causes the direct death of another sentient creature… but after my first foray into veganism I discovered that, honestly, I found cheese and free range eggs too hard to resist. I could go on and on, but I won’t. As it is, my honours dissertation is revolving around these topics. So it’s moved from “personal interest” to “homework”; therefore, I will desire to avoid it in my free time.

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Things I find weird? People who have a joint facebook account with their spouse. E.g. “JohnAndJane Jones” (made that up, not referring to a specific individual.) Why do people do that? They then have to sign every post with a clarifier: “Oh, by the way, it’s John here.”

What’s the deal with it? Is it because they have only one email address? Hmm… it can’t be money concerns, can it? Tried hotmail, gmail, yahoo mail or any of the free mail services out there? Is your Internet Service Provider so darn tight that they won’t give you more than one email account if you prefer that style of thing? Is it because they are so emotionally fused (to borrow a concept from Dr Schnarch) that they can’t possibly give each other free rein?

My husband and I have separate accounts. It’s great. I can write all over his facebook wall while he’s at work. That, and I’d like to think that, even though we are “one flesh” and all that, we do carry ourselves as individuals… That, and he’s clicking the Like button on bands and stuff that I definitely don’t like. I don’t want to be mistaken for “liking” the same sort of music.

*And for goodness’ sake, don’t assume that just because most people on the Internet are grumpy / angry that I am somehow in an accusative or vindictive mood right now. I am amused by it, more than anything. Though I will add that out of well over 300 facebook ‘friends’ (most of whom I do count as real life friends… the joys of being from a large extended family and a megachurch), I don’t have one that is living a fused social networking life with their spouse.

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Bought a new dress today. Very happy with it. It’s black, it’s covered in hot pink cat shapes, and it was roughly 60% off the original price. Yay for end-of-season fashions!

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Christian Apologetics Article on “BioLogos”

September 7, 2010

Another apologetics link – in this case, on the topic of BioLogos, one of the various alternative perspectives out there that tries to fit the Bible into science (in this case, it appears to be a form of “theistic evolution“).

http://creation.com/biologos-evolutionary-syncretism

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Apologetics Links: Genesis 1 & 2 – contradictory?

September 6, 2010

A frequently asked apologetics question (and, admittedly, one that never really crossed my mind even in my most skeptical anti-Bible beliefs) is the perceived contradiction between the first two chapters of Genesis. My simplest preferred answer to this is that Genesis 2 is merely a fleshing out of the details of Genesis 1:24-31.

All links accessed 6 September 2010.

http://creation.com/genesis-contradictions

http://www.gotquestions.org/two-Creation-accounts.html

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2010/09/03/feedback-genesis-1-and-2#

http://www.tektonics.org/jedp/creationtwo.html

http://creation.com/whats-in-a-name

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-ordercreation.html

Read Genesis Chapter 1 at Bible Study Tools (New King James Version)

Read Genesis Chapter 2 at Bible Study Tools (New King James Version)

*This post is not dealing with the issue of whether or not Genesis should be taken literally, just whether or not the first two chapters of the Bible contradict each other. Further information on the issue of historicity of Genesis can be found at the websites linked above, and clarifying questions should be directed to those websites.

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Article by Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

September 4, 2010

Hipster Faith | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction.

Good article that I just read.

My questions of late have dealt with a lot of this stuff. Yes, I appreciate the sentiments expressed by what this article calls ‘hipster Christians,’ but as someone who travelled in the opposite direction: from outsider to following Christ: I am troubled by what I see as merely fashionable rebellion.

Do we need to be any of this? Do we need to be worldly tattooed conservative semi-rebels who pretend we’re cool because we swear in church and wear tight jeans? Do we need to be ultra-conservative somber perfect politically right-wing killjoys? Do we need to go hear shock jock preachers who purport to hold the real answers for a postmodern world and be manipulated into thinking that we are somehow less narrow minded and less judgemental and more like Jesus now?

Why can’t we just be ourselves and let Jesus shape us as He has intended?

