God still there

Following on from the last article, I ask in the next article (below), what happens when the keynote speaker pulls out? Tommy Tenney couldn’t make it to the Hutt Valley conference — thus disappointing people who expected something from God through his ministry. Although everyone was disappointed, the conference continued.

The thrust of the conference is about seeking the face of God and that can be done whether Tommy is here or not and certainty Tommy’s appearances doesn’t determine whether God turns up or not.

Tim Findlay

Here’s the article about what happened when they were told Tommy wasn’t coming.

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God chaser coming

The following article follows on from the previous articles in the church series as it gives a direct application about “hunger for God” from the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement. So, it’s what some in the Pentecostal/Charismatic church/churches are doing to minister the reality and experience of God in people’s lives. Here’s the article I wrote in 2001. I didn’t make any comment on the conference, it says what I was told by people I interviewed.

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The following article resonates with the previous posts in the church series as it kind of summarizes or encapsulates the themes. Which are: the Church can be vehicle for people experiencing God, knowing more of God, and finding meaning to life.

The churches that are growing, like the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, are offering vision and they are not afraid to say there is more to this life than meets the eye.

Rodney Macaan

The next post in the church series brings a more direct application.

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An evangelistic article

The following article is more evangelistic than most of my articles at the time as it was published in an evangelistic newspaper that was published every month alongside the regular newspaper I wrote for. They each had a different approach. The editor did a great job of slimming the article down and deflating some wordy paragraphs. Unfortunately, he died some years ago, but is remembered. Here’s the article. If warning is required, I’ll just say it contains evangelistic content.

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Union (1988)

Toni Child’s debut album of 1988, Union, kicks off with a big, powerful opening track, Don’t Walk Away, that seems to be about the tension between keeping the faith and bowing out, followed by the inspirational Walk and Talk Like Angels, a quieter, gentler track about the things we may all like to be. Stop Your Fussin’ received a lot of air time in its day – I found the song initially annoying for one reason or another – I didn’t like strangely identifying with the male subject who is told to stop his fussing – but as I got older the song took hold of me by the heart. The first three tracks at some stage were all played as singles on the old-style radio. Following those, the album’s uneven. The middle’s meditatively slow pacing and lack of resonance is a liability to this reviewer and the lyrics, and the meaning, weren’t clear, and the final track is hollow, despite titled Where’s the Ocean. But the ebb and flow of Hush and Tin Drum hit the spot and there’s one out of the box—Zimbabwae is strikingly good. Toni Childs has a beautifully gravelly resonant voice that penetrates every song she’s on which is worth listening to.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

I Am (1979)

There’s a song on Earth, Wind and Fire’s I Am album called ‘Let Your Feelings Show’ but the album is more forced than resonant. I couldn’t ‘feel’ it, so my feeling showed all right, but in a thud. Some will say I’m reliving the past with my reviews of old music, but let’s face it, the older music was better, except not always here. After the Love has Gone, Boogie Wonderland and Star lift the album slightly. The album doesn’t make for a cohesive whole either, there does not seem to be a unifying thematic force, and it is mostly limp and one note musically.  So much for an album titled ‘I Am’.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Spiritual hunger

The following article was partly taken from an interview I did in 2001. Essentially, the article, written in 2016, is about the need for more of God, a spiritual hunger in other words. It forms part of my introduction of the church series which begins with a need for more of God (spiritual hunger), reflecting the need in church members and also for anybody who feels this need in the wider community. Here’s the article.

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Faith: resurgence

The original title of the following article was “Christmas brings resurgence of faith” (article published The Evening Post, January 1, 2002), I decided to gave the title a movie makeover and “____ (insert word): resurgence” sounds like many a movie title I have seen. I wasn’t expecting anything with this article. I sent it off and forgot about it. Then a few hours later (or was it a day?) there was a reply which shocked me…The inspiration for the article was watching an episode of the old television series Becker and seeing It’s A Wonderful Life, around Christmas time. Here’s the article, kind of a contemplative, reflective commentary on faith today. Observational, perhaps.

