A Travellerspoint blog

Sydney v. Melbourne

Church matters

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The Pacific is vast (as I told you) and SO IS AUSTRALIA. Sailing around it is like sailing around the US, so it takes a while! After leaving Tasmania (yet another part of Australia), we went to Sydney and then to Melbourne. Each city wanted to be the capital city and worked so hard to be chosen that neither could ever win the designationt, so the capital is in Canberra, a place that is off the beaten track and not often visited. Sydney and Melbourne are still competing; even the ship’s passengers were asked to vote on which we preferred! The rivalry is really not of much interest to tourists - except that it is also expressed in the Anglican Church. We are very pro-Melbourne and can’t imagine ever living in Sydney. Here’s why...

Sailing into Sydney harbor is one of the most dramatic amazing wonderful experiences in the world. The air is pure and crisp; the city is woven beautifully into the harbor, so houses and parks, the Opera House and the Central Business District all flow together. People climbing the Harbor Bridge wave from their high perches. Large and small trams are available and the city design is such that you can walk most anyplace, and it sparks with an energy like NYC. The Opera House is 1000x more amazing that we ever imagined. Each lobby looks out on those roof sails and the water and the ships and ferries that surround it; the design of the seats and stages and stairs and loos is creative and impeccable. We were privileged to sit in on a rehearsal with Vladimir Ashkenasi - wow. Then to the Anglican Cathedral - low church, we knew, but we thought it would be alive. Not so. Litter piled up against the building and litter was piled inside the building. Pews has been stacked against the walls and the space filled with dirty plastic chairs. No prayer books, just TV screens on the columns, and they flashed photos of the staff and advertised Bible studies. No vestments allowed in the Diocese - the clergy are supposed to look accessible, I guess - but they don’t; they look weird in their sports clothes while the sexton and DRE and parish administrator etc. are dressed in suits. No altars allowed either; only a little table in an out of the way chapel with no seats. The font looked untouched/unused and if you look at the photo you might note a reason why!

First glimpse of the Opera House

First glimpse of the Opera House

Opera House

Opera House


No pews, no prayer books

No pews, no prayer books


Dangerous font

Dangerous font

Sailing into Melbourne is nowhere as dramatic as Sydney, but lovely. The skyline is dominated by a tall building that we have dubbed the Ruler Building, thinking that its design may reflect the measurement of the inter-city competition. The pace is more graceful here, and yarn bombing flourishes, although the knitters ply their trade with permission and don’t have to stitch in the dark of night. The street flowers are abundant - and people apparently leave them alone. And then there are the sweet shops! The Cathedral is in stark contrast to Melbourne’s (and is where Australia’s first women deacons, priests, and bishops were ordained). The grounds and the cathedral sparkle; they are filled with tourists and worshippers and guides to help direct them. We arrived as a local girls’ school was rehearsing for the installation of their new Headmistress/Principal, and our hearts sang along with them. People greeted us and welcomed us and invited us to various events. The same was true on Melbourne’s streets - teams of visitors aides stood on most corners dressed in recognizable red shirts, offering maps and advice and welcome. There are too many free busses to figure out and a library filled with young people.

Now we are sailing along the southern coast to Adelaide, enjoying one of our ship’s new lecturers, Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves (the best seller on punctuation). She also wrote The Girl’s Like Spaghetti (a children’s book on the value of the apostrophe).

The Ruler building - Melbourne

The Ruler building - Melbourne

Street flowers

Street flowers

Yarn bombing - Melbourne

Yarn bombing - Melbourne

Oh boy!!!

Oh boy!!!

Melbourne Cathedral's narthex

Melbourne Cathedral's narthex

St. Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne

St. Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne

Posted by HopeEakins 00:11 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Tasmania

A very long way from home

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The island of Tasmania off the southeast coast of Australia is Australia’s smallest state. Aboriginal people lived here for many thousands of years before Europeans first came to the island in the early 1800’s. Most of the Europeans were convicts sent here from England to live in penal colonies, and they were treated abominably but not as abominably as the aborigines, for a law allowed settlers (from Ireland, Scotland, and England) to shoot aborigines for no reason other than their extermination. (Imagine if there had not been guns available - they might have had to get to know each other). By the end of the 19th century, the aborigines had almost entirely been wiped out .

