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Veggie Tales


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Veggie Tales: Sorry not the annoying animated vegetables, but rather a tale about veggies & a hint of challenges to come…

If you were after a Veggie Tales fix, this is a very good read. I’m pretty sure I just broke 1 of the blogging 10 commandments by sending readers away in the 1st paragraph, I’d best stay gainfully employed 🙂

 

I think the first raindrop in this story was a mind shift to, yeah God cares a lot about this world (it’s not all going to hell in a hand basket) & to believe so isn’t just liberal hippie BS.

Then a there were a few raindrops in quick succession.

While I studied I worked at the freezing works (meat works) during my summer holidays, I  did this for three years. My job was to push & lift carcasses from 6-60kg, the days were divided into patches of frantic work & heavy lifting to playing table tennis, cards & reading. The work was physical, the people fun & the pay fantastic.

Over my time there, there was a lot of speculation that the plant would shutdown & it did in my final year. One of reasons suspected by many was to do with resource consent & waste product. You see the company had consent for a period of yrs (five, i believe) to dispose of a certain amount of waste product into the local river. During this time people started to care about global warming & the environment etc, the council responded with tougher restrictions & tighter controls.

The company were able to continue to operate under the old agreement until it expired, even though it didn’t meet the new regulations. It was going to cost a lot to upgrade the waste treatment processes, so instead of paying to upgrade & meet the new standards the plant closed & business was moved to another part of the country.

Raindrop: ethical business & environmental impact.

 

Around that time I joined a gym & although my enthusiasm for it changes like the weather some of the nutritional stuff struck a chord… like your body can really only process the protein form 100g of chicken breast over a 3hr span & the rest is pretty much wasted… yet we consume far larger portions of meat with our meals than that… why?

Well it’s what we do… I guess it is a part of our culture. So because we’re used to having a certain amount of meat on our plate we do, even though our bodies can’t utilize it all…

Raindrop: demand drives supply

 

This was followed by stumbling onto some articles about associated health risk for the consumption of red meat etc.

Which basically got me thinking…

if we ate less meat we’d be healthier, there would be less demand & therefore less environmental impact.

I wasn’t just happy to reduce my meat consumption, as any money I spent was ultimately going to support a system I’d become opposed to, so about 18 months ago, I went vegetarian (or some strange hybrid form of it).

 

I’m not opposed to the killing & eating of animals, I love a steak as much as the next guy… it’s rather the quantities we consume it in & the process of how we get.

Lately I’ve found these guys, I like their bacon…

and they were the only company to answer any of my questions.

 

I don’t write this to convert you all, or shame you dirty meat eaters, but rather to show what that change/choice process looks like for me, and to ask you….

where are the raindrops falling in your life?

Because for you it may not be what you eat, it may be something else. And while it would be time-consuming & life draining to research everything you consume, I’m sure there are things you’ve come across & thought that it wasn’t right or messed up, maybe it was just the first raindrop, more will come…

and then we’re brought to that place, to do something about it, or continue walking in the rain.

As for me, their have been a few more raindrops of late… but this choice is going to hurt…

Nike.

 

 

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Raindrops


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The 1st drop goes unnoticed, it’s not until after it’s raining that you look back and say, “yes, that is when  it begun”.

You notice the 2nd & 3rd, but you’re not sure it’s rain so you hold out your hand, and as you collect a few drops you look skyward just to be sure.

A few splashes on your face later & it’s confirmed, It’s raining. The choice now, is whether you do something about it or do you ignore. Do you change-up? Put on that jacket, run, seek shelter. Or do you ignore it, pushing it to the back of your mind & continue as before.

Choices, Change, and the ideas that led to them… for me they’re a lot like raindrops. By themselves they mean nothing, but when a few of them land on you, you’re brought to a place of choice.

 

I think the 1st raindrop was back in 2001, although I didn’t realize it then, nor could a fully articulate what I was trying to say.

