And now for something completely different…

I found an amazing little bookshop in Leura and spent too much money…I really need to get over my need to own books…what’s wrong with my awesome library? Anyway I had been chasing this book since I heard the ABC interview with Cannold. So I grabbed it and devoured it before the nice open fire in the Blue Mountains. Don’t read it if you are looking to appease your ‘biblically correct’ needs. It is not true to scripture, it is probably true to the culture of the time, in fact it gives a wonderful look into the way it may have been, looking into the circle of friends Jesus (Joshua) hung with, imaging life in his family, it was a penetrating look at the plight of women in that culture 2000 years ago.

Named one of Australia’s top 20 public intellectuals in 2005, Leslie Cannold is an author, commentator and ethicist.

With two non-fiction books to her name, The Abortion Myth and What, No Baby?, Leslie Cannold now adds a novel to her catalogue.

ABC bookshow interview here .

What if the man you loved betrayed your brother?

Two thousand years ago, while a young Jewish preacher from Nazareth was gathering followers among the people of Galilee, his sister swept floors and dreamed of learning to read.

In Leslie Cannold’s story, it is the women of Nazareth who take centre stage.

The rebellious, gifted Rachael, consigned by her sex to a life of drudgery.

Bindy, the crone who teaches her the skills of the healer.

Shona her sister, the victim of a harsh social code, and their mother Miriame, a woman seemingly unable to love.

When Rachael falls in love with her brother’s dearest friend, the rebel Judah of Iscariot, it seems that at least one of the women of Nazareth may find happiness. Then a message comes from her brother in Jerusalem. And the events begin to unfold that will change not just Rachael’s life, but the world forever.

That Deadman Dance

I have just read That Deadman Dance by WA author Kim Scott, judges have just awarded it this years Miles Franklin
prize. In their shortlist announcement, the judges of the prize said, “That Deadman’s Dance is alive in the spaces between these two worlds as they collide and collaborate. It tells the story of the rapid destruction of Noongar people and their traditions. At the same time, there is the enchanting possibility of the birth of a new world in the strange song, dance, ceremony and language that are produced by these encounters of very different peoples.”

That Deadman Dance has been critically praised since its release last year and has also been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for fiction and the WA Premier’s Literary Award for fiction.

A great read for anyone but particularly West Aussies, Albany folks, Noongar’s and um…well anyone.

Christmas Thoughts

Well, my bowels are running active! My stomach churns, my brain is fuzzy…it is boxing day.

I ate too much, I drank a bit, I am not a big drinker but 5 beers and a glass of wine over a day exceeds my normal limit by a long shot. And stuff… we seemed to bring more stuff home than we took!

Gifts, now I love stuff. For as much as I protest the consumer ways of our society I am the first one to put up my hand and say “I love stuff”. I have my weaknesses – Books, Outdoor Gear, Hardwear stuff, Comupter Stuff and so on…

Yes, I did manage to receive and give away a few goats, wells and mosquito nets to those with less than me in the third world, but it did feel token. I sometimes wonder what I would feel like if I asked for nothing. Just whatever I was to gain at Christmas defer it all…all elsewhere! My brother played a trick on me last night. We always get a stocking from Mum and Dad, to this day we have gotten ourselves a stocking filled with funny, useful, playful or just plain silly stuff every year. (Deodorant, blue-tack, a bouncy ball, a Tupperware bottle top opener, a stick of sunscreen and so on. Every year my bro and I wait for the other to open everything first and then proceed to open our stocking stash and pretend that there is an extra gift for me, a more expensive one. But it is never the case as Mum makes sure the stockings are identical, this is the case for Scotty our brother in law also. This year something backfired. Clint and Scotty set me up. They had gotten into the stockings and loaded their with extra wrapped gifts. Old watch boxes with some old watches in them and so on. And for me, they had a ‘fake’ stocking filled with crap like a lemon, a wrapped potato and so on. I wasn’t sure what was going on. Even after I guessed they had placed into my bag the lemon etc, I still couldn’t quite work out how they ended up with a watch each and I had a stick of roll-on. They were both playing it up… “Ohhh look at this lovely Seiko under water watch I got in my stocking”. I said,  “Well I did get a nice sleeping bag for my birthday last week, I shouldn’t get a watch too” They were in hysterics watching me squirm and pretend I had not been dealt a dud stocking! Very funny boys! The watches were fake and we all had a laugh.

I got some nice gifts. This nice Apple MAc bluetooth keyboard and matching Mighty Mouse!

wireless_1_20070813

I got more books than you can poke a stick at. In fact Youth Vision gave me a voucher as a bye bye gift for $100 which I hated having in my wallet so I zipped straight down to the Bookshop Cafe in Como – THE best cafe Bookshop in Perth and spent it.