A striking feature of Tasmania (as in the rest of Australia) is the presence of animals that are very very different from those to be found anywhere else in the world. Among these creatures are kangaroos, koalas, wombats, wallabies AND - the Tasmanian devil, a ferocious carnivore that can consume an entire animal including the bones! They have also been known to eat cameras and cell phones. When we saw them today at Bonorong Nature Preserve, we were told that ten Tasmanian devils could consume a human adult in half an hour, leaving no trace. We used the zoom feature to get the photos (except for the kangaroos who ate out of our hands, sometimes the mother and joey at the same time) .

Wombat

Wombat

Lorikeet

Lorikeet

Koala bear

Koala bear

Kangaroo with joey

Kangaroo with joey

Tasmanian devil

Tasmanian devil

Posted by HopeEakins 03:27 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Homily

February 3, 2013

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Sermon preached by
The Reverend Hope H. Eakins
aboard the Silver Whisper
on February 3, 2013

My daughter-in-law Lee gave me this book on Christmas. It is Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott, subtitled The Three Essential Prayers. It is a short book, and in many ways, the best book on prayer I have ever read. Lamott’s prayer is direct and personal. She says “Help” when she needs it, “Thanks” when she discovers good, and “Wow” in the face of awe and wonder. Wow, she says, is offered with a gasp, with a sharp intake of breath when we can’t think of another way to respond to extraordinary beauty or overwhelming kindness or even seeing a fjord for the first time, as I did on Friday in Milford Sound. The sheer awesomeness of it all, the height and depth and nearness of it all was stunning, and I couldn’t explain it or put it in a box of experiences labeled “massive glacial formations in the South Pacific.” All I could do was to say ‘Wow’ because this was an experience beyond words, an experience that couldn’t be captured or explained, like hearing a Beethoven symphony or seeing a dolphin leap from the sea or holding a newborn baby.
There is a wonderful piece of liturgy in the Baptismal service of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. It prays that the newly baptized person may have an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere and the gift of joy and wonder in all God’s works. I love that prayer; I love praying that every tiny baby and every serious adult who comes to baptism will never lose the gift of wonder because wonder is breath-taking. Wonder takes our breath away and makes room for the breath of God’s Holy Spirit. Wonder allows us to see past all that is ugly and painful and limiting and find a mysterious and marvelous glimpse of beauty and love and truth that causes us to gasp “Wow.”
The disciples had a wow moment in today’s Gospel. Jesus stilled the sea, walked on water, and got into their boat with them and what did they say? Nothing, for as the Scripture says, They were utterly astounded. They had been terrified and overwhelmed and now they had peace; all they could say was Wow.
There is another kind of wow, the gasp that comes when we are afraid, when a building collapses or a child dies or love ends without reason and we don’t have words to describe the pain and we don’t have enough hope to ask for help, and Jesus seems very far away. It is the wow after 9/11 or a tsunami or an earthquake, in the time of trouble and darkness and affliction. And we can only sit or kneel and suffer as time passes and then one day we see the power of people and Christ to heal wounds and then one day the sun rises and our hearts beat without hurting so much and we can say help and thanks and begin to see that the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting and his faithfulness endures from age at age. And what we thought impossible has come to happen and we can whisper Wow.
One of the best Wows I ever heard was said many years ago when I officiated at the marriage of a young American boy and his beloved who was a young girl from Thailand. He promised to love her “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health until parted by death,” and he ended his promise with the words of the Prayer Book, “This is my solemn vow.” Then it was her turn, and she made the same promise. When she came to its end, she looked at him with a radiant smile. But because she had trouble pronouncing v’s, she ended, “This is my solemn wow.”
There are solemn wows all around us. God is doing better things for us than we can ask or pray for. We can find them if we open our minds and hearts and souls to see them and say Wow. Amen.

Posted by HopeEakins 03:17 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

South Island

Getting real close to Antarctica

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Yesterday we berthed at Port Chalmers on the southeast coast of New Zealand. From there we took a train to the Taieri Gorge - three hours climbing across trestles and around mountains with no signs of habitation until we reached a “station” called Pukrangi where stood a large statue of a sheep dog ever guarding the animals at the station across the valley. He must have been much loved! Upon our return we visited the town of Dunedin which greatly prospered in the gold rush of the mid-19th century. Last night the ship made her way around the southern tip of New Zealand so that today we are sailing slowly through spectacular fjords. Forested mountains of up to 10,000 feet come right down to the deep waters of Dusky Bay. This afternoon we will be sailing through what we expect to be the even more spectacular scenery of Milford Sound. Also included is a photo of us with Michael and Christine Buerk, who have become traveling friends whom we enjoy very much.

