A while back I accepted the idea that my thesis would never be published.  Some of the material is quite problematic and others I had already happily presented at conferences.

I had an unusual email in that I was asked if I would like to have the thesis available via a print on demand service.  In the end I decided to go ahead.  I am still not sure if this was the best idea but it does mean people may purchase the thesis if they want to rather than me telling them it is not available.

The ISBN is 978-3-8433-5663-3

There is an early link on one website:

https://www.morebooks.de/store/gb/book/priesthood,-prophethood-and-spirit-led-community/isbn/978-3-8433-5663-3

Check it out if you want more information.

I admit I have not seen Avatar yet.  This Christmas it was a challenge just getting my super son to the movies but we did see Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs which I now want on DVD.

Recently on Facebook there has been the wonderful group IF MR. BEAN WAS IN AVATAR HE WOULD LOOK LIKE THIS!!

Now another amazing insight into the mind of James Cameron can be found on Indexed

Enjoy.

Since I last posted (I know, I know it was a long time ago) my wonderful wife has been officially diagnosed as lactose intolerant.

We were talking the other day about Easter and I was bluntly told that Soy Chocolate for Easter would be Sacriligious.  Now I had to laugh as Easter has degenerated into a chocolate feast more like pagan festivals than a Christian holiday here in Australia.  It is the ultimate long weekend – 4 days and depending where you live, unpredictable to good weather.

Now of course to top this off I had just read Lindsey Davis’ Saturnalia which I enjoyed but it includes some details of the feast of Saturn that sound a bit familiar, the normal rules are turned upside down when a child will lead them, presents are given and good will is to be extended to all people – including and especially family and it happens in December.

This got me thinking and researching the decision to make Christmas December 25th.  The theory is quite simple – Christ is believed to have died on March 25th.  In earlier times as to when you were conceived was a determined by some other observable date.  For the period of time when the date for Christmas was being set the theory was you died on the same day of the year you were conceived therefore Christ was conceived on March 25th and 9 months later was born – December 25th.

This made me realise that some poor pastor in the 2nd or 3rd century was possibly trying to reach out to his pagan neighbours and contextualised the start of Christianity as being similar to Saturnalia.  This contextualisation has continued to this day but rather than being a bridge for the gospel to cross over it has become a barrier and a ridicule.

So what will I do – continue to celebrate the birth of our Saviour as tradition has it, remembering also that Easter suffers from similar problems.

Oh and buy my wonderful wife gluten-free real chocolate 🙂

We had sort of made plans for the last full day in Los Angeles.  We were going to go to one more bookstore for me, and Walmart for my wife and dinner at Hugo’s.  And have some relaxing time.  Our landlord invited us to celebrate her guests birthday by going to Griffith park and the carousel for a picnic.   We agreed.

So the next morning we got up, had a slow morning, went to Ralphs to get some food for the picnic and some clothes in Ross.  We got to Griffith park on time and found the people we were meeting.  In the end the kids had two rides on the carousel, one with our host and the other with the boys of the group.  My wonderful wife and our host had a chat while the boys were away.

We then went to Lighthouse Christian Store in Pasadena which is now actually open on a Sunday.  If I think how far Christian retailing has changed in the years since I started travelling to the US I am shocked.  This store which I found on my first trip to have a huge range of merchandise is now much smaller and much more limited in what it keeps though I must admit it still had a relatively great selection.

From there we drove to a Walmart in an interesting part of Los Angeles and found ourselves in a mall.  We purchased what we wanted as much as we could and had to purchase another Transformers toy for my super son as he had fallen in love with these while we were travelling.

For dinner we stopped at Hugo’s which was a great experience for Gluten-free yummy food which we all enjoyed.

And then it was our last night in Los Angeles before Disneyland and Anaheim.

Next post: Its a Small World

I remember Sheryl Crow’s song “All I Wanna Do” is about Santa Monica.  I am not sure my memory is completely accurate but I am fairly sure that Santa Monica gets a mention a few times.

It was Saturday.  We were having brunch with my wonderful wife’s old room mates and then thinking about Santa Monica.  Well we had a great brunch at Marie Callendars though the service was a little dicey.  We were all full had a great catch up and then went our separate ways.  We took one of the room mates to the last remaining Valley Book and Bible and I purchased one more book and then dropped her off.  My wonderful wife wondered the state of Christian bookstores if this one had so little stock.  I put it down to Amazon.com and iTunes.