I recently stumbled onto some old photos I once had in an exhibition in ’01, it was a doco-style series, “out of sight, out of mind“. It followed a sheep through a small abattoir. I remember one young boy of about 8yrs hitting the pictures on the wall, yelling at the “evil bad man” while his mother tried to pull him away & explain it was just art. Both were wrong.

Like that little boy you might not like the pictures below, feel free to scroll down to the next chunk of text. Apologies for the quality, these were taken with my phone. Some of these are test prints, some final, a sample  from the series Out of sight out of mind. Unfortunately I no longer have the final image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The series finished with the a photo of the very 1st image (above) fashioned into a plate with a lamb chop on it (it’s been misplaced along the way).

The images weren’t meant to shock, or turn people off meat, or protest animal cruelty. It was a simple statement that we often don’t think about where stuff comes from or how it gets to us…

out of sight, out of mind.

 

A few years ago I finished a period of study which radically altered my view on Christianity, God, the world & my place in it. And on commencing paid employment and finally having a disposable income, questions began to pop into my mind about what I was doing with my money, what was I endorsing or supporting with how I spent my wealth.

The other day I read this, it about sums it up.

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want”

– Anna Lappe

 

It seems a long time since I posted tree hugging conspiracy, I just reread it, it brought a smile to my face. This week I’ll be blogging about some other changes, the raindrops that led to them & whispers of things to come.

 

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What I would say to Atheists….


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I was sent a link today, “10 ways to respond to atheism“, steps 1 & 2 covered the mandatory pray & shout quote scripture at. Step 10 was a very unenthusiastic & token “remember God loves them too”…which was very hard to take on board as steps  3-9 did their best to convince me that atheists are satan controlled demon spawn out to get me… which leads me to a story about how one did get me (atheist that is, not demon spawn).

My prayer was horrible, you know one of those ones that goes something like, “Father God bla blah blah, Father God blah blah blah & God blah-blah blah Father God blah blah God blah amen”. If it were an essay, references to God would have made up 30% of my word count.

Afterwards a friend of mine (atheist, not demon spawn) asked me, “why do christians address god so much when they pray? I’d think that once you’d done it he’d know you were talking to him & it’d be like a conversation”.

BOOM!    (but subtle boom, it wasn’t in my face, it was gentle. He’d asked a question,  I love questions & thinking. It wasn’t directed at me, so I wasn’t defensive, even though it clearly applied to me… brilliant).

 

Why do we, why do I, “Father God”, “Lord Jesus” or “insert equivalent” my way through prayers?

I guess it’s a spiritual filler, the churched up version of umm, err & arr. It’s because sometimes our cliché-glib prayers don’t do justice to the situation & we find ourselves mumbling and stuttering through events far bigger than ourselves,

it’s because we try to do it ourselves,

that we’ve stopped listening & risking, and instead offer up the safe & rehearsed no matter how inadequate they appear. It’s because of expectation, of how long it should be, what it should sound like & how I appear…

maybe for me it was all of the above.

 

So what would I say to atheists?

I’d say,

Thank you,

thank you for calling me out on my bullshit.

 

 

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A drink of Che


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There is an energy drink which sits next to my bed. It has never been opened. It probably never will.

Why did I buy it? Well, I was waiting at the checkout in a department store when this conveniently placed beverage in the impulse-buy rack screamed out at me.

 

 

The can was covered in the iconic image of Che Guevara…

Revolutionize & Energize with SEIZE POWER!

 

 

There is a quote I like,

“My ultimate goal as a socialist revolutionary was to have my face plastered on the t-shirts’ of rich white kids” – Che Guevara

 

Ok, so I know this is a fake quote, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the meaning, truth & impact that I like from a good quote. A good quote for me, is a small nugget of gold that, inspires, challenges, shapes me, awakens, makes me cringe, cry, gasp, live, or leaves me in awe.

So that is why I chose this bogus quote to launch the quote section of this blog, you see regardless of whether you view Che as a Robin Hood revolutionary or a mass murdering commie terrorist, this much remains true, Che Guevara wasn’t a capitalist.

 

That iconic image which has come to stand for revolution is anything but.