Guardian extraordinaire

Guardian extraordinaire

Dusky Sound from our veranda

Dusky Sound from our veranda

H&B with michael and Christine Buerk

H&B with michael and Christine Buerk

Posted by HopeEakins 21:04 Archived in New Zealand Comments (4)

The Map

...and what gets highlighted

Sue Deming noted that the map doesn't update automatically with posts from new places. Bryan Adams says: Note about the map. I am not sure it follows the itinerary..it simply remembers where the user last clicked. So, if [people] click on the last port of call the "Star" will display there.

Posted by HopeEakins 19:21 Comments (3)

Akaroa and sheep shearing

Isaiah understood

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Akaroa was a simple village until the earthquakes hit Christchurch two years ago. Its population is about 500; it has a little beach surrounded by high craggy hills (that would be called mountains in Connecticut), some colonial houses, a lighthouse, and a little Anglican church. Once cruise ships started going to Akaroa because they could no longer go to Christchurch, the town is bustling. The population has not grown, but the harbor area is filled with vendors and tour guides and boats to take you swimming with the dolphins and wildlife kayaking; the park has teens doing Maori dances; the ladies have a craft fair, and the church has a 2 pm tour. Today, Akaroa was jammed with cruisers from four ships that together held 4000 crew and passengers (our little ship probably sent 200 of these), and after a walk to the church we went up the “hill” to Paua Bay Farm to see life as it is without tourists. We drove through miles of absolutely stunning scenery to a farm and watched a sheep lose at least half its size in 3 minutes (see below). Then we saw the sheepdogs run at incredible speed and respond to complex commands and whistles and smartly move a herd of sheep to exactly the place the shepherd chose. We missed our granddog Marley, for he would love to play here too. Sheep must be so much more fun to chase than Frisbees. Finally, we had scones and tea at the farmhouse and are now back aboard ship.

The sheep shearing was very moving. These are beautiful animals; when you hold them, hug them, they are trusting and unguarded. They are warm and soft and look at you with beautiful eyes and don’t try to squirm away, nor do they baa. We understood a verse from Isaiah (53:7) that has previously been elusive. Isaiah talks about the Suffering Servant (a prefiguration of Jesus) as one who has borne our infirmities and was wounded for our transgressions because we like sheep have gone astray. This Servant “did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent.” I don’t think I could have borne it if our sheep were led to the slaughter - the shearing was actually wonderful to see because the sheep submitted so nicely and seemed to love the freedom of romping without a heavy fur coat.

Long_Bay_above_Akaroa.jpgHerded_sheep.jpgSheep being sheared

Sheep being sheared

Hope and her sheep

Hope and her sheep

A sheared sheep

A sheared sheep

H&B at the garden gate

H&B at the garden gate

Posted by HopeEakins 19:07 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

Wellington

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We sailed into Wellington on a brilliant, sunny day and are really enjoying this immensely liveable city (save for every conversation with a native having to include something about The All Blacks - they are sports obsessed here). We drove to an observation point, took a cable car to a botanical garden, saw an old cathedral and its newer incarnation. This seems to be a pattern in New Zealand - building a modern cathedral and keeping the original one right beside it - but Wellington is astounding: The old cathedral has been bought by the government and is used as a “museum,” but it has not been deconsecrated. There are no clergy/no regular services, but you can come and use it for pastoral offices with your own clergy (they have approx. 4 weddings every Saturday). The government hires an “Altar Guild” and flower committee; there are volunteer docents; the vestments and linens are in drawers and cupboards that you can open and peek inside. They also have annual services at which the procession is led by US Marines (see photo of flags) because the Marines were deployed here in WWII and stay close. Scratching our heads over these things, we then walked through a wonderful portside park to a museum of Maori history and culture paired with history of the settlers, both parts connected by a display of the Treaty of Waitangi which indeed connected the new and old populations. It seems to me that the Maori are very well treated/accepted/integrated, but I don’t think the Maori feel that way! Does every population have to include haves and have-nots, natives and usurpers, culture and sub-culture? Is the next generation going to retain their inclusivity and love of diversity? I.e. are things going to get better?

