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Reading the beach, it can save a life.

w If this blog seems a little bumpy, it's because I'm writing this on the bus between Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise! Brian could read the waves - or as they say in Oz, he can read the beach. Like most of the people on this Byron Express Bus, he is an experienced surfer, beginning - it would seem - as a babe in arms. And so he understands the waves. It was fascinating standing with him on the beach at Surfers Paradise (which is a very swish city, by the way, with some awesome high buildings) as he pointed out the wave pattern and pointed out the rips, the strong currents which can easily sweep the novice out to sea. For him these rip currents were an express escalator which carry you out qui

When we realise it's God's ministry.

G'day folks, Walking along the Mount in Heswall I notice that the young man coming towards me is carrying the book "Chasing the Dragon" by Jackie Pullinger and so I stop him for a short conversation. And some 35 years later, as a direct result of that conversation, I find myself writing this blog in the Brisbane suburb of Springwood in Queensland. It began when my Rector at Heswall, the kindly Robin Morris, asked if Jacqui and I would start a youth fellowship. There were hardly any young people in the congregations at the parish church and at the Good Shepherd. His plan was to start with the large number of young teenagers sent by their parents each year to be confirmed. It was acce

Just at the right place, at the right time.

'We were just tourists in Salisbury.' The men known to us as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshiro were clearly spinning us a tale but constrained by the CTV footage. Clearly it was impossible for them to join all the dots to produce a plausible picture. So they fall back on the standard excuse, the one we all use: “We were just tourists.” As a word, just is difficult to pin down, so much depends on the context. However, here it is being used to reduce the impact of what they were saying, to suggest that it is not that special to be a tourist in Salisbury . And as a word, just can be innocuous, used in everyday conversation. “We were just looking.” You may have thought that I was

Curtain poles have a purpose

“Finally,” concludes Stanisław Aronson in an excellent article in Wednesday’s Guardian, “Do not ever imagine that your world cannot collapse, as ours did.” Stanisław, now 93 years old and living in Tel Aviv, is a Polish Jew who survived the Warsaw ghetto, lost his family in the Holocaust and fought in the Warsaw uprising of 1944. And today he is alarmed. “I’m 93, and, as extremism sweeps across Europe, I fear we are doomed to repeat the mistakes which created the Holocaust.” Stanisław can see only too clearly the dangers of nationalism welded onto populism, above all the danger of lies. “Confronting lies sometimes means confronting difficult truths about one’s self and one’s own count

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