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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Telling the truth - Buechner

Poor, bare, forked animal in his cassock, his preaching robe, or his business suit, with his heart in his mouth, if not yet his foot.

What can he say? What word can he speak with power enough to empower them!

But let him take heart. He is called not to be an actor or a magician in the pulpit. He is called to be himself!

He is called to tell the truth as he has experienced it. He is called to be human. (And that is calling enough for any of us.)

If he does not make real to them the human experience of what it's like to cry into the storm and receive no answer, to be sick at heart and find no healing, then he becomes the only one there who seems not to have had that experience, because most surely, under their bonnets and shawls and jackets, under their afros and pony tails, all the others there have had it, whether they talk about it or not.

As much as anything else it is their experience of the absence of God (meaning) that has brought them there, that has brought them there in search of God's (meaning's) presence.

And if the preacher does not speak of that, and to that, then he becomes like the captain of a ship, who's the only one aboard the ship who either does not know that the waves are twenty feet high and the decks awash, or will not face up to it so that anything else he tries to say by way of hope and comfort and empowering becomes suspect on the basis of that one crucial ignorance or disingenuous-ness or cowardice or reluctance to speak in love any truths but the ones that people love to hear.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I Couldn't Agree With Me More - Episode 4

This week on I Couldn't Agree With Me More, Ray and Ray take guard on centre stump and face up to:
1. Brendan Theo - a tragic loss to rugby league
2. The Women's Rugby World Cup
3. Time for Schumacher to get back behind the wheel
4. ASADA - attacking Australia's heros
5. Ray Reviews - Fruit
6. This week in politics - erica betz, julian bishop and the turncoat

This Bitter Earth - Dinah Washington and Max Richter

Everything that needs to be said is already spoken for in the words and music of this haunting creation.

This - bitter earth
Well, What a fruit it bears
What good is love
That no one shares
And if my life - is like the dust
That hides the glow of a rose
What good am I
Heaven only knows

No, this bitter Earth
Yes, can be so cold
Today you're young
Too soon - you're old
But while a voice
Within me cries
I'm sure someone
may answer my call
And this bitter earth
May not be so bitter after all

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Birthday

It was very nice to be together.

Mum made my favourite carrot cake, adorned with the blue toy bike and white ‘happy birthday’ sign that’s sat upon every birthday cake I’ve ever had, and kept saying things like, ‘you stay there and talk Fiona, I’ll get the tea’.

Dad read out his latest musing about the importance of time spent together as the single blue candle flickered down to the wick.

Fiona was fresh out of a course at tafe that she’s doing to become a counsellor.  Perhaps most importantly, her presence allowed me to sit and watch and listen, and that’s my preferred position.

And with the allotted slices of carrot cake eaten, it was Fiona who turned up the volume on Midnight Train to Georgia so that we could dance and sing along to Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Every bit of it a familiar tradition. It was in its familiarity that we sat, and watched each other.

Long Distance I and II by Tony Harrison

Long distance I

Your bed's got two wrong sides. You life's all grouse.
I let your phone-call take its dismal course:
Ah can't stand it no more, this empty house!
Carrots choke us wi'out your mam's white sauce!

Them sweets you brought me, you can have 'em back.
Ah'm diabetic now. Got all the facts.

(The diabetes comes hard on the track
of two coronaries and cataracts.)

Ah've allus liked things sweet! But now ah push
food down mi throat! Ah'd sooner do wi'out.
And t'only reason now for beer 's to flush
(so t'dietician said) mi kidneys out.

When I come round, they'll be laid out, the sweets,
Lifesavers, my father's New World treats,
still in the big brown bag, and only bought
rushing through JFK as a last thought.

Long distance II  

Though my mother was already two years dead
Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,
put hot water bottles her side of the bed
and still went to renew her transport pass.

You couldn't just drop in. You had to phone.
He'd put you off an hour to give him time
to clear away her things and look alone
as though his still raw love were such a crime.

He couldn't risk my blight of disbelief
though sure that very soon he'd hear her key
scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief.
He knew she'd just popped out to get the tea.

I believe life ends with death, and that is all.
You haven't both gone shopping; just the same,
in my new black leather phone book there's your name
and the disconnected number I still call.

Monday, August 11, 2014

I Couldn't Agree With Me More - Episode 3

This week on I Couldn't Agree With Me More, Ray and Ray tackle:

1. The Tah Tahs
2. Anthony Mini-Cello retires
3. Alan Border and those Brisbane Heat
4. AFL - The Coward Elbow
5. Israel and Gaza solved!
6. Ray Regrets - The Cyclist
7. This Week in Politics - Scotty Morrison and Pyne-O-Clean
8. Ray Reads - Nelson Mandela's (very) Long (and frankly a bit boring) Walk to Freedom

Damien Jurado - Rachel & Cali