Sunday 24 April 2016

Professor Sir David MacKay

I was saddened to learn of the death 10 days ago of David MacKay.  He's the creator of two quite different resources that have been hugely helpful to me:
  • Dasher - the computer program that is enabling me to 'type' this blog post using tiny movements of my mouse (I wrote about it some years ago here);
  • Without Hot Air - the book (and associated blog) that taught me to always ask if the numbers stack up when it comes to climate and energy policy.
Both the resources I mention are available for free download at the above links.

When I realised the same David MacKay was behind them both, I emailed him my thanks and received a very kind reply :-)  I was sorry to hear of his death (particularly at the young age of 48) and to learn that he leaves behind him two very young children.  He seems to have been a kind and humble man, and he certainly made my world a better place.  I'm sorry that he doesn't seem to have known Jesus.

His Telegraph obituary is here, and you can follow his experiences with the cancer that killed him on his personal blog starting here.

Saturday 16 April 2016

A momentous day

This afternoon a friend who was visiting noticed a pretty special visitor feasting on our guavas!

A pair of gorgeous Kereru had come to visit!  It's been a couple of years since that's happened, but we do have a bumper crop this year.

And then, it was time to say goodbye to Sarah.  She's headed overseas for five months - to Thailand, then Canada and lastly the US.  You can follow her travels on her blog.

It'll take a while to get used to the bare shelves in the pantry and freezer...

Her freezer shelf is packed with empty milk bottles - cold air sinks, so hopefully this will save on power as the freezer won't have to cool down a new batch of warm air every time we open it.

Thursday 7 April 2016

How should we, as a church, spend "our" money?

Our church is currently considering a couple of big financial decisions.  This has got me thinking about the philosophy Martin and I apply to our personal finances, and whether or not the church's finances should be run along similar lines. I'd like to share here some of the considerations Martin and I make when setting our household budget, and the questions those are raising for me about the church's budget.  I'd be interested in your thoughts!

We try to take as our starting point that the money we have isn't really ours - it's God's.  He, after all, owns everything!  So we want to distribute the money He's entrusted us with in a way that honours Him: in a way that reflects both that we serve a God of abundance who desires good things for us and that our primary calling is to love both God and our neighbours with all that we have.

In terms of loving our neighbours as ourselves, it might be logical to try to keep no more money for ourselves to live on than what some 'global average person' has to live on.  After all, God loves us equally, and it's largely the global financial system - a construct of sinful humanity - that puts Martin in the top 1% of income-earners globally and leaves so many others so badly off.  However, doing that would also be the end of me: after all, in most of the world, someone as sick as I am would have died long ago.

Saturday 2 April 2016

A short visit to Serbia!

Ages ago, I noticed that the Pt. Chevalier Serbian Orthodox Church has a monthly bake sale.  Today, for the first time, we were able to go along.


The food all looked yummy, but I was really taken by the main sanctuary of the church.  I asked if I could take some photos.  They not only said 'yes', but two women generously took turns explaining it all to me.