Church and Christianity in general have been a source of significant disappointment for me in recent months. If it weren’t for the shining example of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, not to mention my love of the Bible and the close friends in whom I see Christ’s hands and feet, and the intelligent individuals with whom I’ve discussed theology and apologetics, it would be very difficult for me to remain in church.

I have so much more to say on this topic but haven’t yet worked out a way to articulate it, so I’ll leave it at that. This university essay won’t write itself. I will try to return to this issue after higher priority work is out of the way; though I suspect that it is an issue that won’t leave me in the first place.

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Good article on microblogging

September 4, 2010

“But there’s an even bigger worry that’s been gnawing on my brain. Blogging, at least the way I’ve been doing it, represents a medium of writing. Microblogging more closely resembles chat, which in turn mimics a telephone conversation. It isn’t meant to be permanent, or more than vaguely memorable. The medium is the message, and the message is disposable.”

Quote from: http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2010/08/22/that-buzz-you-heard-was-google-zapping-your-posts/ (22 August 2010)

For the record, I’m not on Twitter. If you have suffered through my stream of consciousness facebook status updates, you will be aware that the last thing the world needs is me bombarding it with tweets!

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10 Blogging Commandments?

September 3, 2010

Thought this constituted some good advice. What is it with angry “religious” blogs, anyway? (Speaking as a committed Christian who sees no need for vitriolic attacks on people with different opinions and perspectives – there’s room enough on the Internet for everyone, right?)

http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2008/10/03/church-leaders-draw-up-ten-blogging-commandments/

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Christian Apologetics Resources

September 1, 2010

1 Peter 3:15-16 reads:

But in your hearts set apart Christ as LORD. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

(New International Version, http://www.biblestudytools.com/1-peter/3.html)

Knowing the impact that Christians who follow this instruction have had in my own life, I have sought to follow it as closely as possible. To be able to “give an answer” when I can. Perhaps my reputation for doing this spread  a little amongst my fellow churchgoers, because I have found more and more recently that I get asked a lot of questions. Admittedly, my response often resorts to a line that I taught to members of the Bible study groups I used to lead: “I am not sure I can answer your question, but if you really want an answer, I will try to find one.”

Usually, when trying to answer people’s genuine questions*, or at least set them in a helpful direction, I generally refer them to one of several websites. In light of a recent increase in the number of questions I’ve been asked, here follows a list of the websites I have found most useful in helping fellow believers consider possible answers to their faith dilemmas.

* Genuine questions from genuine open-minded seekers, as in, not questions for the sake of being irritating!

I list these with the clear understanding that no apologetics ministry is infallible, and that all statements of faith must be measured against the Word of God (the Bible). I am also a  firm believer in academic freedom-of-thought, where all views deserve a reasonable voice in discourse.

If you have any suggested apologetics links, feel free to list them in the comments boxes. Be aware that more than one or two links will probably result in your comments being filtered for moderation / spam!

Creation Ministries International (Australia)

Creation: Frequently Asked Questions (Australia)

Creation Magazine (Australia)

Leadership U

Master Books

Every Student

Alien Intrusion (Australia)

Christian Answers

Josh McDowell

Institute for Creation Research

Probe Ministries

Archaeological Diggings Magazine

Ancient Days

Tekton Apologetics Ministry

Messiah Comes

Koorong Books – Academic (Australia)

Biblical Hermeneutics (Australia)

Kevin Conner E-Store (Australia)

RZIM

There are many, many books available on apologetics topics. Some books that I have read and found helpful are:

More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell

The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

In Six Days edited by John F. Ashton

The Creation Answers Book by Don Batten et. al.

Jesus Among Other  Gods by Ravi Zacharias

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Books: A Profound Weakness: Christians & Kitsch

July 23, 2010

A Profound Weakness: Christians & Kitsch (2005, B. Spackman, UK: Piquant)

I’ve been reading this excellent book on and off for a few months. Each time, I am once again amazed by its intelligent exploration of Christianity and the arts (and kitsch). It’s very challenging, too, and there’s a good chance that a lot of Christian readers might even feel insulted or uncomfortable by the text. Not that feeling bad is a problem: sometimes the truth hurts! It has taken me so long to read, simply because it is so big, so deep, that I can only absorb it in small doses. However, it addresses several important issues of Christianity, and I highly recommend it.