 

That college kid who wears the Che t-shirt feels he’s a bit rebellious, a little revolutionary, a little anti-establishment. That $25 t-shirt is made by the same people who make the flag waving I love George Bush t-shirt. They don’t care why you buy the shirt, just that you do.

You were sold a small taste of revolution, a wee sip from the anti-establishment  can of energy drink. You were sold a lie.

And in your purchase you support the very systems Che & your anti-establishment self are meant to oppose. Isn’t that the greatest con, to turn something that is opposed to your way of life, to your systems, into something that supports it. To co-opt someone’s message instead of opposing it.

Subtle. Deadly.

 

Why does that drink sit beside my bedside.

To remind me of what a co-opted message looks like, a hijacked revolution. Why do I need reminding?

 

Can you think of anyone else in history this has happened to….

 

 

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Boxing Day Sale! What I really need to buy is…


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.. some sense & normality.

I need this, you see, I’m not normal.  (yeah i’ve been a little slow to realize this)

I’m not sure when this happened or how, if it was a gradual process or it happened at birth, but there is  much which doesn’t make sense to me.

So many things which seem normal to everyone else.

Like Boxing Day Sales.

Because the one thing I need to do after the day I just got a whole lot of new stuff is to go shopping for even more new stuff, stuff that I need.

3 News did a short 2 min story on the Boxing Day Sales here (there’s a short ad first).

Can you believe that there were traffic problems! That some(1:04) had to wait for a park… for FIVE MINS! Outrageous! (1:16) No air-conditioning in our malls! In this day and age?! Disgusting!

It’s an absolute travesty that people have to wait longer than 5 minutes, or even in the heat for things they need…..

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Atheists, Gays, Politics & other non-family friendly Christmas tales…


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I must be a bit of a Grinch for posting this on Christmas day…

so maybe you should read it tomorrow.

It just happens that everyone is napping off Christmas lunch and I have had spare moment to finish this off.

 

 

I’ve found myself much more interested in politics than years past, partly as a result of it being an Election year,… and on the way to casting my vote I learnt a few things.

1) For 3/4 of my christian friends, being christian meant I couldn’t vote Green, to suggest so would be met with  a shocked gasp.

2) For 1/4 of my christian friends, if I didn’t vote Green I clearly didn’t love God.

3) I’m not Family Friendly. It’s true. It came as shock to myself, but if you have a family it’s best you keep them away from me.

4) It now appears as if the best Christian advocate within parliament is an atheist.

This video has been bouncing all over the place this last week,  it’s worth the investment of time. Dr. Norman (co-leader of the Greens), not only seems to understand more about aspects of Christianity than most christians do, but spoke more on them than I recall any “christian” politician ever doing.

Well said.

And surprisingly “family friendly” for a non-family friendly MP/Party.

Which brings me back to the shocking discovery that I’m not family friendly.

Along with all the other political stuff posted by my dear friends on Facebook one chart interested me in particular. It was a chart comparing all the party’s views on certain issues & awarding them smiley faces :)if they were family friendly towards the issue…

I didn’t get many smiley faces 😦

Lets take Gay marriage for example, to oppose it would earn a smiley face, to be for it or ambivalent towards it would earn a sad face or frown. Now maybe I’m just naive or ignorant, but how is gay marriage detrimental to the family?

Clearly I am naive, as for others, both here & around the world gay marriage is a huge issue. Big enough to yell abuse & wave angry signs, big enough to march on parliament. Yet strangely if you drop the “marriage” & call it something else, even if it’s essentially the same, this is not worth protesting about.

Big enough, that judging by the christian reaction its far more important than say,

poverty, neglect or child abuse,

no one marches on parliament for these glaring issues within our society. In fact friends who struggle to raise funds for volunteer organisations which work with kids from backgrounds of abuse & neglect would probably be better served by promising to transform these kids into placard-waving-anti gay protesters.

Can’t we check our priorities over what the big issues are, over what really is a threat to the family? I struggle to see how a gay couple are  worse for families than domestic violence.

