costs here and there

Want to have a baby in New Zealand?  That will cost you… nothing at all.  Diane and I have had various scans, midwife services, ante-natal classes, additional support and of course, the birth and subsequent more-than-normal care (heck, we’re even going to be reimbursed for the cost of petrol/gas to and from the hospital!) for our precious 7-week premature Thomas – all payed for by taxes payed by us and the rest of New Zealand.  So, yes, nothing is free, but these burdens are shared by the whole country here…

Want to have a baby in the United States?  You’ll probably want insurance.  I’m told a common cost for having a baby is around $10,000.  Who on earth would have ever thought that something so sublime as childbirth should ever have to be something you have to be insured for!!??

Then again, maybe New Zealand makes up for it in wireless internet charges?  In the US, you can go to nearly ANY cafe and enjoy free wireless internet – here, I’m paying $3 per hour ‘thanks’ to Tomizone… :)

an end of the pax americana?

Obamas turn has come to rule the American empire.

Will it continue to be a mass-consuming empire of greed?

Only time will tell.

Here is a thoughtful, timely and read-worthy critique by Brian Walsh entitled:

Barack Obama: A Post-Imperial Presidency?

And yes, the same question could’ve/should’ve been asked had McCain won the election…

wright – ‘wisdom in a troubled time’

In this sermon to head-masters/mistresses, Wright touches on quite a few important concerns – especially for our time.  In particular, he focuses on at least two examples of foolishness ( 1) economic foolishness demonstrated in the current ‘crisis’, and 2) the foolishness of the so-called ‘evolution-creation debate’) and the need for wisdom.  Good stuff, Bishop.

700 billion

700 billion is an incredible amount of money.

I fully admit I know very little about the complexities of the recent situation with the folding-in of large banks in the US.

But I find the hype and hollering about impending financial crisis (not to mention the proposed 700 billion dollar bail-out) to be an insult to the rest of the world, which has much bigger problems than losing their mansion or their high-powered job.

The stark difference in standard of living needs to be kept firmly in mind here.  Yes, people in the US (and perhaps other developed parts of the world which are financially linked to it) appear to be in for some rough times (I honestly don’t know what will happen), but there is a difference between losing a $100,000 home with all kinds of conveniences, and (for example) having to move in with a relative’s house for a few years on one hand, and never even dreaming what it would be like to have your own house, car, blender, toaster, television, electric razor and cotton sheets at all on the other hand. Continue reading “700 billion”

the story of stuff

watch it here (worth all 20 minutes of your time).

Note: The scope of this thing is so huge, please don’t fault it for making sweeping statements – to cover what it does in 20 minutes, it has to make its statements as general as possible.

why the “economic stimulus” is a load of bull…

The US of A just spent $168 billion…

(or 152, depending on sources)

Might wanna read that again…

What did they spend it on?

Shopping… that’s right, shopping…

This makes me want to release a torrent of various expletives…

Each tax-paying American recently received hundreds of dollars to –yes– go shopping. The ridiculous rhetoric used for this was that of (as seen in the picture) ‘boosting our economy’. Why are they all smiling? Because you can rest assured, they all got rewarded (i.e. paid-off) wonderfully well by the various corporations that no doubt pushed this one through. Continue reading “why the “economic stimulus” is a load of bull…”

recent book purchase

Many books are on my desk at the moment.  Books for my theological study, and books for my personal interest.  I have too many books on my desk.  I cannot read them all…

Yet this did not prevent me from picking up 7 more books on our recent trip to the states… Continue reading “recent book purchase”

age of consent?

The video (around 8 minutes) on this page is very thought-provoking. A 19 year-old male had a (consentual) sexual relationship with his 15 year-old girlfriend, and was convicted for statutory rape, including on-going public identification as a sex-offender.

This scenario re-raises not only the question of sexual ethics (How old should a person be to have sex?), but also raises the question of what our laws are based on, etc.

Very interesting indeed (…and before Christians give too ‘conservative’ an answer, let me say that many people think that Mary was possibly as young as 14 when she was found to be pregnant with Jesus…)…

public service: worship and prayer included

Issues of culture, religion, politics and the like are of much interest to me.

This Friday, quite an interesting complex of issues will be focused in one event in which I’ll be taking part.

As a pastor of one of the churches in the Northcote area, I’ve been asked to take part in the ANZAC Day Commemorative Service, where we will (as the brochure will read) commemorate “those who have fallen in service of their Country.” My part in this event –which I will do gladly– will be (and I quote – again from the already printed order of service) to offer a “Call to Worship”, a “Prayer of Remembrance” and a “Benediction”.

Continue reading “public service: worship and prayer included”

good news for all the people

If only people in general –and Christians in particular– could grasp just a few key things that makes Jesus who He is… then I’m convinced not only that Christianity would have a better reputation, but –even further– those who aren’t Christians might be far less against the growth of Christianity…

People are scared about the growth of Christianity because they (often) think (and not without reason to) that this could eventually lead to a Christian state. All those voting Christians, voting in all those ‘religious’ laws, taking away our freedom, taking away our shopping on Sunday, etc. Many Christians are not at all hesitant to affirm that this is, in fact, precisely what they are working toward…

Now, this post is not directly about how Christians should relate to politics, but it does relate. I am convinced that the Christian faith is to be lived out in the public world, and not simply in private. However, the question is: “What does this look like?”

Continue reading “good news for all the people”