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In the public arena

The previous article ended on what the Church can do to positively engage in the public arena in a culture that is ‘church-less’. The following, written in 2004 for Challenge Weekly, is, however, a critique of a church-backed rally, deemed by many, as a negative display by the church in the public arena in New Zealand, in 2004. It was the way it was done that got quite a few upset. It was a protest march that stood for family values while decrying the erosion of moral values in public policy, but that might have been intimidating for onlookers. Let’s have a look.

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It occurred to me as I was posting the film devotional on The Shining, that one of the subtle themes in the article is a spiritual sense in a secular society. Normally, secular has nothing to do with the spiritual. But in my post of that 1980 film The Shining, I write about the film’s angle of the possibility of the supernatural and the spiritual world, despite there being a sense of a rational worldview as well. The following 2004 article is about that sort of issue, of spirituality in a secular society and I have changed the title to reflect that.

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Introducing the church series

When I was writing for Challenge Weekly, a nondenominational Christian newspaper, and church and non-church papers, I went with the story or subject that inspired me at the time and I also went with stories that didn’t take my interest as much. Now that I have had time to reflect on my articles, there are a series of pieces I did about church. I have had time to put those in a cohesive, logical order in a clear file folder, so one theme follows another.

It makes for an interesting, intriguing picture.

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Reading can be so very quiet

I came across a nice insight, while reading. “Its quiet sad tension is a writer’s quality”, writes Raymond Durgnat, in his review of True Confessions, in The Film Year Book 1983. Yes, quiet sounding prose is a writer’s quality, a being imperative, for writers have many different qualities. And reading a quiet piece of prose is actually a quiet experience. Therefore, reading something can be a very quiet sort of engagement. It’s just feels quiet reading the piece. Sometimes, reading is so very quiet. And, yes, it can be a sad experience, too. But a quiet experience doesn’t necessarily add up to a negative one.

Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985)

Sting’s solo debut, Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985) is an 80’s album, but is what I call alternative pop music, rather than bubble gum pop. The artist, Sting, had been doing The Police for several years then released his first solo record. Opens with the infectious (less so today) If You Love Somebody Set Them Free, which has Sting singing about something thoughtful in an accessible package for mainstream listeners. Love is the Seventh Wave follows, a spirited reggae-styled political song. Russians is the highlight of the first half of the album, with its clear, distinctive voice on prejudice and Cold War paranoia, that’s musically compelling, followed by Children’s Crusade and a steady list of quietly assured tracks, while inserting the idiosyncratic title track, ending with the powerful Fortress Around Your Heart. Unremarkable stuff, but quietly assured, with a few highlights.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

A nice one

The following is an example of a good collaboration between writer and editor, the piece I did for Challenge Weekly on the DVD Collector’s Edition of Ben Hur. I like how it all sounds. Ben-Hur is a favourite of quite a few Christians as it has a strong Christian theme and contains nothing offensive., so that’s why I thought my readers would need to know. Of course, the 1959 version that is.

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Now I get it

When one gets all the grimpy I mean grumpy editors, When one has empathy with their predicament, that being having to read through a creed of emails that contain “stuff”, mostly rubbishy contributions (including mine at one time or another), and understand when one faces a similar creed of emails. I feel for you. I understand, at last, why you never got back to me.

Life to the max and all that jazz

Fill life with living life to the max or empty life from the need to? Sometimes, we want to fill life by embracing all of it, but then we find we’re empty. Is living life to the max detrimental to living life? According to the gospel of All That Jazz, perhaps it is. All That Jazz (1979) has an angle on living life to the max. Simply, it’s when Max living gets out of hand…

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Done with a sense of purpose

I wrote twenty-two film reviews for Anglican Taonga online during the 2013-2014 year, that covered films released on DVD during that period, apart from one. Some of those are still posted on their website here. Others have been taken down it seems and don’t even appear on a Google search. Online publishing can be like that, here one day, gone another, but “i was here”. Unless there’s an agreement between the publisher and the writer over what happens to archived material, which is something I didn’t have, as I wrote for the ‘fun of it’ although with quite a purposeful outlook. I’ve always taken film reviews quite seriously, even when writing reviews for free. Sometimes in writing, a purposeful attitude is all one needs.