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The following articles contain the opinions and perspectives of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of St Francis Church itself.
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Musing on Trees and Gardens

Trees (and gardens) are on my mind this fortnight.

Liz Young writes, “As I counted the number of trees around my garden this week, I found that, twenty years ago, I had planted twenty different native species and varieties: four different pohutakawa from the Pacific (Lord Howe Island, Hawaii, the Kermadecs and Tahiti) and sixteen different New Zealand native species. As I expressed this with some pride to my brother in Canada, it occurred to us that in the garden that we grew up in, a centuries old ‘monastic’ house near Glastonbury Abbey, they had planted ten different English species there. The chicken run in which I played was under a yew and the swing was hung from a walnut tree. Impressive to me, but I was awed to read in JT Salmon’s book of NZ trees to learn that New Zealand, with its more temperate climate, has more than a hundred different species of tree.”

Colour the sky …

Why is the sky blue?
Who cares?  is one answer.
It’s not always, is another.   Sometimes it’s grey, or red, or black.

Do your own Research

Josh McDowell was a law student who considered himself an agnostic, and who believed that Christianity was worthless.  He challenged some Christians on campus; they in turn challenged him – to make rigorous, intellectual examinations of the claims of Jesus Christ.  And McDowell decided to do a research paper that would examine the historical evidence of the Christian faith in order to disprove it. Especially the claimed yet improbable resurrection.
“Either a great fact of history, or a great lie forced upon us …”

Gems in the Water

… a cold, dark, mosquito-bitten, lonely couple of hours fishing (as opposed to fish-catching) the other night, and as I hauled in yet another empty hook, bereft of catch and bait, I wondered why on earth I was bothering. I could have been watching The Bachelor. Just when my line and my patience were tangled beyond hope, the overcast cleared, and not only did the Southern Cross appear, but it was reflected in a flat calm sea, and I saw it mirrored in wondrous symmetry …

Quelling the Lions and Demons

There’s so much more to be said about tribalism. (For Part 1, refer to previous Blog on Tribalism.) Superficially, it seems a good thing to be proud of one’s tribe, to own it as choice. But there is hidden a cancer. The pride that arises is at the expense of the mana of other tribes. The greater the pride in one’s own, the more diminished the ‘other’. Leading subconsciously and often overtly to excess. The lionising of one’s own has the (sometimes unintended) effect of demonising the Other.
Tribalism is rarely quoted as a root cause of anything, war least of all. It should be. Because a crucial part of pre-war posturing and propaganda (and, indeed, of justifying aggression or provocation) is to demonise the other guys. For they have said this, done this, they’re responsible for this … and therefore our tribe is going to … or, was justified in doing … These are the usually identified causes of conflict, but they’re consequences. Tribalism is at the root of them all.

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