Thursday 27 May 2010

Getting All Excited...

Have you heard yet? I'm going to be an authentic grandpa for the first time soon - somewhere around the end of July. I've been a step-grandfather for 12 years but this is MY daughter Megan we're talkin' bout now, living in Chicago with husband Justin, who has just finished law school. Carole Anne and I are developing plans to stop in there to see the little feller and family in October on the way home from a few weeks in northern Italy (a trip we'd been planning on before we knew about all this other.)

Funny how little people can make you go round the world - or is it "make your world go round?"

Megan, being a great photographer as well as a professional artist, has a growing band of readers following her blog called MegaGood, featuring her "Daily Pictures of Happiness" which she started way back. During her pregnancy she has been comparing where the baby is at each week with a certain fruit or vegetable! It's been fun to follow, and this past weekend she posts with such refreshing honesty and deep yearning.

People in your own life who are pregnant might really enjoy scanning her columns...


"Every time I think about exercising it makes me want to go and wash my mouth out with chocolate."

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Iceland's Ash Cloud of the Apocalypse (the "Big One" Has Yet To Come)

I'm sure that many of us have been following the eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull (no, I can't pronounce it correctly either!) But have you seen this incredible High Def video yet, which contains footage taken quite close in to the vent? It's some of the best visual material of explosive eruptive activity that I've ever seen! About 8 minutes long, the camera work is remarkable and the sound is absolutely stunning, as well. (See either the video or a link below.)

However, all this is "small potatoes" according to a very eloquent reflection about our place in nature, combined with a profound warning about truly terrifying things to come in close proximity to Eyjafjallajokull. The article, "Iceland's Ash Cloud of the Apocalypse" by Brian Matthews, is posted in "Eureka Street" - a publication of Jesuit Communications Australia - and summarized thus:

"If Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano erruption was disruptive, its cousin Katla may have worse in store. Volcanoes, emanating a kind of preternatural, primal, patience, are landlords whose unchanging message is: you are renting; you haven't bought."

I find this provides fantastic visual, mental, and spiritual imagery for meditating, for example, on stuff like Psalm 46.

-Clair in Canberra

(If for some reason you can't see the clip of Eyjafjallajokull below, then simply click on this link to take you to its site on YouTube: )

Monday 10 May 2010

“Obama is not a brown-skinned anti-war socialist who gives away free healthcare. You’re thinking of Jesus."

That quip was made by John Fugelsang, one of America's well-known stand-up comics, who grew up as the son of a former nun and a Franciscan brother!

I think it's brilliant - a good example of the sort of faith-based humour Jesus himself loved to spring on people, which often deployed the concept of surprise. This reference to Jesus in our contemporary political context - where discriminatory immigration laws, health care, and war/peace initiatives are being hotly debated - probably does takes most people by surprise.

This quote also turns the image many right-wing Christians have about Jesus on its head. The use of irony is not only quite funny but reminds me of the sort of thing Jesus himself might say about what following him should be all about:

Remembering that Jesus was not white as often depicted is worthy of note, not only within blatantly racist cultures, but also among people of colour. Being "anti-war" would certainly be true about Jesus, if one takes his teachings seriously at all. Regarding the broader meaning of "socialist" - meaning the sharing of our wealth for the well-being of all - well, there are various examples among stories recorded about the life of Jesus and throughout other parts of the New Testament which seem to support that. And the rather timely clincher - "free healthcare"- I find that to be a refreshing and hilarious interpretation of Jesus' many healings in the Christian gospels, and all part of the "greater works" he expected to be engaged by his disciples, even today.

What do you think? What was your gut-reaction when you read this quote?