30 March 2011


I have moved to a new provider after something like 6 years with blogspot. I will keep this site but from today move new comments to www.marttherev.wordpress.com

02 March 2011

Christchurch earthquake

It is just over a week since the devastating earthquake on 22 February. Anne and I are off to a funeral today - a gorgeous woman died suddenly a few days after the quake - so very sad. I'm involved in the Presbyterian church in the region and tied up with coordinating efforts in the area.

The church buildings of Christchurch have been hard hit - but not so much the church communities. People are more important than buildings and it has become clear that we have built and hung on to the wrong type of building for the earthquake-prone New Zealand landscape. I think that it is time for a rethink and an opportunity to develop distinctive 'kiwi' church buildings that serve us well.

Some of our very much at risk Presbyterian buildings are included in this blog - from the top, St Paul's Trinity Pacific in the city centre (our second oldest church), Mt Pleasant, St John's Lyttleton (our oldest church), St Georges in Linwood, Knox Church also in the city centre.

23 July 2010

Second article for The Press

This week my article on joy and humour was published in the 'Good Living' supplement of The Press in Christchurch. I include it in full here until I can find a hyperlink reference to it...

Lighten Up!
Mart the Rev

Christians aren’t always known for their senses of humour. Maybe this comes about from our feeling as if we are a minority who need to make some noise. Maybe it comes from our thinking that we are society’s only moral guardians. Maybe it comes from our thinking that we need to defend God all the time. I’ve noticed that the default position for many followers of Jesus seems to be one of inflexible seriousness. I don’t really know where this idea comes from – maybe some people think that Jesus calls them to be responsible for the faith rather than to simply live it. There’s a U2 line that goes: “Stop helping God across the road like a little old lady” (from the 2008 song Breathe) – I have a feeling that Bono, like me, is trying to encourage followers of Jesus to lighten up.
While there is a serious side to life and following the way of Jesus (and be certain, there will be swags of others who will rattle on about this stuff!), I want to suggest that the posture of Jesus was one of unencumbered playful freedom, and that it would do us all a world of good if our perspectives of him factored this in a lot more!
Jesus calls his followers to enjoy life in all its fullness, so let’s make sure that we don’t miss the joy and therefore the life.
I have a collection of artistic images of Jesus ranging from Jesus the revolutionary, to Jesus in agony on the cross.
One of the more unusual images I have is of Jesus with his head tilted back roaring with laughter. Why should such an image be so surprising? When you think about it, wasn’t Jesus was a bit of a comedian? Can you picture Jesus smiling with a twinkle in his eye as he confounded his critics by telling stories full of the exuberant abundance of God’s grace? Can you see him chuckling as he told Nicodemus the Pharisee that he must be re-born if he is to get the idea of God’s kingdom, and Nicodemus misinterpreted him by asking: “How can anyone who has grown up re-enter their mother’s womb?” What a picture the Pharisee conjured up! Surely Jesus burst out laughing!
And look at the parables Jesus told, they are full of zany characters in crazy situations who act in exactly the opposite way that we would expect: a shepherd abandons the flock to hunt out one lost lamb and then throws a party; a father gives to his son half of his wealth and then welcomes the penniless boy back with arms wide open and a five-course banquet; a hated foreigner turns out to be the good neighbour;
and the tax collector (a crook) rather than the faithful worshipper turns out to be the one who teaches us to not look down our noses.
With Jesus everything is turned on its head: the last become first, the least are made welcome, the lost are found, and the little ones are set up as the best ones to teach us faith.
As Garrison Keillor once said: “God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny.” Maybe we need to lighten up a little!

my bog blog

I'm trying to change the world (well, one aspect of the world of public toilets anyway) and have started a boggie-blog.... see it live at http://martin-boggieblog.blogspot.com/

19 July 2010

Caloundra and environs pics

Just back from a happy two weeks on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia

Here are a few pics - mostly of interesting rocks and wrecks!

30 June 2010

Oliver today (13 months)

article for The Press

recently I wrote an article for the local newspaper on 'What's right with the Church'
It was good to have the opportunity to offer something that celebrates those who find themselves in the middle of the extremes for whom their practical expression of faith is valuable and valued

24 May 2010

Mart 49 music compilation

Here’s the last year’s favourite music that fits on a cd (there were a number of others reluctantly dumped off the list!) – it is not necessarily new music, but songs I have enjoyed the most at different times during the year. Here is the list in order of what sounds good on a compilation rather than order of preference:

#1 I’ll go crazy if I don’t go crazy tonight – U2 Artificial Horizon 2010. I dislike the original track of this song from No Line On The Horizon, it seems like the track out of place in the album – an echo of past styles – so when I secured Artificial Horizon I was well-pleased to hear this upbeat dance track live mix – the little surprise on the U2 360 tour.

#2 Beyond here lies nothing – Bob Dylan Together Through Life 2009. Dylan’s new album is a mixed bag but in this opening track he is at his lively crusty best.

#3 Little Favours – KT Tunstall Drastic Fantastic 2007. While KT could name her albums better, I enjoy the uncomplicated rawness of her songs – she is especially good to watch live (well on DVDs if the truth be known). Her being part of Neil Finn’s Seven World’s Collide project was what put me on to her).

#4 Loveblind – The Church Sometime Anywhere 1994. The Church have become a firm favourite in the last month or two – choosing two songs for this compilation over others has been a real challenge. My brother Dave has sent different songs over from Melbourne over the years but it has taken me a while to catch on. I love the completeness of this song – an interesting story and lovely music to bring it to life.

#5 Moment of Surrender – U2 No Line On The Horizon 2009. This is the second successive year this song has made the list. I rate it among U2’s best two or three songs – sublimely simple.

#6 Up to you now – Ben Harper & Relentless 7 White Lies For Dark Times 2009. The musicianship of this whole album is quite stunning – the Relentless 7 guys can really play – the guitarist, bassist and drummer are each individually brilliant yet bring it all together to make it a whole.

#7 Little suitcase – Luluc Dear Hamlyn 2008. Dave also sent over with these gentle soulful songs from this folk duo from Melbourne, Zoe Randell and Steve Hassett.

#8 I and I – Bob Dylan Infidels. I first heard this album in the year it was released but didn’t realise its value until recently. I would rate Infidels as my favourite Dylan album.

#9 Blessed one – Steve Kilbey Dabble 2001. It was this song from The Church leader that got me back into their music.

#10 Could you be loved – Bob Marley Uprising 1980. A little bit retro here! I got a copy of the CD after having had the LP when it was first released.

#11 Forever man – Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood Live From Madison Square Garden 2009. What a song, what a concert!

#12 In my secret life – Leonard Cohen Live In London 2009. There is a lot warmth, grace and humility of Cohen’s concert, as well as great musicianship – it was hard to choose a track for this compilation.

#13 Black silk ribbon – Bic Runga & KT Tunstall in the 7 Worlds Collide CD The Sun Came Out 2009. This was my introduction to KT and a nice blend of voices with NZ’s Bic Runga. Interestingly both artists have a part-Chinese heritage.

#14 Cortez the killer – The Church A Box Of Birds 1999. The original Neil Young & Crazy Horse song made it on last year’s list – here is a cover version that is arguably an equal, which is a big ask. The mood set by the band with the excellent guitar work and vocal power is a real delight – it is a long track and my pick for the best track on this compilation.

21 May 2010

Oliver makes 1

Anne and I managed to grab an hour with Oli on his birthday - 20 May... cute little chappie!