Thursday, February 28, 2008

Where the grass is always greener

I'm going to give Justin the credit for this, because I don't know if it's something he made up, or if it's something everyone's heard before and I just haven't because I came up the Clyde in a banana boat, but he wrote in a message this week:

"The grass is always greener (wait for it ... drum roll ...) where you water it."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My hat!

I neglected to mention yesterday (the very big news!) that I finished my hat! I actually finished the base of it on Monday, and just had to do the flower yesterday, which took nearly as long as the hat. (It’s very difficult to get a decent photo of something in particular in your own phone! And I don’t have a button to attach the flower properly yet, which is why it is just balanced randomly on my head.) I was home yesterday too. After getting up in the middle of the night on Monday to do something about a paining ear I went to the doctor on Tuesday morning and discovered that I have a middle-ear infection. Those of you who have read this blog for a while, and remember small details, might recall that I’ve already HAD a middle-ear infection, not so long ago. I was perturbed about this too, as up until last year I had never had one in my life and taken very few antibiotics. But, apparently last year has nothing to do with this year and it’s just “bad luck” that I got another one. I compared sick-notes with a lady at work this morning, who was away recently with this same bug, and her niece had a middle-ear infection with it. So it seems it’s just part of the deal. (I am home again this afternoon. I went into work for a few hours this morning to get a few things done before press day, and the air-conditioning is broken and it’s a little horrible and I'm a little stuffed up – AND I have a medical certificate for today, which I think is my first one ever, and so when I had finished I thought I might as well make the most of it and go home.) Anyway, in my search for a local doctor I was at Broadway shopping centre and had some time to kill before the appointment and I noticed that the large poster in the Sportsgirl window displays a girl in a yellow crocheted hat, not unlike my own. So I went into the shop for a closer look, and hanging nearby was another hat, complete with flower! So, I don’t usually let Sportsgirl dictate my clothing choices, but it’s nice to know that I am somewhere within the ball-park of fashion.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Still lugging the life-raft

As I mentioned yesterday, I am currently reading the book Pierced for our Trangressions, in the lead-up to our church weekend away called “Nothing But the Blood”. In this book there are brief references to CH Dodd and his interpretation of “propitiation”. Until a few years ago I had never heard of CH Dodd, which I consider was no very great loss to my understanding.

Anyway, in September 2004 (I think it was 2004) I went to visit some friends of mine who were both working at New Norcia, Australia’s only privately owned monastic town, in WA, a few hours North-West of Perth. It is a fascinating little place that was established in 1846 by Benedictine Monks from Spain. You can read more about it here. And my friends are very interesting, and very intelligent, people. Bes (who I blogged about here – and there you can see some photos of New Norcia) was a Rhodes finalist who went off to London to study spiritual education, and her fiancĂ© at the time (they are now married), Bernard, was a lawyer in the Airforce who got out to go on to bigger and better things. I had a fabulous holiday at New Norcia. There are 20,000 acres of countryside, supposedly reminiscent of the south of France, to wander around in, there’re the oldest olive trees in Australia, together with a very old olive press, there’s a wood-fired oven in which they make the most amazing panforte, the buildings themselves are really quite astonishing (in the middle of the West Australian bush), and the history of the town, from when it was a mission to the local Aborigines and beyond is all fascinating. Then there is the daily routine of the monks that you can participate in, and various other activities, such as accompanying school tours and attending lectures on various topics (I attended one on Hildegard of Bingen and the symbolism of her artwork etc), all of which were interesting. And my friends are great friends and were very generous and hospitable hosts.

However, unfortunately (from my perspective anyway) my friends and I have diverged in theology in recent years, and I have seen this become more apparent during their time at New Norcia. Everywhere I went I just begged to differ with a very good portion of what I heard, for a variety of reasons. From what I can gather, New Norcia is essentially in alignment with the prevailing theology of south-west WA, where they are known as “Spong disciples” (I believe - I am no expert on that, so others can feel free to enlighten me). I had a good many long and involved “debates” about all manner of subjects (and if I’d been a blogger at the time I might remember more of the content of them). They were all done in friendship and respect but were at times rather taxing all the same, because my friends were challenging opponents, and when I wasn’t talking to my friends, there were other conversations. For example, at the Sunday service, during which there literally was incense swinging and all manner of ancient Catholic customs, Bernard introduced me to a fellow who was married to (so she was female) an Anglican Priest, and said “this is Ali, she’s from Jensen-heartland” and left me there to work my way out of that one ...

