Saturday, May 31, 2008

New Picture Blog

I have recently started a new 'image' blog, MAL's PICTUREBOX, for occasional postings of snapshots and paintings. Why not pay it a visit?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Syro-Phoenician Woman

Having just read a most enlightening posting about The Samaritan Woman on KHANYA blog, I was in some way reminded of this Bible Study on our HelMals website.

Mark 7 vv.24-30 The Syro-Phoenician Woman

Before I returned to this passage, it was already obvious (to me) that the passage was about ‘inclusiveness’ …… a)
A Gentile b) A Woman, neither of which were qualities to be valued within the Jewish orthodoxies of the time, dares to approach this itinerant Jewish preacher. I had not
foreseen / remembered the dynamite of this encounter!

Jesus responds to this woman’s plea, by offering a rather offhand Jewish comment about Gentiles being dogs and, implying His duty was to feed the children … the chosen ones. The woman dares a riposte … “even dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the children’s table”.

Jesus listens to the woman, sees her need, acknowledges the truth of her response. Her faith was to express her need. Jesus didn’t approach her as a lost soul; He listens to her need, already expressed by seeking Jesus out, the depth of her need / faith being re-affirmed by her riposte. This
woman, an outsider from the church, expresses her faith in a very direct manner. She approaches Jesus out of concern for her child.

Sometimes we may have to question what we
think the Lord is calling us to do. Jesus turns the other cheek …. He doesn’t turn around and say “you’ve challenged the word of the Lord” and give up on her as a lost cause, rather, He acknowledges her honest need and acts upon it. Her challenge, her act of faith results in the healing of her daughter.

Because we as Christians “
know” what people need, we can so easily fail to listen, especially if what they have to say challenges our
preconceptions. Jesus didn’t see the challenge as an avoidance of
commitment; in her challenge he saw her faith.

A person’s race, religion, sexuality, social status, are unimportant;
their needs are important! Perhaps one day the wrong kind of person will be the one who removes the beam from our own eye.

Malcolm Evison

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mal's Waffling On .. and on ..and on

My latest posting, Whatever Happened To?, can be found on 'Mal's Murmurings'.

The Morning After (the days before)

After yesterday’s bout of mat wrestling**, a fitful nights sleep is hotly pursued by an achingly battered and bruised Sinna Luvva’s emergence into the grey light of day. Lower limbs feel like they’re struggling through a vat of leaden sludge, and that’s simply the effort of releasing themselves from the duvet lair.

There’s no need to pinch me to check that I’m awake, rather than dreaming; every muscle and joint cries out to affirm the fact. I ache therefore I am.

At least every other day, for the past fortnight, has found yours truly engaged in performing some minor horticultural task. It’s quite surprising really, how much nurturing goes into the establishment and nurturing of the wildlife friendly area of the garden; even the transplanting of inappropriately self-rooted wildflowers, from cultivated to a more suitable site proves quite time and effort consuming.

On more than one occasion I’ve managed to overdo it; pacing isn’t quite as straightforward as I’d wish it to be. Although I recognize my limitations of physical and emotional stamina, it’s almost as if a little inner demon assures me that any perspirational endeavour that proves enjoyable can’t possibly have an ill effect.

Although I should know better, I still fall victim to the demon’s ploy. The spirit may be willing but, it’s the weakened flesh that pays the price. An increased tetchiness, and fog-befuddled thought processes, sits uncomfortably alongside the pains and aches that flesh is heir to.


** for those readers who don’t follow / click on hyperlinks, I hasten to assure you that I have not taken up a new contact sport. The link is to my posting ‘The Heart Of The Matter’ on ‘Mal’s Murmurings’

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

US absent as 100 countries meet in Dublin to finalize global cluster bomb ban | Ekklesia


"Over the past 40 years, the vast majority of confirmed casualties from cluster munitions have been civilians, and children are particularly at risk. Cluster bombs open in mid-air dispersing dozens to hundreds of small submunitions over a large area. Many of these “bomblets” fail to detonate and can harm civilians decades after a conflict has ended."

US absent as 100 countries meet in Dublin to finalize global cluster bomb ban | Ekklesia

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tax evasion 'costs the lives of 1,000 children a day' | Ekklesia


Tax evasion 'costs the lives of 1,000 children a day' | Ekklesia

The lives of 1,000 young children a day are being lost to disease and poverty in poor countries because of illegal trade-related tax evasion, says a new report from Christian Aid.

It has calculated that this evasion costs the developing world at least US$160bn in lost revenue annually. The culprits are companies using false accounting to reduce their tax liability.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

... a bright, bright, bright, sunshiny day

There’s something quite rewarding about a succession of very warm, bright, sunshiny days. Did I just say rewarding? I’m exhaustedly tetchy, achingly shattered, generally out of sorts; just goes to show that some people take a lot of pleasing!

On the positive side, it has got me out in the garden, planting a few more alpines and some wildflower plants, each in their respective place. Apart from the minor gardening effort, I’ve also had to start treating the garden pond with a course of ‘Anti Fungus & Bacteria’, having only recently completed a similar course of treatment for a goldfish quarantined to the patio pond. I have a slight suspicion that I may have overdone it a bit, not the garden, nor the pond, but rather an overstretching of my restricted stamina reserves.

Meantime, Cathy’s partner has been decorating our hallway and landing, it being the first time I’ve felt able to cope with the thought of such upheaval since the new damp course was applied 4 ½ years ago. Even now, I find it difficult to relax whilst such tasks are being performed; it wouldn’t be such a problem were I not spending such a large proportion of my time in the homestead.

Bright warm weather may be deemed good for the morale, ‘tis such a pity it’s not much cop for my physiological functioning!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Give Me The Simple Life

Oh the pleasure of simple things. Although my beloved wasn’t sure whether the groans I emitted, whilst sat in the shower, weren’t those of agony, I hastened to reassure her that they were definitely not of that ilk but, neither had I quite entered the realms of the ecstatic. It was a simple shuddering joy; the joy of being alive and luxuriating in the steamy heat, the superficial alleviation of the aches in shoulders, hips, thighs and calves, even a temporary farewell to aching sinuses.

It really is amazing that we can so easily take these little luxuries for granted. Although, at times, I still lament the dramatic reduction of physical and emotional stamina since those, seemingly distant, pre-illness days (pre-2003), in the course of the past couple of years my gratitude quotient has increased dramatically. A walk down to St.Marks for coffee and a chat at ‘Open Church’ almost invariably proves a rewarding event. The delight I take in the garden, just pottering about, watching the fish in the pond, filling up the various bird feeders, (even watching the grass grow) is something I couldn’t have imagined in the more active phase of my life.

The garden seems to be an oasis for blue tits, coal tits, great tits, collar doves, tree sparrows, dunnocks, squabbling starlings and wood pigeons. How privileged I am to have the time to simply observe the avian goings on.

Of course the greatest privilege of all is my beloved, Helen, who brings so much light, love, joy and fun into every day. It’s strange that for so many years I was afraid of commitment, being tied down, only to realize in later life what an abundant freedom is to be found in a committed loving relationship. It is truly a cause for thanksgiving that in each other we are able to find ourselves!