It’s the name of a book by Murray Bail that I’m reading at the moment. It’s also what the stand of tuarts around the church are saying after this morning’s loppings – “You clipped us!” (Sorry, can’t help it!). Tuarts are a very hardy species of eucalyptus, peculiar to this part of Australia. Bail’s book is the story of a widower who acquired a rural property and planted at least one of every known species of eucalyptus. He raised his daughter there, and, when of age, she attracted many suitors. By Dad’s decree, only the suitor who correctly named each species of tree (at least 700) on the property would win her hand.
Sounds like an ocker version of Rumpelstiltskin. I wouldn’t normally read books like this, but for the book club here. Should make for some interesting discussion. I’ve also learned it’s due to hit the silver screen before long, with Crowe and Kidman taking the starring roles. Funny how focus on something as ordinary and ubiquitous as a gum tree can change the way you perceive it!
A little piece of doggerel to commemorate the opening of a universal WC at the Wembley Downs Church of Christ
Now its here! Now its done!
A toilet that all can access –
the halt and the lame, the gent and the dame
may “go” with all speedy success.
“Let’s have a grand opening!”
the Board Chairman declared,
“and let the Lotteries rep be invited.”
So to Open House the hordes repaired –
all anticipatory, ready and excited.
Now how does one open a new WC
with appropriate flair and not rush?
Does one cut a ribbon? Unveil a plaque?
Or press a button and flush?
The Good Book provided a verse or two
to inspire some imaginative work
“Drink from your own cisterns,”
was the advice it put forth –
but methinks the connection a quirk!
Speeches were made, and thanks were expressed
To Lotteries and donors alike,
No ribbon was cut, no button depressed –
Morning tea was served instead!
How many Aussies will be late for work tomorrow having stayed up in the still small hours to watch the Socceroo-Croatia contest?
And now this from http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/
World cup anti-poverty advert is banned The UK Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre has banned an advert by a Christian relief agency which contrasts the £49 million it has cost to sponsor the England World Cup football with the 60p a day it costs to support a child in a poor community.According to the BACC the problem is that the agency concerned, World Vision, has not yet got the required permission from the England team and the Football Association, who are both mentioned in the film – which features former Doctor Who film star Paul McGann doing a voiceover.The one-minute advert was filmed by a young boy called Masidi from Malawi. He makes a ball out of maize to kick around with his friends because it is the nearest thing to a proper football which he can get hold of as a member of an impoverished community. World Vision says it has now had to spend more money to get an alternative advert shown. Though the ostensible issue is the technical matter of referring to third parties, the development organization thinks that the image of the message may have had something to do with it too – though the BACC denies this.“In our eyes, the advert is in no way anti-World Cup or anti-football. It simply uses the common language of football to point out the difference between Western world affluence and developing world resourcefulness,” says Rudo Kwaramba, who is responsible for advocacy, communications and education at World Vision.The purpose of the advert is to promote child sponsorship programmes as a way of supporting children in developing countries. Other agencies, such as Christian Aid and Oxfam, prefer to channel resources to communities and organisations rather than singling out individuals or families.But they have also had their advertising problems. A Make Poverty History television advert they and other groups put together was banned last year because mentioning trade and debt was deemed ‘political’. Actor Paul McGann is not impressed by this latest bar on a campaign he was supporting: “Does one laugh or cry? An advert describing how 60p a day might help a child in a developing country is pulled in order to spare the image of corporate sponsorship in a couple of rich ones. You couldn’t make it up.”
Members of my congregation were somewhat exercised that Brazil appeared on yesterday’s list for intercessions under the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle. Within 14 hours, Australia’s Socceroos were due to play Brazil, the top contenders for the World Cup. How do you intercede for a nation with which one’s own is in contest, even only recreationally? We all know how deeply sporting competitions affect the passions in the psyche, possibly sublimating those used to maintain balance in ancient inter-tribal rivalry. So how do we pray for the opposition?
Honestly! We first confessed our perplexity given the coming face-off. Then we offered thanksgiving for the vibrancy and joie de vivre that is Brazil’s gift to the world. We prayed for Brazil’s national leadership, particularly in striving for outcomes of justice and mercy for the poor and dispossessed of that nation. We prayed for the church of Brazil in all its expressions and with all its challenges.
The outcome of the match is now well-known. We lost 2-0. Brazil showed why it is Number One, but the newcomers, the Socceroos, revealed a stamina and determination that did us proud. And Aussies love a good party. Nothing could keep them away from participating in Brazil’s celebrations. Better than the riots and destruction sometimes expressed by supercharged fans.
So ends a somewhat narrowly self-focused reflection on the phenomenon of the World Cup as it touched us yesterday. The phenomenon of the World Cup raises a whole lot of other issues for reflection, but more on that later.