It wasn’t till I got back to “Jensen-heartland” (which was quite a relief in some ways) and did the Moore Theological College evening lecture subject on Romans, in which the ideas of CH Dodd on the atonement were mentioned, merely as an aside, that things began to fall in to place. I then remembered hearing that the Abbot of New Norcia was a big follower of his, and that these are the books that he had given Bernard to read to further his theological knowledge. And then I realised that underpinning all those things I had begged to differ with was the theology of CH Dodd and a fundamentally different understanding of sin, the cross and the atonement. I’m not going to post about Dodd or Spong (and no doubt expose my own ignorance anyway, because my knowledge of them is only a scratch on the surface) but I will give you an example of how this manifested itself. Seven times a day the monks went to prayers. Here they chanted the psalms, in Gregorian chant, and sometimes accompanied by the pipe organ, and it was just beautiful. However, this was the qualifier written at the entrance to the chapel:

"You may be distressed by some negative and destructive things said in our psalms and other scriptures. We have trouble with them too, but we keep using them, because: they show us the very slow progress made by Jewish and Christian people in the past in understanding themselves and the world in relation to God; they make us think more deeply about the things that are wrong now in our world, in our country, and in our own hearts; and they help us to purify our idea of God. The God we worship is total goodness, offering love and peace to the whole human race."

And that is the gist of what they believe at New Norcia: that the writers of the Old, and the New, Testament were just not so enlightened as we are today, about the character of God and what he requires of us (though I am not so sure, then, how the Psalms would help purify our idea of God). The analogy was put to me, in subsequent conversation, and quoting somebody else I can’t remember, that at various points in your life you might come to a lake or a river that you need to cross, and so you build or find a life-raft to carry you over, but just because it saved or aided you then it doesn’t mean you then need to carry the life-raft with you wherever you go. The implication was that some doctrines are old-school, and have served their purpose, and we just don’t need to lug them about with us anymore. And at this point I will just recommend that everyone read the book I started with, to see why I believe that is such a tragic idea ...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pottering at home

I’ve had a nice day at home today, inbetween the sniffles and sneezing and an afternoon snooze. I have been reading some of Pierced for Our Trangressions, in preparation for our church “house party” (in my country days they were always church “camps”, but I have noticed that Sydney people don’t go on “camps”) this weekend.

I’ve also been trying to make this hat, from the Happy Hooker crochet book (yes, I hate the title). It’s a little complicated - well only in the sense that you have to concentrate to keep track of where you’re up because the pattern isn’t entirely consistent, and I had to undo Row 2 twice before I read it properly and completely understood. I’m making it with some Blue-Mix Alpaca I have left over from a shawl. I have a big head, so hopefully it fits.

The other thing I have been contemplating is some of these ideas. Some of you may have received the email circulating that claimed that these artworks were entries to a competition at the Hirschorn gallery. That’s actually not true (and I don’t know why people make such things up) and they were all created by the same person, Peter Callesen. I think some of the ideas, particularly under the framed A4 section, look very doable – well, OK, so this one pictured looks doable, the rest, maybe not.
To that end I wandered into Art on King the other day just to peruse craft knives. I used to use the scalpel out of my biology lab kit for such things (with a new blade of course!) and it worked brilliantly, but I seem to have lost it. In an attempt to make friendly conversation with the saleswoman in Art on King I mentioned this. She then pointed out to me that they do actually sell surgical scalpels (kept behind the desk) and conceded that they are by far the sharpest thing around, but then she narrowed her eyes and looked at me and said “but they are dangerous”. I blinked and wondered what sort of possibility I looked like. Anyway, I suppose it’s good that she’s not an irresponsible scalpel seller ...

Our great outdoors

On the weekend I won an outdoor setting on ebay. It was close, and I got this one by only one dollar. It didn't feel like such a bargain, but then the seller found a rust spot on one of the chairs that he hadn't noticed earlier, so he reduced the price by 30%. That is more of a bargain, even with the rust. Anyway, below is a picture of the view from our new balcony. It's really quite nice. It faces due west, so is to be avoided at certain times of the day. Other times, such as right now, a good piece of the sky is filled, about once every two minutes, with a passing aeroplane, close enough to read (when it is our turn to suffer the flight path). But at all other times it's very pleasant ...

