The “iPad Revolution”

Here’s a video, and two thoughts that are sadly in conflict:

  1. I can’t watch this video without believing, at least for a moment or two – that this piece of technology would make me a happier, more complete person. It’s a fantastically brilliant piece of advertising.
  2. Promises like this feel to me to be an alternate gospel.


Recap

There are few things more tiresome than the blogger who apologises for a lack of posts, so I will refrain from falling into that trap.

In some ways I am sure that the decrease in blogging is just a symptom of trying to keep my head above water in a new profession, and in a new part of the city. But at the same time, I do feel that in some ways my theological musings have not made it quite to the www due to the fact that my theology is starting to become more practical. It’s hard to get all worked up about theological distinctions when you’re desperately wondering what it is you can do to improve the lot of a bunch of kids who in many cases seem to have limited themselves to exactly what they can see around them. So in many ways, while a lot of my “inputs” are theoretical: I’m still reading plenty, still listening to the occasional podcast and still thinking critically about the sermons I hear; my “output” has tended to be focused on “what does that change about what I’m doing?”. Which is a very rose-coloured way of looking at the world, but the glass has to be half full sometimes doesn’t it?

In other aspects of life – Soul Survivor has come and been. This was the first year I’ve been involved at the “steering group” level, which has been both an exciting thing and an exhausting one. The festival takes a lot of hands to put on – and just keeping track of who’s doing what is a huge job. But in the midst of that, I guess a big part of the struggle can be working out exactly how and when (and why) to allow yourself to participate and be “fed” (bah – what a horrible term) at the same time as being on top of as much as you can.

Teaching has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in life. It frustrates me, it wears me out, and it has me desperately wanting to get better – and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. That sense that deep down I’m genuinely participating in something I believe in, and (hopefully) making a difference in the lives of young people is not a difficult choice to believe in. And it fits with me, it fits with who I am. We had the school athletics day yesterday, and I think the best part for me was just kicking the footy for a little bit with some of my year 10s. There are days, but it’s an amazing thing to be contributing to a “big picture” that I really believe in.

And “church life” is starting to feel settled too now. We’re slowly but surely becoming a part of the Missio Dei community in Hurstbridge, and that’s quickly feeling like home (though I must hasten to mention that we don’t “go” there :P). The missio crew are an amazing bunch of people – everyone I speak to knows it as “Steve Said’s church” but that moniker is deeply underselling the contribution of a super group of comrades. Fun times.

I promise the next post will be about something other than the inside of my navel – but til then I hope this justifies the blog’s presence on the interweb tubes.


Soul Survivor 2010 – Hope

Soul Survivor 2010

We interrupt this complete lack of posts, to remind anyone and everyone that the Soul Survivor Festival is less than a month away, and if you’re in Melbourne-ish between April 7 – 11 you’d be mad not to at least drop by for a couple of days. Plus if you’re registering for the whole time you should get on down to http://soulsurvivor2010.eventbrite.com and register yourself today to save a cool $20. (Unless you’re reading this after the 19th of March, in which case I can’t help you).

And if you’re the sort of person who would be keen to lend a hand here or there, let me know and I’m sure we can find a job for you!


Life

So I realised that despite still getting regular visits, this blog has been remarkably dead for the last however long (last post on Jan 14 is a joke!). Must admit that at the moment life has been taking precedence, and with a tonne of my head-space being taken up with ruminations about teaching and a heap of my time being taken up with actually teaching: the report has been on the backburner. No apologies really, just some reality.

With that in mind, I figured I at least owed a bit of an update with respect to where life is at. We’ve just been away at a Soul Survivor team retreat (tarnished only by the website going down while we were unable to do anything) which was a great time to get to know a heap of the new team members, as well as to refresh spiritually. We really are blessed in Soul Survivor to have such an amazingly talented and committed crew on team.

Teaching is going well – though it has been a roller-coaster. Any available blogging effort has gone to my teacher blog: Son of a Teacher Man. Does certainly feel like I’ve found the place I am meant to be – the classroom must be it for the moment. Ran into some students at the shopping centre on Sunday, which was a weird experience.

The biggest struggle in the past few months has been that it’s crappy for Bec to be looking for work. Nobody likes looking for work, and it’s made the isolation of having moved house a lot tougher for her particularly. But there’s light – Bec’s got a trial doing some web stuff for a stationery crew starting tomorrow so lets hope it all goes well (both for her liking it and them liking her) and maybe that might be the end of the dramas. Who knows.

