Putting Jesus in a box

It’s old news but it’s been prettied up and paraded in front of the world again in time for Easter.

People have been trying to put Jesus in a box for the last two thousand years and now Titanic director, James Cameron, is trying to do that quite literally. He has sent people across the globe into a spin by claiming that he’s found the bones of Jesus and his family. The fact that the tomb was actually found back in 1980 and that both archaeologists and theologians have dismissed the claims ever since then doesn’t seem to worry Cameron.

This article from BBC News tells us that the Hollywood director is convinced that he has something significant on his hands but that the experts disagree.

My regular Wednesday morning guest on 98.5 Sonshine FM is Ross Clifford is the Principal of Morling College in New South Wales and current President of the Baptist Union of Australia. Each week we chat about a range of issues relating to spirituality and belief.

Today we discussed the claims of the documentary and then looked at what it would mean for Christianity if the bones of Jesus really were discovered.

You can listen in to our conversation now if you left click here or you can right click here to save the mp3 and listen later.

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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20 years

20 years ago today a chapter closed on my life and the lives of the others in my family.

On the 28th of February, 1987, my mother, Margaret Sadie Olsen, passed away at the age of 66.

I was 23 when mum died. When I was born my mother was 43, the age that I am now. There is so much that I wish she could have shared over the last couple of decades.

Mum wasn’t around to see me cycle across Australia for the first time, just 8 months after she passed away. She never lived to see me realise my childhood dream of working in radio.

By the time I met Pauline, mum had already been gone for close to 5 years. She never got to see her youngest child marry the woman he loved. Mum never got to hold Emily or James in her arms. How I wish she was still here to see our wonderful little family. I desperately wish that Emily and James could have met their Grandma Olsen and that Pauline could have spent time with her mother-in-law trying to unearth some embarrassing stories from my childhood.

I know that there are many significant events in the lives of my four siblings that mum has missed too. There have been highs and lows along the way but all of them would have been quite different if mum had been around to share them.

Mum’s last couple of years were spent in hospital after suffering a brain aneurysm. For most of that time she was unable to communicate with us. Occasionally she was able to say a word or two but there were other signs that would show us that she knew a lot of what was going on. Mum was pretty much paralysed so even making movement to communicate was difficult.

There were several times that more bleeding in her brain would cause doctors to tell us that mum only had hours or maybe days to live. We would all begin to grieve our loss only to find the days turning into weeks or months until there was another medical setback and the whole process would begin again. You can imagine the kind of emotional toll that took on each of us.

When mum finally left this earth I experienced a mixture of relief, sadness and joy. Relief that she didn’t have to suffer any longer, joy that she was now enjoying paradise but still the immense sadness of losing someone I loved so very, very much.

I know that the person I am today is very much a product of who mum was. I value the influence she was and continues to be in my life.

The photo in this post shows me a little younger than I am today with both my parents. You can click the picture for a closer look. Dad passed away around four and a half years ago, just days before his 83rd birthday.

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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Talking to yourself

They say that one of the first signs of madness is talking to yourself.

Psychologist/Counsellor Genevieve Milnes M.App.Psych, MA (Couns), B.Ed, B.Div from the Belmont Counselling Clinic joined me again today during my morning radio programme on 98.5 Sonshine FM for the fourth and final part of our series about body image.

We talked a lot about talking to yourself today.

How do you react when you hear people talk about listening to your inner voice? If you say to yourself that such an idea is utter rubbish, you’ve just discovered your own inner voice. It’s simply all about our thought life and the things we tell ourselves.

In our discussions of body image we talked about the things we tell ourselves when we look in the mirror. What do we say to ourselves when we have another piece of cake? Are we critical of ourselves or do we give ourselves permission to treat ourselves?

We discussed the difference between ‘mouth hunger’ and ‘stomach hunger’. Are we eating just to satisfy our need for comfort or are we eating to fuel our bodies?

Genevieve has taken a lot of her information from the book, When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies by Hirschmann and Munter.

If you’d like to hear our discussion left click here or right click here if you want to save the mp3 and listen later.

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All That Jazz

There’s a kind of jazz that features banjos and clarinets. I’m not a huge fan of that style of jazz.

On the other hand, there are many styles of jazz that I could listen to all day and all night.

We experienced both kinds on Saturday.

Our family had the privilege of heading to All That Jazz at Houghton Wines in the Swan Valley for over five hours of jazz. We got there around five in the afternoon while the sun was still blisteringly hot. We placed our blanket not too far from the stage and then found some nearby shade.

The music started with the banjo and clarinet type jazz. The Red Eagles played their New Orleans Dixieland music extremely well but it wasn’t really my style. Next was a group of ‘senior’ jazz musos called The Lazy River Jazz Band featuring vocalist June Smith, one of the blackest sounding white women you’re ever likely to hear. They’ve probably been playing jazz together for the last 50 or so years. They were brilliant and certainly got my feet tapping.

Then it was time for the West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra to step up and show us why they’re acknowledged as the leading youth jazz orchestra in Australia. Libby Hammer and Ali Bodycoat provided the vocals and together they brought the audience to life.

After all the appetisers it was time for the main course.

David Campbell stepped on stage, backed by the West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra and proceeded to completely wow the audience. His performances of standards like Mr Bojangles, Mac the Knife, Call Me Irresponsible and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You had the audience hanging off every word.

Campbell is the complete showman. His banter between songs was entertaining and engaging. He never missed a beat even when he started conversations in the middle of his songs.

He happily told us that his dad, Jimmy Barnes, had sent him a text message 20 minutes before the show to say that he was out of ICU following a scheduled operation to repair a heart valve. He then went on to do a great ‘Barnsey’ impersonation.

While eight year old James has always seemed to have ‘got’ jazz and swing, Emily, who is two years older, has resisted. She is now a huge David Campbell fan. She was standing up against the stage for his whole set and Campbell even jumped off the stage at one point and touched her on the arm. After the concert Emily approached the guys who were packing down the stage and managed to souvenir the towel that David Campbell had been using to wipe the sweat from his face during the concert. Yeck.

The next time David Campbell comes to town I’ll be first in line for tickets.

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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The Forgotten Ways

forgottenwaysI read The Shaping of Things to Come by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch some time ago. I imagine that most people who have read the book have continued thinking through the issues it raises a long time after they’ve filed the book away on their bookshelf.

Both Frost and Hirsch have since written new books. Michael Frost has written Exiles while Alan Hirsch has released the book The Forgotten Ways.

The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church, covers some of the same ground as The Shaping of Things to Come which makes it worthwhile as a follow up or as a stand alone book.

The Shaping of Things to Come asked a lot of deep questions and pointed us towards possible directions. The Forgotten Ways seeks to build on the ground already covered but helps to plot a way forward for the missional church.

Introducing the book on the website of The Forgotten Ways we read a couple of questions that set us up for what the book is looking to answer.

How did the number of Christians in the world grow from as few as 25 000 one hundred years after Christ’s death to up to 20 million in AD 310?

How did the Chinese underground church grow from 2 million to over 100 million in sixty years despite considerable opposition?

In The Forgotten Ways, Alan Hirsch reveals the paradigmatic insights he discovered as he delved into those questions. He then translates these findings into the context of the contemporary Western church.”

I had the great pleasure of speaking with Alan Hirsch about his book and his understanding of missional church last week. My interview with Alan will be broadcast on 98.5 Sonshine FM both tonight and tomorrow night.

To listen to the interview online simply press the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

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