Staying home

Today I am at home with a cold. I feel like something of a sook, as I could probably manage to sit at my desk and do some work, but the thing about going to work is getting up and getting there, either via a long walk or two bus trips (to get anywhere close to door-to-door it takes two buses, which is rather ridiculous given the distance, as the crow flies, thus I walk) and then, regardless of how hot it is outside, the air-conditioning is such that I wear a cardigan everyday, not to mention the fact that I'd share my germs with everyone else, though I think just about everyone has partaken of these germs already. Until this job I had never taken a sick day in my entire working life, excepting two days while I worked at Matthias Media when a strange lump under my tongue escalated into my first visit to hospital, a GA and surgery on my salivary duct. These days I am not so heroic, and the world, such as we know it, just doesn’t call for it ...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Poetry Friday - Not a teenage love poem

So poetry Friday ebbs and flows, but I found this love poem I wrote in High School ... just kidding! Actually, just after my love story came a poetry assignment in which we were to write a reply to Andrew Marvell’s poem ‘To His Coy Mistress’ entitling it ‘To Her Over-Zealous Master’. I am quite amazed at how I matched the rhyme and metre, and in two verses of courteous, Victorian English stated my case. I’d be hard pressed to equal that attempt nowadays without considerable effort. But, creative writing, like all things, improves with practice and at school we had reason to practice.

Instead I thought I’d share another, and a great deal better, modern “love” poem, from the Holy Sonnets of the Twentieth Century, by D.A. Carson. This one is simply called Forty-five, and is based on 1 John 4:10, 1 John 4:19 and John 20:21.


I love because you first loved me: your love
With irresistible enticement paid
In blood, has won my heart; and, unafraid
Of all but self, I’m driven now to love.
I love because you first loved me: your love
Has transformed all my calculations, made
A farce of love based on exchange, displayed
Extravagant self-giving from above.
I love because you first loved me: without
Regenerating power provided by
Your Son’s propitiating death, no doubt
My strongest love would be the mighty “I”.
Your self-originating love’s alone –
The motive, standard, power of my own.

D.A. Carson

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Teenage love story - Part II

OK, so now I really regret committing myself to this, and wonder if I actually finished this story in deciding to, because in typing it up I felt myself going red and hot and wanting to disappear somewhere, and thanks to Craig over here (who obviously has a blog readership a lot wider than mine) people might actually READ it - and I may never live this down! This is where it all gets a little overdone, schmaltzy and really quite 'preachy', and I was very sorely tempted to edit it (I now prefer the moralising in my fiction to be just a little more subtle), but I’d feel a little dishonest, now that I am, well, older than sixteen. So, please, bear in mind that I had to manipulate the poem into the story (the italicised parts), and I have a vague memory of being very disgruntled by the classroom discussion of this poem, so obviously I was going to make my point, and then well and truly drive it home, here (my English teacher was actually a non-Christian, divorced, single-Mum and I don’t know how she could stand for it, but that’s us at my Year 12 formal in the photo – and yes, my dress is pink taffeta, and my cheeks are chubby and my hair's all poofy - so obviously we survived my story). Anyway, without further ado, I shall proceed with the nothing:

When Susannah reentered the room in a comfortable tracksuit she had a somewhat sheepish look on her face, and it didn’t take long before she have an apology to her husband equally as passionate as her former outburst. She had never been able to stay angry for more than five minutes once she’d had a good rage – a fact her husband inwardly rejoiced about because she had a very fiery temper. She knew she really must learn a bit more self-control and always painfully regretted her outbursts of emotion, but she seemed born with an urge to let the world know how she felt at any particular moment.

“I really am sorry sweetheart, I just had a bad day and I feel a bit exhausted. Please forgive me?” she pleaded.

“In understand honey,” Mark answered, which was not just an empty word of sympathy because after five years of sharing their lives together Mark felt that he really did understand his wife’s character. Susannah had a wonderful way of expressing her feelings but he had discovered that she really wasn’t that forward with her emotions considering the proportion she kept hidden within her.