Overlooking Wellington

Overlooking Wellington

Interior Wellington Cathedral

Interior Wellington Cathedral

Old St. Paul's Cathedral

Old St. Paul's Cathedral

Interior Old St. Paul's

Interior Old St. Paul's

Posted by HopeEakins 18:46 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

Auckland

The City of Sails - with an impressive harbor - and a grand cathedral

sunny 78 °F
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In Auckland. We had a full day today. In the morning we drove through this glorious city, filled with sailboats, across the harbor to travel north to Zealandia, a sculpture garden, gallery, and home of a prominent New Zealand sculptor, Terry Stringer. We were welcomed in a courtyard with coffee and biscuits, then wandered through the gallery, which has moving walls that create living spaces (e.g. dining room) from the viewing spaces, then through the gardens by ponds and a modern chapel, to a walled garden with sculptures so well integrated that you thought they had always lived there. A massive stone piece of father and son wrestling was balanced on a base and rocked when touched. Then across manicured lawns to a path through woods of kauri trees and ferns and hidden sculptures - all breathtakingly beautiful and each a little surprising. I wish we could send all the photos, but you’ll have to be teased by the samples.
We next drove to Ransom Vineyard for a splendid lunch among the vines, surrounded by tropical flora. Lunch included five wine samples with five courses, followed by beef or salmon and the choice of one of the samples. Some eyes closed on the way back to Auckland...
... where we went to the Cathedral. Wow! Wow! First of all, there are 2 cathedrals, a 19th century one that was picked up and moved across the street to sit beside the current cathedral, both atop a hill that overlooks the harbor, filled with light and activity and joy. The Dean greeted us and glowed with enthusiasm over the life in this place - and sent greetings to our Bishop (Ian) who had just visited here with the Anglican Consultative Council.Zealandia.jpgdog.jpgTree_sculpture.jpgostrich.jpgPregnant_madonna.jpgGatepost_heads.jpgHovering_angel.jpgLunch at vineyard

Lunch at vineyard

Cathedrals old and new - Auckland

Cathedrals old and new - Auckland

Auckland stained glass

Auckland stained glass

Auckland flora

Auckland flora

Agapanthus

Agapanthus

Posted by HopeEakins 17:37 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

Land ho!

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

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After six more days at sea (did I tell you that the Pacific is VAST?), we arrived at Bay of Islands, New Zealand, the north-most corner of the country, and the place where the first Polynesians arrived on their outriggers and the first missionaries came and the first capital city and church were built. Oh, how good to go ashore. Here’s how it worked: first a half hour in a tender to get to Waitangi Pier, then a 20 minute bus ride to Paihia, then a half hour ferry ride to Russell. After exploring that charming town which is quite like Essex, CT (see photo), we returned to Waitangi where the treaty between the Maori and British Crown was signed in 1840. Our Maori guide didn’t like the treaty very much and kept telling us that 1) the Brits took everything away from the natives and tricked them into signing the treaty and 2) although the 2 groups are equal de jure, the Maoris face significant discrimination and 3) the treaty should be rescinded. The guide also thinks the place would have been much better off without the missionaries. And... the Maori may have attacked the missionaries with axes and they always do war dances and shout and stick out their tongues, but these practices are only to intimidate, not to be unfriendly, and actually, the tongue thing is a form of sincere welcome. I am feeling a little confused. Outside of that, NZ is amazingly beautiful (we anchored amid a regatta) and the Kiwis are amazingly nice. Auckland tomorrow.

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Posted by HopeEakins 21:26 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

International Date Line

What happened to Monday???

IMG_0299.jpg

On the page of the cruise calendar pictured above, Monday, January 21, does not exist! The day of the President’s Inauguration isn’t happening here! We are crossing the International Date Line, so we lose a day. All the calendars and chronicles on this ship go from Sunday to Tuesday - no Monday!

