Just a quick update, for Friends around the world.

Meeting for worship was held in several houses around the city this Sunday, as the Meeting House is in one of the suburbs with very severe liquefaction damage, making the roads difficult to navigate.

I've not seen pictures yet, but apparently there is a substantial amount of liquefaction in the Meeting House, so work will be needed to clear the sand and silt.  Also, a structural assessment will be needed to make sure it is safe, but non-residential properties have a low priority.

I have not heard if there are any injuries or loss of life amongst members or attenders, but in some ways no news is good news. Quakers in other parts of the country have opened up houses for people to come and stay for respite.

It will be considerable time till things get back to "normal", so prayers are appreciated for this community.


In peace



(grew up in ChCh, still with many fFriend and family there)


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I am preparing to leave for meeting at this moment. I will be hold you, your meeting and your wider community in the Light.

In one of Daniel Synder's pieces he mentions a night when he really got pissed, chewed God out thoroughly for all the bad things going on in the world. God seemed quite sympathetic about that.


Much of the time after that, when he'd be trying to mitigate some situation (providing court-ordered psychotherapy for physically abusive husbands, for example) and finding himself overwhelmed with the difficulty of dealing with people with no desire whatsoever to change really vicious behavior, he'd end up having to pray privately for them. Much of the time, they'd respond with some utterly unexpected improvement.


Dead folks got no problems... but what lived in them is not killable, doesn't pass beyond God's reach.


If you look seriously at the world and how people are living in it, something does have to give, in a big way.


It's not even a matter of people being "evil;" the consequences of unthinking behavior do the job just fine. We get to live here awhile, make some mistakes, sometimes learn from them. (Or we can refuse to recognize what we're being taught, if that suits us better for now.)

The only God we've got. Variously described (& misdescribed) by all of the above, for a start.


The evidence is in your own mind, in your own experience. It's like looking to see your own "I" without a mirror...


& what you find, if you persist, is no more unfair, no more unkind, than you yourself want to be. But working within the constraints of a livably consistent universe. A place lawful enough that people who distrust God can imagine it existing on its own...


When you really want to know the truth of things, It'll introduce itself. Until then, I don't think we can enlighten each other much.

Who says we ask God to demonstrate love for its creation?


Quaker faith is experiential, we have testimonies, not statements of faith....


However I spot your little man having his popcorn and cola - and I am wondering if I smell a wiff of troll.

I have no definitive answer. I have many questions. However, when I have observed over my lifetime, now almost 7 decades, the way in which some individuals have dealt with difficult people and circumstances in a loving manner that seems beyond human understanding, I have felt that there almost has to be a strength that comes from outside the human experience. Most of the time, these individuals, including my father Logan Smith, identified the source of their strength as "God." When I look at the long sweep of history and at the individuals who have made distinct contributions for the betterment of humanity, I see an almost unanimous sense of "strength" from God.

I seek and ask for this same strength to treat others with love and respect that I desire for myself. 

Hmmmm.....definite smell of troll round here. e


Love from one of the billy goats gruff...

Hi all: I stepped in last night, sending "Robert F" a warning message and referring him to the "Conversational Tone" part of the site FAQs. He didn't answer, but the system lets me see he read it immediately before posting another rude comment. Googling his private email address turns up active troll activity across a number of forums. He's outta here. Good call Helen!


I'm an experienced moderator in a number of domestic violence recovery forums, so know the scent well.


I had prepared a rather wonderful Quaker response to him on why I was "speaking truth to the nature of his troll-ness", which I am kind of sad about not being able to use.


The goat was pleased to have an outing again though...

I, for one, would love to hear your "speaking truth to the nature of  troll-ness." Don't hold back!

Hi Stephanie,

He actually made troll spotting easy by having a little smiley eating popcorn and drinking soda, which is forum code for "entertain me"...that makes it clear he was not hear to share ideas and learn.

Not quite as easy to speak "truth to his trollness" because I can't quote from his posts now, but I was going to point out to him the differences in his language from that of a genuine enquirer, and the assumptions he was making about those who he was responding to in the choice of words he was making.

One of the things he had called me was a "naughty religious person"...to which I would have pointed out that only one of the adjectives was correct!

In case you were wondering, I am happy with naughty, but don't like the use of the word religious and all its negative conitations as used within the context of dogmatic behaviour.

Problem is, it would have fed the troll and he would have got vitriolic and I suspect Martin would have sent both him and me packing - me for "feeding the wild animals" and quite correctly so!

I've moderated since 2002, participated in the very early version of forums on telnet as early as 1992 - so I figure that I have a fairly attuned sense to where people are coming from.

I compare the skills of a moderator to being a combination of eldering, oversight and assistant clerking a meeting for worship for business!

Hmmmmm....wonder if I should speak to Woodbrooke about running a course for internet based Quaker discernment skills?!?!?!? or perhaps write one myself


In peace on a lovely sunny end of Lent day!







Update on this update.


They have a new temporary home outside the red-zone in the CBD, which has rooms for both meeting for worship and childrens meeting.


I've seen photos and it will be a while yet before going back to the meetinghouse...and resident friends will not be staying for a while.  Another issue - they are on the edge of a suburb which may have to be abandoned and buldozed, and returned to swampland.


Please keep praying for all who are affected by natural disasters, and if anyone wants to sponsor me I will be climbing the Gherkin in London soon as a fundraiser - so message me and I will send the link


In peace



As I watched the, for lack of a better word, dialog, I was wondering how to address someone who seemed to want to fight (I assume that is the entertainment to which you referred).

My internet guru, aka my daughter, also referred to him as a 'troll'. Her advice was similiar to yours - don't engage.

Frustrating to watch, but I admire the humor you brought to it.

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