Thursday, 25 February 2010

Well the year has begun in earnest with a five day trip up into the Hokianga staying on the marae to follow the footsteps of the early missionaries here in Aotearoa New Zealand and then into two weeks orientation at college.

We are blessed for the next few months to have 6 of the Melanesian brothers with us at college. Today I had my first singing lesson with them. There complex harmonies are amazing. As a first time singer I of course am easily led astray but it was exhilarating.

Otago University is also new for this year. Although I remain in the seminary in Auckland I am now studying out of Otago.

So study so far looks like...
Contemporary Biblical Criticism
Hinduism and Buddhism
Ministry and Society in 21st Century
Early Christianity
Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Chaplaincy in Society


From a teaching perspective two of us begin teaching our first icon class for the year on Sunday. We are already over subscribed with others on a waiting list so it is gratifying.

I think that the fact that we teach it as a threefold venture of:
Practical painting techniques
and theology, history and context of icons has been a real selling point.

Later in the term I am taking (as a student) an icon class with a woman who teaches techniques I have not used before so I am very excited.

Anyway, whilst we were away on our marae trip visiting missions, battlefields and marae we were called to write so here are a few poems from that. For those of you wondering about the snoring when you stay on a marae you sleep in the meeting house mattress next to mattress, snorer next to snorer.

No history highlight -swimming up a river chasing flounder into nets and eating them fresh for breakfast. And playing cards with the elders at night.

Someone to Watch Over Me

Tonight I don’t mind your snoring,
on the edge of sleep low feline rumblings
speak to me of comfort.
Of uncles long past,
of brothers lost,
and grandfathers
- once far away,

Together they remind me
that for tonight,
I am not alone.

Tonight I am surrounded by noisy ancestors
snoring up the rafters.

On Intoducing Oneself to New Waters
My Father told me
to understand a place
I must bury my hands in the earth,
speak without fear to the birds of the night,
and plainly with the birds of the day.

That in introducing myself to new waters
I would enter a courtship temperate,
with foreign oceans inclined towards possession,
- courting water is always delicate.

When overtures gentle,
to tides and eddies,
shallow and deep waters alike are complete,
only then may I advance tenderly...

Knee deep,
thigh high,
for that moment delicious...

permission given,
I may fall over into waters new
and be baptised once more
in a salty sway.

In water negotiations at least,
there is always more than one baptism.

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