– Daughters and Their Dads, Bruce Robinson (A great local Perth guy)

– Man In The Dark, Paul Auster

– The Tall Man, Chloe Hooper

Then Kathy bought me 2 trashy kinds of novels for Christmas, and these are added to the list I made in the post or 2 below, that is sitting waiting to be read and Gillead which is being enjoyed right now. But I visited my cousin, Renee, just before Christmas, she is a Noongar Aboriginal. And we got to talking about books and movies one should read on indigenous issues, here is what she gave me to read;

– Two Men Dreaming, James Cowan

– An Aboriginal Mother Tells of the Old and The New, Labumore:Else Roughsey

– Voices of Aboriginal Australia, Irene Moores

– The World of the First Australians, R.M. & C.H. Berndt

There should be enough reading here for the next few years!

This year more than ever I heard adults say when asked the questions, :What do you want for Christmas?” – “Nothing really, I have everything I want. I I wanted anything during the year I just went out and bought it, so now it’s Christmas there is nothing I can think of that I need to tell people to get me”

What is behind this statement? This is not a judgement, just a question. What does that statement say about our prosperous times and culture? If I want a kayak, I just either wait for my tax and go and get it, or just put it on the card. No or little delayed gratification, just go and get it. If I want a new x-box, or a new TV and surround sound set up, a new woodwork tool – I just go and buy it.

So Christmas comes around and I want for nothing! Is this a good thing? Should I save up all my wants get them at Christmas? Or should I not? Is that not what Christmas should be about anyway? Should I just ask for socks and jocks and spend my time worrying about other people gifts? I think I would appreciate a gift more if I have thought about getting it all year. Hmm not sure.

Hey. Have yourselves a great post Christmas, have fun playing on the new totem tennis set, riding the new bikes, watching the kids stack it on the rip stick, surfing the new body board, straightening your hair with the new heat thingy, laying on the floor for hours playing with littlest pet shop toys or just curled up in the corner reading the new book.

A Subversion of the Empire

Walsh’s Colossians Remixed is brilliant. I took a long long time to get through it, I did not want to waste any of it by skimming. So finally last Friday on the train coming home from Mandurah after some work down there I completed the satisfying task!

I wanted to quote endlessly from it over time but thought I would get in trouble for putting all of his book on my blog! Here are some of his thoughts about slaves/masters from Col 3:18 – 4:1.

There is nothing innocent about economic oppression. There is no room for Christians to be “balanced” and “careful” when we are talking about an economic idolatry that will sacrifice children in its service. Slavery is sinister no matter how it gets packaged.

“Then, ” we may ask, “what are we to do? How do we proclaim Colossians’ liberating word to slaves when they are half way around the world? It’s not as if we have any power over their working conditions. It’s not as if they are our slaves whom we need to release”

But that’s just the point. They are our slaves. Every time we step into [K}Mart or Niketown or Gap or […] and exclaim over the great deal we can get on the article of clothing, or how trendy we now look, we’ve made sweatshop workers our slaves. Every time we buy coffee that isn’t shade grown and fairly traded, we’ve made those coffee producers and their children into our slaves. Every time we have purchased a product – any product – that says Made in China, or Indonesia, or the Philippines, or Sri Lanka, it is pretty likely that we have made someone our slave.

Some big statements here, but enough to make you sit up and listen!

There is a great section toward the end on education of our kids. He makes some comments about protecting our kids from some of the world, then asks himself, “But is this not creating social misfits?” and answers –

We hope so… Yes social misfits, that’s what we long for. May it be that we raise up a generation of social misfits, because to “fit into” this culture, to find your place of comfort in it, is to be accommodated to the empire. We have argued that this is precisely what this subversive little tract called Colossians is arguing against.

We want our kids to see through the targeted advertising of McDonald’s toys, games and playlands and recognize them as the manipulative come-ons they are. We want them to see through the packaging and grease in order to see that the stuff being served is not food. We want our little girls to be offended, not enamored, by Barbie’s figure. We want them to know that while the news of war that they are constantly hearing on the radio and on the street makes them worry, there are other little girls in places like Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Columbia, Guatemala, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe who have to live with the daily fear of war in their very neighborhoods. We want them to think about the little girls who work the fields producing cash crops or who slave in the sweatshops producing cute clothes for little girls in [Australia].

Fathers Day

Great Dad’s day, Sophie invited the street over for a special morning tea, we then headed off to Hillarys for a BBQ with Mum and Dad, Bro and Sis and their respective families, this was followed by a massive Volleyball game…becoming something of a tradition me thinks!

We came home, tired and ready for an afternoon sleep…but the call of my fathers day gift was too strong and at 12.30am this morning I finished it!

Tim Winton’s latest offering – Breath – A must read in my opinion. Thematically the same as many of his – the 3 ‘W’s” Wo, Water and Western Australia.  It was a finely tuned master piece. If you love the water and in particular surfing, you will love this great book. The video on his site has some wonderful west aussie imagery in it.

Tim Winton reads from ‘Breath’ from Virginia on Vimeo.