• A Very Gallant Gentleman

    When I was a fourth former at Hawera High School, we used to have a weekly library period. The idea was to expose books to kids who might not otherwise notice them: an exercise largely wasted on me because I was not in the habit of noticing very much else. But I went to the library with the rest of my class, and I have to say that I mostly enjoyed it.

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  • More in Sorrow than in Anger

    I had dinner recently with a couple whose first child is just short of six months old. Naturally, he dominated a lot of the conversation. As a matter of fact, he dominates a lot of other aspects of their lives as well. Infants tend to.

    He is a sociable little boy, within the confines of his abilities to communicate. Like most babies in well adjusted circles, he comes in for a lot of attention: his standard means of dealing with it seems to be a fairly lengthy scrutiny of whoever is angling for his attention, followed by a grin. Sometimes the grin is accompanied by a vocal gurgle. He seems to want to be involved.

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  • Book Review – God Is Back: How the Global Rise of Faith is Changing the World

    God Is Back: How the Global Rise of Faith is Changing the World, John Micklethwait & Adrian Wooldridge, Penguin Books, 2010, 405pp.

    Reviewed by Ron Hay.

    Ron Hay

    (Ron Hay, who lives in Castle Hill, is a former Anglican vicar and is now a writer on social and Christian issues.)

    “Why are the most unlikely people, including myself, suddenly talking about God?” asks British academic, Terry Eagleton, in a recent book on the God debate. “Who would have expected theology to rear its head once more in the technocratic twenty-first century?”

    The answer is not just the rise of radical Islam and the advent of the new atheists. Certainly the aftermath of 9/11 and the aggressive proselytising of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are factors thrusting the God question into public consciousness.

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  • Clean Clothes

    Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator  …  therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
    — Colossians 3:9-12

    A large chunk of my childhood was spent at Sakeji, a school for missionaries’ children in the North-West Province of Zambia, formerly Northern Rhodesia. Life and customs were rather different in those days, and one of the features of the boarding school regime was that on Sunday we were made to dress in our Sunday best: grey shorts and Persil-white shirts, freshly washed and ironed in the school laundry. Inevitably, however, the pristinely laundered image did not stand much of a chance for, once Sunday School was over, we were allowed out to play in the African dust for an hour. Then, after that, came Sunday lunch with the double treat of the week: ice cream with chocolate sauce, followed by two slabs of chocolate fudge to take away. With that kind of exposure, those clean white shirts — like the overalls of Pig Pen in the Peanuts cartoons — were doomed. By the end of the day they simply had to come off, and head back to the laundry again for the next round of cleaning.

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