Our next destination was Santa Monica and the beach.  It had always been our plan for the holiday that we would spend a lot of time down the beach.  In the end we decided to stay in Los Feliz where we could afford to stay.  However this was to be our beach day.

The drive to Santa Monica was easy but the parking was hard as I was shocked to find the Santa Monica Mall being rebuilt.  I am not used to the American way of shutting down a mall and then gutting it and completely repopulating it.  We went to the beach – it was hot and noisy and not in a way we were used to.  There just is something different about American beaches to Australian beaches and we did not feel as comfortable as usual.

To finish off the trip I had to go to Hot Dog on a Stick for the Lemonade and found my son has a soft spot for Corn Dogs.  Oh well like Father like son I suppose but I was frustrated at the amount of sharing I had to do.

After that we went to a little place called Cafe Bolivar where we purchased Arepas which are a gluten free bread/roll which were great.

We rolled home and played ball games with our landlord and her guest including a twisted form of cricket which meant that many people were injured in some form or other.  The injuries were the end of night so that was that.

Next Post: Teddy Bear’s Picnic

I like some of the 1990s movies of Alicia Silverstone, Blast from the Past has at least a few scenes filmed around the corner and up a block from where I lived in Canoga Park and Clueless is just fun.

I must admit when I chose to live in the Valley years ago I was clueless.  I had to work out a place that was between work and Fuller Seminary and safe as this was post earthquake and I had been there done that in Santa Barbara.

For us on holidays we were returning to the Valley after a brief morning in the original part of Los Angeles El Pueblo De Los Angeles.  This was not the most successful trip to the heart of LA but still my super son was bought a pair of maraca’s.

We caught up with friends for lunch and spent time with them in the afternoon though we suddenly had to go to a Mall in the Valley to purchase new sandals for my super son as his finally gave up.

Afterwards we drove for a bit tried to get to some places on time before they closed and failed eventually heading home and getting dinner at In n Out.  The secret menu gives my wonderful wife a gluten-free option.

Tomorrow: All I Wanna Do

We were in Los Angeles, Los Feliz area, a stone’s throw from Hollywood and we had a good night’s sleep.  We were finally starting to relax and decide what we would do.

My wonderful wife decided to send me on a book buying spree and she and my super son would relax at the apartment.

I returned from Pasadena with far less material than I expected but enough to keep me happy.  I finally had books to read for the trip.

We then went to the sensitive baker which produces Gluten-free and lactose-free food.  It advertises itself as a cafe and my wonderful wife hoped to have lunch there but it was a vain hope.  Instead I took my son to buy sushi – a new desire of his as he had seen it being made on television the day before – while my wonderful wife decided in peace what to purchase.

I was stuck for where to go for lunch and thought of one place – Souplantation in Beverley Hills.  Now while we had no map I thought I could get us there successfully.  In the end on stop at a gas/service station and we were set.

We walked in and the staff were in a bit of a buzz.  Michael Jackson had died.  It reminded me of the word’s of Don Mclean’s American Pie “the day the music died” about Buddy Holly.  For each generation there seems to be a musician or musicians who define that generation and I know for many people Michael Jackson was their’s.

From there we slowly headed home to get some groceries and allow my super son to play with his new playmate the son of our apartment’s owner.  While the groceries took far longer to get to than expected we at least had new supplies.

Tomorrow: Clueless

Abba’s famous song is about the need for money.  We were in Ventura and now had the computer working again but did not have a wireless connection so we did not know what to do about checking our credit card and bank balances.  It turns out the hotel we were in had a computer in the lobby and we could use it to check all our balances.  We did this and made sure we had enough money around for the rest of the trip.

Before this all happened I woke up early and with wonderful wifely wisdom went to Wal-Mart to purchase more luggage.  In the process of checking in Melbourne we had found a seam coming away on our only bag.  We had thought we needed more luggage this just confirmed it.  After much umming and ahhing and figuring out the differences between each brand and each size of luggage I purchased two sets.