Posted by HopeEakins 15:46 Comments (4)

Homily January 20

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Homily preached by
The Reverend Hope H. Eakins
on Sunday, January 20, 2013 aboard the Silver Whisper in the South Pacific

Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!’” The next thing Jacob did was to take the stone he had been using for a pillow and mark the place where he had seen God’s angels. We have heard quite a bit about the marking of holy places recently, as we have listened to Jon Fleming’s destination lectures condemn the Christian missionaries in Polynesia for building their churches atop the native maraes and for stomping out traditional ways. Our tour guide in Moorea, likewise condemned priests who swept away the ancestral customs in these islands. I understand this concern, for I too wonder why Christians covered up the natives with muumuus and covered up their worship sites with churches. Oh, yes, the missionaries’ enthusiasm for the Good News of God in Christ moved them to eradicate the temples and totems of the pagan ways, but sometimes they did it with such haste that they missed some signs of God’s holy presence right under their feet. If like-minded missionaries had gone to Bethel, I wonder if they might have carted away Jacob’s stone to put a chapel there. I wonder this because even today the sites of Jesus’ birth and death and resurrection are covered with ecclesiastical establishments where religious folk squabble over who’s in charge. Surely God is in these places and they do not know it because they are too busy with their turf battles to notice that they stand in the presence of the holy.
It is a profoundly human characteristic to mark places where holy and important things have happened. We carve two names on a tree trunk and encircle them with a heart, hoping that our love will live as long as the tree, or chisel 1620 on a rock to mark the landing of the Mayflower pilgrims in the New World. Jacob erected his stone to set apart the place of the angels visit. He did what the Polynesians did when they erected stones as memorials of the seven outrigger canoes that made it all the way to New Zealand. When something holy happens, when we stop to say, “Surely the Lord is in this place - and I did not know it,” we can’t just walk away; we have to set a place apart to mark the spot to help us remember and give thanks.
Like Jacob, sometimes we don’t recognize the signs of God’s presence because we haven’t given them attention or time, because we are fighting with our brother Esau, or because we are asleep or distracted or think we are too busy. And sometimes, like the men on the road to Emmaus in another Bible story, it is only after God has been with us that we say, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road?” and we did not know it.
Jacob’s example is an important one for us all. We need to see signs of God in the wilderness and mark them so we never forget them. Those signs of God’s presence are all around us, you know, and they are not always in church. Jacob had to pay attention to his dream; we have to do that too, and we have to set apart a place for prayer, for prayer that is more listening than speaking because the only way we will ever hear God speak to us is to stop speaking to God and start listening. We need to see the holy in each other and reverence each other and respect each other, for God is in each of us. We need to mark and give thanks for the times in our lives when our throat catches and Love envelopes us, and when a still, small voice speaks words of strength, and when we hear a call to go and do things we would never have thought up all by ourselves and when we find courage to tell the truth and spend ourselves on someone else’s need, for surely these are times when the Lord is in this place. And sometimes we also need to discover holy places that are foreign to us, places that others have consecrated to a God who is bigger than us all, for as the cartoon on today’s order of service proclaims this morning, “There’s treasure everywhere,” for surely God is in this place.

Posted by HopeEakins 15:43 Comments (0)

Polynesian churches

and shelter from the storm

storm 82 °F
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The churches on these islands are very similar in style, most looking like little New England buildings in the wrong colors (yellowish walls and red roofs). Inside each is unique to the area and wonderfully local. Mary is decorated with red beads (Belles, I have some for us.) and the Babe is holding a big bread fruit (quite Eucharistic, actually, and what is planted in every garden here upon the birth of a child). The Stations - and Jesus - usually are shown as Polynesians while the priests and missionaries are Caucasian. I love the exuberant evangelists in the stained glass below. This depiction of the seven (RC) sacraments is installed as the east window in Bora Bora, a church that served as shelter for us while a wild storm blew in from the mountain. The storm continued to rage most of the day and the Silver Spirit was buffeted by huge waves. And then at sunset came the calm - which looked even more dramatic than the photo below.Catholic_C..Papeete__1_.jpgMary_with_.._breadfruit.jpgIMG_0273.jpgBaptismal_font_in_Tahiti.jpgIMG_0283.jpgIMG_0287.jpgIMG_0282.jpgIMG_0298.jpg

We love hearing from you all!

