The Secret Language of Tiffany

The Secret Language of Tiffany

The Ferris Bueller soundtrack is playing on Spotify, Twist and Shout sounds so good on a Saturday.  

The sun has finally decided to show up, and I am sitting here, fingers to the ready- heart on a wire and full to the very edge of the teacup with feeling. Is it a safe time to write? The new discovery for me is- yes. These are the times when the writing comes easily, flowing from brain to page like an overzealous child- all vulnerability has sidestepped when this takes place. She has taken off, shaking her head in disgust. I ignore her. We need to give her a name. She is the hider of the Freak Flag, she doesn’t like it when I fly it. We shall name her Sargeant Tiffany. She’s no fun.

Tiffany the fun police

It is a big week for us. For me.

It either has the potential to go either way- a crazy game of Sliding Doors and what’s behind door 27? Shall we peek? Let’s not think about it. Let us think about it non-stop. Distraction, distraction…Hello, Monday you wonderous creature.

There are several options on offer Monday at the Hospital. Are you ready Madame?

Option 1: This revolting thing in my brain has actually completely stabilized, which means is still sitting there like the terminator with its finger on the trigger, but the finger stopped getting itchy.

Option 2: The bugger has gone. I repeat the A-hole has left the building. See you later alligator, astalavista. Like a magical butterfly and the power of all healing, it is completely gonesky, which means I can just die like mostly everyone else- unexpectedly.

Option 3: It has sprouted some new leaks which means more brain surgery. This means getting really fat again because of steroids. This is not an option. I love a good rolly polly belly like anyone else, but enough already.

Option 4: Some wonder human somewhere on this planet has come up with a way to fix it. Let’s call him Bob.

Option 5: I don’t go, and I pretend everything is perfectly peachy. This is a very tempting albeit stupid. I have done this multiple times. It stops me thinking about the D word. No one likes that word. No matter how enlightened we believe we are. No one likes a D word dropper.

Option 6: I’m still pondering on this one…I will keep you posted. At the moment it resembles smoking a joint with Willie Nelson and playing with a basket of baby Sloths. I can’t technically smoke a joint so I might be on rolling duties for Willie. That’s ok. I can roll a mean paper (don’t judge me, I had to roll my dad’s cigarettes ok?)

Sloth Ponderings Kirsten Macdonald

This resilience thing is mad.

Yesterday I stood at my sink, elbow deep in this beautiful new grandma sink, fired in France, beautiful fireclay, deep and shiny. I hated washing dishes, now it’s like a lovely bath. Blue eyes stood next to me drying the dishes.

“You ok?”

“I don’t want to die.”

“I don’t want you to die either.”

“Well, that’s good. Because if you did, that would kind of suck. Lucky you still like me.”

“How can I not? You make me laugh.”

“It’s not very fair any of this is it?”

“Nope.”

“I am feeling sorry for myself.”

“Me too.”

“I just want it to be fixed and never think about it anymore. It’s taking up too much space in my brain.” I am good at puns.

Then Hilltop Hoods Cosby sweater starts playing, and he does the dance that makes me laugh too hard. There is some pelvic thrusting that is slightly off rhythm and this thing he does with his butt.

How did we become this resilient?

We talk about it a bit. As we get older, the conflicts between humanity become more obvious. The bigger things mean more to us. The need for emotional intelligence suddenly becomes the focus and not the mortgage. It occurs to me that the friction of humanity is the cause of joy and pain.

Echoes of the inflictions of childhood build walls of muscle and grit- a toolbox of tricks that can protect us and then trip us up. All in one- a double doozy. The perseverance and seeking of peace propel us forward if we are brave enough to break open the armor and bare our skin. Telling old Sargent Tiffany of vulnerability police that it is ok to show vulnerability and truth.

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It is vulnerability and truth and being aware of the silent witness within that breaks us into freedom. Deep huh? Hey don’t analyse mine, check out your own muscles, those suckers are there, along with a peacepipe and a marching band. So many situations rely on those muscles, and then we need to break free of them. All sorts of circumstances, in all walks of life. 

The opposite of this is building a romance with defense.

Gathering evidence to keep ourselves safe. The internal bodyguard becomes a jailer. Whispering platitudes, distractions, and conflicts on replay. Playing back all the old vinyl with their scratches and grooves. Maybe it’s time to sharpen the needle, to play the real music and stop whistling everyone else’s tune.

