Today’s post title is a play, in case you haven’t realised – on the more traditional saying:
As Mad as a March Hare
Instead I have inverted it, swapping both “Mad” and “March” whilst selecting the March Hare from Alice in Wonderland.
In the last few days, my writing schedule has been a little erratic in that Thursday 12 March should have been issued out in a timely fashion, but instead I released it today with the back-dating to Thursday…
Today, being Saturday 14 means yesterday was… Friday the Thirteenth! Being a Saturday, I also felt a little guilty that I was behind with my writing commitment until I realised that actually, according to my schedule on the Family page, I had actually completed that writing serial! So, given the way things have actually played out, whilst not intentional, it all makes sense.
Thus, this post which counts as today’s actual writing, is a free and relaxing reflection of recent times. Today also saw Christians 20/30 host their first event for 2015: Bringing Lazy Saturday Back. Whilst I will reflect more and write-up on this event as a dedicated post next Saturday, all I will say for now here is that I thought the event was very successful. The two main organisers who made it happen deserve a BIG congratulations on the effort that went into making is so well planned. The 2016 event will no doubt build upon this year’s success.
The following is a recap on recent events and thoughts which are somewhat interconnected…
Leadership & Impact
Recently at Clayton Church, it was announced that the small groups previously known as “cell groups” would now be referred to as “life groups”. The reason for this change was to address the more recent advent of terrorism-related concern with the word association with the word “cell”.
In reality, this very argument was raised many years ago by none other than my father, when the church first considered promoting “cell groups” as the model for our church to align behind. At the time, I recall the argument put forth by my dad being that the word “cell” had a historical context and reference in sociology with Russian cells. Think spy cells, and networks. Even in those days, the concept of a cell group carried both a positive and negative connotation.
In one sense, my dad’s argument has finally won out, just over a 10-15 year period, during which time, terrorism has reared its ugly head – most recently in 2014 in the form of IS/ISIS. Now, arguably, there was a heightened sense of security a decade ago when the War on Terrorism was launched and the US neoconservatives committed that nation to fighting protracted battles in Afghanistan and then Iraq. The church could have taken the then timely opportunity to implement this name change. Instead, we have waited until 2014/2015 when the gruesome depictions coming out of the Middle East have somehow now made the word “cell” even more controversial and undesirable.
My initial reaction to this name change has multiple facets:
- It is a cosmetic name change, nothing more – so the change is minor and inconsequential
- At a deeper level, could this action by a church, be interpreted by some parties (internal as well as external) that the church indeed reacts to current events/the world
- Is this kind of reaction and relationship to worldly events appropriate?
- Is this change consistent with a church demonstrating general leadership in the community? We are called to lead the world, and not let the world lead us…
- In terms of the connotations of the term “cell group”, for the last 10-15 years, we – the church – helped to give it a positive meaning.
- Words are ultimately meaningless with the power of context that we infuse them with.
- Words are ultimately not good or bad; it is how we use them that determines the outcome.
- You can use this theory and substitute out many different concepts which are invariably neutral – money being the most obvious other example.
- Are we denying ourselves the opportunity to take control and fight the negative connotations that “cell” has in the secular world, with a positive “God-oriented” one?
The following scenarios were used to explain the concept of leadership and mindsets, which I have found to be very simple yet powerful:
- Characteristics of a good leader, their actions and responsibilities.
- By definition, if there can be a good leader, then equally there can be a poor/bad leader.
- In order for someone to be considered a good leader, others cannot be as good.
- Ultimately, the mindset paradigm is at an individual level: I am good but you are not.
- Characteristics of a good community/group can similarly be defined.
- In order for a group/cause to be worthy and considered good, other groups and causes are by definition not.
- Ultimately, this mindset pits groups against each other: my church is good but your church or other churches are not as good.
- You tend to see this mindset play out when Christians get too hung up on their own church, develop cliques, and become inward focused.
- God is the source of all that is good; everything else is inconsequential.
- The Devil is the source of all that is evil.
- It is this mindset/leadership thought level that we should aspire towards.
- When we focus on God, the us and them arguments melt away.
- When we focus on God, we should not see our fellow human beings as anything other than equals and peers working through this life – we all need help connecting and being reconciled to God.
- Being God and Kingdom focused ultimately places us in the best position to executing our charge as leaders and influencing people towards God.
Labour Day Public Holiday
Monday 9 March was the Labour Day public holiday here in Melbourne/Victoria. Labour Day as a public holiday differs between states within Australia. Further, on an international level, for countries that have labor movements and unions, Labour Day is celebrated at different times throughout the year.
Historically, Labour Day celebrates the working entitlements that union movements have achieved over the years. Things like the 8-hour day are core expectations that we appreciate today as outcomes from this championing, some of which goes back 100s of years. Internationally, Labour Day is also known as May Day, and focused on 1 May as the annual date of celebration. The following is sourced from Labour Day in Australia (TimeandDate.com):
In Australia, during the mid to late 1800s the working day was long and arduous, where some employees would work up to 12 hours a day, six days a week. Many Australians saw the need for better working conditions and in the 1850s there was a strong push for this cause. On April 21, 1856, stonemasons at the University of Melbourne marched to Parliament House to push for an eight-hour working day. An agreement with employers for a 48-hour week was eventually reached and Australian workers welcomed the new eight-hour day. A victory march was held on May 12 that year and each year after that. In 1856 the new work regulations were recognised in New South Wales, followed by Queensland in 1858 and South Australia in 1873.
In 1874, Tasmania joined the other states, which were colonies at the time, in adopting the shorter eight-hour working day. In 1879 the Victorian Government made one further step towards better conditions for employees by proclaiming a paid public holiday that year. In light of the labour movement’s successful push for an eight-hour day, a large May Day meeting was held in Melbourne in 1890. On May 1 that year a local newspaper made reference to that day as May Day.
One of the first May Day/Labour Day marches in Australia occurred on May 1, 1891 in Queensland. More than 1000 people participated in the march and carried banners. The leaders wore blue sashes and the Eureka flag was carried. It was reported that cheers were given for “the eight-hour day”. The Labour Day date was moved from May to the second Monday in March in some parts of Australia after World War II. Since 1948, Labour Day in Western Australia has been observed on the first Monday in March. It marks the granting of the eight-hour working day to Western Australians.
As part of enjoying the long weekend, I went with friends to Bounce Inc, where we spent the hour-long session trying out the different activities:
- Free Jumping area:
- Most of us just bounced up and down on the various trampolines.
- I tried out basic moves such as falling onto my knees, falling into a sitting position
- I even tried somersaulting a bit, but it was this during these attempts that I ended up grazing the skin on my forearms close to my elbows. Whilst no blood was drawn/spilt, they did become very red and the skin very tender.
- General comment: Bouncing between trampolines and up the angle/side trampolines looks very easier than it actually is…
- Dodgeball game area:
- We played against a group of kids and lost.
- Bouncing whilst throwing requires coordination.
- Having a higher skill level where one can jump between trampolines is kind of required to enjoy this game more.
- Big Bag
- The easiest activity of them all
- You run/jump/bounce down a long trampoline surface and then jump off the edge onto a BIG bag inflated full of air.
- I enjoyed somersaulting onto the bag.
- I first needed to get used to the distance and time my jumping/bounces down the trampoline mat in order to jump off the edge appropriately.
- Slam dunking
- Basically think basketball on a court-sided trampoline.
- Whilst I was starting to get the hang of jumping correctly, I was still short of the adult-height basketball hoop.
- Based on the height I could jump, the kid-height basketball hoop would have been the perfect for me… 🙂