Thursday, December 21, 2006

Our Christmas Letter

Well, most of it....

Christmas 2006

God give you joy as you celebrate the birth of Christ this Christmas!

The most significant even of this year for our family has been the safe arrival of our baby daughter, Emmanuelle Magdalen. After some initial difficulty, I have mastered the spelling of her name, and I’m enjoying the bird-like human being that she is becoming. We haven’t yet settled on a shortening for her name. I’m considering calling her by the first 2 digits of her medicare number.

Believe it or not, Francesca will be starting school next year (she turns 5 this February!). If they are offering a subject on ‘The Care and Grooming of Toy Ponies’ she will be a star student. Francesca is very much like a pony, as it happens. In fact it’s tempting to go and buy her a float, so that we can transport her properly for long trips.

I’m glad to say that Cesca is a budding Shakespeare enthusiast. She recently sat down and watched the whole of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. It could be that she is actually a fairy enthusiast. Or, in the end, just a TV enthusiast.

One more thing with Cesca: every time I look at her buck-toothed smile I know that one day I will be helping to pay for an Orthodontist’s BMW.

Oscar has had a great year at school, with an excellent teacher. He must use up loads of energy at school, because, although he eats so much cereal that he was recently approached by Kellog’s to head up their Australian operation , he is a skinny fellow. Really, you could play xylophone on his ribs. Oscar recently played Joseph in the church’s Christmas presentation, and insofar as all he had to do was act asleep (for Joseph’s dream), he was a natural. If the Christmas story included Joseph playing Demolition Derby on PS2, then Oscar could handle that part of the role with aplomb as well.

You won’t be surprised to hear that Meg has been spending most of her time caring for the kids. She’s a fantastic mum, and the kids love her.

I’ve had a good year here in Bendigo. If you want to see pictures of what’s happening in our lives, as well as read my various rants and conspiracy theories, then look up my blog:

I’m looking forward to the celebrations and festivities of Christmas. May God bless you with a relaxing and refreshing break, and with the peace Christ Jesus freely gives!

Fraser, Margaret, Oscar, Francesca, and baby Emmanuelle

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tagged by Schutz

I notice that I've been tagged by David Schutz on his blog 'Sentire cum Ecclesia'. The theme is 'five things you may not know about me'. I think being tagged means that I'm meant to do a blog on the tag theme. Well, here goes...

1. I consider Shane Warne to be a genius. On the field.
2. I met my wife (proleptically speaking) at St Mark's in Sydney when I was in year 12 and she was in year 7; but I thought she was a university student.
3. In my first year of university I got four passes. The perfect first year of Arts.
4. I was in a band with the current Anglican Priest at St Bart's, Norwood.
5. I eat Carman's muesli most days of the week. My sister in law introduced me to it. It's great stuff.

Is that OK?

If Alex Pietsch is reading this, I'll tag him.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sanctified Vision and Praying the Bible

There has recently been written (2005) a very good short introduction (139 pages) to Patristic exegesis called 'Sanctified Vision: An Introduction to Early Christian Interpretation of the Bible' by John J O'Keefe and R R Reno (The Johns Hopkins University Press). I bought it because I had read it praised very highly by ELCA theologian David Yeago. It is one of the most refreshing books on the church fathers that I have read.

One quote: "However opaquely, Ignatius expresses the single most defining feature of patristic exegesis: the presumption that knowing the identity of Jesus Christ is the basis for right reading of the sacred writings of the people of Israel" (p28).

Up at Synod a couple of months back Adam Cooper and I, in our spare time, read through sections of Mariano Magrassi’s ‘Praying the Bible: An Introduction to Lectio Divina’ (The Liturgical Press, 1998 – also short – 126 pages). This book is a gem. It is a sophisticated, scholarly, and amazingly clear and simple introduction into the monastic tradition of reading the Scriptures.

One quote (which is a quote of Smaragdus): “Reading enables us to learn what we do not know, meditation enables us to retain what we have learned, and prayer enables us to live what we have retained. Reading Sacred Scripture confers on us two gifts: it makes the soul’s understanding keener, and after snatching us from the world’s vanities, it leads us to the love of God.”

Beautiful; and a nice complement to Luther’s meditation, oratio, and tentatio.