Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Friday 31 December, 02004


by Matthew Bartlett @ 5:48 pm

Today I read CS Lewis’ The Great Divorce. Amazing book. Enjoy a quote:

   ‘Is it? . . . is it?’ I whispered to my guide.
   ‘Not at all,’ said he. ‘It’s someone ye’ll never have heard of. Her name on earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green.’
   ‘She seems to be . . . well, a person of particular importance?’
   ‘Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things.’
   ‘And who are those gigantic people . . . look! They’re like emeralds . . . who are dancing and throwing flowers before her?’
   ‘Haven’t ye read your Milton? A thousand liveried angels lackey her.’
   ‘And who are all those young men and women on each side?’
   ‘They are her sons and daughters.’
   ‘She must have had a very large family, Sir.’
   ‘Every young man or boy that met her became her son—even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.’
   ‘Isn’t that a bit hard on their own parents?’
   ‘No. There are those that steal other people’s children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives.’
   ‘And how . . . but hullo! What are all these animals? A cat—two cats—dozens of cats. And all those dogs . . . why, I can’t count them. And the birds. And the horses.”
   ‘They are her beasts.’
   ‘Did she keep a sort of zoo? I mean, this is a bit too much.’
   ‘Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.’
   I looked at my Teacher in amazement.
   ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘It is like when you throw a stone into a pool, and the concentric waves spread out further and further. Who knows where it will end? Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly come to its full strength. But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life.’

by Matthew Bartlett @ 7:25 am

Satellite image of the recent tsunami hitting Sri Lanka [350k, via Russell Brown, Wikipedia & Digital Globe], and one taken before the flood [260k]

Beauty for Ashes — The fragile existence of many women in Asia [80k PDF, via Jon Zens]

Thursday 30 December, 02004


by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:11 pm

From Mike Goheen tonight I learn the term ‘Majority World’ to use in place of ‘Third World’. I like that replacement because it reminds me that I am one of the minority rich from whom much is due. I feel we (me, this city, the churhes) are all playing penuckle, inanely entertaining ourselves as if the world were a happy place.

With the Agur the oracle I say, “Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.”

I have no idea what I’m doing for New Year’s.

by Matthew Bartlett @ 2:47 pm

Brian McLaren’s book recommendations for 2004
Leslie Newbigin: Can the West be Converted?


by Matthew Bartlett @ 8:27 am

I enjoyed Michael Frayn’s book Spies. It’s an intense claustrophobic book about childhood, war, significance, smallness, particularity and memory.

Wednesday 29 December, 02004

Phone rant

by Matthew Bartlett @ 6:03 pm

Two weeks before we moved house I rang TelstraClear to organise to have a phone connected at the new place. Just about a month later they haven’t managed to connect the phone and won’t be able to for another two weeks or so. I am old-fashioned in that I find it frustrating that there is no office I can visit, no one to go and talk to face-to-face, no one person actually responsible for anything.

Tuesday 28 December, 02004

Cause you’re not in control no more

by Matthew Bartlett @ 10:07 am

Last night I dreamt about using Google to try and find the tab for Doves’ song “Caught by the River”. That was imbedded in a much more complicated situation but it’s slipping away.

On Sunday night I dreamt that Simon and I were walking beside a spectacularly beautiful lake. I saw a pelican catch three fish in its beak. I saw a Maori man near by. I thought he was going to cut off the bottom of the bird’s beak to get to the fish, but he just opened its beak, reached in, got the fish and let the pelican go free. We went to his house. His mum was doing a jigsaw puzzle of a map of the world. There were two other similar puzzles around the room. Suddenly there was a celebratory gymnastics event, a bit like Circus of the Stars. Actors from Shortland Street were performing the most amazing feats of physical agility. That’s all.

Sunday 26 December, 02004

Boxing Day shalom

by Matthew Bartlett @ 2:31 pm

The rush didn’t seem as mad this year. It is nice that yesterday the streets were very quiet, perhaps the quietest of all the year. We went to Midnight Mass at St Peter’s. Sitting in the gallery above the bulk of the congregation, it was lovely and odd to see so many strangers with familiar faces.

by Matthew Bartlett @ 2:23 pm

Said Robert Farrar Capon in The Pharisee and the Tax Collector:

I don’t believe in resurrection. I don’t believe in eternal life. I don’t believe in life after death. I don’t believe in the hereafter. Those are all opinions. I simply trust Jesus that He will deliver to me as He rose from the dead, He will raise me. Whatever that means, however it works, I trust Him because in His death is my reconciliation and in my reconciliation is my joy in Him.

[via DJM]

I’ve read some other things on that same website which you might also find interesting:

Robert Farrar Capon — The Father Who Lost Two Sons
Paul Brand — The Wisdom of the Body
Eugene H Peterson — The Psalms in American

Friday 24 December, 02004

by Matthew Bartlett @ 6:56 pm

by Haddon Sundblom

[via Robert Genn’s art newsletter]

Thursday 23 December, 02004

Better screen fonts in Windows XP

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:34 pm

Control Panel » Display » Appearance » Effects » Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts » ClearType

ClearType tuner PowerToy [via Ian H]

Resurrection, I suppose

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:29 pm

we men must
bow before all women & flowers
sacrifice feckless plans
(arrows shot into the blue)
& kiss the warm ground

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:03 am

Said Tom Wright in a recent seminar:

[I have been saying that] the Covenant preceeds the obedience within the Covenant. I find this very ironic for this reason: if you were to go onto Google and were to type in “tom wright justification by faith” you would turn up a lot of American websites from the Presbyterian Church of America and various other strongly Reformed centres like Westminster Seminary which would be extremely rude about the two people [Tom Wright and James Dunn] sitting on this platform for having sold Paul down the river and given up the genuine Reformed doctrine of justification by faith. And this is really quite bizzare because I think that actually what we have both done in taking Sanders proposal theologically, and Sanders really is not a theologian — I mean his putting Paul together theologically is not very convincing — he’s more of a historian pointing out the historical context etcetera. But Jimmy and I and others have tried to take this forward theologically. And I see what we’re doing is actually much more on a Reformed map than a Lutheran map, precisely because of the emphasis on the Covenant and Grace as basic, and on the Law — from the start — as being the way of life for the redeemed people. Which corresponds to Luther’s ?tertsius hertius? legacy if you like but it’s much easier to do it in a Reformed or Calvinist framework.

Wednesday 22 December, 02004

by Matthew Bartlett @ 2:33 pm

Charles C Adams: Appreciating and Teaching the Role of Aesthetics in Engineering Design

Monday 20 December, 02004

by Matthew Bartlett @ 7:24 pm

Said Charles C Adams in The Unity in Creation and the Bi-directional Character of Technological Artifacts:

… the relational properties of artifacts are unconsciously designed into them. Consider the calculator. It was designed to facilitate the rapid processing of simple mathematical calculations. In addition to accomplishing that, however, it creates an environment whereby the user tends to transfer a narrow, specific, and justifiable trust in the functional reliability of the calculator to a broader and non-justifiable trust in the representational meaning of the calculation. In the days before the calculator, when the slide rule was in use, its properties required its user to estimate an answer in order to know where to place the decimal point. Having to make that estimation resulted in a healthy level of skepticism regarding the meaning of any particular computational result. The calculator, by removing the need to estimate, removes the healthy skepticism accompanying the estimation, and fosters an unwarranted level of credulity.

[via DJM]

The article feels to me like the beginning of an answer to the “so what on earth are we supposed to do about it?” feeling one gets reading Neil Postman.