It is for anyone who has ever stopped to ask about the meanings (both overt and hidden) behind Christmas card imagery, Jesus statues, graveyards, motherhood and Mary, Christian t-shirts, Bible verse embroidery, multimedia presentations in church, church buildings, What Would Jesus Do? bracelets, icons, relics and several other similar areas. The insights regarding Christian art, particularly in the pressure upon artists to deliberately incorporate deliberate Gospel messages in their work, is especially important. I have enjoyed the process of being confronted by this powerful illustrated text.

I just wonder how I can get all the Jesus bumper sticker types at my church to read it! (Before you ask, I do not have any Christian bumper stickers on my car. My theory is that, unless I’m a brilliant and consistently courteous, careful driver, I probably shouldn’t be turning people off Jesus by inadvertently irritating them. What is it with the crooked parking, lane-cutting, unexplained sudden braking driving habits of people with ‘Fear God’ bumper stickers*, anyway?!)

(Links accessed 23 July 2010.)

More information:

http://www.amazon.com/Profound-Weakness-Christians-Kitsch/dp/1903689139/

http://orders.koorong.com/search/product/view.jhtml?code=1903689139

http://word.com.au/details.aspx?ProductID=546404

http://piquanteditions.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=10

*generalisation for humourous purposes only

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Australian Election 2010

July 19, 2010

So, another Federal election is around the corner.

One interesting issue that has been highlighted in the Australian media is the problematic reluctance of young Australians to enrol to vote. Perhaps they  (the 17-25 year old age group) do not realise that enrolling to vote is a legal requirement for all eligible citizens aged 17 and over?

I’m sure that they’re not, on the whole, politically apathetic. Perhaps it seems like such a hassle – getting up on a Saturday morning once every couple of years, lining up for a few minutes at one of the many polling centres around the country, and getting one’s name ticked off the list? The lure of the standard sausage sizzle that is found at a lot of voting centres mustn’t be strong enough!

I guess I can’t speculate on the reasons why a lot of young people are moralising and justifying their deliberate avoidance of enrolling to vote. I’m not much older than the above-mentioned demographic, and yet I cannot understand the desire to avoid voting. Politics affects our daily lives.

I, for one, want a say in how my country is run.

Here’s a few suggestions from my end:

learn some of the history of the struggles faced by different people groups, including socio-ecnomic groups, ethnicities and genders, in securing the right and freedom to vote. Maybe you’ll realise what a privilege it is.

– refusal to participate in democratic process surely negates the right to complain about the process.

– get educated. Learn the broad policy overviews of the different political parties. It’s not that hard. The Liberals and Labor are similar, yes, but sit on opposite sides of the political fence. The Australian Liberals are more conservative, the Labor party more left wing. Family First and the Greens provide alternative viewpoints. There’s a heaps of other minor parties too. Find an issue you care about and see what the parties are saying about it.

Homelessness? Taxes? The breakdown of the family unit? Environment? Health care? Marriage and divorce? Social justice? Refugees? Racism? Crime?

(On the issue of how Australian politics is affecting the needs of the homeless, go have a look at the Swags for the Homeless website.)

Have a look at the ACL Make It Count website to see some of the issues addressed by the two major parties.

After all that, Enrol to Vote as soon as possible!

There are lot of political parties in Australia, and here are links to a few of their websites. I am listing them alphabetically and not making any references to my own preferred politicians. Feel free to add more in the comments section.

Australian Democrats

Australian Labor

Christian Democratic Party

Family First

Liberal Party of Australia

The Greens

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410. Feeling a bit Australian

July 9, 2010

Coloured pencil on paper, October 2009.

There’s a popular Australian kids’ song about a kookaburra sitting in an old gum tree. I don’t know why I thought of it, except that the tree here is gum tree-esque and there’s a bird in it. Not a kookaburra, though.

