Red Wine In Jakarta and a Man Called Max

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Tonight I met a man called Max. I don’t know his last name, I like Max, he is very Sanguine, he is Chilean, he’s probably older than me but looks younger. Tonight he is wearing a stylish lightly checkered brown jacket, nice leather shoes, open neck business shirt and expensive watch.

He is also slim, has a glint in his eyes, olive complexion and good American looking teeth that makes you want to smile back in gleaming white dental co-operation. I think it’s time for me to buy a teeth whitener.

When he talks to you he has a way of making you feel special and valued. If I was a woman or gay I could possibly fall for Max. He was also very gracious when I accidentally picked up his glass of wine and began to swirl it around like a total doofus. “Ahh that is my glass of wine Don”. Oops sorry Max.

Sitting in a very trendy upmarket Indonesian restaurant with low lights and pumping music I watched Max doing the rounds, he’s exceptionally good. Chilean wines are probably not big in Jakarta, Max is changing that. In Twenty years time I’m sure Koyle Family Vineyard Wines will have good market share in Indonesia. That’s because Max is making that happen now. He loves his hometown Chilean wines and he loves talking to people.

He chatted to me for about twenty minutes about Australia, Chile, Sydney, Jakarta, good food but mostly red wine. I’m admittedly the worst person to talk to about wine. I told him I wasn’t a wine connoisseur but I stuck my nose in my glass, vigorously inhaled and swished and aerated that rouge liquid like the best of them, my fragile ego really wanted to try and impress my very sophisticated Chilean friend.

We discussed the differences between Australian and Chilean reds. He told me that Australian reds have more body. I have more body than Max too but that’s a moot point. I’m not sure if he really understood my self depreciating sense of humour.

I watched in fascination and learned a few things from Max. He confidently and gleefully connected with every person at every table, no one seemed to mind the intrusion, he was selling a product, but he did it in such a way that people were quite happy to oblige his obsessive South American wine talk.

He’s a clever man, he found one of the most happening restaurants in Jakarta, worked with them to design a “Wine Pairing Dinner”, then happily walked around with his glass of red and did his thing. Max has found his niche, he loves what he does and it’s a little infectious.

People like Max encourage me to step out of my comfort zones, look for new opportunities, be creative and enjoy what I do.

Tomorrow I’m going to buy a tailored suit and a bottle of fine Chilean wine. I might need to reduce my “body” a little too. Thanks Max, thanks a million.

abdul and a cute little beast called ralph

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That good wise Jewish fella Jesus once told a nice little story about a middle eastern bloke who probably lived a good 2000+ years ago from where we sit in history. Apparently this bloke lost one of his little creatures, a charming but brainless, defenseless and scared little beast. For the sake of things let’s just say this blokes name was Abdul and the little beasts name was Ralph. This sounds okay to me, when I lived in Townsville I had a cat called Ralph. He was a bit temperamental though, but I Ioved him all the same. A bloke called Abdul also installed my Foxtel, he had a groovy moustache, an even temperment but I didn’t like his taste in music.

Anyway bad job Abdul the sheep herder! You were probably inconveniently distracted checking FB,Twitter or IG on your iPhone and were being a little neglectful, but hey things happen, and I know, it’s good to connect with people. So anyway… as the story goes our good mate Abdul threw down his lamb… beef Kebab wrap with hummus and tabouli (on leaven challenged pita bread of course), left his other ninety nine little lambies to find the brainless runaway.

Abdul was very concerned that Ralph would be gruesomely and horrifically eaten alive by a wolf… you know, blood, intestines and all that.. sort of reminiscent of a Walking Dead Episode based in New Zealand, not pretty. Then… Abdul’s heart leaped with excitement and he caught a distant glimpse of Ralph. As Abdul approached his beloved brainless little beast he didn’t ask him to come to him or request that Ralph ‘believe in the greatness of Abdul’. The lamb wasn’t really smart enough anyway. Abdul was exultant! He grabbed Ralph and put him on his shoulders. Abdul then came back dancing Gangnam Style in great exultation and happiness (but hopefully not flashing too much of his crown jewels). The lost little lamb was happily reunited with the ninety nine safe ones. I should add that it is highly unlikely that Abdul would have had lamb stew that night, his well developed ancient conscience would have made sure he waited at least a few nights before enjoying such a delectable feast, but at least he could sit back and relax knowing that 100% of his sheep were safe.

NOW dear friend… you are wise and educated so you know this is not a real story, it is metaphorical, it is allegorical, so don’t lecture me about how lambs get led to slaughter or some such thing… but I suppose we all die one day anyway……HOWEVER! This little story IS meant to demonstrate some truths, I think it’s a message to religious people who erroneously think they have a monopoly on God’s favour and love, Yet it’s also a message of hope to those who feel lost and afraid.