Of course it’s easier to be anti gay than actually do something positive for a stranger, a struggler, someone marginalised or minimalized.

 

So while I may not be family friendly, I’m glad my family is friendly & I get to spend some time with them these holidays, some time thinking about my priorities, what I value, what I should be valuing…

Some time being thankful for a God who intervened in history, one who does care greatly with how we treat each other & the world around us. Thanks Dr.Norman, great sermon speech.


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These guys get it


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This vid is of a couple of local youth groups, go the Anglicans! Awesome to see a youth group not just about games & entertainment, this is well done!

I think there is room for a giant church newsletter or plastic cup to  stroll through our churches….

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Heresy


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I’m trying to find my way & what it all means…

so sooner or later I’ll say something heretical, unintentionally or otherwise   😉

Sooner or later I’ll say something that will annoy, upset, anger or piss you off.

Judging by one very funny phone call… that has happened (in a way it was a very sad phone call).

Which I guess I was expecting eventually… not the phone call, that was surprising… but that i’d upset someone.

 

Instead of dismissing what I say, I hope you can be big enough to interact with it. Whether I agree or disagree with what you say, I’ll still respect you for saying it.

 

So I’ll call it how I see it, feel free to call me out.

 

 

I’d like to leave you with the words of one of the 20th centurys greatest theologians, social activists & commentators,

 

“If I upset you,

don’t stress,

never forget,

that God hasn’t finished with me yet”.

– Tupac Shakur

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Coffee


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“There’s two kinds of people in this world, when you boil it all down. You got your Talkers and your Doers. Most people are just Talkers, all they got is talk. But when it’s all said and done… it’s the Doers who change this world, and when they do that, they change us. And that’s why we never forget them. So which one are you? Do you just talk about it? Or do you stand up and do something about it? Because believe you me, all the rest of it is just coffee house bullsh!t.”

– Roco, Boondock Saints II.

 

I love coffee cake, coffee ice cream, coffee chocolate, coffee milk shakes, the smell of coffee beans, of coffee peculating. Yet for some reason I don’t like a hot coffee, I can count on my hand the number of times a year I have a coffee.

And I can’t stand bitter coffee.

 

If ‘Pills’ was an invitation to explore faith, God & beliefs, then ‘Coffee’ is what we do with it, what this blog is or isn’t about.

 

Are you a Talker or a Doer?

I like to talk, I love to listen to people share their beliefs & how it affects their lives, I love to hear about what fires people up & gives them a hunger for life.

I hope that this blog can be a place to facilitate some great discussion.

I hope this blog facilitates more than great discussion, but leads to some doing. Because at the end of the day I can “believe” in the Easter Bunny, but if it has no impact on how I live my life what’s the point? I can believe in a God who loves the poor, yet if I don’t go out of my way to walk with the poor then what’s the point?

 

If a value or belief doesn’t lead to action, do I truly Believe it?

Or do I just like the concept.

 

 

I hope this blog doesn’t facilitate Bitter Coffee.

Bitter Coffee is generally made by people who are dissatisfied with church, sometimes they meet with like minded people over coffee, sometimes that becomes their new church, sometimes all this new church becomes is dissatisfied people sitting around drinking coffee with an air of spiritual-elitists-arrogance, getting bitter….so bitter that it permeates the coffee.

Let me just make this clear, I’m all for house churches/organic church,

I have nothing against people being dissatisfied with church, I’m one of them. I’m dissatisfied with church, yet I love the Church & I can’t stand Bitter Coffee.

 

I believe that anything can be questioned & no question is off limits. There are practices and beliefs that are facilitated within church/Christianity which just make me cringe, that I believe don’t have any place in following Jesus, but have become so ingrained in Christian culture.

My criticism/questioning of them is not to make me feel like a better person or because I think I’m a better person, but to push for change.

It’s not because I don’t care about the state of Christianity, but because I do.

 

 

In the words of Roco, I don’t have time for bitter coffee house bullsh!t,

I do have time to be a Doer.