Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Good News of the Kingdom

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people (Matt 4:23).
Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12).
The good news of the kingdom is that Jesus has been made king and he has sent the Holy Spirit to establish his kingdom throughout the earth. The Book of Acts is the story of the Holy Spirit beginning the task of bringing his kingdom into being.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


The news media are getting all wound up into a frenzy about the Olympic Games, but the overlay of jingoistic nationalism needed to make athletics interesting makes it hard for me to get excited.

I do not understand why a sports event in which most athletes participate as individuals has been turned into a competition between nations, especially when ability in many athletic sports depends on accidents of birth. Athletic sports are a competition between people, not nations.

The concept of an individual athlete representing their nation is quite odd. Competitors at the Olympics may feel greater motivation, because they think they are representing their nation, but how can they be my representative. An elected politician cannot represent me, so how can an unelected athlete be my representative. If they knew how unathletic I am, they would not want to represent me. I do not know them, so they cannot represent me.

Christians are citizens of a different kingdom.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek‚…
for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:26-28).
If this is true, why would I want to claim that I am an American, or a Canadian, or a New Zealander? If I am passionate about being in Christ Jesus, how can I be passionate about a nation?

Atheletes do all the hard work of training, but nations tend to steal some of the glory. I am very wary about cheering my national team. I do not feel comfortable about saying ‚“We won‚” when all I did was sit on a couch and perhaps cheer.

The Olympics are supposed to be a competition for amateurs, but sports nationalism has turned many athletes into semi-professionals by enabling them to become sports beneficiaries of the state.

A sporting competition between nations does not make much sense, when nations had different sized populations. Only a few nations have sufficient population to be a contender for the most gold medals.

Why do nations need to prove that they are better than other nations. Germany dominated the 1936 games, but then went on to do great evil, so winning gold medals does not signify anything about the goodness of a nation.

National pride is the thin end of the wedge of nationalism. Nationalism dominated the twentieth century and terrible evils were done in the name of nationalism. I suspect that people who get wrapped up in a national team, will be more open to the militaristic adventures of their nationalist governments.
International Sport is the maidservant of Nationalism.
Nationalism is the handmaiden ofTotalitarian Democracy.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy Plants

For a break from unpacking boxes, I got out into the garden and planted some of the shrubs that we brought with us. At this stage they look fine. The real test will come in the spring with warmer weather.

Camelia and rhododendron looking happy in their new spot.
F for Fuchsia and Forsythia beside a winter rose.

Hydrangea hiding among the ferns.

Roses in a sunny spot.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Moving Day

Thursday was moving day. We loaded up a couple of trailer loads of plants and stuff from the garage and took it over to the new house in the morning.

Just after midday, the lawyers phoned and said that the legal transfer was complete, so we could pick up the keys for our new home. Half and hour later the truck came to load up our stuff. We had spent the previous two weeks packing things in boxes and stacking them in the garage. Here is the truck up the drive of our old house.

These two guys stacked the truck.

The real heavy lifting was done by Les, Sam and Curtis who carried all the furniture out of the uready to be loaded. They also carried most of the boxes out of the garage to the truck.

By 4.30pm, the carrier was finished. All the furniture was in the house and all the boxes were stacked in the garage, ready to be unpacked. The next few days would be spent unpacking boxes and storing stuff away.

Here is a photo of our home.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

More Plants

Here is the rhododendron ready to roll.

A smaller camelia prepared for moving.

Below is a pittosporum. They grow like a weed here, so it should be happy to move.

Some other plants potted up ready to go. Hydrangeas and fuscia, which travel well, as long as they get plenty of water. Lots of asiatic, regal, canna and calla lilies. One peony rose.

I have not dug the roses, because I will not have room for them. I might give them away, if I can find someone who wants them.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Moving On

I have not had much time for writing over the past week, as we are moving house next week, so I have been busy packing things ready for the shift.

One of today's tasks was to dig up a couple of Camelias and a Rhodadendrons. Our house is going to be demolished after we leave, because the government has decided that the land cannot be remediated following the earthquake, so I am going to try and take them to our new home. They do really well, here in Christchurch.