Susannah proceeded to tell him all about the maddening little events of her day and found that she had to laugh, because it really was quite funny, and by the time she’d finished she was feeling very calm and happy and thinking how fortunate she was to have such a husband as the one she now laughed with.

They sat down at the table for a cup of coffee together.

After telling her a few of the events of his day Mark casually picked up a magazine lying on the table. He’d flipped over a few pages when the heading “10 ways to make a marriage work” caught his eye. He usually scorned the cheap advice given by trashy philosophers that was always published in magazines and was just about to slam it shut when he glanced at the top of the page which read:

“Those in love must remain complete people
first unto themselves –
and then to each other.”

No wonder so many people got divorced if thoughts such as that were acted upon. [Can’t quite believe I wrote that – oh the idealism of youth, when, of course, I had all the answers.]

“Listen to this honey” he said and then read the sentence to her.
“Just imagine where our marriage would be if we followed this philosophy?” he queried.

Susannah pondered this for a moment then nodded her head in agreement. Since that beautiful day when she had committed herself to her husband she had learnt that in a marriage, or for any true relationship to survive, the way God intended it, there had to be a hundred percent giving all the way from both partners. The instant you put yourself first in any relationship the basis for that relationship started sliding away. [Ok, so now I am really THOROUGHLY embarrassed.]

For a few minutes each of them sat silent wrapped in their own thoughts, yet always conscious of the other’s presence. During that time they both came to the conclusion that a marriage went far beyond love and romance and from that day on their union was all the richer for this realisation or revelation from God, whichever it may be. [Arrghh! So I still believe that's true, but I just wouldn't spell it out quite like that, or include divine intervention.]

Only slightly breaking the reverie, Mark came up with the suggestion:

“How about we just leave this mess for a while and go and have an early tea at ‘George’s’ and then see if we can’t find some new curtains for the kitchen, and then you can come back and do your typing and I’ll straighten up this place.”

Susannah smiled appreciatively at her husband. They finished their coffee then the two of them left the house together arm in arm and could have fooled any ignorant stranger into thinking they had just returned from their honeymoon [did I really have to add that last part?].

They strolled into ‘George’s’ and had a nice simple meal at their favourite table in the corner of the low-key restaurant and then wandered down the street looking in shop windows for anything that caught their eye, which could make their house a little homelier.

They entered a shop and Susannah had just purchased the much-desired new kitchen curtains and was on her way to rejoin her husband in the hardware section when he was spotted by one of his business associates. They started into a friendly chat before he noticed Susannah and turning to Mark he asked:

“And who is this lovely woman with you Mark?,” making a fairly logical guess at the truth.

With a wink and a grin in Susannah’s direction, Mark answered, somewhat dramatically “This is the one I love!”.


Anyway, so the other thing this blog isn’t going to be is teenage love stories - I promise! But I made the guy into a nice kind of domestic hero don’t you think :). (I grew up without any males as part of my daily life, and wonder if I just created a woman called Mark.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

When a Minister dislikes playing God

If you are waiting with breath-not-quite-baited for my next episode, I think I should make you wait a little longer :). Anyway, despite what I said about my lack of interest in the world around me, I came across this article this week in which the Minister for Immigration states that he dislikes “playing God” in his power to decide individual immigration cases and wants the “industry” of people appealing to the Minister to be reviewed. I’m glad. There are good reasons for the reform, as given in the article and, personally, one of the products I edit at work is the Federal Law Reports, which reports judgments from the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia, and I am increasingly swamped with such immigration appeals. Some of them are interesting, like this one I noted previously, but many of them are just tediously similar. Much as I sympathise with refugees and with the situation they face when they arrive in this country, I also sympathise with those people here whose task it is to attempt to determine if each refugee’s claim for protection or residency is legitimate.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Teenage love story - Part I

If you are wondering why, and what perhaps I have done with the other Alison, read the post below.

Susannah tore down the highway at one hundred kilometers per hour. This would have to be the most infuriating day she had had to live through for a long time. First, one of the other girls in the office at work had called in sick so she’d had twice as much work to do and then phone decided to ring incessantly and the shrill noise of its cry to be heard had given her a throbbing headache. That weekend she’d been seen strolling up the street with a “young handsome man” who was actually her cousin by one of the smart young accountants at the office and after announcing to the whole building that she was having an affair had proceeded to jibe her about it all day, making her more furious than ever.