I returned back to the hotel, we started organising our luggage into the new bags and started rationalising what we had purchased back into bags.  This was no small feat but it was achieved. While I packed the car my wonderful wife and super son walked across to the beach, which was not real inviting due to June Gloom.

We headed to the outlets in Camarillo to spend up big and find what we wanted.  No Reeboks this trip for the first time in ages as they did not fit myself or my wonderful wife.  The joy of having lost weight.  In the midst of spending the money we met with my old boss and his wife for lunch.  I enjoyed mine, my super son loved his but we had all sorts of problems with my wonderful wife’s.  At one point having asked for a meal gluten-free “no wheat” the server made sure she was given a white bread roll as it was “not wheat”.  Well eventually a fairly poor looking meal arrived.

We then went back to the outlets picked up more clothes, perfumey stuff for my wife and started heading to the desert.  I mean Los Angeles.  Unfortunately we finally read the fine print as so to speak on our contract and realised we should have had two codes to get in the place.  No such codes had been sent and we had no internet access for days  to check.  We tried to call.  I found every phone at the outlet was out of order or removed.  Even if the management office said the phones were there.  When I did find a phone it turned out the phone number was no longer up to date.

In the end we stopped in a Starbucks, I paid a few dollars to get some access.  I found a new number and had my wonderful wife call except there was no answer but she left a message saying we would be there at 7pm.  We headed to our accommodation and could find no one.  In the end I did find the owner for our VRBO rental and we checked in.  We then walked to our favourite Indian place for dinner Paru’s as it was 2 blocks away and then came home for a good nights sleep.

So while the day organised money, spent money and cost money and was a bit fraught it was great too.

Tomorrow: American Pie

I have never seen the movie Swordfish.  My wonderful wife as best I know has never seen the movie Swordfish.  However my wonderful wife will testify that all Ventura was abuzz when it was being filmed there and that I think included her.

We had a whole day in Ventura, no packing up, no moving on.  We were to see a previous boss and friend of my wife but nothing else was planned except some shopping.  My wonderful wife needed clothes and knew where to get them cheap.  First my super son and I  had a cow cookie – a cookie that is black and white and shaped like a cow for old times sake – my wonderful wife introduced me to them when we were dating.

I dropped my wonderful wife off at the shops and my super son and I hit  Barnes and Noble – the bookstore for those not familiar with it.  This was not the huge success I hoped for.  While I did get to see some books that were interesting nothing I could say I want right now.  This is unlike my super son who decided everything was great and wanted it all.  In the end he was allowed a Go Diego Go book.  We then went to the next best thing to heaven for my super son – Toys R Us.  While we did not purchase anything he enjoyed saying all that he wanted.

We all met up again and had lunch at our favourite Mexican chain – Baja Fresh.  The food was good and all of us enjoyed it.  It seems our super son was starting to get more adventurous in his eating.

In the afternoon we went to my wonderful wife’s friends place and caught up with her and her husband and met her three year old son.  This was a great time and we then headed back to the hotel for a nights sleep.

Tomorrow: Money, money, money

We were heading to Ventura, to meet with friends who had been people my wonderful wife knew when we started dating.

San Simeon we were able to leave reasonably early as there was not much we wanted to do there or in Cambria.  Instead we headed to Atascadero where there was a bakery that produced gluten-free and lactose-free goodies.  Upon arrval my super son was asleep – he had woken too early – and he and I stayed in the car while my wonderful wife found the bakery.  Except there were no goods as they had been closed the day before and nothing was left from Saturday.

Next stop San Luis Obispo where there is a Pizza Fusion which produce gluten-free pizzas with soy cheese.  We looked at the Trader Joes while waiting for the food shops to open.  The pizza looked great for my wonderul wife.  I had subs for my super son and I and then my son decided he was really hungry, ate his lunch, ate half of my lunch and half of my next round of lunch again.  Well we are called to love one another aren’t we.

From there we went in search of appropriate power cables but had no success.  We continued to head to Ventura taking a slow drive through Santa Barbara where I used to live.  The hotel we were going to which is right on the freeway and across from the beach is also right next to a freeway entry.  So guess what – first time I am trying to get there I ended up on the Freeway again and not the hotel.  From then on I am ok.

We headed over to our friends place got a lot lost but found it in the end and they gave us a great dinner and a chat and we all rolled home.

Tomorrow – Swordfish