• Corporate Responsibility

    Someone once said that when a butterfly flutters its wings the whole world is affected. I guess that’s true, in an academic sort of way. Less academic if a tactical bomber flutters its wings. No man is an island.

    I went to a school production a week or two ago, called 90 Years of Broadway. It consisted of extracts from various Broadway musicals, and it covered the range — from the spiritual to the sentimental to the social to the trivial. It was a good night, full of songs I’ve whistled for years and some I scarcely know at all.

    One of the “scarcely know at all” items came from Miss Saigon. I’ve never seen Miss Saigon, and I’m only vaguely familiar with the story and a couple of the songs. I’m a little more familiar with the setting — I did my national military service at the height of the Viet Nam war, and I lived in anxiety for three or four years until it became clear that the New Zealand government was not about to send its national servicemen over there. Some years later, Forrest Gump gave me a visual picture of what I had been spared, and I was grateful all over again.

    Read more »
  • 40 Years On

    Queen’s Birthday weekend must be a special provision for people celebrating jubilees. This year’s marked the 50th anniversary of the school where I began my teaching career, Tawa College.

    There were the usual events — sports fixtures, photos through the decades, various dinners — and on Sunday morning, a church service in the college hall. I was especially interested in the church service, because the organisers had asked me to run it.

    My first act was to enlist the assistance of my old friend and former colleague, Bruce Murray, to preach the sermon. Bruce was the principal of Tawa College for a dozen years or so from 1989, and he would suit the service on a number of counts. Most important, I knew he would preach a thoughtful and challenging, and appropriate, sermon for the occasion.

    There were no prizes for guessing where he would start his thinking. The college motto, chosen by the foundation principal, is “Do justly,” from Micah 6 verse 8 — “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Alan Mackie, the man who chose the motto, said he had selected it because he wanted something Biblical but not too evangelistic, something well grounded in the highest authority and beyond the sectarian, intrinsically admirable enough so no one could object to it without being churlish.  So the school has “Do justly.”

    Read more »