A thousand little things had gone wrong. She had sent her milkshake frothing all over the report her boss had given her to type and then had to spend most of the afternoon trying to decipher the smudged scrawl which was practically illegible in the first place and all the while her nose kept dripping like a tap due to a cold she caught on the weekend because of the miserable weather and she only had two tissues which were used as sparingly as possible before the afternoon had seen her dashing across the street to buy some more and now, she was just ten minutes from home when great drops of rain started splashing on her windscreen and she had gotten [is that a word?] up early that morning to do a couple of loads of washing which were presently on the line and would be saturated before she got to them [longest sentence ever].

Susannah was now in a rotten mood and on her way home to a pigsty to try and make tea for a starving husband, clean up the mess and finish her typing. What a day!

The tyres screeched on the already slippery, wet road as her Laser careered off the highway into Burnside Avenue where their modest little house was located at number eight. After jerking to a halt in the driveway she dashed around the back to try and salvage some of her washing then stormed inside where her husband, Mark, was already trying to set some order to the kitchen and threw it in a heap on an armchair.

“Well Honey,” greeted her husband, approaching her with a warm smile, but, seeing the angry flash in her eyes and the scowl on her face continued with concern:

“What’s upsetting my little wife today?” which was a nickname he’d called her ever since they were married, whenever he was feeling particularly loving.

Don’t ever say wife to me, it’s too cold!” she spat back at him.

A little surprised at this objection to his pet name for her he tried to make a little joke out of her statement, to ease the tension.

“Oh, come on Honey!”, he laughed, “What’ll I refer to you as when I introduce you to a business associate”, but the joke was lost and Susannah replied:

If someone asks who I am then tell them I am the one you love!” with venom in her voice. At this Mark’s eyebrows shot up and seeing his expression Susannah added with another outburst, “And if they quiver, ‘Are you married?, then say that we are sharing our lives together,” before she marched out of the room to go and get changed.

Most of the time Mark enjoyed his wife’s spirit but lately things seemed to be really getting to her so he tried to think of a way to get her to unwind and relax a bit.

He walked into the loungeroom and put on her favourite track, which was the sound track from a movie ‘The Princess Bride’ and then started to wash the dishes. He regretted not having remembered about the washing on the line, but he’d only got in the door five minutes before his wife and it would’ve been wet anyhow. At least it would have been a thoughtful gesture and cheered his wife a little.

Introduction to a teenage love story

I don't like this blog a whole lot lately. I haven't given it a great deal of thought, but I have realised that I read a lot of theology and Christian-living/instruction kind of blogs, which subconsciously have influenced the way I have started to write on this blog. And while I have an interest in such things, which is the reason I read the blogs, and could perhaps have something to say if I applied myself to it (I will confess that one of my personal achievements in 2006 – was it really that long ago already? - was Mark Thompson giving me full marks for an essay when I went along and did the Moore College Evening Course doctrine subject - just at a time when I was feeling a little unstimulated and thought my brain was rotting, it reassured me that my brain and understanding still worked if I actually put them to use), but I don't think I am doing that particularly well on this blog, and there are a great many people doing it better and with greater consistency, thoughtfulness and thoroughness.

So, I think I shall rid my subconscious of that sort of expectation of blogging and do things a little differently. I also have no great compulsion to write at any great length about what is going on in the world (and notice Karen says something similar over here). I actually relate to CS Lewis in Surprised by Joy when he writes “Hence while friendship has been by far the chief source of my happiness, acquaintance or general society has always meant little to me, and I cannot quite understand why a man should wish to know more people than he can make real friends of. Hence, too, a very defective, perhaps culpably defective, interest in large impersonal movements, causes and the like. The concern aroused in me by a battle (whether in story or in reality) is almost in an inverse ratio to the number of the combatants”. I’m afraid that’s somewhat true of me.

So, what is left, that is the question? Frivolous twittering about girlish fancies?