So here is the punchline: Sadly much of Religion and Christianity will tell you that maybe 10% of humankind will make it to the awesomeness of the afterlife. The rest will make it to the afterlife too, unfortunately they will be dreadfully tortured forever in some horrible Dante’s Inferno type of furnace. Ideas like this are just worldly religious rubbish., and quite disgusting actually, but we all know better than that don’t we?!?

The lost defenseless animal that Jesus spoke about could be symbolic of a prostitute who was abused by her father as a child and never knew true love, it could be the angry young man who hardly ever received a kind word of encouragement.

The allegorical good shepherd loves the least of these. He loves all and most importantly he leaves NONE behind. ALL are loved, ALL are accepted and ALL one with each other and the creator of ALL things.

In the knowledge of this great truth, please sit back, relax and enjoy your Lamb Kebab wrap with hummus and tabouli… and most importantly, don’t get distracted by social media, unless you’re reading one of my awesome posts 👍😜👌

When I lived In Jesusland

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When I was living in Jesusland, there were things that I did and ways of relating to people that I now realise we’re wrong, I justified these ideas in my mind, but I now know that much of Christian ideology is not in line with the things Jesus taught. Much of it is man made religion.

Unfortunately Christian religion has a strong ‘them and us’ mentality. At its very worst it can be described as believe or burn. At its best it is groups of people giving their all to make the world a better place. There are many good things within the realms of Christian religion, a plethora of loving and kind people, genuinely dedicated towards helping the less fortunate and improving the lives of many. This is a good thing. If you take selected inspired biblical writings and teach these precepts to people then good can come of it.

There are probably hundred of thousands of home groups that meet weekly around the world and talk about the importance of things like wisdom, patience, love and kindness. There are many positive behavioural modification success stories. I was one of them…. and yet I knew something was not quite right.

When I was eighteen years old I had a spiritual encounter. I now realise that my encounter was real but my understanding of it was erroneous and flawed. My spiritual encounter told me I was unconditionally loved and accepted by the creator of the universe. I now understand that this love, this unconditional acceptance is totally in effect for all people, of all religions and of all nations.

The teachings of Religion demand you to do something to gain the acceptance of the creator. This may be ‘receiving Jesus as your personal Lord and saviour’ (a term not found in the bible), baptism, or any other such number of actions or ‘good works’.

Chritian religion will tell you that your heart is untrustworthy and deceitful. Don’t believe this. At the core of your being you are perfect and blameless. It is only our mindsets that are flawed.

Don’t go around telling people what they need to do to ‘get right with God’. Tell them who they already are. Perfect, blameless, fully accepted and loved. This is the true good news. There is no them and us, there is only all of us, connected, we are one.

If we believe these truths and act accordingly then the world will become what Jesus hoped it would.

It’s totally up to us.

non despicable you

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John Newton did some wretched things, he was a slave trader. He was involved in a despicable industry. Contrary to popular belief, he did not change his ways after a terrible storm in which he called out for God’s mercy. He was still active in the Slave trade for another six or seven years after that event. Millions of people (including children) have sung his song called ‘Amazing Grace’ and wholeheartedly sang the words “that saved a wretch like me”. Please understand that you are NOT a wretch! You are not wretched and you never were. Some of us have done bad things. Things that hurt others, things that devalue our fellow brothers and sisters and weigh on our conscience. However, at the centre of our being we are all intrinsically good and perfect. Gold that has fallen into mud still has the same value.

My wife and I look after children that are not able to live with their biological parents. These children have suffered violence, abuse and things we don’t want to mention. As a father, foster carer and nurturer do I tell these children that they are wretched? Sinful? Accepted by God only if they say ‘the sinners prayer’, repent of their sins? No, these precious children have already been told that they are useless, worthless, no good, they have suffered untold trauma, violence and abuse. I WILL NOT tell them that they are wretched. I would not want them to sing it either. I will tell them that they are loved, beautiful, accepted.

I implore you to tell your children that they are of great value and worth. Tell it to your Mum and Dad, tell it to your wife, husband/spouse/partner, tell it to your brothers and sisters. Tell it to those you meet, and most importantly, tell it to your totally non despicable self.

begin to see the perfect you

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Sometimes we create enemies where there are none. However our biggest enemy is not knowing who we and our brothers and sisters truly are. For various reasons and to differing degrees our minds get screwed up and life gets confusing and complicated. Nevertheless on a much deeper level your true self is good and perfect. Start to see the perfect you. Change your mindset. See all that is good and perfect in your innermost being, then spread that goodness to those around you.