I have realized I don’t like significance. Weird huh? I love it when other people wear it like a beautiful cape or jacket- but it’s never looked delicious on me. It makes my skin feel ick.

I do not want to be significant. The feeling creates anger within. Why? 

If I am sick- it is significant. If I suddenly become miraculously well- this is also significant.

Both matter. Both have weight. I don’t like the weight. I learned very young that importance of not being too significant- to go under the radar. I don’t do it very well, but it is a primal part of my core belief system. These feelings of deep anger are being triggered by the romance of defense. So I write these words fiercely as if I am paddling as fast as I can in rapids, something pushes me forward. The anger is not good. It makes me angry. The irony is deafening.

Leaderboard Ponderings 3

The cognitive pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together. Stealth mode can kick in at any time, so watch it. I cannot control it. 

Tiffany just sat down in front of me looking very dazed and confused, she just dropped her badge on the table and asked me why I was writing this piece of communication? Who is it for? 

Tiffany the Vulnerable Police

The introvert-extrovert pendulum is swinging like a crazy monkey on a swing with a banana.

I am not an angry human as a rule. It doesn’t sit very well in my body. But I am a writer. So what does one do in this situation? She writes, prints and rolls it up, placing into a very groovy hipster bottle, it is some kind of pharmacy bottle from the 1940’s, pop a cork in the end and throws it out into the sea, watching the waves take it to whoever feels they may like to read it. I just wrote about myself in the third person. It’s a Ferris Bueller thing to do.

Then I get off the car in the middle of the street, the marching band and street parade has gone home.

So I go to my candle, and I pray. The anger has gone. Just like that. With a request and a chord of silver shooting to the architect. I am grateful for life. A big fat full life. The little version of blue eyes comes out and asks if I would like a cup of tea. The middle blessing is smiling getting ready for a party, very handsome. The eldest, the strong and vibrant young woman is finishing an essay. We did ok. We did more than ok. We are here and that sun is shining.

I stop typing, and then there’s that Ferris soundtrack. Hey ustj-ay no-ay het-ay- uietqay- does anyone have Willie Nelson’s phone number?

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Egos Are Like Farts

Egos Are Like Farts

by StevieAnne Minner

Egos. We all have them. In fact, egos have become a subject that more and more new-thought leaders and spiritual teachers are focusing in on – inviting us to separate from, transcend above, and live without.

A personal fan of introspective, spiritual work myself, I can appreciate the works of Eckhart Tolle, Debbie Ford, and many others who have written about observing the ego, which swings like a pendulum between inferiority and superiority. It mirrors my faith in Christianity which points directly to the conflict we’ve all experienced since the beginning of time – PRIDE.

The ego, as suggested in many works, is perceived as our “identity.” And while my Christian faith calls me to be “in this world, not of it” I have to regularly practice ways to express myself gracefully. Though there are numerous ways to define and understand ego and prideful positions, why not add humor to such humbling practices?

A crass and comical way to observe the ego head-on from a place of neutrality and even lightheartedness. When we see our egos as more of an “activity” taking place within these “God pods” we are scooting around in, we invite in observation and inquiry versus self-judgment and criticism of others. Egos, much like farts, are simply a part of the human experience. Clearly, God has a “sense” of humor also.
This new idea of “conscious” living is far more than just being mentally “here” – it is about being spiritually “present” and mindful of how we show up and express ourselves in each fleeting moment, cognizant of how to speak to those around us, as well as, internally to ourselves.

Awareness around one’s pride is the quickest way to experience resolve. To make this practice of mindfulness easier to “digest,” here are a few brief theories that will help you identify the activity of ego within you and others. No different than the sometimes abrupt and offensive activity of farting, egos share a very similar M.O:

  • We all have them, and it’s easier to tolerate our own than others.
  • We have our own unique brand – some “digest” information or experiences better than others. Some environments can be extremely offensive and upset those who are highly sensitive to specific topics.
  • Clearing the air can be difficult after either is “aired,” typically putting a significant distance between us and our loved ones/friends/fellow beings.
  • Both are known to cause a set of rosy cheeks – only with ego, they are topside. Expressing either can cause embarrassment – for all parties involved.
  • They both share the ‘Silent But Deadly’ expression! C’mon, we know that ‘stinkin’-thinkin’’ internal dialogue we all have that we are “better than another” or “not good enough.” Both can be toxic and held back when not able to express them in a safe space.
  • Often, when we express either, we are likely quick to blame, not to claim.
  • All too often we point out and laugh at others for their abrupt explosions of fury or flatulence, but rarely do we acknowledge openly and humbly in the times that we have done the same, owning “It was me.”
  • Pffttt… Just hot air. You know, those moments when you think there’s solid proof of someone’s incompetence, yet really our perceptions of them are proven completely inaccurate. Sometimes, whether it’s an ego or a fart, it expresses as nothing more than hot air.
  • Sharting is possible with both. Ever had one of those moments, when you swear you have self-control and you won’t explode; however, you just can’t take it any longer, and you get diarrhea… of the mouth (always a mess to clean up). This often happens when we have held back our opinions, rather than sharing them over time, then wind up expressing it all in an explosive rant.

Letting both go creates inner peace. As human beings, we are meant to express. It is human nature. Both activities of farting and ego chatter are necessary to fully experience this thing we call “life.”

The invitation here is to consider filtering before we fire. This act of observing the ego and allowing discernment before discharge is deemed “Conscious Cropdusting” and may just be the answer to world peace.
Here’s to expressing ourselves through many unique forms in a loving and less-offensive way, creating an environment that is less toxic and more tolerable for all humankind.

Till next time, StevieAnne x

Little Shape Changer

Little Shape Changer

By Kirsten Macdonald 

She was sure she heard someone call her name. The voice had a feminine lilt with gentle humor etched on the edges. She opened her eyes, dry from the flight and the voice bearer was not near. What did the sleep doctor call it? Hypnagogic state. A foggy place. The peripheral. 

This reminded her of when she was tiny, sleeping in the bunk of the truck cabin. The scent of leather cleaner and dust was familiar and warm. She was left there to sleep in the locked metal hulk while he went in the roadhouse. She could not remember why or where she was there, six-year-olds are not concerned about locations. But the girl was snug in her travel space. 

Leaderboard Ponderings 3

The veil between dreams and here lifted slowly, and a pale light drew her eyes over to the driver’s seat. Her ankles squeezed as did her little heart. 

A striking tall illuminated shape, something like a person, transparent radiant blue, like a human firefly sat there.  She could not see a face but sensed a watchfulness. A sentry, a nutcracker soldier, guarding.  

Fear was not there, but wonder filled the girl with a particular type of awe like the time she first saw a rollercoaster. Struck with an intense wonder she stayed very still. 

The girl blinked, and blinked and then it was just gone. As she woke, the wonder disappeared like a popped bubble. Who was her visitor? Her human firefly was from that moment tucked under the file called ‘To Be Explained.’ She did not mention it to the busy and faded grown-ups. 

Leaderboard Ponderings 2

During the day she was tucked into her world titled The Bunk. 180-degree views through the elevated truck cabin around her made her feel like she was floating above the world,  a princess being carried on her throne. 

Occasionally she was fed small packets of potato chips and bananas, golden with brown splotches, ripe from the heat. Dried banana chips were the best, the squeak they made when you bit down was bliss. 

She remembers her fear of bones, after reading Jack and The Beanstalk, the fierce roar of the Giant grinding Jack’s bones to make his bread. When they got Chinese food, she licked a Prawn Cracker, and it latched onto her tongue, she bit down and wondered if this was what Jack’s bones felt like. She retched. Sometimes she felt like Giants drove trucks too and she was the stolen harp. 

Ponderings Leaderboard

A tin of hard-boiled lollies warm to the touch was empty when he wasn’t watching she opened the lid. The small popping noise of the lid made her smile; she would lick her finger and dip into the little crystally shards of leftover pieces sitting in the powdery sugar. Like sweet little pieces of glass, they would sit on her tongue, and she would feel them dissolve and time how long it took them to disappear. She did this all with very quiet joy. She was already learning; she had to be careful not to upset him. Princesses were only princesses when they were quiet. 

The crackle of the CB exploded with male conversations, gravelly like sandpaper and littered with swear words and laughter beyond her understanding.  They had a magic to them, messages floating through the air from truck to truck that the little people driving their cars did not know about. They knew where the coppers were, and did you see that Sheila in the blue Datsun? She had no idea who Sheila was, but apparently, the menfolk liked her a lot everywhere they went. 

