Ok before you go any further this post has some very bad language in it. If that’s a problem to you then back out now…

You’re sure you want to keep going?…

Because I don’t want to get comments telling me that it was offensive… If nothing else I’d get annoyed because you missed the point!

Ok, I came across these two pieces this week and I’d suggest they are brilliant prophetic statements. They aren’t Christians (as far as I know) and in fact they are quite confronting in their content, but if you have ears to hear then you will feel what is said.

The first is a bloke in England on a bit of a ‘social experiment’, and the second is Aussie comedian Tim Minchin at the Melbourne Comedy Festival (a fundraiser for Oxfam) really calling people out on their true convictions.

Unpleasant, but then that’s why we need prophets – because they will say the stuff that the rest of us feel offended by or can’t see.

For those who have ears to hear…

Thanks to my bro in law David who pointed me to Minchin. Unfortunately its a catchy song and kinda gets stuck in your head… like it or not…


Finding My Voice

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Its been over 10 years of writing this blog and in that time I have developed my own ‘voice’ in writing. I sit down to ‘blog’ and it comes easily and naturally – its like I’m sitting in my lounge room with a friend and I enjoy it each time I open the keyboard.

But as I started writing some fiction this year I have found myself feeling quite awkward at times, a bit like ‘its not my voice’ coming thru. I don’t think I’ve been trying to imitate anyone, but I do notice I find it more difficult to write a story than I do a blog. I am also a bit of a snob when it comes to writing so I sometimes read it and think ‘oh dear… this is excrement’ and that can be a little discouraging!

I guess this form of writing comes easily because there is no obligation or intention to say anything creatively. If it flows out well then good – if not then so be it – and its only a short post. If you don’t like it there will be another to read some time soon. But because I’ve ‘found my voice’ here chances are most posts will read ok.

However the process of telling a story, of developing character and trying to draw people in is a more focused task and in that I am feeling like I have been labouring because it hasn’t started to come naturally yet. Some mornings I sit down to write and feel like I am writing boring ‘wooden’ information and then other days I sit to write and I like what I’m writing – I’d read it myself!

Not having much experience in fiction writing I’m guessing it takes a while to find your stride and to develop your own style/voice. On that note one of the things I had to get past was that my characters use pretty bad language at times. Such is real life…

If you’ve read this blog for long enough then you’d know I’m not easily offended by naughty words, but I do try to limit my use of expletives (no really…) so to liberally splash ‘f’ words throughout was a challenge because it isn’t a part of my own vocabulary. But not to use the ‘f’ word would have been really odd too… because its how people talk… Its a part of life and it would sound jolly strange to use words like ‘jolly’ instead.

If my book ever gets finished and is good enough to publish I doubt Koorong will want to stock it…

Stop Ya Bastard

I love that Aussie car product you can buy called ‘Start Ya Bastard’ for cars that won’t start when they should, but today I had the opposite problem – the Cruiser wouldn’t shut down… So if you also happen to have an HJ61 Landcruiser and you can’t get it to stop then this may be the post you are looking for.

I was a little confused because I took it in yesterday for a new radiator and the problem only occurred after that. I drove it home, turned it off, took the key out and she just kept running. It began by just running on for a few seconds before shutting down so fortunately I was aware of it and didn’t get stuck out and about with a car that I couldn’t stop. But tonight it just decided to keep running and running and running…

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I discovered how to shut it down manually by activating the diaphragm – just push the rod towards the front the of the car (see the arrow on the diagram) and it stops. But this is supposed to be activated by a vacuum and clearly that wasn’t happening. I could do it mechanically but it wasn’t working as it should have been – and all hoses were intact…

I tracked the hose back to the device that has the red square around it but then got stuck. I didn’t know what it was and didn’t want to bugger something up.

But don’t you love google and forums?! When my dad wanted to teach me about cars at 17 I just wanted to go surfing, so I didn’t take anything in and now I am playing catch up. But fortunately a google search revealed others had encountered this problem too. I began reading at 8 o’clock and at 9 I was out there in the shed with a spotlight trying to get it back up and running.

So the vacuum switch valve (vsv) is the one in the square that activates the vacuum that shuts the car down. It is held on by one small 12ml bolt. I pulled it off cleaned it and blew it out, put it back on and all worked well in several tests. I am guessing some crap in the valve may have been the issue.

The forums showed that these valves are expensive – about $170 to buy from Toyota – if you can get them… but if you can’t you can get the same valve on Corollas manufactured in the early 80s and they are a dime a dozen around wreckers.

So there you have it. She stops now which is good because come Friday next week we are off to Karajini for a week and out of internet range.

Thanks to those who took the time to put it on the forums – just thought I’d return the favour to anyone searching for this problem.

If you need to access a manual for the 12HT then Tim has kindly uploaded one here and it is section EM34 you need to refer to.

They Listen…

Today I began the teaching at church with the question ‘If I were a Muslim evangelist and my mission was to convert you to Islam what would I need to do to get some traction?’

My intention was simply to show that it is a huge ask to shift someone from one deeply entrenched world view to another completely different one. The answers were interesting, but what was of more interest to me than the answers themselves was who was giving them.

Of the 6 or 7 responses we had, 3 came from our 12-13 year olds, the crew just out of Sunday School and with no option but to sit in church and listen to us. (I think that’s a good thing by the way.) What I liked was firstly that they felt confident enough to engage and like they had permission, but also that they offered some excellent observations. They were thinking.

I have been very aware over the last 6 weeks that my 13 year old daughter Ellie has been in for the teaching and she has made a few comments about what I have been teaching, comments that show she is engaging with at least some of what I am saying.

What today has prompted me to consider is how to intentionally engage with these guys more – how to communicate in such a way that adults learn, but the younger ones follow and are able to learn also. I think it was Billy Graham who said he preached his messages to an imaginary 12 year old as if they could comprehend then anyone could. So I am thinking that in the next few months when preparing teaching I will be running it thru the grid of ‘how does this connect with a 13 year old?’

As a kid who sat thru church at that age it didn’t kill me, but I remember regularly counting the number of boards in the roof at Maylands Baptist. I was often bored to tears but with no way of escape. Sunday morning teaching is typically pitched at adults – often thinking adults – but what if it was pitched at ‘thinking kids’? I wonder if we wouldn’t pick up all the adults as well?

Its just an observation, but its one that has sparked my thinking as to how we engage the young ones rather than just expecting them to sit quietly until the boring bit is over. What today showed me is that they are willing – if we are willing…