I have been cleaning out a lot of "stuff" lately, in an attempt to liberate myself from it, and to go through life from this point forward a little less encumbered. In the process I came across my English notes from Years 11 and 12 at school and found a story I did quite well in, with this written on the bottom of it by my inspirational English teacher: “Great story, well told and clever interweaving of the poem, Alison. You are a talented writer with a good perception of human relationships.” That piqued my curiousity as I wondered what I could possibly have really known about anything at 16, so I read it. Anyway, I have decided that it can't be worse that those New Idea serial stories that seem to keep (some) people coming back for more, so, for a bit of fun, and because it’s not theology, Christian living or world news, you really are going to get a teenage love story, in installments, just as I wrote it at age 16. (It’s actually disappointingly sort of ordinary, with a Laser instead of white horse, and no other terribly great flights from reality, but I do mention the Princess Bride). The idea of this story was to weave into it the words of love poem, which unfortunately I have lost. However, I am going to blame all the corney and cheesy lines in the story on that poem, which from memory I thought rather silly and counteracted in my story, and will italicise the phrases which I believe came from it (it looks like we’d been studying John Donne and then modern love poetry). So here goes (see next post).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"God was very kind"

Well, I am now a resident of Camperdown, and am loving it so far! And it is nice to see it in the sunshine today. Despite the fact that my usual declaration is "I never get sick" I was a little sick yesterday, because I must have got soaked a few times too often walking around in the rain last week. But I have been walking to work which has been very pleasant, even in the rain. That has been taking me about 45mins, but that is by no means at a power walk and I have had to keep stopping and bending and stretching like somebody queer because my back has been hurting quite fiercely at times (I have to confess that moving house last Saturday was one of those days when I particularly thought that having a "helpmeet" would be nice – just somebody to shift heavy things would do! :) ... ).

The flat is great, and everything has fallen into place quite beautifully. I mentioned in an earlier post that I one of the ladies at work had an elderly Aunt who went into a nursing home and so I got to go around and claim some of her no-longer-needed items, some of which were the fridge and the washing machine, which were otherwise to be big purchases, for next to nothing - and similar things have kept happening. So, I have had the thought myself, and it has actually been said to me a number of times also, that “God has been very kind”. But I do pause to consider when I find myself thinking such things in response to favourable circumstances. And I wonder if that is a particularly helpful way for me to think, or a particularly helpful thing for people to say. Because, what I am I then going to think and say when a string of things go wrong and I seem to reach the straw that broke the camels back and do wonder what God is doing? But then I wonder if I am just being some kind of overzealous, 'Calvinistic' stickler or some such thing. The thing is, when a friend does something kind and I say, "that was kind of you", I am not meaning to imply that I don’t think they are not a kind person when they aren’t doing nice things for me. I am not particularly reading-off their character from that one action – or am I? On the flip side, I do remember the distraught lady on the news when the bushfires swept through Canberra and house burnt down saying on National News "God was very cruel to us today", and I felt very sorry for her but also thought to myself "but did you think he was kind when your house didn’t burn down". So, it can be problematic to read-off the character of God, or his particular favour, from circumstances.

It seems to me that the really difficult thing in this life is trusting that God is kind, and indeed very good, even when circumstances are all bad, not declaring his kindness when I get a nice flat and a cheap fridge (much as I am, and should be thankful and acknowledge them as gifts from him). The problem is that we don’t know the whole story. While it is true that in the Old Testament the Israelites referred to God’s kindness in relation to specific actions (just search "kindness" in the ESV) then we come to Titus 3:4-7, which says: But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The greatest kindness ever shown has been shown by God already in his death on the cross for us – cheap fridges, or fridges that blow up and burn the house down now are trifling in comparison.

The sermon at church this morning was on story of Jacob in Genesis 30:25-31:55 and titled "Blessing though difficulties", just to further enhance my musings, demonstrating that many blessings come through difficult circumstances. Then I leave church and find a text message on my phone asking me to call one of my old flatmates as soon as possible, the reason being that they were robbed last night, all their laptop computers taken, and I had the contents insurance policy papers. So, if I hadn’t moved last weekend they would have taken my computer too. I can be thankful that I still have my computer (because it’s not schadenfreude), but I wouldn’t want to make any judgments about God’s preferential kindness in the matter.

Anyway, what do other people think? Is it helpful or not helpful to respond to favourable circumstances by saying "God was very kind" – or is it just something neutral that I should not bother being so “intellectual” about and just joyfully give the credit to God regardless?

P.S. Have had a huge amount of trouble getting the internet to work today. I don't know if this is going to be an ongoing and annoying problem. I am not game to try and add a picture to this post incase it all falls over.