The hills rolled by, carpeted with green grass then within kilometers were replaced with paddocks, crisp dry clumps of grass and sheep that were skinny after their haircuts. She imagined the lives she had lived here once before where many little animals could speak and be friends. There were no grown-up people there, just grown up animals. Wise and strong Aslan types who laughed hearty laughs and gave hugs that did not hurt but made you feel all wrapped up.  

In the here -now- life the little one knew that animals could bite. Like the spider at school. All black fur and spiky legs, she wanted to look closer but was scared of being eaten. Some creatures bit, not because they were nasty but to protect themselves. How she wished she could communicate that she was different. To the others. 

She did not know why she just was. The mean just didn’t live in her. She wanted more than anything to brush the hair of a lion, to ride on the back of a bear, to be piggybacked through the jungle by a gorilla. 

She once had a butterfly land on her finger. She believed with her whole body it was because she had asked nicely from a gentle heart. 

It would take many decades for her to learn her same feeling for human friendships. Biting happened frequently. 

She created the stories; she lived on that hill where flowers sang her name and tales of Briah Fox were true. Very tall trees were an escape to another world. 

A tree striking up like an old man alone in the dusk challenged her to remember its shape. She held up her hands up like a camera and took a photo with her mind; then it went into a file cabinet in her head. It was a faded green color like the one in Pa’s office. So many files in her cabinet tucked away for later. 

As a grown woman she cannot recall what she was saving them for. Perhaps it was for right now, right at this moment as she sat on an airplane high above the ground remembering the age of six.

The plane is nearly empty, and she looks over the next aisle. He is watching her. He is her Aslan. Sometimes his wildness scares her, his distant self when he needs to walk alone can make her feel like she’s vulnerable. Her fierce woman fury rises from the depths of survival when this happens; her eyebrow raises in haughtiness challenging everything that might bring her undone. He has taught her that men can be good. She is safe and does not need to draw her sword. 

She touched the gold cross that sits on her chest. The full, rounded aching now in sweet and sour waves that is 2018. 

Author’s Note: certain things happen to us on the fringe of life, at the tips of our memory, the edge of awake and asleep that echo of a story. Like a haze above the hot road and the magic of a firefly, if you look directly, it peaks out of view. Peripheral wonder. To remember we were all children once, that wanted to shine, not from attention but for want of harmony and joy is timely.  The wildness of joy may scare people, but your tribe will arrive. You might even stumble across a human firefly together. 

For John xxx

Moments of a Possibly Dying Chic otherwise known as the Adventures of the Last Week of February

Moments of a Possibly Dying Chic otherwise known as the Adventures of the Last Week of February

What is that smell?

It is my feet.

Hard working people, fun people and people with awesomeness dancing in their soul like Michael Jackson on crack have smelly feet. It is a fact.

Truth is I do not own many pairs of socks. They don’t like us here. I like bare feet. Bare feet and a nice Jimmy Choo do not mix. Neither do Kmart boots. Just saying. Information is information.

Polished floorboards and a soaring roof glide above like a church cathedral, of glass angles and the smell of the ocean is drifting through the wide open doors. It reminds me of my old ballet haunt. My children are laughing at some random joke they made, most likely inappropriate and just out of ear shot. He walks in and kisses me on the cheek, asking how many goals I kicked today. A little warm and fluffy ewok like animal otherwise known as my Dog licks my ankle. My heart gets big. So big it feels like it will take off like hot air balloon right out of my chest and my eyes start to water. It is too bright in here. So much light.

Love

Happy

Contentedness

Will it leave?

Will it last?

Maybe that is not an ewok licking your ankle darling maybe its the black dog? He is here to ask you Who Do You Think You Are. You Cant. People Will Say Things. People Will Poke At You. Be Smaller. Cmon Turn Down the Volume on that Light. That Little Light That You Let Shine. No, surely not.

Fear

Loss

Gulp

Fear knocked and the door, faith answered, and no one was there. Ah ha, I remembered we aren’t mates anymore.

Gratitude pops in for a cuppa and a squeezey hug. Fear is losing his grip people, he is losing his grip. Fear is a big ogre with nostril hairs so vile Roald Dahl would dry reach. The man has sold millions of copies of books. He would be a great judge.

There is a place we call cuppa snuggles. It is the time when all the ODonnell women folk make a cuppa and jump on my king size bed for gossips and chats, laughter and silly reminiscing. Remember the time Nanna spat her teeth out? What about that time we ransomed the dog for chocolate biscuits?