Regardless – there’s the update.


Google taking on China

We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

via Official Google Blog: A new approach to China.

While I realise lots of you will have heard this news already, congratulations are in order to Google who have decided that it’s not enough just to say you’re not going to be evil, and are instead doing something about it as well.


Inspired by Freire

Being inspired (and distracted) by Paulo Freire.

  • “No pedagogy which is truly liberating can remain distant from the oppressed by treating them as unfortunates and by presenting for their emulation models from among the oppressors”
  • “This concept is well suited to the purposes of the oppressors, whose tranquility rests on how well people fit the world the oppressors have created, and how little they question it.”
  • “Any situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence. The means used are not important; to alienate human beings from their own decision-making is to turn them into objects”
  • “When a word is deprived of its dimension of action: reflection automatically suffers as well and the word is changed into idle chatter, into verbalism, into an alienated and alienating “blah”. “
  • “There is no true word that is not at the same time a praxis. Thus, to speak a true word is to transform the world”

All taken from “The pedagogy of the oppressed”. All inspiring. All distracting me from writing my learning theories essay.


Making the rules help the bad guy

I found this and thought it summed up the Western world’s response to terrorism as best as I can understand it. For the uninitiated LeBron James is probably the best basketball player in the world at the moment (other’s might tell you it’s Kobe Bryant, but they’re wrong).

“I’m quite sure I could beat LeBron James in a game of one on one basketball. The game merely needs to feature two special rules: It lasts until I score, and as soon as I score I win. Such a game might last several hours, or even a week or two, and James would probably score hundreds and possibly thousands of points before my ultimate victory, but eventually I’m going to find a way to put the ball in the basket.

Our national government and almost all of the establishment media have decided to play a similar game, which could be called Terrorball. The first two rules of Terrorball are:

(1) The game lasts until there are no longer any terrorists, and;
(2) If terrorists manage to ever kill or injure or seriously frighten any Americans, they win.”

Sourced from: Lawyers, Guns and Money: Terrorball


Geoff’s Glühwein

Mulled Wine in saucepan

Mulled Wine. Note the mangled lemon and orange pieces

This is normally more of a Bec thing to do – but it’s Christmas so why not have a go. With this year’s Christmas being a relatively chilly one, I decided that our Christmas Eve celebrations should involve my favourite German Christmassy tradition: Glühwein (mulled wine).

Geoff’s Glühwein recipe

  • 2 bottles of whatever Red Wine you have lying around
  • 1/3 of a bottle of leftover port (also lying around)
  • A packet of cinammon quills
  • Some brown sugar
  • Grated whole nutmeg (much nicer if you can get the whole ones – plus the insides of whole nutmeg looks a lot like brains!)
  • Cloves (we didn’t have any whole ones around so it was pre-grated for us)
  • Chinese Five Spice (Smells about right)
  • A Dash of Orange Juice
  • Two Whole Oranges (from our new backyard, Wooo!) – one sliced, the other squeezed for all its juice and mangled
  • One Whole Lemon – likewise juiced and mangled
  • A (really decent) dash of Cointreau

Directions:

Put everything except the Cointreau together in the saucepan, over a very low heat. Stir until spices and sugar have dissolved. Taste. Add some more of whatever you think is needed, until the harsh edge has been taken off the Red wine. In theory this should take about 5 minutes, but if you’re doing it right it should take about an hour and a half. Enjoy the delicious aroma permeating through the house. Add the Cointreau close to serving time or once you have taken off the heat (don’t want to lose the alcoholability of the liqueur).

Serves best if left for a number of hours to stew in the rind of the citrus and the cinammon sticks, but if not you can probably just serve straight away – nice and hot.


The (un)balance of power

Rich white straight-acting blokes who believe in God, or pretend to, hold a disproportionate amount of the world’s power and have for centuries. It’s not because, as many would like you to believe, it’s a case of ‘we are the best, chuck out the rest’. It’s simply due to circumstance. Class, freedom, money and education are the basis of power. And access to these is almost entirely due to where you were born and to whom. Sexually transmitted hereditary privilege and genitally determined advantage.

via Sexism | discrimination | God | Catherine Deveny.

This quote has been waiting in my draft posts for over a month now, waiting for me to have something valuable to add to it. And like her or hate her (and there are plenty on both sides of that divide), I don’t think that you can really argue that Catherine Deveny is actually wrong here.