I dug round the roots a couple of weeks ago to get them used to a more confined root area. They survived that without complaining, so today I lifted them out and put them into containers ready for moving. The sun was shining brightly, after a couple of days of fog, so it was nice to get outside.

This is the largest one.

I tied a crowbar to the trunk and used some blocks of wood to lever it out of the hole. While it was hanging in the air, I wrapped a tarp around the roots to keep the soil and moisture in. Here is a close up view.

It is the middle of winter here, so the plants are fairly dormant, so they should move okay. We get frosts, but the ground does not freeze.

The main challenge will keeping the water up to them in the spring, when it gets drier. This Camelia is a winter flowering variety, so it might take the shift a bit harder than the others.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Expansionary Economics

European politicians are advocating Keynesian economic policies that would enable struggling countries to grow their way out of trouble. The Keynesian approach has two strings.

  1. Monetary Policy
    Many economists believe that expanding the supply of money will contribute to an increase in economic growth. The main transition mechanism is reducing interest rates and making borrowing cheaper. This will encourage businesses to increase investment.

    Nominal interest rates cannot go negative, so when they reach zero, other methods have to be used. Quantitative easing is one method. Dropping dollars bills from a helicopter is another (it has not been used yet).

  2. Fiscal Policy
    When governments spend more than they take in tax revenues to expand the economy, this is called fiscal policy.

    The Keynesians argue that fiscal policy can support monetary policy, during times when confidence is lacking. When businesses and households are unwilling to borrow, despite low interest rates, the government should borrow from the banking system to support its fiscal deficit. This transforms the increasing money supply into an increase in aggregate demand, which is supposed to contribute to economic growth.
Many European politicians want to replace the existing austerity with expansive Keynesian policies. The problem is that the countries of southern Europe have not implanted austerity policies. Their governments have been spending far more than they get in taxes for the past tent to twenty years. They have had expansive fiscal policies forever. They have had expansive monetary policies for the last five years.

The balance sheet of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have grown rapidly due to the expansive policies that were introduced to correct the Global Financial Crisis. Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy have had expansive Keynesian policies operating for the last five years. (Even after most of their debt has been cancelled, the Greek government has been spending more than it collects in taxes. It needs loans from other countries to continue at the current level).

This is not austerity.

The countries of southern Europe have had Keynesian, expansive policies for several years, but they have not worked. It is hard to see how more government expansion will solve the problem, when it has not worked already, and is quite likely they cause of the problem.

Sunday, July 01, 2012


One of the problems with understanding the ministry of the apostle is caused by Bible. The noun “apostolos” is been translated as apostle. The equivalent noun, “apostello” is never translated as apostle. It is always translated as “sent”. This makes the name apostle seem much grander than it really is.

To be consistent, the verb apostllo should be translated as “apostled”. This would change our understanding of the role. Here are some examples.

  • Jesus called the twelve and apostled them to heal the sick and proclaim the gospel (Mat 10:5,16).

  • God apostled Jesus (Luke 4:18).

  • People who knew Jesus apostled into the country and bought in the sick Matt 14:35).

  • The owner of the vineyard apostled the labourers (Matt 20:2).

  • Jesus apostled two disciples to get a donkey (Matt 21:1).

  • The Rich man apostled his servant to bring in the guests (Matt 22:4).

  • Pilates wife apostled a word to him (Matt 27:19).

  • Jesus apostled two disciples to prepare for the Passover (Mark 14:13).

  • Jesus appointed seventy and apostled them to preach the gospel and heal the sick (Luke 10:1). Were the seventy apostles?

  • Herod apostled soldiers to kill the boys in Bethlehem (Matt 2:16).

Apostling is not being in charge. It is mostly about being a servant who does what they have been commanded to do.

Do the people you know who call themselves apostles go and look for donkeys and prepare meals.

The New Testament makes much greater use of the verb form apostello than it does the noun apostolos. This is because the act of being sent is far more important than the title apostle. Unfortunately, misleading translations have caused us to focus on the latter at the expense of the former. An apostle is a person who has been sent out to do a job for God, not the title of an authority figure.