Sisters Friendship Ideas Imagination Creative Concept

Her and I stand and look at the ocean together and smile, it is happening. It is really happening. We spoke of this, we whispered about this place when we were smaller. When the world was big.

Sacred.

Special.

Mum, why can’t you?

I am so sorry, but I am really tired, it has been a big day, and I am a bit dizzy.

You have time for other people, but not me.

No sweet child, if you only you knew. All my love goes to you and your siblings. I do what I do for you. Your smile makes me breathe, and your heart is my treasure to protect. The universe gave you to me, and now I must give me to you. It is written in the stars and in our biology. We have been friends for eons you and me.

When they are so small and tiny they need you; when they are big and independent, they need you. Balancing…on a budget

I haven’t heard from you; you sound really busy. Things must be going well. You must be doing alright if you are in Point Lonsdale now, business is good huh? Its a bit far away from the go-to people in town though isn’t it? Oh well, each to their own.

Each

To

Their

Own.

That is correct.

Is this a hairdresser? We need a hairdresser. I do hope you are useful here.

No, its a wordsmith agency of awesomeness.

Least do no harm, that is my motto, this anti-seizure medication will do the trick.

Yes Ok Doc.

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Why am I SO HUNGRY, its the anti-seizure medication. That cow is making my mouth water. What the actual hell is going on? Put down the bacon. I said put down that bacon.

To be fat and live or to be thin and sick? That is the question.

Mum! Dad is going to be pissed, your dog ate his new Yukka plant.

For the love of Jehovah. Eye Twitch.

That bloody dog! Three dogs. Why do we need three dogs?

Its a pack thing. One needs a tribe and a pack. Now we have a pack.

Mum! Dad is going to be cross, your dog just ate his new socks!

Yup.

The actual pair of glorious cotton foot pockets that matched had now crossed into the abyss of dark matter otherwise known as Kelpie.

Awesome.

I have never felt so inspired, your story, omg your story! I was so scared to put myself out there; now I know I can do it. I know I have to do it. Because my story matters. My story needs to be told, and I understand it isn’t just because its mine, its because it will help someone else, and that’s more important than being stuck in fear. It is about communication and human interaction. Smile. Yes my dear bright and shiny human, it does. You matter. You all matter. So much.

Chairs are pushed in, the looks on faces make my heart swell again. They heard. They felt, and they understood. These beautiful seeking, learning humans.

Planet Spectrum

Fear once knocked on this door but doesn’t any more; he’s gone up the road for a listening ear. He worked out his BS isn’t welcome here anymore.

Mum have I told you today that I love you? Would you like a foot rub?

Yes please favorite child, but first may I make you some pancakes?

Let’s turn up that French jazz music, how groovy is it?

You guys are seriously messed up, and lame. Who listens to Jazz Music and talks like that?

You once did before hormones took over you child.  This one still has at least a years worth of reciprocal love left.

Hey, Dingus, do you need me to get milk on the way home? (Heavens open, choir sings.)

Why am I so tired? I wish that nerve would stop twitching every time I exercise. It makes me nervous.  What if its the aneurysm?

Don’t think about it; it will go away.

No

It

Won’t.

It will just pop on you, exploding in your head bigger than the Sydney NYE Fireworks and Y2K back in the day, and Bobs your Uncle you will be standing there looking at yourself wondering what the hell happened and who’s that standing over there? Archangel Gabriel? Wow, you’re much taller than I imagined, Gabe those wings are working for you.

Did you come to meet me personally? What do you mean what am I wearing? I am stuck with this for the Afterlife? No, I did not know that there was a fresh hole in my pants near my… Bikini waxes are so yesterday…

My bad.

You really need to buy some better activewear. You old fave puma trackies and holy t-shirt are so gross. You are not a hot mum. What will you do if you actually die on one of these walks? You know how people are, they won’t stop they will think you are a homeless person. Of THAT ILK, the low brow type. You know what people think of homeless people. Except you and a few good eggs. You know what its like to have no home.

F%$k it, and f$%#, Lorna Jane.

Bikini waxes are out of fashion; bikini waxes are out of fashion.

Leaderboard Ponderings 2

Monash University would like to congratulate you on finishing the first part of your certification.

Mindfulness. Breathe in. Breathe Out. I am that I am. This too shall pass. God give me the strength to move through this world and do not harm but to radiate all that is good and pure.

