Previous month:
June 2011
Next month:
August 2011

July 2011

Lyric For The Day 9.7.11 from Fire and Rain by James Taylor

Fire and Rain 

“Won't you look down upon me, Jesus
You've got to help me make a stand
You've just got to see me through another day
My body's aching and my time is at hand
And I won't make it any other way...”

-      From Fire and Rain by James Taylor

A beautiful prayer of utter dependency on one of James Taylor’s most accomplished tunes. Taken from 1970 when everyone was looking to spiritual things... at times in their confusion they hit a verse just right...

Lyric For The Day - 8.7.11 from So Beautiful Or So What by Paul Simon

PauL Simon 

“Four men on the balcony
Overlooking the parking lot
Pointing at a figure in the distance
Dr. King has just been shot
And the sirens long melody
Singing Saviour pass me not
Ain’t it strange the way we're ignorant
How we seek out bad advice
How we jigger it and figure it
Mistaking value for the price
And play a game with time and love
Like a pair of rolling dice
So beautiful, so beautiful
So what”

-      From So Beautiful Or So What by Paul Simon

Paul Simon’s God drenched new record ends with the title track and in Simon’s gentle way is nothing less than an later call. Here is an album that sees God coming to earth and Simon going to heaven. He has asked for a rewrite and many other questions to angels. He has gone on about the sacred, blessings and promises and now to conclude… Basically we can make this life beautiful or something so meaninglessness that we can dismiss it as so what. I love the juxtaposition of the beautiful contribution of Martin Luther King and the gamble with bad advice we seem to be living with since. Which one is it to be?


QATAR 2022 
Just when it seems like Soccer’s governing body FIFA cannot become more of a laughing stock there is another headline! This time the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar might see matches changed from two halves to three thirds! Qatar winning the bid for a World Cup has been a joke since its announcement, one of FIFA’s most disastrous decisions among very many! The day of the announcement it was suggested that all the games would be played in air conditioned stadiums which in some ways seemed very interesting and high tech but a tad strange! Then there was the idea that the Finals would be moved to December and January. Suddenly everywhere else in soccer was going to have to change their schedules because of this decision. Now we are talking about a game of three thirds!

It is unbelievable. It is like Ailsa Craig being given the right to host the British Open Golf and because it is so small the tournaments would see players hitting shots off a tee box into the sea where they would put a series of little floating targets. Or Wimbledon being moved to a place too small for tennis courts so they would have to use a wall, a bit like squash with tennis equipment!

Surely, when the governing body of Soccer sit down to decide the venue for its most prestigious tournament, the showcase of the game, you would think they would be keen to choose the venue where the game could best be played. Surely, they should be thinking weather, pitches, stadiums etc. If FIFA don’t use such guidelines it is easy for us to think that for FIFA money has become more important than the game or that something even more sinister is at work!

A Qatar World Cup? FIFA? Sepp Blatter for four more years? Soccer deserves better than the perpetuity of joke headlines and the laughing stock of a World Cup played over three thirds, in air conditioned stadiums at Christmas!



As another report hits the news about the amount of time some people spend on social media I would like to take a minute to stand back and take stock. As a pastor I believe in the social media as a resource for very good things. As a father I am always quite pleased to see my children either engaging with people on Facebook or even chatting in vision with people on MSN.

Let me go back a century and ask you to follow my argument. When Radio became available in homes it was probably the first intrusion into family relationships. A few decades after that Television became perhaps even more intrusive. Or did it? Having decided not to have a television in our north coast home (I have one in the city that belongs to my work) I discovered that radio is actually more intrusive as everyone needs to be quiet to listen. You can watch a soccer match with conversation going on but you can’t easily listen to one! Without doubt though television that has hundreds of channels all on for 24 hours has been the biggest drawback to socialising. The record and later the visual game might have competed for teenagers attention BUT neither were really anymore social.

Which is why I have encouraged the intrusion of social networking. Rather than stopping socialisation it has fought back. I don’t believe that it has dragged people in from socialising in the street to stare google eyed at computers. That had already happened. Due to all kinds of social changes my children no longer have the freedom to roam the city and hang out on street corners with their friends. We have perhaps been over protective but whatever the reason we have a lot of teens with time on their hands.

So my suggestion is that the time being spent on social networking has not been stolen from ordinary socialisation but is actually being stolen from television watching and violent game playing. It is re-engaging a socially deprived generation with socialisation. Rather than watching hours of MTV I would rather my daughters were chatting to their mates on MSN, sending creative and silly photos and just shooting the breeze. I am delighted that conversing on social media is causing teens to ask their parents if they can go and have coffee or a milkshake with the friend they are on MSN with.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many things that need a close watch with this new intrusion. We need to be aware that there are dangers. There needs to be guidelines to make sure it is not abused. We must be careful that we seek out the pitfalls and educate everyone how to use it. Isn’t that like life. God wrote a whole Bible for that! I will unpack the social media in different ways over the next few months but first up – it might just be that social media is a counter force, an intrusion into the intrusions on social relationships!

Lyric For The Day 5.7.11 from For A Dancer by Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne For A Dancer 

“I don't know what happens when people die
Can't seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It's like a song playing right in my ear
That I can't sing
I can't help listening

I can't help feeling stupid standing 'round
Crying as they ease you down
'Cause I know that you'd rather we were dancing
Dancing our sorrow away
(Right on dancing)
No matter what fate chooses to play
(There's nothing you can do about it anyway)

Just do the steps that you've been shown
By everyone you've ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours another's steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you'll do alone.”

-      From For A Dancer by Jackson Browne

I love Jackson Browne, particularly 70’s Jackson Browne. Here is a catalogue of songs trying to deal with the fall out of the sixties and the dreams that didn’t come true, the alienation at the heart of humanity and the searching for some bigger meaning. For A Dancer is Browne at his very best. A stunningly beautiful song (check out the Gregson and Collister cover) it is sad and confused and hopeful in the most fragile of ways...

Perhaps a better world is drawing near
And just as easily, it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don't let the uncertainty turn you around
(The world keeps turning around and around)
Go on and make a joyful sound

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive and the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive but you'll never know.

Lyric For The Day 4.7.11 from Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

FF Helplessness Blues 

I was raised up believin'
I was somehow unique
like a snowflake, distinct among snowflakes
unique in each way you can see.

And now after some thinkin'
I'd say I'd rather be
a functioning cog in some great machinery
servin' some thing beyond me

But I don't, I don't know what that will be.
I'll get back to you someday,
soon you will see.

-      From Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

What precise, profound and prophetic commentary on the modern ills of no cause and nothing to believe in... but the hope that there might be something... somewhere...  

Lyric For The Day 1.7.11 from If by Joni Mitchell


“If you can keep your head
While all about you
People are losing theirs and blaming you
If you can trust yourself
When everybody doubts you
And make allowance for their doubting too.

If you can wait
And not get tired of waiting
And when lied about
Stand tall
Don't deal in lies
And when hated
Don't give in to hating back
Don't need to look so good
Don't need to talk too wise.”

-      From If by Joni Mitchell

This is sage like wisdom from Joni Mitchell. Again, this is not from a Christian artist, though one who has flirted with Christianity at times, but when I make my vows in ministry we are reminded that the Reformed tradition seek light from all quarters. There are echoes of the Sermon on the Mount here. How we react to blame and hate. The power of humility, within and without. I simply love, If you can trust yourself/When everybody doubts you/And make allowance for their doubting too.” There is no arrogant dismissal of their doubting but a humble use of it in your self-critique. Profound advice.