Whilst living in the Middle East in 1980 I mail-ordered my first personal computer. That is, I ordered a kit to build a Sinclair ZX80 personal computer, along with a correspondence course on BASIC programing (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code). With my trusty soldering iron in hand I swiftly – and to my surprise successfully – assembled the computer, plugged it into the TV aerial socket, powered it up and, armed with my correspondence course, entered the brave new world of personal computing.
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In his latest book, (released in time for Christmas) Rex A E Hunt, a retired Uniting Church minister suggests the festival called Christmas is a celebration still “under construction”. He describes it as “a weaving of story, myth, customs and ritual, which since its inception has been debated, ignored, celebrated, banned and from the mid 1800s, reinvented”.
In his introductory chapter Hugh Mackay looks at the Utopia complex being sold to us by business, the media and general societal pressure. He suggests that the pursuit of happiness can actually make you miserable. We seem to think that happiness is our default position whereas often we grow through pain. Wholeness can involve the whole range of emotions and experiences.
In Sophia & Daughters, Rosalie Sugrue offers reflections on 29 wise women from the Bible, some expressed in dialogue form. Some of the women such as Eve, Sarah, Esther, Ruth, Martha and Lydia are reasonably well known. Others such as Mahlah, Achsah, the wife of Manoah, Joanna and the wife of Cleopas are largely buried in the biblical text.
While trying to find the right cover for the edition, we came across a heap of pictures of courageous beings: knights in shining armour, army tanks, you get the picture. We could have chosen an image of a lion – king of the jungle – but as you can see we went with a courageous little penguin. Standing up to a bigger breed of penguins, we thought this little guy epitomised Christian courage.
As a boy I would spend much of the summer holidays staying with my grandparents. It was always a splendid time. I would sit with my grandfather early in the morning and drink morning Camp Coffee while he smoked his pipe. I still remember the smell of the Condor Tobacco as he told me stories of his life. In some way I think telling his story was about beginning to write my story.