MUUUUUUUM! Do you shop? There is NO FOOD!

Superb.

We would like you to get on board and donate your time to the cause; we only need you to drive over 6 hours to do it, it will be great for the organization. They need people like you.

My kids need people like me.

No, I do not want to lock the door and put on my sneakers. It’s Tuesday.  What! Is it Saturday? Oh wow, that went quick. Where are those Nikes?

Marlborough Sav Blanc

Tryambakam Yajamahe

Snooze.

Good morning Monday! ALARM SCREECH.

Read More From Ponderings….

Ponder Kindness

Ponder Kindness

For those of you that have followed Ponderings over the last few years, you will know that my preoccupation with faith and the existential self-has been a big part of my life. It has been this dance that has grown into a study of religion and anthropology. I have often shied away from discussing it in more detail in this space because beliefs are so very personal and I don’t want ever to alienate my beautiful tribe of Ponderers. But a certain person came up on my radar that beckoned a bit more, capturing and challenging the hearts of Australia. But I will get to him shortly. Shall we bravely ponder?

In these years of seeking and learning, something has struck me, again and again, and that is how many of the world religions have the same stories, themes and metaphors (just different characters) and many of those involved in spiritual awakenings and happenings outside of themselves, across the globe, across thousands of years are similar. Stories of angels, of burning bushes, Damascus like happenings, wearied souls seeking solace in abandoned places away from people to have spiritual epiphanies, there are countless stories etched into our history.

Planet Spectrum

A few things get me perplexed in thought. Want to hear them? It has always intrigued me how science emerged from the belly of religious study, from humans looking outward and asking “where did we come from?” yet over the centuries science and religion have parted ways- at times fervently in angry opposition. Evolutionists can believe in God, but no one talks about it. Mohammed and Moses apparently both had assistance from Angels called Michel, and Jibrael (Gabriel and Michael -different spellings, but the same dudes with wings) but no-one talks about that connection.

Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern belief structures all over the planet going back thousands of years value much of the same fundamental questions and stories. When I was studying religions from around the world at University, I was gobsmacked. Why? Because in the genesis of these religions: the core sentiments are the same. Houston we have a problem. We argue over the right and wrong of it all. Yet it is marinated in the same concepts. Literally.

It needs to be said that people can also lose faith in those religions when those in higher positions of so-called authority let them down.

Abuse of power within any human organization exists and is destructive. Religion is no different. Some people are drawn to leadership so they can be more powerful than others, this is certainly true. However, the truth is: if you were to study every one of these religions they have episodes of power abuse in every single one of them over the last 3000 years. Why? Because humans are involved. Give me a group of humans and I will show you shades of morality in every degree that all form this human tapestry. The respect for everyone’s belief system falls out of favor at times; others are more PC, and acceptable, wouldn’t you agree? Some are popular, and some are not.

EVERYTHING

But what about the others? What about the leaders that have a calling to help humanity that is nothing short of inspiring?

The leaders that are not afraid to remind us of our ethics and morals as human beings on this planet? The moral compass bearers that are separate from state and carry the mantle, asking the ‘bigger’ questions about the condition of Humanity? Many of these women and men have spent decades studying the human condition, theology, the aesthetics of human goodness and not- so- goodness. They are often experts in the species we call human’s spiritual evolvement, going back thousands of years. They have that calling.

I first saw Father Rod Bower from the Gosford Anglican Church on Facebook, doing a live church sermon, and I was nothing short of captivated. This enigmatic man was calling for humility, calling for the fundamental rights of human beings to be respected. In Australia, we are quite fervent in our differing beliefs about “boat people” and refugees. The key piece of information people need to remember is according to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, our measuring stick on Planet Earth, every human has basic needs, if you don’t meet them, you are in significant strife with the UN and in danger of moral corruption in the worst possible way. Something that Fr. Rod Bower is reminding us about recently, just this week he chained himself to our Prime Minister’s Front Gates in protest against current government actions with The Manus Men.

His flair for troublemaking is exemplary- the Gosford church sign out front takes the traditional messages of faith and turns them on their head. The original one that tickled the Nation’s fancy: Dear Christians, People Are Gay, Get Over It, Love God.

On another particular live stream Fr. Rodd spoke about getting the basics right. If we get the basics right like hospitality and kindness, the rest of human decency will flow and be activated. Like a true scientist, he was unpacking the ideology and examining the pieces. This was not fodder being jammed down one’s mortal throat for salvation, but something more.

