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.”
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 …”
… 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 …