Saturday, March 16, 2019

Thoughts after yesterday's shooting

I saw a video today that I found this sobering, but it also seemed to reflect well some uncomfortable things I've been thinking about this morning.  I can't see how to post it directly, but if you're on Facebook you can see it here.  It's an Australian speaking, but I don't think things are all that different here.

Image credit https://www.facebook.com/YeoCartoons/

I'm white and I grew up here.  New Zealand doesn't feel racist to me.  But I have two friends, people of colour who have moved here after living in quite a few other countries, and they say they've never experienced racism anywhere like they experience here.  And one of them has lived in France, which I tend to think of as pretty racist, and they've both lived in England.

I also (occasionally) hear Kiwi Christian leaders making statements near-identical to those quoted in the middle of this video.

I don't know exactly how, but I do feel like people like me are part of the problem.

Whilst I don't think we've had violence on this scale here since the early days of European colonisation (or maybe since WW2 - I think there was a massacre of POWs here then?), it feels like what happened in Christchurch yesterday is just the extreme end of something that's pretty everyday in New Zealand.

If we don't acknowledge that, actually, this *is* us - how will it change?

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Preparing for Easter

From Martin, for the church newsletter this week.
Easter may seem far distant today, but in my experience it often turns up before I've really noticed.  Palm Sunday gives me some warning, but life is busy and before I realise it's Good Friday.  

Many Christian traditions practise a season of preparation for Easter, known as Lent.  The word Lent means many things to many people, but as a Baptist with no Lenten tradition I have quietly picked up two ideas that give my heart time to feel the vibe.

My first goal is a daily reading plan following Jesus as he walks towards the cross.  The internet (or your Bible app) offers many plans for the Western Lenten timeframe - 40 days, skipping Sundays.  Those will start this Wednesday, if you wanted to choose one yourself.  Palm Sunday is another good time to start, reading day by day.

I also try to go without some small nice thing that I would have every day or so.  This jars my memory and points my mind to Jesus stepping away from the glory of heaven.  It also makes me a little sad, and I try to remember that "God is Enough" for me. On Sundays I enjoy the small treat and remember with joy that on Easter morning Jesus conquered death.

(Pro tip - Don't pick something morally bad to give up.  You can hardly celebrate Sunday by being rude to the neighbours, can you?  The best day to give up sinning is Today, certainly, but don't mix up your purposes.)

My success rate has been variable, and last year the calendar again surprised me.  I will be trying again, and maybe you'd like to join me.
 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

So many flowers!

I've been loving all the flowers around me recently!

moth orchid on my dresser (quarantined from the other one to try and work out which one is the source of a mealy bug infestation)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Neighbours Day is coming!

Neighbours Day is coming up in around 6 weeks.  This is an excellent opportunity to get to know the people who live near you and help them to get to know each other.  If you're not already, could you consider doing something in your neighbourhood?


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Oakley Creek with Michaela

Yesterday we introduced our niece, Michaela, to Oakley Creek :-)

Checking out a spot I think would be great for an evening picnic.

Vegan ice cream and frozen desserts

I spent a lot of last winter devising vegan ice cream recipes: mostly to put together a recipe book for our niece for Christmas, but also for our own use.  Why?  Although we're not vegan, we've cut back a fair bit on dairy consumption in recent years for the sake of our neighbours who are most at risk from climate change.  Dairy products are nothing like as bad for the climate as meat, but they're a lot worse than eggs or plant-based protein so we try to restrict them a bit.  Also, I'm becoming increasingly uncomfortable about all I'm hearing about the treatment of bobby calves in the dairy industry, and do wonder from time to time about giving up dairy entirely.

The internet is full of vegan ice cream recipes - however, I wasn't that satisfied with them.  Most are based on either bananas, coconut milk or cashew nuts.  Both bananas and coconut milk have quite strong flavours - that's fine if those are the flavours you're after, but they do limit your options.  And cashew nuts, as well as being quite expensive, are hard to work with.  If you want a smooth product, you have to soak the nuts, blend them to a paste, then force that paste through a cloth.  I've never actually tried it so I could be wrong, but that sounds like very hard work!

So I wondered, could you make ice cream using relatively-flavour-neutral soy milk?  It turns out you can, although I haven't found anyone on the internet publishing such recipes.  The trick is to add neutrally flavoured oils to bump up the fat content, then add soy lecithin (a natural emulsifier) to get the milk and oil to mix.  Turns out it works a charm!

rose geranium ice cream, chocolate ice cream and vanilla soy gelato - neapolitan ;-)

Sunday, January 27, 2019

On not being 'there' yet

For some years I have listened most Sundays to a sermon by Darrell Johnson.  I have appreciated his practical applications and the way he so explicitly draws his points from the text at hand; I also appreciate the rich background information he links me to.

He is now retired and I have finished his back catalogue on YouTube, but I found that his church, First Baptist in Vancouver, Canada, publishes all their sermons online.  Last year I appreciated their series on Colossians.  Today I had intended to go to my own church, but was too tired and ended up staying home.  I've listened to all the recent sermons on my own church's website so I turned back to First Baptist and listened to the first sermon in their series Why Jesus says He came.  It was called The Preteen Jesus.