I wanted to capture a sense of the Australian summer. It’s usually hot, but in recent summers it’s been awfully hot. Living in south-eastern Australia means that the weather isn’t usually too bad, but it can swing to some crazy extremes in summer (December-February) and winter (June-August). So, while we’ve had temperatures in the high 40s (degrees Celsius) in summer, we also have had temperatures as low as 2 degrees Celsius in the last week. We have a saying in Melbourne: if you don’t like the weather outside, just look out a different window. More often than not, it’s true. Grey storm clouds out the kitchen window and sunshine out the bedroom window is a common enough occurrence that I started taking that saying literally!

On the topic of Melbourne, I wish I could demonstrate how it’s pronounced here. Maybe one of these days I’ll have to make a video of me talking about Aussie-isms (with my rural Victorian accent I sound more ocker than my “cultivated” husband’s city private school accent that other people mistake for being British)… and yes, I can do a fair impression of Strine. For the benefit of my multicultural friends, though, I often have to speak in the cultivated accent… though some of them find my ocker accent pretty entertaining. Ah, funny. I love being Aussie.

Oh, on pronouncing Melbourne, don’t think mel-born. Think mel-b’n. I hope that helps. On pronouncing Australia, think oss-stray-lee-aaah, not oz-strah-lee-ah. Hmm. This is why phonics doesn’t work so well, right? 😉

http://flokot.redbubble.com/sets/107560/works

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Article: Churches Adopt Adoption

July 8, 2010

I just read this article in Christianity Today, “Churches Adopt Adoption“. It’s such an exciting thought that people are seeking positive change to impact the lives children. How heartbreaking, then, was the thought of an adoptive mother putting her 8 year old boy on a plane because she, quote, “I no longer wish to parent this child.” As the mother of an 8 year old, I can’t even imagine what hardship a mother would have gone through to feel that the only solution would be to send her little boy on a plane back to his home country. However, at the risk of saying too much on a topic I don’t know enough about, I’ll just leave it at that.

Here’s the link: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/july/11.23.html?start=1

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Godly Eros

July 3, 2010

I just read this fascinating article and wanted to share the link.

Quote: “This is a tragedy. If Christians are going to grasp the truth about sex and marriage, and effectively combat our culture’s profound sexual confusions, we must not abandon eroticism to the pimps and pornographers. We must instead become eroticism’s strongest advocates.”

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=17-07-018-v

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407. Birds and Heritage Vegetable Gardening

June 18, 2010

Ink fineliner on paper, circa February 2010.

A bird on a pumpkin! I was reading a book on heritage vegetable gardening and felt so inspired by the beautiful fruits and vegetables that I decided to create an illustration representing that. I got the references for the birds from a book on Australian birds, though right now I can’t recall what kind of birds they are, exactly. I’m still working on my knowledge of Australian avians!

http://flokot.redbubble.com/sets/107560/works

Heritage Vegetable Gardening information can be found at The Diggers Club website.

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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 – there 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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ICR on Progressive Creationism

September 9, 2009

Here’s a link to an interesting article (accessed 1 September 2009), talking about the basics of ‘progressive creationism,’ one of the many attempts to form a theory that combines popular science with Biblical Creation:

http://www.icr.org/article/progressive-creationism/

Quote from the article: “We conclude that progressive revelation—each additional verse shedding infallible light on previous revelation—demonstrates conclusively that “old-earth Progressive Creationism” must be abandoned by those who claim to believe that God has not erred in His written revelation of truth in the sixty-six books of the Bible.”

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Photography Plug

September 4, 2009

I just wanted to give a quick ‘plug’ for a Melbourne-based photographer/videographer (!) friend of ours. He takes fantastic photos. His recent 21st birthday party doubled as an art exhibition of his amazing landscapes, and – demonstrating his great values – all profits made from photo sales were donated to charities! (I’ve never been to a 21st birthday party that was a charitable event before!).

Anyway, I encourage you to check out his great work.

His recent work includes the Dare Conference, CityLife Church’s annual women’s conference. CityLife is one of Australia’s largest Christian church communities, with congregations meeting over several locations in Melbourne.

jStuchbery Productions

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