Posted by HopeEakins 09:28 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (5)

Homily

January 13, 2012

Homily preached by
The Reverend William J. Eakins
on Sunday, January 13, 2013 aboard the Silver Whisper in French Polynesia

Why travel? Why set out on a journey such as ours to sail for days and days over an immense ocean to visit exotic isles and foreign shores? Some do so to escape the tedium, not to mention the wintry darkness, of life at home. Some travel to visit famous sights and have new experiences. And then there are those who like the Wise Men from the East in Matthew’s Gospel travel for deeper purpose. They journey not merely to find escape or amusement, but to find God. Such travelers are known as pilgrims.
Call them Wise Men, Magi, or the Three Kings, Matthew tells us that they set off on their westward journey following a mysterious star. They got up on their camels not just because they were curious but because they were bent on worship. They wanted to find the long-awaited Messiah that God had sent and to pour out their treasure at his cradle.
When at last they reached Bethlehem, they knelt down and paid homage, offering the Holy Child their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And then we are told, “being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they returned to their own country by another road.”
You see, that is what happens to pilgrims: they return home by another road. Pilgrims, unlike other travelers, are changed by their journey. Outwardly they may appear to be the same as when they began their travels, but
inwardly pilgrims are no longer the same. What they have experienced has made them different people. Those who are merely tourists pass through places; places pass through those who are pilgrims.
If we are willing to be pilgrims, our journey together on the Silver Whisper might change us. We might have our hearts enlarged with compassion toward the many people that we meet who while different from us in many ways are still our brothers and sisters with joys and sorrows, hopes and dreams, much like ours. We might have our minds enlightened and our understanding broadened by people whose customs and cultures may seem strange. We might become more thankful for all our blessings and more repentant for all our failures. We might realize that you and I are not, after all, at the center of the universe, and that the world is a lot bigger place than the place we call home. We might then return to our country by another road. As pilgrims, we might even encounter God.

Posted by HopeEakins 10:38 Comments (1)

Tahiti

The old and the new

all seasons in one day 78 °F
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On Moorea and Tahiti. These islands are incredibly wild. Storms arise out of nowhere (actually out of somewhere because you can see them bearing down on you) and the 4X4 vehicles we keep finding ourselves in just keep on driving down the road into a river. They even have snorkels attached to make sure that the engine gets air (this according to Bryan). We keep being told the origins of plants, some from SIngapore, some from Brazil, some from Hawaii. It seems that each wave of settlement brought its own vegetation along and some flourished (some did not) and supplanted the local flora.

Interesting, because we also keep being told how Christian missionaries came and destroyed the ways of the traditional people, how they built their churches on the sites of marae (places of pagan worship), and how the people had to dress up and spend their Sundays in church, no longer allowed to fish or farm. Like the plants, Christianity has supplanted the old religion.

There is much interest here in collecting traditional practices and artifacts, and tour guides speak ill of the priests whose evangelism swept away the customs of their ancestors. I too was troubled by the missionaries’ destruction of ancient ways and replacing them with European custom. I like the idea of incorporating old and new, of finding value in both, of making the date of Christmas the same date as Saturnalia, so the Romans could celebrate the new Messiah’s birth at the time of the old feast. I like to discover signs of our One Almighty God everywhere and the Good News of Christ flourishing on a solid and broad foundation, where everyone’s glimpses of the divine count. On the other hand, if missionaries come, if we come, with Good News that is true, that we believe with every fiber of our bodies, shouldn’t we work to replace the error with truth posthaste? Shouldn’t we be like Paul, speaking Greek to the Greeks, but speaking News that is radically different and salvific? And shouldn’t we be brave enough to preach the Christian message against paganism, trusting that truth will win hearts and minds and souls?

We had lunch today with a conservative couple who think America is going to rack and ruin, that their church is becoming heretical, and that our very language is being tortured by using the words “marriage” and “gay” to mean things they don’t mean. We tried hard to find sense and meaning and truth there, but we were glad when the last plate was cleared away!

We also note that Bryan left us yesterday evening for a looooooong flight home. We miss him greatly.

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Posted by HopeEakins 16:55 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Moorea

semi-overcast 80 °F
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Like all of the Society Islands, Moorea began as a volcanic eruption millions of years ago. Half of the island then fell back into the ocean, leaving a heart shaped land mass whose jagged peaks are the remains of the former volcano’s crater wall. The high mountains are wreathed in clouds and trap the rain, creating a lush vegetation with many exotic plants and flowers. Christianity only came to this island 200 years ago through the labors of missionaries from England; the first church in Polynesia is pictured here.

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Posted by HopeEakins 21:07 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

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