_ _ _ _ _ _ _ G-day, and welcome to my . . . well, it's my home page really. That's what it's called in the menu bar. But I don't feel all that comfortable giving it that title. The contents are are far too ramshackle, haphazard, jumbled, to be put together unto something that could be called a home. I reckon BITS AND PIECES is more appropriate. Although, despite the haphazardness, it wouldn't surprise me if a common theme could be detected running through most of the stuff here. Anyway, I have grouped a few of these bits and pieces on a page under the title (menu heading): * * * UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE I don't know about you, but I see a big gap between the times and the society in which the Bible was written and the world in which we live our lives today. Of course, that's not surprising - many things change with the passing of years. Yet, I stand in awe at the way the Word of God, written so long ago, still speaks God's message of mercy and love to us today. I stand in awe of the way the writers of the books in the Bible made the messages they received from God speak so directly to the readers of their day. But that awe doesn't include the way in which I (and the church) are communicating that message to the world in which we now live. That has prompted me to consider if I need to reconsider the way I approach and understand the Bible. With the goal of enabling books written centuries ago to speak better to our world today. I look at the Bible in general. And then at the first 11 chapters of Genesis.
* * * RESOURCES FOR WORSHIP Here are some bits and pieces that I hope may enable worshipers to relate better to what goes on in liturgical worship. I know all kinds of worship resources are available these days. Yet there are some I haven't been able to find. So I jumped in and developed them myself.
For as long as I can remember, I have thought it's an advantage to know what theme best ties together the readings used in each Sunday's worship service. A theme, above all, giving God's GOOD NEWS for that particular worship service. Over time I have come up with themes for every Festival and Sunday in the 3-year Lectionary. I'm happy to share the results of that work. Particularly to help those involved in PLANNING worship services. AND to assist those attending worship to PREPARE themselves for worship at the coming service.
I have also looked in detail at the PSALMS chosen for each Sunday. It struck me again and again how profound is the faith, the praise, and the prayer that radiates from the Psalms. But often that doesn’t actually happen when these psalms are used in worship. The worshipper may even get the impression from the language and pictures used in these psalms that they don’t really speak to the situation, or even the faith, of those gathered for worship. I have been hoping for a long time to find some kind of adaption of these wonderful prayers and songs of praise so that they clearly shout out the faith of those who have used them in the past. But that hope hasn't been fulfilled. So I’ve taken the bull by the horns and reworked all the psalms used in worship, trying to make them a little more up-to-date and usable in Christian (as opposed to Old Testament) worship. Of course, you may regard my efforts as a complete waste of time. And that may be true. But that doesn’t depress me at all – because in the process the bull has given me one of the rides of my life!
And I've been looking for more resources for PERSONAL PRAYER AND WORSHIP. So I have made some slight adaptions to the adaptions I have made of the Psalms to encourage their use in personal worship. There is also an order for Prayer at the end of the day, called COMPLINE, which has been used in monastic communities for ages. I have found this of benefit as before-bed prayers. So I have adapted Compline for personal use.
* * * NEWSPAPERS AND DIARIES NEWSPAPERS I know newspapers are getting very old-fashioned these days. But nothing beats the detailed and extensive picture of human society that newspapers give. Just think what we may learn if we happened to discover a newspaper from, for example, BIBLICAL times. Well, why not?? All it takes is a bit of imagination. Rather than attempting to go back in time to understand and appreciate the past, a newspaper brings the past to us. It puts the past into our context, where I think it makes it easier for us to understand and appreciate the past. On this page there are bits and pieces that will take you into the daily lives of Jesus, and his disciples. And into some other situations involving people in the Old Testament. And even into the town of WITTENBERG at Martin Luther's time some 1500 years after Jesus. DIARIES And if the situation makes newspapers too hard to imagine, the personal diaries of people can come to our rescue. Some of my bits and pieces imagine the discovery of diaries kept by people like Moses and Joshua. DIARIES OF THE PROPHETS I find prophets to be the most intriguing people of all. Imagine what their personal diaries would be like! Imagine what we'd learn about how they tick. And about their personal relationship with God.
* * * PARABLES TRANSPOSED The parables Jesus told are great stories. Many of us almost know them backwards. But sometimes the incidents in the lives of the characters in the parable are not the same as those in the lives we live now. And we end up listening to an explanation of the parable instead of the parable itself. You may wonder what stopped Jesus from contacting me before he told some of his stories. You know, those that are about events that don't happen today. Or at least don't happen now in the same way as they did then. You may also realize why he didn’t – and why it didn’t even cross his mind.
* * * CRYPTIC CROSSWORDS and SHORT STORIES No, don’t ignore this page. It MAY be that you could join me in enjoying these challenging and enjoyable CRYPTIC puzzles. Or you may make a firm decision to forget about them forever. Either way, you will find out why I enjoy them. Now I have a few SHORT STORIES. I really don't like giving too much away about my stories, or about the point I am trying to make. That way you approach them with no forewarnings or expectations. HOWEVER, for those of you who like, or want, an introductory comment, I'll stretch the point and give you an introductory sentence. [On the Cryptic Crosswords and Short Stories page I'll even give you some comments about the origins of each story.] - One begins with a nightmare that not many people would even dream of. - Another celebrates common ground between science and religion. And you don't get that very often. - Another touches on a problem that often (I suppose) is experienced by many people (I fear) who listen to sermons. - Another satisfies those deep longings you have (you do, don't you??) to know what it's like to BE the BIBLE. - Another is the result of my reading a book on the history of Protestants. It's amazing what a well-written historical book can do to you - well, to me actually.
BY THE WAY, these bits and pieces are what happens: - when a Lutheran Pastor retires in Adelaide, close to the 'headquarters' of his church; - when he needs a break from gardening; - when he has some time between wood-carving projects; - when it's too hot or too cold to muck around in the shed; - when he has 'misplaced' his wife's list of jobs to be done; - when he has overlooked the requests made by his grandkids to go to places and do things; - when he needs more than cryptic crossword puzzles to keep his brain active; So . . . the lesson you might take from this page is NEVER RETIRE! or RETIRE NOW!