It was when an atheist friend and I were discussing this clergyman going viral on Facebook that my friend turned to me and said- that guy makes me want to go to church, he makes me curious. It was at that moment I knew I had to chat with this man. So I traveled up to Gosford to meet with Fr. Rod on a lovely NSW sunny day and what transpired was hours of laughter, thought-provoking and interesting conversation, that I have put together in a 4 part series. I hope you enjoy it. It isn’t always as expected, and it verged on curious.

Kirsten: Father Rod, one thing that has me intrigued is how you contextualize and present your message. You’re a storyteller and a brilliant theologist. I’ve had 3 atheist friends see your stuff on Facebook and have said, ‘that guy would make me want to go to the Church.’

Fr. Rodd: (smiling) We have a lot of atheist followers; or so-called atheists.

Kirsten: The moment you have someone in opposition to your beliefs asking “what has this person got to say?” is a pretty cool moment to have. Have you had non-believers that have become curious about what you teach?

Fr. Rodd: (nodding) I mean we’ve 50,000 or something followers on Facebook. I’d say a good half of them would be, probably more than half would be very least agnostic. There are a couple of very committed atheists who comment regularly. It’s terrific.

I recently spoke at the Atheist and Humanist society at the University of New South Wales. I’m fascinated by atheism. In that, the God that atheists ‘generally speaking’ -have rejected is the same God I reject. I don’t have that God either.

Kirsten: Agreed! (I’m now grinning ear to ear because this conversation is getting awesome).

Fr Rodd: And that’s the version of God that everyone should reject. It’s variations on Zeus, it really is. The idea of God sitting on the Mount, manipulating the affairs of humanity, and most theists believe in that. It’s a concept that’s been justifiably ridiculed. As it should be.

Fr Rodd: It’s a far more sophisticated concept. I just get frustrated with the superficial; I’m not saying atheists are superficial, but there’s a superficial atheism that is Dawkins’s atheism. It just sets up this straw man and knocks it down, and that shouldn’t be atheism.

Leaderboard Ponderings 3

Kirsten: Absolutely. I get incredibly excited about current science, and it seems, the more science progresses, the more it seems to prove the source of a divine architect. Or I love it when I read that Einstein and C.S Lewis started out trying to disprove the existence of a “designer” or an “architect” and could not. It hasn’t been done. Just because we don’t have the answers, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Fr. Rodd: Well I’m utterly fascinated by quantum physics.

Kirsten: Me too! (this is the bit where I have to restrain my excitement for the ME TOO moment lol)

Fr. Rodd: Because I think it is where theology and science come together, and it’s where science is almost forced to start to borrow theological language. I mean the big bang theory was first postulated by a Belgian Catholic priest, Father Georges Lemaitre and it almost required the mind of a theologian to come up with that. So that’s where I’ve been fascinated.

Kirsten: I can’t get my head around the fact that so many people do not realize that much of science was born in the church. The separation of science and theology intrigues me. The origins of science began within the Church. It was a man looking at the stars asking ‘where is God?’ that started this journey.

Leaderboard Ponderings 2

Fr. Rodd: Yeah. All the great universities started as theological colleges essentially.

Kirsten: So, tell me, how did you go with the Humanist Society?

Fr. Rodd: We had a ball!

Kirsten: Do you get thrown some curve balls?

Fr. Rodd: Well, not really because I’ve thought a lot about that kind of stuff. I sowed the seeds of doubt in the atheism. (smiling)

Kirsten: (Laughs) that is brilliant. What fun. You had answers Father Rodd! You went in prepared lol.

Fr. Rodd: Once you get beyond the superficial atheism and join them in rejecting this, there are other concepts.

Kirsten: What are you reading at the moment?

Fr. Rodd: I’m actually reading a book, by Simon Longstaff from the Ethics Center. It’s just little vignettes on ethics.
Kirsten: So, I take it that you like moral philosophy?

Fr. Rodd: I do like moral philosophy. I think part of the passion I have around some of the social issues, refugees, and climate change come from that passion for social ethics—how do we best live together as human beings?

Part Two of our Conversation Next Week: Lucifer, Game of Thrones and Why First Century Jews got it right. Oh and Dutton, we can’t forget him.

For those who would like to assist in Fr. Rod’s current quest to help go to: https://www.asrc.org.au/

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